This week we have a guest post from Sarah at Sarah Louise Coaching.
Hi, I’m Sarah and I am mum to 3 children – Joel,15, Ruby,10, Isla,1 and step mum to Liam,10. My eldest son Joel was diagnosed with Asperges Syndrome when he was 7 years old. Asperger’s Syndrome – a form of Autism Spectrum Condition, is a developmental disorder. Joel has a difficult time relating to others socially and his behaviour and thinking patterns can be rigid and repetitive.
When Joel was first being assessed I felt like I was in a ‘catch 22’ position, I wanted him to have a diagnosis so that he could get the help he needed, but I also didn’t want him to have a label. I didn’t fully understand what it meant & I didn’t really feel like there was anyone out there offering support and guidance.
Over the years I had some very negative experiences, mainly from other adults who didn’t understand his behaviour, and didn’t seem to want to understand it and labelled him as ‘difficult’ and ‘naughty’ when most of the time it was probably his sensory overload kicking in or something he just couldn’t cope with. I went through some very upsetting times with a nursery teacher, swimming teacher and Beavers leader. I suppose as there wasn’t as much awareness around then they didn’t have much experience with children on the spectrum, but I don’t think they have any idea of how much it affected me as a parent, their negativity and to feel like your child wasn’t being accepted into groups that others were was heart breaking. It made other experiences unenjoyable as I was always on pins thinking that people would not accept him.
Joel enjoyed primary school, he got left behind slightly and there were some challenges for us as he adapted to certain situations, he had a really good group of friends that were absolutely brilliant with him and had a lot of time for him which was so lovely. Fast forward a few years and Joel is now in his last year of high school, he attends a school for children on the spectrum, at first, I was adamant he would be going to a mainstream high school, I didn’t want him going to a SEN school as I didn’t think it would be of any benefit whatsoever! A very good friend of mine had just started a teaching job at the school and was hounding me to go and have a look round for Joel as it would be perfect for him -I didn’t believe her – I didn’t even want to go and look around it – why would I? He wasn’t going there. In the end I gave in and went to look around, mainly to stop her asking me to go. After looking around the school and meeting teachers and other pupils, I got back in my car outside and cried – my friend Nic was absolutely right! I fought tooth and nail to get him in the school with the local authority and in the June just before he was about to start in Sept he got accepted. It’s been a rollercoaster of different things, the school is great, I wouldn’t say he loves It but what teenage boy loves school, but I can a million per cent say I made the right decision.
I have always been a very positive person, and particularly positive about Joel’s journey, I have tried not to wrap him in cotton wool because he’s ‘different’, he gets treated exactly the same as the other children in the house, & he has grown into a lovely young man with a fantastic sense of humour & personality, he is very excited about starting college in September. I encourage him to get involved.
I am so so passionate about supporting & helping other parents on their journey. My goal is to help parents and families with children on the autistic spectrum to overcome fears, create acceptance of a diagnosis and a positive mindset for themselves. I know first-hand how parents can have these negative thoughts, feelings and fears, and how being in the right mindset & wellbeing is so important and can make this time and transition much more positive for them and the child.
I want you to experience less stress and more joy, contact me to book a complimentary discovery call to chat about how I can help. Contact Sarah here – firstname.lastname@example.org.