So he wasn’t diagnosed by the education psychologist. He was diagnosed by the consultant child psychologist who was dealing with emotional and behavioural difficulties. And once that was done although we had a label… I think that from that point for quite a while, I was in a sort of bereavement process because obviously I had lost perhaps what I thought I had and I wasn’t sure what you were going to get [laughs]. But at the same time when I reflect now that is the same with any child. When the child arrives you don’t know what you have. You know what you would like you know what you think you might have, but you don’t actually know until the character comes out.
Do you know I can’t remember [laughs] I can’t remember. I suppose they, must have done. I mean I have had lots of information over the years from different organisations and professionals. I can just remember being in the consulting room and her telling my husband and I and I can remember getting in the car and saying, “When we get back,” because my parents were looking after my son that day, so that we could go to that appointment and saying, “I am not going to tell them.” And I realised later the reason that I couldn’t go in the house and say they have said it is so and so, he is autistic, is because I couldn’t bear people to be sorry for me. It was just too painful.
It was … there are some people I still can’t, I choose not discuss it with them, because some people feel too sorry for you and it is just absolutely dreadful. Now I don’t need people to be sorry about it but whether I feel that because we have really had some measure of, I suppose you would call it success, in that our son is coping out in the real world and yes, he struggles, and there will be a lot more struggles in as much as anything because he is now 13 and he is, you know, finding his feet and he is trying to be independent. I would say saying that as a parent of a 13-year-old boy anyway. But no, I think I went out and found the information. But whether that was because I knew how to do that I can’t remember [laughs].
Can you remember what went through your mind when she told you the diagnosis?
No. Apart from really I think I would have been surprised if she said it wasn’t that. I think by then we knew enough to know there was something wrong, that we were dealing with a complex problem. And it all pointed to it being autism. No I can’t …I think it was probably an awful lot of things. In some ways relief, like I say because we had a label and when you have got a label you can start to ask for things whereas like I say I know that professionals are loath to give labels in case it is the wrong label. But… it does make life easier.
And I think I mean I know I was upset because I suppose you don’t want it to be whatever. I didn’t want him to be anything because I didn’t really know anything very much about autism except the classical stereotypes of somebody who just sits in the corner and can’t function and is completely withdrawn into their own world, because you know, I now know that that is at one end of spectrum. And my son is a lot more at the other end. But… I think it was just a mixture. But probably relief in one sense and distress I would say.