1% of the UK population have autism. That works out to around 700,000 people.

Considering the amount of people they interact with, chances are you know one of these people. It could be a member of your family, a friend, colleague, neighbour – maybe yourself.

Following several consultations, we recently discovered our son is on the Autistic spectrum. The experts suspect it’s Asperger Syndrome.

We noticed some of his behaviours were out of the ordinary several years back but we just put it down to typical childhood tantrums. It was only after talking to friends and noticing our second child’s development that we considered getting an expert opinion. Our local doctor knows the family well (a little too well) but her initial opinion was to leave it a year whilst observing his development. The second consultation referred him to a specialist who identified his characteristics to align with Asperger Syndrome.

The proceeding few months have been a massive learning curve. Thankfully, a local charity Autism Concern have been an amazing support throughout the process. They host regular events teaching and supporting those living with autism in and around Northamptonshire. We’ve attended a couple evening classes about the fundamentals of autism and the 1, 2, 3 Magic initiative (a derivative of the popular traffic light/time-out process) which have been hugely valuable to our understanding.

As a thank you for the support so far, I have agreed to join a group of brave individuals on a tandem skydive to raise money and awareness for the charity. My target is £500 – but why stop there?

The big day of the big jump is Saturday 16th May 2015. Please help me smash this goal before the jump and support an important charity for thousands of individuals with special needs.

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Next week is also World Autism Awareness Week (27th March – 2nd April), concluding with World Autism Awareness Day organised by the UN. It would be amazing if I could reach the half way mark by then. Surely that’s an achievable benchmark to aim for?

Sidenote: did you notice I never once mentioned that people “suffer with autism”? It’s not necessarily a negative consequence. Sure, it’s easy for me to feel like that as I’m emotionally connected to it but people happily live with autism. Apparently, Bill Gates is someone often referred to  as a popular autistic person who has learned to live with it but lead a successful life.