Ryan was my first baby. Because he was my first I did not notice that things were running a little behind when he was a baby. We were practically isolated in Germany with little friends and no family around. I was an avid reader of "What to Expect the First Year". They made developmental milestones seem like a minor detail in the book so I never got too worried. When Ryan would change into a different month I would grab the book and pore over the milestone page. Ryan was usually a month or two behind what the book said but he always seemed to get it eventually. In my mind Ryan was the most perfect baby to walk on this planet.
As any new mother all my conversations revolved around Ryan. My house was plastered with pictures of Ryan. If they made a Ryan wallpaper it would have been up in my living room. My son was amazing at everything he did. His laugh was cuter then all the other babies, his smile was bigger than everyone elses. Ryan was my entire universe. Now that I have two children and I come across new parents at the park, I always find their obsession with their children annoying. But I remember that I was just as bad if not worse.
Anyways in my eyes there was nothing wrong with Ryan and God help anyone who said otherwise.
When Ryan was one we got out of the Air Force and moved in with my parents during the transition. My step-dad Jeff was the first one who got the nerve to tell me. He told me one day that he thought I should ask the doctor about Ryan's behaviors because he thought Ryan was showing early signs of autism. At the time I was so angry. How dare Jeff tells me that something is wrong with my perfect baby. I didn't care that Jeff was a teacher for 30 years, that Ryan seemed to be behind his same aged cousins. I was just upset that someone would suggest that Ryan's mind was not working correctly.
Now as I look back I realize how much guts that took Jeff to tell me. And he was right. Ryan had some odd behaviors. He was not pulling up, crawling, or babbling. He was screaming loud and was often upset. I promised them I would get him checked out. So I brought Ryan to the doctors and they told me not to worry. Lets just wait and see. If it wasn't for the promise I made I would have waited but I decided to call early intervention for an evaluation.
They evaluated him when he was a year and a half. Before they came over I was nervous that they would think I was an overly nervous mother. I did not believe anything could be wrong with my son. The speech therapist came first and I told her that I wasn't that worried anymore because Ryan had just said his first word a few days ago, it was "hi". She looked at me and told me it was better to be safe then sorry.
After the evaluation they turned to me and told me that Ryan was behind on several developmental milestones. Some of his delays were pretty bad. He was not giving eye contact, barely talking, had just learned to walk, and had a diet of maybe 5 things. He also throw major tantrums that would last in the hour to two hour range. At this time he was biting me whenever he got mad and I had bruises up and down my whole arm. He was also banging his head against our tile floors and never seemed to notice the pain it would cause him. He played by lining toys up. Instead of making the toy car drive somewhere he would line all of them in a straight line and get very upset if someone moved them. But at the time I could not even discuss this with them. They got time to say Ryan was behind, he qualified for services and something about sensory issues. Then I quickly got them out of my house and cried. I put on Ryan's favorite show and I just hugged him and told him how much I loved him and everything would be okay. I cried for most of the day and night. It felt like my world had been turned upside down.