My name is Katie I am a parent like many of you. I have two beautiful boys: Jonah who is five and is in reception at school and Samuel who is seven and autistic.
Samuel is my first child, and I might be biased but I think he is gorgeous. He has a smile that could melt a thousand hearts and has so much love for us, his dog...and his dinosaur collection!
His autism makes him extremely anxious, and it breaks my heart that we can't always keep him calm. When he's stressed he becomes a different child. Anxiety really does dominate his entire life, and ours.
Samuel's needs change all the time and we are constantly finding new ways we can support him. He struggles with anything new and unexpected, so while he is happy playing at home, going out can be a real challenge. It's made worse by people's perceptions that he is a naughty boy.
We got no support when he was diagnosed so like most families we've had to find our own way. I'm constantly researching online for anything with an evidence base that sounds like it could help Samuel to be himself.
It's a daily struggle but the more we understand autism, and Samuel's needs, the easier it gets. We know that planning is key, so he knows what to expect. It makes a big difference to his anxiety levels before we go somewhere new.
Learning about Autistica's work
Autistica were chosen as Charity of the Year by my husband's company. Before that we didn't know that research was going on that was so relevant to our lives.
We're determined to keep up to date with their work around anxiety, as finding treatments or strategies that work for Samuel would be life-changing.