A Parent's Point of View
I asked my mum Paula a few questions about how it feels to be a parent to someone with autism. Here's how it went:
How do you feel now compared to when Dian first got his diagnosis?
I always knew there was something wrong even when I was pregnant so I knew myself that he had autism before he was diagnosised, it was no great shock. I feel after 5 years on the autism road that you have to fight for everything and just because you have a bad day today doesn't mean it will be a bad day tomorrow.
How do you feel when Dian has bad days?
I feel very sad because I feel I'm failing him. Even though I know I'm doing all I can I can't help but feel I could do more. It can be very hard when one bad day turns into 20 bad days in a row and you just can't see an end to it.
How do you feel when Dian achieves something huge for himself?
I want to shout it from the rooftops. I want the world to know how proud I am of Dian. Even if it's just the smallest thing like writing his name or mastering toileting I want the world to know he's worked hard and he's acheived.
What has been your experiences with Dian and the public?
It's gotten better over time as people in the community learn of his autism. There is a lot more acceptance. However, if you go outside of the community where people don't know Dian, it can be a different story. I have no problem saying out good and loud that his meltdown is a result of his autism and your staring doesn't help him. It's amazing how quickly embarassed faces turn away.
What would you advice be to a parent of a child newly diagnosised?
Raise your voice, fight for your services, don't take no for an answer. There will be bad days but there will also be good days. Don't be afraid to push your child like you would with any other child. Try different things with them like wrestling on the floor to swimming to horse riding because they will surprise you. Dian goes swimming, horse riding and goes along to his brother's football training because we've always included him in what the other kids do. You know your child so if a programme isn't working don't be afraid to say we need to rethink this plan. You live with your child 24/7, they only see them 1 hour a week.
If you've any questions for Paula you can email her at firstname.lastname@example.org