Our Son’s Autism Story

Our Son’s Autism Story

‘Get on with it, there’s nothing that can be done’

In November 2010 we received the diagnosis that our son, almost four years old, was autistic. That’s pretty much all we were told. The Dr was very pleasant but the view was ‘get on with it, there’s nothing that can be done, you might be able to sign up for a support group’.

Fortunately, since the diagnosis was not a surprise, I had started to look for information on autism and found a copy of Sally Kirk’s ‘Hope for the Autism Spectrum’. This was my accidental introduction to a biomedical approach. I read it avidly since to me it made a lot of sense. Apart from anything else it made me feel empowered – I felt that at least I could do something for my son. It also chimed with my gut feeling. I wasn’t so sure it would make such sense to my husband and indeed that proved to be the case. However he didn’t feel it would do any harm and was tolerant if not convinced.

While reading the book I looked online for more biomedical information. I came across ‘the Sunderland protocol’ from the Autism Research Unit at the University of Sunderland. I had wondered whether our son might be dairy intolerant – he craved milk and snatched at it like he was getting a fix and I’d heard this could be a sign. I contacted them and got him tested and this turned out to be the case. This was the first step on a biomedical journey, which has subsequently encompassed homoeopathy, nutrition, SLT, OT and craniosacral therapy.

I went to the Treating Autism conference in 2011. As a result we took our son to the Breakspear medical centre and have subsequently seen even greater changes in him.

When I look back through my diary from 2008/09 I see comments about the following: –

Screams and hollers…meltdowns…he hasn’t progressed at all in talking – in fact he’s saying less than before…train spotting is now bordering on obsession… bit me nearly a week ago and I’ve still got the bruise…eyes fixed…spends ages and ages with his head right next to the wheels of his trike or pushchair… laughing manically…echolalia…running up and down constantly…not sleeping…not sleeping…not sleeping…

This list is massively removed from our five-year-old boy today. It is frequently commented on how astonishingly well he has done. I’m exceedingly thankful but not astonished. I’ve seen how all the interventions have had a gradual and incremental effect.

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Our son’s autism journey, few years on

He’s at mainstream school with a statement, which seems less and less necessary. His TA is fantastic and says how well he’s doing – one of the most able pupils academically apparently but what I’m more concerned with is how hugely his behaviour and social skills have improved. He isn’t isolated and antisocial anymore; he has friends and gets invited to parties.

I used to, guiltily, wonder what he’d be like if he wasn’t autistic. It felt as though it had taken him over; now it just seems an aspect of him, the occasional quirky way of viewing the world.