As if life wasn't stressful enough for parents of three small children and three young adults, they decided to plan both Daniel's and Noah's appointments on the same day.
Luckily Noah didn't go too far away for college, unlike Ava and Caleb had done.
After breakfast they got all three children into the car and ready to head to see Daniel's pediatrician. Over the last three years they had seem him very often, especially when Daniel was late with walking and talking.
It had been a whole week since he had said anything.
Sarah felt disappointed for having missed this moment of his life and Richie knew it even though he tried to console her and assure her that Daniel would talk again.
Once at the doctor's office, Daniel held on tight to his mom's hand, not wanting to let go at all while Richie sat with the twins to let them play until they were called.
"Daniel Sambora?" Was finally called and the family got together and into the office.
"How can I help you today?" The doctor asked once they were settled on multiple chairs and Daniel was happy once again in his mom's arms.
"Daniel finally talked." Richie said. "Only three words but he said them."
"Has he talked any since then?"
Richie shook his head.
"Was it any kind of babbling or correct pronunciations?" The doctor continued to ask.
"He said them very clearly." Richie said. "Made a nice little sentence. He said 'Daddy is home'"
The doctor nodded. "We already cleared out a hearing impairment, this means we can most likely rule out a problem with speech as well." The doctor sighed. "I think it would be a good idea to see a children's therapist again."
Richie sighed, he didn't want to hear this again. "The last time we did that they said he was too young to make a diagnosis about anything."
"I recommend seeing someone that specializes in children with autism."
"Autism?" Richie asked, looking over at Sarah who looked confused as well.
Nodding again, the doctor continued to explain. "He shows a lot of very typical symptoms. Delayed in speech and other developments. Very attached to some people but very shy to others. He's very smart and very sensitive to music at such a young age. In my opinion, he might be on the autism spectrum, a small part of autism but only a therapist can confirm that for us."
"And what if he does have autism?" Sarah asked. "What does that mean for him?"
"There are more and more cases of autism every year. There is no cure for it and he can live a perfect life with is as long as he gets a little bit a guidance when he needs it."
Three hours later they once again sat in an office for another conversation that probably nobody wanted to have.
"Hello, Mr. and Mrs. Sambora, I'm Mrs Murray, I'm Noah guidance counselor. I know Noah is an adult and has all the rights to privacy but I have talked to him as well and we both decided we wanted to talk to you as well. So since we noticed Noah being a little bit of a loner when he started at the beginning of the semester, he's come to me bi-weekly for some talks and in those last 6 months we've talked about many things."
Richie and Sarah both didn't see where this was going. Were they just being caught up on the conversations their son had had with his counselor?
"I'm sure you'd recognize the things we talked about, how Noah is very captured in his books, those fantasy novels are almost like a second world to him. His social skills lack, this is why we started these conversations but so far he hasn't made any new friends. He is very smart though, his grades are amazing and he is doing very well in all of his classes."
"Yes, yes, we know he's a great kid. He doesn't make friends easily, he used to just tag along with his sister and brother but otherwise he just stays home but why would you call us in here just to tell us that he has no friends but hey at least his grades are great." Richie said frustrated.
"A few weeks ago Noah went to see a psychologist and last week we went over the results together and he decided that I should tell you guys the results as well."
"A psychologist? Why would he have to see a psychologist?" Sarah asked concerned.
The counselor nodded, understanding their concern. "We both had a feeling that there might be an underlying reason to Noah's difficulties to making friends and other social skills. As the conversation with the psychologist revealed Noah is on the autism spectrum."
Richie sighed. "We just got told this about our other son. What is autism and how do they both have it?"
"It's a genetic mental disorder, in case of Noah, it's a mild condition. It's also called high functioning autism. Which generally means that he will lack in some skills, such as social skills but excel in others, for some people this means music or maths or almost anything else. Because of the lack of social skills some people with autism prefer to live in their own world instead of the real world, other than the love for his books, this is probably why Noah is always deep into a book."