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World Autism Awareness Week 2024

World Autism Awareness Week 2024

Linda Ladley |

Today marks the start of World Autism Awareness Week (2nd - 8th April 2024) with World Autism Day.

If you’ve followed us on social media you may know that our Son was diagnosed as autistic (along with combined adhd) last year (2023) and we’re now on the pathway to support our Daughter as she goes through this process.

I have to admit life has been extremely tough! Your world as you expect it to be gets turned upside down and you have to find a new ‘norm’. 

I write this not knowing whether I’m using correct terminology just sharing with you what our life is like. I’m not medically trained, I’m just a parent living this life whilst trying to hold down what would be considered a normal family life of working, being a husband and wife team and being mum n dad alongside everything else in between!

So our Son had been showing signs for quite some time… At first we thought he had a hearing problem. We followed this route for a while and whilst his hearing is impacted it wasn’t enough to explain his behaviour.

He stims in so many different ways and we go through so many phases.. from flapping, to spinning, to needing to chew to rocking! To shouting at, to stopping and bending over, to needing to smell a seat that someone has been sat on, to needing an adult to be near!

He struggles to be independent, struggles to sleep, struggles to maintain friendships without being obsessive and struggles to control his emotions let alone understand them!

But beneath all of this is ‘our boy’ a beautiful, charasmatic charming little lad! One who has a beautiful smile and a giggly laugh that brightens anyones day!

He’s smart, we even think he might have a photographic memory and he does well when learning albeit his ADHD does mean he loses his focus quite easily!

It’s so easy for us to think about how hard life is.. but life is only hard because we’re trying to live in what is perceived as ‘normal’ for neuro-typical people.

We have no doubt that our son will shine brightly, he might need that extra support but he does have a wonderful network of people looking out for him in a system that is disillusional and ill-equipped to support neuro-diverse children but he’ll make his own way and we couldn’t be more proud of how he’s faced those challenges!

They often say that being autistic is genetic and we’re now seeing the signs with his sister - in fairness she was the one who’s signs were more explicit as a toddler but have been masked over time but as she’s getting older those signs are appearing and we’re now supporting her to make sure she gets the right support in place!

As a family we’re blessed and know how lucky we are to have 2 wonderful children! We know that that in itself is precious so we face our challenges head on no matter how tired, exhausted we feel and how frustrated we get with the healthcare and education system around us!