Monday 12 April 2010


Expectations often define us: the pressure applied by others.

As you make - or, I usually describe it, take - time to write, do you feel you are underachieving, succeeding or exceeding expectations?

Is there anything else? The unspoken ambition lurking in the corner of your mind, the something you have always wanted to do? One possible answer is fairly obvious, but don't let that define you either, is there anything else?

From the moment I turned down the altar boy, passed the A levels and went to university I've been exceeding expectations. Apart from becoming a published author I would like to make a make a difference - I discovered, the hard way, that I don't have the skills to cure Autism so I would want to make a difference in how people perceive this developmental, learning and communication difficulty. (When the full list of ways this condition affects individuals is described you can see why others find Autism hard to deal with.)

Those who feel the breath of sadness - sit down next to me

Those who find they're touched by madness  - sit down next to me

Those who find themselves ridiculous - sit down next to me

Love, in fear, in hate, in tears - sit down



  1. Obviously you have overcome. It takes a special person to raise a special child. My hat's off to you because I know I could never do it.

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  3. Anne
    They say you never know what you are capable of dealing with unti you are in a position of having to - that was certainly true of us.
    When it came to Sweetpea, genetics did one stupid (that one is obvious) and two clever things:
    it made him a perfect hybrid of both his parents, in looks
    it made the steamroller of determination and singlemindedness impossibly, academically, able
    and did I mention cute?

  4. I'd be curious to know why your special interest in autism? Anyone dear to you affected? In my case, my son.

  5. When I write, I am meeting my own expectations. All my life I've been trying to meet other people's expectations, so writing is freedom for me. Great post!

  6. Hi Wendy,
    Yes, my son Sweetpea is autistic. A different kind of parental challenge than my daughter presents. We helped to set up a charity providing a helpline for parents, as well as courses for anyone affected by autism. We aimed to support parents locally in Hertfordshire.We are less involved now; in the early stages parents need all the information and advice they can get, from someone who knows what they are working through.

    Hi Julie,
    I see you feel the same way I do. Writing is liberating, setting goals for oneself and working to achieve them - greater expectations.

  7. What a thought-provoking post. Thanks so much for giving me the special warmth I feel in my heart right now.

    Here's to exceeding expectations!

  8. Nicole
    I'll see that, and raise it to you too! ;)

  9. Thanks for following me, Elaine. Love this post. It definitely gives you a lot to think about. I have a lot of friends with autistic children and I know it's a real struggle for them. Some are very active in legislation, and like you, strive to make a difference -- anyway they can.

  10. Ah, expectations! For years I felt like an utter and complete failure. Especially after my parents spent so much money sending me to an expensive private college. That pressure did make me work very hard, though--and what's a decade or two of feeling tormented anyway? Kudos for your work on autism--have you read Cammie McGovern's work? She writes fiction, and deals with autism in a totally grown-up, non-condescending but compassionate way.

  11. Hi Rena
    Thank you for following. I'm glad you have friends with autistic children keeping friends, especially ones with neuro-typical children, is very difficult. We had friends who were a beacon in the darker years.
    Hi Samuel
    Don't expect that torment to be over and done in a decade or two - what you are at any point in your life is omnipresent. Under glittery layers of sophistication and the adulation of millions it will be lurking like the iceberg. I think many parents struggle with the need to BE you, after that it's about trying to recreate the them they wanted to be.
    Thank you for the tip Cammie's work looks insightful. I wasn't a big fan of "The Curious Incident..."