One my way home from work the other day as I sat in traffic stewing (people of Toronto, you KNOW what I’m talking about if you even sit on the DVP wondering why you even bothered trying to DRIVE on it!) I remembered a cute but funny little picture we had taken a few years back when Lincoln was 3 and a half.
During this photo shoot at the local Superstore Lincoln started out agreeable but quickly morphed into this. An anxious, worried, upset, melting down little kid.
This was a little out of the norm (at the time, later, it became common) for Linc and we chalked it up to “hey! we have a new baby, things are a little different at home, no one likes thier picture taken…deep down “I” even feel like this! and did not think anything of it.
As most parents on the spectrum know, anxiety and over reaction to a situation is EXTREMELY common traits in AUTISM. It is also a common trait for a 3 year old…so parents. If you are like us, and you didn’t see the early signs. You are human. You are not a bad parent. It is tough to see sometimes. HFA sometimes is like a connect the dots – until ALL the dots are met you typically cannot see the whole picture.
Lincoln began to play in a particular style when he was quite young. He typically liked to play standing up with his toys at ‘eye level’ He NEVER lined up toys, and he didn’t have a repetitive way of playing but there was an order, and continues to be. If you read the Autism symptoms and check list you might wonder, but he certainly didn’t follow the playing to the tee which made it harder to spot any issues.
** INTERESTING NOTE*** I wrote in my last blog about Thomas the Tank and if you have a good eye, you will notice there is a Thomas table in the background to the right in this photo. At this age, about 3 Lincoln had NO interest at all in Thomas. His Uncle bought him this table to sit and play at (which her still never has) and for the most part only his other brothers have really put this to good use!
Here is Lincoln at 2 1/5.
There was no ‘hit you in the face’ signs. He had good fine motor skills, could open this juice box himself in a flash! He ran and climbed, eye contact, talked with a good vocabulary, just not a lot. We chalked that up to, his brother did not talk and he therefore had little else to say.
When you are a parent of an autistic child you have this very deep conversation with yourself at a point where you ask yourself if you missed a sign.
This discussion is a catalyst for self-punishment.
You can go over it again and again, maybe the signs were there, maybe they were not so obvious. The fact is, you had no reason to suspect there was an issue. Don’t beat yourself up over not realizing right off the bat that your child might need some extra help. Parenting, my friend says, does not come with a manual. You learn as you go along, a good parent is one that does not over react but can eventually conclude that there may be reason for a 2nd opinion.
Here is my son at almost 3 1/2
At 4. We had to distract him with the ornament to get him to sit. I told the photographer to just keep shooting, not to stop and one picture would turn out! His patience was VERY limited at this point.
Here is Linc at 2…He is holding some Cars (from the movie Cars) Looking like an ever day kid…He does though begin to ALWAYS carry something in his hand. My other 3 boys did not ever behave this way. Interesting?
Are the signs that noticeable?
No, Yes, Maybe. You see how difficult it is in retrospect 🙂
We all do the best we can. Autism is mysterious, it varies, and it is unexpected when you first hold your beautiful little baby.
Give yourself a break and pat yourself on the back for getting help when you did. You are A GREAT parent!