Disclaimer: Let me begin this confessional with the biggest confession of all: I am just a mom. I have no formal training in Autism. I do however have 15 years of living with my own little Auti. If you are looking for a blog to tell you about whether or not your child has Autism…this is not the blog for you either. However…if you are looking for an honest look at what it means to be an Auti Parent…You are in the right place!
When I was 21 years old I gave birth to one of the great loves of my life, Logan Robert. I married Matthew when I was 20 and we had been married for about 8 months when we found out that we were going to be parents. I was so excited. I had not given much thought to kids, but at that time the air whooshed out of my body and the possibility of motherhood became a huge focus. I became sick for the first time at 9 weeks and two months later after many nights in the hospital and doctor visits we found out that our baby had just stopped developing. I may have been 14 weeks pregnant, but my baby had never progressed past 9 weeks and had no heartbeat. We were devastated and after waiting two months we became pregnant again. This time I went in the hospital at the first sign of problems and I spent the majority of the first 4 months of my pregnancy in a hospital room in San Angelo, Texas. I had 18 different feeding tubes, many sonograms, and countless test done to get me through those long months, but on October 16th we found out that my fluid level was dangerously low and I was induced. Logan made his entry into the world with the umbilical cord wrapped around his neck and with very low Apgar scores. He didn’t cry at first and was whisked away to the hospital’s NICU immediately. We knew he was going to be a fighter when after 5 hours he took his breathing mask off himself. He had to stay in the hospital for a week after birth, but soon our little man was home and doing well. He was a model baby. He hardly ever cried and met all of his milestones within normal timelines. He was doing so well that at around his 14 month mark we became pregnant with our second child. This time I stayed on home health which kept me out of the hospital and close to Logan. I couldn’t lift him or take care of his day to day needs, but I could hang out with him. Just shy of Logan’s 2nd birthday on October 17th, Benjamin Allen made his entrance on October 15th. Logan’s 2 year baby well checkup was combined with Ben’s newborn checkup and we were very surprised when our doctor at the time concentrated more on Logan. He kept asking specific questions about his behavior, especially his speech, and about many of the compulsive behaviors he had started to exhibit. He told us that Logan had very poor eye contact, and that he was very concerned about him. He ordered a hearing test and a speech evaluation. We quickly learned that even though Logan wasn’t good at responding to his name, he had prefect hearing. We also learned that at age 2, he had the speech of a 14 month old. Through Early Childhood prevention we began to get speech therapy and a licensed professional counselor came to visit us and observe Logan in a home setting. He quickly suggested that we meet with the psychologist and find out what he said.
We had Logan evaluated by the psychologist who quickly told us that Logan either had Obsessive Compulsive Disorder or Autism, or both. He did further testing on Logan and diagnosed him with Pervasive Developmental Disorder – Not Otherwise Specified. I quickly learned that this is the tag that most doctors put on autistic children when they meet some, but not all of the spectrum. Sometimes this is also referred to as Atypical Autism. In April 2005 was the first time that I had ever really heard the word Autism. I didn’t know anything about it, but I sure began to learn more.
Callie Metler-Smith is the owner of Clear Fork Media Group in Stamford, Texas. She has owned the Stamford American since 2009 and Clear Fork Publishing since 2014. When not working on her corner of the Stamford Square, she is spending time with her husband, Philip, two sons, Logan and Ben, and her niece, Sadey.