Ryan’s Story – A Parent’s Story
A Parent’s Story
I have always kept a journal throughout my life journey and I would like to share with you all, the exact entry on the day my gorgeous son Ryan was officially diagnosed with High Functioning Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD)….
“I smile wryly as I remember how I had called everyone in my address book the minute I found out we were expecting our first child. Now, 3 years later I couldn’t bring myself to call a single soul to tell them of Ryan’s diagnosis. Although I have known since Ryan was 10 mths old that something was not right, he is my first child and now 3 yrs after his birth, my internal scream is deafening as the Psychologist who has performed the 3 hour diagnostic assesment on Ryan confirms he has High Functioning Austism Spectrum Disorder. I am relieved to have a name for what I have always known as Ryan’s “quirks”, but more than anything I am overwhelmed with grief and panic as she explains what this means, but the only person I can share my grief with is the woman staring back at me in the mirror with the tear stained face (myself).
Ryan’s father is silently nodding and although I am relieved that my suspicions about Ryan’s Autism have finally been validated by an expert, it doesn’t feel like a “victory”.
I now look back on these early days as if viewing someone else’s nightmare; it all seems so unreal now.
I am happy to report that after gaining what I like to call the ‘Golden Ticket’ (Ryan’s diagnosis), I was able to access the support of the fabulous and highly experienced staff at Tweed Valley Early Childhood Intervention Service and the change in my family life and in my son is immeasurable.
Ryan attended the ‘Transition to School’ group run by TVECIS every Tuesday from 12-2pm. Through this, weekly Speech Pathology, 2 days at a wonderful mainstream pre-school and visits with Clinical Psychologist Dr Karen Plant, he has come ahead in leaps and bounds both socially and with his speech, learning, reading, writing and even his ability to concentrate on tasks !!. The difference is amazing, and for me every new thing he learns makes me burst with pride.
In addition, I cannot sing the praise of Kids In Need highly enough. The resources and support KIN provide to families with a special needs child/children during tough times is immeasurable. The friendships I have formed with KIN Committee Members as well as the staff from TVECIS are friendships I will cherish for life.
We still have tough days but they are getting fewer, and perhaps, if I can offer any advice to other parents that may be in the early stages of their child’s diagnosis, most important of all, ASK for help, and don’t send yourself crazy with thoughts of “What if?” and “If only” as these are wasted thoughts. Instead take a moment to celebrate the uniqueness of your child.