How we came to find ourselves on the Autism Adventure Trail
"Autism is a journey I didn't plan ..... but I sure do love my tour guide" - anon
I love this quote it defines our current position; not once did I plan to travel the autism journey and to be honest, before I had kids I hadn't even heard of it.
So where did the journey start for us?
Well, it started the day my son was born, we just didn't know it yet. I had always loved babies and enjoyed other peoples babies, but something was different when I had Master E and over time I came to believe more and more that there must have been something wrong with me.
Master E didn't engage with us the same way I had known other babies to, he didn't play the way other babies did, he had a lot of health issues and food allergies and over time became more and more unsettled.
But on the other hand he was amazing, I could take him places and he'd be calm and easy to manage provided he had his comforters (such as blanket and dummy). This is why I believed perhaps it was simply that I wasn't cut out to be a good mum.
Over the years more and more 'quirks' came up, and he became fixated on things. By the age of 2 he found his passion, Thomas the Tank Engine. It all spiraled from there, he would watch the wheels for hours, he wanted to have every train available, the only words he would use were related to Thomas the Tank Engine, he would watch the same movie over and over and over whilst mimicking it.
At three and a half years he was diagnosed with a severe speech delay and at four years started speech therapy.
Even with a severe speech delay he was always social which we view as a blessing. He had attended childcare as a baby and toddler where he had friends, and made friends in kindergarten and school.
It was just before Master E started school, that someone mentioned Autism in relation to Master E, with some extra reading and several meetings with the kindergarten, speech therapist and school, I realised where we were going and within a few weeks we had a confirmed diagnosis. It all fell into place.
It's like I looked at him and all the puzzle pieces fit, it wasn't just little quirks we had to manage, it was Autism and although all the things that were to come seemed overwhelming, even to me, and I felt a sense of guilt for not seeing it earlier, I found overall I was Proud! Proud of him, and how far he'd come with none of us really understanding just how hard this journey had been for him.
I realised then that we were all now traveling the Autism Adventure Trail, but that Master E, well he'd been on it all along, yet now he wasn't alone.
And although none of us are perfect, deep down I know he is and wouldn't change him for the world.