We do the whole "gentle shove" thing really well around here!
I am so happy that your daughter is thriving.
Gumbette, if it wouldn't be too much to ask, would you mind sharing a quick run down of your "story" for the benefit of other EBers?
I think your daughter's situation is a perfect illustration of why it's so important to get a proper assessment by qualified professionals -- I remember that you guys were getting a bit of a runaround when you first started noticing that something was different re your daughter's development.
Okay here goes...
DD was late with talking and had no eye contact. All her gross & fine motor skills were absolutely fine, she was an adorable affectionate little girl, who hardly ever had a tantrum. In fact she was probably the best behaved baby I had ever come across.
When DD started day care at almost 3 her educators noticed that she still wasn't able to tell them that she needed changing instead she would just stand and cry until someone attended to her. She didn't play with other children, and in fact would push them away if they invaded her space. She would also spend a long time lining things up and often walked on her toes (we never saw this behaviour at home).
It was on the advice of the day care we started to investigate further. However we hit a lot of brick walls (5 in fact). Her paediatrician told us not to worry as he had a few children who weren't toilet trained at aged 3 and as long as she didn’t walk on her toes constantly it wasn’t a concern. He also cited that she was such an affectionate child, was cognitively ahead of her peers, and had reached all her milestones (except speech) on time, so there was no way she could be on the spectrum. A speech therapist told us not to be concerned as she was bilingual (in hindsight a ridiculous piece of advice as she barely spoke English let alone a second language). A clinical psychologist referred to us by the same paediatrician also assured us DD was fine as she often came to us for comfort throughout the session. Although I was buoyed by all this good news (no one really wants to hear that their one and only desperately longed for child is anything but perfect), I knew there was something wrong, and day care kept pushing me to get a diagnosis. Two clinical psychologists later we were still being told that she was fine and to come back in 6 months. By this stage DD was 3 ½. This is when I stumbled onto Aspect who diagnosed DD straight away with moderate Autism.
This is where the lovely mothers from the Special Needs section stepped in and suggested ABA. BMJ, Item, Duffy29 , tel2 and countless others were all very helpful with advice on their E.I. provider(s). They encouraged me to get DD the help she needed and deserved, they gave me support and the hope that things could only get better, they talked me through the stages of grief that one inevitably goes through when their child receives such a diagnosis and helped me through the guilt that I may have caused her condition.
So…one year later, DD still has a slight speech delay, but is pretty much at the low end of average. She no longer pushes her peers and with the help of a shadow is starting to make friends. Her eye contact is good. She is also about to finish up her formal ABA program, she has done so well – better than any child our senior therapist has ever come across in fact, so much so that they’re trialling a new program custom designed for her.
So there is my terribly long winded story. As BMJ loves to say ‘if in doubt check it out’. We wouldn’t be where we are today if I had listened to well-meaning friends and family ,or medical practitioners who worried too much about ‘labelling’ to properly diagnose my DD.