22 Jun

The purpose of this blog is to document my daughter Megans progress. She has recently been diagnosed as Autistic at age 3. Hopefully, I can achieve two things with this blog.

Firstly, this blog will act as my own personal wailing wall, giving me a place to record everything that seems relevant to Megan and her situation. Secondly, it may come to the attention of people who are like Naomi (my wife) and I are now i.e. ignorant of the processes and situations involved.

I need to be careful though. I’d hate to start seeing my daughter as a guinea-pig or solely in terms of her Autism. In fact we were ambivelant about accepting the diagnosis at first for that very reason- we were afraid that once she was labelled as Autistic that she’d be seen as Autistc first and Megan second. But I’m getting a bit ahead of myself- I’ll bring you up to speed.

Megan was born on 17-02-00 weighing slightly more than usual. The first few months of her life were totally normal- we didn’t feel concerned about her health or well-being at all. That changed however when she had her DTP jab.

I know there’s been a lot about the jabs (particularly the combined MMR jab) in the news but we (or rather I, Naomi was a lot more dubious than me but I managed to convince her) decided to go ahead with it and on the night of her first lot of jabs Megan began projectile vomiting and developed a temperature that peaked at 102 degrees. We phoned for an Ambulance and took her to A and E where they brought her temperature down, then told us they couldn’t find much wrong with her. We were relieved but by the end of that week we knew something was wrong with Megs. She seemed subtely different. There was nothing you could put your finger on as such but the difference was there, she was late walking and was uncomfortable around others.

We started taking her to our GP when she was about 2 years old. No-one there noticed anything. Her 30 month assessment by the Health Visitor came on went without the Health Visitor noticing anything different about Megs.

By the time of her third birthday, Megan still wasn’t out of nappies and couldn’t speak in any meaningful way. She’d parrot song lyrics and was fascinated by numbers (at the age of 30 months she could count up to 30) but communication was fraught to say the least.

Finally Megans GP noticed what we’d been talking about and arranged for her to have an assessment at our local Child Develoment centre.

The assessment lasted for a period of 2 weeks and took the form of a nursery with 3 other kids being assessed jointly with Megs. I’d booked some Annual Leave for the first day and so Megan, Naomi and I trooped down, nervous and unsure what to expect.

When all the other kids arrived it was obvious just how different Megan was to them- shockingly different. They could join in, communicate with the staff and other parents and reason. Megan couldn’t. Megan wanted to run around, singing, play with certain spinning toys and generally do her own thing.

During the two weeks of the assessment however, the staff worked really hard with Megan and (to our mind) fantastic results were achieved- by the end of the two week assessment she would make (fleeting) eye contact with others, responded to her name being called and would sit and join in for short whiles with group activities. I had booked some more Annual Leave for the last couple of days of the assessment and I was amazed at the transformation.

The following week was the Case Conference and we were formally told that Megan was Autistic. We were told that we would have a new Health Visitor who dealt with kids with special needs regularly, a Social Worker who would help us with the day to day needs we may have. Megan would also have Speech Therapy as it was obvious that there wasn’t much up with Megans intellegence- just her Autism. She would also be assessed by an Educational Psychologist to better examine what her options would be when it became time for school. We have also been offered a place at a nursery for kids with special needs.

Naomi and I are reeling a bit at the moment. There’s been a lot of information to take in all in one go and to be honest we’re still trying to come to terms with the diagnosis itself. Pardon the melodrama but it feels a bit like grieving at the moment. I may never lead my daughter down the aisle on her Wedding day. Naomi and I may never get to see her off to University and those thigns do matter to parents I think. They certainly matter to me. But on the other hand what matters more is that Megs is happy and I think she is, generally. At the moment we just need to process the diagnosis and assimilate the process that accompnies it so we can help megan get the best support she can get.

So there we are- up to date. I’ll keep this blog informed as and when things occur to me.

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