My son was diagnosed with Autism when he was 3 years old. It rocked my whole world. Raising a child with Autism can be unpredictable, stressful, filled with doctor’s appointments and routines, but it can also be life changing in a great way. My son is one of my heroes.
My son wakes up at almost the same time every morning. Routine. That’s what he goes by. While we can slightly change some things, he needs to have that routine to know when to transition to the next part of his day. Many of our days consist of Occupational Therapy and Physical Therapy back to back, Neurology appointments, and other specialists.
It’s during those times where I watch my son struggle, but never give up. He’s challenged on the different areas he struggles in, which are mainly sensory, physical, and emotional. Sometimes textures can set him off. Sometimes it’s sounds. He’s been sound sensitive since he was a very small baby. We never know what might trigger him. He gets frustrated easily and has breakdowns. My heart breaks for him when I see him get frustrated trying to do the “normal” things that kids his age can do.
Some days he’s bouncing off the walls all day, some days he’s on low speed. Learning to get him to “just right” speed has been a challenge, but in being constantly on him, and teaching him, he’s learned to tell me what speed he’s on, and what he needs.
He has to be constantly watched for seizures, both Absence seizures and Grand Mal. A camera is installed in his room, and he’s not allowed to do some of the normal things 6 year olds can do. He’ll be 7 this year. Just yesterday he broke down crying uncontrollably because he got the wrong toy in a Wendy’s kids meal. When he’s tired, we can expect the unexpected. Intellectually he’s well above average. Very expressive and understands well beyond his years. He shows an uncanny knack for cars. He seems to have an extreme amount of knowledge of the types of cars, the car parts, and minute details in regards to cars.
I know that there are worse cases, and I am grateful that our case is not one of them. My heart goes out to the parents that have more struggles than we do. I’ve learned that I have to be my son’s advocate, and fight for his care. If I don’t fight, he won’t get what he needs.
I’ve been the mom who’s son suddenly flies into a meltdown while shopping. I’ve been the mom who has had to leave the cart with everything in it, and carry my screaming child out of the store. I’ve been the mom you glared at and made faces at, and told me to beat my son to get him in line. I’ve been the mom that has told you to mind your business if you’re not helping. I’ve been that mom that cried many nights not knowing what to do. I am still that mom who wishes I had the answer to fix it, but I don’t.
He’s one of the sweetest, most affectionate little boys I’ve ever met, and I don’t just say that because he’s my son. He notices when I change my hair and makeup, and always compliments me and tells me I’m beautiful. He tries his best to be a good boy, and to do what we expect of him.
He’s a normal boy just like any other 6 year old. He just has challenges in some areas. He’s my sweet, little boy, whom I adore so much. I protect my son at all costs, and this post isn’t to expose him, but to help educate those who don’t know.
April is Autism Awareness month. My son is my constant teacher. As are the numerous other families with Autistic loved ones.