I have felt the most extraordinary love and pride as my son learned to sit still, play with other children or tie his shoelaces. But at the same time, I have felt the most painful of emotions as he was bullied, judged, and often left out.
But what I learned on this journey, was in order to be the best parent, for my son and for my other two neurotypical daughters, that I must become the best person I can be.
Learning what my triggers were, learning how to care for myself, in turn, meant that I had the emotional capacity to be there, wholeheartedly, for my entire family.
The lessons I learned on this journey quite simply allowed me to become the mother, wife and the person - way beyond what I thought possible.
When my son was diagnosed in 1996, my first thought was that our problems were over. The diagnosis gave us answers to questions we had been searching for. However, little did we know that the diagnosis was only the start … and but no means the end.
And these are the lessons that I will share with you.