Most - if not all - autism moms can pinpoint the exact moment they knew that life the way they knew it was essentially over. They can clearly remember where they were sitting, perhaps what they were wearing, and what the atmosphere was like in the room when they heard the news. And they would do anything - ANYTHING - to freeze that moment, to grab it by the horns, pull out a magic Time Turner and turn back the time so that they never, ever, ever experience that moment again. That horrible freefall, that moment when the floor underneath them simply pulverized into nothingness and they found themselves falling, falling through the air into an endless chasm below, flailing and gasping and scrabbling in the emptiness, hoping to find something - anything - any remote sliver of hope to hold on to.
Unfortunately, that moment is immortalized forever in a report sitting neatly in a yellow folder in my dining room bureau drawer.
EARLY EDUCATION CENTER
100 SPECIALNEEDS BOULEVARD
HOMETOWN, US 12345
NAME OF CHILD: DOVI BLOGOWITZ
DATE OF BIRTH: 24/7/365
DATE OF EVAL: 4/25/20**
CHROLOGICAL AGE: 21 MONTHS
EVALUATOR: SOME SCARY LADY, PH.D.
Dovi is a twenty month old boy who is currently being evaluated for Early Intervention services due to concerns regarding his regression in speech development and poor socialization skills, and a supplemental psychological has been requested out Autism/Pervasive Developmental Disorder.
(Bla Bla Bla Bla and more Bla Bla)
Upon the evaluator's arrival in the home, Dovi did not respond to the evaluator's greeting, and he appeared to be oblivious to the evaluator's presence, as there was no eye contact, and he did not respond in any way when the evaluator called his name, several times, during the evaluation. The evaluator attempted to engage Dovi in play, by presenting a toy flower, but Dovi appeared unaware of the evaluator or the toy, and when mother picked Dovi up and brought him to the evaluator, he turned his head and walked away. Mother again picked him up and brought him to the evalutor, and Dovi continued to appear unaware of the evlauator's presence. Dovi walked back to his room, and several times, mother picked him up and brought him back. At one point, Dovi sat on the floor in front of the evaluator, and he made growling throat noises as he examined his toes. When the evaluator left, Dovi did not respond when the evaluator said goodbye to him.
(More bla, more bla, and lots of bla.)
SUMMARY AND RECOMMENDATION
Dovi presents with a qualitative impairment in both social interaction and communication. Impairment in communication is manifested by a lack of spoken language, which is not accompanied by an attempt to compensate through alternative modes of communications such as gesture or mime. Impairment in social interaction is manifested by a marked impairment in the use of multiple nonverbal behaviors such as eye-to-eye gaze, facial expression, body posture, and gestures to regulate social interaction, minimal social/emotional reciprocity; and lack of spontaneous seeking to share enjoyment, interests, or achievements with others.
Diagnostically, Dovi meets DSM-IV criteria for Pervasive Developmental Disorder, Not Otherwise Specified. (299.80). It is recommended that he receive intensive behavioral intervention (A.B.A. therapy). Such intervention should be focused on improving the quality of his communication, social skills and relatedness.
I certify that I personally evaluated Dovi Blogowitz, destroying his mother's life and sanity forever. Oh wait, this is not part of the report. This is just Dovi's mom sitting in a trance, tears falling freely down her face onto the report.
There is no funeral at the death of a dream. There is no shivah when mourning the child you knew and loved, who has become a stranger, a shadow of his former self. There is no one to turn to, no one to comfort you when when you experience the loss of life as you knew it. There is only the painful process known as the Five Stages of Grief.
It's been 2 1/2 years since that terrible day, and I have managed to extricate myself from Denial, sob my guts out in Anger, lay to rest the Guilt, emerge from Depression, and reach the precious pinnacle of Acceptance. But I will never, ever forget that life-changing moment when the birds ceased to sing, the sun set at midday, and all the glasses in the world shattered into smithereens. That pivotal moment when I knew I had stepped through a gossamer-thin curtain that divided me from the rest of the world.
I was now a Mother of A Child With Special Needs.