Day-to-day errands such as getting groceries done were not a simple trip to complete with my son, Tristan, in tow who was 3 years old at the time of his diagnosis. A friendly "hello" by a stranger yielded a terrifying scream and my son panicking saying "I'm scared." His extreme anxiety to social situations with both family and friends along with his lack of peer interaction, repetitive movements are just a few characteristics that led us to seek help. After several weeks of continuous "tests," he was officially diagnosed with Pervasive Developmental Disorder-Not Otherwise Specified or PDD-NOS. He exhibited many of the elements of autism but on a more mild level.
Thanks to a tremendous support system in our town and school district, Tristan has now been in ABA therapy, also known as applied behavior analysis, for just over a year. ABA therapy in conjunction with a mainstream pre-k program with an aide has allowed him to grow and flourish in more ways than I could have ever imagined. Amazingly bright, his favorite activity (besides playing the Kindle or Mario Kart) is learning new words and practicing his math skills. Sometimes we have to force him to take a break from his learning activities which now has transitioned into playing "Uno" the card game.
With only a year of therapy and school under his belt, he no longer fears interacting with strangers. More than that, he converses fluently, follows instructions without meltdown when transitioning activities (most of the time), and enjoys going to school. For my now 4 year old son, his typical schedule is unlike most toddlers - with two schools, 7.5 hours of learning everyday, without the usual breaks like summer vacation, he is the one I admire and embrace each and everyday. Tristan is my amazing!