Parents of children on the Autism Spectrum

Mike - Interview 22

Male
Age at interview: 55

Brief outline: Mike's youngest son, Andrew, was diagnosed with autism when he was three years old. He moved to a specialist residential school a year ago, after spending a year excluded from school because of challenging behaviour.

Background: Mike, an insurance broker, and his wife have four children aged 28, 27, 18 and 14. Ethnic background/nationality: White British

Audio & video

Mike and his wife have four children.  When their youngest son, Andrew, was three years old he stopped talking.  After getting his hearing checked, Andrew was seen by a psychiatrist who diagnosed autism.  At the age of 4½ Andrew went to a special needs school for two years and then the local special needs school until two years ago when he began to develop challenging behaviour and was excluded from school.  After nearly a year at home, Mike found a new residential school for children with autism and Andrew started there.   He has been there for the past year and has made tremendous progress .

The family's life has changed over the years.  They did not go out as much as they might have done because of the difficulties associated with the lack of visibility of autism as a condition or disorder.  Mike thinks impact of autism on families is poorly understood, particularly because it is a lifetime condition.  He is strongly in favour of person centre planning and would like to see joined up services. Mike is heavily involved in local support group and acts as an advocate on behalf of other parents. He views this involvement with the group as a positive development in his life and one he thoroughly enjoys.

Andrew is a cheerful boy who is happy with his own company.  He enjoys stacking things like poker chips and playing with paint, playdough and water.

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