How an angel helped me to realise that my son's disability is what he's got and not who he is

Birthday boys 

It was my son's birthday yesterday
, he was three. I have to say I'm loving this age, he dances so beautifully between baby and boyhood. I am aware as I do many things - carry him on my hip; spoon the last few mouthfuls of yoghurt into his mouth, that it might be for the last time.

We stayed at my parents house as it was also my brother's 29th birthday. As well as a birthday they share a love of Thomas the Tank Engine and mum had got them two lovely Thomas cakes. When Roscoe and I stay at my mum's she basically takes over and I become relegated to helper. I don't really mind as helpers don't usually have to get up in the morning.  Yesterday, when I did finally surface, my mother told me she had laid out some clothes for Roscoe. I took him upstairs and found the freshly washed and ironed outfit - some stripey leggings and a T shirt with the word 'GENIUS' printed on the front. I immediately felt stung. When you think of a sting you sometimes imagine a short, sharp pain but what actually happens is a moment of bewilderment, before the shock of pain, followed by a nagging throb. At least that was how I was feeling when I confronted my mother, 

'That's very dark humour,' I said. My mum looked at me blankly, 'A T-shirt that says genius for the kid with special needs.' Mum immediately dismissed me, 

'Don't say that. I don't think of him like that, he's just my grandson.' I was undismissable, 

'He is your grandson that has a disability, it's part of his identity. I'm sick of people denying that.' Mum assured me that she wasn't denying anything, she just didn't like to think of him as anything other than Roscoe. She told me she bought the Tshirt ages ago, long before his diagnosis and it hadn't occurred to her he shouldn't wear it. I let it go because, birthday cake, but I was still smarting. 

The train on the way home was very crowded. Roscoe started to become agitated and I did my best to calm him with bread sticks but sometimes your best is not good enough. Waiting for the lift to get out the station a woman said to me, 

'Does he have autism?'

'Yes,' I said, 'what made you ask?' She said she had taught children with special needs for forty years and recognised his vocalisations. As we parted ways outside the station she said, 

'Don't let anyone convince you to hold him back, just because he learns in a different way doesn't mean he can't learn. If he's not ready now try again in six months, it just might not be the time for him.' 

'Okay,' I said. Perhaps sensing I was a little unconvinced she added brightly, 

'Half of NASA have autism!' Before walking away. 

I'm unsure of the accuracy of this statistic but I do know that within NASA is many a genius. 

My Mum watches the unfortunately named show 'Touched by an Angel'. In it a celestial being is sent to earth to convince a mortal to see the error of their ways. My encounter with this woman made me rethink the legitimacy of this concept. Had this woman been sent to Sussex to show me that rather than convincing others to embrace my son's condition, I should stop using it to limit him? I hope so because the alternative is far scarier - my mother is always right. 

Some other Mamas blogging about autism:


Touched by an Angel is currently showing on TrueEntertainment
Mummascribbles

21 comments

  1. A beautifully written post Hun. I've been there! Even now 7 years later, on bad days I can still let the diagnosis take over! Thank you for sharing thisand For mentioning me! 🌸

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    1. Thank you! I'll try and remember not to let the bad days win x

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  2. This post has me crying, not because I'm sad but because I get you! Our boys are our boys first, yes they have Autism but that doesn't make them any less. I totally agree Hun. Thank you for the shout out ❤️

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    1. Thanks hun, another wonderful thing my boy has given me is a whole new community of inspirational parents x

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  3. Such a beautiful post. I think a lot of times in life, people come to us to say or do things that make us see our lives from a whole new angle. Maybe they are angels, maybe sent by angels -who knows? But thank God they come, however they do. #TwinklyTuesdays

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    1. Thanks, I agree and how wonderful to think who knows how many people you will be sent to x

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  4. That's a lovely experience. I used to watch Touched by an Angel many years ago. Didn't know they still run it. Love what the woman said and she is so right and so was your mum ;) x

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    1. I always mock my mum when she watches it and then I'm glued til the end!

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  5. ..am in tears. Parents watching their children parenting is a truly difficult thing darlingirl, you try to let go and stand back without interfering bt ultimately, a comment will slip out or unwittingly, an action which will irk or offend. Take time. It's a new journey for both the Parent of the burgeoning parent, who both learn and grow from and with one another. Happy belated birthday to the beautiful Roscoe, & to you beautiful, amazing mamma, congratulations, on being the amazing soul you are, sharing your journey and leading by example. Your words are wonderful and inspirational to many. Biggest hugs..<3

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    1. Is there dust in my eye ;) Thank you and nothing but love and patience for my mama for she loves my son so unconditionally x

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  6. It's not easy with a autistic child. My mum raised 5 kids, one of them being my younger brother who has autism he's 21 now. He can't speak, but we manage to communicate with him really well. It's nice to see so many parents sharing their story! #TwinklyTuesday xxx

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    1. Awww that's nice to hear and five kids! what a Superwoman x

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  7. Completely agree with the lady you met. Treat them as children, not children with special needs ( unless it's absolutely necessary) however, a lot of people or kids that I know with a form of autisium are a genius in something, whether it be numbers, memory or creative artistry. So you should let your son wear the genius tshirt, and be proud of it.

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  8. What a lovely thing for someone to have said and yes people with autism learn differently it doesn't make them incapable. One of my closest friends boys has autism and he has his little foibles as I call them - hates anything yellow but he mastered the Ipad quicker than I ever could and her new washing machine before she did because he just gets it, different just means that, he does it differently, it isn't wrong or bad, just him.

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    1. Difference is what makes the world go round. Thanks for your comment x

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  9. I used to love the show touched by an angel......always made me cry. Sounds like you met an angel on the train

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    1. Maybe so, I will keep my eyes peeled for more x

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  10. Such a beautifully written post, how lovely of the woman to stop and speak to you. My 3-year-old is going through asd assessments at the moment xx

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    1. Thanks lovely, good luck with it all x

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  11. I'm so pleased you had that moment on the train with the lady. I think she has a point about NASA. I know it's a series, but you have seen Sheldon in The Big Bang Theory. I know a few people like that

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