My Autistic Son

Read a mother’s moving account of her discovery that her son suffers from high functioning autism.


Chapter Two, “Other People’s Judgements,” 

You see a child having a terrible tantrum in the park. You think: “I am glad that is not my child”.

The tantrum gets worse and worse and the child becomes aggressive towards his mother. You stare in horror and think: “That mum is hopeless. She cannot control her child”.

Before my son was diagnosed with high functioning autism, I was one of those mothers. I had so many moments like this that I cannot even put a number on them.

Like most people, I didn’t know much about autism. I’d heard about the repetitive behaviour, the “rocking” or the lack of speech. But I had no idea that aggressive behaviour is part of it too.

In the summer of 2009, my son was so easily frustrated that going out was virtually impossible. For various reasons...

Firstly, for his own safety. A “meltdown,” as we came to describe them, could be triggered anywhere and for any reason; only he knew why. I am amazed there were no accidents as we had so many terrifying moments.  Sometimes he would run across busy roads and cars would stop literally just in time.

Secondly, for the safety of other children. My son would pick on a child who was just trying to play with him. Now I understand this is because children with autism have serious difficulties with social interaction; LJ (my son) would feel threatened by anybody talking to him.

Thirdly, and this is what I found the most difficult to deal with, I could not bear the looks and judgments from other people. “She is a useless mum” and worse. I have been in tears so many times. 

I am not the sort of person who would let my child get away with bad behaviour. I am probably not as severe as my parents were with me and my brother but I have manners. 

The more I tried to contain my son the longer and more aggressive the meltdowns became. I was completely at a loss about what to do.

I am not from an aggressive background and LJ doesn’t see any aggressive behaviour at home. Where was this behaviour coming from? How on earth was I supposed to deal with it?

In the end I just didn’t go out anymore. We became very isolated - staying at home all the time - and that wasn’t good for either of us.

We still had countless meltdowns at home but at least I felt I could deal with them more confidently. I could also look after my other son, who was just two.

It feels like there are two parts to our life: before the diagnosis and after. Since autism was identified we have had help, we have done some research and we can deal with the meltdowns a lot more easily.  As LJ becomes older he understands and communicates a lot better too.

For any mums out there who are going through any of this, please believe me: it does get better.

It is frustrating and it makes life more difficult, but it is manageable. Looking after a disabled child is a constant challenge - you have to battle every step of the way - but you find the strength to do that...

In the next chapter: “Going to school” and “the fight to get a “statement.””

Chapter One, “A story, a journey, a learning”

I am a Carshalton mum. I had my first son in 2005 and was overjoyed to have a baby I so much desired.

Being new to the “job” I experienced all the upheavals a new mum goes through. As soon as my child started to walk, I realized he was quite boisterous. I was told he was a boy and that’s what boys do.

When my son turned two, I was not so convinced his behaviour was that of a typical boy. Soon the nursery teacher raised some concerns too. After seeing an educational psychologist, a speech therapist, a paediatrician, we were told there was nothing “wrong”.

The behaviour did not improve, in fact it became more aggressive and the play repetitive, solitary and simply different from his friends of the same age.

As the mum, I knew there was something not quite right, but the medical profession thought I was just neurotic.

After an episode of extreme danger I was referred to a Mental Health hospital, where after various sessions I was made to feel like a bad mum. Social services became involved and I was sent on a parenting course.

After a difficult year, my son and I finally saw a child psychiatrist who diagnosed my son with high functioning autism.

I was not a delusive, neurotic mum: there was a reason behind the behaviour and lack of learning.

This was, however, a bombshell that was to change our future as a family.

My journey into motherhood took a turn I did not expect.

Sadness turned into anger, anger turned into more sadness and finally, acceptance and hope. 

Since having the diagnosis, various doors have opened (The London Borough of Sutton has a lot of great agencies in place) and we have learned to manage as a family.

Also, I have met so many incredible people who deal with disabilities in such a remarkable way that I cannot feel sorry for myself.

I look up to them, learn from them and become a better person day after day.

The journey has been difficult, and will still be difficult, but it is a journey I know I can survive...

Find out how she copes with the diagnosis in ‘My special needs son’s next entry, coming soon...

For more information and advice about autism, please visit

To support Helpp, a Sutton charity for children with autism, please visit

This blog was first published on 


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