7 Months later

Had the first follow up with the child development specialist for Gabe’s autism this week. It had been more than 7 months since he was diagnosed and since then we have enrolled him into programs that were recommended by the doctor. Firstly he is regularly attending speech therapy, followed by twice a month occupational therapy. We also sent him to a Montessori nursery that has a small class. He is also signed up for early intervention every Monday. As you can see, our schedules revolve around Gabe and he is like a secondary school kid attending tuition!

But we are happy after the assessment that he has almost caught up with his age. There were a few components that the doctors tested him on. I could not remember all of them but he excelled beyond his age in visual and cognition – apparently this is one of the trait of ASD kids. But his speech and social interaction skills still lack behind by at least a year.

Of all the improvements, we can see that his speech has improved a lot since 7 months ago. When he was brought to the doctors, we can say that he was non-verbal, choosing to just point and say Eh.. Eh.. Now he can try to string a sentence and ask for things. This is an improvement that we see very clearly, although compared to his other classmates, he has a long way to go.

I am blessed with the understanding teachers in the kindy. We did not tell them that he has ASD but we told them about his quirkyness. They reassured us that they had many kinds of people coming through the nursery and Gabe would not be a problem. They are truly patient and celebrates all his small victories.

I did tell the doctor yesterday that we have very good thereapist and teachers, but doctor said that it also a lot to do with the parents that is willing to spend time with Gabe. Hearing what she said, I did reflect on the effort that we put in for him to make sure that he does not miss any of his therapy.

We are also happy when he suddenly liked to play in the sand. Ask me 6 months ago and Gabe would be like oil to water when he is near the beach. He will never evern touch sand. Out of a sudden, he followed his cousins and went to play sand with them one day. Amazing.

He still has a long way to go. As far as his intelligence go, he looks good. Doctor said they used to call people like him “high functioning autism”, but now they just call is ASD and get the treatment that they need. Earlier the better.

I do hope this is the beginning of great things to come, there is still a risk of regression so both of us as parents are edgy.

Well, since he was diagnosed, wife has quit her job mainly because of the need to fetch gabe for his therapies but also because her job has become more stressful. We also finally moved into our new place to the south of the island so that there is more space for gabe to monkey around. All said and done, the journey is far but it is he small things that keep us going. We do join in conversation with overachiever parents and we only aim to get into national school and not special ed. When you have a different goal, view of life is really different.