Recently I’ve blogged about the possibility that my son has Aspergers syndrome and the long journey we have started as parents trying to get him an assesment and appropriate help at school (indeed today we had a positive meeting with the Special Needs Co-ordinator (Senco) at his school).
Today, as my small part of Autism Positivity, I thought I’d go off topic on this blog again (after all, it’s supposed to be about my mental health) and shout something out to anyone that’s listening.
My son is wonderful and there’s is absolutely nothing wrong with him!
And I absolutely mean that. He is kind, helpful, inquisitive, friendly, cuddly, energetic, generous, inventive, knowledgable, thoughtful. Actually I’m a bit wary of writing a list of adjectives about him, as I’m bound to leave some of his great qualities out. I love him and he’s great. There is nothing wrong with him and I don’t want to change him in any way.
So why all the letters to doctors and conversations with schools?
Because I want to change other people. I want to change the way they behave with him.
Whatever diagnosis he does or doesn’t end up with, I know that he’s not your average child. I mean, every mum thinks their child is extra special, but more than that he certainly seems to think and behave a little differntly from some of his peers.
But different doesn’t mean wrong.
At home there are just 4 of us, we have adapted our life to suit us all. Sure, there are compromises, but we’re a small enough unit to be flexible enough to accomodate most of each others needs and wants.
School is another matter, it’s a system, set up to cope with hundreds of kids and dozens of teachers plus all the support staff. There is much less flexibility. And there’s targets and curiculm and Ofsted and all the associated nonsense and pressure.
I want to be able to speak to each new teacher he has and explain that he’s a great kid, but sometimes he acts a little different, but he’s not naughty. Sometimes he needs handling a little differently, sometimes you will need strategies to help get him to do what you want him to, sometimes he will need strategies to help him fit in.
And I think a diagnosis would be a quick and effective way to start those conversations, to prove I know what I’m saying, I’m not just a fussy mum.
It would also help start conversations with others, with close friends, family, people that come into contact with him and need to know. As well as reminding us, as parents, that we might need a little more patience sometimes and help us find better compromises within our family life and help him with strategies to get on in the world.
And it will help us explain to him why the world he’s so despeate to understand doesn’t make sense sometimes.
So, for me, a diagnosis would not be a label, it would be a signpost.