At 2 years 1 month, our son was diagnosed by a paediatrician as autistic, primarily on the basis of poor eye contact and limited language skills. The test given was conducted in a manner that made him uncomfortable and the doctor refused to accept any statement we made, saying “if he cannot do it for me, then I cannot assume he has the ability”.
Somewhat unwisely, we took this diagnosis seriously and we tried to start appropriate training to deal with it. At the same time, we had serious doubts since his language skills were developing and we found he had strong eye contact skills when he wanted and was exceptionally warm and sensitive.
Given the diagnosis, other healthcare professionals took it as given that he was autistic and operated on that basis.
After one year we took him separately to two childhood experts in autism- without mentioning the previous diagnosis – and both were adamant that he was far from autistic. In fact he is an incredibly sensitive and aware little boy.
However, in the meantime, he had become very anxious about all the tests and special treatment he had been subjected to by professionals. Since the new positive diagnoses, he is quickly pushing ahead but maintains a good degree of nervousness about health professionals and tests and exhibits a strong lack of self-confidence.
We are wondering if anyone has heard of similar experiences and has seen any information about the side-effects of misdiagnosis of autism. We want to find out how we can be most supportive towards him and what can be done to get him to move him past this experience and gain confidence.
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