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Pride: Stevie and Jerry with their five-year-old son Joss

Pride: Stevie Lee and husband Jerry with their five-year-old son Joss 

By Stevie Lee

Last updated at 1:30 AM on 20th September 2010

Some things really shock you to the core, like the time I was having lunch with my five-year-old son Joss in the local Giraffe restaurant, a favourite because it is so child-friendly.

After finishing eating, Joss got up from the table and began switching the lights on and off, a regular pastime of his, which can be vaguely annoying, but is hardly in the same league as kicking and screaming.

Within minutes, a woman sitting at another table with her two daughters, said in a loud voice: ‘That child is a monster.’ I could not believe my ears. What gave her the right to describe my son in this way? Is he a feral child? Does he have an ASBO?

No, he is autistic. I stormed up to her and told her: ‘He’s not a monster. He’s autistic.’ But our lunch was ruined. She just looked down and ignored me and we left the restaurant, feeling like pariahs.

More than half a million people in the UK now have autism, a lifelong developmental condition which affects the way they relate to the world. But those with autism do not look disabled  -  and consequently there is a real hostility from the public towards them.

Both my husband, Jerry, and I have been astounded at the vitriol levelled at us, and towards our son. We are stared at in the streets, whispered about behind our backs and treated like second-class citizens in hospitals, restaurants and supermarkets.

We are deemed bad parents  -  and our son is a monster. Joss was born on December 2, 2004, and was a joy of a baby  -  big, healthy and very happy. We were adoring new parents  -  I am a 42-year-old drama-producer and my husband, 47, a TV documentary-maker  -  and Joss made our lives complete.

Read in Full:  http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-1313232/My-child-monster-He-autistic.html?ITO=1490

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