It’s been well over a year since we had the official paper in hand diagnosis of autism for my son.
It feels like such a world away.
I can’t believe how truly different our life is.
The Paediatrician told us on leaving his office “If you invest heavily in early intervention, I believe you will be able to have your son attend mainstream school in 2 years.”
We nodded solemnly and thought, I really hope we can do all that work and get him to school.
This is all on us, his “best outcome”.
We have to do ALL the right things or we will be failing him.
I was overwhelmed by all the therapy we were told we needed to do to give him “optimum results.”
How could I do this? With his baby sister 15 months old and ALL the hours I needed to do, all this therapy. Occupational therapy, speech pathology, psychology.
Just writing all that makes me feel pretty awful. All the yuk medical language. The ableism. There is so much fear heaped on you at diagnosis by heavily pathologising experts. People who all need to help “treat” your child.
I reject it now.
The suggestions of all the therapy hours, social skills training, the constant pushing and pulling of a child to conform and to at best “pass” as “normal”.
I wish I could go back to the moment in the paediatricians office.
I wish I could say “investing in our son means loving him, supporting him in his needs, advocating for his rights and accomodations in his life to be safe, supported and included. Whether he goes to school or not is not a measure of his ability as a person.
Nor is it a measure of anyone’s ability.”
I can’t go back.
I don’t really want to, because currently we are really “invested” in happiness at home, with no school.
Because in the end, school wasn’t for our son and we found ourselves considering unschooling after two unpleasant attempts at kinder. It’s been a shock, because not so long ago I too was convinced that school was a measure of my son’s growth.
I was so wrong.
And I’m so glad I found our “right”.
There are many people who helped my family to find our right path.
The people who shone lights on autistic voices, hidden by loud, noisey fear driven parents, so I could hear.
All my autistic friends whom forever changed the way I think about disability, acceptance and supporting the ones we love with respect.