Autism and Tourettes

Autism comes in many shapes and sizes. There are ups and downs, laughter and tears. My son was born 7 weeks early and weighed 3 ½ pounds.  His head fit in the palm of my hand and I remember crying as I held him for the first time, as he was just so tiny.  I noticed him starting to have “tics” when he was about two. He’d twitch his head to the side as he was watching tv. His tics changed every four months or so and he’d only have one at a time.  Sometimes, he’d contract his tummy muscles in and out. Other times, he’d blink several times. Things had to be just so or he’d spend hours making it the way he needed it to be.  If I wasn’t sitting the right way, or if we’d do something different than the usual, he’d be inconsolable. Sometimes, he’d even run outside. He was diagnosed with Tourette’s and OCD. I didn’t know that was on the autism spectrum until I researched it.  There was so much I didn’t know.

I’ve never been able to hug my boy.  Sure, I held him as a baby and loved on him, but when he was old enough to hug-he wouldn’t let me hug him. He snuggled up next to me all the time, but he would hug my arm. I wasn’t allowed to hug him or touch him. I’ve never had a real hug from him or been able to give him one back.  I know I’m such a lucky mom to get my arm hugs. As a mother, I know I’m lucky. He’s weening off his Tourette meds now and the Dr. has told me how much worse it could have been for him.  Yet I spent days, even weeks, crying my eyes out.  I couldn’t do anything right and I couldn’t fix it. I couldn’t hug my child and tell him everything was going to be ok. As a single parent, I felt like my stress level was sky high.  I couldn’t see the light at the end of the tunnel.

I know there are so many of you that are parents of autistic children.  Many of you having sleepless nights and days of stress. Don’t miss out on those small moments of joy and laughter. Our children are our hearts and we’d do anything for them. Don’t miss out on those shared moments that seem so ordinary, but won’t last forever. They grow so quickly.

There are support groups for parents of autistic children. Groups where you can go and know you aren’t alone. None of us are alone.  Sometimes, it’s hard to remember that, but there are other parents out there crying and stressing and wanting to make it all better. Let’s connect with each other.  Let’s support each other.


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