I couldn’t believe my ears when my son’s Kindergarten teacher told me to have my son checked with a Neuro-developmental pediatrician. What is that specialist even an expert of? The name sounds so serious – neuro, I think, is connected with the brain. Developmental means the progress of a child and pediatrician is a doctor for kids. So, does it say that there is a brain development disorder on a child? ON MY CHILD???
My right eyebrow raised and I asked the teacher, “Are you saying that my son is abnormal?” The teacher took my hand and smiled. “Mrs. Smith, your son Michael, will never be an abnormal child. I am a psychometrician and a special education teacher, by profession. It means that I have the necessary skills and abilities to notice even these tiny details on kids who are different and unique. Michael, if I am not mistaken with my 15 years of special education teaching experience, has a developmental disorder and possibly, a behavioral one too. These are not abnormalities. In fact, it is very normal for one in every fifty kids in the whole world and can be treated by therapy.”
I was speechless. What does she want me to do now? My son has a delay? He has a disorder too? I don’t understand. She continued talking when she realized that I was lost in my thoughts. “Kira… Mrs. Smith? Michael is a very promising child. He shows greatness in building things from scratch that I noticed from him. With the help of therapists, your love and support, and our way of collaborating with his possible OT’S and other specialists, he can become the next Bill Gates or Albert Einstein. But for now, we have to start at the very beginning. Do you get me, Kira?”
“What do you want me to do now, Lilia?” If she was going to call me on my first name, then, I have the right to call her the same as well. Lilia handed me a piece of paper with the name of a Neurodevelopmental pediatrician. “Please call Dr. Diaz for an appointment. He will see Michael within two weeks as I have already called it in, as a favor. He is a colleague of mine and would very gladly take on Michael at short notice.”
“Ok. What is he going to do?” I asked bluntly.
“He will subject Michael to a series of tests, and from there, he will assess your son. There are no right or wrong answers in the tests. It will also take about two hours, at most. If Michael will respond. Call him today. Can you do that, please?” Lilia said.
And so I called the doctor and surprisingly, the appointment was scheduled in three days. He evaluated my son, and after three long hours, Dr. Diaz spoke to me about Michael’s issues. He said that my son has ASD or Autism Spectrum Disorder.
He gave me a Developmental Profile on my son:
Gross Motor Skills – 4 months developmental delay level
Fine Motor Skills – 16 months developmental delay level
Receptive Language Skills – 20 months developmental delay level
Expressive Language Skills – 8 months developmental delay level
Cognitive Skills – 13 months developmental delay level
Personal Social Skills – 12 months developmental delay level
Adaptive Skills – 12 months developmental delay level
I have never seen so many “delay” used in a paragraph in my entire life. My son was assessed by a professional, a specialist, and an expert. He has some developmental delay issues. Lilia was right.
There’s nothing I can do but accept the facts. My son needs all the support he can get from me, and I will make sure of that. The doctor told me to enroll him in Occupational Therapy, Speech Therapy, and Educational Therapy. Crossing my fingers, all of these will help my son with his issues.