This Is My Child!

This week mumsnet launched a new campaign – This Is My Child. This Is My Child is a myth-busting and an awareness-raising campaign. It’s aim is to support parents of children with additional needs, inform everyone else, and open up a conversation about how we can all act to make life easier for everyone caring for children with additional needs. I fully support this campaign and really hope it gets the attention it needs. 

This Is My Child

 

This is Ethan, our beautiful little boy. He may look ‘normal’ to you but he has an invisible disability. He has recently been diagnosed with autism. This is my child!

Autism is meant to be an invisible disability, and I do believe it is to people not close enough to see Ethan’s quirks but people that see them and start to watch him you can see what they are thinking. 

Picture the scene. We have taken Ethan into the park and he is enjoying himself going up and down the slide. You may notice that he isn’t really talking to us but you might not think anything of that. You will see us watching his every move, not wanting to leave his side. Overprotective parents you may think, but the fact of the matter is Ethan has no fear. At any moment he may decide to jump from the highest point. This is because Ethan has no idea how to use his imagination and he has created a circuit going up and down the slide, if something or someone breaks that circuit he will then want that circuit to end. 

If Ethan is having lots of fun he will start to run around and flap his hands, cute right? Lots of children get excited! To control this overload of emotions Ethan may then need to follow straight lines. This might be lines on the floor, or his favourite, a fence. This is when people really pay attention to us, you can see them thinking “What is that little boy doing?”. You can see concern on their faces. Sometimes if we are lucky we will receive a smile, a smile always comes from someone touched by autism, someone who understands. 

At the moment we are lucky, Ethan is small for his age and his quirks can sometimes be passed off as cute. Will strangers find it cute when he is eight, ten, fifteen? They will see different, people are normally scared of different!

A big autism myth, and one that I was guilty of believing, is that children with autism hate noise, people, busy places and show no emotion. We believe Ethan is Hypo Sensitive this means he has dull senses and he loves noise and we are very lucky that we have been able to take him to lots of different places without it causing many issues. It also means that he may have a high pain threshold and we have ended up in A&E on quite a few occasions with a very poorly little boy.

He loves people and other children, he just doesn’t know how to play and communicate with them. He also loves to smile and we often have cuddles but they are on Ethan’s terms and and different from what you would call a ‘normal’ cuddle. 

Being an autism parent is emotionally and physically draining. Not only to you have to get used to functioning on very little sleep, you have to learn how to communicate with your child in a very different way. You also learn from very early on that you have to fight for your child for everything they need, and this is where the invisible disability really comes into play. You have to prove how your child is affected by autism everyday, and it’s the worse feeling in the world listing your child’s faults over and over again. 

This Is My Child

 


His name is Ethan.
He is three years old.
He is non-verbal, and we have no idea if or when he will talk.
He can’t feed himself or use a cup.
He doesn’t know when he is hungry.
He will hit himself and me if he can’t communicate his needs.
I have no idea if he knows that I am his mum.
He has no fear.
His autism brings delays and we have been told his mental age is 18 months old. 
He has a fantastic smile.
He has an amazing sense of humour.
He loves water.
He can be very affectionate.
He loves being out and about.
He is different, not less and I love him with all my heart!


 

 

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14 Comments

  1. 24th August 2013 / 8:57 pm

    Thank you for sharing this. It has really helped me to understand autism to see it written in that way.
    Ethan has the most beautiful smile 🙂

    • 27th August 2013 / 9:06 am

      Thank you, I’m really glad it has helped as I found it quite hard to write x

  2. 24th August 2013 / 9:08 pm

    And he’s gorgeous 🙂
    It’s tough but there are also the good things and I think you can already see these in Ethan, especially with that smile. I love this post xx Must do mine.

    • 27th August 2013 / 9:08 am

      Thank you. There are lots of good things, and he surprises us every day :0) x

  3. 25th August 2013 / 7:42 am

    I love this. That line about not knowing if he knows you’re his mum got to me- I’m not sure if my son realises that either. It can be heartbreaking. I loved your explanation of some of Ethan’s quirks and traits. Xx

    • 27th August 2013 / 9:12 am

      Thank you. Yes that is the hardest part of it all but deep down they must know who we are. I think everyone gets so hung up on when their kids start to call them mummy and it’s what hurts the most. We will get there one day :0) x

  4. 26th August 2013 / 8:21 pm

    Thank you so much for sharing this. Yes, it can be difficult for other parents to understand what you know, and they will never understand it the way you do. Your child is beautiful and he’s special and that’s all that matters!

    • 27th August 2013 / 9:20 am

      Thank you. I think like any situation in life you can never truly appreciate it until it comes into your life. I never really knew what autism was and I’m learning something new every week. He really is our little superstar :0)

  5. 30th August 2013 / 8:29 am

    Wow what a powerful post!
    I know so little about autism so thank you for helping us understand. He is gorgeous x
    Popping over from pocolo

  6. 30th August 2013 / 5:20 pm

    Thank you for sharing and making people understand more!!
    He is gorgeous!! x

  7. 30th August 2013 / 7:15 pm

    Such a great idea and a really interesting post to read. I think there are a lot of misconceptions about these disabilities and I think it is great that you are sharing yours and Ethan’s story.

  8. 31st August 2013 / 9:11 pm

    Aww what a beautiful post. It’s a fabulous way to raise awareness and hopefully lessen the quizzical looks for all autism parents. He really is such a cutie!

  9. 1st September 2013 / 3:18 pm

    As you know, I love your blog and think Ethan is one of the cutest kids ever! I saw this campaign the other day and thought it was a fab idea. Thank you for linking to PoCoLo x

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