Today is World Autism Awareness Day and April is Autism
Awareness Acceptance Month. It’s been 5 years since Johnny received his diagnosis that he had Autism Spectrum Disorder. What a learning curve we have all been on. What is Autism? I like to think of it as a different way of thinking, being and processing because of different neurological make-up. So the big challenge for parents is to learn what Autism is to THEIR child and see the world from their child’s point of view and not from the point of view of the many professionals who will be TELLING you what Autism is for your child. I looked back and read my original blog post about Autism and Johnny after his diagnosis and I remember the panic that set in. I also see that my little 3 year old boy was a REALLY busy little boy with all the programs he was enrolled in.
Here is my original blog post: Autism Spectrum Disorder Diagnosis
Excerpt 2011: ” It’s funny how in life how three little words can change your life forever. “I love you” “It’s a boy!” or “Autism Spectrum Disorder” We received the diagnosis last Tuesday and our lives have been a whirlwind ever since. Why did this happen to our little boy? What do we do now? What IS this? What help does he need? How many forms so we have to fill out now? Do we switch schools? Who do we tell? How do you tell family? How much do you tell them? We don’t want him treated differently because he’s “our little Johnny” …. he’s STILL our little boy.
Did it all help? Yes. Especially once I found people that Johnny really liked and who truly “got him” because he was now happy and that was what really mattered. Take a moment and think about when you have ever picked up your child from any activity did you ever have professionals watching and judging your child and taking notes? That is Johnny’s life. Every moment of every day when he is not at home. Kind hearted individuals always looking for ways to improve him and fix him as if he is broken. Its no wonder that Johnny is always looking for things to fix when he walks into a room because this happens to him all the time.
What I didn’t like 5 years ago was sitting in a parent training seminar / workshop and looking out the window during break time at the social playgroup area below where Johnny was and unexpectantly seeing him. He was looking up with tearful eyes and a sad look on his face as he looked at me with an unwavering gaze. Who said that Autistic kids cannot have strong eye contact? He had been having fun playing in the group on previous sessions while I learned all about “Triple P Parenting” and the value of ABA but today he needed Mommy. Daddy was away on a business trip and Grandpa was looking after Princess at home because she was not even a year old back then. I remember feeling the reality of the moment hit me as I grabbed my things and ran out of the workshop to him. He needed me. One look and tears told me everything and it was time to go home. I got through the 3 sets of doors that were all child proofed because many kids on the spectrum make Houdini look like a novice on how they can beat any lock and escape when they feel stressed. The minute I saw him he had happy tears and my non-verbal non talking little boy said “Ma Ma Ma Ma” over and over again and hugged me. It was time to go home because my 3 year old boy looked at me, said “Ma Ma Ma” and hugged me.
Three miracles in one moment. This is Autism because in the diagnosis I was told Johnny can’t talk, he can’t look anyone in the eye and give strong eye contact and he cannot hug and do social moments of interaction. My Dad always told me there is no such thing is “can’t” just you haven’t figured out “how.” Five years later Dad, Johnny is definitely figuring out “how.”