Faithfully Parenting Autism: A Bristol Mum’s Story

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Bristol Mum often features posts written by local mums who share their parenting experiences with the aim of informing and supporting other parents in Bristol.

Today’s story is from Nicola Maybury who lives in Downend and who has three children aged 11, 8 and 4. Samuel, Nicola’s eldest child, has autism and she has written a book about her experiences named ‘Faithfully Parenting Autism’ (available on amazon and if you wish to buy a copy).

Today, Nicola kindly shares a little about Samuel with Bristol Mum readers.

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Although Samuel suffers greatly with anxiety, he is currently doing amazingly well. He recently started a mainstream secondary school (with statemented support) and is coping with walking to and from school with friends, and (mostly) managing to survive the numerous new lessons, teachers and buildings! When things get too much, he gets emotional rather than aggressive.

At home his obsessions are steam trains (which has been ongoing for as long as I can remember) and lampposts – an obsession which began when the lampposts in our road were replaced. He can plot all the local streets and position of all their lampposts (complete with numbers!) from memory.

This amazes me and most other people who know about his skill. He will often sit for hours just drawing streets and plotting lampposts. He seems to find it relaxing. When we drive anywhere in the car he’s constantly counting the lampposts as we drive past them so that he can remember exactly where they are (ready to plot when we get home!).

He also very much enjoys visiting Bitton (Avon Valley Railway) to see the steam trains there. Preserved railways are always his choice for a good day out. Sam can get anxious about things other children wouldn’t find a problem, but he also hides his emotions well from anyone other than us, which often fools people into thinking he’s fine.

Thankfully he will tell us when things are bothering him or getting too much and we can help him sort things out. His new school has been very supportive in this. From a very young age I encouraged Sam to share with us about anything that could be causing him a problem, and I think this has probably helped him to communicate so well with us now.

Sam is such an amazing boy. He loves home and his family and would rather spend time with family than in the company of anyone else. We all love him so much and are thrilled he’s part of our family. We really are blessed to have him.

Autism can be frustrating and requires huge amounts of patience, but it also allows me (and my husband) to provide the extra care and support that Sam needs from a loving family. I feel privileged to be able to help him in such an amazing way.

Many thanks to Nicola for sharing her story on Bristol Mum. If you would like to anonymously share your experiences of being a parent on Bristol Mum, please contact me (Hilary) by emailing