Archer has, for a while now, been showing symptoms of having Autism. We had been concerned about his lack of development for a while, particularly when it came to speech and listening. We had gone to see hearing clinics, as well as speech pathologists, with not much success. It was actually my mother, a nurse for 30+ years, who sat down and had the discussion with us.
Obviously, after that conversation, I was quite upset. No parent ever wants to think that there’s something wrong with their child. (Not that there is anything particularly ‘wrong’ with people who have Autism, as I’ve come to learn.) Some research into the condition, and its signs & symptoms held firm with mum’s observation.
Archer walks on his toes more often than not. He has made little effort to develop any sort of intelligible speech (he will mimic a few basic sounds, but thats about it). He rarely responds to us calling his name, and even when he does register, he will often look at us and then carry on with whatever he’s doing. He doesn’t point or wave goodbye, nor does he make any effort to indicate to us what he wants.
As well as this, we are slightly concerned about his habit of eating non-food items. A friend of Kayla’s, who also happens to be Autistic, suggested a condition called Pica. This condition is common in many psychiatric disorders, in particular small children with Autism, and involves those affected having an insatiable appetite for things such as dirt, sand, rocks, paper, wood, etc. As outlined in one of my previous posts, Termite-Boy, Archer has been showing signs of this for a while. We are trying our best to discourage him from chewing on anything and everything, but he is persistent.
Despite all this, however, Archer is very happy, independent and curious little boy. He constantly amazes us with the new discoveries and, albeit small, steps he takes in his development. He recently discovered touch screens (having played with my phone quite a bit); and now he’s convinced that every screen is a touch screen. He will swipe away at my MacBook screen and I scroll the screen to make him think he’s doing it.
He loves jumping on our bed, as well as doing flips and somersaults. He also loves running around in circles with his favourite blanket over his face. This activity, although cute, has ended in tears on more than one occasion, so we do our best to discourage him from doing this.
Since we were made aware about Archers possible condition (*at time of writing, we haven’t had a definite diagnosis as yet), we have started sending him to a service called ASELCC (Autism Specific Early Learning and Care Centre). ASELCC is a fantastic service, acting like a daycare for children with Autism, which is handy for us, as we can use that time to get things done around our house that we would have a struggle with otherwise. We are extremely lucky to have this service in the next town over, as there are only 6 or 7 in the whole country, and the one we use is the only one thats not in a state capital (our state capital, Hobart, is a 4+ hour drive away) The only downside with having the ASELCC near us, is that the Autism Diagnostic Service is based in Hobart. So for us to get an official diagnosis, we need to go on a waiting list, and then travel down to see the specialist. Hopefully, we will be able to meet the specialist halfway so its a little easier on us.
As well as ASELCC serving the function of being a daycare, it is also an early leaning centre that caters to the specific needs of children on the Autism Spectrum. In speaking with other parents who have their children (a similar age to Archer) at the centre, they’ve told of great improvements to their ways of life, in particular with regards to speech and language development.
Archer has only been attending ASELCC for a couple of months, and has already made big strides in terms of how he interacts with other people, and his overall mood has improved.
This is going to be a long journey for all three of us, and I look forward to keeping you updated with Archers progress. ASELLC often takes photos and videos of Archers sessions. I will be sharing these as much as I can, and I would love to connect with other parents of ASD toddlers. Please feel free to follow me on any of the social links at the top of the page.
Thank you for reading
As always, Be Kind