I am the mother of three children, a daughter, who is nineteen, and two boys, ages 15 and 14, who are on the autism spectrum. Peter, the fifteen-year-old, was diagnosed first in December 2005. While he was a quiet child, his development was considered normal until around the age of two when he stopped speaking. As other signs of autism established themselves (spinning and running in specific patterns), I began to suspect that he either had autism or obsessive compulsive disorder. After seeing our pediatrician, who then put us in contact with a specialist affiliated with Children’s Hospital in Richmond, Peter was diagnosed with mild/moderate autism.
Nathan, the fourteen-year-old, was diagnosed with PDD-NOS (Pervasive Developmental Disorder-Not Otherwise Specified) in April 2006. He was a little over a year old when I noticed that he wasn’t developing on schedule. He was clingy and disliked strangers. He even cried when his father tried to do anything with him and he didn’t express an interest in walking or talking. After a recommendation from our pediatrician, our county’s early intervention program looked at him when he was about 19-month’s old. The team that assessed Nathan found that he was about six month’s behind in virtually every area of development except for problem solving. Because the team could not medically diagnose Nathan, they strongly recommended that Nathan see the same developmental pediatrician who diagnosed his brother. A visit to her confirmed what we had already suspected. Nathan was initially diagnosed with autism and this was revised to PDD-NOS, an autism spectrum disorder.
Because our daughter’s behavior and developmental history played a part in diagnosing the boys, it was suggested by the same developmental pediatrician who diagnosed Peter and Nathan that Gabrielle may have mild Asperger’s. Gabrielle, however, was officially evaluated and diagnosed with ADHD in late October 2008. This, however, continues to be in question. Gabrielle’s medical history at the evaluation was incomplete and additional information may have had an impact on the diagnosis. She still shows signs of ADHD but had delayed speech as a child and still shows signs of a speech impediment. In addition, Gabrielle will sometimes misunderstand or not understand social cues and nuances.