Since around the time of Little S's birth, Little R has shown regression. There was regression in toilet training, but most alarming was a regression in language and verbal communication. The toilet training has been going well again for the last 5 months or so, but the language has worsened.
I googled "language regression" and "toddler" about a year ago and the only results all contained "autism" in the title. I looked into several of these results and my heart kept sinking. I talked to some people about this, but most people did not seem concerned. Somehow I thought, that it was like winning the lottery (Little R was always very healthy, and we have no confirmed history of autism in the family that we knew of) so I just let it sit in the back of my head, hoping that he would out grow his language regression.
So many people (friends, childcare workers, family) we (DH and I) spoke to about his language regression assured us that he was fine because he started to lose his language around the same time as his sister's birth. As well, we had just moved to a new house and new city a few months before that. We also switched him out of his crib for a big boy bed. In any case, I was concerned, and a worker at the YMCA Early Years Centre gave me a flyer to a Get Ready Set Grow day at the YWCA. There, I had Little R screened at the Speech and Language booth. He did not pass at all. He was referred to the Speech and Language Programme at Grandview Children's Centre... the waiting list was about a year! We just hoped that in a year's time he would have no need for the therapy.
Why has it taken this long for us to figure it out? Being our first child, I thought that his behaviours were normal. He met all his milestones, he spoke in two different languages and signed before he was two. He also did very well for toilet training starting at 17 months to 20 months. Now that I've read more about autism in children I can clearly see the signs: language regression, eye aversion, does not respond to his name, perfect hearing (we have this on paper from the audiogolist), spins (even to the point of falling down, and still continues), babbles, kicks (fidgety body), laughs to himself, cries out in sadness without apparent reason, takes people by the hand to get what he wants, and other things.
Although we do not have an official diagnosis (what a long time to wait!), we highly suspect that Little falls into the autistic spectrum of disorders (ASD). From what I have read, his symptoms seem to be that of classic autism. Please read more about what ASD is in links that I have posted as they can explain much better than I can.
We've already been upset, in denial, blamed ourselves, gotten angry... we're now in the mode to help Little R as much as we can. We no longer blame ourselves (we let him be vaccinated, let him watch some TV and gave him cow's milk to drink because of persistent GP recommendations) because it's futile and because we never intended for him to suffer from this disorder! However, we are very weary now of vaccines; Little S will not be getting her next set of shots (the MMR one; the one suspected to cause autism).
I'm setting up this blog to update you on what's going on, what interventions we're using, what progress we're making, and our struggles. If you have any information that may help Little R, please post it. I'm especially interested to find someone who was directly affected by autism and then "cured" it. I know that officially, it's said that autism has no cure, but that does not mean there isn't one. I'm grateful to all the wonderful people who still care about Little R, and who have offered their help.
We're fine. We know that there is hope, and we're hard workers so we'll make progress. Please do understand that I will not be able to chat on the phone as much as before simply because I must keep Little R engaged as much as possible. I also cannot neglect the baby. I do want to remain in touch; thus this blog. Feel free to email me as well. I may not be so quick, but it seems easier for me to do email at a convenient time than to rush to the phone when changing one baby and the other has gone off to lick the window. Thank you for understanding.