Autism is a lifelong, developmental disability that happens all over the world, not just in your country. Autism affects how an individual communicates with and relates to other people, and how they experience the world around them.
I see Autism every single day, this is not just because I am a counsellor offering my support.
This is because my child, son 3, has a diagnosis of Autism. He was diagnosed at 6 yrs of age.
So is that it for him now? Is that who he is now? Is that us as a family? Is that now the label forever?
Gosh, thinking back I remember buying and reading so many books when we were struggling. I would be that supermum who was prepared, who would get her son through the diagnosis and ensure him the help he needed but really my insides were like a washing machine on a fast cycle just Arrrrrrrrrrr. Constant thoughts of ‘Is this it forever????’
Thankfully we had amazing support and began our roller-coaster journey, which brought the lightbulb moment!
With this much needed help we learnt that Autism does not define who our son is, our son is who he wants to be!
After all, our number 2 son has asthma, but that is not who he is. So why should Autism be who our number 3 son is?
Ok so who knows what Autism is? How many of you would know the signs of Autism? Do you think you work with anybody diagnosed Autism, live with anybody with undiagnosed Autism?
Think about your work place?
Think about your friendship groups?
Maybe consider if you have children, yours or your children’s friends?
Now what is Autism for us?
I remember when we had son number 3, thinking there was something not quite right, he would never make eye contact, he did not sleep, this lasted until he was 6 years of age. He had huge sensory issues, loved lots of cuddles but then didn’t liked to be touched. As he was growing up he couldn’t cope with certain foods or clothes. Then there was the sensory issue with noise and light. His conversations were very much like a little old man rather than his age, very eccentric. He had a love/ obsessions and collections. This still continues, he can name every dinosaur, cat breed and Pokemon. Ask him a math question and he walks away (no he isn’t rain man)
Remember though, that if you meet one person with Autism you have met a person with Autism. My child still has a personality and he really has an amazing personality! Although he does miss the all important filter!!
Autism is not bad, it is not a disease. And no it is not catching. So yes children with a diagnosis of Autism can still be invited to play dates / to parties and sleep overs if they want. Adults still want friendships, want to go to work and want to be included in office parties even if they leave after an hour or only go when it’s paint balling or to a Spa day. It’s choice.
Autism needs awareness around the world, but not just for a week, because believe it or not, I will not be locking son no.3, in a closet after these 7 awareness days until the next Autism awareness week. 😉😉
He is extremely lucky, he attends an amazing Autism specific school, he is now achieving and has a supportive network around him. He has 2 supportive and loving older brothers. But soon, one day he will go out into the big wide world as an adult with autism. As a mum that is a scary thought when you think of what is out there.
Living with son no.3 has taught me so much. Autism is not to be scared of.
We need not judge a square peg in a round hole. We are all different in this world that we live in. Accept difference.