By Autism Awareness Australia
An Australian company, Rockmelon, has launched a digital platform designed to support families of children with autism and developmental delays.
I met my beautiful wife on a rundown bus on the outskirts of Cambodia in 2004. I’d recently graduated from business school in the USA and was ‘widening’ my horizons (aka backpacking) in the best sense of the word…before I caught the gaze of her twinkling blue eyes and was forever spellbound. Fast forward to 2009 and we were off to Australia for a fresh start. Little did we know, in a few years time our lives would look completely different to anything we could have ever imagined.
I knew nothing about autism prior and the diagnosis took longer than we’d expected. At the time, Beau was 2 years old and was attending daycare. My wife was the first to notice the signs. The first being when he started to miss certain milestones, particularly around his language development and social behaviour. He also began to display certain behavioural traits, which at best could be described as ‘challenging’ and was a prolific absconder. My wife as a ‘mum knows best’ kind of mum knew immediately something was amiss and these signs further validated her concerns.
This is when we knew we needed to seek specialist advice.
Despite her ‘mummy intuition’, our GP at the time gently rebuffed our request for a referral, so we sought a second opinion. The best part about finally getting that diagnosis was ‘getting busy’. We knew where we’d landed. My wife began researching the best evidence-based early intervention options and we relocated to Sydney. Rebecca hired a team of therapists who worked with Beau in a very play-based environment which really suited him. It finally felt like we had a plan of action moving forward. The hardest bit was the day to day worries, worrying about the future…his future, and his future independence.
As a dad, new to the world of autism, I initially just wanted something to be ‘fixed’. Before Beau was diagnosed I only knew about the autism stereotypes, which is sad. As a society, we’re still so behind in terms of having subconscious, preconceived ideas about what autism is. Being an autism dad has taught me patience and understanding, but I am far from there and still learning every day how to be a better person.
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