Something that we’ve held close to our chests in recent months is that our youngest is currently in the process of being assessed and likely to be diagnosed with Autism and ADHD.
Today we celebrate him! It’s only when you live in the life of having an autistic child do you really understand what it must be like for them each day.
It’s a different experience for every autistic child and we can only talk about it from what we see or hear but here’s a snapshot of Zachary’s day…
‘Mummy’ it’s about 1am in the morning and he’s shouting, he doesn’t want to get up to play but wants the security of knowing someone is there. He drifts back off to sleep but he’s ready to start the day around 6am!
As he gets up he follows a very similar routine often heading downstairs to watch his favourite programme.
As the time comes for him to get ready for school - he’s not ready, he doesn’t want to go. We’ve learnt for it to become a choice to get ready and not a battle but then he’s not ready to get in the car! The transition from home to car is a big step.
As we arrive at school we’re not in time for the normal playground entrance, Zachary is more comfortable going through reception. Some days he’ll waltz in, other days he’ll have to be encouraged and guided in!
In class he struggles to concentrate - he’s got a rocking chair to help him get the sensory feedback he needs and he also has a chew toy to stop him from biting and chewing pens etc..
As classes begin he tries so hard to listen but a raindrop, sunshine, someone walking past means he’s easily distracted. He also can’t concentrate for a huge amount of time and often needs sensory breaks, power ups and quiet time to get him through.
He wants to answer every question but then might just shout out too!
If he’s not won an award he takes it to heart, he sees that he’s always in trouble. What he doesn’t see is how amazing he is - how he’s fantastic with memory, his thirst for knowledge, his ability to solve maths problems, his love for planting and nature /- what he sees is a sensory overload and the fact that he must have done something wrong!
As home time comes he’s not ready to transition out of that environment, he’s just got settled! So he goes to hide either in the reading corner, under the table or into the toilets.
As he walks out of school he’ll often be heard shouting. He’s had a tough day, he’s overwhelmed and not sure how to release it! So if he’s not getting what he needs from shouting he’ll sometimes punch or kick me until we get to the car.
As we arrive at the Car he’ll take off his coat - it doesn’t matter what the weather is like, he just needs his coat off!
We might have continuous shouting all the way home in the car or it might be quiet but when we arrive home he doesn’t want to get out of the car either - it’s another transition back Into the house.
Once he’s inside he’s fine, he’s settled, the surroundings are familiar he feels safe!
We’ll continue to see him stimming, he’ll jump and bounce, he’ll click his fingers, he’ll bang his head, he’ll twitch, he’ll shout and he’ll obsess over the smallest thing!
Tea is often something similar each night and then we start bedtime. He doesn’t want to go to sleep on his own so we lay with him till he’s settled.
And the day starts again when he wakes in the early hours!
Our Son is amazing (as is our Daughter) - each day he faces those challenges head on and each day he shows us his determination, his spirit, his knowledge and his curiosity.
As a parent it’s heartbreaking to see him struggle socially with the world around him, to see him not truly understand why we say the word no and to struggle to know what’s the right thing to do.
That said he has an amazing group of friends around him and we have a fabulous support network of family, friends and work colleagues who keep us sane!
Whilst our little ones may challenge us at times, we know that they’re amazing!
If ever you wonder what’s at the heart of our business - it’s this! 💛