Dear S.Β  (my son),
Today is your 12th birthday! 12 years ago you and your late twin brother were born after a long battle with infertility. You lit up our lives, you made me into a mother. Our lives went from silent to full of light, happiness and joy. After your twin brother passed away, our hands thankfully didn’t remain empty although it doesn’t take away the pain of losing a child. You were such an easy child to raise until you were 2 years old. Then, the symptoms of ADHD began to show. You were still delightful although a bit more challenging. We went to test you when you were 7 years old and ADHD was the diagnosis. I did feel the testing was a bit superficial. So we went for a second opinion. The testing there was much more comprehensive. At the last meeting to discuss the diagnosis, a bomb was dropped. Autism.
To say I was shocked was the understatement of the year. I mean, how could you be autistic? You were so sociable, had lots of friends and you were “normal”. Like most people, I had a vision of what autism was and it brought up an image of a child in his own world, rocking back and forth and banging things on the floor.
I didn’t really believe them. They gave me some books and resources. I went home and did what I usually do when faced with a new thing, I researched. I learnt lots of new things, I learnt autism was a spectrum and you fell on the (very) HF side. After reading some more, I did see some traits in you. Like how you are very sociable but don’t aways know the boundaries, how you have the same obsessions since forever and talk about to whomever wants to listen. Once I accepted your diagnosis, I tried to give you all the help I could to enable you to function well in this NT world. That was 4 years ago. You have come so far and I cannot even tell you how proud I am of you! I look at you and see a mature young man with a heart of gold, always looking out for other’s feelings (quite the accomplishment for a child with autism!) and so very caring!
I love you, son and HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!