I loved the Salon de l’autisme (Autism Expo) that took place in Laval at the beginning of October. For the first time in a long while, I felt like I was in the right place at the right time with my new foster family.
According to poet Paul Eluard, in life "there is no such thing as happenstance; only fated appointments." As my husband and I go through some of the hardest moments of our lives, I've come to a similar conclusion.
When we started Intensive intervention therapy for my son, we knew that to be a success, it would have to be a team effort. As parents, we needed to support what the therapists were doing and to do this, we had to learn as much as we could about what they did and how they did it. We were therefore very happy that the Gold Centre, where our son was getting his therapy, offered excellent training for parents as well.
While watching the Sochi Olympics this past February I was blown away by the prowess of these young athletes doing flips and acrobatics on skis, jumping through the air on snowboards, defying the laws of gravity, and surprising me at every turn. Then one night I thought to myself that actually, our lives as parents with autistic children are kind of the same.
Ever since our son was diagnosed with ASD (autism spectrum disorder) over a year ago, I have tried in vain to change the future course of events. I wanted to save him, make him look at us and finally speak, make sure he had friends and that he could have a "normal" life... I consulted with every doctor and specialist imaginable. Out of necessity, I became an "activist." I marched for autism, I dressed my son in blue on April 2 (World autism Awareness Day), I got involved with other parents with children with ASD, I read everything I could get my hands on, I wrote articles about it, I lay awake at night wondering what could have possibly caused this disorder in our child... I was on a quest. I needed answers and hope.
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.