She circled the number on the form, nodded, and handed it to me.
Mental Retardation, it read.
What?! No! That’s not my son. NO!
“I’m sorry, but that is what I see right now. He’s only 3. I can’t predict for you what he will be able to learn or achieve. It would not be a surprise if he is unable to learn to read, considering his lack of speech now. We just don’t know what he understands.”
I cried all the way home. I refused to accept this, because I knew that he understood everything going on around him.
Fast forward 9 years.
More test results, but in a different setting. Already he has surpassed the expectations of the developmental pediatrician.
Already he has shown himself to be amazing, with aptitude so far over my head at times that my eyes cross just trying to have conversations with him. And yes, conversations. Lots of them. Intelligent ones. The boy who could not speak at the age of 3 talks all day long.
“Pervasive Developmental Delay–Not Otherwise Specified”
PDD-NOS. My son has an Autism Spectrum Disorder. We suspected it, always figured he was somewhere on the Spectrum.
Relief this time. This “new” diagnosis was such a tremendous relief, even though we already KNEW he was not mentally retarded, it was just this wonderful confirmation. It gave us hope that he will be able to grow up and be successful.
Autism was not the end of the world for us, but a new beginning.