Child interacting with coloured lights bubble tube lamp during therapy session.

“I love my time with my children and autism makes them extra special.”

Leah’s Story

When I first began fostering, I said I didn’t want to support children with an autism diagnosis.  I felt I wouldn’t have the patience and they might have behaviours I couldn’t cope with.  However, we welcomed a girl into our home with no autism diagnosis but later we realised she was struggling.

We sought advice and after an assessment she had her autism diagnosis.  Having got used to her ways already, I knew we could cope but we weren’t sure of the best behavioural approaches for her.

At the time the school were telling me I needed to give her more sanctions to manage her behaviour, but I soon realised this wasn’t working.  I had a chat with the Credo Care behaviour specialist, Jan, and she helped me to see how the autistic brain processes the world.  This completely changed my mindset and I began to see things from the perspective of my girl.  I think my biggest tip is to let your child have space when they are in a crisis.  They need time to calm and process.  Giving them more stimulation doesn’t help and they stop hearing you.

I now care for two children with autism and I love finding something they are good at.  Yes, they learn differently to the average child but the key is to tap into that and support them to be the best they can be.  I am sad that my girl went through the mainstream school system because they were not able to meet her unique ways of understanding and learning and the targets were the wrong ones for her.

I have learnt so much about what they need and I try to play to their strengths.  For example, I wanted to get some new flooring and my girl is really good at maths, so I asked her to work out how many boxes I would need for each room.  She took the tape measure and in no time I had my answer and she was right on the button.   I have worked out their sense of humour and them mine and we have a fantastic fun relationship together.  I love my time with my children and autism makes them extra special.

For another celebration on World Autism Acceptance Day, read about Addison’s Story. If you would like to find about more information about Autism, you can visit the Autism Society’s website.