My son Cameron – laughter, tears, pain and fear come to mind when I think of him. He’s 8 today, full of life, full of confidence. But he wasn’t always that way.
Cameron was 18 mths when I first heard the word Autism. I knew he had some speech delays and was developmentally behind at that age, but the word Autism never entered my mind until spring of that year. I know the doctor was telling me all of her findings on that day and why she suspected my Cameron had Autism, but after that word, I blocked everything else out. I remember tears all of sudden rushing down my face and my husband leaning over to hug me and say everything was going to be ok. At that moment, I thought nothing would be the same again.
That fall my son was admitted into a preschool for children with Autism. I guess I am lucky that I live in a province that provides such a service. There was so much information given to me all at once my head was spinning. ABA therapy, schedules, occupational therapy, speech therapy, physical therapy. One mom can only handle so much. I really didn’t know what Autism meant other than what I had seen in movies. I remember having to ask a staff member at the pre-school to explain what was going on, what PDD-NOS meant. My husband tried to be supportive, but he had work etc. I had work also, but all of a sudden I remember reading up on everything about Autism and therapies was much more important.
It took almost 3 yrs of every type of therapy, naturapathy, me quitting my job to provide at home support for him, listening to every seminar, reading every Jenny McCarthy book on Autism to realize it’s not the end of the world. We were ok! Cameron was going to school, he could speak (although not well), he loved playing with kids, everyone adored him, he was funny and charming and everyone fell in love with his big brown eyes. And my marriage had survived.
I know quitting my job wasn’t the best decision, I was lucky I was able to do so and I had a husband who was there to support me in all my decisions. Cameron who is 8 now, has just entered grade 3. I have to admit the first year of school was an adjustment, not just for him, but for me. After spending every waking second learning, studying and living Autism, to have 6 hrs a day to myself was strange. He still receives help at school, and has an educational assistant in the class, but the boy he has become is amazing. He has never given up on trying, either with educational stuff or socially. I am proud of his hard work to overcome his disabilities!!