Theo is my second child and from very early on, my husband and I noticed a difference between him and our daughter. It wasn’t anything in particular that we could put our fingers on, but just a feeling we had.
At around 16 months old, we started to notice significant differences; Theo wouldn’t respond to his name, he didn’t want to interact, he chose to be by himself a lot and he had little to no eye contact with us. As soon as I read up about autism, I knew that’s what we were looking at with Theo. The beginning of our journey was extremely daunting and very isolating. We were told time and time again that Theo was “too young” to receive a diagnosis, but they suspected it was autism.
At the age of 2 years and 5 months, Theo received his official diagnosis of autism spectrum disorder. We thought, at that point, that our journey would become much easier and that services and support would come flooding in, but it didn’t and we sat there, even more disillusioned.
Theo is now 4.5 years, he is currently non-verbal and has had very little input from services. All the research I read in those early days suggested that early intervention was key, however it feels like that kind of support does not exist currently, for young children with autism. Theo now attends a specialist school where he receives wonderful help and support on a daily basis.
Over the years, I have made a number of very solid friendships with other autism mums, many of which are online friendships. These ladies get me through some of our hardest days; they check in on me; they invest in me; and I will forever be eternally grateful for the support and friendship I have found. One piece of advice I would give to someone who is just starting on their autism journey is to listen to your heart, find people who understand and keep pushing, even on those days when you don’t think you can anymore.
Author credit: Lorraine Wilkinson