I was afraid of autism
Written on 7th Nov 2015 by Sylvia Lowery
As a child of age 8 or 9 I read the story of Florence Nightingale I was entranced by this first Nurse who became known as the Lady of the Lamp. This story ignited fire in me. I wanted to be a nurse and care for those who were suffering. I never made it as a nurse but my life has been one of caring, not as a professional Nurse but as a mum and wife. I am here today to share some of my story.
When I was 18 I had trained as a Nursery Nurse. I had this view of my future life. Children with 10 perfect toes. They would be good and easy to care for. I wouldn’t make the mistakes my parents had made. I would never put sugar on my babies dummy or let them drink sugary drinks out of a bottle. Even at the age of 18 I couldn’t wait to be a mother. I had met my husband John and married at the age of 19.
I told John that I couldn’t cope with having a child with autism. He didn’t know anything about autism but he must have thought this was a strange thing to say. I had this fear of autism because as a student Nursery Nurse I had worked with a child who had Autism. This child was trapped in his own world and would walk from one corner to the other. He would fall to the floor and scream and hurt himself. His distress was palpable. I had asked the teaching staff if anyone could reach him but they said there was no point. They even sat on him during these episodes. I asked them why they did this and they said it was the only way to manage it. This was in 1984 when Autism was not well understood or provided for. This child had a massive impact on me. I felt that this autism wasn’t like any other disability. This child’s distress broke my heart and shattered my illusions. In my heart I felt that I could never cope with a child who was suffering so much and who couldn’t be reached. Every time I thought of autism a shiver went down my spine and I felt a sense of unrest. Little was I to know that autism was in the future to become such a part of my life.
Next time I will talk about marrying my husband and having Ben, Naomi and Alex.
Unless otherwise indicated, all materials on this page are © Alex Lowery Speaks About Autism. Please do not reproduce, modify or use for any purpose without the prior, written consent of the author. If you are interested in using an article on your blog or in your magazine, please contact us.