Many years since this was news.
The most empowering day of my life as a mum of an autistic son, was the one where I asked for the “expert” help….
This is a Helen post. we had 2 normal children… no rule books, but tough going as you know. and THEN we heard the word AUTISM with our 3rd child. We had NO IDEA who to turn to. But we turned, and looked, and asked… until ONE DAY… i realised the “expert” i had come to for “specialist advice” had NOT GOT A NOTION! And it was the best kick on the ass i ever got.
Written a few years ago to cheer up and support parents who felt they were the ONLY ones who seemed to be constantly at meetings, convincing people who “know” autism that they do NOT know OUR SON!…and that it is a diagnosis, a START…not an outcome…. X
Fionn was 5 when we realised we were NOT going to be taught how to bring up an autistic child.
5 when we decided we were NOT going to write his learning ability off. 5 when we realised the EXPERTS are not the people we went to …
the EXPERTS are who we had then to become….the EXPERT on OUR SON....not on autism …just on our bit of it….as we loved him completely and we had him with us for the rest of his life. OUR SON…OUR SPECIALIST TOPIC…our work in progress.
he was 5 years old. We had noticed that in reading his favourite book – every night for months- that it still hadn’t clicked , that a tadpole would ALWAYS grow up to be a frog. So when tables – even basic addition tables came along, obviously he was NOT able to see that 2+2=4 every time.
Being a proactive but innocent mum, i booked the appointment with the Austistic outreach Services……naively assuming that this common to all ASD children issue had a teaching technique to help….” you know, he may just be a child who never gets tables” she said – willing to write off his ability to generalise learning.
(Was she MAD?
so my child could NEVER do a learning task
NEVER could he learn ANYTHING?
education – signed, sealed and delivered…aged 5!)
no bloody way! NEVER had an indifferent answer rang out so wrongly. NOBODY was signing off on my child’s future. He was 5!. But i realised as if i had been kicked in the backside!
MY SON= MY JOB=MY MISSION.
And thankfully i never regretted that thought.
aspergers made him different – in wiring…in how he processes…in ways of perception…in how he thought.
aspergers did NOT limit him.
It became my mission
to discover ways to make him learn
I also understood LOUD and CLEAR…that WE are the only experts…expertise by experience. if our child is to have a good life outcome , he or she only will with OUR input – huge commitment – but WE are the only ones who care enough NOT to write off their capacity.
- we learned and drilled in tables almost wearing blinkers – eye to eye, one to one.
- we pointed out to the school that he needs to keep revising concepts or they are forgotten.
- to TELL his secondary school how he works and what he needs – rather than have them faff about and waste time discovering what i know.
- to learn Irish and French colours through the colours of gaelic and soccer strips
- to show him how to summarise as you know that come exams he will need all that done- and it will keep learning by rote to a minimum,
- to bolster his confidence so much that he sees unlimited options…overly so!
- to be determined and to learn – like your child does- to think OUTSIDE the BOX…when one way doesn’t work , come at it from a different angle…
- be ready to write a note to the maths teacher, telling him your child needs to understand the mathematical thinking, and leans a gimmicky method, he will forget – there was a LOT of advantages to the old fashioned way of teaching maths!
- your child is NOT defective…look at him like YOU are the expert…look for the chinks…the interests…the things that he is good at and start there!
- its a LONG-TERM work of art…but it is a one off…be proud of it!
- Fionn comes regularly and thanks me for knowing him and understanding him so well…
- That’s my prize 🙂
PS: if only i could tell her how incredibly high his IQ turned out to be as in his A-level results. included 2 papers with full marks!