and then l had my own child with autism.
Today l had to listen to another conversation suggesting that autism is in fact nothing else other than bad parenting. Sometimes l hear this referred to as 'modern parenting' - because 'back in the day', parents had it all figured it out. l don't need to go into it any more other than to reassure myself that there will always be ignorant people in this world. Their uninformed and unhelpful opinions do not matter.
Years of working in children's services meant l thought l knew what autism was but l was totally wrong. I think only having a direct relationship with a child with autism can qualify you to speak about it.
Autism is just one part of my son.
He is loving, caring, kind and empathetic. He still cries about the man we saw two years ago with no shoes.
He snuggles in deep to me and tells me that he wants a best friend more than anything in the world.
He loves playing games, going on adventures, play-fighting with his daddy, camping, swimming, eating chocolate and reading.
He is easily overwhelmed, obsessional about certain specialised topics, highly anxious about change and struggles with social situations. This can sometimes manifest itself into challenging behaviour such as hitting out or running away. He's only 5 but regularly falls into my arms howling and asking why he is different to everyone else.
He has so many people in his life who champion him and push him on every day. Society is adapting and becoming more accepting of differences. l wish it would move a bit quicker but l am so grateful for those who take the time to understand, who encourage, who empower and who empathise with him and us.
He has made me a better person. More tired :-) but better.