I wrote previously about having our ‘Initial Assessment’ meeting with Matthews Community Paediatrician. It was a long awaited appointment where we just expected to answer lots of questions. It did in fact end up a lot more dramatic than that.
We met with Dr Lynas, a lovely older lady who has been working in this particular field for a very long time. She was sympathetic but in no way condescending about Matthews condition. This felt nice, and put us at ease really quite quickly.
We spent the first few minutes answering the obligatory (and expected) barrage of questions about Matthew behaviour, as she simultaneously took notes and watched him intently.
After about 10 minutes of doing this, she turned to us and uttered the words we didn’t think we would hear at that particular appointment. She said Matthew is “without a doubt” on the Autism Spectrum. In fact, she even went so far as to say he appears to be on the low functioning end of the spectrum.
She told us it’s just a matter of her “rubber stamping” this, but she wanted to refer us to an ‘Educational Psychologist’ as she felt it would benefit Matthew to get the process of schooling and education sorted before he turns 3. We of course welcomed this, and despite feeling like the wind had been taken out of our sails, both my husband and I felt grateful for her honesty.
After speaking briefly about how long our referral would take, she told us that we should expect the future to be very difficult, something we knew to be true anyway. She wanted us to be as prepared as possible for all of the challenges we had ahead of us. We were grateful for the extra thought, but assured her that this was a scenario we had prepared ourselves for from the moment Matthew was born.
We felt confident that we were fine with the diagnosis and leaving the appointment we were actually quite positive about things going forward.
This lasted about 3 minutes.
When we got outside I could feel the panic setting in and the colour had drained from my husbands face. Reality hit us.
It wasn’t anger or frustration. It wasn’t anxiety or depression. It was simply sadness. Sadness that our boy had to face yet another hurdle in his life.
Over that weekend, my husband and I mourned quite heavily for the life we thought our son would have. We tried to come to terms with missing out on some of the things we thought we would all enjoy together. We got all of our sadness out of our system… And then we just stopped.
We have no other children and so we really can’t compare his life to what a neurotypical child’s life would be. Everything is new to us. So we are going to use that to our advantage. We will try everything we can to make our boys life as full and as satisfying as we can. That’s all we can do.
Nobody knows what’s going to happen in the future, but my husband and I have often asked ourselves this one simple question…
“If there ever was a cure for Autism, would we want our boy to get it”?
And our answer is always the same… “No!”
Why would we ever want to change our son from the amazing, quirky, funny little boy he is? For our sake??? To make it easier for us??? It would be to make our lives better, not his. He is happy with who he is. He is happy with his life just the way it is, and we would never want to ruin any happiness he has.
We are his parents. We love him unconditionally. If the future is going to be difficult we say BRING IT ON!!!