Add a liberal dose of autism, a pinch of Asperger Syndrome, a generous helping of AD/HD and a dash of sensory and motor problems to an already frantic family and one may be excused for thinking that it would be a recipe for disaster! In fact the situation is quite the opposite.. .it produces a taste of diversity, a zest for knowledge and a yearning for understanding.
Many people object to the use of a spectrum as an analogy to define the many variations of autism. It is considered to be too two dimensional. Too flat. Whilst many people prefer to speak of the autistic landscape or continuum, I personally believe that no terminology can be fully accurate in describing the complexities of autism and related differences and I like to think of a kaleidoscope of colour, so the term 'spectrum' suits me. I love kaleidoscopes and the way a different picture is made with each twist. As the sun shines through my bevelled windows, a myriad of different hues and colours are thrown around the room and with one squint of the eye or a tilt of the head, the whole appearance changes.. .just like my children. As I watch them grow and develop, their assortment of mannerisms and physical features, and the echoes of one another, of me and other relatives tease and entice me to learn more and to teach them to be aware of themselves and of how they think, feel and relate to the world around them.
Whilst I (and Anna) have made a brief introduction to each family member and it is clear that a large family such as mine will invariably be 'colourful', the various shades of the boys' differences give an added splash of colour to our already hectic household. Each one of the girls has her own unique character and as with many of us, slivers of certain traits that are glaringly obvious in the boys can be seen in the girls. They are in general however, more or less 'typical' teenagers - no less unique than the boys.. .merely different.
The boys however did not develop typically (whatever that means) and so I will now provide the background of each of them, to show how we got where we are today.
An extra splash of colour
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Whenever a doctor informs the parents that their child is suffering with Autism, the first & foremost question that is thrown over him is - How did it happen? How did my child get this disease? Well, there is no definite answer to what are the exact causes of Autism.