I don't know if there's any other threads like this here on TB, but if there isn't I thought this might be good. A good place for other parents or members to share some of their experiences about raising an Autistic child, or what it's like to live on the spectrum. Here is my son Dan. This picture is quite old now, he'll be 13 this year. Even from the time he was an infant, I was aware that he was not like my friends' kids. I think I could write a book on it...but he had a lot of the "typical" autistic tendencies. Or at least what our research told us. As a baby he rarely cried. He did not like to be held or cuddled. As a toddler he focused in depth on unusual objects, sometimes for long periods of time. We talked to his pediatrician, who told us not to be concerned. He seemed to be reaching his milestones on time, just like other children. His speech, as he learned to talk, was flat and monotone. And, of course, there were the meltdowns. They told us it was "the terrible two's". But we knew something was just.....different. School started when he was 5. Within weeks his teachers were contacting us about him, saying he was very unusual, and we should consider having him evaluated. He was placed on a 504 plan for fine motor coordination. Due to his age, we could not find a neuropsych expert who would evaluate him. He was released from his 504 plan by the end of first grade. His struggles, both socially and educationally, continued. And we continued to struggle as well. Our families did not support our belief that he had Autism. We were told that we were too demanding. Told we expected too much. My in-laws accused me of being an overbearing and harsh parent, which was why he acted out. Over time we were becoming desperate. By third grade he received a neuropsych eval. The results were in. He was diagnosed as having ADHD and an anxiety disorder. But assured he did not have Autism, mainly because the evaluator felt he did not meet the physical criteria, which we later learned was an outdated and antiquated criteria. The school refused to consider an IEP for him, and he was not put on any specialized education plan. And the struggling continued. We did all the research we could and worked daily to understand him, help him with his challenges, and so forth. By the time he was 8 he was eligible for a new evaluation. A new doctor tested him and the results were in. He placed firmly on the scale for Autism Spectrum Disorder, and given a diagnosis of Asperger's Syndrome. The school finally placed him on an IEP, but unfortunately no matter how hard we pushed they rarely followed it. Socially, he was tortured by the other children. His inability to fit in made him a constant source of ridicule and teasing. He was not athletic. He was unable to understand a lot of their social interactions, despite our constant teaching and role playing at home. He was (and is) very bright but his grades suffered, mostly because he lacks some of the processing speed that is needed for standardized testing. He was called "retarded", "geek", "stupid", and a whole litany of other names. Children stole his lunches and frequently threatened to hurt him, and sometimes followed through on those threats. And he had difficulty making any friends. And so it continued. School staff were unwilling to make changes, despite our constant effort. The principal targeted him as a "troublemaker", so he was often punished when he retaliated. He hated school. Even though he had become far more "mainstream" as he grew, the stigma of going to school with children who had labeled him at a young age was impossible to shake. We didn't know how much he hated his life until October of 2012. It was then, on a Saturday afternoon that my son attempted to hang himself in his bedroom. I was not home. My wife found him. Luckily she found him soon enough. He was hospitalized for 9 days afterward at a facility where he could be watched and worked with. He was later released back to our care. When asked, he stated that his reason for doing it was so that he would not have to go back to school and face the other children, ever again. You never feel you've failed so much as a parent as you do when your child would choose death over living, voluntarily. A lot has changed since then. We ramped up our efforts to help him fit in more. We switched his school. And, he naturally developed more social skills. He's now doing quite well. He has a lot of friends, and just yesterday he was asked by a girl in his class to be her "boyfriend". The last year has been a whirlwind of change, all for the better. But the reality is that for his entire life, he will be different. He knows this. But it won't hold him back. So, I know this has been lengthy, but anyone else out there with a story to share?