I still remember this night, when everything changed. A night when it happened – the son I knew disappeared. I never knew that, I will have to look for support after ASD diagnosis of my child.
It was the night when my son became, who he is today, we both love him the way he is, but memories of the past are still engraved in my head. I went through grief, denial, anger to shake my hand with acceptance. We love our kids to the bits, so different, so amazing. Something changed in one night. Apparently, this could be a trigger to this change which turned our life upside down but also saved me from myself and led me to do what I do now.
Autism of my son literally pushed me out of harm’s way. It was a game-changer, but back then I haven’t seen it this way, we were in tears. Unsure what to do, where to look for help, where to find support.
THE DAY WHEN TIME STOPPED FOR THE FIRST TIME
You were a toddler. A little bit after your first birthday, you were starting walk around the house, interested in everything. Your sister wasn’t born yet, but maybe once in a while we’d mentioned that it would be nice to have a sibling for you. I can remember you trying to reach us from your cot, shouting “Mummy! Daddy!”. I can still remember the cheerful sound of your voice. My Maks… I remember when you had colic and I had to move your tiny feet slowly to make you fall asleep.
I think about this particular day now only very rarely. There’s no point. We were afraid about the possible link between the MMR vaccination and autism, so we had postponed it. And on this day, you woke up with a severely runny nose and cough. Something disturbing was happening. A routine GP check – some kind of infection. Nothing major, but serious enough to prescribe antibiotics.
Yet after two days, you developed a serious mouth infection. A high fever and crying. Gums so swollen we could barely see your teeth. You were so hungry, but every single time we tried to give you milk, you refused. In pain, you would throw your bottle away. We didn’t know how to help you. The doctor said it would pass within three days, but they were the longest three days of our lives.
We made another GP visit, were given different antibiotics, and finally saw some progress. Your appetite returned, and the swelling disappeared – but the Maks we knew disappeared with it.
Extract from the book by the author of this blog published 3 years ago in Poland.
I didn’t know anything about autism, I was an average Joe, a typical Polish immigrant who works, spend some time with the family, have a drink on Friday, not really paying attention to raising kids. I loved them, I liked to spend time with them, but I can say clearly, that I was far away from being the best possible dad around.
I know that for many parents autism sounds like the end of the world. I know it might feel this way. I’ve been there – trust me- it’s not. I felt as my world just crashed. I had two choices – stay in this despair or roll my sleeves and start looking for knowledge, and answers. We needed to make sure my son will have the best chances to succeed in life, and that will have to come with support.
Later we’ve learned that his autism is paired with developmental delay. This information is crucial, as autism itself can be just a small challenge, additional difficulties might change everything.
What can you do? Where can you find support after ASD diagnosis of your child?
Talk to someone, ask different charities for support in terms of knowledge and access to specialists. Look after yourself, before you will look after your child. Some parents can experience breakdowns of relationships, go through depression or experience panic attacks. Remember, your child needs you safe and sound.
The world will spin around, people will judge you, but I know that love can make a difference. We wouldn’t get anything which we not able to carry on our shoulders. Trust me. Reach out for support, be ready to ask for help, you’ve got this. I know that.
If you living in UK you might find many charities or non profit organisations who will be able to support you or direct to the right people. Local, small, nationwide – ask for support and directions.
If you live in Scotland you can reach out for support to:
For those who live in Edinburgh or nearby I have list of additional support needs resources to download below:
Click this——— ASN Resources OPEN —————— it will open in new widow. Click Save it.
You are brave, you’ve got this.