Yesterday, I was telling a friend about the meeting I had with Cameron’s Pre-K teachers and the Headstart coordinator almost three years ago. It was a difficult meeting all the way around.
I can’t quite believe that it has been almost three years since that horrible time. Many things have changed since then. On that day, however, it seemed like nothing would ever be good again.
When they asked me to come in for a meeting, they didn’t tell me exactly what we would be discussing. They simply said we needed to have a meeting about Cameron.
I knew that things with him were not ideal, but I didn’t know how to change them. He didn’t engage in activities with the other children. He barely interacted with the adults. If they sang, he screamed. If someone suddenly touched him, he struck out at them. On many days, he sat next to the door and cried until I returned.
My heart broke when I dropped him off. He walked past the other children and spent his time playing alone. When I came back, he was either still playing alone, or crying by the door.
I went into the meeting with my guard up. What would they say to me? Were they going to suggest that we were doing something wrong?
The Headstart coordinator did most of the talking. She said that Cameron didn’t interact with the other children.
I was defensive. I said, “He’s socially immature. So what?”
She said, “He doesn’t like to get dirty. If he gets anything on his hands, he must wash them right away. He won’t play with the paints or the glue.”
I said, “He doesn’t like those things.” Again, I had an attitude of “So what?”
I began this meeting with a defensive and possibly somewhat hostile attitude. By the end of the meeting, I was in tears.
The tears came on when she finally said, “We think he might have a developmental disability.”
The words felt like a slap in the face. How dare she suggest that my child was anything other than the perfect child that I saw him as?
They wanted to send him to be evaluated by a panel of experts. I finally agreed. We all wanted what was best for him.
I don’t really remember the ride back home. I was in a sort of daze.
I remember that Cameron chatted in the back seat, while I mumbled responses. He didn’t seem to notice my lack of interest in the conversation.
When I told my husband what they had said, he was quite mad. He couldn’t believe they would say such things. I was a combination of mad and sad.
Cameron had his evaluation a month later. It turned out that the teachers and Headstart coordinator were right. He had high-functioning Autism.
The diagnosis, and the ones from other experts that followed, turned our world upside down for a time. We have since researched and molded our lives to fit his needs.
The Journey has been long, but well worth the efforts. After all, we parents would do anything for our children, wouldn’t we?