Saturday, 7 April 2012


Too Much Information?

As it is Austism Awareness month our television has been showing a lot of shows to do with Autism.Mainly Current Affairs programs and shows I have already seen, but the other night I watched a BBC doco I hadn't seen before called " The Autistic Me".

Here is a link to a You Tube video

This is the first program I have watched focusing on teen/young adult males on the spectrum and I was left feeling distressed and overwhelmed. I am very much a *one day at a time* type person and try very hard not to get too far ahead of things. Watching  "The Autistic Me" was like having the future thrust upon me when I was nowhere near prepared for  it.

The 16 year old,Tom, tormented by puberty and teen angst was especially upsetting. The darkness of his moods,his obvious self loathing and dislike of most of the people around him, his use of alcohol to try and fit in and his violent rages that were followed by his child like  excuse "I didn't mean it",all sent waves of horror through my brain. I could see so much of my 8 year old Ryan in this young man and have been unable to get the image of him out of my head. I have been kept awake thrashing out ideas with myself on how I can make sure Ryan doesn't end up like this troubled young man.

I was also struck by so many similarities with both my boys in the two other young man also trying to find their way in a society so foreign to them. Oli,obsessed with finding a job and Alex on his quest for love was heartbreaking to watch. Though I adored the clip of Alex on his *date* with a lovely young girl (also Autistic) who he met through a dating website. The inability to initiate conversation with each other and the obvious lack of interaction during their date seemed lost on the two of them and they both seemed thrilled with their meeting. It reminded me of Ryan having a friend over to play and spending the entire visit focusing on what they should play but totally rejecting any ideas his friend or I came up with.His friend left,they had played nothing and Ryan declared it the best day ever!

I was saddened to see the quirkiness and uniqueness of these boys that I see in my boys is not as accepted or revered in adulthood as it is in childhood. I have always hoped that the school years would be the toughest for my boys and man hood would bring them closer to finding their niche and a happy ending.

Hopefully the years ahead will be kinder to my young men. This Documentary was filmed in 2009,3  years ago. I know through my own experience that awareness and acceptance has grown ten-fold in this time, though not nearly fast enough for those of us who have loved ones on the Spectrum. I have discovered while Googling to find the You Tube link there is a follow up program "The Autistic Me...One Year On" , I have not decided yet if I will watch it. I wish desperately for a brighter future for these boys and their families and am not really sure I want to see the opposite be true.

I am more determined then ever to instil self-worth into my boys. I will continue to fight for therapies,support and services to give them the best possible chance of success. I will not let Aspergers define them or their place in this world. I will not let teachers use Aspergers as an excuse for not achieving. Most of all I will help them to make their strengths so significant it will be hard for anyone, including themselves to spot their weaknesses.

My boys will, like all of my children have the chance to be happy and successful adults. I have said often that I believe one gains strength by overcoming adversity and I truly believe Ryan and Pierce will be living proof of that.

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