I recently read a very interesting article in my local paper the South Wales Evening Post with the following equally interesting headline:
Sad story of lonely parakeet living in Swansea's Singleton Park - where none of the other birds will make friends with it.
I was immediately drawn to this story as it instantly reminded me of my Ryan. No, I don't think he looks like a parrot, as gorgeous looking like both of them are, but I do understand how isolated he feels and up till recently how lonely he has been for most of his life.
Ryan's autism has caused him to be excluded from the 'flock'. He has been the 'odd one out', desperately trying to fit in and make friends but never quite managing it. Certainly not through primary school.
Iolo's description is so nice to hear. Smart birds, really smart. Just like Ryan, but even with an exceptional IQ for his age the ability to convert that intelligence to be able to make social inclusion work for him proves so incredibly difficult. Showing just how complex the unspoken rules of society are. The non-verbal rules the majority of us simply take for granted.
Ryan settled well into secondary education in a good school where he is was well supported and he did manage to secure himself a small group of friends that accepted him for who he is where he is learning the social rules and complex nature of maintaining friendships. However, this was to be snatched away from him in the cruellest of circumstances when he was diagnosed with cancer aged 14.
He has adapted once again to the isolation that cancer brings as well as autism. He is often on his PC outside of school and hospital appointment chatting with his friends and they play online games together. As much as we complain about technology and the isolation they in themselves can cause to children, they are in fact a lifeline to Ryan's ability to integrate socially.