One Year On

We’ve been living with an “official” diagnosis of The Boy Child’s Autism for a year.
I would so like to say that things have gone from strength to strength, but that wouldn’t be true.

However, there have been things to celebrate.  Of course there have.
The Boy Child is thriving at school.  He’s awarded gold stars for good work when no-one else in the class is.  He can read.  He can read very well.  He has friends.  He can balance on a curbstone approximately two inches wide.  He can skip.  He can watch a film at the cinema with very little inappropriate calling out or bouncing in his seat.  He loves to talk at weekly Show and Tell.  He can initiate proper conversations, with a beginning, middle and end.

On the anniversary of the diagnosis, I was inspired to write this post by my friend Robyn.  She frequently blogs so articulately about her two boys and the problems they face and overcome.
She appears to be so much accepting of Autism than I am.
I’ll be honest.
I don’t want to be the parent of an Autistic child.
I don’t want to be labelled.
I am the parent of a beautiful, intelligent, loving, kind-hearted and funny six-year-old boy.
And that is enough.

17 thoughts on “One Year On

  1. Having seen my SIL and nephew travel this same road, I know there are times when it's hard. But, at the end of the day he's your little boy who you love unconditionally and that's what counts. xx


  2. Ruth, I think it's a PERFECTLY reasonable thing to say that you don't want to be a parent of an autistic child. I think that that is absolutely, a-okay. I feel like “of course you don't!” Who would choose this? And I also think that you should feel free to let that be. That it's hard and you are allowed to say that.

    I've had a LOT of support in facing this with my boys. And the most supportive voices, were the ones that said things like “who cares?” meaning…”you're boys are great. yes they are different. But I don't care. I just think they are great.” Those messages have been life-savers for me. My kids are different and that's okay. It's taken the power out of the “being different” part because “being different” stopped meaning “inferior” to me. Even facing, for a time, a diagnosis of “borderline mental retardation” with Isaac (which has since changed….) completely changed for me what I thought was important for my kids. I stopped thinking that people with mental retardation were inferior. I never even knew I thought that to begin with…but I realized I did and seeing my beautiful, brilliant son fail his intelligence test miserably really opened my eyes about mental retardation and inferiority. Now, I know TBC doesn't have that same kind of issue…I'm just saying facing and seeing the differences, and giving myself to let them be okay, even when they were scary, was really helpful.

    Ruth, I'm also wondering if facing this England is different from facing it in America. I'm just wondering if you are facing stronger social pressures to conform. I might be off on that, I'm not an expert on English culture…but it's something I've wondered about. In any case…if that IS true, then Ruth, I think that definitely adds an extra challenging element to your journey…which just makes me think “Ruth! Go easy on yourself!”

    This is hard work. But Ruth, you seem to be a hard worker. You seem to take on challenges with grace and find solutions. I'm really glad you wrote out this check in for where you're at with this. And I hope you continue to do so. Hang in there, Ruth. 🙂


  3. Every single child has strengths and weakness, and whilst there will be things that TBC struggles with there will equally be things that he excels in. His diagnosis has come quickly and you have initiated what he needs to help him in his education. He is clearly much loved and well supported by you and the rest of your family.
    I see from my workings in a secondary school the support that can be in place for those on the autism spectrum and I know you will fight to get him all he is entitled to.
    He will grow, he will thrive and he will overcome obstacles. He is still your beautiful boy – you will love him unconditionally whatever. I read Robyn's blog too and her writing is inspirational. If she did not tell you that her boys were autistic you would never know would you? They have a far greater knowledge of some subjects than I will ever have and they're both still really young!
    I wonder if it is harder to deal with here in our education system? If we have to fight harder to get the extra help that is needed? But lucky TBC has you in his corner so I know he will get everything that he needs! Keep strong x


  4. I have to disagree with you because your are the amazing parent of a beautiful, intelligent, loving, kind-hearted and funny six-year-old boy.
    And that is more than enough.


  5. You are the mother of a unique child. there is no other in the whole world like him. That's his first attribute. He is intelligent, articulate, loving to his family. Those are the next few. He has been diagnosed with autism, which might be seen as detrimental by some. Did it change him when you learnt this? NO it just made things clearer. You are doing so well, no really you are coping better than you know. and I am cheering you on from the sidelines because that's all I can do. I want to give you a huge Welslh cwtch to let you know that I am rooting for you so you'll have to try and imagine a short, fat welshwoman with glasses wrapping her arms around you and whispering well done girl


  6. Ruth, I have seen TBC grow and develop through your blog and he is a super little boy!

    Robyn's comment today is just simply brilliant … I have to say, at times I have also wondered about the social pressures placed upon you in the UK – some of your hurdles have seemed over and above what I know people have experienced here. It will be what it will be – but, give yourself credit – you are a fabulous mum!


  7. From me? little bits of what everyone else has said. I hate labels (like when people say “your Mum has MS, hasn't she?” She's just my Mum, the MS is an add on)..but I understand that without the label you don't stand a chance of getting the's so hard. A boy is a boy is a boy..a fine, wonderful, happy, handsome, clever boy with parents who love him x


  8. And he will grow up, because of how you are with him, with the experience of being the lovely, bright, intelligent young man that he is – and dodging labels all over the place :).


  9. Hi sweet friend ~ Having had the pleasure of meeting your boy myself, I kind of have the feeling like Robyn described in her comment – who cares what his diagnosis is? I really thought he was a cool kid! :o)

    I know that as parents we only want the best for our children, and I can only imagine what a struggle that is for you sometimes, Ruth. Life is challenging enough for people who haven't been labeled somehow, and to have the diagnosis that tells you he's different – which obviously you already knew – only adds to the pain and disappointment. I love that you wrote the words in this post. I love that you aren't afraid to admit your disappointment and dislike for TBC's diagnosis. I think as parents we feel that we should be 100% PROUD of our children, but that's pretty much impossible – even for kids that are supposedly “normal.”

    Know that from where I sit you are doing a fantastic job, Ruth. You are strong and not only CAN you do this, you are ALREADY DOING IT. TBC is awesome, autistic or not. And I can say that because I've met him. How cool is that?

    PS: He loves me too! :o)! ♥


  10. I don't think any parent wants to be the parent of a special needs child, I know I didn't and still don't.

    But all kids are special and unique – glad you are able to concentrate on the good bits, are getting the help TBC needs and will continue to do so.


  11. I so understand where you are coming from in this post Ruth. As the mother of an autistic daughter it is sometimes difficult not to label her or yourself. She is now blossoming since her diagnosis 5 years ago at the age of 17 – that is something that hurts me a lot, that as a mother I didn't realise that she was autistic until then. Well, I knew that something was not right, but to get a diagnosis was so hard. The traumas we have gone through since that time have been many and we still have some. The beginning of this year has been so troublesome – at one point I thought I had taken all I could take. However, I have a wonderful friend, Wendy, who reminds me how far Penny has come since her diagnosis – how much she can now do and is capable off that she just wasn't before. It is life changing for the family, but I am now beginning to see that she is still the person she always was, but now I can help her in a much more productive way. Sorry to babble on here! Your post really touched me.xx


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