I am in awe of an amazing boy – Dylan! Yes, he is my son and therefore naturally I would think he is the best child on earth! But I do so for many more reasons. You see Dylan had to grow up so very quickly when his brother was born. He had to learn to “give in”a lot of times. He had to learn to “Back off “even if his brother was the one to have snatched the toy or smacked him etc. He had to learn to let his mom concentrate more on his brother, as he was the one that needed extra help.
And so, I regret many things in Dylan’s upbringing such as having to concentrate more on his brother than him. I regret the many, many times I said “Oh for goodness sake Dylan, just give Jordan that toy”, “Just let him watch his video””Just stop and leave your brother alone” It was easier telling the child that I knew could understand me (as he was talking) than dealing with the screaming from my then mute autistic child. I think it was a kind of coping mechanism and I was actually doing the best that I could given our circumstances.
I think moms can be a bit critical of themselves especially when they are juggling so much and trying to stay sane at the same time. I guess I am just trying to let other moms out there know, who are feeling overwhelmed and full of regret that you are not alone!
But amazingly through all of the regret and being able to now step back and view the past 10 years perhaps all of this has helped mould this amazing little boy into the great man he has and is still becoming. You see, although I HAD to concentrate on Jordan I tried to involve Dylan in certain things. Like therapy homework – allowing him to be the “teacher” showing Jordy how to do the tasks, playing the interactive games with his brother, letting him also use the PECS communication with Jordan (Picture exchange cards when Jordy was still mute). I believe that having to deal with this and understanding from a young age that some kids/people need that extra bit of help has instilled an amazing kind of compassion in him, has given him a soft nature yet a very protective nature and this has enabled me to find peace in my perhaps mistakes of making him grow up so quickly.
In 2013, as a way of thanking Dylan for being who he is, Eastcoast Radio (our local radio station) held a little heroes competition in association with PnP and I decided to nominate Dylan for this award, as my way of showing him how wonderful he is and also of how much his mother appreciated his help. You needed to enter by saying why you thought they deserved this award and this is what ì wrote:-
“My hero comes in the form of my son Dylan. When he was 4 his younger brother was diagnosed with autism. Since then Dylan has been nothing short of amazing! He has coped so well with having to take ‘the back seat’, he is compasionate and caring towards his brother. He helps to do things for him like making breakfast, pouring juice, looking out for him, standing up for him and protecting him. Having a child with special needs is hard enough for a parent, I can only imagine how hard it is for a sibling who has to cope with embarassing moments, who witnesses other childrens teasing of his brother etc! I am so proud of Dylan for the way he has coped with this situation, for his caring nature and for just being him! My life has been so blessed by having this child and he is truly a hero in my eyes!”
You can view the ECR video at : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_7jboYHMw5o
To those of you who are going through the same sort of thing. Its never to late to show your appreciation. Its never to late to explain exactly how you feel. Its never to late to forgive yourself of any guilt you may have and realise that you have done the best you can!
And so to end off this post I want you to know how proud I am of you Dylan! You are an amazing little man. When people compliment me on your upbringing, in what a polite, helpful and compassionate person you are – I am so proud! You are the best big brother anyone could wish for. And even though at times it has been difficult, you’ve made it and have helped me so much – Thank you, I love you so much more than words could ever describe. Xxxxx