J was officially diagnosed as being Autistic on Thursday. It was expected but I admit, not this soon! I thought we had months of assessments and meetings to battle through but it’s only been a year since first time entering Child Development Centre and getting our diagnosis.
We have told friends and family, we posted on social media. It was great to have so many supportive comments and messages, including how it doesn’t change how wonderful and clever little man is, how he’s still loved etc. Generally people have been so positive and recognised that it opens doors to more support for J. However, there have also been a few not so positive comments. I don’t think they have been meant in a bad or insulting way but they have made me roll my eyes (and some made me chuckle).
- ‘Oh dear, where’d he get that from?’
Now, this is from an elderly relative. I think she meant genetically as J is first in the family to be diagnosed! I explained it wasn’t an illness, it’s just how he’s programmed.
2. ‘Well, he’s in a box now’
This is from another family member. He has always said that J is just who he is and he’ll do things when he’s ready. I agree to a degree. He will do things when he feels comfortable but at the same time being in this ‘box’ and having this label will give him more support and open up via opportunities. This is a box I don’t mind us being in!
3. ‘…he’ll have fun?’
This was in a shop. It was crowded and small. Lots of noise and smells. I know that if J came in with me then he would end up wanting to spin or start to shake his head. It would be too much for him. So he waited outside with Grandma. He kept shouting through the door to me and I would answer telling him what I had (holding it up so he could see). A helpful lady said ‘let him in’, I said ‘he has Autism, if I let him in he’ll…’ she then jumped on and said “he’ll have fun?”. I replied “no he’ll have a sensory meltdown lasting 4-5 hours”. She said ‘oh’ in a haughty derision kinda way and walked away.
4. ‘What type of Autism does he have?’
Autism, is Autism. Theres no scale of numbers…he’s not ‘Autism level 3’. I know this question was by a family member who has never had anything to do with special needs in any form. So is more out of lack of knowledge than ignorance I think. I explained that there’s ‘high functioning’ and ‘low functioning’ but apart from that’s there’s no scale that’s followed. ‘So he’s not just a little bit Autistic then’…*rolls my eyes*.
5. ‘Oh dear, do you think it’s because of the injections?’
What? What?! Do people still really believe that? There have been so many studies that have disproven that one doctor. Theres literally hundreds of children vaccinated a month and yet the stats are still 1 in 18 children having Autism. Surely this would be soooo much higher if it was the injections causing it? J’s symptoms starting as a baby so no, I seriously doubt the injections were involved!
I’m sure that over the next few months and years I’ll hear more ‘interesting’ opinions and questions. I aim to make sure myself and J’s Daddy are armed with answers that will help spread understanding and ‘facts’. I don’t mean to insult anyone who has asked the above questions or made statements similar to these. Often our knowledge comes from tv shows, old school ideas or passed from friend to friend about their friends, hairdressers, stepsons cousin. So ask away, comment away. I’d rather answer questions and provide more relevant information than let that person go around thinking they understand when they don’t.
I’m not afraid to speak about J and Autism. Just as I was never afraid to talk about his communication difficulties. It’s part of who he is, and that is one amazing boy (who is currently watching Cars 2 AGAIN and chewing the tag on the sofa cushion). But just remember…it’s not an illness, it’s not the same for every family and I know what will and won’t set off make him uncomfortable or stressed so trust me!
What’s the funniest or stupidest thing someone has said to you? Or is there a question you want to ask? Let me know ❤️