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There is never just one aspie in the family

Many of us know other people in our family who are 'eccentric' but were never diagnosed with anything. They were just difficult, creative, awkward, inventive, rude, honest, loud, quiet, odd, different, or 'You know, like your Uncle Lenny'.
There are others who are still looked on as the only one in their family on the autistic spectrum. It is just them and only them and they are special or all of the above and they don't fit the family mold.

And I guess it might be so. In a small number of families (really, really dull families and a really small number of them), the aspie might shine out with the brightness of a frost-lit star. Yes, they might be a throwback, the only one who is like this and surrounded by grey normality.

Or Aunty Glenys is just pretending to be normal. And good old Dad with his sedate hobby of model trains would have an actual meltdown if you hadn't all learned to leave his damn trains alone. Or your aspie is really the secret love-child of groovy Mr Fairbanks from down the road.

Either way, autistic spectrum disorders run in the family - they do! You might think your aspie is the only one and you have the diagnosis to prove it , especially as no one else in the family has a diagnosis. Your child struggles with real-life things that you never struggled with so they are the one on the spectrum. Your own set of behaviours are completely normal. It takes an outsider to see where the dots connect.

While your aspie child misunderstands questions, you might misread situations: the misunderstood questions are noticed because you are on the alert for your child getting things wrong but when you misunderstand situations, everyone in the family is already used to re-explaining what they meant so no one mentions it.

Your aspie child might come out of school bawling their eyes out and making the biggest, fattest fuss and how embarrassing that is! and how tempting to whisper to those judgy parents that your child is on the spectrum

never remembering your own isolation at school, your absolute quiet, your need to get everything possible right because of how it felt to be wrong and forgetting entirely how your attention to detail at school led to attention to detail at work and how much you still hate to get anything wrong

but you don't make a fuss, do you? So you are different from your child.

Growing up quiet and filtering out the comments from adults about anything you did that surprised them and understanding you had to do things a certain way to be right, which is all part of growing up, then not recognising when you correct your child for the same things.

Just not getting it. Not getting how Granny's outspoken comments in public could point to something more than her age, or that thing she tried to do with the leftover food last week, or the anxiety you feel when you try to manage the situations with her in them so that everything will still be quiet and controlled.

Not everyone can look at themselves and see what they do in a clear light, but it can be too easy to look at the aspie in your family and explain how you see them. Putting the spotlight on someone else does not mean you don't share the same stage.

You have an aspie in the family, does it not seem likely they aren't the first? And how far back do you have to go before you find someone else on the spectrum? It is a very big spectrum full of pretty colours, I'm sure you could identify a few of them if you looked.

And if you do have the first aspie in your family, well wow! That does make you special! And I mean that in a good way. You're special, yes you are!

(That part is sarcasm, in case you sometimes feel you need it pointed out to you.)

((I know, I know, it's completely normal to need sarcasm pointing out to you, isn't it?))

Every child is different and they all need treated they way that suits them. Being on the spectrum is just another part of family life, even if it seems like a great big part. As your child grows, it would be much better to show them the example of how to manage life rather than tell them how they don't manage.

And when you are fishing things back out of the toilet or extricating your child from another adventure, just think how lucky you are to be one of those families where there is always something going on and how dull life would be without it.


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