Tag Archives: Asperger syndrome

#HAWMC DAY 13 – The 10 things I can’t live without!

13 Apr

The health activist writers month challenge (#HAWMC) is in full swing and I’m really quite enjoying the daily prompts. However, I wasn’t overly keen on today’s but given this is meant to be a challenge, I didn’t bail out.

 So, when asked what 10 things I couldn’t live without, I got my thinking cap on…

 

1) My Children: Obviously the first thing I’ll list is this! My children, they’re my everything, my who entire life, the reason I breath. A life without my kids truly isn’t worth living!

 

2) Friends and family: My mother and father who reared me and made me the person I am today. Friends who have been amazing through some of the most difficult times of my life… I’m truly thankful to you all, if only you all knew how much!

 

3) Health: I want to be around for many years. I want to watch my children grow and evolve into adults, finish education, get there first job, get married and invite me for Sunday lunch.

 

4) My blog: How superficial you may think? But this is my outlet, a place to let of steam, share any happiness and achievements along the way. It’s got me through tough times, provided a connection to something I never knew existed. Who would ever think a blog could save someone? It saved me from insanity, that I’m thankful for!

 

5) Passion: It’s what drives me to do the thinks I do. To live without passion would be like living without food and water for me!

 

6) Dreams: Whether they amount to anything is totally irrelevant, they keep me smiling and give me something to aim for… surely we all have a dream?

 

7) A Voice: No I can’t sing (I actually recall my mother telling me I sound somewhat like a cat crying out in agony) but it does give me a way to speak up when it comes to the things I believe in! It’s helped me to raise awareness for autism and aspergers as-well as a number of other charities and campaigns. I’ve realised how powerful a tool one persons voice can be, you’ve just got to know how to use it!

 

8) Technology: I can just imagine my grandmother shaking her head if she was alive to read this! Yes, she would likely tell me and in no uncertain terms, that In her day people spoke to each other face to face, not all this texting and emailing rubbish! But we are now living in a modern world, one where my Mac and my iphone have become something of a second skin. These tools along with the rise in social networking sites have provide me with more than just a way to communicate with those out of reach but has also provided me with a platform to raise awareness for something I believe in and feel passion towards! The facebook support page now has over 5,000 members and continues to grow, I love that it’s become a place for parents like myself to gain support and friendship with those who relate most. I’ve also found a place to release inner creativity, experience things I otherwise couldn’t or wouldn’t have! And along the way I’ve meet some amazing people, some Im pleased to have become firm friends with.

 

9) A Little Me Time: Sounds a strange one but without it I’d go absolutely bonkers… I’m sure of it! I may not get a whole heap of it but what I do get I fully appreciate it.

 

10) Memory’s: It’s memorise both good and bad that help me mould my future. I am able to learn from past mistakes, avoiding any recurring undesirable situations. Those help memories keep me smiling when times are difficult… Memories really do help create a more positive future. 

And an extra one for good measure…

A sense of humour, the ability to laugh at yourself. Life is a serious affair but a bit of laughter is good for the mind!

 

Post 13/30 #HAWMC set by wego health

#HAWMC DAY 12 – Stream of Consciousness

13 Apr

Today I looked in the mirror and stared at the reflection before me. I feel myself shudder before turning away quickly as I desperately try to block out the image I’ve just seen staring back at me.

How bloody superficial and yes, I suppose it is! Ok, I may not be back in my size 8 jeans despite my youngest transforming from baby to hyper 2-year-old, but life isn’t just about a jean size is it?

I’m no superficial chick, honestly I’m not. However, I am one who can find herself whirling down that downward spiral into the dark land of no mans land!

Many woman experience the issue of needing to feel comfortable in ones own skin, it’s just that for some… Things go a smudge too far!

I find it hard to write about my past demons when it comes to food. I’m pretty good at expressing my innermost thoughts through my writing especially when writing about my life as a parent and that of Little mans Aspergers Syndrome but this is different, something of a challenge!

Yes, there has been some soul pouring post, I’ve laid myself bear when writing about my almighty battle with OCD, to face it, reframe from fear and I guess… Live with it (that or the prospect it’s never far from sight).

I’ve also told of my journey to combat anxiety and the horror of the recurring panic attack… Unfortunately, these have never left my crowded mind and although I often tend to find myself chest high in the deep of things these often hit me at different periods within my life at least allowing me periods of time panic attack free.

Although I’ve written some pretty soul pouring post whether about discrimination, depression or something else all together my past eating disorder is something I hold back on, it’s not even a subject myself and family often speak about though it did land me in hospital at just 11 which still breaks my heart thinking about.

Regardless of how dispirited I feel when looking at my own reflection I try my best to bury any bad thoughts deep in my mind, I’m a mother of three children, I have my own 9-year-old daughter to set an example to.

So, here I am, trying to do things the right way! No quick fixes, no taking things that bit too far. The truth is no matter what I look like, how many nights I’ve spent awake resulting in huge black bags hanging under my eyes, I’ll never be 100% happy with myself! At my thinnest I continued to have them low days, that’s the problem, it’s a disorder, once you’ve lost them 5lbs you started off wanting to lose you go on to want to lose an additional 5lbs, then another and so on. I now try to see past my reflection! I know I have many good qualities… I’ve just got to love them that little bit more!

Post 12/30 in the wego health callenge #HAWMC

#HAWMC DAY 11 – My Blogs Crazy Theme Tune

11 Apr

So today I was told to imagine my health focus or blog was getting its own theme song, what would it be?

Apparently we all have one, the song that is top of our playlist, the one that makes us smile when we hear it. Or maybe it’s the song that we play when we’re angry or sad.

I thought long and hard about the question and suddenly it dawned on me… My theme tune has to be “Crazy” by Gnarls Barkley.

Yes, it’s one of my all time favourite songs and thinking about it I now know why this is!

You see, I mostly write about my life as a parent of a child on the autism spectrum which at times makes me feel like I’m somewhat crazy. I have also written a number of post about my own battles with mental health, OCD, depression, an eating disorder and that of anxiety (something that plays a huge part in Little Man’s life too).

I often find that the song “Crazy” is being blasted down my ear canal as I type a blog post, I guess I’ve never really stood back and seen just how much I relate to the lyrics and how the song applies to myself and that of my blog!

Here’s the lyrics…

I remember when, I remember, I remember when I lost my mind

There was something so pleasant about that place.

Even your emotions had an echo in so much space.

And when your out there without a care,

Yer I was out of touch,

but it wasn’t because I didn’t know enough I just knew to much.

Does that make me crazy?

Does that make me crazy?

Does that make me crazy?

Possibly

And I hope that you are having the time of your life, but think twice, that’s my only advice.

Come on now, who do you, who do you, who do you, who do you think you are,

Ha ha ha bless your soul,

you really think your in control…

Well, I think your crazy

I think your crazy

I think your crazy

Just like me….

My heroes had the heart to lose their lives out on a limb

And all I remember thinking, I want to be like them

Ever since I was little, ever since I was little it looked like fun

And it’s no coincidence I’ve come

And I can die when I’m done

Maybe I’m crazy

Maybe I’m crazy

Maybe I’m crazy

Probably

Uh, uh

Here’s a youtube video of the real thing… Enjoy you crazy readers!

Post 11/30 of the wego health #HAWMC

#HAWMC DAY 10 – Dear 16-Year-Old Me

10 Apr

Dear 16-year-old me…

Yes, I know you think it will be easy, move to Spain living the high life with your pals, pals that will actually be long gone by your 17th Birthday! Surprised?

You will be!

Do you think the world owes you little girl? It owes you nothing, in fact you need to brace yourself for the ride of your life, a roller coaster that will leave you clinging, one so fast and furious you’re not know if you’re coming or going!

Life owes us nothing and you’ll soon discover this!

Here’s some valuable advice to start you on your journey.

You’ll face some difficult times, ones that test your inner strength more than you’ll ever know possible.

You’ve already come so far, though metal health will always remain a big part of your life. Stop hiding from it, deal with it, life is far simpler this way.

You’ll continue your battle with OCD but as you grow, you’ll grow stronger and every now and then you’re realise how you’ve grabbed it by the balls.

You’ll become a young mum, but a good one. Your journey through parenthood wont always be an easy one but it will be an awarding one at that.

Your first-born son will be diagnosed with Aspergers Syndrome at age 7, you’ll use so much strength obtaining the diagnosis you’ll have little left to digest it!  

Remember, those who are meant to understand probably wont, don’t waste your energy trying to make them… take it one step at a time.

You, have so much to offer, though you don’t know it yet god has a plan, it’s a pretty good one too.

Eating disorders, anxiety and OCD, you’ll thing you’ve faced it all, only life has some surprises, you’ll get through them your strong.

You’ll discover that schools are not what you thought they were when you discover how the child you love is so cruelly discriminated against and at this point you’ll be gearing up for the hardest battle yet.

You’ll learn all there is to learn when it comes to special educational needs, but your determination will see you through it and this determination will then be used in the most powerful of ways.  

You’ll endure the heart breaking pain of losing a pregnancy and never meeting your twins, but you’ll be greeted with the beautiful toddler you have today.

By age 30, you’re the mother of three beautiful children and though life can be hard at times, you know your blessed with the most precious of gifts one could ask for. 

Oh yes, right now you hate to write, actually you loath it! The funny thing is, this will become your love, you’ll write everything, your life becomes an open book, one you hope inspires others… writing is what you now do, you even bag yourself an award for doing it so well.

Yes, little Claire Louise, I see you hold your tummy as you laugh yourself into a frenzy… just you wait and see!

Blog 10/30 in the wego health #HAWMC 

#HAWMC Day 9 – Stay calm get the hell out of here

10 Apr

He screams abuse in its strongest nature, he hauls it towards you thick and fast. You feel your cheeks burn as they light up an awesome shade of red. You try to reason with him, though he doesn’t listen, just calls you some awful name. Can you believe a child can make you feel such shame and in the most public of places. 

They stare, they stare that almighty stare, it’s as if their eyes are burning a hole right through your soul. 

Rushing along the aisles you hear their sniggers greet you, do they even care, surely their aware you can hear. 

“Please stop” you hiss as you try to gather the shopping from the floor. Your child stares at you blankly before declaring how unfair you are and running in the opposite direction. You set chase, knocking over the contents of the shop as you embark on the mission to catch you’re fleeing child.

Suddenly you stop, fall to the floor, throwing your head back screaming “God, why F***ing me… Why…?” you forget about those stood around you, mouths open wide, heads viciously shaking some may laugh too.

Hands removed from face, your greeted by the store manager who asks “IS EVERYTHING ALRIGHT MADAM” You feel like screaming “Does everything look OK?” Instead you give her a half-smile, Nodding like the Churchill Dog as you scrape your sorry arse from the floor and set about looking for your child, only to discover him right there next to you. 

“Sorry mum, can we go home now”

You feel yourself nodding once more. As you walk towards the door leaving you’re shopping behind you tell yourself…

“KEEP Calm AND GET THE HELL OUT OF HERE!”

Post 9/30 in the #HAWMC set by wego health 

 

#HAWMC Day 2 – A NOT SO INSPIRING QUOTE

2 Apr

There is one quote that quite frankly gets on my Nelly … “An apple a day keeps the doctor away”

Why is this even suggested? Who made this stuff up? Come on, seriously, I live in a country where it takes a month to even get a slot with your local GP let a lone a CAMHS Paediatrician (Child Adolescent Mental Health Service) who is there to assist me with any issues or difficulties relating to Little Man, his Aspergers Syndrome, Anxiety and a whole other host of issues! “So… Frankly, who needs some piece of fruit?”

Yes, maybe I shouldn’t take such old wife tales so personally, actually I don’t! I’m pretty much able to disguise between what needs to be taken with a pinch of salt and what needs to be absorbed as reality, though this isn’t the case for everyone… this isn’t the case for Little man.

This is a child who mostly sees the world in black & white, without the support given from certain therapies he may just spend his days indulging in an apple a day only to get that sudden bump to earth when he actually requires a doctor to come his way and will they?

The likelihood of actually chocking on one of these healthy daily snacks seems more likely and yes the doctor would still be “Away” just when you ironically need him!

Of course my point isn’t related to apples, well not as such, its about services, much needed services that parents like me and thousands of others physically need to fight for! We deal with the hidden disability, the stigma nestled between child mental health and that of neurological disorders… yet here we are still finding our child stuck on a waiting list, one that’s so long it’s not surprising that when you receive the much awaited letter, your child’s out collecting his P45 and your at Bingo.

So, as I sit and watch the UK slowly slip down the pan, as the coalition destroy just about anything in its path I wonder how we move on from here? I basically want to know why a man who promised a better deal to those with disabilities, their families and registered carers, is now doing what can only be described as his “Best” to kick us to the curb first, in his mission to take over the country acquiring himself one or two well deserved nick names a long the way? Is there a game plan, this is politics after all! Surly he doesn’t think that making yourself into this hugely hated figure within society will get you any brownie points in the long run? Is it plain to see that he didn’t receive my vote?

See, now I’m running of course….

The reason behind such a sudden “Pop” directed at the UK Government is for the same reason most find themselves ticked off! As a member of this society, I sure am sick of hearing promises that quickly find themselves forgotten and buried within some dusty old file in the house of commons! As a mother of a child with Aspergers and Special Educational Needs, who fought for a statement of sen only to fight for that same statement to be amended! A parent who has endured the battle for her child’s right to an educational placement that can meet his needs, I was bitterly disappointed at the proposed “Green Paper” and worse the lack of progress since (well, public progress)! Yes, the LEA and Health Authority will now work together, families will be able to access the services “they can’t access now” till their child becomes 21! Lets not also forget that both LEA support services and those provided by the National Health Service will become readily available, what with the change in the assessment process! Remember this is for the benefit of those with disabilities and their families, nothing to do with government cuts and quick fixes at the expense of the most vulnerable! It will all be perfect wont it! Everything will be so much more efficient & faster this way, you may even get a little respite if your lucky … Blah… Blah… Blah… YES, We’re all still waiting?

So, “An apple a day keeps the doctor away?” Um, NO! Broken promises, shabby money saving cuts, and politics, that my friends is what keeps that doctor away!

This post was written as part of the #HAWMC, 30 prompts, 30 days, 30 post (this was day 2)

Check out the wego health facebook page for more info and a whole load more bloggers talented bloggers  the challenge.

#HAWMC Day 1 – Health Time Capsule

1 Apr

Have you ever wondered what the world would be like in a 100 years from now! I often wonder how “aware” society would be about autism, how advance the system may or may not become with the growing number of children and adults being diagnosed. Would there be more training in schools, would it be less or more of a fight to get that all important placement?

The reason behind my wonder is that of today’s blogging prompt as part of the “Health Activist Writers Month challenge” (HAWMC) 30 days, 30 prompts, 30 blog post. Today is the first day of the challenge in which I was asked to write a post using the prompt “Health Time Capsule” Basically the idea is to imagine you’re creating a time capsule of your life and that of your health focus. This capsule will not be opened until 2112… What’s in it? What would people think if they found it?

Given that I have no idea what the world will be like in a 100 years, I guess I’ll still be trying to get the message out there and make the world listen!

You could expect to find pieces of my own story, maybe snippets of this very blog, our journey good and bad. I’d included the current medical studies of today on where we stand with autism and Aspergers, this includes the cure and the debates that surround it, vaccines and hereditary findings. Examples of petitions from  autism activists and of course the current pending “Green Paper” would also be thrown in for good reading 

What would I hope to have achieved from creating such a capsule ? I would hope that whoever found it would in one respect be disgusted at the lack of support and services aimed at both those on the spectrum and their families. A disbelief at how many parents are currently having to fight to obtain the support their children need! Why hope for this reaction? As I would like to think that by then the messages that surround autism has travelled and developed, such services have become more widely available and easy to obtain that the battles fought today are virtually unheard of! Through autism awareness has come a long way, ignorance is still very much a problem everywhere and I therefore find it difficult to imagine something so blissful (we can only hope)! 

The other part of me hopes that those who find my capsule, are able to see how proud I am of my child and his siblings, how I embrace his Aspergers and am incredibly proud to call him my son! If in a 100 years, families are still struggling, then maybe my story and writing will be something of a comfort, the encouragement needed to urge them to keep fighting and importantly… keeping raising awareness and campaigning! “Well, if they could do it in the olden days… we can do it today” is something I’d like to be a part of.

Regardless… I’m sure that whatever the impact, this little piece of history placed in a time capsule provides someone, somewhere, some very interesting reading.

You can find out more about the 30 day health writing challenge by visiting the WEGO Health Blog

Please join me tomorrow (2nd April 2012) for “World Autism Awareness Day” and help me raise awareness by contributing to “Doing it for Autism” click here for more information.

 

Autism and Chores

25 Mar

Lets face it, household chores are really not much fun. We all need a little encouragement every now and then to get going.

My son, who’s now 11 and has a diagnosis of Aspergers Syndrome quivers at the word housework or chores, but then so does my 9-year-old daughter. Little man just needs a hard dose of motivation that’s all!

This isn’t only down to the fact he despises any housework related activity, though this does account for the majority of his reluctance, it’s also other factors, such difficulty following instructions, doing things in sequence and that of poor sensory processing.

As Little Man’s mother I’ve admittedly at times thrown in the towel and given up, though this maybe the easiest option at the time, it makes things a whole lot more difficult later on! This is part of life and as my mother still tells me to this day, “Life sometimes requires us to do things we don’t like, but that’s just life!”

In order for the little man to grow up and become fully independent, he will need to require simple skills such as these to make it on his own in the big real world. He must learn how to do the basics accruing more complex skills as he grows older! Another important factor in this situation is the fact he will also need to learn the value and importance of helping other people… So what if you didn’t drop those wrappers on the floor, helping shouldn’t be an issue non the less!

Firstly, I must say before rambling on any further, I’m just a mother, and I don’t have all the answers, in fact I’m unsure to whether I actually have any! Though I will always try to find answers, when I succeed, or even partly so, then I’ll share with you all, in the hope it helps you too!

So… here’s some suggestions on how to encourage a child on the autism spectrum to actively engage in household chores without all hell breaking loss and then regrettably freezing over. These tips may work for one child and not the other, you may be required to try a number of different techniques or maybe just the one, every child is different regardless of abilities and diagnosis. Note: I’ve also tried this with my 9-year-old daughter who isn’t diagnosed with the condition and she’s actually done brilliantly with many of them.

1) Children on the autism spectrum tend to be visual learners, they may use written or symbol prompts as to plan events, following instructions in completing a set task, or just to alert them as to what happens next. Little man has been using both a visual schedule at home and school keeping it consistent. He likes to know what’s planed and this is the same with chores, so, if he has chores as well as homework etc, these are added to a chore chat which he helps to devise on a weekly basis.

2) Don’t give rewards for every completed chore as this then doesn’t become a normal daily routine but instead a way to gain rewards. If one week you wasn’t in a position to provide the promised reward, failure could result in undesired meltdowns. Rewards can be given as a weekly treat and you should ensure its done for all children in the household.

3) Help your child to chose their weekly chores as in number 1, however try to encourage some weekly chores in-which you can both contribute in together, making it a fun bonding experience.

4) Don’t change the chores without giving a warning to your child, keep them consistent in the way in which you and your child devised them. Also try to agree on a time your likely to keep too, as this will only cause problems otherwise.

5) Do the same as in part 1 and 4 but remember to not make your child overly reliant on his routine, so try to adjust times for different weeks, but as mentioned in part 4, stick to them for that entire week.

6) Teach your child how to have a focus, this works fantastically for Little man. An example would be if vacuuming, say the living room, point out the half way mark highlighting how his almost there, then point out the finishing post. You will find that even though the break is offered at half time, 9x out of 10 they’ll keep pushing themselves all the way.

7) Don’t keep asking as it drives children like little man round the bend. If your child fails to look at the chart remind them to do so, if they just refuse then you may need to decided if a sanction may need applying. Stick to your guns and be consistent, as you will be in an even worse position for next time.

8) Don’t bombard a load of request upon your child at once, example, take up washing, put shoes under stairs, hang coat up then run your bath…. overloading will produce the undesirable. Remember children on the spectrum tend to be unable to follow instructions if not given time to process the information given, this is why I’ve suggested the chore chart.

9) Have something nice to look forward too! I’m not talking a treat as such, more like something you’ll be sitting to watch as a family that evening. Talking about the film etc why doing chores with your child, will help them complete without the dragging boredom.

10) If like little man, your child on the autism spectrum doesn’t do well in supermarkets (despite how much he protest he wants to join you) ensure you have prepared distractions and you are aware of any sensory triggers, avoiding where possible. I get Little man helping me write the list, this helps his handwriting and spelling skills, reading the list while we shop also helps reading skills (so they don’t know they are doing chores and a fair bit of education based work too). Little man is also fantastic at maths which he actually enjoys too. To keep his mind from distractions that may cause sensory overload or some type of social anxiety episode I ask what’s best value for money when deciding if to buy a product (example, buy one get one 1/2 price coke or that of the 50% extra free priced at 10p more) His actually quicker than I am and has on occasions save me some money.

Another thing that Little man loves is the “Self Service Checkout” I guess he feels independent. It’s a great way to distract your child or engage in a little social skills training.

11) Little man loves music and despite sensitive hearing (he can hear a pin drop, or a buzzing freezer sends him barmy) music however doesn’t have the same effect, he loves music, and the louder the better.

If you can tolerate a bit of loud music then its an awesome way to motivate both child and adult into doing the chores and it really does do well to speed things up.

12) Since being in special school little man’s become a dab hand in the kitchen. He cooks or bakes at school every Tuesday and has brought home some delightful dishes. I do think its the Italian in him as the kitchen isn’t my favourite place to be. Because of this I ensure he is appointed jobs that he really enjoys, like helping prepare a meal under supervision. He loves this and it’s simply not a chore in his mind at all.

13) One thing extremely important for the child on the autism spectrum, is that of prise, your child should be praised for the smallest accomplishments as these will eventually lead to those bigger ones, plus you’ll find over time that your child is setting out to please you.

14) Little man love’s some items that many other children have considered strange and undesirable. On little man’s christmas list, I’ve found all sorts such as juicers, smoothie makers, blenders and even a chip pan (don’t ask). His always begging to get his mitts on some type of appliance. This can be used as reinforcements, allowing your child to use the popcorn maker to create a movie snack under your supervision! However, your child will need to clean up and wash any dirty dishes (making sure sharp objects and blades have been removed first).

15) Occasionally, surprise your child with something nice. Do not directly state that it’s a reward for his engagement in chores but prise him for how his displayed good skills and is a good role model for younger siblings and now seems more grown up. This kind of thing makes Little man very proud, he then thinks about other ways of impressing me, not just for treats but the overall confidence boast he receives.

16) Don’t overload chores, give little on Saturdays and none on Sundays, allowing them some chill out time and space. They will continue their chores more efficiently once rested or having had some fun.

17) If your child has hygiene difficulties due to sensory reasons, then you should work with him to remove or reduce the trigger if at all possible, adding these activities to the chores chart also.

18) Encourage your child to recycle by speaking about the fascinating things that it involves and how certain objects can cleverly be used to make something completely different. Do a scavenger hunt, encourage your child/children to collect as many newspapers as they can as well as other recyclable items that can each be placed in its own boxes, example…. Glass, Paper, cans etc… making this a fun afternoon game.

19) If your child has their own pet (little man has Bella our pregnant cat) get them involved in feeding and grooming making it a responsible job and good practical chore.

20) Take the chores out into the garden this summer. With the beautiful sunshine and longer days. Little man and his sister enjoy the garden, and along with their father they are already planting and getting there fingers all green, which is perfect for me, given I hate gardening.

So, there you have it, a nice long list of 20 things that may help your child on the autism spectrum to complete their chores.

If you’re a parent of a child with or without autism, I’d love to hear of any tips with in your comments.

Dream location – The Land of Nod

21 Mar

Drip-drip-drip…. The dripping tap that echo’s throughout the otherwise deadly silent house!

 Tick-tock-tick-tock…. The noisy seconds hand on the grandfather clock that drives you completely insane, so much so you jump from your bed removing its batteries!

 Buzzzzzzzzzz….. The dull jarring buzzing you hear coming from the fridge freezer, just as you’ve almost arrived in the land of nod.

 Have any of the above driven you to hold a pillow over your head in the hope of drowning out the annoyance of white noise or maybe even snoring? If you happen to answer “YES” then I envy you, I really do!

 No, the above is not a typo, its true, yes, all of the above are annoying, that I do not deny, but all three of these scenario’s can be easily fixed (even the added addition of somebody’s terrible snoring)! OK, you may lose a weeks food shop by switching off the freezer, but you can do it all the same!

 I however, cannot switch of my children, although I have sometimes wondered why on earth god didn’t make them with batteries? Some nights are better than others, it’s the others that are currently driving me to write this post which I’m guessing consists of nothing more than rambling, the kind that likely makes no sense! Please bear with me, last night was actually one of those nights!

 Anyone would think I was used to it by now, after all Little Man is 11 already and hasn’t ever really slept an entire night, well not properly anyway. Since his been on the slow release Melatonin, his engaged in a lot of sleep walking and talking so his often up and about even when he is a sleep, which is often not in till some point during the early hours anyway.

 Although I try to embrace Little Mans Asperger’s Syndrome, seeing it more as a gift rather than something disabling. Sleep (or lack of it) is most defiantly one of the hardest issues we have had to deal with for as long as I care to remember.

 Generally I deal with the lack of sleep reasonable well, discounting the time I fell asleep queuing in the supermarket (and yes I was standing)! My head, well that’s somewhere else altogether, seriously, I can’t survive forever with my brain functioning as if it belonged to a chimp ! My point is, I guess I’m used to it and although I don’t get the average amount of sleep many manage, I get by with  grabbing hours here and their, well this used to be the case at least!

 Harley is my youngest son, he was 2 in December. I was blessed with a child who slept throughout the night pretty early on. Day time napping was now however out the question, unless their father was around and when he wasn’t I was basically #•@#@• Then something much worse started to happen, Harley started sleeping less, a lot less! This finally came to a head last week when he demonstrated his stamina in withstanding an alnighter… yes, he stayed awake the entire night falling to sleep at an unforgivable 6am, I was broken, no not physically (that comes in later) but emotionally… was it not enough to have the one child sleep in such a crazy manner… but two… come on give us a break! Of course I explained it away to myself as “His coming down with something” but he hasn’t and its been 5 whole long sodding days and nights. Actually as I type this my eyes are partially closed…. God help me if my Mac ends up on the floor.

 I don’t know why the toddler is suddenly like a child on red bull, but me, I don’t like it one little bit! Of course his then hard to wake and this is when tantrums come into play as his over tired and I get tempted to let him just sleep! It’s an extraordinarily difficult situation to be in when your tired and feeling like you’ve been smashed in the face by a double-decker bus! However, I will try my best as I fear it may lead to more nights like that of the night before. To make matters worse regardless of  him becoming extremely tired, often resulting in him falling into an uncontrolled heap between 8-9 pm (which I note is still reasonably late for him) he still somehow manages to wake up before the clock strikes midnight! Oh… and guess what? He only goes and becomes the life and soul of the party. I’m in trouble if Little man than decides to come out his room engaging in some weird activity as for some reason he’ll suddenly acquire a very sudden interest in his brother, the same brother he screams at to get out his room everyday!

 This was what happen Monday Night Tuesday early hours… I wanted to scream, correction… I did scream… Loudly! Closing the bedroom door, I laid Harley done beside me, however sleep wasn’t on his crazy toddler agenda, he had more exciting things planned, like demonstrating how well he can jump on mummy’s bed and the lovely art of body slamming, with myself being his chosen victim (you know, like those over grown and over weight men who pretend to throw each other around a ring).. Worse when your eyes are closed and it completely takes you by surprise… Ouch…

 I pray to the lord that this is some kind of toddler rebelliousness, one that Little man nor their sister luckily never experienced (through little man more than made up for his lack of tantrums by age 7 and continues to today)!

 Now feeling like a sack of crap, I have important business to attend to! Oh, how I wish that business was in the role of a mid mornings nap…. Sadly it’s tending to the cat litter tray, a sink full of dirty cups and with a bit of luck a ten minute soak in the bath (I hope)!

 Quick Note: If anyone has any tips on helping both an 11-year-old boy diagnosed with Aspergers syndrome and that of a toddler of 2, learn the unwritten rules of sleeping and remaining that way, please do comment! Plus I would love to hear from anybody who has a child on the autism spectrum who happens to sleep walk, sleep talk or both (this is as though  they are literally always on the go)! Even more so if such behaviour is happening while taking a slow releasing Melatonin (only this is when the sleep walking and talking increased for Little Man)?

 Thanks for reading my ramblings and I bid you all goodnight… Oops I mean good-bye!

Cubby Love

19 Mar

As we have clearly been in an extremely crafty mood these past few weeks, it’s no surprise that I wanted a piece of the Cubby Kit action.

A few parent bloggers have been chatting about these exciting boxes filled to the brim with crafty fun and as I consider myself to be a rather crafty mother, I found myself somewhat interested in what exactly the little brown box, known as a cubby box, entailed.

Not only did I discover more about the Cubby Kit appearing on the blogosphere, but id also received an email, which gave me a full introduction to the Cubby Kit from those behind the idea!

I didn’t need all that much convincing and within a blink of an eye, I’d already replied agreeing to give it a try.

So… What exactly is a Cubby Kit?

Cubby Kit is a subscription based service where every month a well presented box of crafty fun is delivered direct to your door, addressed to your child.

Within this box of crafts you will find a brightly coloured sheet highlighting the months theme along with three different activities to complete. The activities all contain their own bits and bobs alongside a brightly coloured instruction booklet, all placed in their very own paper bag. Once children have completed the activities, they will find lots of extra craft materials within the box, so the little crafter will have plenty to keep them going till next months box of surprises.

There are two subscriptions available for children aged 3-4 or those aged 5-6

For me, the idea behind Cubby Kit is a fabulous one! Children get everything needed for each activity within the box (even down to the scissors).

Harley is actually 2 years old but is showing a real interest for crafting, so we decided to have this addressed to Harley and Alice-Sara his 9-year-old sister.

The box arrived quickly and I really can’t fault them on presentation, the box was nicely packed within sheets of sky blue tissue paper, everything had a cute cubby sticker placed on it, and each item was labelled well.

First impressions were excellent and I couldn’t wait to get this out when Alice-Sara returned from her sleepover.

The months theme was “Space” and the three activities given, were, Mushy Martians, Constellation Chart, 3D Rocket Picture.

Each projects instructions were displayed really clearly, with the use of both words and pictures making this great for those visual learners like my little man who has Aspergers Syndrome.

This all kind of reminded me of my days at pre-school, what with the cute little tub of PVA glue supplied with little spatula. Our box was a sample box for the purpose of a review so I am not sure how much additional material a child is given to see them through the month as the supply box contain a small handful of these.

One thing I will note, is given the box is designed for smaller children, my daughter who is 9 enjoyed the 3D Rocket Picture, and the Constellation Chart, a great deal. I personally felt that both these activities were also great for her age group.

The first activity started was that of the 3D Rocket picture. All the materials were supplied with nothing missing. We did however get out our own felt tip pens to give Alice-Sara more variety of colours to use for the colouring in of the rocket. Harley (the toddler helped with the gluing, sticking and sprinkling of glitter, which he seemed to enjoy. The activity didn’t last more than half an hour to complete and both children seemed impressed with the end results.

Above the finished 3D Rocket Picture… Note, the ribbon was not added as Harley decided to run away and hide it, seriously, we’re still looking! :)

Next up the children decided to get going with the Constellation Chart. Little Man (aka A boy with Aspergers) who is 11 years old, at this point declared that he had learned about this topic at school and it would be in the interest of both his brother and sister, if he helped!

Admittedly, Little Man, does tend to like control, he can often take over and become quite bossy as he dishes out instructions. Thankfully, he wasn’t to bad and this was the nicest I’ve seen them play together for ages (especially Little Man and Alice Sara). Harley the toddler, again done lots of the sticking and sprinkling, where’s the older two joined the dots and did the cutting. It’s a lovely activity based on an educational subject, so it’s a good way to get them asking questions. Again all supplies were included, though we found that the gold get pen was not fully visible on the card which I think had something to do with the glossy texture the card was made from. Luckily I have one of those gold ink pens which was perfect and helped complete the task a treat.

The most exciting activity had to be the Mushy Martians which went down a treat. Here’s the thing, my eldest child who attends a special school for children with autism and aspergers, has difficulties with all areas of his sensory processing. This includes touch and smell, his very tactile defensive and has always expressed a dislike for play dough especially its smell. Since having OT (occupational therapy) his started to tolerate more textures and informs me that he now handles play dough at school. He was absolutely amazed that we had been given the recipe and even more amazed at how it contained no smell. Seriously, he became a little over obsessed with the whole thing and told everyone that his mum can make play dough. He was even impressed at how we could make it any colour we wanted, meaning I’ve stood making pots and pots of play dough in all colours of the rainbow with Little man as my sidekick.

The instructions for Mushy Martians were again very clear and easy to follow, all ingredients were fully supplied as expected.

The only disappointment with this one was, regardless of following the given instructions the added oil and green colouring failed to turn the dough even the slightest shade of green whatsoever. I have no idea why this was, though the supplied bottle contained a very small amount and the only explanation I can possible think of is that it just wasn’t enough! Maybe the bottle leaked prior to packaging as there was no trace of any spillage and I did wonder if the amount was included before starting.

This did mean we needed to store the dough in the container that originally housed the flour and buy some green colouring the following day. Adding it to the pre-made mixture was a messy job, but worked well.

I loved the googly eyes supplied but was puzzled to why only 3 had been included (then again this is an out of space martian) We had some more googly eyes and the two boys had lots of fun making different faces. Little man pulled and pinched the dough as to make different expressions. As he has trouble with reading certain facial expressions we made this into a really fun game of “Can you guess how the Martian is feeling today”

Check out the pictures, what do you think? Note: Little man is 11 which shows your never to old for play dough.

We loved the Cubby Kit, but purely because we do a lot of crafts which therefore means we already have lots and lots of materials. This means that I couldn’t justify the £19.99 subscription fee. This would be perfect for the busy parent or the one who isn’t big on crafts. The fee does seem a lot for what we received, however, ours was a sample box so I therefore cannot comment on how much additional materials are given.

Remember, it’s not only the box of crafts supplied, but also the inspiration given within the monthly theme and enclosed three crafts.

Big thanks to those at Cubby Kit for sending us a Cubby Kit to review as well as their delightful customer service. I’d also like to thank them for the play dough recipe (Little man and his brother have a rainbow selection of dough) plus myself and Little Man are currently making some dough for his play dough crazed cousin who is also on the autism spectrum.

Newsflash: Just discovered that Cubby Kit are running a promotion… First Month Free! Promo Code on their site HERE

Disclaimer

I wasn’t paid for this review, though we did receive both a Cubby kit and lots of inspiration for the purpose of the review. 

 
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