It’s really quite strange, but I knew that my youngest son E, didn’t have autism from the moment he was born!
He looked at me, that’s it. No sixth sense or anything, he just looked at me. As the weeks and months progressed, it was obvious he didn’t have autism, and it was a completely new concept for me to get my head around!
It still amazes me today at the things that my youngest does, things that most parents take for granted. I never took anything for granted with S, and things that children learn automatically, from copying/imitating/instinct, never happened, so I had to teach him. I never realised this until I had my youngest, who learned things on his own, then I realised that S didn’t have that ability. (he was my first child so I didn’t know any different)
S rarely looked at me as a baby/toddler, and when he was older he used to take me by the hand if he wanted something, I was a tool that he could use to obtain things, and then when he got what he needed, I was no longer necessary.
Sounds harsh I know, but that’s how it was. There was no emotional attachment, unlike my youngest who looked at me, wanted cuddles, wanted to be with me and wanted to get things for himself, and would only resort to asking me to help him if he couldn’t do It!
Even now my youngest wants me to sit with him, do things with him and It took a lot of getting used too! I was used to a child that wanted to be left on his own, didn’t make a fuss, or the extreme was having to do strange things or drawing that used to last all day because he would do the same thing over and over again, tantrums because he didn’t understand, it was extremes, one or the other, no in between.
I was also used to a child that couldn’t speak until around the age of 4, that didn’t ask questions, that wasn’t interested in going outside to play, or interested in the world around him.
I didn’t realise what I, or S to be honest, had missed out on in the early years. My youngest is always playing with toys, pretend playing, cuddling me (that was a new concept for me!) asking questions, trying to write, trying to read…the list is endless.
Having my first child with autism, then one without autism has been difficult, its taken a long time to adjust to the differences and its been a steep learning curve because I didn’t know what a child without autism did! I still ask my friends if E “should be doing this” because I don’t know.
In a way, it’s like having a first child and knowing nothing and learning to be a parent all over again.