Parents of children on the Autism Spectrum

John and Lynne - Interview 47

Age at interview: 60

Brief outline: John and Lynne's younger son, Gavin, was diagnosed with autism when he was 14 years old. He lives in a residential facility attached to his old school and John and Lynne feel he has had excellent support over the years.

Background: John, a civil servant, and Lynne, a teacher, have two sons aged 28 and 32. Ethnic background/nationality: Welsh.

Audio & video

Audio onlyText only
Read below

John, a civil servant, and Lynne, a teacher, have two sons aged 28 and 32.  Their younger son, Gavin, was diagnosed with autism when he was 14 years old.  Gavin’s speech was delayed when he was younger and he did not seem to understand emotions.  A doctor at a major hospital arranged for all the people involved in Gavin’s care, including his parents, teachers, educational psychologist, speech therapist and GP, to meet and discuss Gavin’s progress.  Then during primary school his parents felt that Gavin was very well supported although nobody realised at the time that Gavin had autism.

John and Lynne decided that Gavin would not be able to cope with mainstream secondary school and found a residential school specialising in communication disorders.  Gavin went there until he was 16 and during that time was diagnosed with autism.  Gavin moved to another residential specialist school where he stayed until he was 19 and then moved into the adult facility connected to the school.  He comes home sometimes at weekends and in the holidays.

Whilst they have had some negative experiences, overall John and Lynne feel that Gavin has had excellent support over the years and they describe his current home, which he shares with two young people, as an extension of their family.  Gavin attends college, does a paper round with his support worker and some community service.

If the placement was to stop, John and Lynne both feel that they would find it difficult to have Gavin back at home.  Lynne would fear Gavin’s outbursts and John would worry about keeping Gavin occupied all the time.  They both feel that their trust in Gavin’s placement has greatly helped in dealing with the situation. 

Gavin has a tendency to self harm and used to be aggressive towards others though this is now managed effectively with medication. The most effective strategy to help Gavin through his anxieties has been to drive him around in the car which helps to calm him down.  Gavin can look after himself but has to be reminded constantly to do things, like shave, make sandwiches, get dressed and bath himself. 

Lynne and John work as a team and Lynne also uses a helpful online forum where she could discuss different issues with other parents.  John often feels frustrated because he does not know what is going on in Gavin’s head. Both parents are also concerned because Gavin tends to worry about things which happened many years ago, such as dropping a pencil down the drain at primary school.


Please use the form below to tell us what you think of the site. We’d love to hear about how we’ve helped you, how we could improve or if you have found something that’s broken on the site. We are a small team but will try to reply as quickly as possible.

Please note that we are unable to accept article submissions or offer medical advice. If you are affected by any of the issues covered on this website and need to talk to someone in confidence, please contact The Samaritans or your Doctor.

Make a Donation to

Find out more about how you can help us.

Send to a friend

Simply fill out this form and we'll send them an email