I have long ago given up on the ceaseless quest for an accurate diagnosis for the boys. I mean, I can see the individual stars, I just don't have a name for the constellation. Like many other parents of special needs kids, I have opted to become an "opportunistic diagnostician." In other words, if a program or service requires a specific diagnosis, that's what we have!
I didn't use the term "autism" much, because no doctor or educator ever called either Jeff or Hart by that term. In fact, I studiously avoided the word for many years, for fear that Jeff would be removed from The Cove School. Cove is licensed to accept only learning disabled students. So "learning disabled," it iwas!
Lately, I have been more free with the term, although it is inexact. "Regulatory disorder" sounds so prim and clinical. Also, I use "autistic" to relay to the general public, "Appropriate social behavior cannot be assumed." That seems to work well enough.
Recently, our pediatrician, who specializes in genetic disorders, recommended having a new blood test done. The microarray shows genetic deletions which are linked to autism. I wasn't sold on the idea.* However, as the insurance pre-approval wended its way through our insurance company, I grew more and more excited about the test. "Maybe we can find out some information about your birthparents," I told Jeff. "Why not have Hart tested, too?" I asked the doctor. After the blood draw, a few weeks went by while I waited for the results.
But suddenly, I had an epiphany. Why would I expect the test to show anything? I realized years ago, intuitively if not by concrete evidence, that Hart's and Jeff's issues are caused by environmental factors. Still, hope springs eternal.
Then the doctor phoned me to discuss of Jeff's blood test. The results revealed . . . nothing. There are no genetic abnormalities that are predictors for autism.
* You know it is trouble when a doctor says, "The test is very expensive."