My Irrepressible Star

My Irrepressible Star

by Nick Pecorelli our Founder for World Autism Day

My son was the original Little Green Radical and he has always been my irrepressible star. Today he is a handsome and popular young man. But he is also non verbal and profoundly autistic.
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I cannot pretend it has been an easy journey so far. For most parents the heavy lifting is done by now and it is just the psychological tug of war to contend with but for Leo the journey has only reached the end of the beginning. Supporting and caring for him is something I will do for as long as I possibly can. 
Autism is, of course, a spectrum disorder. It ranges from those with savant skills whose laser like focus on one subject amazes and bemuses and who often struggle to read social cues, to those like my son, who live in another world entirely. Perhaps the hardest part of the spectrum is those who know they are not like others but when they reach young adulthood and long to push away from anxious parents, cannot find the affirmation they need from peers to build their own self esteem and make their own way in life.
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For me while the chaos and periodic sleep deprivation still hurt I am fortunate to have constant reminders that Leo fell in happiness potion at birth. He is the sun and as long as everything revolves around him he will always radiate warmth. His indefatigable nature is both exhausting and exhilarating. He is locked in a world of chasing dogs, building shaving foam mountains, carousels, music and cakes. Mr Tumble is still a staple. He does not have friends like most young people his age yet everyone is his friend. 
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On World Autism Day I can only offer parents and carers setting out on this journey this simple advice:
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Let go of all anxiety about being judged.
Live in their world don’t pine for yours.
Diluting your own ambitions is part of the deal but do whatever you can to make time for yourself so you can keep your own equilibrium when all around are loosing theirs. 
Today is the only day that counts. And like the Cat in the Hat it is good to have lots of good fun that is funny.  
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We most certainly do. We absolutely definitely do.
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