Here is my first ever post from my Facebook page “Cat on a trampoline”, if you’re on Facebook and haven’t seen it, go take a look…
I’ve re-hashed this post in wordpress to make it more appealing to the eye and easy to read.
Welcome to Cat on a Trampoline.
I’d like to take a few minutes of your time to explain why I set up this blog. And why it has the name that it does.
But first a couple of house rules: I’ve found autism blogs/pages to be a real support over the past few months, and as well as blogging, I hope to use this page to be able to share/receive advice from other autism parents who may not know me at all outside the internet. Sadly, not everyone on the internet is who they seem to be. My personal Facebook profile is pretty well locked down and has lots of personal stuff like photos, my children’s real names, family details etc. I don’t necessarily want to allow people I don’t know so well access to that stuff. So, if you know me in my human non-Facebook form PLEASE DO NOT POST PICTURES, OR MENTION MY CHILDRENS’ REAL NAMES OR OUR SURNAME. You can mention my name. I’m Liz. Howdy.
My 4.5 year old daughter Melon was diagnosed with Autism on 9th October 2013. Melon is verbal to an extent, she uses speech and a lot of echolalia, scripting and idiosyncratic language. She is able to use language to ask for things, identify objects and describe them. She doesn’t ask who/why/how questions, and struggles to understand when these are asked of her. Melon has poor eye contact but it is improving. Since starting mainstream school 5 weeks ago she is showing far more interest in interacting with children her own age, using their names and initiating contact with them through touch. She still won’t answer their questions or converse with them.
Over the last 5 months Melon has seen an eruption of sleep disturbance, waking several times in the night and often staying awake for several hours. She’s prescribed slow-release melatonin which we are struggling to get her to take properly as it’s in tablet form. She has also shown a marked increase in sensory processing problems, finding certain textures and sounds really hard to cope with.
Melon is beautiful, clever and super-affectionate. She has no sense of personal boundaries, stranger-danger or risk.
We never imagined that our journey with Melon would take this turn, But here we are and we love our little girl and everything that she is.
Rewind 8 months. Husband was in denial-land, believing that Melon had language delay and nothing more. I was in terrified ignorance-land. I knew in my heart that Melon was Autistic, but I knew really very little about Autism, about the possibilities, about the potential that can can be fulfilled by the children, young people and adults who have the disorder. I was devastated about what I thought it meant for Melon and her future. At times I really struggled to be around friends and their “normal” children because every milestone of theirs felt like a kick in the guts. I was mired in self-pity and I wasn’t really doing anything constructive to get myself any support.
Then, a friend of mine shared a picture from An autism page on Facebook. I went to have a look. Then I looked a a couple more, and fell headlong into the world of autism page and blog land. It’s a crowded, supportive and sleep deprived place. But through reading other people’s stories and experiences I began to realise that having a child with Autism is not the end of the world, and is not the end of their future. Living in Autismland is funny, challenging, tiring and affects every single aspect of yours and your child’s life.
My Facebook posts got longer and longer, and an increasing number of people said should set up my own blog page. So here it is. I bowed to peer pressure. I can’t promise that Cat on a Trampoline will be anywhere near as funny, informative and well-managed as the pages that helped me though my dark times, but I do hope that people will find something amongst my ramblings that Makes them think or smile. I’m not always very prompt at checking responses to my blog posts, so apologies if you comment on here and I don’t reply straight away.
Feel free to ask me anything, I may not know the answer, but I’ll always help you try to find out.
Why Cat on a Trampoline? My Facebook page profile picture is one of Melon’s drawings. A Cat on a trampoline. I have no idea whether either of our cats has ever been on a Trampoline, but I just loved the picture.