Thursday 16 June 2022

One day son, you will be an autistic adult

All to often, the adults in conversations about autism are parents.  They are the parents of autistic children. Over 70 years ago, these adults were blamed for their children's conditions.  Autism was due to bad parenting.  Recent studies have no called them 'super parents'.  As a parents of autistic children I needed help to understand them and I still need help to work with them and help them engage in the world around them.  But I'm very much aware that one day I will not be the only adult in the conversation in the future.  The other adults will be my children. Because autistic children become autistic adults.
A few years ago National Autistic Society video featured a boy struggling with a shopping trip but their most recent video features a young autistic man struggling with job interviews.  What it's like to be diagnosed as ASD later in life has been in many newspapers. 

And that's hardly surprising. Just as there has been a rise in the number of children being recognised with the condition as people are more aware of the condition, so it makes sense that there would be undiagnosed adults out there. If mothers were blamed 70 years ago for their children's autism, what mother in their right mind would seek help for a child who seemed different?

My eldest son is now fourteen years old.  I can barely believe it.  I have an autistic teenager in my house. He has had a diagnosis of ASD since he was around four and half years old.  Apart from having assistance in his classroom, he doesn't look much different to other kids until about eight probably, when he started is begin to see that things were different for him .  "It's because of my autism," he'd say.  So true in a way.. as everyone with autism experiences it differently. Sometimes he thinks he's great - like when he can remember something no one else can.  Sometimes not - like when he can't get his shirt done up because his fingers won't following their instructions. 

He once asked me if he'll always be autistic and I said that it's not something he grows out of, but that everyone has to learn about who they are when they are younger and use this as they grow up.  I pointed out that there are lots of adults I know and many famous ones that are autistic.  Some things we grow out of as he age, but being autistic is part of who he is.  He's also asked me if dogs can have autism.  Maybe it's because he gets on so well with them. 

He's beginning to think about what it means when he gets older.  A while ago we was worried that he wouldn't be a good father because he found understanding people difficult and he was worried about not being able to work with his own kids.  "What if I can't help them with their homework?  What if I get angry with them, I don't want to hurt them."  

Anthony's younger brother also has autism - but as Anthony describes it, his younger brother has the type that means "he doesn't talk and the world falls apart if things go wrong".  Things are more challenging for his younger brother.  

And Anthony has worried about how his brother will cope when he is older and has realised that David won't be able to live on his own and will need help with a lot of things in his life.  I'm helping Anthony learn things now he's a teenager that I think he should know. 

But the truth is, many of us do. 

Anthony has recently started to identify situations that might make his anxious.  "I get anxiety you know mum."  

And I think this is great.  One day Anthony will have to evaluate everything he is going to do.  He'll have to work out how to do things own his own and it's something I think he's really looking forward to.  But I'm pleased to say he seems to be considering who he is as a person, autism and all, as part of this.  He thinks about what he struggles with and asks for help when he needs it - even if half the time it's through a message I get on WhatsApp.

Sometimes my son growing up seems miles away and other times it's like he's already there.    That fact that he owns his autism, talks about it freely as part of his marvellous self is proof of that I think. 

No comments:

Post a Comment

I read all your comments and appreciate you sharing your thoughts with me and our readers. I welcome any feedback on my posts and you can always contact me directly. Thank you.

Have a look at our most recent posts:

@rainbowsaretoo Ann H on Google + rainbowsaretoo pinterest rainbowsaretoobeautiful bloglovin Instagram rainbowsaretoobeautiful