Hello! I created this blog in August 2013 while supporting my autistic son in his move from school to adult services. Despite years of planning for this transition the process was stressful and frustrating, culminating in me taking legal action on Dylan’s behalf. Setting the blog up seemed a good way of sharing what I’d learned with other families. Little did I realise that it would be two years before Dylan was allocated an appropriate setting nor could I have known how challenging the journey would turn out to be.
The story of my battle to secure a specialist placement for Dylan is told in some of the posts on this blog (in the Policy and Provision category). There are also some more general pieces on the challenges and celebrations of caring for someone who is autistic. A contents page on the blog provides links to individual posts and a theme cloud in the right sidebar identifies posts by subject. The posts are grouped into general topic areas using the following categories:
- A Parent’s World: reflections on being a carer
- Dylan’s World: my observations of my son
- Environment and Community: Dylan’s interactions with society
- Policy and Provision: education, health and social care sectors (UK)
- Science and Magic: reflections on causes, diagnosis and neurology
- Language and Communication: reflections on Dylan’s speech and language development
- The Creative Arts: representations of autism and Dylan’s relationship with the arts
In September 2015, after Dylan had moved into residential care, the focus of the blog shifted from ‘Living With Autism’ to ‘Living With/Out Autism’. Instead of documenting the struggle to secure appropriate provision for Dylan, my concern now is with learning to live without him. I have set myself the challenge of 100 days for the first part of this new journey; my aim is to use the space to make brief daily observations about the process while the clock counts down to the shortest day.
Autism affects individuals and families differently and my posts can only offer accounts based on the particular experience of myself and my son. Although I work in a university department which has an autism centre, the perspective in these posts is that of a parent. My work as an educator does, however, affect my views on autism and the choices I make in relation to my son; these perspectives will sometimes be evident from my posts. Perhaps more importantly, however, I am a poet. My orientation to Dylan and to autism is, I believe, as much a consequence of my poetic practice as any perspective I might have developed as an academic or mother. This creative and writerly approach to understanding and responding to autism influences many of my posts. I hope that you find them interesting.
Thank you for reading!