Prior to Cooper, and even up until a few months ago, I had very specific thoughts about autism. I am pretty sure I was using information from TV shows or from conversations with other people. I assumed all autistic kids had repetitive behaviors. That they all lined things up or spent time spinning wheels or pinwheels or anything round. I also assumed they were very highly intelligent. I also pictured a lot of self soothing or stimming. Most specifically, a lot of rocking back and forth. And I always thought that if they didn’t talk they were obviously really quiet. And lastly, I assumed that autistic kids DID NOT make eye contact or like hugs and kisses.
From day one Cooper was very snuggly. Still to this day he is my emotional boy. If we discipline Sawyer or the dogs, Cooper cries. He can’t handle it. And as for discipline, most of the time Cooper will cry from a stern look whereas I need to bring the house down on Sawyer.
Cooper has NEVER struggled with eye contact. He has zero repetitive behaviors. He doesn’t line things up or spin wheels. He doesn’t rock back and forth. He doesn’t self soothe. He also never stops making noise. He ALWAYS greets people when they arrive at our house. He craves social contact.
Because he does all these things (or doesn’t) I could always cheat the online autism questionnaires. Or even the ones at the doctor. Those damn things don’t answer the right questions. At least not for us. I would be talking to a teacher or a pediatrician and I could ALWAYS make a compelling case about his ‘good’ behaviors. And 99% of the time they believed me. I wasn’t lying. I was just omitting information that I didn’t know what important. And maybe they didn’t know the right questions either.
We should have been talking about rigidity and transitioning. And how are meal times? And tantrums? And sleeping. And technology? And communicating.
Blah. Autism tricked me. Or at least society’s ideas about Autism tricked me.
On another note, I have officially made 17 phone calls, been transferred 9 times, left 3 voicemails, sent 6 emails. filled out 16 pages or paperwork and been denied by MNsure twice in the last week as I attempt to get help with Cooper’s doctor bills. The one good thing that came with Cooper’s diagnosis is a thing called TEFRA or the Katie Beckett Waiver. They help parents of kids with disabilities. Thank God. It’s always something.
Life is funny sometimes…I avoided a diagnosis for years and now I need the damn paperwork to prove it so I can get help to pay for it. Life’s a bitch.