Bobby's Autism Journey
By Michelle Cox | Published on November 5, 2020 | 5 Minute Read
After years of trying to conceive naturally, we were blessed with our miracle boy Bobby after our first round of IVF in January 2017.
For the first 12 months, Bobby developed beautifully, hitting all his milestones. He was walking at 10 months old and people often commented on how "forward" he was. He was 18 months old when I first raised my concerns over his development. He hadn't said any words, but more worrying to me was his lack of understanding. He didn't respond to his name and he didn't follow even basic instructions. Friends and family dismissed my worries "boys are always slower to develop", but as his mother I instinctively felt that there was something more to it. As time went on, I noticed other things. He didn't point, he stopped clapping along to music and he didn't play with toys in the conventional way. After hearing issues were ruled out, I pushed for further investigations and finally got a pediatrician appointment when he was 2 years and 9 months old. Although I knew there was something different about Bobby, I genuinely wasn't prepared for the diagnosis.
After an hour of consultation where Bobby was utterly charming, beautifully affectionate and wonderfully playful, the doctor asked if we wanted the diagnosis now or would rather wait for the letter to be sent (silly question). "Your son has Autism'' she said. And with those four words, my whole world was turned upside down, I didn't see it coming at all. I felt my breathing shallow as I tried to push down the lump in my throat. Despite my best efforts, tears started to fill my eyes. The doctor reached out, put her hand over mine and said "I'm so, so sorry". I was sobbing, completely unable to compose myself. Then I just ran, leaving my husband and Bobby behind in the doctor's office. I just had to get out of there. I found a toilet, locked myself in, sat down and just cried.
"He wasn't ill, he wasn't broken, he was still my perfect little miracle boy."
Back in the car, Gavin and I sat in silence, both trying to digest what we'd been told. After about 10 minutes, I looked back at Bobby in his car seat. He stopped fiddling with his toy, looked me directly in the eye and gave me the biggest smile ever. It was a lightbulb moment. Nothing had changed. Bobby was still Bobby. He wasn't ill, he wasn't broken, he was still my perfect little miracle boy.
I'm not going to say that was the beginning and end of my own journey of acceptance, but I just knew that it was going to be OK. I knew that we'd do everything possible to get him the best help and give him the best life we possibly could. There have been some dark days since and no doubt there are more to come, but I can honestly say that I wouldn't change a thing. I love everything about Bobby and Autism is a huge part of him. Take it away and he just wouldn't be my Bob.
One year on from diagnosis and I'm immensely proud of how far we've come. We've now secured Bobby a place at a specialist provision to start next year and we're excited to see how the additional support will help him reach his full potential.
About the Author
Michelle Cox lives in Hertfordshire, UK with her husband Gavin and two young son's, Bobby (3) and Mickey (9 months). Before becoming a Mum, Michelle was a Project Manager at a Global Investment Bank in London. She now spends her time caring for her family and raising Autism awareness through her Instagram page @bobbys_austism_journey. Through her page Michelle runs "Makaton Monday" where she encourages her followers and their children to learn signs each week to help those with communication difficulties.