February 15th, 2019


Putting the official stamp on it.

"I've never gotten to this page before," says the woman from the early childhood intervention program, sounding rather pleasantly shocked. Last time the goober child got assessed, a different woman said "I've never seen a child do that before." This time it was about understood vocabulary. The goober, who is just about to turn three, apparently has the vocabulary of a typical 7 year old. Last time it was about pattern making, when at the end of a series of questions about "can you put all the red blocks together" etc. the goober child created her own unique repeating pattern and arranged the blocks into it. She was just barely two, I believe.

And of course when they assessed her ability to use words, to communicate, to interact, to socialize, she tests well behind the typical 3 year old. All those words she knows, yet she has almost no understanding of how to use those words to express herself.

It's like staring at myself.

I remember being six, and being told I read at an 8th grade level. But reading was all I did. I learned enough about how to interact with other kids to get by, but I was never any good at it. I survived, but I didn't thrive socially.

Still don't, sometimes, though these days I can almost do most of it automatically, at least if I'm not too tired. Smile, make eye contact, arrange the proper body language, say the proper words, use the proper tone. I'm 40, and I started having at least the ghost of a clue about how to properly interact with people sometime in my 20s, so by now I do fairly well at it.

I was never put in a program, of course. I was never diagnosed with anything, or given any special support. Maybe with this program she'll get her ghost of a clue as a kid, and grow up without having to struggle to socialize, I don't know.

The goober child isn't diagnosed either, mind. The nice ladies testing her said that if I wanted, they could push for her to have a formal diagnosis, and everything they're seeing is very consistent with how autism presents in girls her age. They seemed extremely concerned that I might find the very thought that the goober is autistic to be traumatic. I kind of wanted to laugh at them. I'm fairly certain I'm autistic, and I've had a perfectly fine life. Everyone has struggles. That my struggles were with how to relate to other human beings without feeling like an alien or a robot is not the worst possible thing.

They thanked me for being so understanding, and willing to talk to them. I mentally rolled my eyes at the freak-outs they must have gotten from other parents, though I suppose it might be harder to get "your child is probably autistic" without "also your child is in the 82nd percentile in verbal understanding" to cushion it. I didn't ask for a diagnosis when they offered, though. It doesn't make any difference to her acceptance in the program, the little "yes, there are social delays" tickyboxes they ticked today do that, without needing anything else, and I don't feel like an official stamp makes any difference, one way or the other.

She's my kid. I suspect I never got the official stamp largely because "girls" (I'm not exactly a girl, but you know) weren't diagnosed autistic thirty-odd years ago. I don't need the official stamp on her to know she's like me. I'm just glad that she can have the help and support I didn't, and maybe will muddle through a little less awfully and in isolation than I did.

But even that's not the end of the world if she does, I got through it too, and I think I came out the other end just fine.

And I can't help but be proud of how damn smart the little squirt is. :D They asked if I was teaching her to write letters yet. Maybe I'll start. She can be a writer too, if she wants. She certainly knows how to type already!

This entry was originally posted at https://bladespark.dreamwidth.org/1506474.html.