Well, I should start from birth, I guess, but I’m a haphazard woman so I will hop around. One of the most often asked question when I present to a student groups or others is “how was your son diagnosed?” Let’s start from there.
K didn’t speak at 18 months but I hadn’t worry about that. After all, my parents-in-law kept telling me that my husband was a real late talker and didn’t speak until he was 3 years old. But something weird happened around this time.
He stopped waving. At the daycare center, K was moved to an infant room to toddler room. While he was in infant room, he always waved “bye-bye” to staff. Soon after he moved to the toddler room, he stopped. I simply thought he wasn’t getting used to the staff yet. Obviously, the head teacher didn’t like him. Because he didn’t take a nap. In hindsight, I now think that the head teacher knew that something was going on (or even K had autism), but she didn’t tell me anything. Just kept complaining about his lack of nap.
Meanwhile, his pediatrician referred him for hearing test at 18 months check up, because K was not talking. Even at this point, I didn’t worry. There was a three month wait to have the hearing test. Otherwise, K was a really healthy, friendly toddler.
By the way, K was supposed to get MMR vaccine at 15 months check-up. But since I raised the possibility that K might be allergic to eggs, the pediatrician postponed and instead ordered a blood test for allergy. And indeed K was allergic to eggs. So K was supposed to get MMR at 18 months visit. But K happened to have fever on that very date. Again the pediatrician postponed and instructed me to make a separate appointment for the shot because K needed to be monitored at least for 30 minutes after the shot. I made an appointment about a month later. This means, K had his MMR shot at 19 months. And stopping waving/referral to hearing occurred BEFORE K HAD MMR SHOT. Therefore, MMR did not cause autism. Period. I just needed to emphasize this because still, after numerous legitimate studies confirmed that there is no connection between vaccination (in particular MMR) and autism, there are plenty of parents who believe this crap and refuse vaccination, exposing everybody else in community at risk.
It was a very hot day in summer. My husband and I took K to a hearing test. He was 21 months old. There, at first, a student volunteer (maybe clinician) did a play test. K responded so well to everything. Then we were moved to another testing room. It was a dark, very quiet room and a bit scary to me. I had K on my lap, and when the audiologist turns on a sound, K was supposed to look to that direction. When he successfully responded, a bear with a drum in front appeared and it beat a few drum beats. So that bear was the reward. At first, K had difficulty understanding the rule. After 10 or 15 attempts or so, K finally got it and started to respond. He did pretty well, actually.
Then the audiologist came out. She had a very serious face. I thought she was a serious person. She explained that K had no hearing problem, so his lack of speech was due to other reasons. She suggested to have K have speech evaluation. Thanks to HMO, I had to go back to see K’s pediatrician to have the referral to the speech clinic. Appointment was again three months away.
This time, I started to think something was wrong.
To be continued.