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Tuesday, 2 April 2019

When I realised my son might be different #autismawareness


Anthony was a May baby. The timing worked really well. It wasn’t too hot for the last few months of pregnancy and by the time Anthony was a few months old it was beautiful sunshine and walks in the park. Every now and again we went with the antenatal class mums and their kids.

Some of us struggled with breastfeeding, some of us were struggling with sleep. We talked lots about; dummies, nappies, bottles and shaped underwear. A year later in the same summary weather we met up in a playground and it was then that I thought there might be something different about my son.

All the mums were trying to grab a drink in the little cafĂ© next to the playground. But as you know that’s not all that easy with toddlers.  Some of the mums kids were all over them.  Every kid develops differently and in their own time. Just because my son wasn’t bugging and hugging me the same as many of the other kids could just be down to confidence.

One kid in particular was constantly coming up to his mum.

He kept searching under the buggy and mumbling. Eventually he found a small book and handed it to his mum and then I realised the mumbling was the words 'Tory Tory'.

No, not yet a political genius. However...

"He’s always asking for the story, he loves it so much," the mother sighed.  All the other mums agreed.  I just sat there completely astonished.

Anthony never even said the word 'mum' never mind asking for a story. Or asking for anything else for that matter. He didn't talk at all. He wasn’t interested in listening to a story - I’d be lucky if I could get them to sit on my lap to look at a book.

And as I listened to the conversation around me, I realised a lot of the kids were saying an awful lot more than my own. Not hard really when your kid doesn't say anything.

Looking back, that was the first time I thought 'crikey my kids not doing that'. It wouldn’t be the last.

To be honest it was a bit of a shock to see him 'behind'. Anthony had done so well with most of his physical milestones - he'd crawled and walked early. He seemed to understand what we should be doing and when.  I found myself feeling annoyed at the mothers who appeared to be complaining about having to read a story over and over again.

By the time of his two and a half year check with the health visitor,  Anthony also seemed to have developed a good memory especially for sequences and patterns. He'd repeat play over and over.

Linked into the fact that by then he still didn’t really say any words meant I was concerned. He could put pens back into a pencil case in perfect order but wasn’t interested in drawing with them and didn’t have any idea how to hold them either. Perhaps it shouldn’t of been surprisingly he never figured out how to hold a spoon till we literally hand over hand guided the spoon into his mouth.

The oddest things appeared intuitive whilst the things most people pick up naturally appeared a mystery to him.

Anthony was diagnosed with ASD (Autism Spectrum Disorder) before his fourth birthday.

This is Autism Awareness Day.  The National Autistic Society previously coincided this with Onesie Wednesday to encourage people in England, Wales and Northern Ireland to show their support for anyone on the autistic spectrum. By wearing a onesie or pyjamas, participants were saying, "It's all right to be different".

April, this week's Makaton Charity sign of the week, is AutismAwarenessMonth. Most of the time I think about how raising awareness for our boys condition is about creating acceptance and enabling support for them.  I'd heard of autism, I was aware of it.  And when I started to see signs in my son, I was able to think.... 'could he be autistic'? And, I knew it was OK to be different.

Anthony was diagnosed as early as he could be.  Both boys were in fact. And they both started school with the initial support they required.  Anthony's brother, David even benefitted from a speech and language and communication needs nursery and one of the first EHCP's in the borough.

Their diagnoses were not a shock in the end. They were an understanding and a way we could support them.  Although sometimes I think about the things they may not do, it is rare.  I never mourned the child I didn't have.  I think if I'd had no awareness of autism I may well have done.  Autism awareness granted me the ability to see my kids, from an early age, for who they were and are.  So I'm quite grateful for autism awareness, before it benefitted them, it had already benefitted me.



Supporting the Makaton Charity #wetalkmakaton sign of the week - April

Keep Calm and Carry On Linking Sunday

18 comments:

  1. Raising a child with a disability is a different path. Good luck and Parent on!

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  2. That initial feeling that your child might be different must be so confusing, so many thoughts must go through your mind. But it's so lovely to read how you accepted theses differences even before diagnosis, and how autism awareness had played a part in this. That's why this month is so important, to help spread awareness and educate others on ASD, so other parents may feel more prepared if and when they realise their child could also be on the spectrum. Thank you for sharing your experiences. #KCACOLS

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  3. Thank you for sharing this. It is so important to keep awareness of all the signs. I hope that your path is an easy one. #KCACOLS

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  4. I'm glad your boys got an early diagnosis so that they could get the support they needed when they started school. That must have made a great difference. Thanks for sharing this #kcacols

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  5. Thank you so much for sharing this! It is a good thing that they were able to get an early diagnosis. It is so important for when they start school. I taught 1st grade and I know that I could have helped some children so much more if we just understood better at the time. #KCACOLS

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  6. Two gorgeous boys, I am glad they got support early and I love the not mourning a child you didn't have statement. So powerful. Our children are what they are and even though times can sometimes be really tough I couldn't and don't want to imagine different xx #KCACOLS

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  7. Such a lovely positive post, so glad you got the support you needed. Thanks so much for linking up at #KCACOLS. Hope you come back again next time.

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  8. I wish I had known more sooner, though in some ways I did know, I just didn’t want to accept that our boy was indeed autistic. Perhaps I would have found it easier to accept sooner if I’d known more? I’m not sure... Either way, I’m of course all for spreading more knowledge and understanding now (as you already know) xx #KCACOLS

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  9. This is such a lovely post. I'm so pleased you got the early support they needed. It is definitely a positive thing to have more awareness for everyone #kcacols

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  10. From what I understand early diagnosis will really help as they grow up. Definitely worth sorting help as early as you did. #KCACOLS

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  11. Such a beautiful post. So glad you got the support you needed. I pray that your path is an easy one.

    #Kcacols

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  12. Thank you for sharing your story. And for raising awareness! :)
    #KCACOLS

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  13. Your son is very similar to mine.. We are waiting for an assessment the only downfall is my son does really well at masking at school so we had to fight to get an assessment X #kcacols

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  14. I know I've said this before here, but thank you for the greater understanding you bring to this condition for those of us that wouldn't know half as much otherwise #KCACOLS

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  15. I think the more people know about autism the better and it makes greater acceptance and understanding so much easier. Another great post! #kcacols

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  16. I love your last paragraph. It's really touching and simply gorgeous to read. Good post. #KCACOLS

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  17. your boys sound awesome and amazing in their own unique ways. Every child is an individual. I love how you have just embraced their diagnosis and follow a path to best manage it x #kcacols

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  18. I'm glad you shared this with us. I have a few acquaintances who have kids with autism, and I didn't fully grasp their struggles. I wish I had understood it more. My hat goes off to you because I feel your parenting journey is even more intense than mine. I admire you in more ways than I can express. I know you may not want to hear that, but I wanted you to know it all the same.
    #KCACOLS

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I read all your comments and appreciate you sharing your thoughts with me and our readers. I welcome any feedback on my posts and you can always contact me directly. Thank you.

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