In the summer, I ventured into the, frankly bizarre, world of Tinder. After a lot of swiping left (apparently I’m rather fussy) and finding matches but not having any conversations evolve from them, I managed to find a couple of people and even a few dates.
One thing I made sure of was that my profile page stated that I am a Mum. I wasn’t interested in speaking to anybody who had issue with that. (For the record, I completely understand that a Mum is not everybody’s idea of a catch!).
Then came the next part. After chatting for a while, I’d ‘announce’ that my little boy has Autism. I found myself almost wincing as hit the ‘send’ button and awaiting the response.Often, there would be no response – again, it’s understandable. I did find a few people who didn’t have an issue with it and I’m fortunate enough to have found a lovely man who didn’t run off when I told him and who is getting to know Owen for who he is, Autism or no Autism.
But it made me think. Why was I so concerned about announcing that Owen has Autism? Why do I apologise? It’s not anything I’m sorry about. He’s Owen and he’s brilliant.
It’s sometimes essential to tell people that Owen has Autism. If he ignores them when they speak to him or is having a bit of a moment, it can be helpful to explain and I always welcome questions. It’s usually met with a ‘well my son/daughter/grandson/etc has Autism too’.
But from now on, it’ll be a statement, not an apology.
Maybe an apology in the style of Father Jack.