So recently, back in March to be exact, we got a diagnosis of Autism for our 4 year old son, Bowie. To say it was a shock is an understatement. Bowie is non verbal so I suppose that was our first idea something may have been wrong but we weren’t unduly worried. He was put on the early intervention list after the Public Health Nurse thought he might have some Occupational Therapy needs too. We waited 20 months to be called for our first appointment with the early intervention team. In that period of time Bowie still wasn’t talking but again, we weren’t overly worried as he had no other issues. So he finally got his assessments and an autism diagnosis. Since then and having read a lot about autism and thoroughly immersed myself in this new world, it seems that the spectrum is just huge. I admit I knew very little about Autism. I had thought that everyone with Autism had the same behavioural issues. I now know that if you’ve met one person with Autism, you’ve met one person with Autism.
Knowing now what I didn’t know then, there were probably some signs that were there that we just didn’t realise were Autism traits. There was none of the more common autism behaviours or what I had assumed to be common Autism behaviours. There was no hand flapping or tippy toe walking which can be signs of autism, there was no self injury or repetitive behaviours, no lining up his toys or needing a rigid routine. No meltdowns, no sleeping or feeding issues. He has no issues with eye contact or playing with other children. In fact there was very little to suggest Bowie was Autistic. However, he is quite aggressive especially when you tell him NO! He also behaves inappropriately when interacting with his peers. His social cues are way off & his levels of frustration are high. He also stims. Now we just assumed the noises he made were because he was trying to talk but in actual fact they are stimming noises to reduce the sensory overload he is feeling at any given time. He stims when he’s happily playing or when he is frustrated. He loves to box anyone and anything. Another sensory issue. ALL of this is new to us. So we are still coming to terms with this diagnosis and what it means for Bowie’s future and our family too. It’s like a door to a different world has opened up for us. A scary world we just don’t know. However, I have gone all ninja mammy and have thrown myself into learning as much as I can about Autism and it is EYEOPENING!!
There are too few school places for children with additional needs throughout Ireland. Parents are fighting for the basic right to education for their children. This is on top of the fight for services to help our children. I feel completely overwhelmed with helplessness to be honest. So I decided to do something to help. It’s only a small gesture right now but it’s the fastest way I can think of to start supporting our children. I’ve designed a t-shirt that says Different Not Less and €3 from each t-shirt sale will go to the charity As I Am which is the National Autism Charity & Advocacy Organisation. But I won’t stop there. I will be looking for other ways to use my platform to try to raise as much funds as possible for them and possibly other Autism charities. It’s all early days! If anybody has any ideas please email me and we can put our heads together firstname.lastname@example.org
Thanks for reading!