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.
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!