My eldest son Liam turned 16yrs old on the 26th of August. Just another birthday for some, but a very special day for our family.
Liam is the sweetest 16 yr old I know. He loves going to school, riding bikes, jumping on the trampoline, going out to dinner with his family, watching Toy Story over and over again...he is completely obsessed, swimming, cuddling..he gives the best cuddles, playing with Lego...basically having fun like any other teenager.
He was such a cute baby...big and chubby. He was a great sleeper and feeder (to begin with anyway) He started walking at 10 months and was happy most of the time.
We first started to notice something was 'not quite right' around the time he turned 2. He was still not talking, started screaming all the time and when he wasn't screaming he was 'off with the fairies'.
Liam seemed very distant...he rarely made eye contact with anyone....even me. He would go into wild screaming fits at the smallest thing. Friends and family told me not to worry "My little Johnny didn't talk till he was 3" "He's just going through the terrible 2's" blah blah blah.
When I spoke to my doctor he suggested my 'parenting skills' were to blame for the screaming fits and that I should use 'time out' to get him under control. Bad idea!!! Liam would scream and hit his head on his bedroom door until he would almost pass out. I shudder when I think back to that time.
I decided just before he turned 3 to enrol him in part-time childcare. I thought being around other children his age might help. On his very first day he had only been there for 10mins with I got a phone call from the childcare centre to come collect him. When I arrived the childcare director told me they couldn't have Liam at the centre anymore and recommended I take him to see a doctor. Well the doctor had only to observe Liam playing for no more than 5 minutes when he turned to me and said "I think your son is autistic" I was devastated. Liam was offically diagnosed with autism soon after.
Liam has come a long way since those days. I'm so proud of him :) There have been many tears (mostly by me) and triumphs. He can say a few words but is still mostly nonverbal. He is learning to use an iPod Touch to help communicate with others... so exciting. He can almost shower himself...he loves the water and would stay in the shower all day if you let him. He is 99% toilet trained ...yay! I thought the day would never come when I could say goodbye to that damn nappy bucket. His overall behaviour has improved greatly. His screaming fits are less frequent....He whinges alot but don't most teenagers? :)
He still doesn't like to go to the hairdressers. Touching Liam's head is a big no no. We have been fortunate to find an understanding barber to cut his hair. Going to the doctors or dentist is still a drama..ha..ha
Probably to most noticeable change with Liam over the past year has been his height. Sometimes I miss that chubby little baby, but I must admit it's nice having another man around the house.
Did we do anything exciting for his birthday? Not really. Liam's no fan of crowds and loud noises so we had close family over for lunch where Liam got to blow out the candles on his Boston mud cake (the Cheesecake shop to the rescue again :)) Liam thought it was wonderful. He is such a sucker for chocolate cake (ain't we all?)
I'm just so happy to be Liam's mum . I'm looking forward to many more triumphs...and hopefully not too many tears.
Happy Birthday Liam!