So as you may know, I am the mother of a child with Autism- also ADHD and a touch of OCD to round it all out. Diagnosed at 3 years old- it has been a roller coaster ride of doctors, therapies, medications, special diets, wanted and unwanted advice, school battles, eating issues, sleep issues, marital issues..the list is as long as my arm- probably longer. But despite all if the issues- I consider me and my son very lucky.
While he was mostly non verbal until age 4- once his language began- WOW (thank you Methyl B-12 injections!) Now- I like to say- Not all autistic children don't speak, some NEVER shut up!
I am SO lucky to have a verbal child who tells me he loves me, and now at 8 years old tells me he doesn't like me very much when I am making him do something he needs to do,much like any "neurotypical" child.
I am also very lucky that my child can dress himself, use the bathroom (not until age 5- but it was a victory) communicate his needs,(for the most part) and attend a regular school- in an autistic program up until this year where he has been fully "mainstreamed" into a 3rd grade classroom, and is doing great- most days anyway!
Many ask me- what do you think caused his autism?
This was a question that kept me awake at night for 2 years after his diagnosis. I had two other children with no neurological problems, typical development and all. I questioned my eating habits, sleeping habits, vaccinations (still questioning that one but that is a blog for another day) you name it I questioned it. I can't tell you how or why. I don't worry about that anymore. I worry about bullies now, and his tendency to stand way to close when talking as well as the way he starts (and continues) a conversation completely in dialog from a movie or TV show. I worry that people won't understand him and judge him unfairly- so I educate, advocate and do everything in my power to make people more aware of autism and it's MANY, MANY forms.
He has come so far- with mine and my husband's help and with amazing teachers- and for that I am thankful every damn day. He still struggles with social situations, personal space, organizing his thoughts, writing, waiting, being too literal, a weird fascination with hippos, and eating and other sensory issues.
He makes me laugh, he makes me cry, he makes me crazy! But as it is said- everything happens for a reason. Now- I am not into all that cliche crap- but in this situation, it fits. As I was going through his backpack today- I found a picture he drew. I got a little misty- this kid hates drawing, hates writing and his writing still looks like early preschool- but he made this picture on his own so who gives a rat's ass if it isn't a Monet? Not me- that's for sure!!
So on the days I want to run and hide as far away from him and his Autism as possible - I must look at this picture- and always, ALWAYS remember just how lucky I am.
Autism: Where one picture really is worth 1000 words