My heart is breaking for my son Harry and for me and we had such a terrible time yesterday. Harry has mild autism. It is mild but significant enough for people to notice he's somewhat "quirky".
Harry of course has been blissfully oblivious to any problem and has floated through life in a Fae fairy sort of way, while mummy has watched and hovered for 8 years wringing her hands and exhausting all avenues in any attempt to help my son.
Yesterday my lovely big boy asked me the questions I have been dreading since he was 2. He is 8 now and is getting more aware of his peers. .So we were snuggling on the couch when he asked me quietly "What's wrong with me mum? Why don't I get invited to birthday parties? Why don't I have friends? Crack!!! That was the sound of my heart breaking !! In the past I never thought about telling him...It was always my problem and his dad's never something to burden him with, he doesn't grasp things like that anyway. But what if it made a difference? I thought. What if making him aware of his issues (being old enough now) he might be a little more self regulating and try and curb some of his not so socially acceptable nu isms.OK I thought I would give it a shot
I asked him lots of questions about his thoughts and why HE thought he was different eventually I told him quietly and slowly that he had ASD and of course he didn't understand, so we watched some tapes some parents of other little boys had posted on YouTube (yes everything goes on You Tube!!) that also had high functioning Autism. The little boys were just like him....Imaginative, serious, earnest, complex, bloody hard to have a conversation with and struggling to fit themselves into a world that isn't too comfortable for them.
He DID NOT LIKE IT ONE BIT and got upset. Ran off screaming and slammed the door. I guess if I was him I would do the same.
It's not fair to put labels on kids....but sometimes you have to...the schools want the labels, the government want the labels and as parents you need the labels to get the support your child desperately needs, so you can access the Speech Pathologist, Occupational Therapist, Child Psychologist and extra Tutoring and Special Education Teachers. You have to label your child. But I didn't want Harry to think I labelled him. I just wanted him to understand that there was a reason for his uniqueness and that there were lots of little kids like him. Maybe I did it the wrong way? Maybe too early I don't know...All I know now is I feel like I've spoilt something for him. Ruined some serenity he had. So now I am sitting in the shop and am supposed to be writing about new furniture but can't as I'm feel too heavily burdened with mother guilt. Perhaps that is why I am blogging about this..... usually I don't talk about it let alone write about it on such a far reaching platform ...and probably many people that know me will be very surprised. It's not that I'm ashamed or embarrassed as there is absolutely nothing to be ashamed of. It's just so personal and painful and close to me that it does not occur to me (usually) to discuss it.
There are many different areas in Harry's life that are challenging for him and therefore also for me, but I have (as mummy's do) hitched up my belt taken big breaths and just forged ahead. But the thing is sometimes mummy's fall down, they need back up and support from people that have been where they are and can say "hang in there." I want to know How to get the parents at school to invite the Harry to parties? How to get the kids to understand when Harry has a meltdown that it's not his fault...that he just can't cope with all the stress and anxiety that he has to calm himself by hiding under bean bags!??!
I KNOW he is loving, caring, happy and a beautiful boy but how can I shadow him everyday and say to people "look how marvelous my son is!! and you would know that too If you would only take time to find out!!" Talk about Helicopter parenting !!!!
Anyway if anyone has any words of wisdom for me or advise It would be greatly appreciated. Because Harry's teacher just called me to say she wants an interview and the nanny just quit after 2 days (this is my 5th in a year) and mummy has fallen down again!!