The first part of this blog post ended on an uplifting note, but there is also of course a flipside – arising in part from the “invisible” nature of ASD and the difficulties presented by “isolation” can have, in terms of hampering acceptance. Children’s educational experience in childhood shapes their whole life experience, but sadly in some respects, Austria lags somewhat in terms of acceptance in an educational setting.
April abounds with content about Autism Awareness. Sadly, increased acceptance is still lagging. ASD diagnoses are now frequently made in childhood, with numbers of diagnoses increasing. A diagnosis during childhood places massive burdens on parents as caregivers. Living abroad can exacerbate the burden further – whether due to not necessarily speaking the local language or struggling to comprehend local attitudes at odds with those elsewhere.
It is Alex’s first day at Volksschule, two streets from our home – “the school with the red slide” that he wanted to go to. We cry with pride and relief as we take pictures for relatives. He’s arrived after a three-year voyage with storms, tears, and sleepless nights. Alex disappears happily into his school building with his Sonderpädagoge, who he had met over the summer.