April is Autism Awareness Month
April is the month of Autism Awareness, this frustrating condition can blight many lives, so drawing attention to it is a positive step. Read on to find out more.
April is Autumn Awareness Month.
I remember a couple of years ago, we had a day to mark awareness of autism, but this year ,it is the whole month of April. Somebody on Facebook asked me to turn my profile picture blue to mark it, and I was glad to do it. I think anything that heightens awareness of this very complex condition is a good thing.
Being the mother of an autistic son, the subject has always interested me, the more you know, the more you can help someone who has it. Our world can be a very bewildering place for them, and what was once seen as simply bad behaviour, can now be perceived as fear and frustration, which needs to be understood so we can help them.
My son Phil
Back in the 1970s, when my son was born, little was known about autism, there is no cure for it, and even our family doctor had no idea what the future might hold for any of us, especially my son, who sadly, as well as autism, also had brain damage.
So as a family we had to take each day at a time, and see what happened. For many years I tried to understand my son't pattern of behaviour so I could help him. It must have been equally hard for him to leave the confines of his own safe, but silent, world to try and understand ours.
All this made me want to write about our experiences, and so my book was published. I would like to think it may have helped mothers faced with the same situation, who may have felt totally alone.
But it was worse in the 1960s
But ten years before , there was so much ignorance about the subject. Doctors believed that these children had been starved of love by their mothers, who were known as " refrigeration mothers." The children were labelled as having infantile schizophrenia.
It was not until 1965 that Bernard Rimland wrote a book which explained that infantile autism was physiological rather than Psychological, these children had just been born that way, and their mothers were in no way to blame. How reassuring it must have been for mothers at that time, who probably already felt guilty, to know they were in no way to blame
Time has now moved on
Nowadays everyone has heard of autism. Children with high functioning autism can do very well at school, often going on to achieve a university degree, and get good jobs. As a travelling author, people frequently chat to me , and either they know a family that has been affected by autism, or there is an autistic child in their family.
We have programmes such as Children in Need, and Comic relief to thank for that, as profiling something on television really highlights the difficulties. The great British Public are very generous to support such causes, not just autism, but any sort of illness or difficulty.
When I heard how bad it was for mothers back in the 1960s, it inspired me to write a new book. The story is about a teenage girl, who becomes pregnant, her boy friend does not know, and she is sent away to avoid her father finding out, then decides to keep her baby. When autism is diagnosed, not only does she have to tell his father about their son, she also has to tell him he is autistic, and she has no idea whether he will accept him or not.
I have just had the exciting news that my book has been accepted for publication in September, and the title will be. THE POWER OF LOVE. I am also enjoying the BBC programme The A word, which airs on Tuesday evenings, as the story shows with great honesty, just how a family can be ripped apart by the pressure of dealing with it. In the meantime, I will carry on supporting anyone who wants to raise awareness of autism, and I am so pleased a whole month has been set aside to celebrate the steps that have been made.
My thanks to Wikipedia for the images, and Youtube for the video