In an attempt to find some silver lining to this storm cloud situation I pondered what, amongst all the shit, is possibly good about having an Autistic child. Turns out there's quite a few things.
One of the better aspects I considered is the fact that many ASD kids, particularly Asperger children, are very smart. Consequently, very often so are their parents. I am consistently surprised when reading parent autobiographies about the challenges of raising ASD children, at how well educated the families of these children are. Not just the parents but grandparents, and other extended family members. It is common for Autists and their family members to be highly represented amongst Engineering, Architecture, Writing, The Arts, Science, Mathematics and I.T professions. As ASD has a strong genetic component I suppose it is hardly surprising that parents, while not meeting the specific criteria for Autism, often display some of the positive abilities Autists possess. Ability to focus intently for long periods, keen eye for detail, perfectionism, a driving need to understand, amongst other traits. It seems the world would not be what it is today had Autistic people in times past not been left to get on with their fixations. Many famous people, who died well too soon to ever receive a formal diagnosis are considered by many to have displayed strong ASD tendencies. Some considered are Einstein, Shakespeare, Newton, DaVinci and the list goes on.
What this means for me, I hope, is that once I begin to move further into the Autism community and start to meet other parents in our situation I am likely to meet some impressive people. I know this is a wide generalisation, but there is a consistency of parental intelligence I have come across in books, and on blogs and web pages. They don't all agree with each other about therapeutic interventions and methods. But they are usually sharp, articulate, and well read. Often very funny too. They have almost all undertaken large amounts of research themselves rather than 'leaving it up to the professionals'.
The amount of Autism related associations and online forums around the world I think is indicative of a highly motivated and mobilised community. It is a community no one strives to join, but if you must, then you can be rest assured you are in good company.