Pam first noticed something different about her son, Joshua, when he was 18 months old. Though he was a perfectly healthy baby, she knew he was unlike other kids in his age group.
“We were in play groups with other kids around the same age,” she recalls. “When we went to their houses, Joshua would play with their toys but never showed any interest in the other kids. They would play with each other, hopping around from one toy to another. But Joshua would focus on one toy the entire time. The other kids were starting to form words or to have some semblance of communication with their parents, and Joshua just wasn’t.”
Like many new parents, Pam, and her husband, Joe, chalked these differences up to Joshua’s unique personality and speed of development. They assumed Joshua’s desire to play with one toy for hours at a time or his avoidance of eye contact was just his quirky behavior, and nothing to be too concerned about.
At their son’s two-year checkup, however, the pediatrician suggested Joe and Pam have Joshua evaluated, and after several appointments, interviews and therapy, a specialist at the Cleveland Clinic diagnosed their son with moderate autism.