I Thought I Knew Everything About Autism—Until It Hit My Own Son
As a child psychologist, I help all kinds of families diagnose and deal with autism. But the hardest thing was when I started to see signs right under my nose.
Photos courtesy Lynn Adams
Sitting across the kidney-shaped table from me, both of us in squatty chairs, my three-year-old son’s preschool teacher Ms. Paula unleashed a torrent of positive comments. “James is a joy! He’s adorable! Oh, those blue eyes! He loves school!” Her honey-colored ringlet curls bounced as she nodded.
She kept a wide-open smile while I distractedly muttered, “Uh-huh, have you noticed anything that concerns you?” My voice sounded so quiet after hers.
With knitted brow she asked, “What do you mean?”
I sighed and sat back, and said a tad bit too slowly, as if to a student, “Well, for example, he has his pronouns completely reversed. ‘You’ is always ‘I,’ and vice versa.” I adjusted my glasses, fingered the lock on my briefcase.
Ms. Paula had probably been a cheerleader in high school while I’d been cramming in the library. She wasn’t a licensed teacher, but she had three children of her own and plenty of experience with preschoolers. She looked around the large, tidy room…
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