Today was the first day of Kindergarten for my 5-years-old. People constantly ask me if I was sad or worried and my answer was nope! Sophia Rose has been in school since she was 2- years – old, this summer was the longest she hasn’t gone to school. When she was one and a half years old is when we realized that she wasn’t quite like other kids her age. I had a couple of friends who had kids the same age as Sophia Rose and I know they say never compare your child to other children but I couldn’t help it and I’m glad I did. She wasn’t talking at all when she should have been and people would constantly tell us “oh any day now” or “I was 5 -years- old when I started talking” for me waiting that long was unacceptable so we went to the pediatrician to see if maybe she had hearing problems or if she could shed light on why Sophia Rose wasn’t talking and she said the words no parent wants to hear “I think your daughter has Autism”. Absolutely terrifying. She said we could go through our local regional center for an Autism diagnosis or through Children’s Hospital Los Angeles, she also said CHOLA would be faster and she was right.
We got an appointment in a week with the Children’s Hospital Los Angeles. Can you believe Regional Center of Van Nuys was almost 2 months? We definitely wanted to start therapy immediately and felt 2 months was to long. When we got to CHOLA, we were introduced to six different people, a pediatrician and his assistant, phycologist and her assistant speech therapist and occupational therapist. We all sat in a tiny room and they interacted with her. When that hour was done we had to make another appointment to see each doctor individually which took about a month. After about a month and a half we got the diagnosis that Sophia Rose had Autism. The diagnosis they wrote on paper was huge! It looked like a novel, till this day I have never read it. The best part of going to CHOLA was they recommend a place called McRory Pediatrics for our services and it was a group based therapy not a typical therapy that most people think of like a speech therapist coming to your home. They recommended her learning with other children which we felt was the best thing for her. Children with Autism have a hard time socializing so we thought killing 3 birds with one stone by getting speech, occupational therapy and learning to interact with other kids her age. McRory was the greatest thing that has happened to my daughter. Within three months she was talking and making incredible strides and had “graduated” to a more advance class for children who were higher functioning. Don’t get me wrong it was hard and for the first month or so I was there everyday learning so when I was at home I could implement what they did in therapy at home. There was a lot of crying, kicking and biting but luckily, she was so young and she won’t remember what we went through to get to where we are today. So, I can’t express enough how important an early diagnosis and early intervention is! Now she is 5-years-old and most people don’t realize or believe me when I say she has Autism. Sophia Rose still gets speech at OT therapy but a classroom based environment, they don’t take her out of the classroom. So long story short, no I wasn’t nervous I was excited on the first day of kindergarten! The only thing I was nervous about was her taking the bus to school which she loves by the way! When she got home from the first day of school she was talking so much! Telling me about the new friend she made and how she played on the playground and that she was shy. It was incredible! I’m a happy and proud mama!