The Nativity

On Monday 17th December 2006 at 2pm I was sat in a room at the Child Development Centre with Evans pediatrician.

His period of assessment had come to an end and it was time to hear their findings.

I had already been sent on the National Autistic Society’s Earlybird course for the under 5s so the official diagnosis should not have come as a complete surprise however I am not sure anything can prepare you for the moment you are told your child is autistic.

So there I was sat on a miniature chair in a brightly painted room full of toys staring at the pediatricians feet, I remember thinking his shoes didn’t match his suit, I stared as his feet for the rest of the meeting and tried hard not to cry.



Almost exactly a year later in December 2007 Evan came out of school clutching a piece of paper.

I read it.

” your child has been chosen to be Joseph in the reception class nativity”

then I read it again


Time stood still.

It had been a very tough year, getting Evans  statement and dealing with the transition from nursery to reception whist slowly coming to terms with his diagnosis.

But this,this somehow this made it all ok!

Evan was Joseph!

I allowed myself to fantasize about how they chose the child, that perhaps they had recognised his undiscovered talent.

I wasn’t proud. I was euphoric.

I strutted out of the playground that day without a care in the world and that evening phoned everyone I could think of and then e-mailed people I hadn’t spoken to in years just to share my news.

My son was Joseph and I had just been handed hope.

Next day in the playground I tried to remain casual and nonchalant as I asked the other parents what their child was to be in the nativity, barley managing to keep the smug tone from my voice when the answer was Sheep or Shepard.

Finally the big day arrived.

I waited with bated breath, camera in hand

Joseph made it on to the stage but that is sadly where my dream ended and I was catapulted back to the real world.

Evan was so overwhelmed by the situation he jammed his fingers into his eyes and started to rock in distress making the most heartbreaking noise I have ever heard,it  started as a low moan and quickly turned into the noise one might expect from a wounded animal in the throws of death.

As I stood helpless watching my child completely fall apart the audience were captivated by the hilarious dance being preformed by the Shepard’s. The real stars of the show.











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2 Responses to The Nativity

  1. Jacqui Ross says:

    Oh Lin, I do feel for you….my nephew has Aspurger’s and point blank refused to do his schools nativity, my brother and his partner were just told he wasn’t in it, and they felt terrible. They did do better the next year though, his main focus at the time was Postman Pat, so they let him be a postman and made all their programmes into letters for him to deliver to everyone coming in. It worked for a while until there were too many people, but at least they tried. It’s never easy when you work with children on the spectrum to know what to do for things like the Nativity, At the nursery where I work we tend to give any children with additional needs something like one of the stars, so that they can be with their 1:1 helper and have something glittery to focus on (if that is their thing :-) ) If they wander around it doesn’t matter, but at least they have the opportunity. It is hard on everybody though, and whatever happens there is never a right answer.

    • Lin says:

      Thanks Jacqui.
      Evan has been out of school for 2 years now and I educate him at home as all the changes etc at school were so hard especially at this time of year. for him it has been the right choice as he is much happier but I remember it like yesterday when he was going to be Joseph, it didn’t seem to enter my head that he wouldn’t manage. He had never joined in any singing at school before but I felt ‘normal’ that day just like all the other mums rather than the parent of the child with autism :)

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