So recently, a friend of ours asked us a question. She was asking me to write a post about how our son’s autism had changed our family life.
Now, I take questions like this seriously, so I sat down to think about this so that I could give an accurate answer.
It also deserved some real thought as it’s really not something I had thought about or considered before.
So, after some thought, I came to an answer. Now, if you can’t wait till the end, the short answer is ‘it both has and hasn’t changed our lives’.
OK, so I know that’s a bit of an on the fence answer. So let me do the long answer now and explain why I have said this.
The long answer
So. You’ve heard the short answer, kind of like reading the last page of the book really. Now, though, I will go into a little more detail.
From the beginning, let me say that we don’t parent our son any different to our daughter. There are things we have to do differently with our son, which is to do with his ASD diagnosis and delayed learning as well as him being nonverbal. However, we like to try and treat them both equal in regards to how we parent. That said, we do probably parent our daughter a little different now, but that’s also down to how we have grown.
In regards to our daughter, she can tell us what she wants. She had done so ever since learning to talk 🙂 but as little Mr. is non-verbal, he can’t-do that. That means, that this is one of those things that we have to do a little different with him. He also can’t grasp things such as what is dangerous so you have to be a little more cautious. Also, sometimes he does things that, well, you find more difficult to explain why he shouldn’t.
It’s much easier with (not so) little Miss(chief) as she has more of an understanding. She is also 4 years older so that in itself means she has more understanding. In that respect, the way we parent him is different to our daughter.
You could argue that that in itself means it has changed our lives. It has. In that respect, he has changed our lives. Also, living with autism in your family, having a child diagnosed has changed our life. We do things we wouldn’t have, we know things we would have regardless of the diagnosis, and we have learned to accept things – such as not bothering when people in the supermarket are looking at little Mr. has a meltdown. We have changed. He has changed us.
At this point, with all that said, you’re probably saying ‘So what part of that is the didn’t?’. Well, let me tell you why.
So what part of that is the didn’t?
So, for me, this is an easy one. Our life is where it should be. It has not changed from what it should be. Yes, little Mr. was diagnosed with ASD. This led to a different lifestyle than, say, a parent with a neurotypical boy of the same age. However, our life was never going to be the same as this other parent (fictional parent for this post). Our life would have always been different.
So, in that reality, our life has not changed. It was always supposed to go this way. This is the reason I say it has not changed our lives. Have we adapted, yes. Do we do things different with little Mr., yes. He diagnosis didn’t do that though, it was always going to go this route.
If you asked me ‘Do we do things differently; parent our son different to our daughter?’. Then the answer would be yes we do. Yes, this is partly down to autism, but not solely down to it. If you ask me ‘has autism changed our lives’, the answer would be yes. However, has the diagnosis changed it… We would be at this point in our life and parenting of little Mr. even if no diagnosis, so to that the answer has to be no. The actual diagnosis didn’t change where we would have been, but what it has given us is, its opened us up to lots of things and help we would not have got. It has added, not taken away.
Has our son changed our lives is a big massive yes for sure!
I hope that clarified the part I said it hadn’t, but also hope it gives you the idea of why I also said it had. There is two separate parts that need two separate answers to the question ‘How has our son’s autism diagnosis changed our lives’. If you like to hear more of my talking on subjects like this, then check out my other posts and watch out for more coming soon.
I recently came across the following quote
“If you are always trying to be normal, you will never know how amazing you can be.”
― Maya Angelou
This is my new goal in life. Not to conform to be normal, but to be amazing and I hope to inspire you to be amazing too.