One of the first things that struck me about Al was his direct stare. We spent the first few days of his life bonding in the hospital, and I remember thinking that I didn't realize newborns could stare at you like that. When they handed him to me in recovery, he stopped crying and his eyes locked onto mine. He was a peaceful baby and all he wanted to do was stare at me and his Daddy. To this day, when I see him looking at something new, I know he's memorizing it, just as he did those first few days.
Over the next few months, he did the typical baby things. A few weeks of minor colic, rolled over at 3 months, smiled and laughed by a month old. He developed infant asthma around 6 months old, and I was so busy learning the ropes of treating him while juggling full time work and daycare, that I didn't pay too much attention to his daycare teachers when they described his play behavior. "Al loves this set of blocks, he arranges them into the same pattern every time he plays! Al loves to spin this toy around, if we don't take him away he'll sit there all day and spin it!"
Around 8-9 months he started to cruise around, and he loved our coffee table. He would place an object on the table, and cruise around the table checking it out from all angles. Once he began walking, he would collect certain toys, usually plain blocks, and arrange them into the ROYGBIV rainbow spectrum. We didn't know for another year that he was using that pattern, until we called to get him evaluated for speech at 2. The first thing the woman noticed was that ROYGBIV, and told us we needed to get him into an autism specialist ASAP. I started to read, and research, and read some more. My mommy instinct was screaming at me not to allow the full 50 hour per week therapy that the state was recommending. I agreed to 6 hours, with the option to increase if needed. I felt I had to let him lead me to what he needed, because through all the confusion and concern about Al not uttering one word, he and I were still communicating, without words, as we had from day one.
We officially had him diagnosed with High-Functioning Autism when he turned 4 years old. He has made amazing progress, and I can't believe that God trusted us with him. Honey and I could barely do our own laundry, and here we were handed this angel and expected to not only raise him, but advocate for him for the rest of his life. He's so peaceful, and super smart, and we are so grateful that he's here:)
Have to brag
6 years ago