I was talking to a work friend about my son, when my husband and I were finally were coming to terms with the fact that my son might be Autistic.
She wrote me that she had heard from one of her Autistic son’s therapists that you just know. You know when the other mothers have all moved on to worry about whether their kids are eating a healthy diet, and you’re stuck back on “will he talk?” or are just happy that he’s eating anything. You know when the other parents have birthday parties and can drop their kids off without worry, and you’re frightened that if you don’t hover something will happen. You know when your child is in a pre-school or Kindergarten class, and he or she has been reading since at least the age of 2 or 3 and is forced to learn “colors” and “the alphabet,” yet his or her favorite words to read are long ones, dealing with the mythology behind the current superhero, rock, or dinosaur interest.
There are many different things that could be signs, but you know when you’re not worried about the “right” things, the things the other parents seem to be concerned about.
But some of us don’t know until late. You know in middle school, when your daughter doesn’t have any friends and can’t seem to navigate the social structures. You know when she gets quieter, and withdraws more and more into her books and/or special interests.
But you’ll know.