Autism entered our lives in 2004 when my eldest son, then aged 4 was diagnosed as being on the spectrum. Although I had concerns about certain aspects of his development and how he didn’t seem to be following the same pattern as other children his age the diagnosis still came as a surprise and something we had to all adjust to as a family.
I felt isolated as a parent and wanted to know more about my sons condition but there didn’t seem to be a place to go locally so my friend and I, who was in a similar situation to myself started a small parent support group at our children's school. It was successful and I found great comfort in the company of others who could share the same experiences.
I continue to help run support groups as part of the National Autistic Society Derby & District Branch and find for me it still provides the therapy I need for support but more than anything it gives me great pleasure in helping and supporting other families too. I love it! I love just being there. I don’t always know the answers as everyone’s situation is different but I find the basic foundation for our support groups is the access to a friendly face, empathy, a few other parents/carers with a mutual understanding and of course the all important cuppa and a biscuit….ok a few biscuits…..ok sometimes we have cake!!!
I can see the relief in some people as they realise they are not alone with their issues and it may have taken them a lot of courage to get to this stage but all worth it as we can then put them on the pathway to (hopefully) some vital support they need. If I don’t have an answer I always endeavour go and find it even if I have to knock on doors I have never knocked on before or read information to pass on.
Autism is a continuous education, we are always learning about the condition, especially as it can branch out to other conditions too including some within mental health. This is why it is referred to as a spectrum as it is a very diverse and complex area.
I am fascinated about Autism, I mean don’t get me wrong, we too have had our ups and downs as a family and every day is a school day, it’s unpredictable but an intruding world too but what’s important is that we help each other, I truly believe in the phrase ‘a problem shared is a problem halved’ and I knowI can’t wave a magic wand and make all problems go away but I can try very hard to to help make going through those problems a little easier……I’ve even got a shoulder to cry on if needed.
If you are in the Derby area and you would like more information about Autism or getting some support you can contact The National Autistic Society Derby & District Branch through our Facebook page or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Come back for more tomorrow with 'Pass the Remote'
Every Saturday will be about Autism, family and life.