Parenting via the scenic route

18 March 2019

Dear Friend,

Being a parent is amazing, exhausting, awe inspiring, confusing... full of contradictions. It is everything and nothing like I expected.

When my son was five he was diagnosed with autism, one of life's curved balls and we had to learn to parent a little differently. I like to call it parenting via the scenic route.

The scenic route:

a way that is not the fastest way but that has beautiful scenery

We discovered very quickly that our parenting journey would not take us down the usual route. We had missed the exit onto the parenting superhighway so instead of a straight line from A to B we took the relatively unknown, scenic path.

It wasn’t long before we encountered rough terrain. The health visitor was the first person to flag up issues when our big lad failed to follow her instructions to make a building with blocks. Then a rather cruel nursery teacher told us he presented like a special needs child but offered no help or advice. We felt lost.

We got stuck down a few dead ends. He was initially tested for Dyspraxia but didn’t tick enough boxes for a diagnosis. The therapists who worked with us were amazing and they taught me about sensory issues and encouraged me to follow my gut.

When we reached the point of diagnosis. My relief at finally having a diagnosis quickly changed to fear and disappointment. We were met by tidal waves of information and seemingly insurmountable mountains that we had to climb. I was overwhelmed by the sheer amount of the information and scared by the negativity. I needed hope. I needed someone to see the beauty I saw.

We were held up by traffic. There were long waiting lists, we were repeatedly told our son was too young for therapy and we had to fight for support as he fell into this gap between being “too good” for vspecialist therapy and “not good enough” for mainstream.

It was a steep learning curve but we did learn to read the signs. We met amazing people who guided us in the right direction and held our hand at times when we needed it. We lost some people along the way too.

Our son's resilience and humour inspired us to throw out the map and enable him to be our navigator. He lead us down the path that suited him best.

I wish we had know that some  of the most outstanding views would only reveal themselves after the hardest of climbs.

This will be my last post for a while as I have decided to take a break and support my son as he navigates the next part of his journey through Puberty and into adulthood. You can continue to catch up with me on facebook and instagram 

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Photography @My_Dutch_Angle

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