Jake appeared to be a typically developing child for the first 2 years of his life.
Something changed after we had our second child, Sarah. This beautiful baby was the loudest, most unhappy infant to ever exist. She cried so much that the nurses wouldn't even keep her in the nursery at the hospital after she was born. She never slept and could not be consoled. The only time she seemed happy was when she was nursing. Her diagnosis was colic, though now I know better.
The Great Regression
Shortly after Sarah arrived, Jake's behavior deteriorated. This sweet, happy child became withdrawn. He suddenly began standing in a corner and screaming, sometimes for hours on end. It was not unusual to find him staring blankly into space. Initially, I thought he was reacting to Sarah. There was always a lot of noise in the house and everyone was stressed. With 2 screaming children, I was at my wits end.
The regression continued and I noticed that Jake was losing skills. He lost interest in potty training, could no longer use a fork, spoon or straw and all of his acquired language disappeared. Eye contact was gone. He was still talking and singing some, but it was all exact repeats of things he had heard on his favorite TV show. Obviously, this was more than a minor regression some kids experience after the arrival of a new sibling.
I knew we were dealing with autism. I do not believe that the autism began during the Great Regression, it simply became obvious at that time. As I read more about the condition, I recalled all the times that Jake 'refused' to follow my directions, 'ignored' me when I called his name, his 'love' of opening and closing doors. I also cringed as I remembered how many times I apologized for his 'shyness'.
We began seeing specialists and eventually he was diagnosed with Autism. Of course, no one could see into the future and tell us his prognosis. We couldn't know if he would look at us, talk to us, have friends, or play ever again. It was devastating. I wanted my sweet boy back.
To Be Continued...