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Bridgend Family Photographer shares what parenting an Autistic child is like.

Updated: Jun 25, 2023

Family Photographer in Bridgend: Raising an Autistic Child.


Bridgend Family, maternity and Newborn photographer. Dedicates time for Autism aware professional Photography photoshoots.
Autism Aware Bridgend Photographer South Wales.

You're probably asking yourself why is a Maternity, Newborn and Family Photographer based in Bridgend blogging about Autism…


I'm a mum to three little ones when I’m not photographing pregnant ladies and newborn babies. Last year, just before Christmas, I received the official autism diagnosis for my beautiful three-year-old little boy Iestyn. Most will tell you that you can’t start the process of being diagnosed Autistic until you are at least five, and the process is long and lengthy, but our experience was different!




I think my child is Autistic.


Bridgend Family, maternity and Newborn photographer. Dedicates time for Autism aware professional Photography photoshoots.
Maternity, Newborn and Family Photographer in Bridgend: Raising a Child with Autism.

My baby boy was born a day after his due date and weighed nearly 10 lbs, with the most mesmerising green eyes, I instantly fell in love with Iestyn. He was an easy baby, he loved his cuddles and a full tummy of milk. The perfect happy baby.


Why was I starting to question Autism? Especially when Iestyn was only five months old. Maybe it was my background, spending nearly two decades teaching neurodiverse children and young adults, or maybe it was my mother's instinct working overtime. A question I can’t answer, all I knew Iestyn was different, and as iestyn grew I started questioning why? And the what if’s? More and more.


Yes, he was still little, and I remember being told some unhelpful comments when I was searching for an answers.

These are just some of the things I was told:

“He will grow out of it”,

“We’re all a bit autistic”,

“He needs discipline”,

“You don’t need to label your child”


and I could go on, and on, maybe that’s another blog to touch on “What not to say to a parent with an Autistic child!”.


I know all children develop differently, but this was different, and I knew it was proven time and time again, that early intervention is key to a child’s development, so getting answers was part of accessing the help Iestyn needed to reach his full potential.

The journey to diagnosing autism spectrum disorder (ASD)

We all know the NHS is overworked, underfunded, with long waiting lists and it can take years to be seen, let alone diagnosed.


With the NHS being under so much pressure, we felt paying to go private would speed up getting us answers, to allow us to give Iestyn the head start he needed. But… to access the resources Iestyn needed, such as help with education and anything medical, ONLY an NHS diagnosis is valid to open this door for him.


The decision was made for me, so I prepared myself for the turbulent NHS ride everyone warned you about, yet the experience was the opposite. The NHS couldn't have been more understanding and supportive, in fact, the ride to diagnosis was smooth, leaving no stone unturned.


From speaking to parents, I was lucky to identify the need to refer Iestyn early, because many told me they felt lost in the system once they hit school age, how has your journey to diagnosis been? Do reach out to me I would love to know if there is anything I can do to help.



Autism Diagnosis.

Thanks to the guidance received, it was around eleven months when I was told Iestyn will be diagnosed Autistic. Yes, you read that right!


I knew before starting the process he was Autistic, yet I didn’t expect to be told so quickly that his officially diagnosis letter will be sent the post. I knew a diagnosis wasn’t going to change Iestyn, and even if it could, I didn’t want to change him, he will always be the perfect beautiful boy I love so much.


In the time it took to diagnose Iestyn's Autistic, and the months that have come after, I received nothing but support and understanding from our NHS Health Visitor, care workers, specialists, health professionals, and the Nursery workers who care for Iestyn, I couldn’t have asked for better. I feel the team working closely with Iestyn and us as a family has taken the time to understand Iestyn’s needs and has a vested interest in his development. This also goes for family and friends who have been there to experience the ride. We can’t thank everyone enough, being supported has meant we could top up our energy tanks and continue to action big and small changes to accommodate our family needs and help Iestyn reach his full potential.


Coming to terms with the changes autism brings.

I’m not going to lie and say it’s been all sunshine and rainbows, the majority was spent in some sort of sleep-deprived state, filled with worry, searching for answers to questions which couldn’t be answered, and realising what works for one parent, might not necessarily work for another parent who is trying to combat the Autism overwhelm.


Thankfully I like my own company because parenting an additional needs child can be isolating. Hands up, and I’m not ashamed to admit, there have been times a respite to blow off some steam or spend some one to one time with Iestyn’s siblings or go on a date night with Iestyn’s dad would be lovely. I had to come to terms with some people having no concept of what life with Autism is like or not having any interest in committing their time to find out or support us, and that’s okay, and finding a childminder that’s equipped for neurodiverse is like finding gold dust, and that’s also okay because I want Iestyn to be in the right hands and with people who love and understand him like we do. So for now I continue to press pause on the me time, because Iestyn’s happiness comes first.


Knowing the things we all take for granted are now not possible for me or I am embarking on what could be a long journey to retrieve some normality back in my life and our lives as a family, you could say parenting a child with autism is life-changing. Routines have become part of the norm, which is planned right down to the second and teaspoon fed, without them I wouldn’t be able to get done the things we all want take for granted, like sleep, get dressed, eat or even leave the house! This is when I realised the true meaning of the quote


“When a flower doesn’t bloom, you fix the environment in which it grows, not the flower.”



 


















 

Adapting the environment and thinking.


Quickly I become a detective for spotting our child’s behaviour, I can predict signs of increasing tension, anxiety or frustration, all will eventually lead to challenging behaviours. Running on automatic pilot to avoid triggers whilst implementing strategies to bypass autism meltdowns, becomes the new norm.


Always on high alert, I soon learnt that parents raising a child with Autism tread very carefully during specific times, around certain people or environments, in particular anything new, but with the goal to expand independence, communication, socialisation, regulation and opportunities.


My biggest take home of being parents of a child with Autism is:


Our children are the greatest teachers we will ever get to meet. Even with nearly two decades teaching neurodiverse children and young adults, and all the professional training that came with it, I now realise it was just the tip of the autism iceberg of what becoming a parent to a child with Autism is really like. Iestyn teaches us something new every single day, I feel incredibly blessed to have been chosen to be his mum. He has broken down barriers which I thought was impossible, showing me that great success can be built from not performing to where the world expects him to be. Iestyn is capable of great things and I can’t wait for him to continue to show me his superpowers.



What has raising an Autistic child taught you?



Bridgend, Port Talbot, Margam Maternity Newborn and Family Photographer
Bridgend, Port Talbot, Margam Maternity Newborn and Family Photographer


Each child is unique, so each parent's experience of raising an Autistic child will be completely different.


From speaking to parents in the same boat, I've learnt the majority of us will feel we now see the world through our Autistic child's eyes and learn to:


  1. Slow down,

  2. Enjoy the simple things in life.

  3. Help family, friends and curious strangers, understand what is Autism.

  4. Realising siblings play an important role in development by offering an insight into how an Autistic child is feeling when he cannot say.

  5. Realising that some people won't be prepared to dedicate the time to understand Autism, and that’s okay.

  6. Finding the right support and techniques becomes part of the journey parents and caregivers make.

  7. Time is put aside to plan and help with any new changes and processes.

  8. Recognising burnout from the demands of parenting an additional needs child and trying to combat it



 

Do you think anything is missing from above?


Comment below so I can continue to update the blog.


 

Enjoyed reading the blog, you might like to read the blogs below:




 
About the South Wales Maternity, Newborn and Family Blog Author:

 Bridgend Autism aware, Newborn, Maternity and Family Photographer. Inclusive photography photoshoot In South Wales
Bridgend Autism aware, Newborn, Maternity and Family Photographer. Inclusive photography photoshoot In South Wales

Adele Morris Photography, is a specialist Maternity, Newborn, baby, and Family studio photographer based in Porthcawl in Bridgend. The studio is located with easy access to clients travelling from Swansea, Bridgend, Cardiff, Llanelli, Port Talbot, Newport, Neath, Pyle, Llantrisant, Carmarthenshire, and all over South Wales.


With nearly two decades teaching and working with neurodiverse children and young adults, Adele offers inclusive family sessions all year round to her clients, where each session is bespoke to the family's needs, ensuring she is catering for any special requirements individuals require.


If you would like to know about my all year round bespoke photoshoot sessions and discuss your additional requirements, then please do not hesitate to get in touch:





To find out more about the author, visit the about me page.



 

Adele Morris Photography

Specialist Maternity, Newborn, baby, and Family studio photographer.

Serving Swansea, Bridgend, Cardiff, Llanelli, Port Talbot, Newport, Neath, Pyle, Llantrisant, Carmarthenshire, Porthcawl and all over South Wales.















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