I have been thrust into homeschooling an autistic adolescent. HRH has not taken too well to this. Neither have I, truth be told, but I have been determined to do my best, for my boy’s sake.

You don’t get second chances at childhood.

Part of Autistic Spectrum Disorder  is enjoying things the same, all the time. Every little thing, if possible, becomes part of the ASD person’s own little universe.  The move has thus been very disruptive. After Wednesday’s three-hour-lunch debacle by the 2012 Olympic Faffing Champion, among other things, last night I laid down the law (when I lay down the law, you don’t mess with me – even HRH gets this).

Last night, before bed, I reiterated that home school must be done the following day. No ifs, no buts.

Home school.

And you will focus. No wii until after school, mister!

So this morning I was awaiting His Royal Highness to descend from on high when the door suddenly opened and in walked a boy dressed in school uniform. My anxiety over whether we were going to get anywhere with ‘no-ifs-no-buts-it’s-home-school-mister’ was immediately dispelled and I laughed for the first time in a week. He grinned (the golden smile!) and, breathing a sigh of relief, I thanked God. It has obviously made it into HRH’s head that we were doing school today!

We began with a computer facial expression game called Rubberface, where you have to correctly identify the emotion that the face is displaying, differentiating between happy, sad, angry and scared.

Then we did this:

Reading the instructions. Supposedly developing literacy skills but actually more a test of gobbledegook-translation ability.

First, we screwed the legs in place, and I tried to explain why saying “I’m good at screwing” might be misunderstood if you said it out of context (as kids with ASD are wont to do).

More instructions. More gobbledegook. Mind you, the last thing I put together had instructions in Mandarin. DIY interpretation is one of the lesser-known spiritual gifts.

We put the bottom on the wrong way round, but didn’t realise until the end when there seemed to be a bottom shelf missing, so we had to take it off and turn it round. I say ‘we’. I mean him. At that point my role was more supervisory (in the grand British workman’s tradition).

It is nothing short of a miracle that I persuaded HRH to let me photograph his hands. He has a phobia/obsession over cameras.

A handle, which HRH was enormously keen to hang towels on.

Ta daaaaa! We should work for Ikea.

So proud of my boy 😉