29 July 2014

Where do I Start!?

As the title of this blog post says, where do I start!? I haven't blogged properly or taken any sort of interest in it for a whole year now. I sort of fell out of love with it really and a few things were happening with family life at the time so blogging took a back seat.

One of the major things in my families life that would change everything (for the better really) is that my son, Logan, was finally diagnosed with Autism. My other half and I had know Logan was a bit different to other children a few months after his first birthday. There was always a small niggle in the back of our minds, we tried not to compare him to children of the same age but how can you not? It's his peer group and I know every child develops at certain stages but they have milestones to reach don't they? And unfortunately he just wasn't reaching some. Plus he was showing other different behaviours such as hand flapping when he was very excited or becoming really uncomfortable and agitated in loud noisy places. He also wouldn't talk, point to anything or respond to his name. It's like he wasn't much interested unless he was doing something that he wanted to do.

Since Logan was so young when we picked up on his different behaviours we were told things like "oh he's so young and boys develop slower than girls, he'll probably grow out of it." or "maybe you should wait till he's at school before you have him tested for autism, he's so young they probably won't even be able to tell." or my favourite "I didn't talk till I was 4 and look at me now, I'm totally fine." I know people meant well and were trying to reassure us but we just knew something was different. At one point though as Logan progressed, whilst we were waiting for tests and also going through tests, he did much improve and catch up on some of his milestones and I think we tried to convince ourselves that maybe he didn't have autism. Maybe we were overreacting, paranoid parents that had worried about nothing and wasted health professionals time? However in June last year we got the news that our beloved son did indeed have autism, it sort of knocks the wind out of you, like you're having an out of body experience and watching your body react from some distant corner in the room. Even though the news was expected really, you try and tell yourself as a parent that my child couldn't possibly have autism. I didn't do anything wrong when I was pregnant! I didn't drink, smoke, take drugs, eat any dodgy cheese or pate! Why is this happening to my family!? But it was and it wasn't anyone's fault so we had to deal with it.

Posing for the camera in Anstruther

At first we weren't sure what to do. Do we tell people do we not tell people? But being autistic wasn't anything to be ashamed of so why hide it? So we told close family and friends to start with and as we gradually came to terms with autism and how we could best support Logan, we eventually started being able to tell complete strangers. So if Logan should say hit a child for no apparent reason, we knew it wasn't his fault, it was the autism (like some kind of dark entity) and we could tell the child's mother/ father etc what had happened and why. We would always make Logan apologise though and try to explain to him why hitting was wrong.

Anyway after being to so many different classes and autism parent groups I think the other half and I both feel really comfortable openly supporting and discussing autism with anyone. Like I said before it's nothing to be ashamed of and if anything having the diagnosis has helped us to help Logan in so many ways which we couldn't before. When he was at nursery we were able to put special measures in place, with the help of the nursery, to make Logan's life so much easier. We can now prepare so much more for trips out and about and can judge his reactions to certain environments to make places and experiences as pleasant as possible for him. We know his triggers, what sets him off and can now avoid or redirect where possible. Some people are even surprised when we tell them Logan's autistic, apart from the hand flapping you wouldn't know he was any different from any other 4 year old.

So Logan being diagnosed with autism wasn't the end of the world, it's actually been the best thing ever. He was going to have autism anyway no matter what we did but having the diagnosis helps us and other people understand him better and maybe appreciate the way he acts a bit more. He's turned out to be such a chatty happy social little boy. Not something you would typically associate with autism but everything's different. He has so many friends I can't keep up with all their names and nobody has a bad word to say about him which is lovely considering how testing he can be sometimes for the people who care for him.

Enjoying a day out at the zoo

There you have it though, one of the reasons why blogging wasn't really important to me or thought about much last year. I had so much more to think about other than what I was going to write about on my blog. I am hoping to get back into it though but I'm going to take it at a slower pace this time and do it when I want to do it not because I feel like I have to or to keep up my stats or any of that nonsense. Some things in life are more important...

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