Thursday 20 September 2018

One Photo ...... And It Means So Much.

Have you ever come across a photo and it brings back memories? A photograph that tells a story?

This is one such photograph of L and it has such a memorable story behind it.

I came across this photograph quite by accident as I was logging onto an online early childhood learning program for work. I had completely forgotten that at one of the early learning centres that L attended a few years ago that they used this program to document a child's learning journey. So imagine my surprise when I logged on and found all of L's stories and a few photographs.

This photograph may just look like a little boy riding on a tricycle and yet it means so much more to us.

This was taken in the first half of 2015 and L had only recently started to talk - he'd use single words to communicate his needs. When he tried to speak more than one word, the words would be strung together as a group of nonsensical sounds. L's vocabulary consisted of roughly 20 words. L had just turned three.

L was obsessed with superheroes (and still is!) Up to this point L struggled to make and keep friends - he was unsure of how to step into social interactions. During play L was unaware of how rough he could become so other children were wary of him. Other parents were wary of L and as such didn't want their children playing with L. Parents saw L as the naughty child. Up to this point L had yet to receive an invitation to a birthday party from one of his peers.

Roughly a month after this photo was taken L made his first real friend, H. H was the first real friend who accepted L for who he was, he just got L. And for that I am so very thankful. Once he'd made a good friend in H, more followed.

At time of this photograph being taken we hadn't discovered melatonin and as such L slept even less than he does now. L used to lash out at everyone and everything. He was a runner and would take off onto roads. We had to keep the house locked when we were at home otherwise he'd take off out of the front door. L hated wearing shoes. Clothing was optional.

At the time we struggled to understand L's behaviour - he seemed to be in a constant state of meltdown due to sensory overload or frustration with us being unable to understand his communication. His sensory issues were so very obvious and yet we struggled to get our GP to take us seriously. 4 months after this photo we received a provisional diagnosis of Autism and suddenly L's world made a lot of sense to us.

The pieces of the puzzle fell into place and life became slightly crazier but much easier.

This might just be a photo of L riding a bike but it represents the beginning of big changes for us all.

I look back on this photo and I can see the huge progress that my little man has made in a little over three years. I am so very proud of L and of everything that he has achieved.

I'm not telling you all for sympathy or pity. This is simply a turning point in our life. This was the start of our families amazing autism journey.

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I would love to hear your thoughts on my blog. I do read all the comments that are posted. Thanks so much for stopping by. Jen xx