Autism, What It Means To Me

 

why an autism diagnosis was a blessing to my familykeep calm and shine onIt is Autism Awareness day, and for that, we wear BLUE!

My oldest son (now 7), was diagnosed in 2011 and I have to say, it was a blessing.

You might wonder, ‘why a blessing?  Wouldn’t a diagnosis be upsetting to most families?’

I don’t think this is true for the autism diagnosis.  For autism, it is not like receiving the diagnosis of cancer.  We knew that our son had challenges (my son was adopted and he was also 16 weeks premature and exposed to drugs and alcohol during gestation).  For us, and many other families I believe, it is almost a sigh of relief.  This diagnosis does not change who he is, he has always been that way, it will only change how we can help him.  Now we have the ‘label’, which to me, comes with some helpful things.

I love a child with Autism

1. Trained professionals who are capable of working and helping children with autism.  We have a great team of behaviour interventionists, a behavioural consultant, OT (occupational therapist), a clinical counselor, and a special educational assistant. No 2 people are the same, no 2 days are the same.

2. Funding.  Here in BC, children diagnosed with autism receive up to $22,000 a year to use towards therapy and equipment for children UNDER THE AGE OF 6, For children OVER 6, we receive up to $6,000.  This decrease is due to the belief that the schools will be able to provide the remaining support and with the children being in school (most full time), the children will not need as much therapy at home.

3. Understanding.  Some moms of children with autism may disagree with me.  But as a mom of a child exposed prenatally to drugs and alcohol, as well as premature, trying to explain why my child was acting different is now a lot easier.  ‘He has autism’ may not be entirely understood by all people, but believe me, it is easier than describing everything and having the looks that I have to follow with ‘he’s adopted’ (which I am happy to talk about, but I don’t think is EVERYONE’S business).  Most people, especially child care workers, sports instructors, sunday school teachers and lifeguards will understand the basics of autism.

4. Community.  For the first time, I feel like my son had a group he ‘belonged’ to.  I also had a community to reach out and contribute to.  Locally I have a new Facebook group for parents of children with ASD or SPD.  (Feel free to comment below if you want to get the links).  We also have great organizations, like Autism Speaks and Canucks Autism Network, who are an amazing source of information and activities, specifically for autism.
Autism is hard, loving him is easy.
Special needs is awesome.Everyday is a challenge and changes quickly, but we are a family and get through it together.  Our son was meant to be ours forever.  Autism is part of us, but not all of us.

Do you have an autism post?  Link up below.

Do you have a comment or story?  I would love to read your comments on my post.

How can you help? Support our family as we walk for Autism.



About

Catherine, a mom-erce promotion whiz is the mommy of four awesome boys and one little princess. Lover of cupcakes and all things kid related (except video games). A serial mompranuer, Cat currently owns FlipSize Canada as well as being co-owner of TOTS: Business and TOTS: Family. Be sure to follow her on Instagram.

Comments

  1. Chrystie W says

    As a special education assistant for our local school district I really appreciate your post! All too often parents are hesitant to put their child through autism testing, thinking the diagnosis will put a stigma on their child. It is painful when we know a child could receive support through their school if they only had that “label”, but instead we have our hands tied because our government will not give that child support time without it! I encourage all parents who suspect their child has special needs to surround themselves with the best support they can find, and if that means doing testing and getting a “label” then do it, and begin your child’s journey towards success :)

  2. Anne Sweden says

    I’m so glad that a diagnosis opened up a world of support and possibilities for your son. Once you know what you’re dealing with, you can make a plan and move forward!

    • Cat says

      Exactly. That’s how I feel on many aspects of parenting. Find the underlying issue and you can solve any problem!

  3. jennyatdapperhouse says

    This is all good information, but especially number 3 is great because your child can maintain his dignity and privacy.

  4. Lisa says

    I couldn’t love this special guy anymore!!! So glad to know that Cat and her family have found the support they need to help this boy grow into the incredible man I know he will be.

  5. Twoleftffeet says

    Great article! I needed this today :). I have a daughter with SPD and am going through the assessment at Sunnyhill coming up for ASD. I wonder how I would feel with a different “label” but I would welcome the extra support! And you are sooo right, she would be the same as before the “label”.

    • Cat says

      Thanks for sharing. My point of writing this was to reach people like you. Don’t be sad if she gets the diagnosis. It means you can start moving forward and finding solutions. It does not change anything for the negative, I promise!

  6. Heather Johnson says

    I totally get what you mean by “blessing.” unless you have a diagnosis, you can’t do anything about the situation. Thanks for sharing your story!

  7. Celeste says

    Our friends’ son has autism, and getting an actual diagnosis also helped them a lot. They had been in and out of Sick Kids for months with a number of devastating and incorrect diagnoses. Thanks for a great article to build awareness!

  8. Ashleigh Swerdfeger says

    This is very well written. I have two cousins with autisum diagnoses that are spread across the spectrum. Growing up, they were bullied a lot because of their differences. People still do not really understand Autism, so I’m glad you are spreading awareness.
    http://www.ashleighgfg.blogspot.com

  9. netta says

    Thank you for your words of encouragement. I have an 8 year old son that has autism. It is a journey that many people still don’t understand.

  10. Ronna says

    I totally get it! My daughter has Rett Syndrome, the severest form of Autism on the Spectrum, and it is sometimes difficult for others to understand. But, we love her just the way she is, she is perfect! =)

  11. says

    What a great post! I don’t have as much resources available to me where I am at with a “simple” diagnosis of SPD, but it has brought much comfort. You are right…the diagnosis does not change them. We already love them for who they are, but it brings understanding…not only to other families but to myself. I had no idea why my son did some of the things he did. I had never heard of SPD. And the community support…what a blessing!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

CommentLuv badge