How my children's autism diagnoses led to my own

How my children’s autism diagnoses led to my own

Do you see a lot of your child in yourself?

Do you share a lot of the same mannerisms? Have similar temperaments? Think of them as a mini me?

This is how I thought of my daughter (my second child) and myself — people would stop me in the streets when she was a baby to gush over just how much she looked the spitting image of me!

So when she started showing signs of autism from the very young age of one, (although it took until she was six years old to finally have her formal diagnosis), it did lead me to start to wonder if I may be autistic myself.

But I didn’t have time for myself at this stage. I had a three-year-old son — my youngest — who was in desperate need of an autism and ADHD diagnosis and support.

Interestingly, once these two were diagnosed I still had no clue my eldest child, my 13-year-old, who had done so amazingly both socially and academically in primary school, could be on the spectrum. When they started high school, everything fell apart, leading us to find out they are also autistic and ADHD.

After all my children had been diagnosed as autistic, I started reading a book I was recommend about autistic girls to help me to understand and support my daughter better. I decided it would be a good idea to highlight anything which resonated with me. Halfway through the book, I’d highlighted most of it and was hit with the realisation that this wasn’t in reference to my daughter at all. It was explaining so much of what life was like for me from when I was a little girl, right up until now. So many things I had no idea had anything to do with autism, I thought they were just things Anthea did, thought or felt.

Things such as being really sensitive to light and sound, which I knew were related to another diagnosis I have of fibromyalgia; however, I didn’t know they are also signs of sensory and emotional overload. I would get this “funny feeling” in shopping centres a lot, my eyes would go blurry, I’d start shaking, could not concentrate and felt nauseous. My children find it challenging to be in crowded, noisy places too.

I was lucky enough to come across an organisation who were able to fund an autism assessment for me because, as a mum of three children with special needs, I would never have saved the money to pay for an assessment for myself. Their needs would always take precedence.

I am so very grateful that things fell in to place and I was able to get an assessment, as it was totally life-changing for me. The best part of this is that I’m able to learn tools and strategies which help to lessen my autism’s impact.

I am finally learning to feel comfortable in my own skin and understand why I do so many things in the way that I do.

I now understand why I really struggle to socialise in groups, why it takes me so long to get jokes, why I physically hurt when a friend or family member is emotionally upset.

If it wasn’t for having autistic children myself, I would never have known I am autistic. I would never have felt like I fit in somewhere in this world.

curaFUN Contributor
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