Having a child with autism is……
Hi, my name is Ann, and I started Autism Real Talk for caregivers of children recently diagnosed with autism and for those who wish to learn more about what it’s like having a child with autism.
I started this blog as a personal outlet to express the daily challenges, victories, frustrations and breakthroughs–the emotional roller-coaster that is caring for a child with autism. Caring for a child with autism can be extremely challenging and isolating. Your whole family is impacted. Your career goals are impacted. Even just trying to get though a day can be so hard that you just want to give up all your plans and stay home with your child because it’s easier than trying to face the world with autism.
I am here to offer an understanding shoulder to lean on for support and to know that I’m not alone either. I don’t have all the answers, but I have learned to have compassion for myself and for all caregivers of disabled children and adults.
So, welcome to this blog!
We all have our officially-got-the-diagnosis stories. Here is mine:
My son Joseph was “officially” diagnosed with autism in October 2015 at age 3, but we knew he probably had autism from an earlier age.
From the time he was born, he hated to be bathed or wet. We could not bathe him at all; he would scream and cry each time we tried. It was different from our eldest child who may have been hesitant during those first few baths – this was screaming bloody murder every time we tried to bathe him and it was unrelenting. Another thing that tipped us off was that he was more sensitive than his older sibling and needed to be tightly swaddled in order to fall sleep. If he was not tightly swaddled, he would startle himself awake constantly. I had to move into the bedroom with him to make sure he stayed swaddled and even then, he never slept through the night and still wakes up in the middle of the night to this day. There were other signs early on like not respond to his name, he knew his name, but if you called him, he wouldn’t look at you during those early years.
A few months after his second birthday, we became more concerned because Joseph wasn’t speaking like a typical 28-month-old would and he was violent when trying to communicate his needs. We contacted our local public school system who perform evaluations on infants and toddlers to see if they have hearing problems, language delays, or developmental delays. We were shocked to find out that our 2 ½ year old son was functioning at a 6-8-month-old level. He was eligible to receive speech and behavioral early intervention services twice a week until he turned three-years old and then we had the option of enrolling him into an “Early Learners” program at a public school where he would have an IEP (Individualized Educational Program) and receive services until he was ready for Kindergarten. In September 2017, he will be eligible to attend kindergarten in one of four autism programs in his county.
Joseph has been very successful while attending the Early Learner’s Program at a local elementary school. He went from functioning at a 6-8-month-old level to a 2 ½ – 3-year-old level. Although Joseph still has many barriers and goals to overcome and achieve, he will have our full support in working towards them.
Well, that is my story. I know that each of you has yours. I look forward to hearing your stories and sharing ideas.