24 May 2006

A 3 year old autistic child

This post is part of Katherine McCarron Memorial Day, by the Autism Hub. On Wednesday, May 24, Hub members will post memorial messages about Katherine McCarron. The next day, the hub will be closed in her memory.

My son will be 6 in 17 days. He is beautiful, sweet, inquisitive, interesting, messy, gentle, troublesome, funny, very active and loving. He loves trains, playing chase, watching videos and rewinding them to see the best bits over and over, bouncing on his trampoline, baking and making a mess. He is a whiz on the computer and can always tell us what he wants and how he feels.

When Duncan was 3 he was much the same, except he couldn’t communicate his wishes so well and was frequently frustrated. But much more than that he was happy and learning and developing every day, like all other 3 year olds.

This is Duncan aged 3. He was enjoying a tickle game with his Dad when this was taken.

We went to Legoland on the day of his 3rd birthday when this photo was taken. Duncan was taking a break from the splash pool to chill in the buggy, eat some candyfloss and look at the Peter Pan book he carried round all day.

Here's another Peter Pan themed photo taken last Christmas. He has since started to really enjoy dressing up and always customises the outfits to suit his own vision.

This picture was taken on a family day out on a steam train. All the children, but Duncan especially, really enjoyed the train. They are such good friends and Duncan plays with his siblings more than anyone else.

I am so lucky to have them all. I am lucky to have a son like Duncan who has opened my eyes to so much. It has been a voyage of discovery for me.

I am lucky that I realised myself that he is autistic when he was 2. I am lucky that the UK autism charity, the NAS, promotes reasonable, realistic information about autism and not scaremongering. I am lucky that I was able to take part in an NAS EarlyBird course for parents of autistic children and gain a better understanding of how to connect with Duncan. I am lucky that my husband is intelligent, level headed and promptly put me right when I was briefly seduced by the dark side- the autism biomedical quackery. I am lucky that I didn't spend too long investiagating ABA before realising it was a totally unsuitable way for my son to learn. I am lucky that I didn't spend too long reading 'autism is hell' sites like CAN before coming across heart lifting, joyous places like Oops...wrong planet. I'm lucky because I read Jim Sinclair's essay 'Don't mourn for us' and found web sites by people like Amanda Baggs and Michelle Dawson.
I'm lucky that Duncan went to a wonderful nursery 4 mornings a week which he loved and whose staff were kind and helpful and I'm lucky that he is now learning at home with his family, living, loving and growing every day.

My heart goes out to Katie, 3 years old, murdered by her mother who placed a plastic bag over her head, the little girl who didn't make it, the little bud who never had a chance to blossom.

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