After a gruelling parents' evening at which I struggled to maintain my teenage daughters' flagging confidence and self-esteem in the face ofa slating from her teachers, I drove her home, all the while maintaining a balance between firm and advisory, and supportive and sympathetic. I listened to poor Rachel's tales of woe and whilst I truly feel for the teenagers, under so much stress with work and peer pressure, I still arrived home tired and weary ofbeing an emotional prop, and feeling just a tad sorry for myself. It was late. I had been up since 3.00am with Ben. However on entering the house, my spirits were lifted to the point of elation. Why, you might ask? Simply because as I walked through the door with a despondent Rachel, I was met with the sound...of silence! At 10:00pm, both Joe and Ben were asleep - a previously unheard ofoccurrence. How many people can experience such euphoria at something so simple?
Many parents take such incidences for granted. Indeed whilst all parents are joyful at their child's first smile, first step or first word, whilst most parents delight in each new antic their child performs, how much more do we parents of special needs children delight in their achievements? Those of you with children with bowel problems will know the delight when they have a 'normal' bowel movement for the first time (strange how many times poo and autism are in the same sentence!), those of you with non verbal children will understand the euphoria when they make a sound or utter their first word, and those of you with children with AD/HD will undoubtedly jump for joy when they make progress at school or manage their behaviour well for even a short time. However small the accomplishment may seem to others, I can honestly say that the feeling of pride and wonder when one of the boys does something so seemingly simple and probably imperceptible to the untrained eye remains unrivalled (even chocolate doesn't come close!). One thing I have learned is that as parents of children with such differences, our ability to appreciate the little things that others take for granted is one of the greatest gifts they bestow on us and one that I wouldn't swap for the world.
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Whenever a doctor informs the parents that their child is suffering with Autism, the first & foremost question that is thrown over him is - How did it happen? How did my child get this disease? Well, there is no definite answer to what are the exact causes of Autism.