My sweet, beloved, 5 year old nephew Manny was officially diagnosed with Autism.
Fans of the blog know this was not a surprise: Nephew Talk, Manny, the Busy Busy Saturday Summary, the Saturday Summary and the Electric Mayhem, and Waiting... all give a snapshot of life with Manny and the tides of his disorder.
But now it's official.
After Manny started school his behaviors sparked an immediate response from the teacher and school, as we were afraid would happen. What was worse than that, though, was their complete bungling of the situation. They attributed his behavior to having not gone to preschool or, showing how shallow their observations were, his reluctance to tell his mother that he was misbehaving.
Of all the things my Manny is, he isn't a liar. If only because he has no concept of truth or deception. His mind just doesn't work that way.
So it was hard to accept the school's assessment. With this also came the nagging thought, though, that these people are professionals with advanced degrees working in a wealthy school district so wouldn't they, shouldn't they, know better than us? Maybe we were being too critical? Maybe we just babied him all of these years, assuming he didn't understand things or not asking enough of him? It was a scary thought.
So we trudged on through the weeks, waiting for his appointment with a behavioral specialist to give us the final word. Under-analyzing, over-analyzing, arguing, researching, waiting.
Last week Debra, Manny's mother and my brother Mick's wife, received a report from the head of the school's child study team. She had done her own observation after Debra expressed dissatisfaction with the CST's original report. The new report was 15 pages long and detailed every unusual behavior, every flick of his eyes and flap of his hands. It outlined, clinically, all of...everything.
So there was a flicker of hope that we weren't crazy, but we would have infinitely preferred to have been crazy.
The behavioral specialist gave the final word on Tuesday: Autistic with a severe Auditory Processing Disorder. He needs special education in a one-on-one or small group setting and speech therapy, as his speech is severely affected by his developmental disorder. He is extremely intelligent, but it's hidden behind his condition.
Now we do what we can to help him.
He is not one in a million. He is one in 110. One in 110 children are on the Autism spectrum.