Back when Jonathan was young, I didn’t see anything significantly different about his behavior.
He was so fascinated with the computer that he became mesmerized by it and ended up falling off the computer table on two different occasions…both times he required stitches.
That should have been my first clue. Looking back, I didn’t make a direct connection to possible disability much less any developmental issues.
After all, I thought many kids at Jonathan’s young age spun around in circles, stared off into space, avoided crowds, lined up objects, lacked eye contact , took steps downstairs one at a time, were fascinated with game shows like Wheel of Fortune and Jeopardy and watch the same movie repeatedly.
Having witnesses many of those same characteristics in other children, I wrote them some as unique to Jonathan’s particular stage of development. No two children are exactly the same anyway…right?
Further, I was consumed with the needs of my three children, then 3, 4 and 5.
In fact, I thought Jonathan was extraordinarily bright since he began reading at the age of 2 1/2, when he read the word “recycle” off of a truck. At 3, he would memorize songs like it was nothing too. One song in particular included all the letters of the alphabet.
I tried to record him performing this amazing feat but he got into his echolalia by saying no, no, no, no sop, sop, sop, over and over again. He was so cute but the fact that he was stuck in a rut of saying the same thing time and time again should have been a huge warning sign.
Of particular note was “the stare”.
I have often heard parents comment that their children had this uncanny stare they didn’t notice until they looked back in the earlier photos of their children. Sure enough, Jonathan had it.
It’s hard not to blame yourself as a parent for “missing” the clues.
A shy child might “tune out” and stare into space, be absorbed in TV or repetitive viewing of moves, not like crowds, avoid eye contact, etc…
More difficult to ignore are more noticeable signs of autism that include:
-Inappropriate social interaction with peers -Not wanting to be touched -Self stimulation (flapping hands or rocking back and forth) -Hypo or hyper sensitivity to outside stimuli -Echolalia (repeating things over and over and over) -Fascination with letters and numbers -Early reading (Hyperlexia)
Despite all the clues, sometimes parents put on “blinders”. We don’t see, or want to see, what is right in front of us.
After “…getting out of my own way…” of denial, Jonathan got early help and has made great strides.
What did you overlook that you had to face head-on later?
How did you come to terms with missing major clues?
Please share your story with by commenting below.
As always, I look forward to hearing from you.
Mother, Wife, Author, Founder & CEO of AutismToday.com
P.S. Here is something I would like to recommend that will give you the tips, strategies, and tools you need to help understand and cope with clues to autism.
To download a video presentation that will help you understand the nature of autism click this link: