Today marks two years since Noah's autism diagnosis. Two years ago today we were in a strange city listening to a doctor we had never met tell us that our beautiful, sweet, smart, soon-to-be two-year-old had autism. The doctor that day told us that there really wasn't much that could be done to help him. Her advice, "Keep up the speech and occupational therapy, keep sending him to Early Intervention classes, and come back in a year." Oh, she also ordered a CT scan because of his hypotonia and referred us to the feeding clinic. She spoke with us about communication devices and the possibility that Noah may never develop language. Everything was so negative and saddening. The doctor that we saw that day left us with little hope for any improvement. I felt as if she had stolen Noah's future and all the dreams I had for him. She couldn't have been more wrong.
Since that day Noah has blossomed. His last speech evaluation showed his receptive language to be "within functional limits" and his expressive language to be "mildly delayed". I'm not saying that his language is normal, not by any means, but he is doing far better than anyone could have hoped. He still faces numerous challenges, but he has had so many victories. He still has some echolalia, he isn't potty-trained, he can't dress himself, and he can't carry on a conversation. But he can count to 20, say his nightly prayers, give affection, make you laugh, name all the Transformers, and beat all the Decepticons on his Transformers video games.
I spent a long time in denial. I spent a long time mourning the kid that Noah could have been if not for autism. I even spent some time questioning why God would do this to me. Now I spend most of my time marveling at the kid that Noah has become and thanking God for blessing me with this amazing child.