Wednesday, February 3, 2010

The Waiting Game

The button is pushed in. You know it's working, because it lit up when you pushed it. For some reason, you push it again, thinking the more you push the button, the faster the elevator will appear, open up to you and let you inside.

But the longer you stand there, the more you push the button, the more frustrated you get, and still no answer from the elevator. You can see that it's going to all other floors but yours. Other numbers light up. Just not your floor. And still you wait. If you take the stairs, you could miss it. You could miss your opportunity for this ride that is going to make the waiting worth it.

This is what I told the child psychologist as I explained my concern Philip could have Asperger Syndrome. That I could "feel" his responses and not see them. He said, "Write this down. Because it's the best explanation of Asperger's I've heard."

Six months ago, life went diagonal, and I took the stairs so I could meet my precious Elevator. While my husband and I have always known our child did not fit the standard mold we told ourselves he was unique. And so he is. More so than being unique, however, is the clear distinction that he and other children are clearly not following the same developmental patterns. We told ourselves he was an academic, that he preferred to learn over imaginary play and probably even congratulated ourselves on such a fete having a child with such a lusty penchant for learning.

Then in October, we had to face what we didn't want to: There is a problem. No matter how bright or thirsty for education, our child does not relate to other children. Crying is the standard while at school, tears owning 75% of his day. Frustration fuels him as random switching of activities throughout the day leave him reeling for a schedule, resulting in a rage-filled fit in the bathroom punching doors. Then there is the covering of his ears and screaming while entering a fetal position in the gymnasium for lack of being able to focus. It's unbearable to hear the reports, especially since he can read on a 3rd grade level, study and understand maps, understand the entire structure (inside and out) of the human body, and loves medical science. You would think school is the place he should be.

Our son is only 4.

Watching this tiny, sweet, hilarious man turn to a frustrated pile of nerves is a horror any parent would want to tackle to the ground and abolish for life.

So begins my training as my son's champion. After months of waiting for appointments and answers, our journey began one month ago upon receiving the definitive diagnosis our son has Asperger Syndrome. For those of you beginning your journey, for those lost in the waves of paperwork waiting for diagnosis, this is for you. A step-by-step of our process to find Philip in the puzzle of Autism and the sweet, funny, tearful, trying moments we encounter as the Elevator Goes Up.