Autism Is Ausome
This is my son, Neo. He’s turning 3 years old in just a few months. Like most toddlers, he loves to explore the world around him and often tries to do things on his own. But unlike most toddlers his age, he still can’t talk, he has certain obsessive habits, and has a few self-injurious behaviors.
Having a strong maternal instinct, I knew deep in my heart that SOMETHING is wrong peculiar with my son. My suspicions were confirmed right after hearing these painful words from the developmental pedia, “It seems that Neo has mild autism.”
What is Autism?
According to National Institute of Mental Health, Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is characterized by:
- Persistent deficits in social communication and social interaction across multiple contexts;
- Restricted, repetitive patterns of behavior, interests, or activities;
- Symptoms must be present in the early developmental period (typically recognized in the first two years of life); and,
- Symptoms cause clinically significant impairment in social, occupational, or other important areas of current functioning.
The term “spectrum” refers to the wide range of symptoms, skills, and levels of impairment or disability that children with ASD can have. Some children are mildly impaired by their symptoms, while others are severely disabled. – http://www.nimh.nih.gov/
Before we went to see Dr. Mark Reysio-Cruz (developmental and behavioral pediatrician in Capitol Medical Center) last August 2015, I had been noticing a few red flags regarding my son’s behavior.
- Repetitive stacking and lining up of objects. When he was nearing the age of two, he would always make “towers” of objects that he could find lying around the house. At first I found this amusing, but when I noticed that he often lines up cars instead of pushing/driving them around, I became worried.
- He hits his head against the floor or any surface whenever he gets angry or anxious, or for no reason at all.
- Speech delay. I didn’t worry about this actually because my eldest spoke in sentences when he was already 4 years old. Neo, on the contrary, can’t/won’t use even simple words such as eat, water, milk, by the age of 2 1/2 years old. He uses gestures to communicate.
- [Sometimes] Spins in circles, walks in tiptoes, and puts everything inside his mouth.
- He does not respond when his name is called. This happens 70-80% of the time.
- He prefers to play alone.
- Poor eye contact.
Dr. Mark also noted Neo’s strengths — he knows the alphabet, shapes, colors, and numbers, he can use spoon/fork and drink from cups, throw a ball overhand, and kick a ball forward. Most of all, he has a happy disposition. 🙂
During his evaluation with Dr. Mark, Neo got a 63.5% Total CAT/CLAMS Developmental Quotient (DQ). His low score constitutes delay and warrants further evaluation and management.
His visual-motor/problem solving abilities is 74% (a passing score) but his language score is a bit low at 53%. At 2 1/3 years old, he has receptive language skills of a 10-month old baby and expressive language of a 16-month toddler.
If you’re interested with the Dev Ped evaluation rate/price, it’s PhP 4,500 (evaluation report included). One session lasts for about an hour.
The shock of finding out that my toddler has autism is life-changing, but I won’t allow even a bit of this fact to change the way I look at life. Tougher days and rougher roads are ahead of us, but I am not going to give up on this mystery.. until all the pieces fit.
Capitol Medical Center
Quezon Avenue Cor. Scout Magbanua St. Quezon City, Philippines, 1103
(02) 372-3825 – 44
Marcelino G. Reysio-Cruz III, M.D.
Developmental & Behavioral Pediatrics
Room 207, Capitol Medical Center
371-2106 / 372-3825 local 3234