Autism Awareness Day - One Families Inspiring Story
TODAY is WORLD AUTISM AWARENESS DAY!
Here is an inspiring story from a Mother and Father that never gave up, even after being advised by professionals they were wasting their time.
Today a good friend of mine shared a piece of her life on Facebook. It was a powerful, inspiring, heartwarming story that took me from tears of sadness to tears of joy. I feel very blessed to have this special person in my life, and it is a great privilege that she has allowed me to share her very special and emotional journey. I hope that by sharing this it gives other parents living with a child diagnosed with a disability hope for the future.
Remember even when against the odds ALWAYS KEEP GOING!
By a very special Mum and Friend x
As most of you know our eldest son has Autism. No, you wouldn't pick it now however twelve years ago when he was two, we had a little boy lost deep in HIS world. In 2010 I wrote a snapshot of OUR journey through Autism in the first three years and I wanted to share again with you all as it gives others hope who are currently in the same shoes, we were in.
It covered from when my eldest son B was diagnosed at two and a half years old until he started school at five and a half years old.
This was written in 2010, I thank you for taking the time to read it.
For me, I look back and it frightens me... I look ahead and I'm scared so it is best for me to live day to day...
With World Autism Awareness Day being April 2nd and April being World Autism Awareness MONTH, not often do I reflect on our journey so far as it is very difficult and provokes lots of emotions... but I have and I will share with you a snapshot of our journey and some of my innermost thoughts.
At two years old when alarm bells were ringing for me as my son B was displaying VERY odd behaviours and no speech our treacherous journey from heartbreak to triumph began.
Back then, I could never have imagined that one word could mean so much 'Autism’ and that it would impact our family to a degree we never thought possible. I remember crying myself to sleep almost every night for around six months as I researched this lifelong neurological disorder and realised how complex and tangled the wiring in B’s brain was... there was very little hope to hold onto, but I was not about to wait and see what happened.
The day following his diagnosis my 'teacher' hat would be the most crucial in helping our son. My husband and I completed a course in Sydney and so it started.
Four to six hours every day, seven days a week of one on one learning... all the things that normal children learn naturally had to be taught as well as somehow, I had to teach my son to speak.
The battle began but with every minute achievement, my strength to go on refuelled. B showed enormous determination to try and stay engaged with me but at this stage 'his world' was a much more interesting and safer place, so every day was a battle to just engage him during those gruelling hours, not to mention the speech therapy and occupational therapy appointments.
At the one-year mark (B was three and a half years old) we were finally getting single words from him and at times yet rare, two words put together... WE WERE ECSTATIC!
We knew he didn't understand a word he was saying but he was speaking and that was like winning the lotto to us back then. As the teaching continued and tiny yet massive gains were being made, we started to see a glimpse of our son...
that’s when I finally knew he would be happier in our world and I had to keep going.
It was around four years old that for the first time ever he told me 'love u' and appropriately. Well, you can imagine how happy I was! Life continued in an upward direction... day by day we accomplished more and more and behind the scenes the work at night to prepare for the next day halved from four hours to two hours of preparation. It seemed to be getting easier and we were seeing more and more of our son every day.
We continued this for three years until just after he was five years old. During that time, I added in play sessions to teach B how to play with other children. I remember the first time I had a friend’s child come over for a playdate. B had seen him coming through the window…and yelled out ’go away’.
He was not interested in any child but after three months of perseverance the tables turned and B started to enjoy the play sessions and the interactions during this time became more meaningful.
It was then that we started making gains socially and he was starting to enjoy the company of others. The final year of our intensive intervention saw the quickest and most amazing accomplishments as the pennies started to drop and everything was finally piecing/coming together for him.
That year he was speaking in full sentences, having meaningful conversations and yes, was asking for his friends to come and play! Our hopes and dreams for B were coming true. It was then that I finally took time out for me and joined FB, from then until now I have shared snippets of his achievements and the journey on FB so I know u all know where he is at today… a placid, bright little boy with a beautiful spirit that gives it his ALL & lights up our every day.
A COUPLE OF MY STRUGGLES AND LESSONS
If I could’ve been guaranteed I’d live as long as B, I’d have happily moved to the sticks and lived our life in this world but that was NEVER going to be an option.
That’s when I realised, I could waste no time as none knows what tomorrow may bring… this could be my last day to help my son however, I was hoping I’d have many long years ahead to help him through the maze of life.
All but one professional told us that the many sacrifices we’d be making by putting in six hours of one on one therapy every day would be of very little gain. After much thought I told them (much to their shock) that we were going ahead and if the outcome was not what we had hoped for, then at least we knew we had given him the best possible chance and we could rest easier knowing we had done all we could to help B.
The advice to us couldn’t have been more wrong…I’m so glad we followed our heart.
Back in the beginning Autism was a swear word to me but now I am so thankful for what 'Autism' has taught me and how I discovered, B was to be my best teacher in life.
I’m so grateful for him being him, teaching me patience like I NEVER knew possible, unconditional love of another kind, determination, understanding and acceptance for individuality, a mindset that you can do anything you set your mind to but above all TRY not to judge as you never know what someone is going through until you’ve walked in their shoes.
FRIENDS & FAMILY
In the beginning I wrote an email to my close friends and told them that the next few years were for B and to bear with me… that they did with much love and support.
I could not give much in return as my entire time was absorbed in taking advantage of B’s every waking hour. I’m so thankful for my dear friends… even though they knew I wouldn’t be able to make girls nights out, parties, BBQ’s etc they still invited us as they always wanted me to feel included and I guess deep down they hoped that this may be the one time I’d say yes. After the never ending no’s I finally did get to say yes.
The very first time I ventured out with the girls (it was only dinner) I felt so socially awkward… I’d come from being a fun confident and adventurous person (prior to B’s diagnosis) to being socially anxious. I was scared… where was ‘me’.
Over the following months I started feeling a bit more of me coming back and so did the laughter I once LOVED. I was finally rediscovering life and I finally felt it was ok to do things for me again.
Thank u to all my wonderful friends and family that stood by me in my darkest days/months until the light started to shine brighter as we got closer to getting our son back from his world to ours.
My husband, my irreplaceable mum, my wonderful brother and special little man B’s little brother for being my soft place to fall many a time. For B’s little brother being the best little brother, anyone could wish for. I feel very fortunate to have the best of both worlds… the struggles of a special needs child and the normality of a neurotypical child plus the special gift of another son to treasure, whatever the future may hold for him.
Dropping off the planet for three years was a small sacrifice for the life our family can now enjoy today. Life is good 🙂
Fast forward to now-2019... our beautiful boy is shining bright, cruising through year 7 & 8 and this year in GATS for all subjects. That I really don’t care however for a child like him it just shows how tirelessly he’s worked because being and staying in GATS is no easy feat for even a neurotypical child.
Him, his journey continues to make us believe that ANYTHING IS POSSIBLE 💙
It is important for you to know that this mother not only spent hours of one to one therapy teaching him basic life skills, but she also undertook the following treatments:
- Biomedical Intervention
- Gluten and Casein Free Diet
I want to share some useful articles to help parents on their journey.
I am overwhelmed with the support groups and free information regarding these treatments along with the positive results so many have experienced.
I highly recommend you Google: ‘gfcf diet autism success’ to find lots of inspiring stories from other parents regarding their experience with the Gluten, Casein Free Diet.
Here is a great resource for the Gluten and Casein Free Diet, a Dad has documented in length his experience and tried to explain as much as possible to help fellow parents: https://imsimplyadad.com/gfcf-diet-guide/
Biomedical Intervention, Learn More: https://www.brainchildnutritionals.com/wts/autism-starter-kit/
Another great success story from a parent that experienced a similar journey by opting for the use of dietary change, biomedical treatment and traditional autism therapies. Listen to the story here:
I hope this helps and inspires all parents, never give up!
Thank you again to my dear friend for allowing me to share a snippet of one of the hardest times of life. You truly inspire me every day!
Parents are the reason I started my business, and being able to help only one person, will feel like a success to me. Living with a disability is not easy, and if we can inspire, help or ease one parent's day then we feel like our purpose is being served.
Do you have an inspiring story you would like to share? If so send an email to email@example.com and we'll share as many as possible.