Our lovely eldest grandson has just had his twelfth birthday & is turning into a handsome boy, what a wonderful journey we have been on with him, with its highs & lows, us learning how to deal with a meltdown, him learning to live in a world he doesn’t totally understand, however, we wouldn’t change a thing. We love him unconditionally, as I’m sure he does us.

 Over the year’s things have changed, one being to let us sing happy birthday to him, the other one being to share his birthday cake, up to now his cake has been his & his alone. His brother & cousins could join him in blowing the candles out as well, not a big deal to many but to our gorgeous boy it’s a massive step. He loves whatever cake I make him, so long as there is a lot of chocolate involved & this year, he said I was #cake queen!! I’ll take that.

 He doesn’t need huge presents & was so excited with a gift card for his favourite pizza restaurant, along with gift vouchers for clip & climb adventure. He had also received money which he is saving towards a dog, I’m not sure he knows how long he will need to save for! He also received a Google home which with his love of music was a big hit.

 Still an adrenalin junky, with absolutely no fear, he along with his brother love to do adventurous things, they recently went to an indoor climbing centre, hence vouchers for clip & climb, they loved it, climbing to the top of all the obstacles & swinging back down.

 Five years ago, both boys learnt to swim whilst in America on holiday. They love the water & these lessons paid off big time when they recently went to an indoor surf centre. They were loaned wetsuits & surf boards & were shown how to surf, they loved it, going again & again, being thrown off & getting back on, I have a feeling they will be going back very soon.

 Our gorgeous boy is not without his problems, bless him, along with being autistic he has been diagnosed with ADHD, at school he has an HECP which entitles him to a classroom Assistant that works alongside him, helping when he does not understand what’s being asked of him, but he is doing very well, he came home with his report with all A’s & B’s & even exceeded expectations with a couple of subjects, needless to say we were all very proud of him.

 He still loves his music & along with his brother & cousins will dance away to the radio. He is still a member of the steel band & at Christmas he opted to play at the tree lighting ceremony in his local town, a huge step for him to play in public. We were in America & couldn’t go so we asked him if his mum could take pictures for us to see, in the past he would have refused but this year he said yes. Another milestone reached!

 As he has got older, he has become more tactile, his Grandpa spent ages encouraging him to have a “big boy hug” with him, gradually over time it worked & the first thing he does now when he arrives is kick off his shoes and give his Gramps a hug. I even got one the other day for bringing him some chocolate cookies, that’s a huge welcome step forward.

 He does make us laugh as well, at the end of last year his Grandpa had a small operation & was resting on his recliner when our funny boy came in, he said “Nanor shouldn’t Grandpa be in an old peoples home, he doesn’t look very well” I assured him Gramps was fine, just resting.

 In the summer we took both boys to an air show, which was obviously going to be very noisy, a problem for our grandson, who is noise sensitive, his brother asked if there was ear protectors for him, there wasn’t, so we warned him it would be loud & I offered to watch from inside with him, he said no he would be ok, put his hoods up, yes he was wearing two,  & put his hands over his ears. His brother who is always looking out for him put his hands over as well, it worked he coped, another milestone conquered.

 On another occasion we had a visit to the zoo, his brother wanted to go to the butterfly house, which he was not keen on, so as Grandpa was there he said he would go in & I would wait with him outside, but he said “no Nanor I can do this come on!!” and he did, another milestone reached.

 He knows he is autistic & reacts differently to certain situations, he has asked why he’s autistic & why is it getting worse, I’m not sure if it is getting worse or if that’s him recognising the symptoms, but sadly we don’t have answers for him, but we will always be there offering comfort support & unconditional love.

 Now if all you see is autism when you see our gorgeous grandson, having a meltdown or using naughty words, then that is your loss. Behind these events is a loving, sensitive, intelligent boy, trying as I started with, to cope with a world he doesn’t totally understand.

 Give him time, give him space & you will see exactly what we see.


Author: Karen Woollett “Nanor’s Tale”