According to Karen Peak, my mother, “One of the hardest things for parents to hear is that there is something wrong with their child. Connor was 18 months when his pediatrician raised a couple concerns. Yes concerns I already had. Connor was slower to walk, had not attempted to speak since he was unable to clearly say “tongue” at about 9 months. Odd first word for a child but he kept pointing to my tongue and trying to say it. When he could not, he pretty much stopped talking until he was almost 4. He would become very absorbed in things. He also had a serious sleep disorder that was diagnosed at about the same age. By the time he was a year, he had been through various sleep studies and was under the care of a neurologist. His brain waves were those of an awake child when his body was asleep. From the age of a few months to finally getting a doctor to believe me and work with this, my average sleep was less than four hours a day. After a couple weeks of tracking sleep, the neurologist was shocked. Thank goodness by the time Connor was 2 – 2 ½, his sleep patterns were adjusted to more normal and we were weaning him off the medications.
I was told if there was no significant change in talking and interactions by the time Connor was two, he would be referred to a specialist. Well, at age two, we were sitting in the office of a colleague of our original pediatrician and discussing the next steps. By the time Connor was in preschool, he was working with different specialists both at home and in the country rec center preschool classes. The diagnosis: Autism. Prognosis: Chances are he will never speak or be independent.