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The Joys of Autism - progress for all

Posted Oct 22 2008 9:42pm

You think I’m joking, but I’m not. Enough of this depressing moaning and groaning about the tragedy of autism. For us at least, it has been a good kick up the backside. [translation = but{t}?] Whilst I would not have chosen to have autistic children, now they’re actually here, they sort of grow on me after a while.

Just the other day, I heard on the radio that for most of us, our characters have been formed and set in concrete, from our early thirties. This is a little surprising as I’m sure that it wasn’t until the mid 40’s that the dye was truly set. [translation = cast] Short of a life changing tragedy, such as a near death experience, most of us are unlikely to change more than about 10%, at best. I believe this to be true and it certainly was for me, or at least it was, until we had two autistic boys, following two typical girls.

At first it seemed like the worst kind of career change that I could have possibly chosen. I was unqualified for such a responsibility, [translation = terrified newbie] without the slightest clue about what I should do or how? It was made more confusing by the fact that although they had the same diagnoses, their 'symptoms' were almost opposite. I think that’s why they call it a ‘spectrum disorder.’ Any parenting principles that I'd picked up over the years, were quite frankly, irrelevant. [translation = bad news] I had to start again from first principles, unlearn and re-learn everything. It was daunting. I had been reasonably confident of my competence in at least this one realm of my life. Then I found that due to a couple of dodgy genes, I was now a complete ignoramus. I think I might have preferred to have had autistic boys when I was younger, when I had more energy, when my brain was still flexible enough to adapt. [translation = a sponge not an icicle] I wouldn’t have fretted over every little decision, because the young don’t generally.

On the other hand, age and crumbliness may sometimes allow for a more patient approach, after all I’ve nothing better to do with my life now. And what could be more gratifying than learning to see the world from a whole new perspective, in fact, a couple of new perspectives, at my time of life. Maybe a case of rose tinted spectacles. [translation = Double vision or bifocals, I know which I prefer.

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