I don’t remember knowing the word autism until I was well into my teenage years. There would be the occasional documentary on the telly that featured children with remarkable artistic talents. Of course, that is not the real story about the autistic spectrum at all. My daughter is autistic and my son has autistic traits according to his special needs reports from school, We home educate my daughter as she was not well served by a school environment. Every child with autism is different just like ever child who is not on the spectrum. I am grateful to Sophie who has shared her experiences of parenting a child with autism.
“Firstly, I’d like to introduce myself, my blog is called Mummy of a Square Peg and I write about family life trying to raise a child with autism. I have two boys aged 9 and 6, our youngest son Edward was diagnosed with autism at 3.5. I call him the Square Peg because autism just doesn’t fit into the round hole that is mainstream. To be honest, the diagnosis was all a bit of a surreal experience. Something that we didn’t want to be the case, we were desperate for our child to just be ‘normal’ but that wasn’t to be. So I guess we just have to take daily life as it comes and deal with the challenges (and there are many) as they crop up.
In the beginning
When Edward was a baby, everything seemed to be ok, he started sitting up at 8 months old, crawling at one and walking at 18 months. Although these were late milestones compared to his older brother they are still within the normal range so I didn’t think there was any cause for concern. His speech wasn’t great but I kept thinking, it’s ok he’ll start talking properly any day now….but that never happened.
At the age of two he had the check up with the health visitor. She said we’ll refer him to the paediatrician. 18 weeks was the waiting time. Anyway we were eventually seen by a paediatrician who said that he would put Edward on the ASC Pre school pathway. There was a lot of uncertainty as they had never met anyone like Edward before.
The diagnosis of my child with autism
Eventually they decided to diagnose him with ASC with speech and language difficulties. I didn’t know what to feel after this, I felt I should be relieved but it left me with more questions than answers….Where on the spectrum is he? Is he ever going to be able to communicate with us? Is he going to be able to function in society? How far behind his peers is he going to be? Will he ever catch up? Why has this happened? Was there anything I could have done? Of course, no one can answer these, but for a while I couldn’t stop speculating about them.
However, life has to go on and I had to face up to the fact that my child is autistic and carry on. Fortunately we were able to get him into a Special Needs school and he absolutely loves it. We also decided as a family that we wouldn’t shy away from going out and about with him, even though it would be challenging. We take him to parties, to the beach, to sports matches, cinema, theatre shows etc. I believe that all of these experiences that he is exposed to help him to build on his social skills.
My blog and how it has helped me
The main thing that helped me come to terms with it all was writing my blog Mummy of a Square Peg. I find it therapeutic to write about the trials and tribulations of trying to raise a child with autism, but also that my blog has reached out and helped so many people going through similar situations. There is still a lot of public misunderstanding about autism so I’m also hoping that my blog will serve to increase society’s awareness so that when my son grows up he’ll find that the round hole will have some straight edges so he can fit in better.”