Victory Air Punch

I have been planning to write a blog for a long time but was really stumped on a title. I have had a lot of ideas.

Positively Autistic (too smug)

Nicely eccentric (too twee)

Tales, tears and laughter, autism in the family (nah)

Dinosaurs, mushrooms and skyscrapers (post title maybe)

autism success (too American)

autism and alright (too British)

and so on and so forth!

Since the blog will be primarily about Edward I thought it only fair to involve him in choosing the title. He liked not a single one of the offerings I presented him with and in the end suggested that I call it “A blog about raising my autistic son” because that is what it is going to be about and therefore that is what the title should indicate. No surprises. Saying exactly and literally what it is. Clearly and accurately autistic.

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Another reason for waiting until now to write the blog is that I am not some kind of super woman who can raise four young children, work professionally and write a blog at the same time. Let’s face it, I had to give up keeping house plants and tropical fish once the kids came along…. only one of those groups of living things was going to survive. It had to be the kids. Obviously.

Edward has had some tough times. There have been moments where the frustration levels have been sky high. When the kids were little I was known to take longer than necessary to put jumpers on so I could have my very own little mini break inside my jumper for a minute or two. I have not forgotten those times when having strapped four children into car seats I found myself hovering  outside the car waiting until I felt I had the energy to get in and drive.

We are long past that stage.

A  year ago, aged 13, Edward had a piece of English homework where he had to write a side of A4 about himself. I literally did a victory air punch  when I read it and I think you will see why… here it is.

“I have a condition called Autism. It affects my behaviour, and makes me less social but more focused.

When I was born my grandparents thought that I had learning difficulties, because I would stare into space and ignore people. When I was two the first evidence that my grandparents were wrong emerged when my mother took me round to her friends house and left me in the living room. She came back later and was amazed because I had finished a fifty piece jigsaw all by myself. I do not know how impressive that is but my mother was amazed.

(in case you are worried, for the record I did not leave him on his own)

Dinosaurs, over the next few years, were my special interest. An autistic person will always have a special interest, something that they love and have great knowledge about. That does not mean that it’s forever, it can change, but it is very important to them. My special interest was dinosaurs but occasionally I was distracted by other things, such as mushrooms or moose.

Primary school for me was a miserable experience. Throughout the first five years of school, I was bullied. At least in part because I had a condition called rhinitis, but I think that the fact that I was autistic also played a big part. One of the major advantages to being an autistic person is that extra focus that means that it is easier for us to become experts in art or science or maths. However, this too transformed into a curse, because it meant that academically I was far ahead of the rest of my class. Being taught in primary school, I was incredibly bored and often complained that school was getting in the way of my real learning that I did at home, on the internet or by reading books. This is not as true now, but even still there are some subjects that I learn more about at home than at school, like history, and there are others that I could learn more about if I tried.

It was during primary school that I found out that I had autism. My parents took me to see some doctors who showed me pictures of people and I had to guess what they were feeling and thinking. After that they gave me some blocks, a ball and some other toys and I was told to tell a story using them, I told the longest story they had ever heard, that lasted half an hour, in the end they had to ask me to stop. The test was complete. I had autism. Diagnosed, I didn’t feel dread or despair, I didn’t know what it meant.

(here comes the victory air punch bit)

Most people see autism as problem but I see it as a feature of personality. If there was a cure I would not take it…. because I would die and be replaced by another person inhabiting my body. It would not be me, but a less interesting version of me without my best and worst features.”

Since Edward wrote this piece about himself the path has got smoother.  I am ready to share stories from the past 14 years about our family life with a large dash of autism. I promise some of these tales will make you smile or even laugh out loud, at least they will if you are of a similar disposition to me. If  you are  parenting a young child with autism may my tales give you some hope.

Sons, Sand & Sauvignon

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15 thoughts on “Victory Air Punch

  1. Heather corbridge

    Very well written by both you and Edward. Very insightful.

  2. I loved it Edward. I look forward to more from both you & your Mum.

  3. I also have an Edward. He is 3 and just diagnosed with suspected hfa or Asperger’s (they won’t label it yet as they say he is too young but he had no speech delay and has very specialist obsessions already)

    This post makes me air punch too, because it gives me such hope. Your son sounds like a wonderful, insightful young man. #SpectrumSunday

    • Thanks for your comment Danielle… It’s been so interesting learning how my Edward thinks and sees things. He is great company and really insightful… I couldn’t have imagined how well things would turn out for him when he was 3. Wishing you and your Edward
      all the best!

  4. I love that letter! I am always really interested to hear stories from the words of a person on the spectrum, it often opens my eyes! Good luck with your blogging journey, I can’t wait to hear lots more 🙂 Thank you for linking up to #spectrumsunday, I hope you join me again this week xx

  5. Thanks Clare. I’m enjoying linking up with #spectrum sunday and reading othe parent blogs. Thanks for hosting it!

  6. Oh wow, I love his piece on himself… it made me really emotional! What great self-awareness and a way of thinking about his feature of his personality. #kcacols

  7. Laura @ Dot Makes 4

    This is a lovely post! I really liked Edward’s English homework. It’s lovely that he sees autism as a feature of his personality 🙂

    #KCACOLS

  8. This made me cry! In a truly lovely way. I think this should be used in all schools, in all teacher training and on all courses about autism! I have a professional interest in autism as did my masters on Self awareness in autism and (when my children are a little older I hope to do my phd). This letter is awesome on so many levels and could be used to educate children about bullying as well as educate adults in all the settings I mention above. You have every right to be amazingly proud.

  9. I look forward to more of your stories and I love that Edward is involved in your blog.

    Thanks for linking with #KCACOLS and I hope you will join again on Sunday.

  10. Absolutely love this post! My son is autistic and he is literally perfect and I wouldn’t change a single thing about him!! #KCACOLS

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