My Son has Autism

Was it the MMR? Did I eat a healthy diet? Was I exposed to chemicals? Did I behave responsibly before, during & after pregnancy? Did I run away with aliens? I have lost count how many times people ask ridiculous questions like this when they find out my son has Autism. They never seem satisfied by the answers that current research provides and I’m not in a place to argue with these spontaneous experts.

I’ve no doubt that physical and emotional stress played a huge part, but you must understand that the perfect storm had brewed over our heads; I had just escaped an incredibly vicious and toxic relationship with my two precious girls & a pregnancy that I was still unaware of.

Complications during that pregnancy make one of my most joyous moments, also the most sorrowful, because discovering life threatening problems with your unborn child make you consider things you’d never want to imagine. I think I probably stopped processing information the moment I heard “lesions” and agreed to all the tests they wanted to run.  Waiting for those test results to come back felt longer than all of my pregnancies stuck together.

The news was good, but  the NHS insisted on keeping a very close watch to make sure the lesions were decreasing. I focused my attention on the ‘right now’ so to speak. Pregnancy dealt me a fair amount of inexplicable pain, but none of this came close to preparing us for a life with Autism.

His development during those first few months seemed “normal”, in some cases above national averages by society’s standards and he caught on to a lot of things a lot quicker than his sisters. In that moment, life was easier than it was before.

It was during this moment of serenity that I felt my world shattering once more. I was diagnosed with Thyroid Cancer and my beautiful children gave me the strength to kick its sorry arse (excuse my French)!

His outlook & behaviour changed suddenly before his first birthday, but after everything physiological was ruled out, looking back they were pseudo-diagnosing me as Munchusens-byproxy and completely ignoring my poor son’s obvious developmental problems.

I am not sure what would have happened to my brilliant son if it wasn’t for the health visitor I knew from when my eldest was a baby. She saved him from an agonising childhood, because she fought beside me and tried to make everyone else pay attention.

Around the age of 2 we noticed that he did not enjoy social interactions with his peers, which is also around the same time that Autism was introduced as a theory to explain his personal space issues, sensory problems & “socially unacceptable” behaviour. The poor boy was a guinea pig, but we just wanted to help him feel comfortable, happy & content; the way an innocent child should feel.

When an Educational Psychologist first mentioned Autism, a lot of things made a sense and we started to make a plan, which unfortunately began with a list of horrendous questions, that make you feel terrible as a parent, but when you get to the bones of it, we still don’t know much about Autism, so I guess for the most part, were research questions.

He will be 17 soon, has a very eclectic range in his interests and is one of the brightest & loving characters you could ever hope to meet.