Sticks and Stones may break my bones.

Yesterday I posted on this page about a letter I had received from a close family member that was accusing me of criminal neglect towards my son. I am now removing this text, not because I think I shouldn't have posted it in the first place, nor because it is too personal, but because it involves people other than me, people who may be have a chance of developing a better relationship with this person. I know - I made it sound as if maybe it wouldn't be worth having any kind of a relationship with him. But people can change, and, more to the point, you can have really terrible relationships with some people but not others, and I don't want to take this chance away from anyone. People know, they know. That's enough.

As to Max, yes, he was diagnosed late. This was in great part because he developed speech late.He only spoke Turkish until he was 5, then started French very slowly, so we didn't feel we could take him to see a French doctor. Also, he hated France with a vengeance. The summer his autism became apparent was the one we spent in Paris. Before that, he'd exhibited some signs, but few. Like many others, I believe, his autism is one that is triggered by situations. Being in France didn't suit him. So we weren't about to have him see a bunch of doctors there.

We were also unlucky in our first choice of a consultant here. A child psychiatrist who simply ommitted to let us know that Max had autism. She did recommend a course of speech therapy. We took him, and it did him a lot of good. He began to speak more, albeit in Turkish. The therapist used drawing and colouring a lot: this helped Max with his fine motor skills and taught him how to express himself in pictures.

When he was eventually diagnosed, he started a course of special education at a centre for autism in Ankara. The teachers there are wonderful. They have taught Max to play, to read, to engage in joint action with other kids his age. He has made a lot of progress.

Our son who used to stay by himself in the play ground now goes to find other kids and joins in their play. He's learning to add, using a special system of drawing, he can even read simple sentences in his French school books, and, with sticker charts and rewards, and a lot of egging on, he will read a complete beginner's book in either French or Turkish. He no longer has tantrums - at least not the kind that is uncontrollable, and that will cause the neighbours to call security. He goes to school willingly whenever he's supposed to. He plays wonderful imaginative, creative games with his playmobiles and legos. He can have short conversations, and sometimes volunteers information and questions (although we still need to work on that one a lot). When he's shy of people, he will try and overcome it. With some planning, a lot of talking and drawing, we convinced him to overcome his fear of flying last week.

We are proud of him. He has done enormously well. He will be repeating first grade this year: that's our choice. We have (nearly) secured a person who will accompany him at school 12 hours a week and help him concentrate on his work. We are really hoping that this will be his chance of acquiring the solid bases he will need to get on in later years.

We are not confident that all will be allright. After all, not very much is known about prognostic (studies on new educational methods and treatments haven't been going on for long enough for people to have conducted studies on the prognosis!). We are also aware that living in Turkey isn't ideal. We were we in France, the UK, or Canada (my personal favourite) we'd have access to many more facilities than what we have here. But we don't have jobs there. We have jobs here. So there you go. We're making the best of what we've got, and really, it's not that bad.

So no, I'm not taking any shit from anyone, because honestly, Max is doing very well. He's on the right path, and he's already made a great deal of progress on that path. And apart from one person, he is surrounded by family and friends who love him, who have confidence in his ability to progress, and who are proud of him.

This is my revised entry for Josie's Writing Workshop .


Hannah said...

What a pathetic and arrogant piece of shit that man must be. Ignore, stay strong, and some day soon you'll be laughing at him.

@jencull (jen) said...

*jaw drops in shock* I am speechless, I can't formulate a thought I am so shocked. A big hug of moral support for you. Jen xx

Anonymous said...

Wow! What an ass! Well, I can think of other words but not fit for polite company. You're well rid of such a toxic person.

Wishing you all the best!

Jean said...

I am trying hard to dredge up adjectives vile enough to describe whoever penned that letter. Malicious, septic and evil spring to mind.
I really hope you manage to excise him completely out of your life.

Anonymous said...

What a ghastly thing to write to someone, how awful that you had to read such poison.... (((hugs)))

Michelle said...

Sounds like you are not going to take any of his shit. Well done you. What a pig! Mich x

Imcombobulated said...

You already know what I think. Let him know that my daughter got a late diagnosis too. So I guess we're awful parents together. Even though our kids are the most awesome kids I know. Dumb ass.

Sandrine said...

Thank you all for your support. For reasons I've explained in the post I didn't really want it to stay up longer than a day. But I couldn't bring myself to take down your words of support.
Thank you.

Belgravia wife - sort of said...

Hi I have been super busy writing so blog land has been woefully neglected I am so sorry. I haven't read the letter frankly I don't need to. I just know you are a marvellous mother, a marvellous person and although I haven't met them I am sure you're children are absolutely lovely. As we say in Blighty 'the apple doesn't fall far from the tree'. Work done I'm back & here if you need anything - at all xxx

Sandrine said...

Thank you : what a lovely thing to say. Glad you're back in blogland, I was wondering where you'd got to. Hope the writing was successful!

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