‘I don’t feel blessed’

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Some relatives of infirm children can seem unwaveringly positive. But one mom says her children’s autism has left her with “dark thoughts” and she wishes their impairments would disappear.

“It just stops all dead,” she says, the moment she tells anyone all 3 children have autism.

Christine, not her genuine name, loves and is unapproachable of her children, but she says she can't reside the vigour she feels to be “relentlessly positive” about their condition given of the restrictions it puts on all of them.

She says relatives are mostly decorated cheerfully articulate about the “breakthrough moments” and slight improvements their children make which they seem over by – but which she can’t grasp.

“I mostly feel there’s not really space in the autism universe for a mom to contend ‘I really wish this wasn’t happening, we don’t feel blessed, we don’t feel strong, we don’t feel like it’s all happening for a reason’.

“I get riled when people contend well-meaning things like ‘you must be a really clever person given you wouldn’t be given some-more than what you can understanding with’ – this just doesn’t feel like a reward, actually.”


Find out more

Listen to Christine speaking to BBC Radio 4’s iPM programme on the podcast page.

You can also hear the mother’s comment in audio here.


Christine is a singular silent and works as a psychiatric nurse.

Her son, 19, was diagnosed with autism aged 6 followed by dyspraxia and a mood disorder; her 17-year-old daughter was diagnosed with autism and ADHD in 2015; and her 14-year-old daughter was diagnosed when she was eight.

“For me, the diagnosis of my center child was earth-shatteringly awful given we think, on reflection, we always had this idea that ‘one of them’s going to be alright’ and we found that crushing.”

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“There’s a celebratory idea that this is a illusory thing,” she says, and feels that the village won’t let people be anything other than relentlessly positive.

“I adore my children and I’m so unapproachable of what they can do – but if we could take divided the problems that they’ve got and give them opposite lives, then we would.”

Journalist Michael Blastland has a 22-year-old son, Joe, who lives in a residential section with “pretty profound” autism and singular communication.

He says Joe has “character and spirit” and a “deep obsession” for Postman Pat – so much so, there are 3 VCRs stashed in the integument for when one breaks down.

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Michael Blastland

Blastland recognises what Christine means about feeling worried with the uptalk, but says: “I still try and hang on to these little unusual facets of Joe’s impression and ability.”

He says the “autism honour movement” can be cryptic for those who don’t allot to it – and there are also those with autism who take honour in their difference, which is “perfectly legitimate in many ways”.

But, he also says, “you can't contend that all people with autism are excellent [self-sufficient]”, and as much as he loves Joe, he admits “if we could call the wand, I’d take it divided in a stroke.

“I just wish that we could contend that but leaving the other people who have the same tag feeling threatened.”

One person who struggles to know Christine’s indicate of perspective is Jo Lewis, whose 12-year-old daughter Holly has autism.

It manifests itself by subdivision anxiety, trouble at shrill noises, social struggles and holding idioms like “it’s raining cats and dogs” literally.

“I saw the diagnosis as opening the doorway to support, but we’ve had moments of despair, we’ve cried and screamed and argued about it,” she says.

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Jo Lewis

“You have a bad moment – and then I’ll peek at the piano which she plays beautifully, and she wouldn’t be who she was if she didn’t have autism.

“Sometimes we feel guilty given other people struggle, but we would not take autism divided from Holly; autism is what people make of it.”

Christine, too, recognises that as much as she despairs at the expectancy of positivity, she doesn’t wish to dissapoint others who concentration on it.

“Perhaps it looks a little uncaring or a little selfish, given you’re not just selflessly embracing all around your children,” she says, but as her children grow and their needs turn some-more complex, the fun continues to recede.

For years, Christine’s children attended mainstream school – but it caused good distress.

They recognized they were opposite to their peers, which “hurt and shop-worn them”; her son asked for an invisibility disguise and one daughter talked of suicide. All 3 have given been placed in special schools.

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Can you mark him?

She says despite operative as a psychiatric nurse, which gave her “inside knowledge” into the system, she worries how their adult lives will vessel out.

When her eldest son incited 18, he lost his mental health support – and Christine’s “absolute fear” is that he will “just disappear”, as he does not have the ability to hit services himself.

“No one would know if he got poorly,” she says.

“He would distortion in his bed and just stop eating and drinking; he wouldn’t pierce and nobody would know.”

Christine says she finds it very formidable to find the positives here, but there are glimmers of fun she hangs on to.

“My eldest was very cold as a youngster, he wouldn’t endure earthy touch, there was no recognition from him that you were someone he knew.

“He ran up to the man dressed as Santa Claus and, referring to me, he said: ‘Santa Claus, that’s my Mummy’.

“It was so singular to consider that he even knew who we was that we lift that in my heart.”

Produced by Beth Rose

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