An approved diagnosis of autism freed the family


In the world, one in six people has a disability. And it is estimated that up to 80% of them have an invisible disability, which is more than one billion people. Autism spectrum disorder is one of the invisible disabilities. For the son of Juliet, he was recognized and set only at the age of 18. The woman openly tells that she constantly heard that her son’s behavior was due to mistakes in her upbringing, pampering, so the official diagnosis of autism gave relief to all family members.

Did not perceive space and time

As a child, Martyn, the son of Juliet , one of the founders and ambassador of the initiative “Look Deeper”, was a very sensitive child, cried a lot and was strongly attached to his mother, played alone in kindergarten, did not find contact with other children. “He didn’t have a sense of space: he walked right next door without keeping any distance, he would talk right next to his face. She also didn’t have the concept of time: she had to explain and retell things for a long time in order to understand whether the event her son was telling yesterday, today or someday,” Juliet shares.

“In elementary classes, he began to be bullied. The teacher immediately drew attention to his peculiarness and acted very tactlessly: in front of all her fellow students, she asked if he was okay with his head. He was very childish, spontaneous, expressed joy to the maximum, was not restrained. Classmates quickly identified him as strange, different, with whom it is not worth communicating. Then the rejection process began, which lasted until the very graduation of the school,” says Juliet.

Juliet tells that in the fourth grade, when changing school due to rampant bullying, she also turned to a psychologist: “I shared the anxiety that, it seems, something is wrong, my son does not understand the rules of communication, the behavior is too peculiar. But most of the time, I was told that everything was fine, my son’s weirdness was just a mistake in my upbringing, my inability to draw boundaries.”

Constant bullying, lack of tolerance, inability to understand oneself led to the fact that there were more than one generation of suicidal episodes in Martyn’s life. “I remember every attempt with horror and I thank God that everyone was unsuccessful. The son tried all the time as much as he could cling to life. I have always taught him: to fight, not to give up, to live, even if he does not succeed. However, when, at one stage of his life, Martyn was already too emotionally energized, a colleague in the store said: “There is no place for you here.” It was a turning point, this phrase that could have determined the life and death of my son. What is so special about these words that when you hear this, you want to kill yourself? He has heard the phrase “you have no place here” more than once and not ten times. There was no place for him everywhere,” Juliet sighs.

Autism accused without guilt

Just before the exams, Martin was on a city-wide no-fault basis, accused without evidence of a major non-existent subject. “Then the whole family fought for our son against the school, against the institutions, against the whole city. This struggle has greatly changed the lives of each of us and has done a lot of harm to the health of each of us. We protected the child from suicide, from injuries, from threats to cope from the outside,” Juliet says about the difficult stage.

According to the interlocutor, the most terrible and saddest thing was that when the truth came to light that the son was innocent, no one informed them of this, no one apologized: “This story is in the heart of my child to this day, he has one question: “For what?” And the adults who rushed to accuse and convict their son, when the truth came to light, were silent, did not inform, killed the truth.”

At the end of the story, Juliet no longer withstood: she broke down and fell ill herself, and when she recovered three months later, her son needed the help of specialists: “He was strongly influenced that in that finish line I did not withstand this accusation, attack and got sick. My child has openly said that he wants to commit suicide. Suicidal thoughts did not leave Martyn, we turned to a psychiatrist, who ten minutes later said: “Your child is an autistic.”

Autism this is not a consequence of upbringing.

“When I said the diagnosis, I was in shock. Martyn was close to suicid at that time, so he spent a month in Sandbank stress day inpatient unit. After receiving the necessary help, care, and after a month of observation, communication, the son was really given an official diagnosis: Asperger’s syndrome, depressive and anxiety disorder,” Juliet recalls.

According to her, this information freed everyone: “I was freed because part of the guilt that had fallen on me, which was always conveyed to me, that I had spoiled the child, so “I was educated.” On the other hand, came the endless pain of realizing how many mistakes were made when listening to others. But there was also joy, because as I delved into what autism is, I saw that in life, acting intuitively, I really did something the way I needed to. The child’s father said, “How much could we have done differently, how much we could have helped, or at least not harmed.” The son’s reflection was, “I’m not a dagger, I’m an autistic.” And then came the overwhelming disappointment: “I’m an autistic and that’s never going to change.”

Martyn himself tells that when he heard the diagnosis, he thought, maybe all this time he visited the wrong doctors, maybe they did not want to go deeper, look more closely at his problem: “It was a shock, but I always knew that there was something for me, and now I already know exactly what. It allows me to set boundaries, to control myself more, not to do something that could cause me negative or extreme feelings. Now I try to name boundaries, avoid certain situations, I try to live as calmly as possible, although nothing goes according to plan in life.”

Juliet says that she never lost faith in her child, always encouraged and argued that he could do everything: “Now Martyn is 24 years old and I say to everyone: he is my warrior. The son graduated from two vocational schools, has a job, rents an apartment, survives on his own, learned to communicate with people, learned to say that he does not understand something, learns to work in that job and learns to live. He let go of his anger, he has a lot of empathy, goodness and wisdom. I say to my son, ‘No matter what kind of work you do, it’s important that it’s legal and brings joy to myself.’ Today I can calm down and rejoice: I raised a good person and this is the most important thing, I am proud of my son and thank you for this gift of life. I am also grateful for all the path I have taken, which brought me to an interesting, rich community of the Lithuanian Autism Association “Lietus vaikus”, encouraged me to contribute to the establishment of the association  and to participate in its activities in organizing events that promote the inclusion of autistic persons in society.”







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