A Mama’s Story – Journey to an Autism Diagnosis

Author: Chelsey Davis, mother to the most amazing little boy.

April is a month to raise awareness for Autism. When I was asked to write this piece for our local newspaper so many things went through my head. What would I write? How could I condense the rollercoaster of the last 4.5 years? When my son was diagnosed with Autism at 3 years old, I decided that his diagnosis would never define him. Instead, we would use his life to raise awareness to other parents who may go through similar challenges and not know where to turn. I was determined to always be proud of the little life we created and use him as the light in the world that God always intended for him to be.

If you are not a parent, loved one, teacher or therapist the word Autism can be such a foreign concept. Autism is not one in the same for any child. There is a spectrum bigger than you can imagine and every child comes with their own set of challenges and abilities. Yes, abilities not disabilities. Laxton is not disabled. He is a beautiful, smart, courageous, and loving boy. He is fascinated with patterns and numbers and his therapist is convinced he is a genius. He is non-speaking but says so much with just his actions and now his communication device. We have learned his every want and need. He finds his own way to communicate with “his people.” I will not pretend to be an expert on all things on the spectrum. I am only an expert today on all things for my child. Tomorrow will surely bring a new set of challenges with our “wild card” little man.


The question everyone asks is- how did I know?? I have a background in education. I changed my pathway in college because God knew I would need this background before I every understood why I changed my path. I was taught in an exceptional education class an overview of the markers for autism. I was taught about the word regression. A word that would haunt my sleep in my future. The signs came early. Laxton was just over a year old and hitting every single milestone. I was that mom, looking up the CDC milestones every month and making sure he was spot on, and we were working towards the next goals the next month. He was on track. He was talking early. I knew he would, it runs in the family. He had a vocabulary of 10-12 words by his first birthday. After his first birthday everything changed. He regressed and Laxton had 0 words in his vocabulary. I called his primary care and set up an appointment. I explained it as if he rolled off the bed and I woke up with a different child. It was a drastic change. Lax stopped responding to his name, he was toe walking, he was isolating himself from his family, he stopped playing with a variety of toys, and he would only watch and be engaged with Mickey Mouse Clubhouse. He stopped eating a huge variety of food and his diet became very limited. He developed sensory issues and started stimming. I knew deep down exactly what I was dealing with. At the time family and friends thought I was wrong. They did not want to see Lax for anything but the perfect, sweet little boy he was, he was so young, how could I know that? It was right in front of my face, my brain was trained for this exact moment, and I just knew.

Soon after the changes and his appointment with the pediatrician we were referred to Moore Pediatric Therapy Services for Speech Therapy. Occupational therapy followed speech and soon after came Physical therapy. Laxton was two by the time all of this was really going strong for him. We could not get a medical diagnosis for him until he was 3. So, we were put on a waiting list for over a year long. In the meantime, Laxton was signed up for Pre-K. Pre-K was wonderful for Laxton. Social Emotional skills are basically nonexistent for him at this point in his life. At this time Laxton could be best described as a student who parallel plays, does not make eye contact with the adults or children around him, and he does not want to be around other children engaging in any type of play. Laxton was now getting every kind of intervention he could without a medical diagnosis for Autism.

Finally, we received the call for the evaluation. We were scheduled the same week as Laxton’s 3rd birthday. He was 3 years and 4 days old. It was November 10th, 2022. We found out the same day that Laxton had level 2 and level 3 autism. We later learned that this diagnosis was from a genetic mutation called ODLURO syndrome which was not passed on from either of his parents. I broke down. I believe it was 2 years of emotions bottled up and the realization that this was in fact our life. We were facing a lifetime of trails ahead. Honestly, no one wants to attach a lifelong diagnosis to their baby. We asked ourselves, what’s next? What therapy and intervention could I give my son to help him navigate through this diagnosis? Next came ABA, Applied Behavior Analysis. In January 2023 Laxton started receiving ABA and it changed everything. Laxton started responding when we called his name, something he had not done in nearly 2 years. He started making connections, learning to sit on the carpet during circle time. He learned where his chair was in preschool and when to go sit down with his class. Laxton was recognizing and identifying numbers and all the letters in his name. His speech therapist ordered him a communication device and started with simple words and phrases helping him best communicate his wants and needs. For our situation therapy was and always will be the best thing for him. We are not sure what the future holds, and we have a long way to go but we are so thankful to the therapist who walks this journey with us 5 days a week.

Laxton has made our family and friends see life in a different light. That light is bright and beautiful. That life requires no words and all actions to show someone love. Laxton may not speak but he manages to say volumes. Autism is not a label for his life it is just a small part of who he is. We were blessed with a child on the spectrum, and we would not change a thing. We love you, our sweet boy.

Meet the Author:

Chelsey Davis