This is the day that he put slime in his hair, not because he is Autistic just because he is daft! Fun times 😳
I often get asked what made me think that Ethan was on the spectrum. Some people are just genuinely interested, others have concerns about a child of their own and then there are the people who dont believe that he is, the ones who dont think he “looks” autistic! ( oh how I love those people 🙄)
Well the simple answer is that I didnt even consider autism until it was diagnosed.
I didnt really know anything about the condition.
But what I did know, as many parents who go on to get a diagnosis of a disability do, is that there was just something!
As a tiny baby Ethan mostly cried. Day and night he seemed unsettled.
I was the only person who could comfort him and I remember laying in bed most of the night with my arm flung over the side of the moses basket and my hand laying on his chest as that seemed to help him sleep – looking back now it would seem that sensory issues may have already been at play and my hand acted in the same way that a weighted blanket does for many children on the spectrum.
I honestly cannot recall exactly when he first rolled over, sat unaided, spoke etc but I also dont recall being concerned that he was developing particularly late compared to my previous babies.
The only differences that I did notice were that he never really crawled (bum shuffler), threw the most horrendous tantrums, often for no apparent reason and as he became a toddler his speech was clearly delayed.
The tantrums increased in ferocity and were pretty violent at times between the ages of 1 and 3 but his speech did begin to improve gradually and by the time he saw a speech therapist aged 3, she was happy that he was progressing adequately – children showing PDA traits often have delayed speech but with good catch up.
For us as parents and the nursery staff involved the behaviour issues were definitely the catalyst for seeking outside advise.
Apart from the tantrums and lashing out he would never do as requested, everything from simple fun requests to more important ones was met with defiance and refusal and to push the issue always ended in a meltdown. Yet it would pass and we would have a fun, happy and loving little boy back who everyone adored.
Everyone involved in Ethans life tiptoed around him on eggshells as you could never tell if it would be Mr Jekyll or Mr Hyde that would bound towards you!
Ethan was always and still is incredibly hyperactive, some days it exhausts me just watching him 😁 and when we went for an assesment I honestly thought that ADHD would be the resulting diagnosis.
But once an ASD diagnosis was given and I started researching, there were definitely signs which now make sense.
Ethan self regulates (stims) in many different ways, we just didnt realise that thats what he was doing before. He also has plenty of sensory issues with clothing and certain types of noise.
All of my research did leave me feeling that ASD wasnt quite the complete picture though and when I stumbled upon Pathological Demand Avoidace everything made sense, it was genuinely like someone was describing my son.
Having a diagnosis can be a life saver as it arms you with a piece of paper that teachers , etc cannot ignore – plans must be put in place to help your child. It can also help in accessing help and support.
However as with Ethan and PDA, not having an official diagnosis doesnt mean that you cant help your child. Ethan fits the PDA profile and the stratagies work where typical ASD ones dont.
Understanding PDA and implementing the stratagies has changed our lives over the last two years, yes some days do still go wrong and I am sure they always will but compared to the child of then, my boy is so much calmer and happier which makes everyones life calmer and happier.
I still hope that the area we live in will eventually diagnose PDA but until then we will carry on using the correct stratagies for Ethan and making sure that anyone else who is involved in his life does the same.
Getting as much knowledge and information as soon as possible will never be a bad thing regardless of whether a child has a diagnoses or not, so if you are reading this with concerns or questions, raise them and ask them, then research and learn as much as you can. If it helps, it helps and if not you have lost nothing!