Niam is 13 years old with Autism, emerging speech and very independent.
He has a mind of his own and does not mind talking back and expressing his likes and dislikes. He is cleaver and knows how to manipulate a situation to get his way. He is charismatic and is able to make people fall in love with him. As I write this all of this sounds great and perfect, I feel like giving myself a pat on the back and saying “Great Job Mommy”, instead I am full of anxiety. As I watch him grow and struggle for independence, I know I have to let him go. This is the scariest part of having a child with Autism.
Stepping out in the real world with an Autism Diagnosis
While there are some very nice people, there are people who are not so nice, tolerant and patient. My anxiety is real and, I find myself in a situation I worked so hard to get too, and now I am unable to face. Niam has been invited to overnight camp through his school, every time I think I should sign the consent form and say yes, I begin to think of wandering at night, or a lake he may make his way too. Niam is not a wanderer, at the same time, he is not afraid to go somewhere when he is not allowed, like defiant teenager who thinks they know better.
I realize we are in a new phase in our lives and Niam’s development. He wants to explore the world by himself. As attached as he is to me, he does not want me around all the time. He desires independence. I realize, the issue is not with Niam or with the diagnosis of Autism. It is with me.
As I move into this new chapter of my life, I pray and hope I have the strength to take each step with my Autism son in stride.