Parents of children on the Autism Spectrum

Joy - Interview 48

Age at interview: 48

Brief outline: Joy's son was diagnosed with Asperger syndrome when he was six years old. He attends a mainstream secondary school and is getting on very well.

Background: Joy, a library assistant, and her husband have one son, aged 13. Ethnic background/nationality: White British

Audio & video

Joy, a library assistant, and her husband, a computer programmer, have one son aged 13.  When he was a baby, their son met all the developmental milestones. By the time he was eighteen months he had a vocabulary of over 75 words and was fascinated by mechanisms like buttons and lights. Around that time Joy began to feel that there was something different about him.  For example, she took him on a train journey and he became intensely distressed about a noise that Joy could not hear.  When he went to playgroup it became apparent that he had difficulties socialising, particularly because he wanted to apply fixed rules to the games being played. 

Joy and her husband were keen to get a diagnosis because they felt without one, their son would not be able to access appropriate support. He was diagnosed by a consultant child psychologist and by that point, Joy said she would have been surprised if he hadn’t been diagnosed because it was apparent that they were dealing with a “complex problem”. She describes feeling a mixture of relief and bereavement on receiving the diagnosis; relief because they would be able to access support and bereavement because she thought she had lost the child she thought she had. In retrospect, Joy feels that you never know what your children are going to be like.

She describes her son as kind, affectionate and hard working with a lot to say for himself. While he is aware he has autism, he does not tend to discuss it with her and Joy thinks that he is a lot less anxious now. He is making very good progress at school and loves to learn. He likes going on the internet, watching old comedy programmes, jokes and puns. He doesn’t like pop music, football or parties with a lot of people he doesn’t know. 

Joy describes how she doesn’t mind her son being autistic but the problem is that the rest of society is not very accepting. She hopes this will change as awareness about ASD’s increases. She has met a lot of interesting people through the experience and has learnt a lot about autism. 


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