By Christine Denise
Autism Mom and Contributing Writer for As You Are, a virtual clinic dramatically increasing access to early autism diagnostic services through the use of exclusively telehealth appointments
It’s a Boy!
From the moment my husband and I found out we were pregnant with our third child, our minds started envisioning what that child’s life would be like.
Unlike our first pregnancy, which was a set of twins, we decided to find out this child’s gender.
We found out it was going to be a boy, making us the parents of three boys.
My husband leapt off the couch and shouted, “Yes!” when we opened the ultrasound photo to look at the gender the doctor had written on it for us.
Thoughts of the three of our boys rough housing together, playing sports together and making a competition out of everything filled our minds.
I think any parent can attest to how their subconscious plans out the lives of their children.
And even a neurotypical child’s life doesn’t always turn out the way you envisioned it.
We just got an abrupt look at it as soon as our third son arrived.
His challenges were immediately apparent.
He wasn’t breathing on his own and had to be rushed to the NICU, where he spent a week. X-rays showed he had signs of a genetic disorder no one had ever seen before, so doctors couldn’t tell us what to expect.
At that moment, we knew we had to change the vision we had for his life.
It’s taken years for me to realize that changing that vision didn’t mean he wouldn’t rough house with his brothers, play sports with them or compete with them.
It just meant that it was going to look a lot different that what we had envisioned.
Our son loves to rough house with his older brothers.
They just have to let him win – fake wrestling with him rather than actually doing it, and understand that if he pinches, bites or hits them, it’s a sensory-seeking behavior and not aggression to be returned.
Playing sports looks different, too.
He doesn’t run alongside his older brothers chasing a soccer ball or play catch with them.
Instead, swimming is one of his favorite activities. He loves jumping into his brothers’ arms from the side of the pool, or holding onto their backs as they guide him through the water.
He also loves to jump with his brothers on trampolines, flapping his hands in sheer joy every time they bounce him higher than he could ever jump on his own.
And he loves when they push him on a swing.
The natural competitiveness brothers have is also there among them.
It just looks different than we ever imagined.
Our son loves to hang as long as he can from monkey bars. So, his brothers try to hang longer than him.
Our son’s appetite seems insatiable, so his brothers try to out eat him every chance they get.
There are a lot of elements that never will match the life we originally thought he would have with his brothers.
Adjusting my Vision
They don’t go to the same school – one of the things his older brothers often say they wish was the case.
And, when my older children’s friends come over for playdates with their younger siblings, our son prefers to be alone on his iPad.
It’s taken years for me to learn much of the life we originally envisioned for our son is still there despite his autism diagnosis and genetic disorder.
And it has merely required me to adjust my vision.
Do you have questions about your child’s development? The team at As You Are provides useful autism screening and diagnostic evaluations for kids 16 months to 10 years old via telehealth appointments.
Disclaimer: I am not a medical professional. This is a sponsored blog post, but all opinions are my own.