Hi everyone - I have four children, 2 girls and 2 boys. My third child, is a boy. He was identified when he was 3 as being "high functioning autistic." We enrolled him a special program - a very "least-restrictive" environment...and to say that he's grown over the last few years is an understatement. He used to watch the water run from the faucet for hours...carry little dimes in his hand and cry when there was a little spot of dirt on it....he wouldn't really socialize with anyone.....and never never never would be able to pretend-play. With early intervention, I feel that he's a different person. He never stops talking....it does get a little repetitive sometimes - and he still self-stims, but only in terms of being a little jumpy or "zoning out in class" (he's in a "transitional Kindergarten" class of 6 that's mainstreamed for a couple of hours in the morning, and then brought back to their class in the afternoon - we're hoping to mainstream him completely by 2nd grade.... He wanders around the playground still though. I see him - he's not unhappy - he's bouncing around in his own world...skipping and talking a lot to the teachers. But I feel sad because it seems like the other kids are so into these little groups. People are amazed by him. Just as a person. Some people don't even know he's autistic. But I know that's his diagnosis. I even tell myself that if he was observed now, he probably wouldn't even get the same diagnosis, but then he'll go and still do "things' like the battery alarm went off on a cell phone somewhere in our house the other day and he was covering his ears and SHAKING - he was sooo scared - I had to turn the house inside out to find it. He's academically very strong, but I know he's got a long way to go. He pretend plays now with his siblings and he's an absolute joy to be around. Sometimes the screaming when he doesn't get his way, or his pickiness in eating gets to all of us...it takes a lot of patience and time......and I always hope and pray that he will have a normal life - a normal "marriage, kids, job, etc" and hope hope hope hope when he sniffs my arm and sighs "oh Mommy - you smell so beautiful...."