What’s in a number…

By | May 14, 2012

Numbers….we’re surrounded by them. They dictate our lives, even before we’re born:
“your baby is due on….”, “at 32 weeks of pregnancy, your baby should be xx length” and at the ultrasound scans the head is measured etc.

Once your baby is born, there are more numbers: the birth weight, the length, the head circumference. And then the pressure starts: is your baby growing to his/her line on the growth chart? Are they holding their head unsupported at the right age? Rolling over? Crawling? Pulling themselves up? Babbling?
Boom! Pressure to keep up, to conform to the norm.

Your child starts nursery (having had those Health Visitor checks between birth and now) with the boxes ticked for the “milestones”. You are given some forms before nursery starts to complete: is your child potty trained? Drinking from a cup or beaker? Can they dress themselves? Can they count from 1 to 3?

And then someone notices something isn’t “right” at nursery. Your child is not “conforming” – they prefer to play by themselves, almost obsessively: they lack social skills: their speech is delayed. You start the “process” to a potential diagnosis, not quite understanding where it will lead.

You reach your destination: A diagnosis of Autism. You are told that your child’s social skills and awareness are YEARS below their actual age.

You mentally tear up that bit of paper that says what your child should be doing by now, you start again.

You accept that whilst your child might be taller and older looking for their age, their awareness of the world around them is far far less. You start to worry like you have never worried before about the future.

You learn to ignore the “averages”, the “stats”, the numbers.

You realise that you will always love your child with Autism no matter what.

You take pride in their accomplishments that other people would simply brush aside (for my D, this can be as simple a thing as taking a trip to the shops without bolting and remaining nicely in her SN buggy – her “safe” place, her sanctuary).

You look forward to your child’s birthday and try not to compare, to think what might have been.

You remain determined to raise Autism awareness for each and every person and their loved ones.

You forget about conforming to the numbers.


Thanks for reading, comments/RTs as ever welcomed. Jx

Facebook Comments


tlrfoundation on 14th May 2012 at 12:20 pm.

Oh Jeanette, how true, and all through that one’s process of adjustment, for me it was denial, first then trying to protect my child, standing up for him, using my strength to shield him from any potential……everything, now I think about it! It was such a challenging time for me, it gets better 🙂


Kip McGrath Urmston Tutoring Centre on 14th May 2012 at 9:43 pm.

Beautiful piece of writing, really moving. People who tut in shops should be made to read this! Xx


AutismMumma on 15th May 2012 at 10:02 am.

Thank you :), that wasn’t meant to be the blog topic yesterday but I was pleased (and surprised) with it x


Marie Whitney on 27th October 2012 at 9:12 pm.

Jeannette that was excellent. Raw and real. It has been on my mind the last couple of days why I enjoy following your blogs, and tweets. It is because I get such pleasure at seeing parents enjoy and appreciate their children. So many don’t. They take them for granted. Everything has fallen into their laps and they don’t even know it. I hear mothers in the supermarket screaming at their kids who are only acting up because screaming is the attention they understand. I know people are under pressure and children can be a financial burden but they are also such a gift. It’s a pleasure hearing about the pride you have in T and D. Keep it up Jeannette. You are a credit to your family.


AutismMumma on 28th October 2012 at 8:03 pm.

Thank you, that’s so kind! I’m very proud of them and what they achieve, be it (perceived as) big or small.

You are so right in your comments. I saw it so many times children reaching out for attention and it’s denied – for whatever reason. There was a child on the bus and he kept saying “Dad, what’s this” etc, being completely ignored and I thought “your child is communicating – plenty can’t – answer him!”

Always appreciate your RTs and comments, thank you x


Carren Hall on 15th January 2013 at 2:07 pm.

I knew my son had developemental delays from a very young age, He was diagnosed with developemental delay and hypermobile joints at 3yrs old and he was discharged and I was left to try and help him the best I could. A referal for constipation lead to further investigation into his condition, still a long way to go but at least I feel like we haven’t been abandoned and left to cope on our own.
Your posts give me hope for my sons future and help me to realise that I can’t change him but at least I can try and help him to reach his potential.


1funmum on 15th January 2013 at 2:16 pm.

That was beautiful. We should always forget the numbers. Oh you for got one number. Becoming one. Everytime a mom waits on a wait list. We often are treated like just a number. It’s just too easy to be crippled by them all. Too many numbers. We live in a get it right now and progress now world. That’s why bloger like you are needed. To remind people to slow it down. To enjoy. Everytime you write something as positive like this you make me smile. You can have a bad time of it and you write something beautiful and inspiring.


Freyja on 15th January 2013 at 2:37 pm.

Just what I needed to read right now, as always the right pick me up! Thanks x


AutismMumma on 18th January 2013 at 7:13 pm.

Thanks M, it’s one of my favourite posts that one. Brings me back to focus, which was needed on Tuesday.


AutismMumma on 18th January 2013 at 7:20 pm.

Thank you, I guess that’s all we can do. Be there and help them to achieve 🙂


AutismMumma on 18th January 2013 at 7:21 pm.

You’re welcome x


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Sabine on 4th February 2013 at 8:40 pm.

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AutismMumma on 5th February 2013 at 11:44 am.

Thanks, it doesn’t take a great amount of time once you get into the swing of it. If you look in my “pages” there is a blogging tips post. Hope it helps 🙂


Dwayne on 25th April 2013 at 9:48 pm.

Amazing article. I was initially going to do a facebook like but I couldn’t see that module anywhere to click on it. Ah well, just thought you ought to know.


AutismMumma on 28th April 2013 at 2:35 pm.

Thanks, I’m currently not on FB but may be at some point 🙂


hutchagoodlife on 15th May 2013 at 12:21 am.

What a beautiful way of putting it. In the end it comes down to loving your child no matter what any numbers. or forms or people who think they know best, say.

Whee have a little surprise waiting for you . . .


Nibbles, Nutty, Buddy & Basil


AutismMumma on 15th May 2013 at 10:53 am.

Thank you and thanks for the link, I’ll aim to get that done 🙂


Laura Huggins on 31st May 2013 at 7:46 pm.

This is so true hun!!! One of the worst things in the world being told your child is not developing normal.

I believe that every achievement a child makes, whether they have a disability or not, is something to be proud of.

Thank you for linking up with The Weekend Blog Hop

Hope to see you again tomorrow.

Laura x x x


AutismMumma on 2nd June 2013 at 9:29 am.

Thank you, I wouldn’t change either of them, they’re wonderful little souls x


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