Someone else did that for me, and I will be forever grateful to them. I was called into nursery where my then two year old would hide under the table and pretend to be a dog. They would observe her behaviour and tell me about how differently she acted compared to the other children.
I would sit across a table from them, listening to them suggest I take my perfect child to the doctor as soon as possible. They were words. Just words. They weren’t important; taking action however, was.
It took eighteen months for a diagnosis to be reached. After what felt like endless tests, assessments and meetings with people who knew so much more about my daughter than I did, the postman eventually delivered the letter I had been waiting for. “I conclude that Amy has autism.” The relief washed over me.
The first thing I did after reading that letter was breathe. At last my beautiful girl would be entitled to the support she so desperately needed; at last I could tell people that my daughter has autism and she isn’t naughty; at last I could begin to research and learn about autism, attend courses, speak to experienced parents and professionals in their field. At last, my daughter had a label.
I contacted various organisations in order to access the help we needed. Because I made a nuisance of myself, people took me seriously. The powers-that-be realised I wasn’t going to give up. Ever. They’d met their match, discovered a parent who didn’t just need answers but knew she was entitled to them.
They had got a child in their system who was going to change the way other people would view autism. Sleeves rolled up, determination etched on my face, assertiveness embraced, I went in guns blazing. This was my daughter whose life had been turned upside down and I wasn’t going to accept second best.
The Rewards Of Having A Child With Autism Are Endless
Over the years, Amy has attended mainstream school and achieved more than any of the professionals ever deemed possible. “Your daughter won’t have an imagination,” one specialist told me. “She will never be able to make choices,” said another. How wrong they were. If ever an expert in the field of autism has had to eat their words that was a great example.
Amy has the most amazing imagination; she writes short stories on her own blog for one. She makes choices appropriate for an 11 year old. She’s thriving in maths, English and science. She plays the piano by ear; can listen to a tune and just sit down and play it. She puts me to shame where technology is concerned.
She’s 5 foot 5 inches and ten stone in weight. A big girl with a huge heart. She loves people for whom they are; she laughs at your jokes, cries at your sorrow, experiences life to the full.
Autism for Amy is a way of life. She is proud when she tells people that she’s never met before, “I have autism.” They often have difficulty replying because they don’t know what autism is. Amy is 11 years old and she knows exactly what autism is. Her life is rich beyond your wildest dreams because she has a knowledge of something wonderful; she has the knowledge of a disability that many people are too ignorant to want to know about.
She talks to people better than they talk to her. The minute they realise she has autism they clam up yet Amy continues to entertain them with her wit, her sense of humour and her incredible zest for life. My daughter will never be ignorant to disabilities.
She starts a special school in September because mainstream won’t give her the opportunities to further her education. She’s intelligent enough to do GCSE’s one day, albeit with support, yet mainstream education wouldn’t have given her the level of support she would need in order to get through them.
At special school she will be given more opportunities than even I was given myself at school. She will receive specialist help, one-to-one assistance and qualified staff who are able to cope with autistic children in the way they deserve to be treated. With respect and dignity. With love and care. With patience and understanding.
The rewards of having a child with autism are endless. When I received that letter concluding Amy’s diagnosis, I thought I’d won the Lottery. But it was better than that. A million times better.
This post is a Guest Post written by Kathryn Brown.
Watch the book trailer:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GRCQT1-TS-g