As a mother of four children, I focused as much attention on each child as i knew was needed- or i most definitely tried to.

My third son- 8 years younger than the next closest was different. And different was not a problem, it was very endearing to us. Only when we were told he had no friends in school – after 6 months in a class, did we react. We NEEDED to. We wanted to understand our son and we do.

I learned HOW to be a mother of a child on the FABULOUS rainbow of colours that is the SPECTRUM of AUTISM.

But in the days of early discovery some statements and some people treated me, and my son in a way that i will not forget.

You learn to be a mother who ASKS initially, asks the ASD specialists advise, but very quickly refused to accept the autism advisory early “can’t” and who left the room more DETERMINED due to the ludicrous idea of writing my child off as UNABLE to learn aged 5.

You learn to be a mother who on arriving back to my teaching job immediately after attending my son’s diagnostic meeting, was greeted by a close colleague with a hand put on my arm and a sympathetic “Ach, Helen!” – and a pitying”look” that might have been more appropriate in conversation about a horrific medical condition.

You learn to be a mother who NEVER stops PUSHING. And who finds solutions to problems, as you realise that you are the ONLY person who can invest this effort, and it is for a better life potential for your son.

You learn to be a mother who LEADS the partnership with his school at EVERY crux. And you will not be prepared for them all from the advice you read!

You learn to be a mother who learns who READ your child. Being PROACTIVE is so much better than reactive!

You learn to be a mother who can’t unhear the ONE teacher who commented about not choosing your child to take part in something as ” you’d be afraid he might let you down!”…. and you realise the irony there!

You learn to be a mother who holds her breath when a relative says “but he doesn’t have the REAL AUTISM?”- with a look of discomfort!

You learn to be a mother who makes note of the person who treats your son as if is has ALL SORTS of afflictions while bombarding him with LOUD offers of snacks – completely differently that much younger children.

You learn to be a mother who SPOTS the area of specialism that your little unique genius will get to absorb day after day until he shows his expertise. And you nurture this “topic of interest” appropriately and try to help your child to develop a strength in this specialism that will be of use to him and acceptable in a world of less excited people.

You learn to be a mother who LOVES your child, like you do each of them.

You learn to be a mother with an area of specialism which is how you arm your child with sufficient tools to make him as resilient as you can ensure to survive in a world of differently wired mainstream people.

You learn to be a mother who loves your children- ALL of them uniquely.

You learn to be a mother who keeps learning.