So yesterday I wrote my first blog for some time about autism and the impact it has on children’s lives. I have to write again about early intervention and the hope it offers parents or does it? Most important is the impact it has on young children with autism.
I have two sons with autism. My eldest is probably more severely affected but only got a formal diagnosis from Christopher Gillberg when he was nine. Callybally was more fortunate. When he was a baby I was used to Ls behavior, as a parent I adapted to how to support him. Callybally’s behavior was just normal to me. With two children under the age of five I just did what I could. We had support from our local special needs department the Panda Centre. I went to a group who offered baby massage. Looking back I should have been more aware that he hated it so much. He needed being held tightly but he was my blue eyed wee baby. L his older brother had so many physical and social issues that I had enough on my plate.
He went to a review at The Panda Centre and I thought he would be signed off. Instead he went from radiator to radiator banging his head. Its okay I told the doctor, he does this when he was anxious. He looked at me. “I think he has autism”. I died inside. The concerns were followed up though. He had super support from an amazing nursery and primary school. My Callybally has done so well. He has anxiety, difficulty sleeping and lots of other issues autism and adolescence bring to the table but he had a great start. It was age five he received a formal diagnosis.
So I believe in early intervention. Yesterday I watched a television article about autism and “trained” parents. These words were being used not only by academics but a national autism charity. I object to that terminology. We are not trained but adapt to our children’s needs. I attended a Hanen “More Than Words course which so helped me but I still reiterate the most I have learned is from meeting other parents.
This study is of 151 children most of whom the researcher says were non verbal. After all how many children receive a diagnosis of autism aged two? What about those children who like my son received great nursery support and though he still has autism has progressed so much. I am concerned about the use of the word .
Autism parents are all , I have learned so much from my carer friends. Again I object to the language used when I believe all parents of a child with autism are super. We advocate for our children, fight battles for them. Going on a course does not make you a super parent a more aware one of course. The more knowledge you have the better.
I worry about the implications, especially in the present political climate. Parents are already being asked to attend Triple P classes for children with undiagnosed issues. Am sad to say but I can imagine a time in the future when during completing a DLA or PIP form the question is asked about a parents attendance at training to understand their child’s needs. Like Type 2 diabetes, will the severity of a child’s autism be blamed on a parent. I hope so but I worry.
I love my boys so much. They have made me a better person. The support I have received has created a scaffold that supports us. With cuts to services I know many families are not so lucky. Early Intervention does not to be named it should be there for all children despite having a diagnosis or not. Sending much love to all the autism parents I know. You are all super. Never change. Change the system though even if it is one child at a time others will follow in their footsteps. I wish to all living with autism a cloak of steel. You are a super person.