K was originally diagnosed with PDD-NOS when she was 3, by her pediatrician, then again by a developmental pediatrician at 5. That diagnosis was later changed to straight "autism" by a developmental neurologist when K was in 2nd grade. K is verbal, and not what people would label as "profoundly affected" (not that we love functioning labels around here.) However, I say she is profoundly affected by her brand of autism.
She began Early Intervention at 18 mo for a significant speech delay (she did not speak in sentences until she was 4), and attended a special needs preschool from 3-5. She was (unsuccessfully) mainstreamed from kindergarten to the middle of 3rd grade, and currently attends a private, special education day school, for children on the spectrum. There she is thriving, and life has settled down a lot since we found an appropriate placement. It wasn't an easy road, but you always have to keep fighting for your child, no matter how defeated you feel, or how hard it gets.
B was my "typical" child. He said his first sentence at 22 mo, and his language exploded after that. He never stopped talking! However, he has had severe sensory issues pretty much since birth. He never ate baby food (like, at all), and was solely nursed the first year of his life. Eating didn't get much easier the older he got, and now, at 7, he is very limited in what he does eat (including specific brands, colors, etc.) He also has severe tactile and auditory sensory issues.
B began speech therapy at 4, for articulation. Although he spoke all day, everyday, he was hard to understand. As time went on, it became clear something else was going on. Especially when he started getting in trouble at preschool for fighting with his teachers and classmates over "facts" (you can't take creative liberty when it comes to any subject..ha), and his rigid behavior was becoming more and more of an issue.
Last April, at age 6 (in kindergarten, after a very, very difficult year), B was officially diagnosed with Asperger's Syndrome. He gets a lot of services at school, to help with his sensory issues, and to stay on task, but he is incredibly bright, and very charismatic. Kids just want to be around him, even though his social skills are very stereotypical of someone with AS. He's a generally happy kid, and that is all that really matters!
Our experience with B has been very different from our experience with K. I always say others are affected by Ben's Asperger's more than he is, whereas K is incredibly affected by her own autism. Honestly, I worry more about K, which is why you will find me writing more about her on this blog. As time goes on, and B gets older, I am sure that will change. I am just happy that he is happy, and I work everyday to make sure the same is eventually true for K. Definitely finding her a great placement has gone a long way, but when I say autistic girls have a whole host of different issues, I'm not kidding (it's really something not talked about enough at all.)
For more information on ASD's: