I am a father of two boys, at the time of writing, aged 7 and 4. L (7) has recently been diagnosed as being on the Autistic Spectrum and H (4) is showing no signs of having a similar set of needs. It is H’s experiences which have shed light on how L has developed over the years and what the differences are between the two of them.
I will be writing this blog for several reasons. Mostly it is to share my experiences as a father, with I hope some input from my wife as well, of raising a child on the Autistic Spectrum. It is also however a chance for me to seek feedback from others in similar situations, to share what we have learned in the hope that it helps others, and more importantly to develop relationships with other people in similar situations.
One thing is clear from our experiences so far. Autistic Spectrum Disorder is not HIV or AIDS, it is not Leukemia and it is not Psychosis. ASD is not a disease caused by a virus or infection and there is no cure. ASD is just a way of describing someone who behaves differently to the accepted norms of society. In some ways and in some cases, to the extreme, in other cases perhaps just a bit odd. It is often said that were todays diagnostic tools available in the past then a great number of people would have been diagnosed who instead were just seen as eccentric, difficult, weird or crazy.
I have named this blog ‘Life Without Grey’ because I would describe L’s behaviour as very black and white. There is very little compromise in the mind of my autistic child and I feel this is one of the main symptoms of the condition. Throughout my entries you will see how certain experiences have further illustrated this, and indeed in the early days it was the rules of society which L didn’t understand. Complex, variable and hard to explain rules which we all learn early on at a young age which are simply unfathomable to an autistic child, in my experiences at least.
I hope that by reading and sharing in my experiences, to establish a wider appreciation that my son, and everyone with this condition, is in fact a normal contributing member of society, but that they do need a different kind of support and care which people struggle to appreciate.
I have considered my approach to this blog and whether to keep L and H anonymous or not. I have decided to use an initial as their names, along with mine and my wife’s but hope that this doesn’t affect the openness and honesty of the blog. You may disagree but this is my blog of personal experiences and therefore I hope that I am forgiven for choosing this route.
Finally as a disclaimer, I am not a clinician nor do I claim to be any kind of expert in the field. I will share my own points of view as honestly and openly as I can and this may upset some people or cause offence. Please note that I in no way intend to offend anyone and as I learn more I may change my views on certain points. That is parenthood for you and I make no bones about it. If you don’t like what I say, leave. If you disagree with what I say, please leave a comment. If you like what I say, come back and tell others.