In September I wrote a post about my sweet Arlo and his surprise autism diagnosis. We’ve had a few messages asking how our little whirlwind is doing, so I figured it was time to write an update. I was so touched to hear that my post about autism and Arlo had resonated with people, and even helped people decide to take the hard decision to seek diagnosis. If you are only just reading about Arlo and his journey then please do check out the initial post I wrote here.
Autism and Arlo
Perhaps it should be Arlo and autism? I know for us Arlo is not JUST autism. Rather, he is an autistic person. I sometimes catch myself saying he has autism as if it’s a disease. But Arlo is not defined by his autism. Don’t get me wrong – it’s a huge part of life for all of us – but there is so much more to him that ‘just autism.’ He’s a wild soul. Sometimes I think he’s an old soul, like a little old man trapped in the body of an energetic 5-year-old.
His fierce emotions mean he loves HARD, but he also has a wicked temper and an RBF that could stop a man in his tracks (he gets that from me!). I often look at him and cannot believe I created something so imperfectly perfect in every way. He truly is my hero.
Where we are RIGHT NOW
While I would love to say our life isn’t controlled by autism, the reality is that it often is. We have learned what situations to keep Arlo out of to help him stay in control. He has in home ABA therapy for 9 hours a week. I’m not going to talk about the ABA apart from to say that we have an amazing therapist, and that it’s the right thing for us and for Arlo. I know ABA can be a emotive subject amongst the autism community and this is not the place for that discussion! Arlo sees an occupational therapist once a week and she works on motor skills, core strength, and ‘non preferred’ task completion. That’s basically ALL the things Arlo hates doing (like dressing himself, writing, following instructions. You know, general life stuff!)
Arlo goes to an amazing preschool where he is loved, valued, and most of all nurtured to be his best self. I really don’t know where we would be without Arlo’s school and most of all, their unfailing support. They will never know how much they healed our family but it’s safe to say the impact has been huge!
Arlo is a force to be reckoned with and one day he will do great things. We’ve just got to teach him to harness his powers for good before sending him into the world! I would like to stress that we are under no circumstance trying to ‘cure’ Arlo. Autism isn’t an illness to try to cure. But we can find ways to make life easier for him because our end point is to help him to live a happy life.
My final message to you
I would like to end my post by asking you to read this poem (author unknown) and consider it’s message. Autism can’t be cured. It doesn’t need to be cured. Autistic people have beautiful souls. They just see the world differently to others.
I am beautiful, not broken.
Different, not less.
Challenged, not challenging.
Overwhelmed, not spoiled.
Autism is not a choice.
However, acceptance is.