‘Eight years ago my son was diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder. Autism is a lifelong, developmental disability that affects how people communicate and interact with others and, how they experience the world around them. I had no prior knowledge or experience of this condition. At the age of two and a half when he was given this diagnosis my whole world was rocked upside down.
I was overwhelmed with emotions. Fear, sorrow, guilt, anger, confusion. As his Mum I felt useless. I had no answers, no way of making it better for my little boy. For a long time I just wanted someone to say it wasn’t true but of course no assurances came. Eventually feelings did subside, became more manageable and I came to terms and learnt to accept them.
My son is now ten years old and still completely non-verbal. He is unable to communicate verbally and has other disabilities to deal with which are frequently linked alongside Autism such as Sensory Processing Disorder.
He is amazing! An absolute joy and pleasure to be around and over the years has taught me so many skills and to be a better person. He has given me a real appreciation of the small things in life that others take for granted. His difficulties and disabilities, along with the constraints of a rigidity of thought can make life incredibly difficult and frustrating for him at times, causing anxiety, mood swings, tears and meltdowns. Everyday life can be a real challenge with long days and even longer nights due to lack of sleep, another issue which can go alongside his condition. There are endless phone calls to make, paperwork, appointments, assessments and care plans to be made. As a family we have almost got used to strangers judging, staring and making comments. It still hurts but we have grown thick skins.
The small steps and progress in his development, knowing the obstacles and understanding the work and effort it has taken him to achieve these are massive and make everything worthwhile. It is an absolute privilege and honour to have a special needs child in our family. There is no cure but support and understanding can really improve quality of life. ‘
If you are caring for someone with autism read about how the National Autistic Society can help in our Good To Know section of the website.