What can YOU say in six sentences?
Next Tuesday morning, November 30th, I'll valet park my car, enter the swooshing automatic doors of Texas Children's Hospital, then ride a smooth elevator to the 16th floor with my three year-old who will likely say as we climb to his sentencing, "Up". He'll be evaluated using the gold standard for diagnosing autsim, a two-hour, four-modular test called ADOS (Autism Diagnostic Observation Schedule) and afterward, a follow-up appointment will be made to discuss the results. I was told that children cannot attend the final appointment, both to ensure parent concentration and prevent children from viewing parental meltdowns. I wake at all hours of the night fretting over these appointments, especially the follow-up, envisioning the stoic pediatric neurologist behind a massive teak desk, pale sunlight penetrating floor to ceiling windows and washing all color from the room. I picture the doctor delivering neutral information first, just as the behavioral therapist did a few weeks ago, rattling unfamiliar formal sounds, a soothing monotony of detail that gently taps my brain as I assume the words are building toward good news. Then he'll deliver the shock, as did the therapist with forty years of experience -- I believe he's moderately autistic -- only this time the diagnosis will be M.D. official and I'm gathering strength to carry my husband at that moment, a man who believes God would never allow a thing like autism to take his only son, his beautiful boy who will surely "grow out of it", but I can't promise I won't collapse as I did before, during the elevator ride down.