We have a son. No, we have two sons with autism. Actually, we have three sons, two of them are on the autistic spectrum. They are thirteen, twelve, and eight years old. Our two oldest sons were respectively diagnosed at twenty-two months and five years old. They are in very different places in the spectrum, and their difficulties, challenges, and behaviors have evolved over the years. As parents, we have been dealing with autism and its numerous facets for more than 11 years.
We read books, researched the internet, enrolled in training and conferences, participated in clinical trials, assessed methods of interventions. We brainstormed with teams of certified therapists, etc.
On nights without medical or therapist appointments, we would come home after our respective workdays to take care of the children. Once they were asleep, we would read more, research something specific, or develop a program for a particular need. We would also print, cut, and laminate flashcards or any other materials that we thought could help our sons. I cannot tell you the number of hours we spent cutting, laminating, and recutting to make sure the corners were rounded and harmless.
That’s a lot, wouldn’t you agree? Unfortunately, knowing you do a lot does not prevent you from wondering whether you do enough or not.
Now that you have the background, here is my point: does all the knowledge we’ve acquired, methods we’ve tested, programs we’ve developed make us therapists? Or special education specialists? Or autism experts?
We don’t think so, and we would never pretend to be any of those. However, we feel entirely legitimate in claiming to be the best specialists available concerning our sons’ autism.
Because treating, working with, or living with a child with autism is just this: gaining experience on this specific child’s autism.
And yes, this is my point! Why? Because although we are no autism professional or expert, we have acquired experience in understanding the multitude of facets of our children’s autism. We have progressively developed our understanding of the different levels of problems that need to be considered when working with our sons. Through trial and error, we’ve eventually developed programs that show results.
In future posts, I will explain the logic of interventions that we have developed and how we have applied our understanding of our son’s autism into the development of educational or behavioral programs.