My Child’s Autism Diagnosis Journey


Growing up I always had this image of what my life would be like as a mom, but no one could have prepared me for my first child’s Autism diagnosis. Never mind the struggles he would face or how much this baby boy would teach me about life in such a short period of time.

At 39 weeks pregnant, I gave birth to a healthy baby boy. Ten fingers and ten toes. He nursed right from the second he was laid on my chest and slept through the night the moment he came home. He was a dream baby. He made me a mom. 


He was hitting all of his milestones as a baby and even started crawling, climbing, and walking by 10 months. He had his first word at 9 months, BOOK! I remember it all like it was yesterday, but I started to really notice things change when he turned one year. He lost all the words he had up to that point, and he stopped making eye contact, especially when calling his name. And he also became very hyperactive.

Early Intervention

My sister had her twins evaluated through Early Intervention (EI), so I was familiar with the process. So at 17 months old, we had him evaluated and he began his journey in EI. Our days went from spending it just the two of us to now including weekly in-home visits from an Occupational Therapist and a Speech Pathologist. I would sit through each session soaking in all the advice that they would offer so that I could help supplement his learning when they weren’t there. Through EI, we learned that he had developed sensory issues in addition to his speech delay. Once again, I was faced with another thing that I needed to learn about to help my baby.

Autism Diagnosis

After a year of being in EI, we were told that we needed to have him evaluated for Autism. He was diagnosed shortly after, at about 2 and a half years old. Finally, we had answers for why he behaved and learned the way he did. I am not going to lie, it was heartbreaking, but his diagnosis has never changed a thing about him. All it ever did, and will do, is give him the help and support he needs.

Interacting with Peers

There are so many memories that I have of being in places with other kids his age and watching them talk, play, and interact with their peers. It made me feel so sad that my child wasn’t experiencing any of it and that he wasn’t “normal”. We would go to playgrounds and kids wouldn’t play with him because they didn’t understand him when he talked, and we would get the occasional peer who would make fun of him. He learned to just keep to himself. 

The Mom Guilt

As a mom, I took on so much guilt for feeling like I was failing my child. Was it something I did to cause this? But I couldn’t sit there and ponder the what-ifs. What if he didn’t have this diagnosis, what if he never makes friends, what if he never talks? What if I caused this? The what-ifs could keep going on and on, but what I could do is learn how to become the best advocate for my child.

Educating Ourselves

As a parent with a child on the Spectrum, you learn as you go, and I really didn’t know other parents that knew what I was going through. So I started to educate myself on ways to help him learn. For example, he was a very active kid, so I learned about vestibular movement. His OT had mentioned trying to work on words and sounds while he was swinging, so we did that. That is the day that he started mimicking the words. Copying one after another, so I pulled out my phone and hit record. I was always Baba to him because he couldn’t say, Mama. So I said Mama and clear as day he said MAMA back to me. My heart jumped with JOY. That little word meant the world to me. 

It was at that moment that I realized that he would learn and he would talk.

Something I have learned along this journey is that children with Autism don’t always learn the way we typically teach, instead we simply have to teach the way they will learn. Looking back now 5 years later, I would never change a thing about him, his diagnosis, or the journey. I have learned along the way that he wouldn’t be the amazing boy that he was meant to be without experiencing any of it. He has taught me so much about life. He is the sweetest little boy. You ask him for the toy he is playing with and he doesn’t hesitate to give it up. He is kind. He is intelligent way beyond his years. He absorbs information like a sponge. He is the best big brother, cousin, and friend!

By Bonnie Blanchette

Bonnie grew up in Central Mass and now resides in Douglas with her husband and three kids ages 5, 4, and 2. She worked in the landscaping and floral industry before becoming a stay-at-home mom. She loves to travel and you could always find her and her husband traveling to places like Hawaii, England, France, and Ireland. Now they travel with their three kids in their 34 foot camper. 


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