Jonathan’s neurologist, after diagnosing him with ASD scheduled several tests to see why he wasn’t talking. The primary test was one to check his hearing. I tell you medical technology is a wonder. My blissful ignorance began to morph into knowledge. That knowledge equipped me more and more to help him.
I thought that when he went for the hearing test, that there would be a doctor with a bunch of tuning forks to strike on his own elbow and put behind Jonathan’s ear. Don’t laugh, you probably thought that, too. But along with one of my daughters we went to a specialist and my daughter was directed to sit in a room that was just great for little children, with all the books, toys and stuffed animals to keep them happy. Jonathan was nervous so he just sat on my daughter’s lap. The test was simply a sound was piped into the room and when the child would hear the sound, they would look in the direction of that sound. Jonathan aced that test. Every time he heard the sound, he turned in that direction. His hearing was fine. WHEW!
The next test was a CAT Scan I believe. Because he was so young, he had to be put to sleep to complete it. Goompa and Jonathan’s Dad went into the room with him. I stayed in the waiting room looking at decorating books. There again, the professionals put him to sleep with a mask over his face before starting an IV in his little foot to keep him asleep for the remainder of the test. I wish they would do that with me before inserting an IV. The scan was normal. So, his neurologist had the school district to come out and evaluate him. They were like a lifeline to a drowning person. These two women were great. In fact, they put my mind at ease so much that I felt for the first time I could help him. They told me that the first thing they wanted to do was put him in preschool. He was a month from being 3 years old and still wasn’t potty trained. But they said he would benefit from preschool. He did. I was the one who was having the anxiety attacks and separation anxiety. I imagined him in a corner of the classroom huddling and shaking and crying for me. He came home that first day and nothing changed. I got better as I dropped him off and picked him up. Still no change. But I continued to get better with the idea of him being in a classroom setting.
I don’t remember when it was, but two significant events happened. The day he actually turned 3 years old, we had a party for him at the bowling alley. From that day to this day, without ever having an accident, he potty trained. Joy, joy! No more pullups! The next thing that happened was he came home from preschool one day and I said something like, “Jonathan, pick up your toys.” I heard in a loud clear voice, ‘NO! STOP!’ I was shocked. It was music to my ears. He had spoken for the first time. The tears formed in my eyes. More tomorrow.