These are my scribblings of the madness and mayhem that my bright, funny and mischievous son and I encounter, on his weekends home.
I will also be reflecting on Johns journey, and recounting tales of his past adventures.
John is 29 yrs old and has a wicked sense of humour. To feel safe he needs routine and people who know him well and who understand him.
During the week he lives in residential care with Wirral Autistic Society. He has been a resident with them for over 7 years now. John will never be independent and needs round the clock, one to one support with all aspects of his life. He is and will remain vulnerable, he has no sense of danger. However due to the love and support of the staff who look after him, he has come a million miles in terms of his confidence and social skills. Without their expertise and high standard of care John would not be the mature, fun loving young man he is today, and our family life would be a nightmare.
When he is happy he will squeal with delight, jump up and down and slap his head.
When he is anxious or frightened he will say ‘NO’ Shake his head and refuse to cooperate.On the rare occasions that his anxiety threatens to engulf him he will even break his most treasured items. He is always upset after this happens.
Thankfully as John has matured these episodes occur much less often. He can tolerate far more situations than when he was a young child and thanks to the good practice of Wirral Autistic Society, strategies are in place to manage the problems as they arise making it easier to diffuse the situation.
John likes: Christmas, Cot Mobiles, Swing Bridges, Trains, Tower Cranes, Music, The Mersey Ferries, Goats, Chickens, Pylons, Fireworks, Ford Fiestas (1976-1983) Kites, Balloons, Big Hugs, Baby Swings, Sausages and Cake; preferably on the same plate and washing machines.
More recently John has developed a passionate relationship with, as he calls it ‘The S Boat’. It is infact a Stenna Line ferry that sails from Birkenhead to Belfast and thanks to Wirral Autistic society he has been able to take two trips on it. hHas also mdeveloped a passion for The isle of man boat The Ben My Cree, he also loves the Cunard cruise Liners Queen Mary 2 & her sister ships Queen Victoria and Queen Elizabeth.
John doesn’t like: Babies and Small Children (because they cry and are unpredictable), Dogs (because they bark and jump up) Crowds, People Shouting, and sudden unexpected change in his routine.
As his mum I have experienced many difficult times due to the challenges that autism throws at you as afamily. I have cried with exhaustion, frustration and desperation; and I have fought like a lioness to protect my ‘cub’ and for his right to have the appropriate education and specialist long term support that befits his condition.
Thanks to John there has been more fun and laughter in my life than I could ever have imagined, especially in the early very difficult years, and I have met so many wonderful people along the way.
Life is never boring when he is around and once seen he is never forgotten. John leaves an impression on everyone he meets, sometimes literally, as his hugs are more like headlocks! I am hugely privileged to be his mum and to share his life.
If through reading my blog, it helps other people coping with a family member with Autism, well that would be just wonderful.
Throughout I will be writing things as John says them phonetically. John communicates by imitating words and using sign language due to having a limited vocabulary. However people who know him well can understand him; in much the same way as mums understand what their young children are saying when no one else can.
John has no prejudices, he is not racist, sexist or homophobic. He is however massively politically incorrect because that is Autism. He sees everything as it is and says what he sees.
At the moment he has three very ‘Hot’ girlfriends, one of each…. a blonde a brunette and a red head who you will hear about throughout the blog. He has had a boyfriend since primary school whose picture he takes everywhere, he even puts it over his face when he goes to sleep. He is also passionately in love with a Goat called Terry.