I had this perfect plan in my head of how I would tell my son about his autism diagnosis.
I planned to do this before High School so that he was aware for his own wellbeing on the next leg of his journey.
The reality was very different though and one term into his year 5 school year I was being faced with concerns from his teachers that he was now starting to stand out from the pack, that the children who he had grown up with since preschool were now becoming less tolerant of him and his quirky ways and that they felt it was time to be having this conversation.
I had planned to take the Christmas holidays to have this difficult conversation, in the warmth and comfort of our family home surrounded by happiness and love.
Yes, this would still be ok and I could make this work. I had written out what I planned to say and prepared the examples I would present to him.
After all this is not a quick conversation we could have mid weed in the hustle and bustle of after work, teatime rush!!
I had finished work and picked up some shopping on my way home, then a call from school.
This was unusual at 17:15, his teacher proceeded to tell me that Cameron had a difficult day in school, that he was being disruptive and not engaging in class work.
I apologised profusely as any parent would and my heart was heavy knowing I now had to go home and greet my child with yet another behaviour lecture.
He started to cry and said “mum you just don’t understand how difficult school is for me and just how hard it is – people are mean to me ALL of the time and I don’t understand why I do the things I do. I don’t mean to be naughty”.
I got the iPad and sat him down, “Cameron I want to show you a little video and after you have watched it, I want you to tell me if this is someone you recognise ok”.
There is a video online “Amazing Things Happen” and it’s a cartoon video with a David Attenborough type voiceover explaining all about differences in people with and without Autism.
With that I had done it, I went on to explain this is the reason that he has extra support in school, why he doesn’t like certain textures and changes in his routine but most importantly why it isn’t anger that he is feeling as he keep telling his teacher but it’s an overload of information that his brain is so desperately trying to fathom out.
He then asked if he could show the video to his class for them to understand him more.
So, you see, we can worry ourselves sick and try to plan everything in advance but sometimes a spur of the moment event has that same profound outcome.
I wouldn’t have changed this moment for all the world.
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