top of page
  • Writer's pictureSparkle Allen Hoston

The Day DJ was Diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD)

Updated: Apr 30


I remember the day that my son, De’Unte Jr. (DJ), was diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder (ASD)- Thursday, January 21, 2021. Before his diagnosis, my cousin and sister approached me with concerns about DJ, his behaviors, and his lack of progression. DJ had just made 3-years-old, was not talking and was extremely sensitive to sound. He was also very particular about foods, was a habitual nail and toy bitter, and seemed to find pleasure in jumping and banging his head on furniture. Like my cousin and sister, I was concerned about my son but convinced myself that his behaviors would change and that he’d reach the milestones common for his age. DJ’s behaviors and sensitivities worsened. I decided to reach out to our family doctor for support.


I shared the challenges that DJ was experiencing with our doctor, particularly his sensitivity to sound and his inability to say actual words. She suggested that DJ start speech therapy right away and that he be evaluated for autism. DJ began speech therapy on January 12, 2021, but had to do so over Zoom as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. His evaluation also took place on Zoom.


On the day of the evaluation, the psychologist instructed me and my husband, De'Unte Sr., to take part in activities with DJ that involved playing, eating, and communicating. My sister arrived at our home about an hour into the evaluation and participated in the activities as well. The psychologist observed DJ, asked questions and took notes. After about two hours, she diagnosed him with autism and a developmental language disorder.

I sat between my husband and my sister at our dining room table as the psychologist shared the results of the evaluation. I could feel my stomach sinking, my eyes flooding with tears, and my head swirling with questions as she spoke. “How could this happen?” I thought to myself. “What did I do wrong?” I glanced over at my sister who appeared sad but also calm and relieved. I looked over at my husband who was boiling with anger and fighting back tears.


After sharing the results, the psychologist gave us several minutes to process the information and ask questions. She also suggested steps moving forward including applied behavior analysis (ABA). I thanked her for her time, ended the virtual call and paused to collect myself. I then took a look at my son who was playing with his toys on the living room floor happily.


While watching DJ, I realized that I had a decision to make- I could allow my emotions to get the best of me or I could accept my son’s diagnosis for what it is and work to get him the support needed. I chose the latter, though I knew absolutely nothing about autism at the time or where to begin. This was the starting point of a long and difficult journey for my son and family.


Share Your Thoughts and Experiences in the Comments Section Below!

Are you a parent/guardian of a child with autism? Was your child evaluated and, if so, how was that experience?


 

About the Writer

Sparkle Allen Hoston is an autism advocate, content creator, and stay-at-home mother from Oakland, CA.


95 views4 comments

Recent Posts

See All

4 Comments


catchinsumzzzzz
Aug 01, 2022

I enjoyed reading this. Sometimes it’s hard to put certain feelings and emotions into words, but this is well written. I really appreciate how you have caring family members as well. I beat myself up a lot when my son was Diagnosed at 7. He’s now almost 18 and doing well. There is still much to learn but we will continue to work on it together. Thank you for sharing.

Like
Sparkle Allen Hoston
Sparkle Allen Hoston
Aug 02, 2022
Replying to

Thank you for reading and for sharing your experience. I agree- I had a challenging time writing this and I struggled to find the right words to say, but I felt it was necessary to share and I’m hoping that this series will help others going through similar things. Cheers to you and your son! Im looking forward to connecting more and learning from you friend.

Like

paulaocto3
Aug 01, 2022

I thank God that you are a well rounded educator that can handle the task before you. I'm learning more about it as well, you did nothing wrong. God needed you on board to educate more people about Autism that's the task take people out of their ignorance and learn remember your special cousin Kiara and the Kiki episodes love you Sparkle DJ Salem.

Like
Sparkle Allen Hoston
Sparkle Allen Hoston
Aug 02, 2022
Replying to

Thank you for your support and encouraging words- it helps me to stay focused on the work I’m doing through Autism with DJ. And I think you’re right- I do feel God’s presence in all of this and I am certain that he’s leading me on this journey. I do remember KiKi- we were really close back then. I was too young to understand the challenges that she was experiencing, but I’m grateful for our connection. We love you too and are looking forward to seeing you soon!

Like
bottom of page