The day someone told us differently. A story by Dawn Meyers a mother of Autism.
The day you find out you are going to have a baby is like finding out you are going to London. You are excited and can’t wait to see how wonderful it is going to be.
When you board the flight you are so happy and ready for whatever you are about to learn. What you are about to see. The many twists and turns that it will bring.
When the plane lands in Holland instead of London you are a bit confused and scared. This is not where you are supposed to be. What about the Eifel Tower and the Louvre. Big Ben and the Colleseum.
Now what will I see? What will I learn about the place that I have landed? I learned that Holland isn’t such a bad place after all. It is beautiful and has windmills and flowers. It is just a great place you never knew about. A place you never knew you could love. A place you never knew you wanted to be.
We were very happy to welcome our son to the World.
He was our second boy Parker. He was a beautiful baby. He was born with a full head of red hair. He was developing normally. Or so we thought he was. His big brother Hayden loved him so much and couldn’t wait to teach him everything he knew. His brother is 20 months older than him. Parker did a few incredible things. He sat up in my arms at 2 days old. He could hold his own bottle and pick up his pacifier and find his own mouth. They both would sleep with their eyes open. He never crawled he just walked.
So let’s fast forward to January 2003 the day we found out our boy has Autism. How devastating it was. Although I did know something had to be wrong. Parker had changed so much it seemed like someone had stolen my son and replaced him with a soulless boy.
By the time we knew what was happening to us we had therapists coming to our house to try and cure my son of his autism symptoms. They wouldn’t let my older son engage in the sessions and this proved to be devastating to their relationship. Hayden grew up losing interest in his brother. All he did was embarrass him and wreck his stuff.
The next thing we knew Early Intervention was over and we were sending our son on a school bus the day he turned 3. The services are now over and I was sad and a little relieved. I didn’t understand what was going on when I saw the people that were supposed to help me decided they wanted to hurt me.
My Father lived with us at the time and for some reason one of the therapists decided to get in my personal business and told me I had some issues that needed to be addressed and sent a social worker to my house to meet with me. I told the social worker that came to my house that the only issue that I had was that my life was just turned upside down. I just found out my son has Autism and my husband and I was going to have to leave an 11-year career, where we met and were married and had both our babies.
It was devastating, to say the least, and for someone to tell us we were going to need some issues fixed. Well the therapist apologized for stepping over her boundaries and soon we were done with those services
Now it’s time for a school like I said and my son was riding a bus every day starting at the age of 3. He was in the public school system and we were praying that we were sending him to the right place. It was in Camden New Jersey. Not the greatest town but when we would go visit the school everyone there was so fond of Parker. We were happy with his teacher and she and I became pretty good friends. Her family attended Autism Walks with us and I was sad when it was time to say goodbye to her.
Through this whole time, I was trying hard to get more services for him at home. Like everyone was telling me they were getting for their kids. Free of charge through the State. I had to apply for other services too and it was just the hardest thing I ever had to do in my life. Constantly on the phone with organizations trying to get the services that were needed. This was all just to learn to talk and just be the social boy that he should be. To learn to play with toys correctly.
I joined support groups and attended conferences and met Mothers with the same problem as I had. We all wanted to find the answers to what was happening to our kids. What gave them this and how can we cure it. All these Moms had their own opinions on how to raise a kid with Autism.
Anywhere we went we would see someone that would run right up to us and tell us how beautiful our boy was. How they couldn’t take their eyes off of him. I would also have moms tell me what to do to make him talk. How to potty train him and just about anything they were probably doing unsuccessful themselves.
I never knew the horror that awaited me. Soon I was begging for help because my son has now just learned to climb out onto his roof. He really wanted to go somewhere and we had to learn how we could lock him in his room. He was slick and he was quick and he would be out of your sight in just a second. The scariest nightmare a mother could experience when she turns and finds her son has just snuck out of the house.
We moved from this place and hoped that where we were we could keep him safe. We found out a few more times that we were wrong. His school here was ok except it wasn’t the school I really wanted him in. I wanted to go to a special school that just opened in NJ and it was not in my county or my district. I was denied my son attending.
We are onto his third school now and the teachers and aides were such wonderful people. They actually potty trained my son at 9 years old. It is not like we had not tried to do it ourselves from a very early age. We trained his brother before he was 2. We had bribed him with Thomas Trains and it worked. Parker however was a lot harder because he didnt care what the reward was.