My son was so bright he had walked and talked early. Then at about 14 months, he suddenly lost his language. I’d presumed he simply had some minor ailment, so the word ‘autism’ slid into me like the sharp cold edge of a knife.
People with Asperger’s might not contribute in conventional terms but that doesn’t make them less valuable and it’s up to us to help them flourish, starting with stamping out the bigotry that excludes people with disabilities from mainstream life. I don’t like the terms ‘normal’ or ‘abnormal’.
Professionals, with their oxytocin nasal sprays and neural circuitry rewiring, predict a ‘cure’ for autism in 50 years or so. But will we then lose our ingenious scientists, virtuosos and innovative artists? My own vivid, original, brilliant boy is now volunteering at Oxfam and taking a course on radio announcing. With his encyclopedic knowledge of sports (he’s Wikipedia with a pulse) he hopes to become the world’s quirkiest sports commentator, if only someone would give him a chance.
With support, encouragement and love, these unique individuals can fulfil their exceptional potential. I hope my novel helps destigmatise Asperger’s while also promoting tolerance, understanding and acceptance
The Boy Who Fell To Earth, by Kathy Lette, is published by Bantam Press, priced £12.99.
The Boy Who Fell to Earth
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Author Kathy Lette on her aspergers son and why she wouldn't