I had my first child when I was 21. When you have your first child you have all these plans, hopes and dreams of what life is going to be like with your new family. Not once did it ever occur to me that years down the line my first born would be diagnosed with an Autistic Spectrum Disorder a month after his second birthday. Then two years after that his younger brother would also be diagnosed with the same development delay.
Life gets pretty lonely sometimes, not everyone gets it because not everyone is in the same position as you. It is particularly hard when you’ve had a bad day and you have no one to speak to because your husband is in the Army and only home at weekends, and your children cannot verbally speak to you. What I would give to hear their little voices.
Communicating is key to life, imagine not being able to express what you want or how you feel, I know I never really thought about how vital communication was until I had two children who struggle in this area, it has really opened my eyes and has given me a different outlook on life. It has really brought us closer as a family, and as husband and wife, because I find that we value our voices so much more now than we ever did before that we make sure communication between us is key!
When you hear the word communication what do you think of? Something someone is saying to you verbally? Or text because they are not there in person? Or a verbally spoken phone call?
None of that may be possible with my boys, however I get to see communication visually rather than listen to what is being spoken. Makaton has given my children a way of communicating in a way that no words have to be spoken but it makes us listen more, and that is extraordinary.
At one point we were living in chaos trying to guess what the children wanted: now they tell us using Makaton! It has really given them some independence and I would recommend anyone and everyone to learn and encourage their little ones to use it!
I have recently written a book called ‘The adventures of Superhero Dan - Dan goes to the park’ about a little boy with autism. My children love it and use Makaton to help me read it, and to ask for ‘more’. It is really heart-warming that we can communicate in a special way and over such a special thing! Thank you, Makaton Charity, we owe you everything.
Visit Rachael's website to find out more about The adventures of Superhero Dan www.superherodan.co.uk