A/N: This is my first attempt at writing so please be easy on me. I have been an avid reader for so long and decided to take a try at writing.
This story is about a child diagnosed with Autism. I am in no way a doctor and do not know everything that is Autism. I am just a parent of a child who has Aspergers. Some of the events throughout this story are based on my child and his experiences.
Please take the time to learn about Autism. There are a few websites on my profile.
Now enjoy the story.
"I can't take this anymore."
"What?" I watched as my wife grabbed a suitcase and started pulling clothes from her closet and dresser drawers.
"This. Us. The stress. I just can't take it anymore."
I stood there frozen and in shock as she continued to collect her clothes. "Tanya, what are you talking about? Calm down and talk to me. Just stop packing."
"Edward, I need to do this. This isn't working for me anymore. All he does is cry and take temper tantrums. We never have time for ourselves. He has issues that don't seem to be getting better and I can't take all this stress anymore. I have to leave. I need to get away."
Why was she doing this? This was our child she was talking about. Did she not care about him? Anger had taken over the initial shock of this scene. I turned to Tanya and unleashed all the built up anger. "He has a name. Riley is our son. You don't think I am stressed out. You don't think Riley is stressed and confused. He is just a child and doesn't know what is going on. It is our responsibility as his parents to try and help him."
I followed Tanya as she left the bedroom and headed down the stairs to the living room. "I need to leave. This is too much for me. I can't deal with this anymore."
"Dammit Tanya! What about the appointment today? Riley needs you. I need you."
"I'm sorry" was all Tanya said as she walked out the front door to her car in the driveway.
All different emotions ran through my head, disappointment, sadness and finally anger. I could not believe she wanted to walk out on our family. If she wanted to walk out then that was fine but she was not going to waltz back in whenever she wanted and disrupt any progress he may be making.
"If you walk away now I don't want to see you ever again. DO NOT EVER COME BACK!"
As the words left my mouth I watched as Tanya got in her car, backed out of the driveway and left without another word and out of their lives.
/ / - \ \
How had my life changed so drastically in a mere blink of an eye. My wife, who I thought loved me and my son, just left. Without a glance back. It was like she regretted marrying me and having our son. I thought after 6 years of marriage I knew her. Well I guess I was wrong.
Pacing wasn't helping. As I ran my hand through my hair I kept thinking how am I going to explain this to a 4 year old. He is just a child he couldn't possibly understand why Mommy left. He was having issues of his own and I had no idea how this was going to effect me let alone effect him.
"Daddy I'm hungry."
I turned to face my son with a smile. "Hey buddy. What do you want to eat?"
"I don't know. Why don't you tell me."
And this was how every morning started. I had to go through everything we had. It was hard for him to make a selection. It was a struggle and long process just to pick breakfast or any thing for that matter. It broke my heart to see the confusion on his face every time he needed to make a decision. Finally after going through everything we had he finally decided on plain cheerios.
"Riley, do you want juice with your cherries."
"I will get it."
"Bud, I have to do it. I don't want the juice spilled."
"I NEED TO DO IT." He started crying.
"Ok. How about we both do it. You can help me pour."
And that is how we handled the issue this morning. He helped me take the pitcher from the fridge and helped me pour the juice in his cup.
He sat and ate his breakfast quietly for the most part. He never said much. It was like he was in his own little world. One issue down now to deal with the next.
/ / - \ \
Riley has been having little issues for the last few months. At first I would just brush them off as a normal 4 year old's behavior. But they have been getting worse. Finally we had talked to his pediatrician and he had referred us to Dr. Banner, a psychologist. Hopefully he was going to give us some insight on what was going on with Riley.
"Riley you need to get dressed so we can go to the doctor this morning."
I had set out Riley's clothes on his bed so he could get ready. He started to get dressed and then the problems started. He had started to put his pants on and then said, "This isn't right. I need to put my shirt on first."
So he took his pants off and started to put his shirt on backwards. "Buddy, your shirt is own the wrong way."
"Riley you need to turn your shirt around the right way."
"NO IT'S RIGHT!" he yelled.
So I let it go. So what if his shirt was backwards. After finally getting all his clothes on he was just putting his shoes on and it started again. He kept adjusting and readjusting the Velcro saying it wasn't right. Then he took the shoes off.
I was finally at my last nerve. "Riley you need to put your shoes on or we're going to be late."
It's not right he kept saying over and over. Finally I grabbed his shoes and picked him up to take him to the car. And that is how we showed up at Dr. Banners office. Riley with no shoes and me carrying a crying child.
"We are here for an appointment with Dr. Banner."
The blonde behind the counter started to smile at me. "Your child's name?"
"OK. Have a seat and Dr. Banner will be with you shortly."
We sat down and I tried to calm Riley. Eventually he started to play with some toys in the corner.
A tall man with dark hair came out and approached my son. "Hi Riley, I am Dr. Banner. Do you want to come back to my office so we can talk? I have more toys for you to play with there."
We walked down a hallway to his office. As soon as we go to his office he said. "Please have a seat Mr. Cullen." Then he turned to a large cabinet and opened it to reveal shelves of toys.
"Riley how about you pick some toys to play with while I talk to your dad. Mr. Cullen will your wife be joining us?"
"No. She left and is no longer in the picture."
"Okay, then how about you tell me what has been going on."
I proceeded to tell him everything. How he has a hard time making decisions. The certain order for us to leave the house and if it was not done right then we would have to start all over again. The temper tantrums and how he would literally cry for an hour over things like having to come in after playing outside or how we drove home. I told him how Riley played with himself and rarely played with other kids. And when he played with blocks how he had to use certain colors. I explained to him how I thought he was going backwards from potty training too. That he was so close to being trained and now he wanted nothing to do with underwear.
I continued explaining things while the doctor sat there and listened. After my long winding ramble Dr. Banner spoke. "Just by what you have explained I believe your son has Autism as well as OCD. Now let me explain the Autism. There is a very wide spectrum and I believe your son has a mild case. I believe he has what they call Aspergers & PDD. Now I am not positive since this is the first visit but I see a lot of the symptoms. I will need to see him more and also I think you should have a test done. The test is called ADOS. It will help to determine if my conclusions are accurate. How do you feel about this Mr. Cullen?"
"I guess I never expected this but at least I can put a name to what he is going through."
"I know it is lot to take in but we will get him the help he needs. I will give you the name of who you can schedule the ADOS test with and here are a few websites where you can learn more about Autism, Aspergers & PDD. I will see you in a week."
"Thank you Dr. Banner."
As I walked out of the office holding Riley's hand I kept thinking how my life had changed so much in just the course of a few hours.
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