Today baby G and I were at the early years center and I overheard a younger mom mention autism.
Normally I’m not one to jump into a stranger’s conversation but this is a topic I will discuss with anyone.
I told her I overheard her mention autism and that my oldest is autistic. Thus the conversation began.
Her son is 2 and on the wait list for an assessment and diagnosis after the SLP had noticed red flags for autism. I listened as this mom told me her son’s story and I could tell by her voice and the tears she was holding back that this is new. She’s in the same spot emotionally that i was 2 years ago. She’s devastated and likely feeling alone. Scared of what the future holds and not knowing what to expect.
I told her that early diagnosis is good. That having that diagnosis and the resources that go with it prior to starting school will make all the difference. I told her a little about W and that I have friends and family who also have kids on the spectrum. I told her it gets easier!
This woman needed comfort, she needed to know that she’s not alone. And although telling her that it will be okay and that it gets easier is sort of a lie it’s also sort of true and it’s what she needs to hear right now.
In some ways it does get easier as they get older. You learn what their triggers are. You learn how they communicate be it verbal or non. Yes non verbal individuals do communicate you just have to learn their unique ways of doing so. You learn how to interact with them on their terms.
At 2 years old even a neurotypical child can be difficult to understand. Their communication sucks, they throw tantrums for seemingly no reason. They are just confusing. An atypical 2 year old is so much worse. But just like their neurotypical peers it does get easier as they get older.
In some ways it gets harder. A violent boy will one day be stronger than his mother. And those triggers you’ve learned to avoid will likely change over time.
But she doesn’t need to hear about the negatives. At this moment she just needs someone to listen and to tell her that it will be okay.
ASD is not a death sentence. It simply means you can’t use traditional strategies for parenting an untraditional child. You’re forced to think outside the box and change your perspective.
I may or may not ever see her again. I didn’t even catch her name as i ended up having to chase down baby G and stop him from escaping but hopefully I gave her exactly what she needed at that moment.