November 2015 is the month that Voices for Autism opened its doors and wow what a journey.
Last week I received a notification that it was our 7th year anniversary of running this organisation and I must say, I didn’t even think about how the time has flown by.
What started off in a local Starbucks that was empty on more than one occasion. I always giggle to myself as after every coffee morning my youngest son always used to ask how many people turned up today mum? I would say nobody and he would laugh and say better luck next time! He was right because as time went on that number grew and grew, to the point we were forced to find premises and spend money to accommodate families.
Our first venue was a church hall and then we moved to a bigger space which we then used for a few years and was really lovely to see families turn up and just be. There was never an agenda, it went in whatever direction it took.
The ultimate goal for me to really meet others on the same journey as me, I knew nothing about Autism and I didn’t know anybody with a child who was autistic. I felt I was on my own navigating this ‘invisible disability’ that would be with us forever. It was also an opportunity for Tegan to meet other people, to practice his communication skills and be sociable, that he certainly is. He loves a good cup of PG tips and a biscuit. It always struck me that Tegan would do so much better in conversing with with adults than those his age or younger.
In my mind, I really do believe that it’s because adults will give him a chance, listen to him and allow him the space to just be Tegan. We can’t see Autism and kids certainly don’t give a shit about the boy that’s jumping from 1 to 5 different topics at any one time.
It’s really hard for any families who has received an Autism diagnosis either early on or later in life, trying to navigate the system and just live life! This was and is the space we created to overcome those hurdles together.
As Tegan gets older, the journey has just become so much harder, that you can’t even really plan for it. As much as you plan, the plan can go left fast with no bloody warning! There’s no book, no guide, just advice from those who have already been where we are….hang on to those individuals when you meet them!
As a family, we have laughed together and cried together. I’ve never cried behind Tegan’s back, it’s always been with him as I want him to know I feel exactly what he’s feeling even if he’s unable to articulate the reasoning behind it. We are strong, but he’s stronger.
They say time flies when you’re having fun. I’d say time flies when you’re caring for somebody. Happy birthday Voices For Autism.
Thanks for reading and if none of this makes sense, it’s just the thoughts of a very awesome Autism mum.