Over the years I’ve been asked about Zac’s diagnosis, what was it that made us think he needed to be assessed and how did I cope when he was finally diagnosed so I thought today I’d write about it.
My son Zac was diagnosed just before he turned 3 years old but I knew early on (I’m talking before he turned 1) there were issues, surprisingly I never thought of Autism.. I thought ADD or ADHD because he was such a firecracker and had such a violent little temper I figured it was more likely to be something like that.
At aged two and a half I took Zac to a yoga class for special needs kids.. at the session he fixated on a green ball with a big smiley face on it (we still have that ball today compliments of the lovely yoga teacher).. I didn’t realise at the time, but this class was going to change my life, so thank you Universe, that day you delivered..
At the class I met a speech pathologist who, as it turns out, specialised in working with children on the spectrum. She took Zac aside with that big green smiley ball and spent the entire hour of that yoga session playing with him and assessing him (although I didn’t know she was doing that at the time).
At the end of the session we started talking and she said something to me I’ll never forget…. it was like hearing angels sing hallelujah and being kicked in the guts all at the same time…
“Have you considered he may have Autism”……. tears welled up in my eyes as I looked at her, the light bulb above my head went “ding” and I said…. “Oh my god… no, I haven’t”.
That simple conversation changed everything!!!
Once I left her I put Zac in his car seat and cried all the way home.. I’m not sure if it was relief or if it was disbelief.. I couldn’t really tell you.. what I can tell you to this day is that woman changed my life..
Sometimes we need a person who has nothing to lose by telling us the truth.. Our friends and family are fabulous to support us, telling us it’ll be okay and saying things like “he’s just a boy, he’ll grow out of it”, or “you’re overreacting, he’s a great kid and it’ll get easier”…
That day someone who had nothing to lose told me what I needed to hear “he might have Autism, you need to look into that”…
Autism isn’t a death sentence… in saying that I’m not trying to trivialise what is such a “spectrum” as I’m only to well aware that some kids with Autism will have far greater struggles than others.
What I will say is don’t ignore the signs, don’t be scared to investigate things if your gut is telling you something isn’t right, don’t be scared to get a second opinion if the first one doesn’t make sense and most importantly, when you do hear the things you don’t want to hear embrace them and work out what you’re going to do next.. the earlier you intervene and get started with your wellness plan the better!
Until next time… stay calm and stay health