Parents of children on the Autism Spectrum

Clare - Interview 40

Female

Brief outline: Clare's younger son, Joshua, was diagnosed with autism just before his second birthday. Clare has used various interventions and therapies and Joshua attends a combination of special and mainstream nursery provision.

Background: Clare, a pharmacist, and her husband have two sons aged 4 and 6. Ethnic background/nationality: White British.

Audio & video

Clare, a pharmacist, and her husband, Ian, have two sons aged 4 and 6.  Joshua, their younger son, was diagnosed with autism the day before his second birthday.  His parents became concerned about his development a few months before this because his speech was delayed and his development was different from that of his brother.  Joshua had digestive problems from the age of one and the paediatrician he was seeing for this diagnosed autism using the DSM4 criteria for diagnosis.

Clare describes feeling relief at getting the diagnosis because it told her what they were dealing with but also a sense of bereavement because it took away her vision of her son’s future.  The National Autistic Society put Clare in touch with local services and she has been working with an autism outreach service over the past two years to help Joshua learn how to play and how to manage various situations.  

Joshua attends a special nursery for three days a week and a mainstream nursery with support for one and a half days a week.  His speech has developed and he now plays with toys but he doesn’t interact with other children.  Joshua is on a dairy and gluten free diet because peptides were detected in his urine.  Clare describes Joshua as a loving little boy who can be controlling.

Clare has tried a number of interventions and found Picture Exchange Communication System (PECS) and daily timetables very useful. Currently, she is using a programme called Relationship Development Interaction (RDI) which also helps.  It involves trying to get Joshua to think about what he is doing rather than become dependent on prompts from other people.  Clare and her husband attended a three day training course in the US and are supported by a registered consultant in the UK. 

Clare finds it hard that things people would normally take for granted can be difficult to do such as going to the supermarket or out for a meal.  She describes an underlying stress everyday because she never knows if something will upset Joshua but the experience has drawn her family together and made her less judgemental of other people.

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