My daughter is autistic and that’s OK

My daughter is autistic and that’s OK. First and foremost she is my amazing child and I love her. This is one of those blog posts which I start not quite knowing how I will end but that’s fine too.

Autism

When my daughter was born, the major thing that nobody mentioned initially that was she had super red cheeks. I doubt this had any connection to autism but I think it is interesting how often people don’t say presumably for fear of upsetting the mum. That has its advantages and its disadvantages too.

My daughter was very late to walk and had real struggles with bed-wetting well into childhood. In the grip of post-natal depression, I put these down to me being a totally rubbish parent. She was late with daytime toilet-training too come to think of it. She also struggled with bath time not liking the feel of water on her skin at all. As for hairdressers, they were her worst nightmare.

She could throw a tantrum but then so can I to this day. Art has always been her safe place and sanctuary. She draws and designs a lot. She has a strong focus and will work for hours and hours on a project.

When she approached school age, my parents and her step-sisters all said they thought she would struggle. They did not say how or why but they seemed agreed that she would find school hard. I though she would be absolutely fine and she did navigate her way quite well for many years.

One thing that did happen early on was that the school tried to stop her flapping her arms up and down like a little bird. This was one of the things I really liked about her so I resented that.

Eventually in one school she was tormented so much by not only her peers but also the Head, that she was threatening self-harm. That makes a decision like home education easy to take even if education at home brings its own challenges.

Nowadays she is happy in her own world with us. She will rock backwards and forwards on the sofa and we have learned that this is part of us she is. She will pace sometimes when out and about but I no longer find this embarrassing. It is what she needs to do when life or whatever gets a little much to take.

It’s an interesting thing that my parents and her step-sisters never mentioned the word autism. More remarkably is that my brother who is a teacher who regularly talks about “the spectrum” never raised the issue with me about my daughter. My daughter attended four schools and nobody ever mentioned autism to me.

So I am grateful to bloggers who blog openly about autism who made me start to wonder and then to believe more and more that my daughter is on the autistic spectrum.

She does not have a diagnosis. She does not need a label from a GP for now especially as she is out of school and leading a happy life.

The other day in a negative frame of mind due to other issues like the TSB bank farce I questioned whether the fact she is autistic is my fault. It is of course the wrong question. I know there is autism in my birth family so perhaps there is a link there. I may well be on the spectrum myself considering some of the issues I have found challenging over the years.

My reality right or wrong is that my daughter is autistic and that’s ok. So she is wired differently. Aren’t we all in one way or another?

I think my daughter rocks and not just on the sofa!

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82 Comments

  1. Becky Willoughby April 26, 2018 / 6:35 pm

    With a probably autistic daughter I can resonate with this. Our daughters are amazing x

    • Kate Davis-Holmes
      Author
      May 3, 2018 / 8:55 pm

      You know I am impressed with yours so very touched you think my girl is pretty special too

  2. Jess Pacheco April 26, 2018 / 7:38 pm

    We have a dear friend whose son is autistic. She is in Ukraine where autism is not very well understood, but she has teamed up with blue ribbon autism awareness and brought policy to schools and medical practices that transformed the lives of families and individuals with autism. Through all of this, I have opened my heart to better understanding what it is, as well. Good work. Keep it up.

    • Kate Davis-Holmes
      Author
      May 3, 2018 / 8:56 pm

      I think so often people who appear weak or different in some way end up being the strongest of all. Good to know your friend makes a difference.

  3. Rebecca Beesley April 26, 2018 / 8:56 pm

    Since J was diagnosed, I realised that 99.9% sure that I am but never had realised it before that point – i just thought i was weird and different to everyone else. My other son was told through primary school that he was definitely NOT on the spectrum and now at secondary school, the senco says in her opinion, he is. Whilst we needed a diagnosis for J to make sense of things because of his struggles, I don’t feel D needs a ‘label’ because his school are amazingly supportive and putting things in place to make life easier for him. I watched ‘are you autistic?’ on catch up the other day and whilst I thought it was great for raising awareness – i couldn’t quite see the point in encouraging all those people in that ‘lost generation’ like me to rush out and get diagnosed. it was interesting to learn more about social masking which i know i must have learnt to do through all these years. Your daughter is fabulous, as are you and as I always tell my kids, different is good! x

    • Kate Davis-Holmes
      Author
      May 3, 2018 / 8:57 pm

      I really empathise with feeling different or weird. Liked you instinctively when we met and if you are weird I like weird. Yes the gender stuff around social masking is interesting and no doubt women and girls coming into line with what is expected of them in some way. Thanks for being your lovely self always.

  4. Karen, the next best thing to mummy April 27, 2018 / 8:47 am

    Your daughter sounds pretty amazing, we have friends who have 2 autistic sons, they are doing really well #thatfridaylinky@_karendennis

    • Kate Davis-Holmes
      Author
      May 3, 2018 / 8:58 pm

      It’s all about the right support and that has to come from parents first I think although others could do far more with more awareness raising but it will happen one baby step at a time. Lovely comment – thanks.

  5. Enda Sheppard April 27, 2018 / 9:19 am

    I think the idea of the autistic spectrum is interesting … if fact it should just be spectrum, full stop. We are all on it, just at different points. School is such a crude institution, catering for this mythical broad majority. The sooner we can help our kids find a niche, or niches, and organise subjects and career paths around them the better. It would even be economically viable, making for happier kids and people. Think of the enormous money flittered away on mental health services, which are hopelessly inadequate for dealing with issues directly related to forcing kids and adults into boxes they don’t belong in.

    • Kate Davis-Holmes
      Author
      May 3, 2018 / 9:00 pm

      I agree with every word you say. I question our education system more and more in oh so many ways. We are pumping information into our children that they don’t need their brains clogged with in an Internet age when we need to be building skills and positive qualities.

  6. Sim @ Sim's Life April 27, 2018 / 10:32 am

    Your daughter sounds awesome and I would have resented the school stopping her doing what reassures her. It sounds like you are both in your groove now and home schooling was the right choice. Sim x #PoCoLo

    • Kate Davis-Holmes
      Author
      May 3, 2018 / 9:00 pm

      I think it was the right choice but it is challenging in its own way but at least I know she is safe here with me

  7. mummy here and there April 27, 2018 / 12:33 pm

    Sounds like you do a fantastic job, as an autistic person and parent with a child with autism just accepting and being there for your child is everything.
    My son hates anyone brushing his hair, he will scream the whole house down so we just recently brought a specialist brush.
    x #pocolo

    • Kate Davis-Holmes
      Author
      May 3, 2018 / 9:01 pm

      You are very lovely to say so. Individual children have individual needs as do their mums and that really is OK

  8. Tubbs April 27, 2018 / 8:10 pm

    Your daughter sounds amazing 🙂 Thank you for sharing her with us 🙂

  9. Kim Carberry April 27, 2018 / 9:54 pm

    Your daughter sounds fantastic.
    I was told yesterday that my girl has autistic traits but not enough for a diagnosis. To me she is just my girl. The only reason we wanted a diagnosis it because it meant she would get more help at school. x #PoCoLo

    • Kate Davis-Holmes
      Author
      May 3, 2018 / 9:03 pm

      Keep fighting if she needs extra support. In my experience, schools will avoid giving help if they can due to funding restraints

  10. Claire April 28, 2018 / 6:29 am

    You Daughter sounds great 🙂 Thanks so much for sharing your story with us. #Weekendbloghop

  11. Helena April 28, 2018 / 8:43 pm

    Whether she is autistic or not it should not matter. The child should have not been treated like she was and I’m pleased to hear that she is in a happier environment now. #MMBC

    • Kate Davis-Holmes
      Author
      May 3, 2018 / 9:04 pm

      It was a very scary time for us but she is safe and smiley now. Thanks for your comment.

  12. Nige April 29, 2018 / 8:08 am

    Sounds like you have one amazing daughter fab post Thank you for linking to #Thatfridaylinky please come back next week

  13. Jayne @ Sticky Mud and Belly Laughs April 29, 2018 / 9:42 am

    What an amazing daughter you have Kate. She sounds so much more content and confident now she is homeschooled. The school my son attended failed us big time too. He has come on leaps and bounds since I pulled him out of that hell hole.

    And you are right, your daughter does rock as do you!

    Thanks so much for sharing with #MMBC. x

    • Kate Davis-Holmes
      Author
      May 3, 2018 / 9:06 pm

      Hell holes should not exist and do such damage to our children. Thank goodness many of us possibly through the things we learn via blogging stand up and get out kids out. Thanks for your comment.

  14. Steph Curtis April 29, 2018 / 9:20 pm

    It’s a shame you didn’t find a school who truly loved her for who she was and who could bend the system and be flexible enough to care for her and develop her true potential. That’s happening for many, sadly. I’m glad you sound relaxed about her situation now but don’t hesitate to ask for support from other parents or autistic people any time you feel you need it. Your brother possibly saw more autistic boys as a teacher because girls are so good at masking on the whole and so that may be why he never suggested it xx

    • Kate Davis-Holmes
      Author
      May 3, 2018 / 9:08 pm

      You are so kind and do such valuable work Steph. I will ask for help. I feel bad it took so long for me to be honest about my daughter. Her very first teacher was lovely but we moved and she was really badly served by her last school and apparently was not the only child pulled out due to the abuse there.

  15. Becky (And Then There Were Two) April 30, 2018 / 12:27 pm

    You’re right – it is absolutely ok and that’s because she has you – you understand her needs and you accommodate them. If a flower doesn’t grow, we change the environment, not the flower – as a teacher, I love this quote but it highlights how we can ALL make progress and be happy and content, as long as our environment is right for us. Some people can adapt more easily to different environments than others but that doesn’t mean those who can’t are not ok. It is a ‘spectrum’ because it is a continuum and so many people are on it somewhere at some point. You recognise how wonderful your daughter is and what her strengths and sanctuaries are – and by doing that, you are absolutely not a terrible mum as you sometimes think – you are a wonderful mum. Thanks for sharing on #FabFridayPost

    • Kate Davis-Holmes
      Author
      May 3, 2018 / 9:09 pm

      I love that saying about flowers and environments and have not heard it before. I keep thinking of it at random moments. Thanks for your beautiful comment and reassuring words

  16. Daydreams of a mum April 30, 2018 / 2:31 pm

    I’ve got to confess to not knowing an awful lot about autism. In fact I’ve probably learnt more about it from reading other parents blogs than anywhere. Sounds to me like you made the right decision on the school front. Of course she should feel free to express herself however she feels comfy!! Brilliant post #honeybeelinky

    • Kate Davis-Holmes
      Author
      May 3, 2018 / 9:10 pm

      Real honour to have you commenting as I admire you and your blog so much. Blogging helps us all learn I think,

  17. Natalie April 30, 2018 / 7:47 pm

    Fab post. My son is also showing signs of being on the spectrum. So many, including at his first preschool, say ‘its just Riley’s way’ which really didn’t help the feeling I had that there was more to it. The relief that came with his nursery teacher thinking the same as I was was immense. She is now teaching him again in year one and is brilliant.

    • Kate Davis-Holmes
      Author
      May 3, 2018 / 9:11 pm

      Long may he get the support he needs at school as well as at home. Society needs to realise that us mums need help too

  18. Kirsty May 1, 2018 / 7:40 pm

    It is such a shame that the schools system is such a lottery especially for those who don’t fit the predefined mould. I wonder why it is that education is to slow to respond to dealing with any form of difference. It is such a battle for parents and stressful for the children #dreamteam

    • Kate Davis-Holmes
      Author
      May 3, 2018 / 9:11 pm

      I agree with you! We should celebrate difference and harness individual talent more.

  19. jenny walters May 1, 2018 / 7:53 pm

    Hi Kate,what a poignant post.What a shame she didn’t find an ally at school.So glad you guys are doing well now.Girl Power!

    • Kate Davis-Holmes
      Author
      May 3, 2018 / 9:12 pm

      I wrote without editing and I think that is best. Thanks for your lovely comment

  20. Alice | Letters to my Daughter May 2, 2018 / 8:58 am

    I think it’s great that you’re so intuitive with your daughter, and knew when it was time to take her out of mainstream education. It must be hard bringing things like that up, especially with people you love – did the school never mention anything? #BlogCrush

    • Kate Davis-Holmes
      Author
      May 3, 2018 / 9:13 pm

      The school were useless. Nobody has ever mentioned autism to me – I had to work it out for myself largely from blogs. Thanks for your lovely and kind comment

  21. Ann from Rainbows are too beautiful May 2, 2018 / 9:31 am

    Given you didn’t know where this post would end when you started I think it’s probably been pretty helpful for you to write. I’ve two out of three kids with ASD and I’m very proud of who they are and how they are growing. It’s not always easy, but I don’t think parenting always is. You seemed to have figured out what works for your daughter and that is credit to you. That’s mostly what we are all trying to do. All the best to you and your daughter xxx #bloggerclubuk

    • Kate Davis-Holmes
      Author
      May 3, 2018 / 9:15 pm

      Yes writing this post was long overdue and helped me process my thoughts and feelings. I think parenting is a very hard gig whatever our particular circumstances. Thanks for commenting in such a kind and insightful way

  22. Noleen Miller May 2, 2018 / 11:28 am

    Wow this is a pretty amazing blog post and hoping that one day she can read this to see how proud you are of her and how much you love her. She doesn’t need a label, she’s your daughter at that is all that matters – that you love and support her with all your being. We all wired differently – gwizz if we were all the same this would’ve been a very boring world #Twinklytuesday

    • Kate Davis-Holmes
      Author
      May 3, 2018 / 9:16 pm

      I am a useless mum in so many ways but I love them and keep them safe. Thanks for your comment and here’s to diverse wires.

  23. Michelle Kellogg May 2, 2018 / 11:36 am

    When my son was little his dad and I were the only ones who could touch his hair and we were the only ones who could come near him the that buzzing hair cutter. Even then, it was really hard for him to stay still because the buzz sound scared him. We had to hunt down a quiet one and that was really hard to find. Nowadays they do have quieter buzz cutters which is great. Great Post! Love it:) #anythinggoes

    • Kate Davis-Holmes
      Author
      May 3, 2018 / 9:16 pm

      Thanks for your comment – us parents do our best working with our children’s individual needs and every child has those.

  24. Spectrum Mum May 2, 2018 / 4:52 pm

    When I saw the title I had to read this and I’m so glad I did. I applaud you for your openness and total acceptance of your daughter for who she is. As mum to a son with ASD I also worried that it was my fault and I also wondered if I was on the Spectrum too. We are all wired differently. We just need everyone to accept neurodivegence like you have. Great Post.

    • Kate Davis-Holmes
      Author
      May 3, 2018 / 9:17 pm

      Coming from someone like you who I read a lot and who has helped me unpick things about my own situation, this comment means a lot. Thank you

  25. Nic@nipitinthebud May 3, 2018 / 10:57 am

    Oh gosh, isn’t this the lot of being a Mum, blaming ourselves for the things we or our children feel measured by. You’re both amazing

  26. Tracy Albiero May 3, 2018 / 11:55 am

    It is so great yo accept her as she is. #coolmumclub

    • Kate Davis-Holmes
      Author
      May 3, 2018 / 9:18 pm

      My children are amazing so easy to accept – thanks for commenting.

  27. Talya May 3, 2018 / 4:56 pm

    Your daughter sounds amazing Kate and I have no doubt she rocks in more ways than one. I love how you celebrate and accept her in this post. Thanks for linking up to #coolmumclub 100th with this!

    • Kate Davis-Holmes
      Author
      May 3, 2018 / 9:19 pm

      She rocks now and will make her mark on the world in a big way I think in time. Thanks for your lovely comment

  28. Rochelle @ www.rhubarbandwren.co.uk May 3, 2018 / 9:36 pm

    There’s so much pressure to measure our children by other people’s ideas of normal. Your daughter sounds amazing and interesting just the way she is – I can see why you’re so proud of her!

  29. Claire May 3, 2018 / 10:23 pm

    Your daughter sounds fabulous, as do you. I don’t know an awful lot about Autism but I was struck by what someone told me once and that’s that everyone is on the spectrum somewhere. Teaching everyone that would be a start surely so there’s less of a them and us attitude? #honeybeelinky

  30. Kristie May 4, 2018 / 2:31 am

    She sounds amazing. So pleased you are doing things your way.

  31. I love this post – and you sound like a fantastic parent. Yes, we are all wired differently and acceptance is a wonderful thing – we all need it don’t we xx

  32. Morgan Prince May 4, 2018 / 8:23 am

    Aw I love this! Sometimes having a label can do more harm than good – and really, as you say, it’s all about supporting your daughter and who she is. Fantastic post.
    Thanks for linking to #pocolo

  33. Georgia May 4, 2018 / 9:51 am

    This is a lovely post! Sounds like you’ve done an amazing job and you’re daughter clearly feels happy and comfortable at home! I think it’s great that you know how she needs to deal with things getting too much and it’s nice to see such honest open posts – like you say this is what helps other people going through the same issues! #BlogCrush xxx

  34. Rebecca - Glutarama May 4, 2018 / 1:16 pm

    I believe my 13yr old daughter to be autistic too. My son has a diagnosis and is in a special unit within a mainstream school. I admit to sweeping it under the carpet somewhat as she already has type 1 diabetes and coeliac disease, I kind of want it to go away – that’s bad isn’t it? If anyone has any advice I’d appreciate it xx

  35. Marylin May 4, 2018 / 10:09 pm

    I’m glad she has a mama who’s supportive and understanding of *all* of her. <3 #TheMMLinky

  36. Karen | TwoTinyHands May 5, 2018 / 7:52 pm

    Sounds like you made the right decision to take her from school, totally not fair to stop her doing what makes her her! What a lovely post to celebrate your daughter Kate, all we can do is be there as our kids parents and more, they deserve the world! ‪Thank you for linking up to the #familyfunlinky‬

  37. Jaki May 6, 2018 / 6:20 pm

    Your daughter sounds amazing and so do you. Thanks so much for sharing with #TriumphantTales, hope to see you again on Tuesday.

  38. Confessions of a New Mummy May 6, 2018 / 9:15 pm

    I must admit that I don’t know very much about autism but I find it sad that we can’t just celebrate what makes us all unique and work with that to bring out the best in someone. It sounds like you are doing a wonderful job for her. Thanks for sharing and linking up with #TwinklyTuesday. Hope to see you again soon

  39. Annette, 3 Little Buttons May 6, 2018 / 9:41 pm

    I don’t like labels either. I think that with a little kindness and support, everyone can rub along just nicely. I’m guessing that everyone is on the spectrum at varying degrees anyway, we just need to talk about it more and acceptance will follow. You are obviously so proud of your daughter Kate, an what a fab parenting job you are doing. Thanks for sharing with the #DreamTeam xx

  40. Heather Keet May 6, 2018 / 11:51 pm

    I’m sorry your family never reached out to speak with you about your daughter. I worked with children who had autism for years and I will always offer to talk to friends and family who have children on the spectrum. I never want them to feel alone and want them to know there is someone to support them. So glad you found the educational system that works best for your daughter and that you’ve got blogger friends to connect with! #BlogCrush

  41. helen gandy May 7, 2018 / 8:16 pm

    Sounds like she is amazing, we have to embrace all these bumpy steps in parenthood don’t we. Thanks for linking up #BloggersBests

  42. The Mummy Bubble May 8, 2018 / 9:42 am

    You’re absolutely right, we are all different and that is definitely a good thing. Such an interesting read, your daughter sounds like a little star. Thanks for sharing with #fortheloveofBLOG

  43. Sarah Lawton May 8, 2018 / 12:23 pm

    I think your daughter sounds just lovely and you are right that no one needs a label! Thanks for linking up to #ablogginggoodtime

  44. Carol Cameleon May 8, 2018 / 6:06 pm

    Ah I especially like your last line Kate. It sums up beautifully that you love her whatever her make-up or however she’s wired! Lovely post and thanks for hosting #BestBootForward

  45. Katy - Hot Pink Wellingtons May 8, 2018 / 6:38 pm

    Your daughter sounds wonderful, and so do you! It makes me really sad to hear how the education system failed her though – it seems to be that unless you can conform and fit the mould, there’s no space for individuality in schools anymore. It’s interesting that you said none of your family ever said the word autism to you. My family are the opposite, and it has been raised about whether my son might be, but I strongly think he isn’t. He does have some sensory issues, but he doesn’t struggle socially at all, which I understood was the key indicator, but sometimes when he’s struggling I wonder whether I should look into it more. I don’t want to fail him and miss something that should have been obvious. Thanks for joining us at #SharingtheBlogLove

    • Malin May 9, 2018 / 6:11 pm

      Hi Katy,
      Perhaps you could have a look into Sensory Processing Disorder, which a person can have without being autistic. Hugs xx

  46. Crummy Mummy May 8, 2018 / 7:30 pm

    I think bloggers blogging about autism can only be a good thing – shining a light on the condition & also making others feel like its ‘ok’ like you say #twinklytuesday

  47. Kirsty May 9, 2018 / 9:36 am

    This is so sweet, autism certainly doesn’t stop someone being amazing no matter where they are on the spectrum. As long as she is happy and healthy and you can all find ways to help her with tough situations then all will be fine. Everyone finds things tough and everyone needs coping mechanisms. Just because we may not all find the same things tough or calming doesn’t matter. We are all different and all special in equal measure. Thank you for joining #ThursdayTeam

  48. Malin May 9, 2018 / 6:25 pm

    It’s lovely to read how much understanding and care you show your daughter. When it comes to ‘labelling’, I think a diagnosis is a lot more than a label. If a diagnosis is helpful for getting more support and understanding, then it can be a good thing. How does your daughter feel about all this? Does she identify with being autistic, and would she like an official diagnosis or not?
    Lots of love to both of you xx

  49. Ruth - Mummy and the Mexicans May 9, 2018 / 7:37 pm

    This is a lovely post – I especially love what you say near the end: we are all wired differently. I totally agree. Often a diagnosis can be helpful, but labels shouldn’t be necessary, we are all so much more than a word or phrase can express. It is a shame about the school system, I really hope that improves soon, the whole system needs to be more flexible and contribute to kids wellbeing not cause them more stress. #blogcrush

  50. Lucy At Home May 10, 2018 / 8:29 am

    It sounds like she is doing great – and you are absolutely right – she doesn’t need a label. If she’s coping and you are finding strategies that work for her then keep going. Labels can sometimes help you access more help, but they can also be a self-fulfilling prophecy at times and give rise to thoughts like “I / she can’t do that because I am / She is autistic”. I’m glad you’re finding a way and that homeschooling is working so well for you both #blogcrush

  51. Laura Dove May 13, 2018 / 8:31 pm

    Your daughter sounds wonderful and its great she is doing so well! So many children now are on the spectrum and I do think that label has shifted somewhat. I’m glad homeschooling is going well too! Thank you for linking up at the #bigpinklink xx

  52. Laura:Adventures with J June 29, 2018 / 7:59 pm

    Great post! I am really shocked that no one has mentioned autism to you at any point, especially the schools. Mostly though I am disappointed. Although the diagnosis is not essential it is helpful if aupport is required to be accessed and since she was struggling at school I feel they have really let her down (not you letting her down let me be clear!) My son has SPD. Many people don’t acknowledge this but it helps me to be able to know how to calm him down and how not to raise his adrenaline in a negative way. #ablogginggoodtime

  53. Lisa Pomerantz July 2, 2018 / 7:49 pm

    Your daughter does seem amazing, with or without a diagnosis. And, you are one amazing momma too! Always know that! xoxo #ablogginggoodtome xoxo

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