Autism… The elephant in the room…. Except just to clarify, it’s not a real elephant… Before you look for him,. There’s the toy elephant on your dresser, the one you remind me ‘isn’t real mummy’ the one that you say goodnight to every evening without fail, after your frog and before your monkey….. When we have closed the door, opened it again and turned the light off…. In that order, always that order… Otherwise we have to start again.
Perhaps you’re just a bit different, particular? And that’s ok…. Having Autism is ok too… But wondering isn’t… Always those fleeting thoughts… Creeping up on me from time to time…. When you were 3 months old and hadn’t smiled or laughed, when I apologised to well meaning strangers for your lack of interaction, when you still hadn’t smiled at six months… Except to me and daddy…. If you had Autism you wouldn’t do that at all right? The secret smile…. Maybe you’re just serious…. Reserved…. Maybe you just didn’t want to talk until you were gone two? But your brother (sorry to compare) is saying so much at 21 months…. Mummy, daddy, boob, yes, no……, the list goes on…. You made us wait but it was so lovely when you just started talk, almost out of the blue one day.
When you sit and do one jigsaw for ages if that’s your current trend…. Or the Lego….. Following the book so intently.. worried if one piece is missing…. Never deviating from the formula…. Never imagining something new…. But then you’re three…. Maybe that will come?
It’s Star Wars now, but that’s creative right?….. Even if you have to prepare…. Get out the same blanket… Wear it over your shoulders…. Make a lightsaber sound (I’m very proud) fall to the floor, pretend to lock me up (I’m Darth Vader, you’re Yoda) then start all over again… Children learn through repetition…. Six times a day… Always the same order? In fact some days you’re not even you. You’re Yoda…. Not Rupert…. You draw him, pretend to be him, talk about him, imitate him, get annoyed when I call your name instead.
Next month the health visitor is coming again, to check on your progress. She was taken aback by your concentration….. Your fine motor development was up six months ago…but your social development was behind…. You couldn’t jump either….but now, I think you can… I should check…. You do still walk on your toes… That bouncy little swagger I call it!
I think you’re making friends, at preschool at toddler group, you say you love your elephant too…. Even if he isn’t real…. But he’s in the room…waiting and I guess next month…. We will know more….