Once upon a time The Boy went to school with TheBoyWhoCouldn'tSitStill. TheBoyWhoCouldn'tSitStill didn't really like school. He hated it. Too many rules. Too much pressure to conform. His brain worked at such a rate he seemed unable to process anything. His fists and his mouth would react to situations before his brain even had time to engage.
TheBoyWhoCouldn'tSitStill was half the size of the other children, I nicknamed him Dash from The Incredibles. And he was nothing short of incredible. I have never seen a child move so quickly, darting out of the classroom and on to the roof before you knew it. He liked the roof. A lot. I'm not sure if it was the sense of danger, or the fact that the teachers would never dare follow him up there. All I know is whenever I used to go and collect The Boy, TheBoyWhoCouldn'tSitStill always appeared most content when he was out of reach of the world.
One day I went into school, and nine fire doors had been kicked in. Nine. Those thick glass panes with the wire inside. It was TheBoyWhoCouldn'tSitStill. Four foot something of destruction had unleashed his anger with mankind. And it was probably because he didn't want to wash his hands before lunch or queue up after break.
TheBoyWhoCouldn'tSitStill's mum would come to collect him. We crossed paths regularly - I'd have been phoned to collect my son for biting, and as I pulled up into the car park she'd be calling hers down from the roof. She was exhausted. He didn't sleep at night, only for a couple of hours. She had nothing but my full admiration.
You see, TheBoyWhoCouldn'tSitStill was diagnosed with ADHD. You know the one, that supposedly non-existent condition caused by crap parents that people snigger about. Well, here's my own version of Disability Top Trumps. I worked in a respite care home for children with disabilities for a couple of years. I worked there originally to help put The Boy and his problems into perspective. And then I stayed because I loved it. And the most challenging children, the ones who struggled to fit in the most, were often those with ADHD. Yet still people mock it as a condition or say it's just spoilt children with appalling parents.
So, all I'm saying is in some ways me and The Boy are lucky. Autism seems to be flavour of the month. It's almost trendy to have an autistic child. The new bipolar. If you go on facebook or twitter every day is Autism Day for some reason or another. And don't get me wrong, I'm eternally grateful for that. But let's spare a thought for those who have conditions that aren't as well recognised. I was used to being labelled a Shit Parent before The Boy was diagnosed. His diagnosis helped deal with that a lot. I can't imagine what it must be like when even after diagnosis the label sticks even more.
I'll get down off my soapbox now. I've just declared today ADHD Wednesday. Join
TheBoyWhoCouldntSitStill and shout it from the rooftops.
This blog is about bringing up The Boy. He's 12 years old and autistic. It's written by The Dad. It's my words, my view. Other people will think differently and have different opinions. Good.