Along with speech delays, autistic children have problems with social interactions. They may have an abnormal attachment to objects. It was that kind of behavior, plus the developmental delays, that sent the Monaghans looking for answers for their 4-year-old son, Bryce.
"It was kind of scary. You're saying, 'What's going on?' It's frightening, it's really frightening," said Kathy Monaghan, Bryce's mother.
An extensive psychological evaluation showed Bryce had mild to moderate autism.
"We felt extremely helpless. We knew no one else who had autistic kids," Kathy said.
The Monaghans found special educational programs to help Bryce develop his speech and discover his strengths. They believe early diagnosis is very important.
"You want to get immediate help as soon as possible because the more help you get, the sooner [and] the better the outcome," Kathy said.
As a teacher, Patrick Monaghan knows the learning must continue at home. He said he and Kathy have Bryce's future in mind.
"I want Bryce to feel good about himself. I want him to have good values and to know that he can accomplish anything if he sets his mind to it," he said.
"My husband and I would love to see him do anything he wants to do," Kathy said.
For more information about autism, you can go to Autism Society of North Carolina's