Amazon bestseller joy for mother of autistic child

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Mum-of-two Jo Worgan found comfort in writing down her thoughts after her youngest son was diagnosed with autism.

And her story proved so inspiring to other parents that her book is currently an Amazon bestseller and she has set her sights on another.

The 38-year-old former nurse devotes her time to looking after the couple’s two sons – Stephen, six, and Tom, who will be five on April 8.

Tom was diagnosed with autism in 2011.

“He was one when we realised he had something not quite right,” Jo said.

“We were going to the local children’s centre where Stephen was in nursery.

“Tom started going at the age of two and they also noticed that something wasn’t right. He would run to people and headbutt them, he couldn’t cope in busy situations, he would hide on the bus, he was very clingy towards me and his language wasn’t developing.

“It was just little things like that which we picked up on.

“At nursery his behaviour was quite challenging. We were put in touch with a special needs outreach worker and he was diagnosed with autistic spectrum disorder.

“It wasn’t a huge surprise when he was diagnosed.”

Tom now attends Hillside Specialist School for Autism Spectrum Disorder, Communication and Interaction in Longridge, while his brother Stephen is at Slyne St Luke’s Primary School, close to the family’s home.

“Tom went there at first but it just wasn’t the right environment for him,” Jo said. “We had to find him somewhere which met his needs.”

The family’s experiences with Tom led to Jo putting her thoughts down as a guide to other parents with autistic children.

”We got so much help and support for him that I just felt incredibly lucky, and I wondered what it must be like for parents who don’t get that help,” she said.

“Last summer I just thought I would write about the support that we got.

“I wanted to aim it at another parent picking up the book, so it was in easy jargon that they could relate to.

“I sat and wrote it on my iPhone, and then I looked up how to publish it myself.

“I didn’t think that many people would buy it, but it’s sold a couple of hundred and is currently number two in the disability section on Amazon.”

Jo, who is married to Andrew, 37, a chemistry teacher at Casterton School in Kirkby Lonsdale, wanted to continue writing once her book – called Life on the Spectrum – was published, so she set up a blog.

“I still wanted to chat about what we got up to,” she said. “I follow other blogs about special needs children and I thought ‘I could do that’ – it’s a bit of therapy for me too.

“I was originally writing it for me and then other people started reading it.

“We give each other advice; it’s very therapeutic.”

Jo has also started work on her second book, which will be about parent carers.

You can follow Jo each week in the Lancaster Guardian, as well as on Twitter at @mummyworgan, or through her blogs at www.glipho.com/JMWorgan and www.goodreads.com/JMWorgan.