Since SonOne’s diagnosis, I have read so much on autism, researched so much, listened to talks (live and recorded), been to support groups, sometimes till my brain ached and I could no longer distinguish which information was useful or might be useful in the future. Then after a year or so, autism fatigue set in big time. I couldn’t bear to see, hear or think about autism. My brain was full.

Every lecture, every book or article, every support group yielded at least one ‘take-home’ bit of information. One speaker very enthusiastically pointed out that all people change and develop over their lifetime. Ask yourself what you were like as a five-, six-, seven-year-old? I bet you have changed many times in your journey into adulthood.

Change is constantly happening, within the child, in the adults supporting him or her, and (we hope!) in society too.

Another very eloquent speaker outlined the journey her child has taken to date, and the nugget of wisdom I still remember clearly is that yes indeed her child has progressed, matured, developed, but that that change was not down to luck. She emphasised that that progress came about because she read and researched, taught and guided her child over and over again as the years went by. Of course the guidance has not stopped, nor will it probably ever stop.

We hope we can teach and guide our children so that they grow up into good adults with a useful contribution to make to our society. With a neurodiverse child this guidance and teaching does not come from just one source, and is definitely a ‘work in progress’. We must maintain a good rapport with the adults around our child. The best school experience we can hope for is to encounter teachers who listen to us as parents, who are open-minded, and who see beyond test results or attendance records to the person and his or her individuality and uniqueness.