Moving forward

Last week, AWTMwrote a postabout the diagnosis of her son with Asperger's Syndrome. She asked for milspouses to comment with their stories and thoughts. The post received somegreat commentsand so didthe threadon our facebook page. We are so grateful to our readers for sharing.

This week, my son was also diagnosed as being on the Autism Spectrum. He is making his way to his third birthday and feels pretty strongly that Matchbox cars are the most super fantastical thing in the universe.

We initially asked his MTF provider for a referral to the county's Infants & Toddler program because of a delay in language development. More and more, I began to worry about the way he did things and the way he reacted to things. Visits to websites with warning signs and red flags of autism were filled with things our son was doing, yet there were also items on the lists that were not an issue for us. The therapist he works with on a regular basis thought the scale of the things he was doing vs the things he wasn't tipped in favor of a non-diagnosis. She did acknowledge the doctors trained and authorized to make the official diagnosis can sometimes feel differently than she has, so as things in our house became more problematic and the path we were on was not showing us notable improvement, I requested a meeting with the program's psychologist. I came prepared with a list of my concerns, but in the end, the Dr led my son and observed and let him lead and observed and my list was not needed.

I have read much in the past few days. So many books and sites speak of the stages of grief for the parent when it is made official that their child has autism. I do not see relief on the list, but that is the feeling I have had most strongly these past few days. I can stop wonderingifI should be reading the many resources available to the autism community to look for answers and strategies that might help us and start doing exactly that. There is fear and guilt to be sure, but moreso I have focus and hope.

Like AWTM, I too ask for your stories, your tips, your struggles. In what ways do you think being a military family effects your ASD child? Not just in terms of services and resources, but also on the family dynamic. How have deployments and pcs-es been for your family? How is their relationship with older and younger siblings? What about step and half siblings that may be in the house all the time or only infrequently?

I will continue to post about some of the things we find as we enter into the EFMP world and navigate this journey as an Active Duty family.

Personally, I would very much like to hear as much from others as possible. I would ask that we share the good, the bad and the ugly in a way that does not include painting Tricare or the military as a whole with a negative broad-brush. It would be hard to find any system that did not have flaws or a need for improvement. I am asking that we point these out in a measured and respectful way. Giving voice to our concerns and problems will hopefully lead to tips and solutions by other readers or referrals on where to go for better results.

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