First some introductions and to explain why Leo isn’t actually Leo. Leo is my son, he is seven and he is waiting for his official diagnosis of Autistic Spectrum Condition or ASC (anyone in the know will know that this is often a long time after it should have been). He goes to mainstream school, he has some good friends, he is currently absolutely bloody mental about Minecraft, dinosaurs and How to Train Your Dragon (these special interests will change in time, but don’t worry, he will certainly let us know when they do). He gets angry, very angry, and anxious, very anxious, but he is the most empathic creature I have ever had the pleasure to stumble across.
When he gets his diagnosis I will be able to access a lot more support for him, I will be able to explain to him there is a reason he feels different to everyone else in his class and it is not that he is “trash”, and I hope it will help him forge a positive identity as he gets older. I also hope it will help explain some puzzling stuff to Olive about what goes on in our house and why her brother does what he does.
His real name isn’t Leo, because it really isn’t up to me to speak in public about him in an identifiable way. Leo’s my child and not my intellectual property. He may, in the future, want to shout loud about his neurodiversity, he may not want anyone to know. I want this blog to be about me and in the main part my experience of caring for him, but obviously to do that well he has to be here centre stage. The same for Olive, who, you guessed it, isn’t actually Olive. This blog will unavoidably be about her private life too.
On another note, both of my kids are fucking hilarious and gobsmackingly spirited; I want to be able to share all that good stuff without feeling too guilty that I am embarrassing them in the not too distant future. Parenting a child on the spectrum isn’t pretty at times, nor is being a single parent navigating a very fractured and fractious relationship with your child’s other parent. I want to be able to post about that shit too without the need to censor.
But most importantly, even though this blog is charting my experiences and opinions, I am aware that the shining star of this story is Leo. Autism isn’t “happening” to me, it is “happening” to him. I get the feeling some parents lose sight of that at times and I don’t want to become one of them. To balance the need to remember this whilst respecting my children’s autonomies at the same time is probably going to be tricky occasionally, but please bear with me.
In other news, this looks great: Bristol Neuroscience Festival . If I am going to blog about autism, what with being neurotypical and all that, I had better get my head down and learn some stuff about the brain.