The A Word has blown the lid off what it is really like to be the parents of an autistic child

The early morning is my favourite - when I wake with my arms wrapped around my six year old son, his thumb clamped in his mouth, muttering gently as he snuggles closer. Asleep like this, having climbed into bed between us, his mind and body are calm; free from the challenges that mark his waking hours.

Like Joe, the young character in popular BBC drama The A Word, which returned for a second series earlier this month, Sam is one of the 700,000 people in the UK with autism. And for my husband, Graham, and I – along with many families affected by the condition – watching the progamme is both unsettling and comforting.

Of course, Joe’s story is not the same as Sam’s. As everyone touched by autism will tell you, no two people are the same. Those with Autism Spectrum Condition (ASC) are as unique as anyone else on the planet, and for our outgoing boy - who also has a separate developmental language disorder - the ASC diagnosis, which came when he turned four, is only one piece of his jigsaw.

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28th November 2017
Telegraph Online