..........to the stunning, youthful redhead (hey, this is my movie) sitting on the couch. A two month old little girl is snuggled into her neck, dozing after having a bottle and her mother is trying to burp her. The baby snuffles and squirms a little, trying to get the wind up. Mum continues rubbing the babys' back and watches her 18 month old little boy play.
He is sitting on the floor by the window, with his back towards his Mum. He is banging a musical toy on the wooden floor. His Mum doesn't mind, this is how he plays with all his toys, you see. She calls his name, he does not respond and she has a little chuckle at how engrossed he gets. She knows that any moment now he will bring the toy over to her, take her hand and place it on the "on" button. She will turn the toy on, once again showing and explaining to him how it can be done. He won't say 'thank you' (he used to say "cuckoo") because he hasn't spoken any of his words recently, actually, not for quite a few months now.
While she waits, she allows her mind to wander, mentally compiling this weeks shopping list and contemplating other mundane household tasks, letting her mind just work on its own. The baby on her shoulder attempts to lift her head, but it flops back down again so Mum moves the baby to a more comfortable position, still on auto pilot. She sits on the couch, enjoying the moment and letting her mind float.
A fax message appears in her head (fax messages always seem to appear without a fuss). She mentally turned the fax message over and saw the words:
"oh ****, he is autistic".
This is how it happened. I have had a few lightbulb moments in my life, but I can't remember now what they were because this is THE lightbulb moment.
I had no experience of Autism. I don't know how I knew because looking back now the signs are all there, but I am looking back with knowledge and understanding that I didn't have then. I had seen a PECS folder once, I had heard of ABA, and I had heard of reduced eye contact, but that was the sum total of my knowledge at the time the fax arrived.
Five months of uncertainty followed. Well meaning friends dismissed my fear. I listened to many "sure such and such didn't talk until he was 3" stories. I listened to "he has middle child syndrome", "he has regressed because of the new baby, he will be fine". Fax messages were a regular occurence by then. The latest fax screamed "I KNOW MY CHILD".
During those five months his severe delays in comprehension, language and social skills were noted by professionals. His eye contact was deemed "inappropriate". Then there was the observation that finally made me cry "he is not interacting with you, he is using you".
I cried for a week, but took a break for long enough to phone a psychiatrist and make an appointment to have my son assessed. At 23 months old he was diagnosed with ASD.
The relief was, and still is, enormous. Honestly! All the doubts are gone, the wondering is over and we have direction and can make a plan (I like to have a plan).
I still haven't figured out how I "knew". My husband calls my instinct 'MummyMagic'. I always know how to soothe my children, I always know when they are sick, there are so many things I just "know", the same as every mother knows their own children.
I believe that greater things go on in this world than we are aware of. I believe in Angels and I also believe they are the people who love us, but can't be with us, on earth. I believe they choose to watch over us and help out when they can. Maybe one of my Angels found a quiet moment, in my very busy head, to send a message.
Maybe it doesn't matter either. The important thing is that we have our information early and we have started on the road to helping our little boy. I like the idea of an Angel to help us though, it's comforting and, over the years, we are going to need some inspiration and guidance from our Angels.