Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Published Tuesday, April 12, 2016 by

Identifying with Alison (the A-Word) - a bully or a desperate mum?

being a tiger, and fighting for your child with autism to get them support.

The A Word has divided our household or more to the point Alison (Joe's mum) has my husband and I each taking different views about how she has reacted since receiving Joe's diagnosis of autism.

My husband took a disliking to Alison in the very first episode and this has dislike has increased with each episode, whilst I have identified with a mum who is fiercely protective of her child and wants to do everything in her power to help him despite now knowing what help it is that he needs.

Twitter seems to agree with my other half, I did a poll last week and 57% of the responses thought that Alison is a bully, whilst 43% viewed her as a desperate mum. Descriptions of her character have included "self absorbed", "cold", "unaccepting" whilst others mentioned "sad" and "desperate".

Alison and her "tiger" instinct

I seem to be in the minority - however I can't help but feel a connection to Alison as I recognise the sheer will and determination of a mum fighting to help her child despite having so many unanswered questions, and desperate to find someone who will help her Son.

Looking past her behaviours, which have been seemed rash and questionable at times, I keep asking myself about the motivations and fears that are driving her.

Morven Christie describes the Alison's character as "a tiger" intent on helping her son in any way she can, without regard for social niceties.

It is this tiger instinct to protect our children can sometimes blind us to what is the right thing to do as we rush in trying to fix things for our children without stopping to take breath and consider the full implications of our actions.

My "tiger moments"

Over the past year I have had many tiger moments myself - endless weeks of daily phone calls to anyone I could get hold of as I tried to get my Son assessed and diagnosed, multiple meetings with different schools and professionals as we fought for increased support and challenged requests for reduced timetables & schools transfers, chasing up various professional reports to support our EHCP application, and the endless hours of online research & calls to charities to find out more about our rights so that we knew what we needed to fight for.

During this time I have not always consulted my husband as I dived head first into trying to get things done and, despite my best intentions, I have not always been a vision of collaboration when trying to find a way for my Son to get the support he needs.

I may not have always made the right decisions or approached things in the right way, but I can say that I did what I thought was best at the time
I may not have always made the right decisions or approached things in the right way, but I can say that I did what I thought was best at the time, and that my overwhelming desire each time was to do what I thought was best for my Son. With time I have come to realise that it doesn't always need to be me vs. the world as I search for answers, and that there are many different avenues of support that I can rely on to help guide and support me in the decisions that I make.

Maybe it is because I see myself in Alison, that I see someone who is desperate to help her Son. I hope that like me she is able to find a network that she can rely on to help support and guide her through the many twists and turns that she is likely to face rather than feeling that she needs to battle everything on her own.