Parents of children on the Autism Spectrum

Rachel - Interview 8

Age at interview: 42

Brief outline: Rachel's sons, Thomas and Matthew, have both been diagnosed with Asperger syndrome. They both attend a mainstream primary school with support.

Background: Rachel, a former social worker, is now a full time carer and lives with her husband and two sons aged 9 and 6.

Audio & video

Audio onlyText only
Read below

Rachel and her husband have two sons, Thomas aged 9 and Matthew aged 6.  Tom was a very restless baby and was fearful of things from an early age.  His motor skills were poor and while he knew a lot about some things, like dinosaurs and Thomas the Tank Engine, he would also play obsessively with playdough and disliked wearing clothes with zips or labels.  He was very difficult to take anywhere and hated physical contact with people.

Before the diagnosis, Rachel and her husband could not make sense of Tom’s behaviour and blamed themselves.  This was very hard particularly because the family were getting no advice or support.  When he started school, his difficulties became more apparent and Rachel went to the GP who referred Tom to the paediatrician.  He was eventually diagnosed with Asperger syndrome and this was a huge relief to Rachel and her husband.  Tom has now been statemented, he is getting on well at school and is learning to manage his fears and anxieties. 

Matthew was a very different child, a very confident, cuddly toddler.  He didn’t really play with other children however, and when he started school, his confidence dropped and he became very isolated and anxious.  He was diagnosed more quickly than Tom and Rachel felt very sad at this point.  Matthew is in the process of being statemented.

Both boys have heightened sensory perception and find lights, noises, smells, textures hard to cope with.  Rachel has gone through a process of desensitising them which has been helpful.  Both boys found toileting difficult and regularly get severe nightmares.  They are very literal and so Rachel and her husband have learnt to talk to them in ways that they understand.  They are very close to each other and enjoy similar interests such as Star Wars, computer games, animals and trampolining. Thomas wants to work in a zoo when he is older, Matthew wants to be a Jedi.


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