Unofficially it’s been a few years now, you’re 5, and it was around the age of 2 that we knew you were different from the other children your age. Facebook memories kindly reminded me this morning that one year ago today we got that letter which officially confirmed you had autism. At the time I started to draft a blog post about it like I have done so many times about autism, I’m pretty sure 100 of the 459 drafts I have on my blog dashboard is on the subject of autism. I find blogging about it difficult, somehow writing it all down makes it feel even more real than what it already is. I read so many brilliant blog posts from autistic parents which put it perfectly into words what I would like to say. So the last year I’ve become more of an autism blog reader than an actual autism blogger.
With the anniversary of his diagnosis, I’ve decided that this is going to change and I’m going to make it my mission to go back through my drafts and finish off those posts. The one’s that I cried over as I tried to put into words what those first few doctor appointments were like to what it was like taking him to his first day at a SEN (special educational needs) school instead of a mainstream one.
So what’s changed in the last year? Honestly? Everything and nothing. Dylan still has autism and always will be, this won’t change, but he will change, as he gets older the way the world seems to him will change, despite his current non-verbal state we know that much without him telling us. He has come on leaps and bounds at school, and I’m so happy he’s there, he’s somewhere where they understand him and cater to his needs. I’m grateful that I have this facility just down the road from us and right opposite Oli’s school which makes the school run so much easier in the morning.
Meltdowns have been rare in the last year, and he copes well with whatever difficult situations we put him through, including a trip to a busy city like New York. His comfort is that pushchair of his when he’s strapped into that he can face whatever the world throws at him. Without it he doesn’t do very well, this means as he outgrows this we’re now looking into the Maclaren Major Elite for him. Distractions work wonders 99% of the time, sadly the other weekend when we attended the Asparafest Festival he didn’t do so well at first as we were in a busy stage area. His brother and sister wanted to see Mr Bloom, so we bought out the snacks and the iPad as a distraction, he eventually calmed down as long as the snacks kept coming and there was battery on the iPad, to be kind to him we didn’t stay in that area long and found some bubbles which made him happy.
He copes so well with his sister now and any noises she makes, she’s learning that at the same time as being a typical toddler that her screams can upset her brother and she needs to have her tantrums away from him. She’s a pretty well-behaved child if we’re honest and is more cheeky than anything, I can already see that’s going to be a brilliant sibling carer as she gets older. Dylan dotes on his big brother and their relationship over the last year has been as good as it always has been. Dylan’s relationship with us is of one we never thought we would have, the last year has seen him go from no eye contact with people to now wanting to sometimes stare at people directly in the eyes. He will hug us and snuggle up to us and understands us when it comes to things like wanting a kiss goodbye in the morning; he’ll give us one.
Socially yes he wants to be in the comfort of his pram most the time, but he does get out of it now and again, especially for the park, we do usually go to a village park where it’s just us which he loves but he is slowly integrating into busier parks, and he will find something that he likes to play with (mainly swings) and happily go about his own business. I am finding that I’m talking to other parents more and explaining why I’m running like a crazy lady to stop my child going in front of a swing, I’ll tell them Dylan has autism and has no sense of danger as if I’m ordering Chinese. I’m not afraid to us the ‘A’ word anymore, and I now know what to say, and I won’t apologise on behalf of my boy, but I will explain on his behalf.
There’s so much more I could go into about Dylan such as his food, that has not changed in the last few years. Dry and cold foods such as yoghurts pretty much rule his diet, but this conversation is enough for a blog post itself. Here’s hoping that one makes it beyond the drafts folder.