Jordan came into the world much the same as any other baby, but after his second birthday, we watched as his language disappeared and our little boy regressed into his own world. A year later, he was diagnosed with autistic spectrum disorder.
Coming to terms with the news
Like many parents, we were absolutely devastated to find our son was autistic. There were so many questions. Why did this happen to us? How will we manage? What do we do now? Will he ever be able to work? We didn’t have any answers to a lot of these at first, but over the last six years we’ve started to find answers to some of our questions.
Now aged nine, Jordan attends a local primary school and is supported by a wonderful classroom assistant. His numeracy and computer skills are very high, but he struggles with the literacy side of the curriculum. He understands what people are saying, but he doesn’t talk very much. Toileting has been a major problem for us, but recently he has managed to get toilet trained – using a picture schedule was the key.
Many parents of children with special needs find normal social contact and interaction very difficult
Many parents of children with special needs find normal social contact and interaction very difficult. Yet support and understanding from friends and neighbours can make such a difference. Even babysitting for an evening, to let the parents go out together, means a lot to families like ours. I now work part-time, so that I have more time to look after Jordan. This is a challenge financially, but at this stage of his life we know it’s the right thing to do.
Finding the right intervention
A wide range of different interventions are available to help manage the symptoms of autism. After extensive research, we chose the dietary intervention route, which has helped Jordan considerably. We work with a great nutritionist and have carried out extensive tests which showed that Jordan has a problem with his gut.
He is now on a range of supplements and a special gluten-free, casein-free diet. We continue to see a slow but steady improvement. Jordan is making good progress, but we know we face many fresh challenges in the months and years ahead. We’re grateful for all the support we receive from both professionals and friends.
The characteristics of autism
Over 700,000 people in the UK (around 1 in 100 people) have been diagnosed with an autistic spectrum disorder. Autism is a lifelong developmental disability that affects how a person communicates with, and relates to, other people and the world around them. The degree to which people are affected varies, but all people with autism share the following characteristics:
- Difficulty with social relationships
- Difficulty with verbal and non-verbal communication
- Difficulty in the development of play and imagination
- Some people with autism may also display repetitive behaviour patterns and resistance to changes in routine.Source: The National Autistic Society