This mother wants to share her story. This item was emailed to this blog--AR
My name is Rebecca. I am the mother of three beautiful sons Corbin, Brecken and Abraham. My six year old Corbin was diagnosed with PDD-NOS in December of 2006 at the age of 5 years 8 months old. This is his story.
On a late April afternoon in 2001 Corbin came into this world. Physically perfect in every way. However, there was something not quite right, something that the doctors nor us could see. Corbin was born with a form of Autism known as pervasive developmental disorder not otherwise specified.
The differences in his first 18-24 months of life were so subtle no one would have caught on really. He spoke, walked, fed himself and did all of the things any normal child does during that time. He learned how to count to ten, all of his colors, how to spell his name and many other things all far before he was three years old. There was always something not quite right though. Something just below the surface that we either couldn't see or couldn't accept.
As an infant Corbin was the most well behaved baby I had ever seen. He rarely cried and was very content entertaining himself. I never found it odd that to get him to sleep I had to lay him on my chest and pat his back and rear for hours sometimes. I just thought it was a weird baby thing, just like some children prefer to be rocked or walked while falling asleep. I also never made the connection that even as a tiny infant he would be fine for hours doing his own thing. We could take him out shopping all day and rarely ever hear a peep from him. He didn't cry when he was wet or dirty or much ever really. However, as soon as we got in the car to start home the screaming started. He would scream for hours after a trip to Walmart and I always blamed it on over stimulation. When we went out of town for trips he wouldn't sleep much at all, in fact he couldn't really sleep anywhere other than in his own home. Like our shopping trips as soon as we got in the car to come home the screaming would start and aside from when he was sleeping it would last for days. Getting him back into a normal routine would take weeks. I again blamed all this on over stimulation.
He also had horrible tantrums. Nothing like I had ever seen in any other child. He would throw himself on the ground and smash his head into the sidewalk at times. The really unusual part was the fact it wouldn't even phase him he would just continue to tantrum.
Sometime between 2-4 a number of other unusual behaviors popped up. He was obsessed with spinning objects. He would line his cars up and then tantrum if anyone moved them. He also began covering his ears and tantruming whenever a train went through town. He couldn't answer questions of any kind, and he couldn't differentiate between he and she. When he began preschool at 4 and 1/2 he had major problems, he cried frequently through out the day. Anytime they changed activities Corbin would cry and tantrum. He wouldn't sing with the other children in music class, but would only sit with his hands over his ears. He also didn't play with the other children but usually chose to play alone alongside the other kids but never with them.
After a particularly horrible session in music one day Corbin was sent to the principle's office for refusing to participate, and sitting with his hands over his ears. When he got to the principle's office he refused to speak with her at all. She contacted me at home and spoke to me and told me what was going on. I was infuriated that they had sent a 4 and 1/2 year old child to see the principle for something so trivial and I got online. I typed in over sensitive hearing and putting hands over ears and one of the very first things Google pulled up was a sight about Autism. That was the day I learned that my gut was right everyone else was wrong. My son was not just spoiled and naughty he was Autistic.
We went through hearing tests (normal), physicals (normal) no answers from anyone. Corbin was given a developmental screening by the county which he failed miserably and was put into pre school special education. However, my husband, and my family was not ready to hear the words Autism. They kept saying oh he is only immature next year he will be like a different kid. Against my own better judgment I listened to them. Really, what did I know he was my first born, all of these people had other children they knew what was normal and what wasn't.
Kindergarten started and Corbin was mainstreamed into a class with 24 other students. A few weeks into the year we decided to pull him out for about an hour a day. When things didn't improve his kindergarten instructor called in the special education director and finally someone listened to me. She saw all the things in Corbin that I had been screaming about for years. I was convinced Corbin had Asperger's Syndrome but she said what she saw was PDD-NOS. This was the only thing I needed to push my family over the edge. Finally someone who was well educated saw the same things I had been seeing. Back to the pediatrician's office we went. This time we were told Corbin probably had ADHD and I put my foot down. I refused to put Corbin on any medication without a referral to someone who worked with Autistic children. We waited for three months for that appointment.
On December 12, 2006 I walked into that doctor's office already knowing what they would tell me. The news didn't come as a shock but maybe more so a relief that finally a Doctor believed me. Corbin was diagnosed with PDD-NOS that day and finally we started getting him the help he so very desperately needs.
Now it is not quite a year later. He has grown and improved more in the last year than he probably had in the entire 2 years preceding. He has had his speech therapy cut in half because he has met so many goals. His tantruming and behavior has improved so tremendously that his behavior plan at school had to be greatly modified. We still have our blows though. We recently found out his IQ was significantly lower than we were hoping. He will also have to be tested for Asthma soon because contrary to popular belief Autism definitely contributes to physical ailments as well. It is NOT just a brain thing. When he gets ill he regresses and has episodes of echolalia, and looses bladder control. When it is bad enough he loses the ability to speak and uses only gestures to communicate with us. Our battle is far from over, but with the major improvements he has made in such little time I can easily see that Corbin has a very bright and beautiful future ahead of him.