A Letter About "Mild" Autism

Dear people who know my son,

Sometime for families like mine disabled is the norm. With Miss B her difficulties are clear, it's obvious to everyone around that she has some very severe needs. Mr L on the other hand for the most part appears very "neuro" typical, other than the fact he is head and shoulders taller than his peers. He is doing well and loving reception and educationally and socially is coming on leaps and bounds.

He is doing well.

Then we go somewhere new, somewhere I forgot to prep him for...we were taking his sister to a music group and he was going as a sibling...he froze outside the door while B breezed in immediately stealing the group leaders flute.

I forgot to prep him.

As he stood there quivering, shaking his head it dawns on me that I sometimes forget he is autistic. For him anxiety is a major issue, the biggest issue really. He eventually crept in, coat zipped up to his nose and hood up. I could tell he was willing people not to look at him, he looked pained. I wanted to just leave with him right that moment and bring back my chatty, smiley boy but B was already in and causing chaos. To take her out at the beginning while she was brimming with excitement and exploration would have caused a meltdown. It also meant I had to choose between my children's comfort, prevention for B or cure for L.

When people say a person is "slightly autistic" or high functioning it probably means they don't see these moments. They probably never see the internal and often external battles that children and adults face when seemingly minor things break them out of their comfort zones. Anxiety isn't something that you can really understand if you don't feel it, it isn't something you "just get over" and it's not the same as being shy. As an adult I understand now that I have a lot of anxiety in many areas and I always have had but I understand that, I'm not a child on the autism spectrum.

I have two children with one diagnosis it just affects them completely differently.

Please try and not forget that he is on the spectrum even if you don't often see it, or understand why his has the label...that's not really up to you to judge. I admit that I often have to check myself, don't just change plans and expect him to cope, introduce him to someone new and think he will cope or even expect him to cope with his own school friends out of school.

He is autistic.

He is awesome.



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