Vaughan’s Story: Autism is enough of a challenge already

Vaughan Edwards

Vaughan Edwards

I have faced many challenges since being diagnosed with autism in 1998, at the age of 11. Those challenges include adapting to change, making friends and forming relationships, making sense of emotions and much more. I am now 29 and have finally found a good long term career path and am on track with my life. Having children would restart all the endless challenges and struggles I have faced over the years to which there would be no break nor escape.

After watching BBC1’s ‘The A Word’ I knew that I could not possibly risk going through this. My mother and father struggled a lot with me when I was growing up. I am very thankful they did not split up. Other parents of autistic children are not so lucky.

I do not hate children, but the prospect of losing my freedom, being sleep deprived, the impact on income and the potential damage that children can do to a relationship, is enough to put me off. With regards to relationships, I do realise that not wanting children can potentially make it harder for me to find a partner, however, it is a risk I am willing to take.

I am a life member of Population Matters, which has David Attenborough as one of its patrons. I completely support population reduction measures. I believe that having too many people on the planet is harmful to the environment, and puts extra strain on the economy.

Giving something back to others and to the world in general is without doubt very rewarding. I believe that by choosing to remain childless, I am making a positive contribution to the world.

I do not fear growing old without children, as I know that many people do not physically look after their parents in old age. The Salvation Army provides a good circle of friends for the elderly and I feel this would suit me much better when the time comes.

Would you like to share your story? Send it to: [email protected]

Vaughan Edwards


  1. Hi Vaughan,
    Thanks for sharing your story. Population growth is without doubt a major issue, particularly in the developing world where people tend to have larger families. There is this assumption in some quarters that worrying about resources is groundless, because science will always come up with solutions to any problems that may arise, and although there may be some truth in this argument, what is omitted is the impact overpopulation is having on other life forms. It is not all about us.

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