A Cork mother shared the story of her identical triplets who were all diagnosed with autism three years ago and how it has changed their lives since then.
Speaking on The Ryan Tubridy Show on RTÉ Radio 1 yesterday, Avlyn McKeown spoke about her “three little monsters” Alex, Kyle and Rian who are five years old.
Avlyn found it difficult to get pregnant and turned to IVF to conceive a child.
Thankfully, she was successful and welcomed the three boys at 30 weeks.
After spending seven weeks in the hospital, Alex, Kyle and Rian were sent home with their parents to “start their lives”.
Pretty early on, an extended family member noticed they weren’t hitting milestones like sitting, crawling or making noises.
Already living with the “daunting task” of raising three boys Avlyn “put it down to prematurity” and said she “didn’t want to know about it”.
Presuming this was all because her babies were born prematurely, Avlyn just thought “they’ll do things in their own time.”
When the boys continued to not develop, Avlyn noticed they weren’t making eye contact or engaging like they should.
She suspected autism so went to get the boys assessed where she was told the boys had ASD and an intellectual disability.
Speaking of her reaction, Avlyn said:
“I cried, obviously,
“You grieve for the childhood that you expected your child to have.”
Three years after the diagnosis, Avlyn now lives a hectic life.
Unfortunately, her marriage broke down as a result of their situation.
“My marriage broke down as a result of this, but multiple births are known to put a strain on the marriage”
She now acts as full time carer for the boys who need to be dressed, washed and helped on the toilet.
Surviving sometimes on just two hours sleep Avlyn said Scoil Aisling, where her boys now go to school, has made a huge difference in her life.
“They are loved in there and the staff care”
However, at nearly six years old, the boys have yet to speak a word.
“That’s the most important thing for me to hear, is them saying ‘mam’”
But they are communicating in other ways.
“I’m not that caught up in the verbal side of things but the boys are well able to communicate to me without words” Avlyn said.
And Rian has now picked up a pretty extraordinary skill.
Playing with his fridge magnet letters, Rian is now spelling words on the fridge to his mum’s amazement.
One day, Avlyn noticed the words ‘National Sculpture Factory’ on the fridge, a building they pass every day on the way to school.
“I didn’t even notice it was written in large letters on the side of the building” she said.
Her positivity when speaking about her three “gorgeous, healthy, happy little boys” was touching and truly an insight into the way we perceive these types of family situations versus the reality.
“At the end of the day, if I’m miserable, what good am I to the kids?”
You can listen to Avlyn’s full interview here.