I video popped up on my facebook timeline this evening. It’s a short promo for the tv show John Bishop, in coversation with….this weeks promo features Paddy Mcguinness talking about his child with autism. Something he admits he struggled to accept at the time of diagnosis.
He talks about seeing a kid pestering his dad in the supermarket and teh dad was dismissive of his son’s request for a yogurt. Paddy says he thought to himself how lucky that dissmissive father was to be able to have that kind of experience with his child. I know I’m not the only Autism parent who knows EXACTLY how Paddy feels!
Something as simple and mundane as shopping with the kids, an activity many parents actually dread due to the constant demands of their brood ‘chirping’ for all kinds of fgoodies, becomes a mamoth task full of stress for autistic families. At best you can get in grab what you need and get out with the occasional pang of envy at someone’s child whining about wanting a comic or crisps. At worst you have to abandon the shopping trolley mid aisle and leave via the nearest exit with half the store staring as you try to carry/drag your overwhelmed child outside.
Autism acceptance is growing all the time but I think it’s fair to say that even the most loving inclusive parent occasionally find themselves wishing life could be just a little more ‘normal’ whatever that means?
Simple things like hearing a child coming out of school and talking about their day is so hard for me to cope with. My boy is 6 years old and has never uttered a word other than repeating the mumumumum babble of a young baby. I never get to hear what he’s been up to in class or how he fell off the climbing frame and bumped his knee. I can only dream of having him pester me constantly to get his own way or tell me aboutr the jigsaw he did at school or simply ask for drink without me having to guess if he’s thirsy or not!
Autism acceptance is a wonderful thing, quiet shopping hours and the like unlock a huge range of opportunities for autistic children and adults to experience but I think it’s important to recognise how hard it can be for parents of children with autism to accept that this is the diagnosis for their child and that they might never get to have the experiences that ‘normal’ families will.
I am not ashamed to admit that I still have days where I struggle to accept that this is my life now. I know my husband does too. It doesn’t make us bad parents. It’s just part of the journey. I knew from a very early age that an ASD diagnosis was on the cards for my son. I was the one that pushed for an early assesment, against my GP’s argument that it was too early to tell. I fully expected the diagnosis we got at his assesment……that doesn’t mean it didn’t hit me like a brick wall and I didn’t cry in the car on the way home.
Sometimes accepting autism is hard…..even when you love that person completely.
I am looking forward to watching Paddy’s interview tomorrow evening and I know I won’t be the only sat blubbing into tissues as I relate to his struggles.
John bishop, in conversation with….Paddy Mcguinness airs on W channel at 10pm tomorrow (Thursday) night.