We’ve all had it, that moment where our brain realizes something just happened but you’re not sure how to respond to it. Maybe it was a car accident or the look on a kid’s face when even they know they’re in real trouble. Well, how about I tell you a little nugget of ours?
So, just after Gavin turned 1 we started to see some changes and lack of development. This is verbatim of the story you’ll hear from other autistic families by the way. Gavin was developing very well, hitting all his goals, starting to babble and even form some words. Then, the signs started to appear. Gavin wouldn’t make eye contact and his look seemed somehow empty and the vocal development stopped.
At this time we lived in Florida and came home to Rochester to celebrate Gavin’s 1st Birthday. While we were home we decided to go get some dinner at a local sports bar with some friends and then IT happened. To date, the most vivid display of sensory issues we had seen from our boy. Screaming and jumping in his seat, flapping his arms wildly. He was like a kiddo that had way too much sugar in a short amount of time. It was loud, tons of televisions and a lot of people around this establishment. It’s time to start working this out. (March 2017)
Forward a couple of months and we’ve made the move back to Rochester and it’s time to deal with what’s going on here. He’s falling behind other kiddos his age and we’re starting to worry. The signs were still all there and getting worse.
At 15 months Joreen and I were working every website in the world to try and disprove our guess that he may be autistic. I even reached out to a trusted friend who works as a Speech Pathologist for some input, and she agreed we really needed to get G evaluated. We couldn’t schedule an exam before 18 months though. The next few months were torture. We heard it all at that time….. It’s just a phase. he’s going to start speaking any day now. Maybe it’s something simple like some trouble with his ears.
So, we were somehow blessed to get an appointment for Gavin a month after his 2nd birthday. On May 1, 2018, we were taking G to meet a new doctor. I’m telling you, to get in that fast was our moms both looking down on us from Heaven because families have waited years for just a diagnosis. We came to find out that the doctor seeing G is truly known around the world for her work with Autism and developmental issues. Well, we have the right resources and it’s time to see what we see.
The doctor was wonderful. She was like Marry Poppins and Santa all at the same time. Walking into the room with this huge bag of toys for Gavin to play with. She proceeded to do a basic physical exam and talk with us, just chit-chat about Gavin. She was always paying attention to him though. Was he playing with the toys in the way they were supposed to be, would he respond to his name and other social inputs? After this assessment we heard the words, Gavin is in fact Autistic.
I don’t remember much after that in the office. I was locked on it. Fear, anger, love and confusion all had a seat at the table. The doctor was speaking about all kinds of local resources, which are all amazing here in Rochester, but I probably wasn’t absorbing much. We were setting up
some more appointments there as well as suggestions of other things we should start looking into. At this point, we gathered up everything gave my little man a bunch of love and headed out the door finally knowing some facts about what we’re dealing with.
Then it happened…. I remember clearly as we walked out to the parking lot, it was at that moment it happened. The biggest “WHAT NOW? “ Ever! Here we are with this beautiful and physically perfect little boy, and he’s just been told that he’s going to need to work a bit harder for his whole life. This didn’t come with a book of directions and how to do this but would fall on us, his parents, to always advocate and dig a bit deeper for Gavin Hunter Varecka.
So that, my friends, is my “What Now?” moment. From that day on we will always be Gavin’s Voice as will his sisters and truly an Army of people that have bought a ticket! Stick with us as we take a ride with Gavin. Truly, our hope and mission for this site is to help others who may have just had their “What Now?” moment too.
With love & peace,
David & Joreen
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