Wednesday, 18 January 2012

It's official. Emily is on the autism spectrum

We met with Emily's head teacher and the local paediatrician (who works closely with Dragonflies) today. It was vaguely billed as "assessment day".

We were told what we'd assumed for ages - that Emily is on the autism spectrum.

However, like all things, there is hope and light at the end of the tunnel. It just might be a different tunnel from the rest of us. We discussed continued learning, whether she'd be able to function as a normal member of society, get an education, etc.

The immediate strategy for Sue and I is to continue Emily's communication, but as we discussed, it really needs to be on her terms. She will talk - and we were told 50/50 that kids in Emily's situation (or worse) talk before they're five - but talking is a part of communication.

Emily already lets us know certain things - she'll bring us a plate or a cup; she'll grab your hand and lead you to the bookshelf; she'll sit on the kitchen floor when she needs to go potty; she'll make your finger point to the phone screen or tablet screen when she wants to see something (invariably a Hairy Maclary video).

I'm not too concerned about Emily getting her point across, it's just that society dictates people get their point across in a conformist manner. Emily can't go into a Cafe Nero when she's 16 and grab the cashier's finger and point at the board for what she wants.

The outcome today was that, with our continued support, there's no reason Emily can't have a fulfilling life and become the world expert in whatever she wants - she just won't probably be a "frontline" worker... so she won't be the Cafe Nero cashier... she might OWN Cafe Nero, though.
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