When I found out I was pregnant with Little Bear I was delighted, although we were still young ourselves we knew that this little boy would be a blessing and we couldn’t wait to meet him.
The day he was born was the best day of my life, I couldn’t believe that I had made this tiny human and he was just the most beautiful and perfect baby in the world, there are no words to describe the amount of joy and pride that we felt that day.
Little Bear went on to develop as all babies do and would smile at us when we spoke to him, he giggled when we played games with him and he started to crawl around and pick up everything he could see in sight.
He started to say words like, mummy, daddy, ball and car and then he went on to start to walk and there was no stopping him then as he was pulling everything down around himself and running around like a tiny whirlwind.
We were happy that he was developing so well and that everything was going well, it’s every parents joy to see their children develop as they should.
A few weeks short of his first birthday, Little Miss chatterbox was born.
We were delighted that he would have someone to play with and a little friend to grow up with.
As the years went by and Little Miss chatterbox got older and started hitting her milestones we noticed that Little Bear had regressed and was no longer making progress as he should.
Because Little Miss Chatterbox was saying so many words and was even able to sing us songs from her favourite cartoons while all of a sudden Little Bear had lost all his speech, I became quite concerned with his development and I just knew there was something that didn’t sit well with me.
Everyone told me that boys just talk later than girls and it would come and all of a sudden everyone knew children who didn’t speak until they were three years old. Mr Findingmummysvoice kept reassuring me that his speech would come and not to worry about it.
But deep down we both knew that this just didn’t seem normal.
I spoke to my health visitor who of course like everyone else kept reassuring me that boys do tend to talk later than girls and not too worry too much that she would refer us onto speech therapy.
I tried to keep calm and tell myself that they were probably all right but my mummy instinct was still telling me otherwise and so I started doing some research of my own to see what I could do or if there was anything else that might be the cause of his lack or speech.
As I was doing my research I came across the word autism, I had never heard of it before and didn’t have a clue what it was but as I looked further into it my heart sank as I could see all the similarities between my child and all the traits I was reading about. And then it became so obvious why the lack of speech, why he was so fussy with his food, why he wouldn’t play with his sister and would prefer to watch the same cartoon over and over again. These were just some of the things we had noticed.
I then put this forward to my health visitor who was aware of autism and soon also realised that I was possibly correct.
We went through the whole process of different assessments in order to diagnose our child with autism, and even though everything was right there in black and white pointing to him having autism I always hoped that we would walk into that room and be told no your child doesn’t have autism and for many years after that even with a diagnosis I still kept thinking maybe they have it wrong maybe he will start talking soon and everything will change, but it never did.
Hearing that day that my baby boy, my Little Bear had been diagnosed with autism truly broke my heart and I don’t think it’s ever been the same again.
The worries that I carry with me everyday tear me apart, they keep me up at night and have me fearing for my child’s future.
Little Bear is now 8 and has been diagnosed since before he started nursery and is in a brilliant special needs school that always goes above and beyond for it’s pupils.
He has made brilliant progress and although still has very little speech he is coming along very well and has done things that at one stage we feared would never happen.
Don’t get me wrong I love my child more than words could ever explain to anyone and more than any act could prove so, but I’m also saddened that my child has struggles everyday, that my child finds simple things that other kids his age can do a struggle, that he has difficulty sleeping and switching his brain off. That his sensory system is so sensitive that loud noises to him are like nails going down a chalk board and that food can make him gag just from the texture. That he lives in his own little world and finds it hard to be around others because he can’t communicate his needs or tell someone how he feels.
So because of this I fear for my child as he grows older and the struggles become bigger and people’s ignorance also bigger along the way.
Behind all the struggles is a sweet little boy who loves watching Mickey mouse more than anything in this world, a child whose eyes light up every time Mickey mouse comes on.
A child who finds the simplest things funny and who is so sweet and loves nothing more than hugging his parents and getting cuddles.
A child who is our world and who has taught us that we need to appreciate the smallest of achievements and has taught us more love than we will ever know.
Everyday brings its struggles and some days are very difficult but he is and always will be our little boy.