Devon mum writes candid blog to challenge preconceptions surrounding autism

Gemma Bailey is aiming to challenge preconceptions surroundin autism (pictured with family)

Gemma Bailey is aiming to challenge preconceptions surroundin autism (pictured with family) - Credit: Archant

Account of visit to Ottery St Mary Parish Church provides revealing insight

A mum is seeking to challenge preconceptions surrounding autism with her candid personal accounts of coping with the condition as a family.

Gemma Bailey, 38, and her husband, Russell, 36, left behind busy jobs and everything they knew to begin a new life in Feniton with their sons, eight-year-old Mason - who was recently diagnosed with autistic spectrum disorder (ASD) - and Harry, five.

Gemma is now reaching out to others via her blog ‘The Autism Mummy’.

Through her recent account of a trip to Ottery Parish Church’s ‘hidden place’, she provides a revealing, heartwarming and sometimes harrowing insight into coping with autism.

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She told the Herald: “I started the blog to raise awareness because there is a lot of judgment in the world. It also provides an outlet for us as a family.”

Recounting the trip with the boys – referred to as sons one and two - and her mum, ‘the Nana’, Gemma said: “The boys were fascinated and asked questions 10 to the dozen. My heart swelled with pride and I was so chuffed I’d decided to be spontaneous. The boys loved the adventure and the sight of seeing the unseen.

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“It was then that it happened… The bells. Cue meltdown in a confined place, in a holy place, with my eight-year-old son yelling ‘God damn it – get me out of here’. As I would hope in a church - but not from all people – there was no judgment. I was able to soothe and relax my son in peace. I later found out that my mother had been passed some details of someone who might help us – a lovely act of kindness from a stranger.”

Gemma thanked people in the church for their compassion towards her family and added that, on such occasions, five-year-old Harry often has to step into the position of elder brother with efforts to help and distract his sibling.

The two boys both attend Feniton Church of England Primary School and Gemma and Russell feel sure they made the right decision to leave their old lives behind to spend more time as a family in their beloved Devon.

Gemma would welcome anyone in a similar situation getting in touch through her website, Facebook: or Twitter: @theautismmummy.

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