I was unclear about how or if I was ever going to blog about the specifics of this. But I think it would be too hard for me to keep blogging in my usual fashion without just coming out with it. Last Wednesday afternoon Jeff and I sat down in an ocean view conference room at Queen Alexandra Centre For Children’s Health with an MD, a psychologist and a speech path, who collectively told us that they think Kurt has autism (or, more technically, Autism Spectrum Disorder).
This did not come as a surprise, of course. For one thing, it’s not like we’ve never noticed Kurt is little eccentric, and I’m not just referring to his habit of speaking in tongues. For another, one does not wake up on a Wednesday morning, call together an autism assessment team, and bring one’s kid in for quick afternoon appointment, no matter what country you live in. It was a long process, involving a lot of conversations amongst ourselves and various doctors and other health professionals along the lines of, “Has he ever…?” “Do you think he…?” “What about…?”, followed by some referrals with other medical professionals, etc.
(There are organizations out there trying to find a cure for autism, and thank heaven for them, but I’d really like to see a high profile organization purely devoted to finding a diagnostic test for autism. A simple test, like peeing on a stick or something. That would really help.)
So what does this mean for our little protagonist? Meh, who knows. He could have a lot of tough times ahead of him, and he could end up being relatively indistinguishable from other kids in a few years time. Such is the nature of this thing. Yes, this is the kid who remains functionally nonverbal, who will spin any object he encounters whether it was meant to be spun or not, who thinks that light switches are the single most exciting feature of any room, and who can line up blocks and run back and forth along lines with the best of them. But this is also the kid that will dive into your arms, the kid who gives his baby sister kisses, the kid who lights up when he sees his favorite faces on Skype, laughs back and forth with his grandpa until they’re hoarse, gets cranky if you’re not paying him enough attention, and has recently started filling in the missing words to “Why the Sun Shines”. Point being, he certainly does enough to set him apart as “autism spectrum”, but there’s plenty he also does which makes him very different from what you might think of when you hear the word “autism”. Stay tuned for more of the excruciating detail you’ve come to expect about Kurt’s life to see what happens! No matter what, I promise you’ll get more answers than you did from LOST.
Anyway, I would hate for any of you to start seeing Kurt purely through an autism colored lens, so to speak, and I’m sure as hell not going to feel better by turning this into an Affliction Blog About One Child’s Struggle With Whatever. Those kinds of blogs serve a definite purpose for both reader and writer, but that’s not what our life is about.
I just wanted you to know what’s going on with us, and that we’re okay. You’re welcome to send me information, although, and I’m just being honest now, it’s unlikely I haven’t read it. Claims from Playmates of the Year regarding revealed knowledge of autism’s cause, will be quietly mocked. Words of encouragement/love/denial, however, will be lovingly accepted.
And I assure you, he remains our snuggly little guy.