Monday, January 11, 2010

The Present.....

Todays bolt from the blue was a phone call from Enable Ireland to ask would Matthew be starting school in September this year? and if he so, he needs to see the educational psychologist. Bearing in mind, Matthew hasnt even had a single OT or Speech and Language session yet since entering their was a bit of a laugh out loud and 'ya what' moment!!

So that brings me from 'The Future' neatly to 'The Present'.
The Present: 4 - 5 months on from Matthews diagnosis of ASD by the famous Prof Fitz one warm late summer evening. From reading some of the Irish Autism blogs, it strikes me just how many of us encountered 'the shed' of Prof Fitz and how many lives have been changed as a result, sitting in his office, crammed to the rafters with books on Freud, Jung and the psychoanalyst elite.

Pre diagnosis, to be blunt, we were in crisis. Expectations for Matthew were still on the neurotypical scale.. I expected him to be able to function and talk like his older siblings and that any day it would click into place.

The older he got and the less likely that started to happen the more panic started to set in. As I mentioned before, Matthew is a force of nature with a wilfulness and a strength of character that can be astonishing, so for me, I often find it very hard to reconcile it with some of the realities of his autism ..but 4 months on and a change of perspective has opened my eyes to the individuality that all our children have, yours, mine - everyones, but especially those with ASD.

It has changed me, no question about it. Its taught me that you have to be prepared to use different methods and different means to get to where you are going...and its sink or swim along the way!

So, going back to the phone call from Enable Ireland this morning... well, it was strange, Matthew is probably light years from being able to start school at this moment in time ...I couldnt even begin in a 1 min phone call to think, did they mean an ASD unit, mainstream with an SNA..what? (I have to tell The Future to feck off in a minute and stop annoying me with phone calls like that!) but at the same time, Matthew is light years from where he was.

I'm happy with the equalibrium, the little haven that is his ABA pre-school is as much a haven for me as it is him, and slowly but surely helps us towards a new set of expectations, for him and us.

It struck me over Christmas, the difference to this time a year ago was the sound of laughter, a new laugh makes itself heard, guffaws, giggles, chuckles, he never used to laugh, there probably wasnt much to laugh about as everyone expected him to be a different way rather than himself I'm ashamed to say ...sure, there's still regular tears and tantrums when we find ourselves unable to get on his wavelength and understand but to hear it punctuated with laughs inbetween is great for The Present.


  1. Lovely post xx. My favourite expression when it comes to having a child with autism is that we have to find a "new normal". It's not what we planned for or hoped for, but it is what it is! Well done Matthew, for achieving all you have, and well done Sal for being his voice xx

  2. Hi Sal, I have been there and done that! I totally understand where you are coming from. When it was time for Griffin to move forward and make the transition out of preschool, neither one of us were ready. But.....since he was in an autism classroom for preschool and transitioning into an autism 1st grade it did make things much more tolerable. Had it not been specifically an autism classroom then I would have said firmly NO!

    I say, follow your instincts, as it seems that you are and things will go just fine. Only you know what is best....I believe that will all my heart. Many mothers doubt themselves but I fully support moms following their gut.

    Great post Sal! I always look forward to more!

  3. Great post Sal, we too had the dilemma of school hitting us in the face way before our little man was ready for it, I wanted him to go but I knew in my heart it would be at least another year before it became a realistic goal for him. Fast forward one year and school is a reality and one that for the time being he is loving, he has a fulltime sna in mainstream and is very happy there. Hopefully your little man will get there too and finds the right place to fulfil his potential. Just stay in the present and let the future take care of itself for now. xx

  4. Hi Sal

    I too like the phrase 'new normal', glad you're getting some laughs back. It takes a long while to adapt to living with ASD- you sound like you're doing a really great job! It seems like you're bombarded with so much information and decisions to take at the beginning, while you still haven't really got your head round it- I think you're right to let the future f'off for a while!!!


  5. really great blog,
    cannot wait for more. i wouldnt rush into any decisions. i left AJ in aba unit for a year before putting him into school, best thing iv ever did for him

  6. Love your post. There's no rush, as long as you're happy with where he is at the moment.
    A diagnosis of autism flings us on a path that is almost unrecognisable...but as you may have noticed, it can bring out strengths (as well as weaknesses)that you never knew you had. Can't wait for your next post xxx

  7. Lovely post. We are nowhere near school going age in this house so can't offer any experience (I can tell the future to feck off for another 2 years!) You are the best judge though, so go with your gut:) Would love if you posted more about this over the next few months, give some of us tips:) Jen

  8. im not far behind you with school issue, but kind of have a plan and an idea of where im going so am happy

    its so tough but you get there

    lovely post
    cant waat for the next one

  9. Lovely post Blondiegal! Sounds like you're doing a great job. Hope there's lots more peels of laughter coming from your house ;)) xx Jazzy