My heart breaks just a little bit to write this post, because when I think back to this post 6 months ago, that little boy seems to be lost to us. Don't get me wrong, much of Max's stong will, stubborn, defiant personality has been consistent since the beginning. However, in the last 6 months he has completely stopped talking. Perhaps once every other day we will hear him mumble a familiar word, but he will not be encouraged, coaxed, or even bribed to speak. In fact, the more we make a big deal about it, the more upset he becomes. At the moment his main form of communication is whining, crying, and pulling us in the direction of things he wants. There is no attempt at pointing, making gestures, or anything that resembles language. As parents, it leaves us frustrated and confused as to whether he is refusing to speak or is truly not able. He also enters any type of social interaction with his peers with great anxiety. Coming face to face with other kids or even his baby sister, he just tenses up, flees the situation, or cries as if he has encountered a large dog.
For months we have told ourselves that it is probably just because we have moved, or he is the oldest and he is just getting used to his baby sister. However, Dempsey will be a year old next month and he should be adapting to the situation better than he is now. We took him to the pediatrician and they threw out the dreaded "A" word...autism. Of course, there is no official diagnosis, and we are certainly NOT going to put a label a him just to have an answer. Autism is a spectrum disorder and the assessment process is very long and involved. I have a younger brother with special needs and I know how devastating it can be when you don't know how to help a child that cannot properly communicate his thoughts & feelings with the world. In the end, this may be simple and it may be serious, but either way Adam and I just want to know how to help Max be a successful and happy child.
On a positive note, he interacts with Adam and I very well. He cuddles, laughs, and plays. We love how he can hardly contain his excitement when he watches his favorite videos. The excitement literally physically takes him over and he starts running back and forth and shaking his hands back and forth as if he can't help himself. He is always excited to see us whenever we come down the stairs. When we play outside and he has been running around for awhile he will come up to me with mouth wide open as if he is surprised and I know that is my cue to tell him how glad I am to see him. I love how he loves to be loved...and he reminds me everyday how lucky I am to be his mother. I love my beautiful boy.