Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Life without labels

People keep asking me if Emmett is autistic. I don't know. We won't have a definitive diagnosis for him until he is seen by a developmental pediatrician and occupational therapist. We don't know when that will be. At the moment his behavior and symptoms are all over the map and he doesn't fit a single set of criteria for anything. Until we find the top of the waiting lists we plod along, visiting the Speech Language Pathologist and following her instructions as best we can.

I kind of like not having a diagnosis for now. On one hand, when we can name what is going on I am sure his therapy will change and be more effective. On the other hand, people treat him normally right now, just like any other little boy. I am afraid that will change when we have a diagnosis. He will become Emmett the [fill in a scary-sounding disorder] instead of just Emmett.

People also think that life must be hard with a non-verbal preschooler. Don't get me wrong, we have our moments, but overall it is not bad. My ears are not ringing with a constant stream of "No!" "Mine!" "Why?". We can also play dumb when Emmett want's something we don't want to give him. (Psychological warfare is the cornerstone of parenting a toddler/preschooler, to you non-parents out there). Charlotte is becoming more verbal now and saying a few words. I have visions of her translating for Emmett sometime in the near future. Maybe they will make up their own language that only they understand. We will be sooooo screwed when that happens!

I worry about what the future holds for my little guy. I have to keep telling myself that I shouldn't worry aobut things that haven't happened yet. I will just love my little boy (and girl) for who they are and know that we are strong enough as a family to face whatever comes our way. Right??

3 comments:

ManitobaFarmGirl said...

Jennifer,

Your family is certainly strong enough to handle whatever comes your way. You are a loving, nurturing wonderful mother to your two beautiful children. Having been around Emmett & Charlotte last weekend, they are VERY easy to get along with and that is due in no small part to your parenting.

Don't worry about labels. The people who live with their heads in places that the sun does shine won't worry about labels either. :)

CTG said...

Labels can be helpful but they can be equally hurtful. Everything you have ever said about Em has me labeling him as a WONDERFUL HAPPY WELL LOVED AND LOVING little boy.

And no matter what comes your way, your family is strong enough to handle it and you won't have to handle it alone (whether it be serious developmental disabilities, minor yet frusterating learning disabilities, teaching emmett to ride a 2 wheeler, Char's first date...high school, driving lessons...college). People in your real life and in internet land are here for you on days when you're frusterated as much as days when you're happy. We love you for who you are and we love your children for who they are and who they will be.

Brie said...

I'm always worried about mislabelling. I think once kids get labels, professionals are sometimes unwilling to try things that might not for disorder x, even though it might work.

Things will work out. Emm will always be Emm. Emm the disorder should only exist on paper - but the Emm you know is much more real than that. You and your family are definitely strong enough.

Also, as Char grows she may more beneficial to Emm than anyone realizes now. (I think siblings are one of the best things as far as kids development goes.)