When the doctor suggested getting Sierra evaluated I knew it was autism but I had not come to terms with it yet. I had not told my family that I thought it was autism, I just always said things were not right. I did not want her to get evaluated and have the label of autism placed on her, but I wanted to get her help. It took me a few weeks before I made the call. In that time I told my husband that I thought it was autism. He did not think anything was wrong with his beautiful little girl. He didn't talk until he was two and he thought she was doing the same thing. I kept telling him it was not the same because he babbled all along where Sierra didn't babble or say anything at all, she only hummed and she was 20 months old. He didn't want to believe me so I showed him videos of autistic children that were around Sierra's age. The kids were doing the same things that usually were always visible in Sierra, flapping their hands, toe walking, no eye contact, humming, and using their parents hands to move stuff. I think when he saw those videos it hit him for the first time that their was something wrong with his little girl.
I had seen Jenny McCarthy talk about autism a long time ago and how she helped her son overcome it, so I checked into her website and learned about treating autism bio medically. I wanted to do anything that would help her so I thought I would try the gluten free casein free diet (gf/cg diet) that was suggested. I will get into the whole diet and DAN doctors in the next few blogs but I just wanted to see if that would help before I went any further. Two weeks before her evaluation I started the diet, in those two weeks she started to come out of her fog and responded to things we said to her. She had more eye contact and we finally were learning what she knew because she would answer us, not verbally but with gestures and pointing. We found out that she new her alphabet, her numbers up to ten, and her shapes, and she was only 20 months old.
We took her in for her evaluation, it was with the Early Intervention program that I think most states have. The first thing they did was check her ears and do a hearing test. She hates when people touch her especially her ears and she threw up on the floor. For the hearing test Sierra had to sit on my lap in a sound booth and they would play a sound and she would look that way if she heard it which she did, but she was very scared of the booth and some of the sounds. Then they took us in a room and one lady played with Sierra to she what she could do or what she knew and the other lady asked us a ton of questions about her behavior. Sierra was fine for that part and she did a lot better than she would have two weeks earlier before we started her on the gf/cf the diet.
The diagnoses was... they would not officially diagnose her because she was two young. They said that they like to wait until they are three years old before they officially diagnose them because children can grow out of a lot of their problems. The unofficial diagnoses was that she hit all the requirements for autism and because she had no speech at all meant she probably has classic autism instead of aspergers which is a high functioning autism where they talk. Because of her age they just called it PDD (pervasive development disorder), which is autism at a lesser form. Then we talked about what therapies would be best and how often to have them and that was about it. I didn't feel too bad about the diagnoses, I had already struggled with it and had a game plan in my head by the time we had her evaluated. It seemed to still bother my husband, he had it it his mind that she wouldn't be able to do anything and that there was only one level of autism where they can't function at all in society, and she would have no quality of life. Even though he saw how she had gotten better with the gf/cf diet, hearing it from official people made it seem final.