After not posting anything here for aaaagggeeesss I spent a while looking through all the old posts. It's so nice to see the old photos of the boys, they have all grown so much! I want to write about some of my old posts, in particular this one. I almost feel a bit embarrassed that I felt "devastated" when Mikko was diagnosed with autism. I know it's not unusual for parents to feel like that but I'd hate to think that Mikko might read that one day and think that I still feel that way - I totally don't! I am oh so happy and feel very lucky and proud of all three of our boys.
It's actually pretty easy to see how people get the idea that autism is something to be devastated about. When I google it the first few pages are the usual wiki type descriptions, how to tell if your kid has autism type quizzes and then how to cure your kid's autism. It's no wonder parents who are waiting for a diagnosis for their child or just received one feel like there is something wrong with their child that they need to fix.
The thing is, my child is happy and therefore so am I. When I was pregnant I always hoped that my baby would be happy and healthy and thankfully they are. I didn't wish for happy, healthy and wired just like me or wish that they would enjoy the things I do or that they would be a masterful conversationilst. The world would be a less interesting place if we were all the same anyway. Imagaine if you really wanted a daughter but had a son. Would it be okay to try to change him, seek therapy to cure him even though he is happy as himself, a boy? Mikko is exactly the way he is supposed to be and he is where he is supposed to be doing the thing he's supposed to be doing. He's not what I was expecting but he is awesome and who am I to try to change him! I love him exactly the way he is. That's not to say that I don't want to help him cope with the world and navigate to find his own place in it but his autism doesn't need to be taken away to do that. I think that perhaps the biggest hurdle for Mikko to overcome will be other people's ignorance but I will be there to help him all the way. I don't like it when people ask me when I first realised something was "wrong" with Mikko as there is nothing wrong with him, he is jus different. In fact I answer the question with "there is nothing wrong with him, he has autism" but feel like answering with "you go first, when did you realise something was wrong with you?". Another one which can be upsetting is " how bad is mikko's autism?" My answer: "it's not bad at all, he's wonderful and he has very high needs.". Or when you tell someone that your child has autism and they say "I'm sorry". I am not sorry! He's not sick, he hasn't died, he is happy and well so there is no need for anyone to be sorry. I wouldn't be sorry if your child had autism so no one needs to be sorry that mine does. Yes, it can be hardwork, I won't deny that.
At 7pm when we get the boys into bed I am exhausted physically and mentally and pretty much lounge on the couch till bedtime! But hardwork isn't bad or sad or regrettable. Being a doctor I think must be hard but generally people think that's a pretty good job. And with hard work comes amazing rewards. Having a child on the spectrum is incredibly rewarding. We celebrate every little milestone and achievement that parents of neuro typical children may not even notice.
I pick the places we go out to with the boys carefully, avoiding hazards like busy roads, caves, rivers, ponds, cliffs etc but we get out together A LOT. We go to parks, bush walks, the beach, biking and we have a great time. Ausism does change some things but we adapt and have so much fun together and create great family memories every weekend. I'll put some more photos up and show you!
I wish that when i had been googling autism back in 2010 trying to figure out if that is what was going on with Mikko that I could have found sites not giving awareness or acceptance but celebrating children like mine. Or at least I hope that anyone who knows me or Mikko who finds themselves receiving a diagnosis of autism for their child doesn't have to feel devastated as perhaps through Mikko they can see how incredible and special their child is and just smile as I do now.