My daughter Janey was diagnosed last Saturday, Dec. 8th, with autism. She is 3 years old. I am still in the early, unformed, scared, without a philosophy or plan stage. I don't know what else to do but do what I've always done in crisis---write. I am going to write about what is happening with her as it happens.
Today Janey woke up at 4:30am, as usual. She came to my bed laughing. She laughs a lot---usually laughter without cause that we can see. I picked her up and put her in bed with me, in the vain hope she would go back to sleep. No such luck. She used her most clear sentence lately on me---"I want a chocolate milk baba". My husband got her one. I know there are problems with milk and autism. I need to sort that out. Right now, I can't help but respond when she actually talks to me. She drinks the bottle, and when she's done---doesn't fling it across the room as she has usually done lately.
I decide to try to engage her, although it's very early. I get her animals---a box of wooden animals we play with. I try hard to get games going with them. She repeats a few of the names after me---pony, chicken. I sing songs about the animals, and she hums along. She loves music. It's soon apparent she isn't too into the animals. I put them away and try for sleep again.
She lies next to me laughing and engaging in her other new trick---swishing saliva in her mouth. I can't stand that trick. I ask her to stop, for all the good that does. She laughs and laughs. Then she talks---like most all her talking now, about something that has nothing to do with anything. She says "Junk food...Junk food is yucky...I want junk food!" I ask her who has talked about junk food. It's a reflex---she doesn't answer, she never does. It's just another of the mysteries my whole life seems to be lately.
Now she is singing to herself---"Wimbaly, Wobbly, Woo"---a song she knows from school. I try to sing along, but that ends her singing fast. She switches to a phrase she likes lately "My cat..." This seems to have nothing to do with her actual living 3 cats, or toy cats, or any cats at all. Now she starts rhyming---"Cat, lat, mat"---"pie, hi, my" Now "On PBS Kids" I am feeling guilty to be writing and not engaging. I will stop for now.