In addition to my son's ASD he has issues with his eyes. Over the years this has meant additional appointments, assessments, prodding and poking.
Through it all he remains resilient and in such high spirits.
We were told over a year ago that he would need an operation to correct a slight squint which was now causing him to have double vision.
I had a flash back to my boy at four when they put him to sleep for another eye check (different hospital, pre diagnosis) and for both of us it was the most traumatic experience – one which he has never forgotten.
Within a month of being on the waiting list I was contacted and offered a cancellation slot for the very next day.
I froze and babbled an excuse that we were not ready, that I was unsure if I could arrange short notice annual leave and how I would need time to prepare my son.
That evening I spoke with my husband and he said that it’s probably best if we don’t pre warn him about the operation and we just tell him the day before to avoid him any anxiety.
So 16 months on I got the letter and my heart filled with the same dread, I called to see if I could reschedule (not for any valid reason) and they basically told me he would go to the back of the list.
Thankfully, my boy did good!
Everything was set and the evening before the operation I gave Cameron a nice treat and told him that we were off to the eye hospital in the morning; this was not a surprise to him.
I told him that this visit was slightly different in the fact that when we arrived he would have some medicine, go to sleep whilst the try to fix his double vision and when he woke up he could have any tea he wanted and the rest of the week off school.
He thought about it for a second and said:
“So mum, we're gonna go to the hospital, I’m going to be hypnotised, I will have a sleep while they fix the double vision and then I can have 20 chicken nuggets from McDonalds for my tea?”
Operation day arrived and the surgeon came to tell us about the bilateral procedure, I realised at that moment it was to be on both eyes!
I asked could they administer pre medication to sedate him slightly to get the canella in and ease the experience – they said that they did not think he would need it but respected my wishes as his mum, considered his previous bad experience and agreed.
I cannot thank the hospital staff enough, they spoke to my son, they reassured him, the distracted him with bubbles whilst they prepared him and sent him off to sleep.
I realised in that moment that in fact it is me that needs the preparation; I need the advanced notice of things that are about to happen.
My eight year old autistic son is braver and more able to adjust to changes and unknowns far better than I am as a neuro-typical 32 year old!
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