As we close out Autism Awareness month I want to share with you one more story. Meet Parker. His mom Kaitlin lives in my area and we are part of the same mom’s group on Facebook. I am grateful she is allowing me to share their story. It may sound familiar to you, or you may know someone who is currently going through a similar journey to find a diagnosis. Feel free to share this story with them: a real mom with a real struggle just like theirs.
How old was Parker when he was diagnosed?
Parker was 18 months old when he was diagnosed on the spectrum of Autism. I knew in my heart prior to the diagnosis. I think with knowing something was going on prior it was easier for me to accept. Two developmental pediatricians and a neurologist confirmed the diagnosis and still follow him.
What has life been like after diagnosis?
Everything I read about was so different than actually experiencing it. We began our journey receiving services through Early Intervention (OT, PT, Speech, Special Ed) and working with a licensed social work therapist (LCSW). All our services were in home so it was like a revolving door sometimes. It would be three services a day. We would make strides with speech and have some new words for a little while and then they would just disappear, like he forgets he learned them. One day they were here and the next they just disappeared. He had a lot of sensory needs. He would love being rocked, squeezed tight and disliked certain textures and loud noises scared him. Every day I learned some new.
As Parker got older he became very aggressive towards others. He was hitting, biting, pulling hair and he would even bite himself when things would get overwhelming for him. It was hard to watch and accept. His activity level was extremely active and very dangerous. Parker has no fear whatsoever so, safety became a huge concern. He is also a runner/bolter. We recently became enrolled with Project Lifesaver with our local sheriff’s department. Parker wears a radio transmitter device that can aid in the location of finding him if he ever takes off.
How important is it to have support?
I am a single parent and having support is HUGE! I am thankful for my family who helps when anything is needed. My parents are our greatest support system and I would be lost without them!
What advice could you give to outsiders not familiar with autism?
Never judge a book by its cover. Prior to kids I told myself I would never use a backpack leash. But with his safety concerns I have too.
Kaitlin also recommends the following articles to help others understand more about what it’s like to be a parent with Autism.
The Mighty: 12 Things Not To Say to Parents of Kids With Autism
Today Parent: 11 Things Never to Say to Parents of A Child With Autism (and 11 Things You Should)
The Whatever Mom is a twin mom learning to let go of perfection. She shares her real life struggles with parenting through her blog and contributes her time and talents as a writer to Hudson Valley Parent and Masshole Mommy. When she isn’t writing you can find her chugging coffee, folding laundry and not judging other parents. Don’t forget to subscribe via email so you never miss a blog post again! You can also find her work featured on Mamapedia and The Novice Mommy.