Sally – Interview 15
Age at Interview:
Sally is married and has two daughters and four grandchildren. She works as a Church Pastor. Ethnicity/nationality: White British.
Brief outline:Sally’s grandson, aged 7, was diagnosed with autism when he was 3 years old.
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Well as I said before, I feel I have a different relationship with Ben because he is the oldest. He’s my first grandchild. I try and respect his, his what he wants to do. I try not to, I try not to sort of inflict myself on him, because sometimes he doesn’t want to be cuddled and fussed about, because he doesn’t like it, and he’s getting too old for it. He’s the grand age of seven and a bit. You know, he doesn’t want to be hugged and kissed by his nanny any more. But yeah, I mean I just think he’s such a beautiful child and his outlook on life is so, so different because of the autism, and sometimes I think it’s so very special the way he looks at things. He’s got a huge sense of logic and you know, he, he can see ways of doing things that perhaps other people wouldn’t, and I am besotted with him [laughs]. I’m a doting nanny [laughs]. Very doting.
A couple of weeks ago, we went down to the coast near Brighton and we were walking on the undercliff along by Saltdean and he just suddenly got obsessed that the cliff was going to fall on him and he just did, wouldn’t walk along this, this place because the cliffs were going to fall down, and I tried to say to him, “Well look, they’ve been there for about ten thousand years, they will not fall down today.” Then you see little bits of chalk on the ground and you think ooh maybe he’s right [laughs]. And it, it took a long time to, to calm him on that. A long time just to sit. We eventually sat down and talked about it and then he got distracted and you know, then he started worrying about something else. Started worrying about other people’s dogs after that.
I have a colleague through my work at the church who’s been a teacher. She’s a head teacher of a small school. And I talked to her a lot about it. And she explained different types of you know, the different parts of the spectrum of autism, and I talked to her a lot and she was, she was very helpful and various other people who, there’s somebody else I realised at church her nephew was effected, and talked about his experiences. And I just pick up whatever I could. I watched television programmes, listened to things on the radio. Read books, and you know, once you start talking about it, people start exchanging information and giving you books and [um] I’ve read several books on it now. Mainly the one I mentioned earlier, ‘The Dog in the Night time’ or whatever it is called. And there’s another book somebody gave me, that actually her, somebody distant in her family had written about the experience of having two boys with autism. And they’re, they’re quite big now. I think they’re grown up now. And it was quite a harrowing book actually and then watching different things. There was a film, a documentary, not a documentary, a sort of drama about a boy who had a dog, and I can’t remember what it was called now, it’s quite a famous one I think.
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