Our gorgeous William was born in March 2003.
He was a bouncing, blonde haired, 10lb baby and a wonderful addition to our two daughters. Two and a half years later, William was diagnosed with severe autism and our lives changed forever.
We first noticed that there was something wrong when his basic speech began regressing. It wasn’t until the educational physiologist visited us from Dorchester that we formally entered the world of autism.
As we began to digest the diagnosis, the realization of how autism would affect our son and family life dawned on us, and to a certain extent, there was a period of grieving for our “lost” son.
As his parents, you begin to question “What did we do wrong? Why us?” Eventually we began to accept it and then went into overdrive researching the condition.
Autism is a life-long developmental disability. Autistic people struggle with social communication, interaction and imagination. William has never “role-played” games.
It was decided to send him to the local primary school where it quickly became clear however well meaning and kind the school was, main-stream school was not equipped to cope with his needs. He then went to Yewstock, a special needs school in Sturminster Newton which has been fantastic.
When I wave him off on the bus, I know he will be safe and most importantly, understood by those around him.
At Yewstock he swims, horse rides, and like many boys his age, loves the outdoor life.
For William, education is not just about numbers or letters but learning to be as independent as possible. He attends many social clubs, where he is encouraged to interact with other people, which will help him to develop his social skills. This also helps me, as I can meet and talk to other mothers.
When he is at home, he helps around the house or out on the farm pushing wheelbarrows.
William is now almost eight years old and we are so proud of what he has achieved. He dresses himself, can take simple instructions and he is more aware of what is going on around him.
The other day I looked out the window and saw him ride a bicycle for the first time.
This was a big thrill to us all until we quickly realized he had no comprehension of what brakes are for and how to use them.
I feel it took three years since his diagnosis to come to terms with William’s autism. We have dealt with it as a family and have all pulled together to give him a happy and fulfilled life.
As for his future, we are still unclear. My job as a mother is to make him as independent as he can be. I hope he will achieve this but I am also realistic. We adore him for who he is – our beautiful William.
Katie visits Little Giants in Shaftesbury, a group for children with special needs. 01747 853195.
More information on Yewstock can be found by visiting their website – click here