Raising a Child with Autism
Soon after he was born, I knew something was wrong with my son, Matthew, I just did not know what. Unlike my other children, he didn’t really enjoy being held except when he was being fed. He was slow to sit up, and wasn’t interested in crawling. Walking was a slow and late process, and potty trainingwas a challenge.
During this time, no one seemed to see anything different about Matthew. He had very little to say and mostly single words, or incomplete sentences. Physically he was average in size and healthy. When he turned five-years-old, I enrolled him in kindergarten. This was where his problems surfaced and he was diagnosed with developmental delays and autism. He also had very underdeveloped fine motor skills. Because he could not keep up with the other kids in his class, he became frustrated, and had trouble controlling his temper. It was a very difficult time.
Matthew was diagnosed by the Social Security doctor with high functioning autism and started receiving benefits for his disability. Now we needed the right school for him. We moved to Big Bear Lake, CA where there was a very good special education department with an exceptional teacher. This was a turning point for my son. Once they worked through his disciplinary issues, they were able to start teaching him. This is when Matthew became a real little boy, and very social.
An awesome individual
An important thing to remember is that these children are highly intelligent. I made it a point to treat Matthew like his brother and sisters as much as possible. He had chores, and had to obey the rules. He has always been included in whatever we do. Our positive attitude made a huge difference with him.
It really helps to find out where their spark is. Matthew is a whiz with electronics. He was the only one who could beat certain levels on video games, much to the chagrin of his siblings. He watched the kids ride bikes, then when he was ready, got on one and started riding. Whenever we move, it is his job to take down the TV and computer, and then reconnect them at the new house.
It has been a learning and growing experience for all of us. Matthew graduated last year with honors. Sometimes he amazes us!