I was so excited about becoming a mom! The idea of having this little person to sing, dance, and play with. A good excuse to play legos for hours on end, watch Disney movies, and just be a kid myself but get to call the shots! So needless to say the movie playing in my mind of what motherhood would be like and the reality are two completely different versions.
My oldest son is seven years old and hi-functioning autistic. He received his diagnosis about two years ago. My husband and I first noticed developmental delays around 14 months of age. Our son used screaming to communicate and all those hours of us attempting to get onboard the baby sign language train were proving to be futile efforts. I’m not going to sugarcoat it for you; we have spent countless amounts of time, money, and mileage to driving our son to behavioral, speech, and occupational therapy sessions.
We don’t get to do impromptu outings because honestly, we don’t feel like dealing with the meltdown of epic proportions if he becomes over stimulated or some other sensory input throws him off. Going to school everyday is a battle in itself. We have a checklist of expectations we go over every morning on the ride to school. Want to know what it’s like having the same script every morning at approximately 7AM? Our 3 year old knows the script without prompting – yes, we are that dedicated to the script.
Predictability and routine is the key to our survival. Birthday parties (if we get invited) have to be vetted – location looked over, time of day, noise level. Yes I get it that the president may not get as many factors reviewed when leaving the White House but if we want to survive going to brunch (that is not included in our weekly schedule) then, we have to prep for it.
The constant juggle of not over shadowing siblings. It’s difficult to remember that our other son is typical. I’m so use to our atypical first born that our toddler catches me off guard playing with his imaginary friend, singing, playing correctively with toys, and having friends at school.
The coolest part about being a mom to an autistic child is all the things he teaches me like all the dinosaurs on other continents besides North America. He expands my patience to lengths I didn’t even know existed. And he has opened my eyes to a world all his own full of adventure and mystery.