Wow, has it really been 5 years since that amazing day? The best tea party I could ever imagine being invited to (well apart from a ‘Mad Hatter’s’), I was sat eating cake and drinking tea with Brendan Cole at Claridges, just Wow. How surreal! I kept waiting for Alice to jump out of a hole! What an awesome feeling to be invited to meet Simon Cowell and Gloria Hunniford and their guests.
But I am forgetting the most important part, why I am there?
Let’s rewind a few months.
If you have read any of my other blogs you will know son no. 3 has a diagnosis of Autism, he was diagnosed at 6 yrs of age. Although we have always known from a very young age that something was just not quite right, this diagnosis still came as such a huge shock to us. I am sure many parents will probably agree.
Our path to diagnosis was rocky and took many years of battles, as people who are going through it will empathise, but throughout some if this we had some amazing support from an amazing charity called face2face. This charity was ran by scope. I had an amazing befriender who was a huge support, she was a listener, a friend, an ear and was there when nobody else was. Now I am not saying that nobody else was there, but at that time it felt like I was supermum and carried everyone, I had to because if I didn’t then everyone around me would collapse. William was born as a BBA, a bit of a traumatic experience which then led me onto PND which I coped with but didn’t really deal with when you have a child who never sleeps. She taught me that I could put my backpack down and learn to look after me. She was an amazing befriender.
Being a mum of a child living with a disability is hard work, nobody wanted to help, to listen, to be there when he screamed, punched, kicked or had a meltdown. Why would they I wouldn’t or would I.
So as the weeks went on and life got easier, I realised friendships were there as I released the grip on the backpack.
Then I was asked to make a film clip for the health lottery. Me? Talk about being a mum with a child living with Autism? Really? Wow.
So we did!
Me and my befriender talked about how she had helped me and I talked about living with son no.3.
What it’s like sleepless nights, a friendless boy, the struggles, the lack of invites to parties, the struggles of mainstream school, living with family who just don’t understand the issues of an invisible disability.
A child who doesn’t eat, doesn’t wear certain clothes, like loud noises, but loves the firmness of hugs and cuddles.
I remember reading a poem about going on a trip to Holland but thinking your going to Spain with your friends. You get off the plane and realise it’s not what you expect, it’s ok, its sunny, there are nice people, and you get on.
That is what Face2Face has taught me. I have met some wonderful people over the years. I am not where I started when he was born. That doesn’t matter life moves on. People can’t all be expected to cope with ‘my’ stuff.
He is an amazing boy making friends and going to parties. Life moves on and changes. Holland is good.
So now lets fast forward to the invite, we are both sat in a tea party at Claridges, there are television screens all around us. Dotted around are celebrities, I remember it just felt crazy. Then the film played. Finally we are asked to go on stage to a standing applause. Wow! hugs tears and emotions. Autism is noticed, Disability is noticed! My son has helped to make Autism heard.