I was experiencing life as many mums do in that I felt I was there to service Joseph's basic needs; toileting and feeding. My gut instinct told me that if I wasn't there to do it then anyone else would be able to fill the gap. I'm certain Joseph liked me but it never felt anything more greater than that.
Asperger's syndrome is a hidden disability. Walking past me on the street you would never know I had it. It's when I have to fit into a neurotypical world that the problems start. Neurotypicals are born with the skills to communicate and interact in any number of public and social situations. I was not.
Those two approaches are not the only options, though. The best option is to allow someone to explore their feelings, support them in gaining self-understanding, and accept their identity whatever it turns out to be. It is not complicated, and it's only scary if you are still holding onto the belief that being either autistic or transgender - or, perish the thought, both - is a terrible thing to be. Which it's not. I am, along with countless others like me, living proof of that.
The sad thing is I don't even feel confident anymore going to friends' houses with the two of them. I can't sit down and leave them to wander and I can't follow them both when they go in different directions. Most friends don't need stairgates anymore or don't have to worry about things like hot drinks being grabbed or breakables being within reach.
Of course, the vast majority of people are well-meaning, but, unless they have personal experience, it can be difficult to know what to say, how to react to the news. There are several things that people will say to parents when they hear of their child's diagnosis - here are some examples and suggestions of things to try instead!