In the beginning I sat across from the doctor’s desk with my partner and son and started to well up. Like girly, sappy, you should really pull yourself together before you utterly embarrass everyone, well up.
Luckily for me my partner beat me to the punch. “Jess, it’s just autism babe”. Now to many people that may seem like the most heartless and ignorant thing someone could say to a mother who’s 3 year old was just given the ‘BIG A’ diagnosis, but here are 2 facts about this situation.
First , my partner ( now husband) has an extensive background in disabilities and mental health (It’s his profession). And secondly, it was the best thing anyone has ever said to me in regards to our situation with our son. It has literally kept me sane and smiling the whole time.
“That’s super bloody weird” some of you may think, but in our case it really is our little family motto. It’s just Autism. It’s not cancer. It’s not a death sentence. It’s not social out casting. It’s not corruption or greedy or pollution or global warming…or the million other things in this world that make it so fucked up a lot of the time. It’s just something that we all as a family can manage and get the best out of for our awesome little super boy.
Now, I totally get that this would not apply for every family. Believe me I know that there are so, so, so many various forms and every single child is different, hence why they call it a spectrum. Just watch a parents face when someone asks them …’So…..what kind of Autism has he/she got?” You see this half smile almost curl onto their face and that glazed look in their eye as they repeat the memorised paragraph they have recited to probably every single person they have met since their child was diagnosed. You have to you see…to keep sane and not punch people
( I do not incite violence here) But in essence a spectrum means…..EVERY CHILD IS COMPLETELY DIFFERENT. We will get to that at a later time.
Back to the doctor’s office.
So he has autism. After my partner dropped his comment on me something really strange started to sink in. I started to feel (again this is going seem weird) but, I started to feel relief and a bit of…So I was right! See after a year and a half of speech therapy and different testing and millions of break downs, well we were right. Something was up. I will admit at the beginning I was in denial before I started to see the signs but it quickly disappeared when you see your child completely stop babbling and communicating or fall off a huge jungle gym and not make a peep, or watch the washing machine spin for an entire hour. And when your child is super young all you hear is….”oh you know…every child develops in their own way at the own time”. Yeah that’s true…but when a parent thinks something is up….they are usually right. So yeah, in essence I was like ..ha…yep I was right people don’t ever question us again. And that year and a half previously meant we got somewhere. Little did I know that things for us actually got a lot better than the time before,.
It was like this golden gate of support opened up. Funding, Therapies, networks, workshops. It is so hard and heart breaking in the lead up to a diagnosis because you just don’t know what is going to happen and honestly, you are so bloody drained, but after, well you don’t feel as alone. You still have your moments don’t get me wrong but it can and in in our case did get a lot better. Admittedly after a bottle of wine that night (do not judge) we had figured out an incredible, bullet proof game plan.
I’m just joking…. but the wine did help.
If you would like any information regarding the funding packages available to your family after a diagnosis contact Autism Queensland at http://www.autismqld.com.au or 1800 428847 and speak to one of the friendly staff or alternatively discuss with your care provider.