We have had a really long run of good times with DS, now 3.75yo, and frankly, I needed a break from worrying about everything. He is still overly anxious, but he was managing okay, and a few things we tried were helping. But then it started heading downhill again, so we went to an evaluation with a child psych/play therapist to see if we could get him some help coping with anxiety.
This place is really well known. It took us 3 months to get in. They were incredibly thorough. Her preliminary diagnosis is high functioning autism.
In a lot of ways, it makes so many things make sense (especially from his baby-toddlerhood), but in many ways, it doesn't fit at all. He's extremely imaginitive, compassionate, makes great eye contact, draws my interest to everything, seems to want to be with people, is empathetic to a fault. Apparently, he put on a really good show for her, not making eye contact at all, repeating jibberish and the like (DH took him to the eval), but I know she was basing her dx on what we told her more than on his behavior. She doesn't really want to use a label yet until she's spent more time with him.
I have to admit, I feel so blindsided. I felt like we had put autism to rest, and I was totally not prepared for that. Anxiety, I was prepared for. But this is an entirely different a-word. I know that it's not the end of the world, and also that it's just preliminary, but it really knocked me for a loop.
And now I'm seeing everything as a symptom. He's having an especially hard week with the anticipation for Christmas and he has totally relapsed into some of the old behaviors. He's playing with my hair constantly, repeating phrases from books or that he's heard his sister say, wandering about aimlessly, throwing raging tantrums once or twice a day, talking gibberish while running around in circles, startling at even moderately loud noises. I remember these feelings back from when we were first starting to worry about him almost a year ago, and I hate feeling like I'm looking at everything he does as disordered.
I received a lot of really wonderful and understanding support when I was here before, and I'm hoping that some of you mamas can tell me a little bit what to expect, lead me to some good resources that might help out, etc. Should I be having him evaluated by an autism team (there is a really great one at the children's hospital here), or is the child psych enough? Should I start looking into OT? What about school - he was going to start preschool next fall. I was looking into montessori, is there something else I should consider?
This all feels like totally new territory for me. I really could use a hug and some words of assurance right now.