01 October 2018
In this blog, Mandy Garford from Dartford writes about raising three autistic children and why it’s important to recognise individuals and organisations who are making a difference to autistic people and their families.
Sometimes, the days can be long and the nights even longer when you have children on the autism spectrum.
There were so many times when I longed for people around me to think about autism first before judging. So many times I would go home and cry.
Being a qualified teacher gave me little advantage in being a parent for three autistic children; they are all very different. The sheer diversity of the spectrum means that both the joys and the difficulties are never the same. As the saying goes, “when you have met one autistic person, you’ve only met one autistic person”.
I’ve found different approaches for supporting each of my children.
For example, my eldest has similar traits to that of Pathological Demand Avoidance, which means he has incredibly high anxiety and struggles when a demand is made. So here goes the request to put on shoes: “Hey, let’s all put our shoes on! It will be fun!”. If I’m feeling brave, I might suggest the opposite in the hope that he would refuse and then put his shoes on.
My second child on the autism spectrum is more inquisitive. For him I would need to say: “Hey, we’ve run out of bread so we need to go to the shop…it’s been raining so we need to put shoes on.”
My youngest is “classically autistic” so simple instructions are needed: “Shoes on, now please”.
…And that’s just the shoes!
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