Today I am feeling inspired. This source of inspiration comes from my son. Tom is 22. He was identified with an Autistic Spectrum Condition when he was seven years old after two years of assessment and investigation. In the past fifteen years he has grown from someone who needed constant “interpretation” and guidance to an independent adult.
Tom is never defeated. Some days he is very anxious, some days he is frustrated because his Dyspraxia makes things difficult. But he unfailingly pulls himself up by his boot straps and finds a solution. He sets himself goals and he nails them. He has made it through school, through college, he has qualifications, he goes out to do voluntary work, he pursues his art and interests, he has a unique and sharp sense of humour, he is perceptive and empathetic.
Life is never not a challenge but he is continually hopeful. Today we were talking about his current temp job. I asked if they knew about his additional needs. Some do and some don’t. I jokingly suggested I buy him a T-shirt. Please don’t, he said. I’m happy for people to make accommodations, he said, but I like to be discreet. Then we talked about the Autism Speaks organisation. They want a “cure” for Autism. They also believe the condition is caused by vaccination. In which case, Tom says, I must have levelled up as I’ve had vaccines at secondary school. I laughed.
His humility, humour and unfailing grace and kindness are a gift. When I am feeling like I can’t do this whole life thing his example gives me the determination to keep on. He is an inspiration and I am so thankful to know this man. If Autism speaks I think it says here I am, precious, alternative, challenging the “norms”, showing you how to live life your own way. Tom does this. In spades.