Should it be a word that frightens us? Why has it got some sort of stigma attached to it? Why am I afraid to write about it?
Autism doesn’t frighten me. If my child is diagnosed with High Functioning Autism/Aspergers it will open up new doors and hopefully we’ll receive more help and guidance as a family. Knowing that our child has a sparkly brain, which works differently to neurotypicals means we’ve got something tangiable to work with. Our research into anxiety can take a new path. We can gain more understanding and hopefully assist our child with growing her world bigger safely. For me, it’s all about ensuring that Mie (7) is happy and not stressed. When she switches off from us or from school, a total sadness overcomes me. I become scared. I can understand when she is tired and needs to wind down and be comforted after a lot of social interaction and/or new experiences. I assist her with that and always provide her with comfort. However, when she locks herself away in her own world and I can tell she’s not happy, my adrenaline starts pumping, my eyes start watering and I fear she’ll never come back to us. This is when I fight fight fight with my whole being. This is when I read anything I can get my hands on that might help me draw her back into our family life.
At the moment things are going well for our family. Mie has had a wonderful time during the school holidays with our family. We’ve been to see Child and Adolescent Mental Health and she’s pretty much been diagnosed with Asperger’s. Everytime we have an appointment with someone who wants to help us Mie really perks up. The psychiatrist we saw plainly said to her that the meeting with our family was about finding a way to help all of us understand how her brain works and how the world makes sense to her. I think she liked that.
We’re waiting for an official diagnosis. I need to discuss Mie’s development with the psychiatrist for this to be complete. In the mean time, we’re learning as much as we can about high functioning autism. I’m going on a course run by an apparent world expert, Tony Attwood, which should be really helpful. Amazingly, Mie’s play therapist is going on the same course, which means a lot to us.
We’ve gently mentioned to the grandparents that Mie may have Asperger’s. Their reactions have been mixed, but with a bit of nudging they’re all showing more interest. It’s really important to us that our families do everything they can to understand Mie and our family dynamic, as this will ultimately make life easier for everyone.