The Help Me Grow (HMG) program came to our house when Cooper was 14 months or so. Everything with Cooper seemed right on track except for the language. As I said earlier, I wasn’t all that comfortable with this whole process. I guess I was scared and sad. I will never forget one part of the evaluation. The teacher asked us what Cooper liked to do. I responded with, ‘play ball, read books, play with trucks.’ She immediately cut me off and said, “WHAT DOES HE DO WITH THE TRUCKS?” And at that moment I began to sweat. I realized that we were in a full-blown autism screening. I remember when they left I started sobbing. If something was wrong with Cooper I didn’t want to know yet. I just wanted to enjoy my son.
After the evaluation, the HMG people recommended that they come see Cooper once a week. I opted not too. Now, some people may disagree with this choice. But I will tell you why I did it. And I don’t regret it. I am a really hands on mom. I am always on the floor with my children playing and teaching. I didn’t need someone to help me with that.
Flash forward to Cooper’s 2-year-old well child visit. STILL. NO. WORDS. Que panic. Que fear and gut wrenching worry. No, I am not overreacting either.
Cooper turned 2 in December 2012 and I was due to have a baby in January 2013. We were so excited to add another little boy to our family. At this time I noticed something strange. Cooper didn’t know I was pregnant…or care…or try to care…or anything. He also didn’t notice our Christmas tree smack dab in our living room. Or care about Christmas gifts. Now, maybe these seem like weird things to remember but I do. Why didn’t he notice things? And so started the scouring on the internet for everything autism related. Does he have it? Does he not? Checklist after checklist. I was making myself sick. I was losing my mind.
If I had to pinpoint the exact moment where I went a little crazy…I would say this was it. Once I started the research it was like pandora’s box. I couldn’t stop. And it was killing me. It was changing me as a mom and changing me as a wife. I lost myself to it.