The reality is that most parents just want their children to fit in, to be socially acceptable, thrive at school and yes, be 'normal'. The idea that any difficulties might be due to a labelled syndrome, or 'special needs', is a frightening prospect for most. So, how can you tell if your child is 'normal'?
Just the other day, Anonymous of Ontario slipped a letter beneath the door of Karla Begley, mother of an autistic son called Max, and told Mrs Begley (among other things) that "you have a kid that is mentally handicapped ... they should take whatever non retarded body parts he possesses and donate it to science ...
Jacob, like me, has been diagnosed with Asperger Syndrome. He is 14 whereas I am 48, and although I openly admit I was born in another era when autism was much less understood, I fear the road to realizing an Asperger's true potential (in my case, creative writing, I can't add up for toffee) will be neither simple nor straightforward.
Sometimes I ask myself whether there really is a fate or destiny to things, and it's hard to be sceptical when, three years later, I find myself (along with James Doherty of the National Autistic Society Scotland), not in Hollywood, but on a Scottish street late one Sunday night meeting Joss Whedon.
I said in the Commons yesterday that the Home Secretary had saved my constituent's life. Some MPs, such as the former Home Secretary Alan Johnson reacted with incredulity. It was of course Alan Johnson who in 2009 refused to step in and stop Gary's extradition when medical evidence made clear that he would take his own life.
Dr Tim Cadman, at Institute of Psychiatry, King's College London, explained to the uninitiated that while some understand autism as a disorder, others - particularly proponents of the social model and members of the 'autistic community' - understand it less as a condition to be treated than as a 'distinct cognitive style'.
Having a child who suffers from ADHD or Aspergers is a complex and difficult thing. On the one hand it requires patience and as a parent, you have to devote a great deal of time to teaching that child things that may come naturally to others. On the other, it gives a rare insight into a beautiful mind and opens your eyes to a whole new perspective.