This blog only started a year ago, but we've been living at autism's edges for six years.
For six long years we have been consulting specialists -- supposedly some of the best in the country -- and, with the exception of the school psychologist, who once (erroneously) suggested that Sweet M has Aspergers, no medical professional has ever told us that Sweet M has autism spectrum disorder. Her psychiatrist once called her "spectrumy" -- but when asked if she was ASD said no.
I have a $3,000 neuropsychological evaluation done just over a year ago (that I still haven't finished paying for) that says unequivocally that Sweet M doesn't have ASD.
Of course from our own research, and from reading dozens of wonderful blogs, we knew that all arrows were pointing to ASD, but no one ever stepped up to the plate and said ASD.
Yesterday, finally, a psychologist said the words, "Your daughter has austism spectrum disorder." She even pulled out her well-worn, yellow-highlighted paperback edition of the DSM to go through the diagnostic criteria with us.
Sometimes it's hard, even for we neurotypicals, to know what the appropriate response should be. On one hand, I felt like laughing and saying, "Ah-duh, tell me something that I didn't know." And on the other hand one wants to burst into tears:
• of relief for having someone see the full complexity of Sweet M's issues
• of rage for having been dragged along with partial views for so long
• of grief for the time we may have lost in not having an adequate Dx and getting Sweet M all the supports and assistance that she needs
We've slipped right over the boundaries of autism's edges, into a new-old, familiar-unfamiliar terrain with our new Dx, our new visa. And yet everything is still the same: Sweet M is still delightful, dazzling, and sometimes difficult.
I feel as though there ought to be a road sign: Welcome to Autism. You are now leaving Diagnostic Ambiguity.