It’s taken awhile for me to decide to do this but I’ve had a number of patients who are starting their journey into the unknown world of Autism who often ask me lots of questions, including the “how did you know” or “when did you know” there was something wrong or things weren’t quite right.
What I’m going to share some of our stories over a few blogs starting today with when I began to think things weren’t the way they should be and what the signs were for us.. I’ll also have the benefit of hindsight now with some things that didn’t really mean anything back then but when you look back are another piece of the puzzle..
Zac was a handful from day 1 really.. Thankfully he wasn’t my first child so I was pretty confident when I was thinking that things weren’t quite right. The hard thing was that a lot of the times people would just say “he’s a boy, that’s just what they’re like”.. but I just wasn’t sure that this as right.
The things I look back on now that were probably tell tale signs were.. he was a very unsettled baby, he would feed every 2 hours 24/7.. he had colic (which can be a tell tale sign of poor gut health which is linked to Autism), he seemed to over react to supermarkets and shopping centres.. If I walked into a clothing store with him in the pram as soon as I crossed the threshold and was in the shop he would start screaming.. it was like he knew… I would laugh and tell him that one day he’d be shopping with his girlfriend so this was good training.. he didn’t agree…
He would also do this really weird thing with his eyes and open them really wide, like he was reacting to something but that was a funny one because my dad does exactly the same thing.. but it was strange the way it would happen, especially around light..
Interestingly enough he took to food like a duck to water and would eat anything to start with but I’ll address that again in my next blog.. And speaking of water.. he absolutely hated it.. I started swimming lessons with him at 6 months old, the same as I had with my daughter and she’d loved it… well he didn’t!!
When I started swimming lessons with him it was a nightmare.. he would scream the entire session, and cling to me like a clip on koala.. I just couldn’t work it out but that was a massive tell tale sign now that I look back.. think about it.. if you’ve got a child on the spectrum who has sensory issues and you take them to an indoor pool which stinks of chlorine, is almost like a sauna making it hard to breathe, is full of other kids and teachers, there’s instructions being shouted all around you and you can’t decipher the words and the noise is making your eardrums bleed, you’d probably scream as well.. In hindsight I can’t believe I made him do it for so long…
By the time he was just 12 months old I was completely exhausted already and things weren’t getting any easier.. We were having more bad days than good and I couldn’t see a way through.. it wasn’t going well…
So, there you go, that was the first 12 months in a very brief nutshell of a few things that were telling me this wasn’t going to be an easy ride.. In my next blog for the Autism Retrospective series I’ll take about the time between 1-2 years old.. this is when the real stuff began to shine through..
Until next time, stay calm and stay healthy.
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