Cogito Patris

Random Thoughts for Random People

My son is speaking to an Imaginary Alien

My son doesn’t speak english even though he is 2.4 years old.  He only knows about 20 English words and will not use any of those words in combination. 

My wife and I, being the nervous parents we are, had a speach therapist evaluate him…and a child psycologist…and a physical therapist…and a neurologist…and a hearing specialist…etc.  The last thing that we heard on the subject (from the child psycologist) is that Dante is autistic.  He is not retarded, and he is not stupid, he simply learns thing differently than most people.

The numbers on Autism are astonishing.  1 out of 166 children is diagnosed with autism.  In the next decade, the Autism Society or America is estimating that there will be as many as 4,000,000 americans with autism.

But I swear he knows a language.  He repeates the same sounds in similar situations, and his cadence and enunciation indicate weather he is asking a question or making a statment.  The Speach Therapist and Child Psycologist both say that this is fairly unusual.  My wife and I have decided that he has an imaginary friend who is an alien.  Being the bright and considerate boy that he is, he communicates with his alien friend in alienease rather than English.  Unfortunately he hasn’t taught us his language yet.

I am certainly not making fun of this learning difference.  It is a serious issue and as a father with a young autistic child I can only try to express the frustration involved, both on Dante’s part and on my part, of trying to communicate wants and needs, hurts and angers…forget about numbers and letters.

We have been pretty lucky.  We have diagnosed this issue early.  He does not have a severe case.  And probably most importantly, the doctors and specialists we have been keeping gainfully employed are helping us with an action plan to get him back on track.

I am not going to specify the action plan, because for each autistic child there needs to be a custom approach…each case is different and I don’t want anyone trying to do some home diagnosis.  If you think your child may be autistic, then work with your public school system for an evaluation.  Many school systems offer not only the diagnosis, but help in treatment as a free service.

For now, we seem to be making progress with Dante.  He has learned another half dozen words in the last three weeks and is attempting to sign for us.  And above all, he seems much happier.


November 22, 2006 - Posted by | The Kids

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