You might have noticed that I don’t talk much about our family’s autistic adventures, even in person. Now, if you know me, you also know that I’m a huge advocate for autism awareness, acceptance, and appreciation. I don’t share many of our stories because, to be frank, they aren’t my stories to tell.
However, there are some stories I do want to tell, and those are about a diagnosis.
Depending on the sources I could find, the average age at which a child is diagnosed as autistic in the U.S. ranges from 3 – 7 years old. My child was older than that when he received his official diagnosis. I say official because I had known for quite a while before that, in the way that a mom just knows.
We held off on doing any formal evaluations for him because we thought he didn’t need it. That having that “label” wouldn’t change anything. Let me tell you (in my opinion) what a diagnosis doesn’t do:
- A diagnosis doesn’t change my child. They are absolutely still the amazing, wonderful, and fabulously created child they were before receiving any diagnosis.
- A diagnosis doesn’t change my love for my child. It’s unconditional.
- A diagnosis doesn’t change the world. It still keeps turning.
I was wrong about needing a diagnosis. Well, maybe not needing one, but I learned we could definitely use one and that a “label” wasn’t necessarily a bad thing.
I mentioned the things a diagnosis doesn’t do, but I should probably discuss some of the things it can do:
- A diagnosis can help me understand my child and how he interacts with the world. It can also help him understand why he experiences certain things.
- A diagnosis can help me advocate for him and get him the support he needs. It can help gain access to services and benefits.
- A diagnosis can help the world understand my child. There are a lot of myths and misconceptions about autism, but by paying attention and listening to autistic voices, we can help change the dialogue around autism. That’s my hope!
As You Are is a new company that offers virtual autism diagnostic evaluations.
Virtual. Oh my word, how amazing that would have been to use!
While they are not operating in all states, they have recently started scheduling appointments with families in Texas (and Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, New Jersey, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Virginia). I can only imagine the opportunities this can open up, especially for children in rural areas that might have to travel hours for an appointment otherwise.
I will be the first to admit that we were privileged when scheduling our evaluation. Once we decided to go forward, we were able to make an appointment directly with the diagnostician, and we were able to pay out of pocket for the services. I understand not everyone is in that position. As You Are works with parents to help determine their insurance benefits as part of their process.
One of my children just flat-out dislikes being in crowded public places. Half the time, he doesn’t like being out in public at all. His brain gets overwhelmed in these places. It’s not that he won’t, but that he can’t. There is a difference. I would have jumped on it if I’d had the opportunity to schedule virtual appointments with a physician!
Virtual care has many benefits, but the ability to carry out these appointments in a natural environment, one my child is already comfortable in (our home), would have to be at the top of my list! And, the list is ever long:
Do you have questions about your child’s development? The team at As You Are provides beneficial autism screening and diagnostic evaluations for kids 16 months to 10 years old via telehealth appointments. You can learn more at AsYouAre.com/MomCollective.