Raising a Child With Autism: Paige and Iain's Story
Autism spectrum disorders (ASDs) are a group of developmental conditions that involve delayed or impaired communication and social skills, behaviors, and cognitive skills. Symptoms of ASDs range from mild to severe. As a result, each child — and family — coping with autism has a unique set of challenges. Below, learn about one family's experience with autism.
Paige and Iain always knew their son Lochlan was "quirky" — that something just wasn't right with him. As an infant, he didn't make eye contact. And by 15 months old, he showed no interest in walking or talking, and never called for his "Mama" or "Dada."
Even though they knew that something was wrong, the news that their 3-year-old son had autism sent Paige and Iain into a state of shock. Like many other parents whose children face the same diagnosis, they felt angry, scared, and uncertain about their son's future.
Now, just a year later, they're thankful for their son's diagnosis. Without it, Paige says, Loch may have been bounced from doctor to doctor, lost in a cycle of misdiagnoses, and missing out on the care he desperately needs. After just a few short months of treatment, he's made great improvements and is learning more and more about the world around him.
Below, Paige shares her family's story with KidsHealth. She talks about the challenges of raising a child with autism, and urges parents not to fear the diagnosis, but to embrace it, so that families can move forward.
Very early on, you were able to move past the shock of your son's diagnosis. How did you do it?
Well, it didn't happen overnight. And it wasn't easy. A couple of weeks after the initial shock, I stepped away from my emotions and took a real hard look at my son. I realized that Loch had been autistic since the day he was born. The signs were there: his obsession with putting things in order, his inability to express himself.
We felt so angry that we had this beautiful child who was so loving and giving but who was locked in his own mind. Sometimes we still feel this way, but when we find ourselves getting frustrated and angry, we think about how Loch feels: What's it like for him? That's when Iain and I realize that we can't fall apart, we can't let him down, and we have to be strong and do what's best for him.
Note: All information is for educational purposes only. For specific medical advice, diagnoses, and treatment, consult your doctor.
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