Autism is an extra Superpower

Our autism journey started last year in march 2017. My son Albie was your average little boy he developed up to age of 21 months. He walked early, crawled and even starting bubbling and saying mama, dada. He did everything a child should be doing for his age and more.

Christmas of 2016 I realised something was not right with Albie as he had become very withdrawn, shy and wasn't really responding to his name. Albie was always a happy little soul and he was really confident and I had also noticed the bubbling had stop.

I decided to take him to a speech therapist as I was worried and always googling to figure out why he had become this way. Speech therapist confirmed to me that Albies eye contact is very worrying and she was worried about his level of speech. I was referred to see a paediatrician and child psychologist as in a previous appointment with the paediatrician she had stated to me and my husband that Albie is showing traits of autism. In my head I thought no way is Albie autistic he is to happy and he can socialise with everyone, well people he knows and he loves playing with older kids.

The appointment with the psychologist was the hardest thing I have ever had to face, being told your child doesn't play with toys as he should be and he isn't communicating and showing enjoyment of playing and I just kept thinking this isn't Albie who they talking about. The end of the appointment we were offered a appointment to see an ASD specialist as this is where Albie would receive his full diagnosis and the waiting time was 6 months and we were giving the national autistic society website in which I remember saying 'how is this going to help us' I was filled with emotion and anger as we were basically left to deal with this on our own. I spent weeks grieving for my Albie and it felt like someone had taken him away and brought him back but different. I locked Albie in a bubble as I wanted to protect him from the world.

After taking it all in I finally become strong enough to argue and fight to get him support, I spent weeks reading NICE policy guidelines and the send code of practice as I wanted to know everything and when I was at work I was wrapped up in my office researching autism down to every little detail. I watched films and was reading books on autism. After about 2 weeks I then started emailing various organisations asking why they have a policy that states children with suspected autism should be seen within 3 months.

Min July 2017 my son had been referred a portage worker as We had made a complaint about not being offered any support while waiting for the autism appointment. This lady was like the autism fairy godmother and it was like her and Albie had known each other for the longest time. I remember her pulling me aside after she had played with Albie and she said 'Your all gonna get through this' it was like finally I have met someone who finally gets it. She will never realise how thankful I am. She helped me find Albie the prefect school.

My son was finally diagnosed in November 2017, this appointment was different from the others. The ASD specialist was so nice, he played with Albie and really focused on his positives and he confirmed to us that Albie will eventually talk and he will get better with age and he was right.

My son makes me incredibly proud every single day, every new word spoken and every milestone he reaches and he faces his fears each day and has learnt how to cope with situations that he might find uncomfortable. my son is now speaking, does makaton and communicates in so many ways. He shows enjoyment when playing and his eye contact is fantastic :) he has learnt so much and he is well supported and everyone who meets him is always telling us how much they enjoy working with him. Autism has opened so many doors I have learnt makaton, PECS and done autism awareness courses and met so many amazing parents.

Today I look at autism and see it as an extra superpower that Albie has been granted and as his parents we have been blessed with this amazing little super human who makes us super proud. I spent months trying to fight autism and trying to figure out why this happened to my baby boy and I lost sight of the bigger picture but autism is not straight forward and things can't be fixed over night it's takes time. Myself and husband both say we wouldn't change Albie but we would change the way people view autism.