Goodbye, A Very Powerful Word…

Goodbye.

Stop a minute and think what could you use this single word to communicate?

I will tell you, yes used appropriately we say goodbye when some one leaves, Lachlan cleverly made this connection, when something leaves or you leave you say goodbye. Lachlan struggled with people visiting or us visiting people, the stress for him ended when we said our goodbyes. Lachlan for the next 18 months and he still does when very stressed would say goodbye to everything he wanted to stop or go away.

Someone comes to visit before they are even in the house Lachlan would tell them goodbye, when Lachlan has had enough to eat at meal times he would stop eating and say goodbye, if we took Lachlan out and he was not happy goodbye would be repeated over and over all the way home. New toys would be told goodbye, it seemed everything was to go away.

Amazing what that one word can communicate, how much power that one word gave a little boy not yet then two.

Soon after goodbye, followed a second word daddy, Lachlan is a real daddies boy, Lachlan needed or wanted something daddy would be shouted on, I struggled a bit with that one as then it was me who was there all day, everyday, yet I was nameless.

Just before turning two Lachlan was totally spellbound by the new show on TV Mike The Knight, those were the next words to come along, I bought Mike toys, made a Mike Birthday Cake, I was so happy Lachlan had taken an interest in something aimed at his age, I hoped and prayed we were turning a corner…..

Lachlan had his scheduled two year check around his second Birthday, as expected it was a disaster, at last though we were to be referred again for speech therapy, this time the speech and language team came back asking that before any sessions were to begin Lachlan have an early years assessment, looking back I was either naive or in denial, I still didn’t see it coming I still believed Lachlan was a little quirky, very sensitive and a bit delayed with his speech.

We waited five months for the assessment day, in that time Lachlan started head banging in frustration, he would come up to Ian and I look us straight in the eye and try to talk, all that came out was a jumbled up unrecognisable sound, it was so hard to watch, I felt like I was failing my wee man by not being able to translate his sounds. The assessment was hard going, there was our health visitor, paediatrician, a child psychologist, a speech therapist, an OT, students, Ian and I and of course Lachlan, we filled in questionnaires, answered questions and they observed us for a while, Lachlan made monotone noises the whole time, stood on his head and told everyone goodbye with huge sad eyes, I hated every second, then off they all went to discuss the assessment.

We waited half an hour or so, in that time we found a ball in the assessment room and when the paediatrician and child psychologist returned Lachlan was giggling and laughing, playing happily in his way with us, we all sat down then came the hardest words I had ever heard, my beautiful wonderful little man had global developmental delay, with abnormal social development and met the criteria for Autistic Spectrum Disorder, all I could bring myself to ask was could we now have speech therapy. We were assured referrals would be made for speech therapy, OT, home visiting teacher, Autism team and we would have ongoing follow up with paediatrics.

I made it to the car, my heart broke harder than ever before, we had to stop on the way home at my Mums, I couldn’t face going home to Hamish, Alex and the babysitting grandparents, I sobbed so hard, my Mum couldn’t get a word out of me, I was so hurt, angry, confused and in denial, Lachlan couldn’t have Autism, Lachlan loved cuddles, made eye contact wanted to communicate, the days that followed were lonely, hard and very dark.

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Introduction

I often wonder if writing about the highs and lows which have become our lives since the arrival of our third child will help others understand what life is really like for a family living with Autism, help me and my family accept life with Autism and serve as a record of the childhood of one very remarkable, unique little boy.

The tiny victories which bring so much hope, the long hard battles which exhaust me and drive me to the darkest loneliest living hell, I will share them all.
I have decided to give blog writing a go.

We are a family of five, I am mum Vicki, Ian dad, Hamish 16, Alex 12 and Lachlan 7.

Lachlan was born 4/6/10 at 35 weeks, I was so relieved to here him cry in theatre that day, I was convinced during my pregnancy something was wrong, I had this nagging feeling; it just wouldn’t go away. I remember looking back that Lachlan grunted for the first hours of life, the only way to stop it was to pat his back firmly, we did this for hours, the advice we were given from midwives and doctors was our wee man was just adjusting to life on the outside, little did we know then Lachlan was to be the baby who rewrote all the books!

The early days were hard, it seems wrong to complain but I had a baby who slept, problem was Lachlan slept too much through baths, medical appointments everything, he didn’t want to feed, threw up what milk was taken in, screamed when awake and when he passed wind the smell emptied the room, finally after six weeks a severe tongue tie was picked up and clipped, milk protein allergy and lactose intolerance diagnosed and prescription formula was given, I couldn’t go on breast feeding as everything seemed to upset Lachlan, his skin was raw on his face and bum, Lachlan never smiled at six weeks, was a floppy baby and we noticed he had two different sized pupils, we were referred to a paediatrician and the eye hospital.

The impact on us all was huge we brought home a baby from the hospital and life has never settled back down! I remember clearly the health visitor coming to do a 12 week check and thinking I knew having 3 kids was going to be tough, why is it not getting easier? One of the kids actually asked if we could take Lachlan back!
Just when I was at the point of breaking, something magical happened, at last Lachlan stopped screaming and he smiled, the most beautiful gummy smile, suddenly everything became worth it again, I put the milestone delays down to the feeding issues and allergies, we all tried to settle down to family life.

As a mum I still had this nagging doubt something was just not quite right, the poor muscle tone, allergies and eye issues ate away at me, I asked so many for help, I had to accept their plausible explanations and carry on. Lachlan continued to meet his milestones late, with the exception of walking, standing on his head and climbing! Lachlan from 9 months preferred to see the world upside down, perhaps the alarm bells should have rung then, head stands before walking?
Walking came at 16 months thanks to Hamish and Alex’s determination, it was and still is clumsy at times, I used to joke it was like a drunk John Wayne! Climbing came soon after, interestingly Lachlan can climb sheer walls almost effortlessly yet stairs are still at age 3 a nightmare.

I first asked for a speech therapy referral at around 16 months, I have been asked by so many if Lachlan babbled, I can only assume as I have no recollection of him doing so, that he didn’t, we were refused and told speech will come, at 20 months Lachlan said his first word, it filled me with fear, it broke my heart, it was said so sadly, I knew then I had been right all along, something was wrong with my beautiful wee man, Lachlan’s first word was goodbye, said as if he had been speaking for years, pronounced perfectly, how could something I wanted my boy to be able to do desperately hurt me so much?