The day a woman finds out she is pregnant is a day of excitement and hope. I know the first time I held Ash, it was a surreal experience. Everything about him was perfect, from his nose to his toes. Life was perfect, so when one of the childcare teachers noticed a few developmental delays, that perfect little bubble burst.
This childcare teacher notices that Ash was behind in his language skills and often didn’t make eye contact. He was two and half years old and not hitting some of the milestones that were expected at his age. After speaking to our paediatrician and running through some preliminary checklists, it was concluded that he registered on the Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) scale. After more tests, Ash was diagnosed low on the scale, meaning that there was a chance that he would grow out of many of the learning delays. As he grew, it became evident that he is higher on the scale then initially diagnosed.
As Ash grew, he became less and less verbal, however, his love for trains, rocks and dinosaurs grew. His favourite past time was to line them up in various patterns, according to colour, size or type. His love grew to a fascination and then into an obsession.
It is a little known fact that those who register on the ASD scale generally have a deep fascination with rocks, dinosaurs and modes of transport, such as trucks and cars. It is unclear why these particular topics are so captivating, but it is common theme through many diagnosed cases.
Finding the positive
Admittedly, his diagnosis was hard and many tears were shed. I was in shock and the world of unknowns lay ahead of me as I learned to see my perfect little boy in a whole new way. The first few years were tough. We had to learn together about autism, his capabilities and how he fit into the community. Ash is such a sweet person, so at first, no one noticed he was different, however, as grew, the differences between him and neurotypical children became more obvious.
During the learning process, I came to understand the beautiful and positive things about the way Ash thinks and communicates. Speaking to other mothers, I am grateful that I don’t face many of the anxieties that other parents face such as rebelling and experimenting with drugs or alcohol. Ash is my constant companion so I get to spend every day with him. He reminds me to see the positive in life, because his only aim in life is to be happy. If you know anyone on the ASD register, you know that those who live with Autism don’t have the ability to lie or hide their emotions, I always know how Ash is feeling. Being able to always tell how Ash is feeling is a great relief because there is so many other things to consider each day.
The hardest part about his diagnosis was not the learning gap, but people staring at Ash. This beautiful soul attracted attention for being different and as a young Mum, I was overwhelmed. I had a million questions I needed answered and a million that I needed to answer. It took time to understand Ash and help our extended family understand his needs.
I had a choice, I could either become frustrated at the lack of understanding for Ash, or to become an advocate and teach others around me. I chose to become part of the solution and spend as much time as I can helping those around me not only understand Ash, but all children and adults with ASD.
Overcoming hard days
Ash is now 18 and has an amazing ability to build towers of toys that defy gravity. He has this unique way of seeing the world that allows him to calculate and engineer in a way that others don’t.
Now don’t get me wrong, some days are harder than others. Being a parent of a special needs child is emotionally and sometimes physically demanding. There are days where I feel isolated and fighting an uphill battle to ensure that Ash is included and respected.
If you are the parent of a special needs child, know that you are not alone. Approximately 1 in 70 people are on the Autism Spectrum and now there is more information available to help others understand special needs people. Don’t be afraid to find a group of people you can turn to for support, because the old saying that it takes a village to raise a child is true.
There are people that will continue to stare, but the best education is a friendly smile. More often than not, it is reciprocated. There will be people in the community that still don’t understand, but the more we can spread information, the more we can create a more inclusive community.
To those who refuse to be educated, you will feel the wrath of this protective Mama Bear.
Employment for special needs people
As Ash approached the end of schooling, I noticed there was limited options for him. With all his talents, there was still no places for him and his friends in the workforce. Instead of trying to fit a round piece into a square hole, find the strengths of your special needs person and encourage them to develop their talents. I like to use the phrase aces in their places.
We don’t judge a fish by their ability to climb a tree, so why do we judge anyone for their weaknesses instead of their strengths.
This is where I decided instead of trying to fit Ash into the world, I needed to create a place that was perfect for Ash. I created Awebit Apparel to help people like Ash find their place in the world. As thrives with organisation, so he is a whizz at helping pack orders. He also has a leadership role as Chief Lunch Officer, because I am yet to find someone who can make a better toasted sandwich.
Who are we?
We are a Melbourne based clothing company, specialising in high quality and affordable clothing for babies and toddlers. First launching in 2018, we ship Australia wide and have a range of trusted suppliers. Our clothing and accessories are funky, fun and most importantly, perfect for your little one. Everything is on trend and chosen just for you.
The mission of Awebit is not just to provide you with the most adorable outfits for your little one, but we give back as much as we can. We at Awebit have a service to others attitude, giving 10% of our profits back to individuals and community groups that are in need. We have a strong focus on helping educate the community about individuals with ASD and helping them find their place in the world.
We are on a mission to create more opportunities for special needs children and adults. We are determined to make a difference in the world and help educate everyone about the role of special needs people in our community.
Thank you for your continued support. We can only give back to the community because of your continued support. Awebit now has a thriving social media presence and a growing base of supportive customers.
By purchasing through Awebit, you help us give back to those in need. Our commitment is to the families that need extra support. As we grow, we are able to provide a supportive environment for those with differing abilities, like Ash.