A New Idea for 2017

If we were having coffee I would inevitably have to pass comment about how long it has been since we last had coffee together. We’re already in to February and this is the first blog post I have made this year. In my defence many things have kept me from being able to sit down and write recently; I’ll spare you all the details, let’s just say it was life stuff!

Well, I’m here now and you’re here so let’s drink our coffee and catch up.

I want to tell you that I have recently started reading the book ‘family pictures’  by Sue Miller. It’s a novel that spans several decades, a family saga about a family that includes an autistic son. Now, I have my own little story relating to this book. I have already read it once before, well over ten years ago. I picked it up randomly along with a few other books at a second hand book sale at my daughter’s school. I wasn’t paying that much attention to the book choices I was making, I was more thinking about doing my bit to support the school funds. I do recall that it was actually just the picture on the cover of ‘family pictures’ that caught my eye and that was why I bought it. Who said you should never judge a book by it’s cover?! 😉

I started reading and finished the book very quickly. Afterwards I passed on the copy I had, either to another charity or to a friend, I don’t remember now which. But the story itself never left me. There were a couple of happenings in the book that struck me very vividly and remained alive in my memory years afterwards. At the time I read it my (autistic) son was very young, a baby still, and I had no idea back then that he was autistic or indeed any inkling that he was in any way non-typical. As the years went by and we started on our own journey with autism as a family, mental images from the book kept coming back to me. I’ve always found it a little haunting (for want of a better word) that one of my strong memories of the mother and son from the story later became a reality in my life, even though I had no notion that my life was heading that same way when I read the book. Over the years I have come to think that it was not coincidence that I picked up that book that day at the school sale. I believe that it was meant to be, that it was some sort of unconscious premonition.

So, why am I reading it again now you may well ask? Well, although I never forgot the story, I did forget both the name of the book and it’s author. I have wanted to re read it for years but it’s difficult to track down a book without knowing either it’s title or author! Of course I did vividly remember the cover picture of the copy I had and for years I kept my eyes open for it when in book shops but that’s really not a very efficient method for tracking down a book  🙂 . I had also made vague attempts to search for the book online, but with so few details to work with I drew a blank.

Eventually I couldn’t let it be. I felt a huge need to re read the book and determined that it had to be possible to find it online. Thanks to the site http://www.goodreads.com and their listopias I finally found it after trawling through lists of books with autism in them. I immediately bought a copy from my favourite online second hand book store, http://www.awesomebooks.com, and that is why I am currently reading it again.

And why am I telling you all of this now over our coffees you may well be thinking? Because as I was reading an idea came to me. One of the things I hope to do with this blog is to further the understanding of autism beyond the autism community in a low key, accesible way. I am an avid reader and naturally I often read books that are related to autism. It occurred to me that I could write about these books in my blog posts and share my reviews and personal thoughts about the books and the way they address or portray autism.

There you have it, my plan for this blog for 2017. The books I will write about will be a mixture of fiction and non fiction and of course the first one will be ‘family pictures – Sue Miller’. I’m really looking forward to writing the posts throughout this year, and I hope you will enjoy reading them.

The #Weekendcoffeeshare  is hosted by Diana on her blog Part Time MonsterFollow the link to read other coffee share posts and find out how to join in yourself. 

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Do we still have time for coffee?

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I’ve been meaning to invite you to have coffee with me for a while but life, it just gets so busy sometimes! But I’m here now and I hope we still have time to grab a quick coffee together this weekend and would you like a brownie to go with your coffee? I made some with my eight year old yesterday, please do help yourself.

I must admit that one of the reasons I am late with this coffee post is that I have been reading a book that I can’t put down. ~ The Husband’s Secret – Liane Moriarty ~ Ever since the husband’s secret was revealed in the story (I won’t spoil it and tell you what the secret is of course!) I have been compelled to keep reading to find out how everything turns out in the end. It’s the second book of Moriarty’s that I’ve read, the other was Big Little Lies which I also loved. I think that she writes people so well, her characters are instantly recognisable as people we all know somewhere in our lives. She has written quite a number of books and I would definitely recommend her as an author.

Another reason I am squeezing in this coffee post today is because I have been busy on my blog with another BloggingU course here on WordPress. It’s the #EverydayInspiration course and I’m really enjoying it. It’s stretching me in my blog writing and possibly pointing me towards new directions. All good things.

But enough of the general chit chat, this blog was meant to be a platform for me to talk about autism and I know I’ve been drifting off topic a lot lately. That said, maybe that’s not a bad thing, maybe that ties in with one of my main messages about autism; yes I have an autistic child, and yes autism is ever present in our family life but it’s only one aspect of our life and it doesn’t define my son or our family life.

Anyway there is one thing, autism related, that has been really irritating me this week that I wanted to offload with you here over coffee (if you don’t mind). As you can imagine, I read most articles I come across in the media about autism. This week I read an article published in a well known British newspaper that talked of a potential new test researchers have devised which could diagnose children with autism at a much younger age than is currently the norm. Honestly, I am tired and irritated by the proliferation of these types of articles, the ones that contain a lot of words like ‘possible’, ‘potential’ and ‘maybe’. This particular article went along the lines of ‘researchers have possibly discovered an indicator that perhaps could be used in the future to possibly diagnose autism in young babies, maybe; but we’re not sure yet.’

Who remembers when the Duchess of Cambridge was due to give birth to Prince George? Remember how the world’s press were camped outside the hospital days before the birth giving regular news reports to the effect of ‘there’s no news yet, she hasn’t given birth’? I feel like there are too many articles published about autism that are like that, i.e. they don’t contain any real news. What is the point of them? Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for research that furthers our *understanding of autism, but I only want to see headlines about it in the media when there is something substantive to report. I don’t want to read that something maybe, perhaps has possibly been discovered about autism that we don’t already know. And don’t even get me started on the ‘possible link between eating sandwiches and autism’ type articles (I’m being highly sarcastic there in case you didn’t spot that!) that are published practically on a daily basis. I see no value whatsoever in reporting completely random and baseless speculation about autism. To me it’s just irritating, but there are other people out there who place their hopes in these kinds of crackpot myths and speculative reporting can be very damaging.

And breath. Rant over, and on that note I will wrap up my complaining and say that I hope to get time to share a coffee again with you next week……now, if you’ll excuse me I need to get back to that husband’s secret! 🙂

 

*I use the word ‘understanding’ intentionally. I believe that autism is a neurological variation, a non typical neurotype, with a genetic basis. I DON’T  believe that it is a ‘disorder’ or a ‘disease’ that needs a cure. I am interested in autism research from the point of view of understanding the neurology of it , what that can teach us about the differences between neurotypical and non neurotypical minds, and how society can best accommodate these differences.