I know my children have autism. It affects them both very differently but very profoundly and yet I no longer really see it.
I am not in denial.
I see very clearly the difficulties in communication, the very real challenges with social situations, and even the lining up and flapping.
They haven't suddenly developed eye contact and their sensory issues are still very apparent.
They still very much watch the same few seconds of videos over and over and need prepared even for the simplest of transitions.
Yet to me those things have become so much a part of my children that I no longer see them as autism: I see them as characters of Naomi and Isaac.
I understand why parents want answers and become concerned when they see their child having social difficulties or becoming obsessive over something.
I get the stress of having a fussy eater.
I know that people need answers.
But the other side to that is that so many of us have traits of autism and most children go through stages of ordering or lining up toys, repeating words or phrases they like or preferring to play alone.
Millions of children are fussy eaters or don't like wearing certain things.
Almost three years since my daughter was diagnosed and I have learnt to love and respect the lining up and ordering.
To me it is just her wonderful way of making sense of things and I have no issue with that.
I embrace her obsessions and loves for what they are: her hobby and way of escape.
I adore how she sees the world in black and white and takes language literally.
She teaches me another way to look at things.
Four years and two months since my son was diagnosed and although he has very significant needs it is all just part of who he is.
He can not speak at almost eight but that does not stop him finding other more inventive ways to communicate.
He adores lifts and mashed potato and the colour red.
He chews teddies, flaps and rocks and struggles to sit still.
All of these things are just part of who he is like his beautiful brown eyes, rugged stature and handsome features.
For example even if he was not diagnosed he could easily still love mashed potato for dinner like so many other children.
In fact he has a passion for hand dryers that is very much NOT in keeping with most autistic children who hate noise.
My children are who they are.
The way they think, communicate and play is all part of who they are and it is impossible to separate their character and personality from the autism.
Other people look at my children and the first thing they see is autism.
I look at my children and just see Isaac and Naomi.
The portable activity kit. Fun therapy at home or on the moveFind out more