As part of Autistic Awareness Week we bring you an interview with an adoptive parent from The Family of Five, who has three girls, all with ASD (Autistic Spectrum Disorder).
How Many adopted children do you have that have ASD?
I have 3 adopted daughters, all of which have an ASD diagnosis. Eldest has a full diagnosis of Autism, Younger 2 both have a working diagnosis of Autism. Were they diagnosed at the same time or separately? My eldest daughter was diagnosed first, and my younger 2 were diagnoses together sometime later.
When were they diagnosed?
My eldest daughter was diagnosed in September 2012 and my younger daughters were given their diagnosis in July of 2013.
Do they have similar behaviour traits from the spectrum or are they different and could you describe some of them?
My youngest and eldest daughters have very similar traits, with my middle daughter being quite different all together. Social skills are rather lacking with all 3 daughters. Youngest and Oldest both find it difficult to not be in control which makes playing with peers quite difficult. Middle daughters social difficulties stem more from a speech and language perspective, she finds communicating more difficult and therefore finds ‘groups’ quite overwhelming often choosing to play alone or with a single child. Sensory issues are also quite an issue for all 3 girls, but in very different ways. Eldest has difficulties with certain foods and finds the textures difficult to manage and can find some forms of gentle touch tricky, for example twirling her pony tail is a no no. Middle finds some clothing and items she needs to touch such as books quite tricky and isn’t very tactile at all. Youngest is a bit of a mixture, she loves water play, yet cant touch a wet door handle, she loves to make noise but doesn’t like hand driers, she is very tactile but can struggle with people brushing past her or tapping her on the shoulder for example.
How does this impact on your home life?
Having 3 girls with very different needs is very tricky indeed. The relationship between the girls can be quite fraught at times with neither understanding or even wanting to consider, why the needs of a sister might be different to their own and each of them continually striving for control.
How does this impact on School life?
The biggest impact upon schooling is their lack of social skills which often cause conflict and upset.
Are you able to access additional support due to their diagnosis?
Yes, since their diagnosis we’ve been able to access much better support both in school and at home. The local Autism Outreach team have been able to support all of the girls with their specific needs in school supporting both us as a family and also helping school to understand how they can best upport their needs. The girls have also been able to access a weekend social club specially designed for autistic children and their siblings, this particular club allows parents to stay with their children whilst allowing them to explore new and exciting social interactions in a safe and understanding environment. We have also been able to benefit from specialist training courses and workshops for both me and also the girls.