We all have an expectation of what we think it’ll mean to be a parent, of what our children will become. Today, I have the pleasure of publishing a piece by my friend Rebecca, as she tells us about what this has meant for us, and how her family cope with her son Leon’s diagnosis and the subsequent issues. You probably haven’t put the tissues away from last night’s piece – good… you’ll need them for this one too.
I met Rebecca via Charlotte, when I attended a group once before being asked not to go back (long story, and it was explained to me very badly!). She’s another wonderful, strong woman, and I love reading her Facebook posts about the hilarious things her kids have said and done! They really are a lovely bunch. Here is her story.
When I was younger I didn’t dream that I would ever have five children let alone a child diagnosed as Autistic!
I’ve had people say “Ooh I don’t know how you do it” or “It must be so hard”. The truth is yes, it is hard. It’s one of the hardest things I’ll ever have to do in my life. But,it’s also the best. It’s the most rewarding. It’s amazing. I wouldn’t have it any other way.
My five children are pretty close in age. My eldest Logan is 13 years old. Then we have Ruby aged 11, Sasha aged 10, Leon aged 9 and last but not least, Thea aged 4. For the most part my children all get along. Of course there’s the usual sibling rivalry but that’s to be expected. I know I used to fight with my siblings growing up! Every now and then though Leon’s older siblings become a little jealous because at times, Leon needs extra attention from us. What they sometimes forget though is that they have activities to go to and friends to see. They play football, rugby, kickboxing, hockey, as well as other sports. They all have friends houses to go to or to play out with (or in the case of Ruby and Logan – con me out of money to go shopping with!).
Leon doesn’t have a single friend. Not one. Zero. He never gets asked to play out or have them ask to come here. He never gets birthday party invitations. It breaks my heart. Really cuts me deep inside my soul. To make up for this I buy Leon treats, such as toys he wants or items on online games he wants/needs – anything just to make him smile.
Maybe it’s the wrong way to go about things. Maybe there are a lot of people who absolutely disagree with how I do things but it’s the way I’ve chosen to deal with it and for now it works. As I’ve said my other children sometimes show a little jealousy but they do get the same although in a different form (football kits/subs for teams/money for shopping with friends etc). Deep down they understand though… They’re good kids. I don’t blame them for the jealousy and occasional outburst. I don’t even blame the children who don’t want to be Leon’s friend.
What I blame is society as a whole.
The lack of understanding.
The lack of awareness.
Leon is the most gorgeous, cheeky, hilarious and most loving young man ever! He’s honest (straight to the point blunt honest!) and he’s feisty. He’s strong and he’s vulnerable. He just needs more people to understand him, show a little more patience and to have a lot more trust in his abilities. If they did? Well he’d have lots of friends I’m sure, and he’d accomplish more things. I mean, who wouldn’t want to be friends with this little dude?!
I absolutely agree Rebecca. Who wouldn’t want to be friends with this amazing guy? It’s incredibly sad to hear that he doesn’t have friends – and sadly it’s far too common that autistic children (and adults) struggle with relationships and friendships. I hope that he does one day have all the friends he deserves.