It’s a Boy!
I guess you could say our journey on the Autism spectrum began at the birth of our beautiful son Andre in 2017. You could say he literally came out kicking and screaming, as it was a difficult birth for my poor wife.
Andre suffered some initial jaundice on his scalp, which naturally faded over time, & aside from being a little underweight, he appeared in all respects a typical happy, healthy baby.
A little slower off the mark
After mastering the art of walking around the 12 month mark, Andre was a little later than his cousins of similar age.
Aside from this, and being a picky eater, we didn’t really have any great cause for concern at this stage, so continued raising our son as best we could, trying to expose him to various toys and tools to build his fine motor skills, gross motor skills and trying to develop his vocabulary.
We found Andre certainly lived up to the nickname of the ‘Terrible twos’ as we were exposed to what his tantrums could look like going forward, and how loud he could scream when he wanted to.
We put this all down to everything we’d read and heard about the terrible twos, but started growing concerned about our son’s lack of progress around words.
When cousins and children of others we knew started being able to respond in turn when questioned, and form better full sentences to describe what they wanted, it was safe to say we were deeply concerned at this point.
Cant quite find the words
At this point in time, the reason for our concern was that Andre was still barely pronouncing one syllable words, and up to the age of 3, had still only mastered a handful of 12 or so one syllable words.
My wife, after receiving a referral from our GP,(General Practitioner) booked an appointment with a highly recommended Paediatrician in the city we live.
A few months later, sitting in her office, we were presented with a series of questions about Andre, his skills, speech, patterns etc, all whilst the Paediatrician observed Andre playing with the toys provided in the corner.
After discussing the various developmental checkpoints that children typically go through, and the average ages children meet these benchmarks, we were a little shocked to learn that Andre was tracking around 1 year-18 months behind the average developmental points for his age group.
The diagnosis that changed everything
Later in this initial 90 minute appointment, the paediatrician asked us a wide array of questions around Andre’s play skills, social skills and a host of other areas.
After she had reviewed Andre’s developmental progress and observed how he played, our paediatrician advised us that she was very confident in diagnosing our son as Level 3 Autistic-the most severe level there is!
This new diagnosis naturally took us by surprise, but at the same time, finally provided us with some much needed closure on the question we’d had in our heads for the last 3 years, of “Is my son different?”
Since that diagnosis, my wife went into her usual ‘Supermum‘ mode.
This involved her organising therapy for our son-as our paediatrician’s recommendation was for ’20 hours per week of therapy’ as well as organising funding for that therapy through the Awesome Australian NDIS (National Disability Insurance Scheme).
As time has progressed, Andre’s tantrums have now reached MONUMENTAL status, so there are many places we now avoiding taking Andre to at all costs.
Due to his tantrums and extremely loud screams when melting down in public, we get a lot of sideways looks from startled children and parents alike. We understand this is just natural, and in changing positions, I likely would’ve glanced over the situation too.
We of course deal with this as best as we possibly can, it takes ALOT of patience, energy, compassion and strength. This has all been magnified a little more over the last 8 months also, since the arrival of our beautiful daughter Ava.
Thus far, we have tried a ton of various tricks, tips, life-hacks and products to help with different areas with our son.
We have found the majority of them had little to no effect-as our Andre appears thus far to be one of those children who is often in that 0.001 percentile of kids who have no success from products that work ‘99.9% of the time.’
This is a huge reason we have created this site, we really wish to try to help others in a similar situation-when you just cant find the right answers elsewhere that work for your child/husband/wife or other loved one who is on the Autism Spectrum.
We will do our best to update this site regularly with anything we’ve had some success with in any areas of concern with our son, and are always happy to try to answer any questions readers may have.
The journey is just beginning
We know we have a long road ahead of us with our amazing son, as does our daughter with trying to find her own way in this world, whilst hopefully helping out with assisting her brother as best she can-when she’s old enough.
As new issues and challenges arise with Andre, we hope to document and share these challenges with you all, as well as any product and strategies we’ve attempted or had success with.
We sincerely hope that some of this information, or ‘babbling’ may assist you if you have been given a similar diagnosis for a loved one recently, and aren’t sure where to turn.
I believe the more information we can generate, learn and share with the world, the better equipped we can all be to handle these types of issues when they are a reality in our family lives.