Parents of children on the Autism Spectrum

Rosie - Interview 18

Age at interview: 53

Brief outline: Rosie's son, Sam, was originally diagnosed with dyspraxia and then with autism when he was five years old. He attends a special school which has a specialist autism unit which he enjoys.

Background: Rosie, a retired nurse and artist, lives with her partner and youngest son Sam. She has four children aged 29,27,26 and 14. Ethnic background/nationality: White British.

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Rosie lives with her second husband and her youngest son, Sam, aged 14. When Sam was a baby, Rosie noticed that he didn’t move much in comparison to his cousin of the same age. He reached his milestones at an appropriate age and when he was three he became fixated on eating things like buttons, glass, paper and metal. After one trip to casualty, the hospital consultant wrote to Rosie’s GP, Sam was referred to hospital where he was diagnosed with autistic spectrum disorder and severe developmental dyspraxia.
The consultant painted a bleak picture of Sam’s future which was very much upsetting for his parents. Rosie then had a battle to get Sam statemented and in the end Sam was given full time one to one support in his mainstream school. After a while, however, Rosie and his father decided to moved him to a private school with smaller classes where he stayed for three years. At the end of this time it was decided that a special school with a unit for autistic children would be more appropriate for Sam’s needs. Sam loves his school and is doing very well there.
For Rosie, the lack of visibility of autistic spectrum disorders can be difficult; she thinks that people can be frightened of difference. She and her family do not see Sam as a disabled child. They focus on the things he can do, rather than the things he can’t. 
Sam does not interact well with his peers but is very sociable with people who are older or younger than him. He fears changes, cats and loud noises, and is reluctant to wash very often. Sam loves animals and maps and he has an amazing knowledge of films, actors and directors.


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