Parents of children on the Autism Spectrum

Mary-Anne - Interview 25

Age at interview: 32

Brief outline: Mary-Anne's son, Arthur, was diagnosed with Asperger syndrome, Tourettes syndrome and elements of ADHD and OCD three years ago. He attends a special school which he enjoys.

Background: Mary-Anne, a full time carer, lives with her son who is 11 years old. Ethnic background/nationality: White other.

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Mary-Anne, a full time carer, lives with her 11 year old son, Arthur.  Before he started crawling, Arthur was a quiet baby who would entertain himself happily for long periods.  He became much livelier once he was mobile and was a very inquisitive child.  He didn’t interact with other children however, and Mary-Anne became concerned when his nursery kept him back for a year.  Arthur was referred to a psychologist who said that he was on the borderline of ADHD but nothing to worry about.

That summer, during a trip to his grandparents, Arthur developed unusual movements with his arms and the doctors suggested rheumatic fever.  Mary-Anne by this stage suspected Arthur had Tourette’s syndrome and asked to be referred to a specialist.   The specialist diagnosed him with Asperger syndrome, Tourette’s syndrome and elements of ADHD and OCD. 
Mary-Anne was keen for Arthur to stay in mainstream school and describes feeling devastated when special schooling was suggested.  She had hoped that Arthur would get better within the mainstream environment with the right support however she eventually realised that a special school would be more suitable.  He has made great progress there.

Mary-Anne is glad that the doctor who diagnosed Arthur was very blunt with her and stressed that he had a lifelong condition.  She feels this enabled her to see that Arthur’s happiness was the most important focus, rather than the expectations she might have had for him.  She feels it is important for people to realise that he has problems with facial recognition but this does not mean he can’t form close bonds with people.

Arthur has what he calls ‘habits’ and these include licking his fingers and touching surfaces.   He is a very articulate and intelligent boy who describes himself as “a mysterious boy with mental disabilities”.  He has a great sense of humour and thrives on routine.



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