My eldest son ‘O’ was diagnosed and put on the Autistic Spectrum at the age of 2 1/2years old. He is now 13 1/2yrs. They weren’t sure where on the spectrum exactly, but that he probably wouldn’t have any friends, birthday parties, speak properly and live with me forever. The next advice was that I should go and read some books.
And so our journey and knowledge of Autism began. O’s dad and I dealt with it in very different ways; he avoided it, I was consumed by Autism and O for years. I read as much as I could, watched documentaries, went to seminars, researched online. But, he didn’t seem to fit into an exact stereotype. This was where I went wrong. The Autistic Spectrum is so vast and levels of Autism vary, that I was never going to find an exact replica of my son. And, thinking about it now, I’m not sure I would want to. I just wanted the best and latest ways to help him understand people around him and be happy.
There has been lots of paperwork over the years, regarding statements (the bain of my life), school meetings (I sense their sinking feeling when they see me coming), speech therapy (weekly, for 7yrs), and my tears of frustration, sadness, happiness and pride.
O went to a private school for 5years, which helped a lot. He was in a class of 7, had an excellent speech and language therapist and a great support worker. This helped his progress dramatically. He then went to main stream school (due to funds), a huge change, but he dealt with it amazingly well, considering his obsession for routine.
Oscar is high functioning on the Autistic Spectrum. Last year I went and had him re-assessed, simply because he was now in secondary school, we’d never had a proper ‘Autism’ conversation and he is so different to what he was like when he was a 2year old. O would be described as having Aspergers Syndrome if discussed in labeling terms now. It doesn’t make any difference to us, it will just help when and if he wants to know more or wants advice about anything. At the moment he’s not interested.
O likes his routine, obsessed with time, repeats himself ALOT (especially if HE thinks it’s interesting or funny), and is very literal. So, you need to say ‘exactly’ what you mean because he corrects you, holds you to it and can be very frustrating hearing him say “well, if you meant that, then you should have said it like this.”
He has his obsessions and quirks, and can be the sweetest, sensitive most loving boy. He is also a typical teenage boy, lazy, monosyllabic and console loving.
I’m very proud of how O is, and how he has managed mainstream school and relationships. He does have friends, has had parties and been to them. There will always be lists and labels around to help him remember certain things, orders in which you should probably do things, and may have to work a little harder on social interaction than some.
I’ve learned a lot from this boy, my first love, he is AWESOME.