Today we received a letter, confirming a conversation I had with one of Adam's consultants three weeks ago. The letter reads, in part:
"Adam was seen accompanied by his mother and in clinic today...was witnessed to display clear patterns of repetitive behaviour...no speech or vocalisations were heard except for some screaming...Adam did not give good eye contact, share any attention...he did not use any other means to try and communicate with the adults in the room..."
"In conclusion, and in agreement with his mother, Adam continues to display behaviours which I cannot explain completely by his auditory discrimination problems...therefore today, I have formally confirmed that Adam has an Autistic Spectrum Disorder diagnosis with prominent sensory issues and also hyperactive behaviours..."
So that's that. We've suspected it was coming for over a year since first seeing behaviours that looked autistic to our untrained eyes, it was of course formally suggested in July and the diagnosis was verbally confirmed in clinic three weeks ago.
Somehow though, seeing it in black and white still left me with that feeling of having the wind taken out of my sails. This is for life - and it's the third major diagnosis we've faced. Hearing impaired, visually impaired, autistic. And it could have been prevented.
I sat down for a while. Read and reread the letter as the words sank in.
Took a few deep breaths.
Then, I went to my beautiful boy's special needs nursery where I had volunteered to be a parent supervisor for a trip to the town park. When the children were led out of the door and he caught sight of me, Adam's eyes lit up and his face was wreathed in smiles. He ran to me shouting, "Hurro! Hurro!" in absolute delight.
We spent an hour at the park, examining daffodils, looking at ducks, and most importantly of all playing in the playground where the children found a huge ten foot slide built into the side of a hill and sailed down it at great speed. The heavens opened up in a monsoon of such proportions that despite all of our wet weather gear, we were drenched to the bone, and the ordinary metal slides became deadly water slides propelling the children down so quickly they had to be caught at the bottom to prevent head injuries! There are both advantages and disadvantages to a group of children who have absolutely no fear - they play like there's no tomorrow...and it's a good thing the adult/child ratio is 1:1! :-)
Finally, the rain was so heavy that even Adam had had enough and he marched over to me announcing, "CAR," in quite firm tones. His Majesty was cold, wet and finished in the park and had no hesitation in telling me so!
Home and finally dry, we cuddled and played and I couldn't help looking at my beautiful son just bursting with love for him. Today, confirmation of another diagnosis that cannot help but mark our lives forever...and today, my son is just Adam.
And I love him.
Just as he is.