Goodbye, A Very Powerful Word…


Stop a minute and think what could you use this single word to communicate?

I will tell you, yes used appropriately we say goodbye when some one leaves, Lachlan cleverly made this connection, when something leaves or you leave you say goodbye. Lachlan struggled with people visiting or us visiting people, the stress for him ended when we said our goodbyes. Lachlan for the next 18 months and he still does when very stressed would say goodbye to everything he wanted to stop or go away.

Someone comes to visit, before they are even in the house Lachlan would tell them goodbye, when Lachlan has had enough to eat at meal times he would stop eating and say goodbye, if we took Lachlan out and he was not happy goodbye would be repeated over and over all the way home. New toys would be told goodbye, it seemed everything was to go away.

Amazing what that one word can communicate, how much power that one word gave a little boy not yet then two.

Soon after goodbye, followed a second word daddy, Lachlan is a real daddies boy, Lachlan needed or wanted something daddy would be shouted on, I struggled a bit with that one as then it was me who was there all day, everyday, yet I was nameless.

Just before turning two Lachlan was totally spellbound by the new show on TV Mike The Knight, those were the next words to come along, I bought Mike toys, made a Mike Birthday Cake, I was so happy Lachlan had taken an interest in something aimed at his age, I hoped and prayed we were turning a corner…..

Lachlan had his scheduled two year check around his second Birthday, as expected it was a disaster, at last though we were to be referred again for speech therapy, this time the speech and language team came back asking that before any sessions were to begin Lachlan have an early years assessment, looking back I was either naive or in denial, I still didn’t see it coming I still believed Lachlan was a little quirky, very sensitive and a bit delayed with his speech.

We waited five months for the assessment day, in that time Lachlan started head banging in frustration, he would come up to Ian and I look us straight in the eye and try to talk, all that came out was a jumbled up unrecognisable sound, it was so hard to watch, I felt like I was failing my wee man by not being able to translate his sounds. The assessment was hard going, there was our health visitor, paediatrician, a child psychologist, a speech therapist, an OT, students, Ian and I and of course Lachlan, we filled in questionnaires, answered questions and they observed us for a while, Lachlan made monotone noises the whole time, stood on his head and told everyone goodbye with huge sad eyes, I hated every second, then off they all went to discuss the assessment.

We waited half an hour or so, in that time we found a ball in the assessment room and when the paediatrician and child psychologist returned Lachlan was giggling and laughing, playing happily in his way with us, we all sat down then came the hardest words I had ever heard, my beautiful wonderful little man had global developmental delay, with abnormal social development and met the criteria for Autistic Spectrum Disorder, all I could bring myself to ask was could we now have speech therapy. We were assured referrals would be made for speech therapy, OT, home visiting teacher, Autism team and we would have ongoing follow up with paediatrics.

I made it to the car, my heart broke harder than ever before, we had to stop on the way home at my Mums, I couldn’t face going home to Hamish, Alex and the babysitting grandparents, I sobbed so hard, my Mum couldn’t get a word out of me, I was so hurt, angry, confused and in denial, Lachlan couldn’t have Autism, Lachlan loved cuddles, made eye contact wanted to communicate, the days that followed were lonely, hard and very dark.


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