Last week, Darwin had a “full team evaluation” at The Children’s Hospital Of Philadelphia. He met with 4 different therapists and doctors who led him through various tests, engaging him in different ways to evaluate his behavior as it relates to the Autism Spectrum. Today, his mother and I met with the team again to discuss their observations, the diagnosis, and the recommended treatment.
The diagnosis is autism. Point blank, no bones about it. Does an atomic bomb do just as much damage if you see it coming? Yes it does.
We talked a good bit about specific parts of Darwin’s behavior, his strengths and weaknesses. I suppose the bulk of the conversation focused on the services and treatment we need to get for him. Let me tell you, it is an overwhelming mountain of shit. Schools, therapists, doctors, insurance, and an endless amount of red tape and bullshit to cut through. And at the end of the day, it’s pretty damn likely that Darwin’s life will always be harder, which is exactly what I never wanted. Since the day I knew of his existence, I was sure that I would do everything I could to make his life feel better, and a bit easier than mine has been. All of the awkwardness that the average child feels will potentially be amplified for him. There’s a very good chance that Darwin will always be “different”. The degree of that difference will only become clear with the passing of time, but I’m pretty damned sure that kids along the way will notice him being a bit different, and many of them won’t be kind. I was on the receiving end of plenty of bullying, and senseless pestering during my childhood and adolescence, and that was mostly just because of my appearance and taste in music. If I had some real, tangible “issue” to be pointed out… I can only imagine.
Trust me when I say I will do absolutely everything I can for this boy. But this sucks. =(
PS. Jenny McCarthy is an idiot, and vaccinations do not cause autism.