Within the month of autism in Quebec, we offer the testimony of a mother of a child with pervasive developmental disorder (PDD) who wants to share his experience with other parents in the same situation.

Finally a name to a disorder

When we received the diagnosis of PDD (Pervasive Developmental Disorder), we had a lot of questions in mind, but so few answers. Needs, but so few resources, paper hands full, but empty head and a heavy heart. Our boy jumped without stopping, repeating endlessly the same words, the same phrases, gesticulating in the same way. He opened and closed the doors still flapping, he ran the toilet constantly. Go to the mall or restaurant was downright unthinkable. The time we tried family outings, we returned very tired, beaten and humiliated by the looks of the people around and really dissatisfied with our son.

No control

Despite the fact that I reacted to his inappropriate behavior by putting back, it was totally out of control, as if I could not reach it. As if he did not understand what I was doing by putting it in punishment. No consequence worked. I tried the stickers as a positive reinforcement, but he tore, I tried removing, but I could spend the day sitting on the chair, he simply does not understand. Still, I was constantly in my speeches. I did what I had to do to understand a typical child, but now, my son is not a typical child. At that time, I did not understand and I desperately need help. As parents, we were exhausted. As a mother, I felt overwhelmed and incompetent at best. I worked so hard to bring up my son, I so occupied, however, everywhere I went, I saw only disapproving looks. I felt completely helpless.


Sleepless nights

The other major problem we lived was that my son was quite difficult to sleep at night and woke up early in the morning to 3 or 4 hours very often. He did not nap during the day, seemed so anxious that he could not settle down to rest. How many mornings we went to the park at 6 am 30, alone, the sand is still cold and wet grass with dew fresh? Life was exhausting.

A program tailored to help us

Firstly, we were told pictogram, daily schedule, a “time-timer” to “tangle”, and many other things. We received more information than we could assimilate. It was stunning. I clearly remember having felt panic rise in me: “But this is too much! I’ll never be able to do it all and do not forget anything! “There was also a moment of anger,” They send me to figure it all as if it was easy and obvious, but I guarantee they themselves would be unable to do at home! ”

Educators felt that I needed to take me by the hand this time, because I felt powerless. It was too big. They prepared a binder with pictogram and plastic sheets, adding Velcro to stick the pictogram. Everything was ready for use. This step was unsettling for me. From that moment, I felt a desire to make an ability to succeed. It was extremely comforting and they come to my rescue.

Adapted to our daily

Nevertheless, many questions remain: “Is what I’ll have to do this all the time? “” How long do I see results? “To all parents like me who are wondering, know that the first two weeks are difficult. We must get used to having this new task to add to our routine and it takes a lot of discipline. In addition, we must accustom our children to come back constantly. It is important to persevere because after about a month, as it is acquired by the parent and the child. It becomes less anxious and know what to expect. Note that there are many more benefits to the daily schedule there are drawbacks.

Ups and downs

Obviously, there is nothing perfect. There is no magic. We have a different child, which requires different interventions. A year later, we still use the daily schedule and pictogram. Sometimes I see my boy go himself looking at his schedule, so I know it still needs. Maybe one day it will not be necessary, but with our different children, we need to think one day at a time, one need at a time and not get too into the future. so I searched on internet to find answers to my questions. There are good, even excellent services for our children. But for the families, I humbly believe that there is still much to do. Especially regarding the time between diagnosis and resources.