I’ve been expecting today’s news for a long time. Hugo was diagnosed with Autism. It’s not a big shock as we have known for a while that he displays very strong autistic traits. Even so, it’s still hard hearing it ‘officially’. Just another condition to add to his growing list.
The one thing I have come to realise is that Hugo is non the wiser. He is very happy living in his little ‘Hugo’ bubble, the fact that he is different doesn’t bother him in the slightest. This is where some parents struggle to come to terms with autism. Most autistic children appear ‘lonely’. They don’t interact with other children and would rather be alone. However, they are mostly happy. Hugo in particular is very content playing by himself and doing his own thing. He doesn’t need to feel that he belongs to a group, he doesn’t crave that attention that most of us need to feel good about ourselves. He doesn’t rely on friendships and relationships to enjoy life. In some ways, autistic people probably live a much happier life than the rest of us, it’s just the outsiders looking in that think they must all be sad because they are lonely. Actually, Hugo is generally happiest when he is left to do his own little thing.
Of course I am heartbroken by Hugo’s latest diagnosis, no one ever wants their child to have any condition. However, I think Hugo’s autism might be a blessing in disguise. Hugo doesn’t have much understanding of the world around him. He isn’t bothered that he can’t run around like everyone else, because he would rather sit by himself watching a movie or doing a puzzle. As Hugo grows up and finds that his mobility slips away, I think the fact that he is autistic will make the whole Duchenne process easier for him. If Riley or Jasper had Duchenne, and suddenly their mobility was snatched away from them and they were confined to a wheelchair, I honestly don’t think they would cope. At all. But Hugo won’t really grasp any real understanding of what’s happening to him. His autism defines his personality, and he is such a laid back, easy going child because of it. With that in mind, I think his Duchenne journey will be made easier by the fact that he has autism.
It’s a difficult concept to understand, and most people will probably think I am crazy for suggesting that one condition will make another condition easier. But positivity is the only thing keeping us going. Hugo is happy in his bubble and I don’t think that will ever change, whatever Duchenne decides to throw at him.
Autism may be a difficult ‘label’ to accept, if it wasn’t for the fact that he already has Duchenne, I probably wouldn’t be saying any of this right now! But I do genuinely believe that his autism might just be a good thing and will help to make his life with Duchenne slightly easier. We have many challenges to overcome, but I know Hugo will continue his fight with that big smile on his face and that gives me all the inspiration I need.