My Autism Diagnosis Story

My name is Barclay. I am four years old and have Autism Spectrum Disorder. My mom is going to tell you the story of my diagnosis. I need to share this because I hope all children who have autism can get the help they need to be happy like me!

Barclay’s Autism Diagnosis Story

Barclay first day of preschool

At age 2, Barclay was diagnosed with a speech disorder called Childhood Apraxia of Speech (CAS). At age 2 1/2, Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) became diagnosis number two. By age 3, Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) became his third diagnosis.

I remember the day we took Barclay to his developmental pediatrician for the autism evaluation.  We were crossing our fingers; he would get the diagnosis.  That may sound the opposite of what parents would want to hear, but in our case, the diagnosis would be a blessing!

Before the ASD diagnosis, I had a phone call with the director of Barclay’s preschool.  She told me, as gently as she could, they could no longer fill his needs.  It was tough to hear, but I totally understood.

Because of his severe language delay, he couldn’t communicate with his teachers.  They couldn’t understand him, and he couldn’t understand them.  It was frustrating on both ends.

Also, because of his extreme impulsivity due to his ADHD, having him in a typical preschool setting was no longer working.  He would run away from his teacher. He had difficulty focusing on structured activities.  He played very aggressively with his peers, and this was just some of the challenges.

I knew Barclay needed to be around other children to help develop his lagging social and communication skills.  I also knew, because of those lagging skills, that I wouldn’t find what he needed in a typical preschool setting.  I began searching for alternative programs.

I found a local school that used Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) for children who had ASD and related disorders.  It was a 30 hour per week intensive program that offered a one to one student to therapist ratio.  It was perfect, and because of Barclay’s recent ASD diagnosis, he met the criteria for the program.

ABA therapy is a scientifically-based approach to help children replace undesired behaviors with desired.  Therapists look for ways to use what motivates children to encourage positive results. I cannot say enough fantastic things about ABA therapy. The results have been miraculous!

The ASD diagnosis opened the world up to our son by allowing him the support he so desperately needed. His amazing team of therapists is helping Barclay learn social skills like how to share with his peers and to be safe walking in a parking lot.  They are working on his communication skills, and he’s finally learning to use three-word sentences when asking for something and to be part of a conversation.  These things have made an enormous positive impact on our entire family, and we are so grateful!  We can’t wait to see where Barclay’s autism journey goes from here because so far, the sky is the limit!

If they can’t learn the way we teach, we teach the way they learn. – Dr. O. Ivar Lovaas

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Amy Nielsen

Amy Nielsen is a former children's librarian of nearly twenty years. She now spends most of her time obsessively pounding on a keyboard. She is the author of It Takes a Village: How to Build a Support System for Your Exceptional Needs Family, Goldilocks and the Three Bears: Understanding Autism Spectrum Disorder. Her upcoming YA Worth it debuts in May of 2024. She is also a freelance writer for The Autism Helper. When she's not writing, she and her family are most likely crusing the waters of Tampa Bay.

3 thoughts on “My Autism Diagnosis Story

  1. Hey there! So happy you joined CFAC and now so happy I get to read your blog!! My son was in ABA for quite some time and had made a lot of progress. Recently I have made the decision to switch from 20 hours of in clinic ABA to just 2 hours of parent training during the week. I’m currently a bit of a nervous wreck but so far it has been decent. I am learning more about things to do to make life easier for him as well as taking him out to experience more – like the Dreamplex in Clermont! I don’t know how long this therapy stall will last but I am enjoying it (for the most part 😁😬) thus far.


    1. It’s scary to make the move from in-center to in-home ABA. My little guy is still young so we will stay at least another year but I know the time will come that he will be ready. That’s amazing you are getting out into the community! I know what a big accomplishment that is, both for our child and for us!


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