Sunday, April 3, 2011

Autism is not just for a day, it's for life

As much as I love writing about wanks and manhood food, I couldn't let the recent World Autism Awareness Day pass without acknowledging it on my blog. Or avoid mentioning the fact that April is World Autism Awareness month.

Let's get the facts out of the way first.

On April 1, April Fool's Day, the timing of which was unfortunate, famous landmarks including Sydney's Opera House, the Empire State Building in New York, the Kingdom Tower Saudi Arabia, and Brisbane's Storey Bridge lit up blue to support World Autism Awareness Day

In Australia, there was a National Autism Summit, and a video will be released to be shown at schools and on television.

In any case, about 1 in 160 Aussie kids have an autism spectrum disorder (ASD). It is our nation’s most common developmental disorder, and more children are diagnosed with ASD than childhood AIDS, diabetes and cancer combined. No one knows the cause, and there is no cure.

It's no secret that Mr 10 has Autism.

Yes it sucks.

But, thank God, he does not have leukaemia, juvenile arthritis, or tumours, or anything else life-threatening and/or truly nasty.

He has two relatively healthy parents who love him, though we live separately.

But C. still faces challenges every single day because he is autistic.

The reality of his situation means that today, after a perfectly lovely morning at the movies, C. spent almost the whole way home repeating the word: 'knickers', in a variety of silly voices.

Years ago, I may have snapped at him and/or his sister ridiculed him, but we carried on chatting as if this was completely normal. Because we're so used to C's eccentricities, we often only vaguely notice them. (Which is sometimes judged as being weird when we have company).

At home, I did point out to C. that saying 'knickers' wasn't really a cool thing to do, and wouldn't win him any friends. He couldn't remember even saying the word!

Such is the reality of C's life with Aspergers.

(Repetition of words, noises or movements can comfort a child with ASD. In our case, it was negotiating our way home from the madness of the Myer Centre Car Park in the Brisbane CBD to home.)

How else does Aspergers affect daily life with C? Let's see. (And the following are just a few).

C. hates his school uniform, not because he is a rebel, but because it feels 'weird' on his skin and worsens his eczema. And heaven help us if there are a pair of socks that match but that didn't come in the same packet together. Because C's toes will know the difference, and the socks will be taken off until I can find the exact same match.

He won't eat fresh bread, but he'll eat toasted sandwiches or wraps.

These are all sensory issues ... C. is over-sensitive to the way things feel, on his skin and in his mouth.

While some parents grieve upon diagnosis, I was kind of relieved.

So was Mr 10 for that matter.

'Oh, so that explains why I do things that other people think are bad,' he said on the way home from the paediatrician, following the official diagnosis.

And it was so true. Everything, too much to go into here, fell into place.

I'd known, probably since he was two or three, that there was something different about C.

I never viewed it as something to feel bad about, or an insult to my parenting skills, as some parents do, because I knew I was doing my darnedest!  (Except for when some judgmental parents and teachers made me feel that way. And then I'd be hurt, and justifiably angry at their ignorance).

I just knew C. was different to other kids his own age. Not better, not worse, but different. Less understood, less liked by teachers and carers (except for a few wonderful ones, who celebrated his individuality), but different all the same.

I didn't want to 'fix' him'; I just wanted to help him enjoy his life. Basic stuff, like feeling confident and liked at school; Not being punished for doing things he seriously could not help, like fidgeting, having a distracting tic; r repeating certain sounds and words, particularly when stressed/over-stimulated. Which was often.

I wanted to stop him from being bullied or punished for being different. Which was often.

I wanted to end bad experiences, like not being taking seriously when he was hurt or injured at school, because he'd been prone to putting it on. Which was often.

On the worst occasion, a bone was broken two weeks into grade one and no one bothered to look at it correctly, or treat it, or even phone me to let me know. It took two weeks for staff to complete an investigation into what had happened (because no one knew.) This was despite the fact that the injury occured in class time, when he was under the school's care. Because no one, including his teachers and the sick room staff, really liked or valued C. That hurt.

I have no medical experience, but it took me one glance to seek that at least one bone had been broken, and I probably would have happily stabbed someone if the need to get my son some medical care had not over-ridden the urge to get him that attention immediately. That is how little the school staff cared for my son after knowing him only a couple of weeks. And yeah, it still hurts.

I tried to advocate for C. without success, and finally found a small, caring Catholic school for our child which, although we aren't Catholic, was better suited to C's needs - and ours!

Having a diagnosis, meant A. We weren't crazy, B. We weren't Bad Parents (though I knew that already, having done all the courses and also turning out a so-called 'perfect' sibling, H*), and C. There was a crapload of help we could now access for our son.

*It's true, other teachers/adults have said in front of both kids that H. is good and not at all like her brother, meaning, not naughty/badly behaved/ and/or unlikeable. And H. is wonderful, and good, and sweet, and a constant delight to me. But so is her brother! They are just different, okay?

Of course, early intervention, which is highly accessible in Australia now, was too late for C; but still, there were things we could do to help our son. Some of it has been trial and error, some has involved medical or hormonal intervention; others medication.

C's official diagnosis is Asperger's Syndrome, ADHD and Pervasive Development Disorder. He has some learning difficulties, but is highly intelligent and above his peers in others. He has an incredibly high vocabulary but has trouble spelling or writing the sentences and words he thinks. Which obviously gets frustrating. For him and for teaching staff.

C. suffers from anxiety, and at times has been diagnosed and treated for depression. (Yep, even before he was 10).

He has trouble making friends with children his own age, and he is 80 per cent less likely to marry or enjoy long-term relationships when he is older than the general population. Less likely to be a parent. But more likely to achieve something else amazing as an adult.

Life with C. is never boring. Or quiet.

But would I change him? If I could take the autism away, would I?

No. Because he is a super-cool kid, (as is his sister), and the quirks and the challenges just make him more interesting. He's smart, loving, and entertaining. He is who he is and he is perfect.

And as I tell my son, he may not 'fit in' now, but one day, the very things that make him different, will help him make a success of his life.

Without autism, we wouldn't have had ground-breakers like Albert Einsteen, Sir Isaac Newton, Michaelangelo, Mozart, Bill Gates, Temple Grandin, or LadyHawke. There are unconfirmed reports that high achievers like Jessica Watson, the late Michael Jackson, and Robin Williams all have Aspergers.

So I'm at peace with the diagnosis.

C. may not be asked to birthday parties or enjoy team sports, right now, but I'm sure that he will eventually find his niche and excel at it. And I've told him that, and he gets it now.

I do wish I could take away the barriers though. To others liking and understanding him. To those who think he's naughty and wild, without knowing how far he has come and how hard he tries. To learning well at school, and finding a tribe.

Even though we have a school where staff are immensely understanding, we face battles every week.

Why does C. insist on acting differently to the other kids? Why does he squirm in his seat or find it difficult to stay on task? Why can he not focus on certain topics, yet over-focus on others? Why does he sometimes come up with inappropriate statements at inappropriate times? Speak out at wrong times in class, or fall off his chair? When exactly will he be given a drug to help him focus and move around less in class?

These are all questions we are asked constantly and comments from teaching staff. (Erm, C. has Aspergers Syndrome. It comes with the territory.)

Recently, my heart was broken when we were asked not to allow C. to go on a class excursion to Currumbin Sanctuary on the Gold Coast.

He really, really wanted to go; and as for previous excursions, I was totally prepared to go along and help and keep him safe, look after his possessions, and keep him from being overwhelmed.

Instead, my help was declined.

It was suggested I take C. to Currumbin Sanctuary in my own time, when he would not be a distraction to the rest of the class, and an added stress on the teacher and helpers. At my own cost.

Even though the trip was part of the curriculum, included in our fees, and his class - including C. - was tested on it, the day that followed. (Not surprisingly, Mr 10 failed it).

There are so many shades of wrong with this, I can't even begin to get started here.

I get my son the help he needs - paediatrician, child psychologist, occupational therapy and anything else that is suggested. I fill out paperwork, required to ensure he gets the assistance at school he's allowed by the government.

I massage my son and teach him Mindfulness, to help him deal with stress. I've gone along with any medications that have been suggested to help, after years of trying everything else with limited success.

I try my hardest to help him with 'normal' challenges like homework, even though it cuts into quality family time. So much so, that I'm about to become a conscientious objector, given that I can't see any real benefit, and only negatives, like excess stress to all of us. His sister included, who doesn't always understand why C. needs quite so much of my time, and in her words, 'ruins' many things.

I advocate for him as much as possible, but my heart sinks whenever C. is not invited on playdates or to parties (even though I regularly host his friends at home or take them on outings).

It doesn't help that C. has life-threatening allergies, and most parents, understandably, are scared of having to use an epipen. Even though I volunteer to go along, Just In Case.

What I have loved, is watching C. blossom and accept and work with his condition, despite the challenges and his detractors.

When he was choosing school stuff this year, and opted for a hot pink and purple school bag, and matching lunch boxes and bottles, I gently suggested C, might get picked on for his choices.

"That's okay Mum," he said, piling the trolley high with his purchases. "If anyone doesn't like it, I'll just say they're my favourite colours, and if they don't like them, I don't care, because I do! That's their problem, not mine."

C. is fantastic with 'tech', which means anything to do with computers, phones or anything that needs to be put together.

I'm a single, dinosaur-like Mum, so depend on C. to frequently put together bookshelves and computer systems for me, or tune in the TV. Which he does so quickly and expertly, it astounds me.

He can recite passages from books he's read once or twice, word for word.

He desperately wants to go on Junior Masterchef, and can cook a perfect omelette for breakfast, together with a skinny cappucino, just the way I like it.

I have never asked him to do it, he has just wanted to do it. And do it well.

Though he fights with his sister, he'll also do lovely things for her; like read to her or give her a piggy back when she's tired. Or make her fluffy scrambled eggs on toast with a hot chocolate on the weekend.

He'll give ALL his pocket money to charity, and cry when he hears that friends and relatives are sick and/or injured. Or when people lose everything through natural disasters.

With C, I am lucky.

Some autistic kids find it hard to show affection, or be aware of the feelings of others. But I am blessed that there are times when C. craves my touch and affection.

 "I need a hug," he'll say, drawing my arms around him. Or "I just need some Mummy time". And we'll spend some time just hanging at home with H. and the pets, and enjoying each others' company.

Even more interesting, for a kid who finds it hard to tune into social clues, C. can tell whenever I'm sad, or happy, or in need of a hug myself.

That's almost unheard of for autistic kids, so I feel very grateful.

So for Autism Awareness Week, all I want is for kids - and adults - like C. to be given a fair go. Don't limit them to what you think they should be capable of, and don't shun them because they are different.

Because just like all of us, they all have something to contribute.

And just quietly? Give their parents a break. Don't assume they are bad or lazy parents, because most of the time, they're trying just as hard as they can. Just as we all do.

My final wish is to do it forever, not just one day or one month. Because like a gorgeous puppy or kitten, Autism is for life.

Not just for a day, a week, or a month.


Lorraine @ Not Quite Nigella said...

Well put Bronnie. I think that people are gradually becoming more aware of autism and its through people like you that take the time to explain it.

Ms_MotorbikeNut said...

What a great post sweetie,thank you for filling more people in on this.

(((( Hugs )))) XXXX Kisses XXXX

Nicole said...

What a wonderful post.
Up until around 5 years ago when my friends son was diagnosed I knew nothing about Autism. I dont have as much contact with them as I'd like but he's an amazing boy whose come along in leaps and bounds in the last couple of years.

Anonymous said...

This post does more to explain what autism is and what living with it means than any pamphlet ever could.
I was privileged to work in a school in the UK for many years and we had special funding allocated to us so kids with Asperger and Autism could be taught in mainstream school. I learned a great deal from "my boys."
Thank you for writing this.

Kelley @ magnetoboldtoo said...

Some said on twitter 'once you've met one person with Autism, you've met one person with Autism.'

I thought that was quite freaking awesome.

thankyou for letting us meet your boy. He sounds absolutely fabulous.


Marita said...

He sounds like an amazing young man. Thank you for this post.

Unknown said...

What an amazing mother you are.

I too have an autistic child and you have captured my life, my feelings, my deep love for my son, the challenges it brings to our family unit and our daily struggles.

A great piece of writing, like Sarah said it could teach far more than any pamphlet.

I hope your son finds his niche.

nicky (nonoodle) said...

Hey hon, you obviously do an amazing job! Great family! Send C around to sort out the socks in our house as my boys fight over whether they have the correct pair or if I have mixed them up! I don't care but C would b able to work it out! xoxo

Kylie L said...

Fantastic blog. I have a PhD in a neurological field, but I didn't know a lot of this stuff- more to the point I didn't know what living with autism is like. I have a far, far better idea. You have done a fanatstic job for C as a parent, no doubt, but also with this piece as an advocate. xx

~~Kallie~~ said...

It's so heartbreaking when your child is left out or ostracised because of who they are. I'm sad for you & C but also for those people who are too small minded or scared to see the wonderful person C is.

My nephew has Aspergers and I saw him receiving much the same treatment. So many kinds of wrong. I hope C finds gentler treatment soon :)

denisej said...

what a great post. I also have a child with autism. He is the love of my life as I can see that C is to yours. Keep up the good work. Good luck C. and many blessings.

Unknown said...

Thank you all so much. It is so wonderful to feel heard and understood. Thank you for reading my post and finding the time to comment. I was unsure whether to post this, but I am now glad that I have. xo

MadCow said...

I'm glad you did, too.

It's more eye opening than all the resaerch and "experts" can ever tell you.

Well done! xoxoxox

Life In A Pink Fibro said...

Wow Bronnie - great post. So important to get the message out there.

Cate Bolt said...

THANK GOD! Finally! Finally, someone else who actually considers their child's autism as a gift. Blessings to you for being able to accept your child's individuality even though it might not fit in with what everyone thinks is "normal".Bless him for having the strength to say "I like pink, bad luck if you don't" - a lot of adults don't even have that strength.
I write fairly extensively about my life with Aspergers both as an Aspergian and as a mother of an Aspergian & the trials we faced in the book I'm hoping I'm still able to finish.
Don't ever let a school discriminate against your son. He has every damn right to go on that excursion, especially if you volunteered your time to assist. Schools don't like the word "discrimination" being thrown at them and neither does your local member, or the minister for education.
I know some times it's easier to give in to them but, 'scuse my french, fuck them. Your son is not a second rate citizen & shouldn't be treated as such. If you ever come up against that again I'll be more than happy to make a big fat noise on your behalf because that is bullshit.
Bless you, bless your beautiful gifted child.

Deer Baby said...

Great post - I now know a lot more about autism. Thanks for letting us see into your life. I can't believe they turned down your offer of help to accompany him on the school trip. So wrong.

Norlin said...

Thanks so much for sharing this. I never really knew what exactly a child with Autism or within the Autism spectrum goes through or has trouble with. Our school is a state school that has (I believe) an excellent program that caters for children with any special needs, by providing them with integration aides. I think it is great to include kids with special needs into the mainstream education, as a)when they grow up and become adults, they do need to integrate into the wider society, so why not do so at a younger age? b)for other kids to see that people with special needs SHOULD NOT be avoided but included. From what I've seen in the school, the kids do play with the kids with special needs, and do not stare, make fun of or terrorise them when they do act "out of the norm". It's become part and parcel of their daily school life, which to me is fantastic. I think it was wrong of your son's school to NOT let him on the excursion. If they had any worries, then include an aide - which is what our school does on the excursion. Or, even let you come along if you've volunteered to assist.
On a brighter note, it's beautiful to see a parent seeing Austism in a positive light instead of just focusing on the negatives. :) You're doing a FANTASTIC job! xx

traceyb65 said...

"Because no one, including his teachers and the sick room staff, really liked or valued C. That hurt." ouch!

it's a crying shame when our beautiful children, whether diagnosed with ASD, or just plain 'different' (read 'difficult'), are treated like a nuisance … and even harder when the 'challenging' sibling is compared to the 'easy' one. there are days when i find myself struggling not to resent my littlest, and on top of everything else, how fair is that?

i have a sneaking feeling your fella and mine would get on just fine … xt

Sammi said...

I second everyone here and particularly Cate's comments. It made me BOIL reading about the attitude from your school. Thank you so much for sharing this with us all, through your words and your willingness to open your life up to us, we all grow. Your son sounds like an amazing amazing child and he definitely has a really awesome mum.

PS - personally knickers is one of my favourite words. I use it often.

Benison said...

I was one of the privileged few to attend the Autism Summit on April 1st. It was a great day and I think lots of good things will come from it- wish I could say more! One of the key issues I personally raised was the appalling lack of understanding of some schools and teachers for kids with Asperger's and high-functioning autism, which your post only amplifies. I am on a mission to help gorgeous kids like your C, and I'm pleased to report thatI had the support of many other voices in the room, too.

woojm said...

Are you sure that's not my son you are describing? A very thoughtful post. We are deciding if (and when)we should discuss with my 6 year old that he is on the autistic spectrum at the moment. It's a hard call as you have to weigh up whether that knowledge will help him understand why he's different to other kids ( no, son, not everybody can add up all those numbers in their head...) or whether he will be happier NOT knowing.
And just what is it about the word knickers that makes it so utterly amusing?

Penny said...

Wow - what a beautiful and amazing post. It's opened my eyes so much. C has changed your world and he might just change our world too.

Laws for Clouds said...

Someone linked this to me on twitter, now I am printing it for my son's not-very-understanding teacher. Today I have kept my son home as his sister is sick, so he can't go school swimming unless I go along to supervise.

If anyone is reading this an dealing with the public school system (as I am until I can get him into the only school in my state with a program) I suggest calling your DECS disability officer. Often they have no idea what is going on at the school and can be extremely helpful.

Thank you. Your post made me tear up.

Helen x

debi9kids said...

This is my first time here.

This post made me smile (and at times frustrated me for you and for C. with his school)
My 4 year old son is severly autistic and yet, I can see some of the tings you described emerging... made me smile that your son can sense when you need him, as my son does as well, often coming over and laying his hand on my cheek :)

Wanted to let you know I have links set up on my blog with many Autism Awareness posts and I have linked your wonderful post as well.

Lynnelle said...

Thank you - I too have a son with ASD. While not severe there are many points you raised about living with ASD that ring home. It is a daily challenge at times and requires patience and understanding from all who come in contact the child. Keep going, keep fighting, keep building a strong and confident child. Each on is precious and capable of achieving greatness with love, support and a guiding hand to help them understand themselves.

My son is happy to have ASD and he tells me it means he doesn't 'run with the pack'- what a wonderful outlook he has and that he is different and that's a good thing!

babycakequeen said...

You are one amazing and patient woman xoxoxo Keep up the good work!

MultipleMum said...

What a wonderful advocate for Autism you are! C. is very lucky to have you as his mother and you are very lucky to have such a unique, fun and funny child.

Emma said...

What a beautiful post! I completely agree with Cate about C. not being allowed to go on the school trip. That is just wrong! I did want to ask you, do you choose to mainstream C. or does your area not have school programs for autistic children?

Gillian R said...

A gorgeous, gorgeous post. We have a beautiful boy in our mum's group who has been diagnosed with Aspergers and I love him all the more for it. It makes him special in a good way. He is so clever and so quick with words.
You sound like a very special mum who is doing an amazing job. Well done. xx

Rubyjaz said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Rubyjaz said...

Hi Bronnie, Wow, you are an excellent mum & writer. Your post increased my understanding of autism & Mast C. Allot of life is what you make of it & you have shown a positive and nurturing attitude to help mast C be the best he can be. Hope to talk soon. Amber

April 6, 2011 8:24 PM

Jodie Ansted said...

Fantastic, informative and heartfelt post.

I think C is very lucky to have a mum like you, and you are lucky to have such a special boy.

diney said...

I feel the pain, the frustration and also the love from you post and you have explained so well how it is. I'm sure that, with a Mum like you who is giving him all the love an support he needs, he will find a group of friends with whom he fits in. We all want our kids to fit in and not be on the outside, but it doesn't always work out that way, with or without autism. I'm now following your blog btw :0)

Unknown said...

Oh, what a wonderful, wonderful post - they should print it in the weekend newspapers for all those smug teachers & educators & parents out there!

First, I have to say that - although it wasn't a lot of time spent together - I had never noticed anything "different" with C when we used to meet up. I was really surprised when you told me about his Apergers! He seemed like a perfectly normal and VERY charming child to me! Maybe it's because I spend more time around dogs than children and so don't expect a lot of social censors (dogs really tell it like it is!) or maybe it's because when we met, there were usually dogs there and I think children/people feel more relaxed around animals...I don't know...since animals don't judge them or tease or have social expectations - they're very straightforward and don't care about all the social layers on top but just the genuine person inside.

I am really horrified to hear that story about C being banned from that school trip! That is absolutely disgusting! I thought discrimination of 'handicapped' people was a crime? I don't mean that in a nasty way to C but he does have a diagnosed condition and they should discriminate against him in any way!!!

It also breaks my heart that he isn't invited to parties and things. Makes me wonder if he should just get involved in more animal stuff because there he won't be judged as much and people will value him for his special skills. Maybe you could find some programme involving animals for some of his leisure time?

I was also going to say - before you said it - that C sounds like he could grow up to do amazing things and that probably a lot of the great achievers in history were shunned by their classmates and didn't tick all the conventional boxes, like marriage, but look what they've achieved! Who wants to be ordinary anyway? :-)

Anyway, I think C is a wonderful child and although I know it must be so frustrating & difficult being a parent when you see all the injustices against him (as well as the challenges of his condition), I agree with you that he is special and wouldn't change him for the world.


Libby said...

I have just found your blog and feel I must comment on this post. As a teacher (in the catholic system - Brisbane) you son being excluded from the school trip was discrimination! It should never be allowed to happen. C has as much right to learn outside the classroom as anyone else.

I ended up with a rep in my school as someone who would fight for the 'different' kids and would often have 3 or 4 'special needs' kids in my class. Not because I am an amazing teacher, but because I treat as a human being. They need and deserve that.

My brother is disabled and I watch mum fight for his education for his entire school life. Keep up the good fight, C deserves it. My brother with all his labels is now working, has the respect of his peers and (generally) is a wonderful person.

I believe that with a mother like you C will achieve all that and more as he grows up.

Well done you!

Penny-lee-R said...

both rio and hop are our next outings on the holidays...was hard to put off hop till closer to easter..I so want to see it..cheers

Anonymous said...

Hi, I valued reading your blog and look forward to reading more being new to this site. The school refusing to take your child on the school excursion is definitely discrimination however I think you get so tired advocating all the time. However, I think it is best to focus on one area at the time so as not to get too exhausted. One thing I find so infuriating is how government departments can penalise you when you are too honest- E.g: I suggested to the respite centre that on this one day perhaps two carers would be needed for my son because he was quite aggressive and I was having a hospital procedure. As a result from this he is deemed 'dangerous' and requires two carers all the time which has used up all of our government funds leaving us with little respite.

Anonymous said...

I can definitely draw similarities between your son and my son.

If I can be half the mother to my son, that you are to yours, it would be enough to make me proud.

I'm going to ask my daughters to read this post so that they can also have a better understanding of autism.

Many thanks xx

One of my Hobby Blogs said...

hi bronny, just found your blog thru that voting thingy! Firstly, I just loved this post so much. Our DD was diagnosed a few months back, but we have made leaps and bounds with Early Int. and we've made some progress. She's also younger than your boy, my girl is nearly 3. I did a bit of a post on WUD

So disappointed to hear of your school excursion experience. Frankly, I would have not taken no for an answer. There would be no way around it, specially if I offered to come, it's amazing. It would have got ugly for me, no doubt.

You handle it well, you're so honest, funny, obviously a life you love. So do I, I get it. Can't wait to see what ever else you have in your blog!!

Kirsty @ My Home Truths said...

That was an amazing post. My heart broke for you when talking about C missing out on the excursion and the lack of understanding and support he has received. This is my greatest fear for my son who is absolutely wonderful and witty and smart but so very different to his peers. I am proud of him and wouldn't have him any other way but if I could help him overcome his social and behavioral struggles, I would. Visiting via the Life on the Spectrum linkup.

Broni said...

Thank you for sharing such a beautiful and heartfelt post. C sounds like a amazing, talented and caring young man.

I had tears in my eyes when I was reading about your difficulties with schooling .. particularly involving the school excursion. It just so wrong on so many levels. I hope that he has had more success with his school in being more open-minded since April and that they find a way to see the value of his contribution to the class.

I share your pain when it comes to advocating for our children with autism. I find that finding that balance and knowing when it is time to fight and when it is not can be really hard.

From one Broni to another Bronnie :) .. thanks for sharing on Life on the Spectrum

Looking for Blue Sky said...

I totally agree with your A,B,C of an asperger's diagnosis and my son knows when I need a hug as well. But I am torn with seeing aspergers as part of him and wanting to take away his sadness and anger, which even he doesn't like (over from Life on the Spectrum)

Pip said...

your post made me cry (an extremely hard thing to do) because it justs mirrors mine and my sons life. i just want him to be a confident and happy person. its really good to not be alone. thank you for sharing this!

Unknown said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Unknown said...

Oh thank you all. I have just revisted this post, since it's autism time again, and was overwhelmed by the extra comments. I felt inadequate when I posted it, because it wasn't as eloquent as I hoped. What you have said has really helped and inspired me too. These kids, and their siblings, are simply wonderful. I love that the internet and social media helps us to connect with and help each other.

traceyb65 said...

revisiting too … and you know, that 'perfect' sibling i mentioned in my comment has now been diagnosed with anxiety, hey ho! let's see how our school manages this time. xt

Unknown said...

Thank you all so much. This post came up in my 'memories' for some reason, and as C. says: 'Mum, it's just like you said!' His personality and likes make him popular, most of his teachers really appreciate him (although some subjects are still an issue, and he battles to stay on task with those he finds boring. With others, he has excelled, with the help of wonderful teachers and staff, who don't view him as a 'bad kid' but a talented human being with great skills. He has fantastic friends, a girlfriend, is empathetic, so patient with his ill and dying grandma, and so good to me and his sister (most of the time). He still tells it like it is, which is both a good and bad thing. I know I was still guilty of generalising in the post, but autism is a spectrum and for me the thing is knowing that any person with autism is different. And everyone has a 'thing'. We all need to accept each other. Everyone.