A MOTHER's personal reflection of living with autism

Our two autistic sons are very loving but have a very bad temper.  Our oldest, who is 14years old, has a great appetite and eats everything in sight and the food has to be locked away from him. He eats fruit, veg, curries, loves cheese, yoghurt, biscuits, chocolate, you name it, he eats it!  In contrast, our youngest who is 9 years old has a very limited diet. He is non-verbal which means, he doesn’t speak at all but he does make some noises.  Last year he spoke for the first time.  We were at a friends house and he said “I want to go home”.  We were shocked that he spoke and almost in tears, these were the first words in 9years.  Since then he has spoken on occasion.  When he is in trouble, hurt or distressed he calls, “Mummy, mummy..”.  Only that one word. He loves his mummy very much.  Right now he is eating more variety and is getting putting on weight, which is great news.


He looks like his grandad and his uncle but I see different family members in his expression all the time.  He is so scared of shopping and crowds and he can’t use public toilets.  If he has a “meltdown” in public I have to hold him tight otherwise he could be a danger to himself or others.  When he has a meltdown, he shouts, he self-harms, he will hurt me with pinches and bites but I can eventually calm him down.  If this happens at home I have to cuddle him in my bedroom, on my bed to calm him down.  He feels safe there.  It is always difficult to manage situations like this in public with everyone watching but his safety is more important than what anyone else is thinking.  When he was five, he once put his head through a door from his frustration. Our home has to be safety-proof in every way you can think.  Lock on all doors, Fort Knox has nothing on my house.  God help you if you’re a Jehovah’s witness or Halloween person knocking on our door.


He is still in nappies and is nine years old.  He loves school and loves his TV programs.  He loves the music from Hairspray the Musical (2007?) and for some reason, unknown to us, he loves Dog the Bounty Hunter too.  He bangs on the TV with excitement.


There are only two shops where we live that he will go into.  He loves parks but hates dogs very much.  He has to be on reigns so he can’t run off but it doesn’t matter what you put him in, he is a master escapologist and will get out of anything. 


Our oldest is becoming more independent every day.  He speaks basic words and uses sign language.  He’s 14years old and will be in year 10 in September.  He loves “The Weakest Link” (not sure why) and “Balamory” (everyone loves Balamory) and swimming and the park as well.  A local bike shop kindly closed specially for us and fitted him up for a new bike so that he could have the attention he needed without distraction. So he loves to ride his bike too. 


He has a painting on his bedroom wall painted by a Kingston art student specially for him.  It’s been a very emotional 14years which has seen me getting bitten and scratched but we wouldn’t change our two special boys for the world. I know my sons every detail, I have to.  This might explain why we are always so closely connected, more so than some parents and children.  A common expression with children is, “they should be seen and not heard” OR “Out of sight, out of mind”, that’s not ever the case with my son.  They have strange behaviours that are unusual and unique which makes our boys so very different and special.


My hat goes off to every autistic family who struggles around the world.  My hair literally gets pulled out.  I have decided to share some of our life, thanks for taking the time to read and understand.


Here is a great video for autistic kids called "Owls are Nocturnal"


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