Mom finds support and understanding through autism society

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Fifteen-year-old Tyler Best is seen at the Sandbank Provincial Park in Burgeo. His mother, Sheila Wight, says being able to connect with the Autism Society of Newfoundland and Labrador — Western Chapter has helped her a lot since Tyler was diagnosed with Asperger’s syndrome.

CORNER BROOK — Ever since her son was three Sheila Wight has been dealing with his behavioural issues.

Tyler Best is now 15 and last summer was diagnosed with Asperger’s syndrome, an autism spectrum disorder.

That diagnosis has given the single mother from Pasadena and her son more control over their lives.

“It explains things,” she said and provides them with reasons and answers. It also opens more avenues for things and programs that can help him.

“Just having a basic understanding, actually, is huge.”

Wight said Tyler’s diagnosis came after “a lot of trial and error.”

Over the years she and those treating Tyler missed some of the things that eventually lead to his diagnosis.

“Unfortunately, behaviour sometimes tends to be the most important thing that everybody focuses on. So, the little quirky things were things that weren’t necessarily paid attention to.

“There were other more pressing issues to be dealt with.

“And that’s no fault of anybody’s.”

Tyler’s diagnosis actually came about because of his mother’s efforts to understand what was going on with him.

She has done a lot of research and one morning was watching a television show called “Body and Mind” that featured a child who Wight said sounded just like Tyler.

She contacted his psychologist who wrote a letter and Wight took her suspicions to the Janeway, where he was already being treated, and there it was confirmed that Tyler has Asperger’s.

Right now Wight and Tyler are trying to play catchup.

“Tyler could have availed of so much had we known when he was six or seven.”

But the diagnosis has also opened a door to Wight and her son.

She’s been able to seek support, information and advice from the Autism Society of Newfoundland and Labrador’s Western Chapter.

“I guess raising Tyler, I always felt I was alone. There was no other parent who could possibly understand what I was going through. Because this is not what you wish for your child.

“The big thing that I realize is that I’m not alone and the autism society I guess gives me a place where to say it’s OK to be feeling what I’m feeling and to be dealing with the things that I’m dealing with because others are dealing with it, too, and there’s no shame with it. You don’t have to battle it alone, that there’s other people like you.

“And there’s no judgement,” she said.

“For me having the autism society here on the west coast it creates awareness for everybody and by creating awareness hopefully we can have earlier detection for other kids.”

To continue creating that awareness and help the west coast chapter continue to provide service to families on the west coast a golf tournament will be held Friday at Blomidon Golf and Country Club. About 16 teams are scheduled to participate and the money raised from the event will be used to cover the cost of rent for the chapter’s office space, furnishing its sensory room and materials for its library.

Organizations: Autism Society of Newfoundland and Labrador, Blomidon Golf and Country Club

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  • Nacho
    July 14, 2011 - 11:18

    Ms Wight you are not alone! Take advantage of the society and keep in touch with other parents. You will both do great and remember to take care of you too!