So, here it is – my first post. I am not really sure how to start. At this point, I think I still want to keep a bit of anonymity, so my name is S, my husband is J, and my daughter we affectionately call “monkey” – so for now I will use these names. In some ways I feel likely a part of me has always known that monkey was different from other kids her age. Her obsession with Bubble Guppies, her need for intense routine, her repetitive behaviour, and her wanting to retreat from large groups of people. At the beginning, everyone explained this by saying that it is just her own little personality…she marches to the beat of her own drum…what kid isn’t obsessed with a particular cartoon?…all kids want routine…it’s just a phase.
That one always got me – it’s just a phase…she will get over it. But, it wasn’t just a phase. Days turned to weeks and months and eventually years of the same behaviour. Since becoming a parent almost three years ago, I have tried not to google habits or symptoms, but I did find myself doing it on occasion and they all led to signs of autism spectrum disorder. To be honest, before my daughter I did not have a lot of experience with Autism…other than some media stories, or Hollywood depictions (Rain Man being the most notable example). When I made the appointment with the pediatrician…I knew. When we were going through the M-CHAT…I knew. And finally, when he was telling J and I that she met many of the characteristics for high-functioning autism…I knew. But. finally having someone else say your worries and fears out loud was like someone hit me with a baseball bat. A million questions ran through my mind…how did this happen? Was it something that I did? Was it something I could have prevented? I know now of course that it was none of those things – but parent guilt and mommy guilt are powerful things, and I certainly had some of these feelings.
My almost 3-year old daughter is on the autism spectrum. I have been feeling like I need to get my feelings and emotions out in some way, and this seems as good a way as any. I don’t know what the future holds…but I do know that we will figure it out along the way and Monkey, J and I will grow even closer together. Join us as we go on this journey…trying to solve the puzzles and appreciate the beautiful rainbows that come out from behind the clouds. This little monkey is my light, my life and my world – and I just want to understand hers.