For most people, today is just a normal run of the mill Sunday. But, I couldn’t let today go by without mentioning that it is in fact Autism Sunday and do my bit to raise awareness about the disability.
Autism Sunday was first held in 2002 during Autism Awareness Year (also an idea shared by Ivan and Charika Corea) in the United Kingdom. Autism Awareness Year was supported by 800 UK organisations. It was the first ever occasion of partnership working on Autism on such a large scale.
Autism Sunday was initiated by parents Ivan and Charika Corea parents and carers of Charin Corea who was diagnosed with autism in 1998. They have been lobbying and campaigning on the serious issues concerned with autism and Asperger’s Syndrome since 2000. They founded the Autism Awareness Campaign UK in 2000 and in 2008 they launched a new autism charity for a new generation, the UK Autism Foundation with a view to campaigning on behalf of the poor.
In 2002 a historic service for autism was held at St.Paul’s Cathedral in London. What started as a small acorn of an idea hatched in their front room has turned into a massive worldwide event celebrated around the world. Autism Sunday is now a major disability event in the calendar.
Out youngest son Bruiser, is currently been screened for Autism. We were initially led to believe that his odd behaviours and traits were delayed development as a result of his prematurity. However as he has grown, more and more peculiarities have become evident that have given us and the professionals working with us and Bruiser cause for concern.
Bruiser was always a happy baby but he always struck us as odd at times. He didn’t interact much if at all. He always seemed like he was in a world of his own. He didn’t cry when you left the room nor did he acknowledge you when you entered a room. He didn’t giggle and we were hard pushed to get smiles out of him while we were playing with him. As he got older and stronger though, he hit all his physical milestones.
However, Bruiser never babbled as a baby, it was just before his first Christmas at 11 months old that he started babbling and just after his 1st birthday, he said his first word. But then words and sounds came think and fast and by the time he was 15 months he was saying ‘mam mam’ for Mummy, ‘t-sir’ for t-shirt, ‘air’ for hair ‘bable’ for table ‘ibib ible’ for iggle piggle.
Then one day it all stopped… no words, no babbling, no sounds, (it was like he suddenly didn’t know how) just crying lots of crying and extreme frustration!
After numerous consultations with his paediatrician and health visitor, he was referred to speech therapist and also to the community paediatricians as together with other behavioural problems that were also starting to become more evident, he was suspected of having Autism.
Bruiser’s traits seem to be more of a sensory nature. He doesn’t like loud noises, crowded places. He has eating difficulties associated with food textures. He displays OCD characteristics in that things have places, he doesn’t like being dirty, everything has to be clean. He wont even eat food without knowing and checking that it’s not hot and its clean. He doesn’t like bubbles in his drink and he can’t stand it when his feet become wrinkly in the bath. He loves and lives by his routines.
Although he shares a very close bond with us and his brother, when in a social environment with his peers ie nursery he doesn’t socialise or interact with the other children. He stands and watches but doesn’t join in. Or he finds himself a car or other similar toy and rolls it on various surfaces watching the wheels.
Bruiser; now aged 3, has only very recently started talking again. I believe this though is a consequence of his ability to now communicate through the use of Makaton. Which I will add, he does very well :)
Any sort of diagnosis in respect of Autism is a long way down the road for us. Whilst we do now get a lot more help these days from various professionals and support groups, life is hard work for all of us. These last few years we have found ourselves getting pushed to our limits whilst also having to push for Bruiser
I believe that the more awareness that is raised out Autism, the better the understanding society will have about the disability. This in turn will lead to better help and support for those affected by it and their families.
For more information about Autism Sunday, please click on this link. For further information about Autism and to access help and support please click here to be directed to The National Autistic Society.
Are you affected by Autism/Aspergers? Id love to hear from you, hear your story.
Thank you for reading.