As I wrote in my last blog post, making a difference for our son started with paying close attention to his early development, getting him checked out when we thought something was wrong and taking immediate action thereafter. After our son's diagnosis, we focused on maximizing his chances for improvement.
A few weeks ago, following conversations with loved ones and some reflection on the subject, I decided to bring to light some information that people should know about Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD). With a growing number of children living with an ASD, this information will help you better understand the experiences of these children, and their parents. The following are my last five points, though there could have been many more.
I recently noticed that for the most part, when I talk about Autism the people around me don't really know what I am talking about. They all seem to have a vague idea about the problem, but no more. I constantly have to repeat the same information: "It's a spectrum," "a PDD is the same this as an ASD, an Autism Spectrum Disorder," "Sleeping problems and food selectivity are linked to Autism disorders," "No, I don't believe my child is autistic due to vaccines, something was different since birth"... The list of questions is usually the same and it is a long one. I even heard someone say "Autism is in right now!"
I am from Montreal but had been living and working in Singapore for many years and eventually got married there. Like all parents, my wife and I were so happy when our son was born. It was our second child following the birth of our daughter a few years earlier. We were looking forward to getting off to a wonderful start and enjoying all the great moments that parents expect to enjoy in raising a family.
A year after our child was given an ASD diagnosis, the word "Autism" still burns my tongue. It is a difficult word to say, but an even harder reality to come to terms with. In our eyes, our child is like any other child and means the world to us: he is the centre of our universe, concerns, conversations, occupations, joys and sorrows and our worries for the future.
I have been working with children, teens, and adults with developmental disabilities for over 20 years now. Officially, I am a healthcare professional; a clinical psychologist and Executive Director of the Gold Centre in Montreal. But in reality, I am a woman who had no choice but to follow her path.
On November 7th, 2012 our wonderful son was diagnosed with an Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). We were given a little folded pamphlet from the Ste. Justine Hospital's Development Centre, and were sent home.