‘He was throwing his head back and forth, getting louder. From behind me I heard, ‘What’s wrong with him?!’ I just felt like crying.’: Mom of son with autism says ‘I want a world where my son can fit in’

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“As a first-time mom, I was so excited to see Caleb hit his milestones, watch him learn to speak, and make friends. I couldn’t wait for it to happen.

From around one year old, Caleb had started to regress. He wasn’t babbling as much. His eye contact was very bad and he just kept spinning in circles the majority of the day.

Courtesy of Corinne

Through that time, I just knew he had autism. He is, and was at the time, extremely similar to my brother who has Asperger’s. I just knew in my heart he was Autistic.

As most parents do, we waited to see if he was just delayed and whether or not he would pick up in the next 6 months. This, unfortunately, didn’t happen and Caleb was pretty much the same as when he has just turned 1 year old.

Luckily, our local health visitor was so great at getting us our first meeting at the local CDC nursery (Child Development Center). This was a group dedicated to helping children with delays but also to help aid diagnosis if needed.

Courtesy of Corinne

A year later, after some improvements in Caleb, he was diagnosed with Autism. To hear this diagnosis from his pediatrician just felt like a huge weight was lifted from our shoulders as a family. Knowing what I knew in my heart, that he is autistic, it just felt so good that other people agree.

We’ve had our fair share of battles as a family, and not every day is perfect. I’m still learning about autism every day, as it’s a huge spectrum.

We planned for Roman, Caleb’s little brother, before knowing how delayed Caleb got, but we definitely wanted two children very close in age that could be brought up together. For us, it was so important Caleb had a sibling who would be his best friend and that they would look after each other.

Courtesy of Corinne

Roman has helped Caleb so much in aiding development and communication. Although Caleb doesn’t actively seek to play with Roman, when they are laughing at each other and reading books together, it gives me such a warm, loving feeling.

Courtesy of Corinne

The choice to have a third child was thought about (I am currently pregnant). We are cautious that potentially another child may have autism too. We wondered whether emotionally it would work for us as a family. In the end, we happily decided one more baby would be the best for our little family, so Caleb and Roman would have someone else to join in their fun. I cannot wait until November 2020!

If I have any advice any parent going through autism diagnosis with their child, I’d say to always go with your gut feeling. Know it’s not your fault and you are doing a great job! It’s a long road. There will be bumps but in the end, it will all be worth it.

Courtesy of Corinne

There are so many great Facebook and Instagram groups where you can connect with other parents going through the same. Seek advice and guidance. Health visitors will be able to refer your child to the right people.

I also highly recommend Portage sessions. Portage sessions are one-to-one with learning toys to help aid learning in children. These are amazing and helped Caleb so much in his play, to the point where he counts to ten, which I don’t think he would have been able to do so early without the help from Portage sessions.

Courtesy of Corinne

Due to lockdown, the CDC sessions had to be postponed until further notice. This has been hard on our family, as Caleb’s routine has gone straight out of the window. We are now having to make sure he goes out every day whether it’s in the garden or for a walk around our area. It really upsets me seeing him so frustrated he cannot go to the sessions until, hopefully, the near future.

Going back to milestones, my mindset is so different now, with Roman. I’m not panicking about milestones, as such as I know every child will do things differently.

Courtesy of Corinne

As a huge autism awareness advocate, I still see some negativity in this world with adults and children. For example, I was on the bus with Caleb and Roman around 2 p.m. and I could see Caleb was getting upset and near to having a meltdown. He was getting louder and louder, throwing his head back and forth. Then all of a sudden from behind me I heard, ‘What is wrong with him!’ I turned around and told this man, ‘He has autism and doesn’t understand that we have to stay on the bus.’

At that moment, I just felt like crying. That’s the first time I realized how little people in this world know about autism. It’s a shame that a disability that affects so many children and adults in this world still isn’t known by most of the world.

I hope in the years to come, with more awareness, autism will be known much more around the world, a world where my son can fit in.”

Courtesy of Corinne

This story was submitted to Love What Matters by Corinne from North East Lincolnshire, UK. You can follow their journey on Instagram. Do you have a similar experience? We’d like to hear your important journey. Submit your own story here. Be sure to subscribe to our free email newsletter for our best stories, and YouTube for our best videos.

Read more touching stories like this:

‘What happens to my girl when society realizes it’s not ‘cute’ anymore? How do I make people see the beauty I see?’: Mom to daughter with autism urges us to challenge our idea of beauty

‘I fell in love at 17 and had two boys. Then the doctor said, ‘We believe Cale has autism, and I suspect your youngest does too.’: Teen mom births 2 non-verbal, autistic sons, ‘Love needs no words’

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