As to Max, yes, he was diagnosed late. This was in great part because he developed speech late.He only spoke Turkish until he was 5, then started French very slowly, so we didn't feel we could take him to see a French doctor. Also, he hated France with a vengeance. The summer his autism became apparent was the one we spent in Paris. Before that, he'd exhibited some signs, but few. Like many others, I believe, his autism is one that is triggered by situations. Being in France didn't suit him. So we weren't about to have him see a bunch of doctors there.
We were also unlucky in our first choice of a consultant here. A child psychiatrist who simply ommitted to let us know that Max had autism. She did recommend a course of speech therapy. We took him, and it did him a lot of good. He began to speak more, albeit in Turkish. The therapist used drawing and colouring a lot: this helped Max with his fine motor skills and taught him how to express himself in pictures.
When he was eventually diagnosed, he started a course of special education at a centre for autism in Ankara. The teachers there are wonderful. They have taught Max to play, to read, to engage in joint action with other kids his age. He has made a lot of progress.
Our son who used to stay by himself in the play ground now goes to find other kids and joins in their play. He's learning to add, using a special system of drawing, he can even read simple sentences in his French school books, and, with sticker charts and rewards, and a lot of egging on, he will read a complete beginner's book in either French or Turkish. He no longer has tantrums - at least not the kind that is uncontrollable, and that will cause the neighbours to call security. He goes to school willingly whenever he's supposed to. He plays wonderful imaginative, creative games with his playmobiles and legos. He can have short conversations, and sometimes volunteers information and questions (although we still need to work on that one a lot). When he's shy of people, he will try and overcome it. With some planning, a lot of talking and drawing, we convinced him to overcome his fear of flying last week.
We are proud of him. He has done enormously well. He will be repeating first grade this year: that's our choice. We have (nearly) secured a person who will accompany him at school 12 hours a week and help him concentrate on his work. We are really hoping that this will be his chance of acquiring the solid bases he will need to get on in later years.
We are not confident that all will be allright. After all, not very much is known about prognostic (studies on new educational methods and treatments haven't been going on for long enough for people to have conducted studies on the prognosis!). We are also aware that living in Turkey isn't ideal. We were we in France, the UK, or Canada (my personal favourite) we'd have access to many more facilities than what we have here. But we don't have jobs there. We have jobs here. So there you go. We're making the best of what we've got, and really, it's not that bad.
So no, I'm not taking any shit from anyone, because honestly, Max is doing very well. He's on the right path, and he's already made a great deal of progress on that path. And apart from one person, he is surrounded by family and friends who love him, who have confidence in his ability to progress, and who are proud of him.
This is my revised entry for Josie's Writing Workshop .