As you know, last month (April), was Autism awareness month. I did a few posts about it myself, but one of my blogger friends did so much more.
Every night throughout the month Autism Mumma did a guest post from parents of children with Autism. If you've ever wondered how different each story can be, pop over with a cuppa, and have a read: Here is the round up.
I wrote one, and to round off, I am going to share it on here:
What is autism for me? It is normal, it is my normality.
I remember speaking to a former colleague, who had twins. I had just given birth to my 2nd child. As a baby, he had not shown any signs of anything. I remember saying to her
"how do you cope? Having 2 at the same time?"
She told me, it was her normal. She just did it, they were her children, she loved them. Simple.
When my, now tween, was a toddler, he was bloody hard work. I, like everyone else, thought he was just a naughty child. I knew nothing about autism, had barely even heard of it! My mum, who is a big part of our family life, had raised concerns about his slow speech. We just put it down to having a big brother, saying things for him.
It was a concern that he was late potty training, but I had it so easy with my 1st son, I didn't think of it as a 'symptom'.
He was always soooo difficult to take shopping........or take anywhere, if I am honest. If only I had knew there were possible sensory issues. There are so many things that, on reflection, were warning signals. But if you don't know anything about it, how do you spot it?
Then, when child number 2 was just past 4, I got pregnant with child no.3.
By this time, another family member had a child with Autism. So we began to learn, just snippets, but learn about autism. When my 3rd son got to, around, 18months old, he stopped speaking. He hadn't been saying much anyway, but he stopped altogether.
Can you imagine not hearing mam or dad, suddenly?
He stopped hearing us. We thought he was deaf, or hard of hearing. When I say 'we' I am referring to me and my mum. My hubby went into total denial.
Then his 2 year review came up, and I poured out my concerns to a HV. She was so supportive and helpful, but I could tell by her face, that she knew what she was looking at. It's never said though. Professionals will not say a word, until you have an official diagnosis.
Then you go on a roller coaster ride of appointments and therapies. Then you learn, you learn everything you can about autism, because it's all you can do. I cannot expect him to always understand me, but I try my best to always understand him.
The education I gave myself went on to explain an awful lot about my middle son. I realised how many of the traits explained his behaviours. Realising how many years had gone by, without my understanding, is one of the biggest parenting guilt trips I have ever felt. It is absolutely heartbreaking, realising how many times I told him off for doing something wrong, that he didn't know was wrong!
Also realising that every time I made him go back to the car with daddy, for performing when we were shopping. Or sitting on the naughty step, because he had hit his brother again. I was doing him a favour!! I was separating him, I was leaving him alone. I was doing exactly what he now loves!
Where are we now? We are a house that is forever learning. We are a house of very few meltdowns, because we don't put them in the situations they can't handle.