Wednesday, 21 March 2012

30 DAYS OF AUTISM... Prologue

April is almost here and for those of you who don't know April is Autism Awareness Month. In Particular April 2nd is *Light it up Blue* Day...
This means that on April 2nd you need to shine a blue light to raise awareness for Austism. Here is what some people do...

If this seems a little extreme then you could always do what I did last year

Basically you replace your outside light, or *porch light* , for my US friends, with a blue bulb and shine a light on Autism!

I have set myself a challenge...Last year during April I posted on Facebook, something everyday to do with Autism. A link, a quote, an insight. This year I pledge that Aspergers Rules will post daily! (YIKES! I can't believe I said that).
It  may be just a few photos or  something to do with my Aspies day OR I may steal some blog posts from my favourite Bloggers! Actually, lets send out the challenge...Who wants to join me? We can do an ASD Blog Hop!

I am going to pre-empt April with a couple of  posts on the beginning of my Journey with Austism.
I will start with Pierce.Pierce is my youngest boy, my 3rd child and has an older brother with Aspergers. He was diagnosed first so I will start with him,  as his dx was the beginning of our journey...

Pierce was born on the 18th of February, his due date. Funny how my two Aspies arrived on their expected date of arrival, following a schedule even then?
After a week of  Drs and Mid-Wives fighting over Wether or not I should have a C-section due to Pierces apparent largeness and an actual trip to pre-op that was cancelled due to an emergency,  my waters broke at home ( a first for me) at 10.30pm on Feb the 17th. I was exhausted from all the deliberation and decision making so decided to sleep on it...I awoke the next day determined to have my baby naturally.  I was induced after it became apparent that labour was not going to start naturally and as my waters had broken many hours before we were getting into danger zone for infection. Four hours after my drip was started and at maximum dosage my contractions finally began and WHOA, did they begin!!! Induction is not for the feint hearted...It is fast and full on. 0-100 in  a very short space of time. 1.5hours later, 2 shots of Morphine (no effect) and Penicillin for an apparent infection, Pierce arrived. He was huge 9lb 8oz and battered...he had decided to he wanted to come out with his fist wedged into his eye socket so had bruising and looked as though he had spent a bit of time in the boxing ring! However he was healthy and I once again patted myself on the back for giving birth to another *perfect* child...

Fast forward almost 3 years and Pierce starts Preschool. I was pregnant with my fourth child and decided to start him at preschool before the baby was born so he was settled before she arrived.

All seemed to be going well and baby number four a much wanted daughter arrived...Not long after Pierces Teacher called me aside and requested a meeting to discuss a couple of concerns she had with Pierces behaviour.I was horrified! Was he being naughty I asked? No,not naughty but we have some concerns we would like to discuss... Thankfully I only had to wait a day for the meeting and Pierces teacher was an amazing girl who made it as pain free as possible. She had noticed Pierce had some unusual behaviours, was not at all interested in his peers and had been having sudden unexplained *tantrums* that lasted for an unusually long time. This had been happening since he started but they wanted to wait to see how he settled after Darcy was born....his behaviour remained unchanged and as she said was unusual in the fact that he was compliant most of the time.

So began the assessment period. First the Preschool asked if I minded if a *Parents as Teachers*  Rep observed Pierce at school and at home.Of course I agreed, I had also had difficulties with Pierce at home. Although he was the easiest of my toddler boys he was very *quirky* and preferred his own company and had recently become a nightmare to take anywhere...I of course expected the outcome to be bad parenting.I should mention that I had, since Ryan and Pierce were born, attended Triple P and 123 Magic workshops.Neither programs had worked with my boys and I assumed I was either a hopeless Mum or had missed a day!

So, Mr Parents as Teachers came and observed and reported *nothing environmental* ...meaning I was cool and doing a good job apparently.

Next it was decided we should visit a Psychologist who then recommended a visit to a Paediatrician with a report from school. Before the appointment Pierce had to have blood tests, stool cultures and various other tests done. By the time the appointment day arrived I was sure my son was dying!

The day of our Paed appointment arrived and I was a wreck. Our Dr read all the reports and test results,asked some bizarre questions (I thought), like, does he hate loud noises, Is he affectionate, does he hate wearing shoes, does he play appropriately with toys (OMG what is appropriate toy play I was thinking???), How does he respond to changes in routine? I answered all these questions but was thinking...What the hell is the guy on about?

After over an hour and Pierce becoming increasingly distressed and trying to abscond (I didn't know this term yet BTW) our Pead asked me if I knew what Autism was? I replied, "Yes they are children who don't talk and are like Rainman. Pierce isn't Autistic he can talk"  ...(Oh how I shudder at that reply now!)
So started a whole list of  Autistic *traits* and talk of Umbrellas and Spectrum's. All of which meant  nothing to me at the time. Next came the bombshell...."I truly believe Pierce is on the Autism Spectrum, most likely on the high functioning end and I suspect Aspergers Syndrome".
Ok....I didn't even cry. I can't actually remember my reaction but I know it was weird. I did ask what I could do for him. Dr C told me to go home, Google and call our local Early Intervention Service. I did both and remained in shock even though with every click of the mouse I knew my son did in fact have Aspergers Syndrome.

SHIT! I have a child with Autism...Aspergers??? Took a while to sink in and I was very cool about it for about a week, then, after my first call and subsequent visit from our local EI service, I lost it. I cried for almost a year. The more I read and learned the more I cried. I went to workshops, support groups, therapy appointments and all I did was cry!

But I survived and I am now the Mum who supports all the Mums with a new diagnosis...I even survived Pierces older brother being diagnosed, but that's a whole other Blog Post....

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