He passed. There was never a doubt in my mind that he would fail, but he can now prove the doubters wrong. The teachers that withheld the work from him that he was desperately seeking, were wrong. The people who saw his labels before they saw him, were wrong. It was hard to watch as everything about him was always so right.
When my son was given the diagnosis of Autism at aged 6, it was no shock to me. I always knew from early on that he was developing differently than most children and saw the world through alternative eyes. Where many would have said he ‘lacked’ in many areas, I saw far more gains in his life that this diagnosis had brought.
He gathered information around him at lightening speed and his memory was astounding and never failed. He never had to rehearse things as once he experienced something, he knew it straight away. He accepted people for who they were and what they did and never wanted to change them or cause them harm. He saw the world for what it was and found his own place in this confusing reality.
When he withdrew from the world into his own space when he was young, he entered a place where he found happiness in the things that he loved. When he remained silent and only spoke sporadically, these few words were wiser than a thousand meaningless conversations. As he took in all the surroundings whilst appearing not to notice, he was understanding the world on a deeper level than most would ever know.
Spending his early childhood shaping himself into the person that he became, his label disintegrated into the background as people began to expect the unexpected from him. As he smashed through the barriers that people had put in front of him, his determination to succeed grew. Life was what he had made it and the life that he had made was full of achievement.
Moving into mainstream education was a battle worth fighting. Having only been in mainstream education for the last 2 years after coming from a nurturing class, he sat his GCSE’s. Finding out he had passed all his GCSE’s with top grades was such a magical moment on so many different levels. Pride is such an understatement of how we felt about the life that he chose to create.
Here he is aged 16, ready to start his A Levels. He has booked to volunteer and trek in India next summer for 3 weeks with some school friends. His worldly knowledge increases daily as he reads book after book as his thirst for knowledge intensifies. His compassion for environmental issues demonstrates his love of this world that many mistreat. He is an absolute star.
Adversity will always have the capacity to allow for adventure if you learn to see it through different eyes. Labels can only give you limitations if you choose to read them the wrong way. What if we all chose to do the opposite of what our labels say and rewrite the labels that are forced upon us? These new words on these new labels could be the start of a whole new life.