Autism: Is knowledge really power?

30 October 2014

Dear Friend,

When my son was diagnosed my husband and I were very open and shared the diagnosis with friends and family. Responses varied some were shocked, some disbelieved but overwhelmingly people commented about him being lucky to have me as a mum. Why?

In my role as a teacher I had been privileged to work in an excellent school that had lead the way in including children with Asperger's syndrome in the Primary classroom. I had lead physical programs (in consultation with physiotherapists and occupational therapists) to aid the development of motor skills, for autistic and Dyspraxic children. My friends and family obviously saw my knowledge and experience as a bonus. But is knowledge power?

His diagnosis was PDD nos, I had suspected Asperger's, so my initial reaction was to read as much information about PDD nos as possible. 
We also attended a parents course where we were given lots and lots of information. Some information was terrifying:
  •  "35% of autistics are never employed." 
  •  "Autistic children are more at risk of social exclusion." 
  • "Autistic Children are prone to depression." 
  • "Autistic children are 28 times more likely to commit suicide." 
In my experience knowledge didn't mean power it meant panic! 

The problem is that Autism does not fit into a nice neat definition, it is a spectrum. I can read every blog, web site, facebook page, book, magazine etc I can get my hands on but I will never find an exact description of my child. A wise person once said, if you've met one person with autism then you've met one person with autism. Perhaps knowledge isn't the answer? So what is?

I believe that knowledge can take us so far but it is love and passion that drives us further. I am no different from any caring parent that I have met as we all want the best for our kids. The love for our children drives us to set up websites, write books, lead seminars, begin support groups and write blogs. Isn't it time that we accept some praise? After all when it comes to our children we are the experts!

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