Again a bit of a shout out to the Yorkshire Wildlife. News of my oh so slow mobile phone camera focusing system has got out. Another kindly soul hung upside down long enough for a focus of sorts. Thank you.
As son was happily perched in front of the TV watching a Pokemon movie I took the opportunity to take the pup for a walk. Hence the photo above. It was a short walk, no more than 15 minutes. When I got back home son was not there. Clearly he had gone looking for me. Before I could get out of the door he returned. He has gone looking for me in his bare feet. That indicates the level of the panic attack.
That’s why the school holidays will be based around me and my shadow – or better the other way round. He lets me into his world and that is the coolest thing ever. Now brief solitary dog walks are out then its unlikely we will be separated over the next 6 weeks. I suspect many parents will experience a similar feeling.
Opinions differ on the future. One of his Paediatricians said
“He will eventually grow out of this clinginess. In a few years you will have to face getting your life back on track”
However one of the best clinician I have come across (unusually a caring expert in autism) argued
“He may learn to have a level of independence. However I think the balance of probability is not heading in that direction currently. You should prepare for a life long parenting commitment.” – that was when we had two Parents and two Grannies (now it’s just me)
For me this raises 3 fundamental issues
- What’s the Plan B if something or when something does happen to me. It’s not a straight forward problem as my brother and sisters are at least 10 years older than me. Practical options are a tad limited.
- As he gets older the minimal support he gets from the state will disappear. Sadly that’s just how it is. It is not viewed as a priority. Let’s face it – clearly it’s not as important as something like funding tax breaks for the rich. REALLY. As a society we should be better than this.
- Everyone is different and I have come across examples of wonderful individuals on the spectrum who are successfully keeping down full time jobs. But the evidence suggests that a fundamental problem all too frequently exists. Many on the spectrum struggle to keep down full time jobs. I have seen stats which indicate the Autism unemployment rate can be as high as 85%. Some will be fully dependent on full time help for life. Those parents are unbelievable heroes. I am in complete awe of you and the daily sacrifices you make. I have read a number of Aspergers stories recently of people who have developed levels of independence and who have tried to work. The message was hauntingly similar. Countless jobs started well but they started to struggle with time keeping, office politics, social interactions and multitasking. Office small talk was alien to them and they became isolated. Eventually they became ostracised or the butt of colleague jokes. Employers seemed oblivious to the issues surrounding autism in the workplace. Anxiety and Depression kicked in, sick days started then the job was gone. Cast adrift again in the alien world without any support.
Every person is different. Things can work out well but they can clearly also go badly. I need to get my head around this and start preparations now. This could be a lifetime project. Which brings me to one last thought. Last week someone said to me
“Your still relatively young. It’s such a waste. You just need to get through the next few years then he will have his own life and you can start living yours again.”
Currently that outcome is not part of my plans. Years ago I had personal dreams but now they are gone. They went with my partner. I’m here now to do a wonderful rewarding job and I will give that my best shot. In the end that’s what any decent parent would do.