Whilst I’ve shared many snippets of our life on the blog – especially one of the more personal taboo, unspoken subjects of my mental health struggles – there’s one major part of our life I haven’t really spoken about. And that is, autism. A while ago I wrote a letter of sorts to my fellow special needs parents and that was really the first indicator on here, that we were dealing with this.
The first signs
When Noah was around nine months old I wrote this post which was originally processing my thoughts around sibling jealousy. Looking back, I realise that Jacob displayed signs of autism but it wasn’t really mentioned then. When he started nursery and I took the boys to play sessions, his behaviour was definitely different to others; but still, no mention of autism. We were referred by a professional to a parenting course to try and help with his behaviour, but still it continued.
When he started school I was hoping his behavioural issues would “settle down” but still, there was no change. If anything, it seemed to make things worse being around his peers. With their normalcy compared to Jacob, it was only then that I started looking into autism and ADHD and realised that he displayed so many signs. Still, nobody else mentioned it. Like it was a disease that shouldn’t be spoken of… This was when I (almost quite literally) began banging my head against a brick wall.
The first support
It was only after Christmas of his foundation year that things started moving for us. This was when the school SenCo became involved; she suggested we start a Pastoral Support Plan (PSP). Without a formal diagnosis and putting this into action, there wasn’t much else we could do to begin with. The PSP involved picking out all of the areas he was struggling, and putting into action an individual support plan for each area. This was to be reviewed every eight weeks, and we have been having reviews ever since. Some strategies worked and some didn’t, so we had been continuously chopping & changing them to give him the best support possible.
Putting a PSP in place was just the very beginning of a very long and stressful journey, heading towards a diagnosis of autism two years later…