Once upon a time in a far away kingdom there lived a King and Queen. One day the Queen decided that it was time to have an heir. For many months they tried to conceive this child but to there regret, nothing happened. Twice the Queen became pregnant but alas those babies were not destined to walk the earth. The Queen grew sad. Then one day the Queen found out that she was with child. Her joy could be heard throughout the land. An even bigger celebration was held when the Queen found out that not only would there be one child their would be two. But one day the Queen felt ill and went to the royal doctors. What was once a twin was now just one. But still the Queen rejoiced because the strong and steady heartbeat of her Little Prince was still growing safe inside her.
For much of her pregnancy the Queen was forced to stay in bed, for the royal doctors feared what would happen if she did not. The Queen did not mind, she did what she was told. Each day as she lied in bed she would talk to the Little Prince inside her stomach. The Little Prince would respond to her voice. The Queen loved this child more than words could even describe and yet she had not even laid her eyes on him.
The Little Prince was eager to meet the Queen and King for he arrived 5 weeks early. His birth day was beautiful and special and the Queen grew more in love with her baby the moment he was placed into her arms. That day she made a silent vow that she would never let anyone hurt this child. That she would protect him from hurt and pain.
The Little Prince was a precious baby. He laughed and giggled and nursed like a champ. The Queen was slightly concerned about his colic and reflux, but the baby was growing strong and seemed so happy that she pushed the fears aside. The Queen took quickly to being a mommy and did everything that new mommies tend to do. She filled their days with Mommy and Me classes and play dates. She marveled at how smart her baby boy was. At 6 months old he said his first word. It was easy to over look the fact that he was not sitting up or crawling, for her boy was excelling at other things. The Little Prince continued to grow.
His first birthday was a celebration that the entire Kingdom was invited to. The King and Queen held their baby while everyone sang for the boy was still not crawling, or pulling himself up and nowhere near walking the way other children in those Mommy and Me classes were doing. But her boy was talking. He understood words. He could string 3 and 4 words together to make a sentence. The King bragged about their genius baby! The Queen too was proud, and yet she could not help but feel that perhaps something was not right.
Days turned into months and months into years and before you know it the Little Prince was 2 and a half and the King and Queen were blessed with another special gift. This time it was a Little Princess. The Little Princess was gorgeous but her lungs were just not strong. At 2 weeks old the pretty sweet girl was put into the hospital. The Queen was very worried. For a week she never left the baby’s side. The baby was diagnosed with asthma and was put on medicines right away. For the next year the Queen spent all her free time watching the Little Princess’ chest making sure that everything was okay. She did not have time to notice the little things that made the Little Prince’s teachers eyebrows raise. In fact when the teachers brought up their concerns the Queen was insulted and angry. “How dare they say these things about my child?” she bellowed. But the voice inside the Queen knew they were right.
The Queen took the 3-year-old Little Prince to the royal doctors. They poked and prodded and declared that he had Sensory Integration Disorder. They explained to Queen who had until this time never heard of this term what it all meant. Suddenly things became clear. Perhaps this explained why the Little Prince only ate 4 different foods. Why he would hide under the table at school if a fire alarm went off. Why he would freak out if the seams of his socks were not on just right way. Why he would melt down at the slightest change in routine. Why he flapped when he was excited. Why why why! It was too much. The Queen felt angry not at the doctors or teachers but at her self. How could she have missed this? The guilt consumed the Queen for a while. But she pulled herself together and got on board. What choice did she have.
The Queen’s days were filled with occupational therapy, physical therapy and speech sessions for the Little Prince and breathing treatments for the Little Princess. What was once a happy home filled with laughter and fun became one filled with anxiousness and anger. The Queen would snap at the King and the King would retreat to his end of the castle. Then the Queen started getting very bad dizzy spells. The King took her to the doctor. Test after test they ran to see what was causing the spells which were coming more and more often. The conclusion was that the Queen was suffering from stressed induced vertigo. The Queen took the medicine and things got better for her.The King and Queen also went to talk to a Royal counselor and Together they worked through things. They realized that they were a team. They opened up and shared their fears with one another. They talked.
The Little Princess’ asthma got better the older and bigger she got. The Little Prince was growing so big and smart but he suffered from anxiousness and still was delayed in many other areas. The Queen knew in her heart that there was something more. She would share her concerns with the doctors but none of them were willing to say out loud what they all were thinking. After all the Little Prince would look at them when they talked to him and he was so very verbal and smart. Almost too smart. They called him their 5-year-old little Professor.
One day the Queen was talking to her sister and confessed her concerns to her. It felt good to finally voice her fears aloud. Her sister carefully mentioned that she thought perhaps the Prince should be tested for High Functioning Autism-Aspergers. The Queen straightened her back and was about to get defensive, but then stopped. You see she remembered the promise she made to her baby boy so many years before. The promise to protect him. How could she protect him if she did not know what was going on?
So the Queen went to the Library and checked out every book she could. She read them all cover to cover. The Queen knew in her heart that the Little Prince did in deed have Aspergers. The Queen spoke to the Prince’s teachers who confirmed some of the same behaviors that the Queen was seeing. Some of the same suspicions she too had but was unable to address to me on her own. And so the Queen demanded testing.
When the King and Queen were given the diagnosis they had mixed feelings. In some ways it was a relief. Finally they had a name. With a name came direction a path so to speak. An idea as to which way they should continue on, what they needed to do. But they also felt sad. In many ways it brought the Queen back to the day that she lost the Little Prince’s twin. In a way they did in deed mourn another lost. It was the lost of what they thought the Little Prince’s life Should be Like. What their ideas and dreams for it should be. But over time, the Queen and King learned to look at things differently. In many ways it was a blessing.
Having the “A” word Autism or Asperger’s was not a bad thing. Sure there would be days when things would be hard, really hard. When the world seems unfair and the Queen is lost because she is unable to stop her boy’s hurt and pain. But there would be so much more. She would learn to accept both her kids for WHO THEY ARE, and not what she wants them to be. She would learn to appreciate the small things, to think outside the box, to LAUGH… really laugh! She would learn that there is no such thing as Happily Ever After. Life is not a fairy tale after all. Shitty things happen to good people all the time. But the Prince would teach her that real strength and courage is not just getting up when you fall down… but learning to laugh at yourself.
And most importantly, she would learn that it is OKAY to be happy!