Many people have been telling us how lucky we are that we have already got Dylan seen by therapists, that we have got his education plan started and that we are already on the right route for him. Though how true really is this?
They tell you of the story of their best friends, cousins, aunties child who was only recently diagnosed at the age of ten. That they had been going through school without getting any extra help as they didn’t know anything was wrong until the school or someone else pointed it out. They then encouragingly tell us that Dylan will do great because if this kid could do it in mainstream school, why couldn’t he. That people didn’t even know, so people won’t notice with Dylan.
By this stage I’m already tuning out, nodding along, or looking at them like that have 6000 heads.
Don’t get me wrong I am super pleased that this child that they know somehow is now getting extra support and doing fantastically, but lets be realistic
If you think these stories that you are telling me are helping me, or if you think all autistic children are the same; I encourage you to come to my house, give Dylan his lunch and then take him out to… let’s say for example soft play. (All children love soft play, right?) You can see what its really like and I can have some much needed me time, maybe I’ll clean, bath, or even have a nap!
Now that you are back to a refreshed and rested me, let’s have that chat again.
Do you now understand how this story is a much different case than Dylan?
You see, he couldn’t cope in a mainstream school. He is non-verbal, and well you have just had him out for the day so you witnessed his melt downs, how he lacks the understanding of any basic instructions, that he doesn’t enjoy what most kids enjoy, that there is no chance that he could make it to the age of ten before we questioned this. How in a mainstream school he wouldn’t cope a day, let alone several years?
I will listen to your story and tell you how great it is that this child has now got the help they need, but please don’t try and link it to my son until you have witnessed what he is like.
That it isn’t just because of my background that this has been spotted early, that this would have been spotted by my health visitor anyway even without my questions and phone calls to her.
My son has severe autism, this affects everything and anything he does, every day.
Not just when he hasn’t slept well, or has a cold, or on Sunday.
This is every day, everything we do, and anything he does.
“If you’ve met one person with autism, you’ve met one person with autism” – Stephen Shore.