Archive | May, 2011

The gift of a beautiful friendship

31 May -2009

A few days back I met up with one of my good friend’s for a spot of shopping and a catch up. 

It was during this catch up that I released how lucky I am to have this friend in my life!  Here’s why…

In adult life friendships can be hard things to maintain. Its thought to be even harder when only one of the two friends is a parent, which is the case for us!

This is often true for many, including me! What with the pressures being a parent brings…  It’s a time consuming task that leaves little room for socialising. Its sad but true that for many this type of friendship don’t last the course. 


This is even possible for some of the strongest friendships, those that have been maintained since childhood! Do you remember the days spent with that best friend who you swore would be your best friend forever? You know the one… You swore you would move to a foreign country with, share a flat with, be bridesmaid at her wedding, godmother to her children, and finally grow old and die with! There is a good chance that you haven’t seen nor spoke to that special someone for a very long time.

 It’s not only the factor of starting a family or getting married that sees such great friendships flounder, but also the changing interest you acquire as you sail through the different stages of your life!

Some of my closest childhood friendships have been lost through the years… and yes, many were lost when one of us started a family! Still, It should be noted that I haven’t only lost friendships with childless friends, but those who like me have at least popped out one child… In my case three!  After all… it’s a busy job being mum!

So, what happens when you throw autism into the mix? One friend not only starts a family but one of her children ends up being on the autism spectrum or has some other form of disability/special need? If the above is true, surely this leaves little hope of friendship survival!  

Sadly many of my own friendships just haven’t made it past the finish line! In all honesty, I properly only have a few that have. 

And guess what?

These are friendships I have with friends who don’t yet have children, bringing me back to the reason I consider myself a very lucky mummy!

As I sat with my friend discussing the Ins & outs of my youngest child’s tantrums, my daughters developing “attitude” and little mans offer of a school placement, I could tell that my friend was totally engaged with what it was I had to say! By now some of my friends would be checking their mobiles & making their excuses! Fortunately this isn’t the case with Donna!

You read a lot about the child with Aspergers not being able to make or maintain friendships, sadly this is all to often the case for the child’s parents too! Its something you read far less about, who wants to admit that as a grown arse woman you struggle to make or maintain friendships! Well, I’m not ashamed to state that, “Yes I find it extremely bloody hard!” Why?  Many people Just fail to understand Little man and a good nine times out of ten, they just can’t cope with his challenging ways! 

As for the aspect of making friends, this never seems to happen when out and about with the children. Fellow parents tend to look at myself & Little man before turning to gossip with the mothers in their group. Its like a whole room of eyes just on you! Have you ever felt that, the feeling that the whole room is looking at you? I have! Its something I feel daily! Every time I reach the school gate, go to the park or take the children to the soft play area. I feel it because normally the whole room is looking at me! 

Myself & little man can clear an entire park with our presence!  Oh yer… We could properly put you out of business, clearing almost any child friendly event presented to us. Does this make me sad! It breaks my bloody heart every-time I think about it. 

Do you know who makes me feel better at times like these? Donna! That’s the beauty of friendship!

Donna is like my sidekick, my backbone if you like, she keeps me strong and smiling. Donna isn’t just a friend who listens with real interest but supports and encourages me in anything I do… no matter how crazy (and I can be pretty crazy at times). She was by my side through Little man’s diagnosis, has attended & supported me through two court case’s when Little man was a school refuser, she has been there for nearly every meeting with his old mainstream school or the LEA, and she even attended the early bird course as she herself wanted to learn more!

One of my happier moments to our friendship was the day she held my hand as I pushed my youngest child into the world some eighteen months back. (Donna would likely state that held her hand I did not, referring to it as more of a squeeze that was so tight I almost cut of her blood circulation.) 

Donna is a woman who isn’t scared to share a day out with me and my children. (Even when I’ve arrange a sitter she encourages me to bring them along.) Donna has been present during some of little mans most challenging meltdowns, yet she’s never ran away leaving me to it, she’s encountered the stares form the public, chased Little man across a massive heath (yes he was determined to escape on a bus!), she’s talked him across a bridge when he was to frighten to move, she’s even patiently listens to his non-stop bus talk & constant singing of Bruno Mars hits! But best and most importantly of all… she loves and excepts him for the little boy that he is!

How amazing is that!! 

Post dedicated to my friend Donna Jordan to show my appreciation at having her in my life 

Holy Macaroni Its A Panda

29 May il_fullxfull.124328692

It’s around 1 P. M Friday 27th, May and I’m applying the last coat of mascara In my desperate attempt to become something of a yummy mummy, though human will properly do just fine (no sleep the night before makes this a challenge). The plan is to make myself somewhat presentable in-order to escape this house and the housework that comes with it and instead hit the shops before my little “cherubs” return home from school! As I grab my handbag and a pair of lifesaving oversized sunnies (recommended for any tired mummy for hiding a multitude of sins ), I set off for the door where I’m greeted by our “ever so friendly postman”.

Bills, bills and more bloody bills… Hang on what’s this??

Err, I hate surprises, in my experience surprises put through my letter box are not usually the welcome type!!

I tore open the envelope and began to read… blah… blah… blah… “Holly Cow!!” I couldn’t quite believe it! I read it again, then again, then yes, you’ve guessed it… AGAIN!

My eyes start to blur, a tear drops onto the paper, closely followed by another, they rapidly increase in-till the words written within the letter are no longer recognisable.

For once these tears were not caused by sadness, but joy, relief and gratitude! Throwing my head back, I looked up above and said aloud, “Thank you god, thank you!”

My Little man had just been given a chance, a way through, a future!

This letter was from a school, not just any school but one that I have been keen for little man to attend for some time. (Keen being a slight understatement!) The school is fully independent and even better it’s an autism specific school.

Holy-Macaroni… Its so long since anything went right with little mans education that I was a little unsure how to react. Is it appropriate to give it some… “Woo-hoo get in there my son!!” (Quite literally) How about engaging in a little victory dance? One things for sure, as ecstatic as I was, something seems to be holding me back from doing either!

It’s Just a school placement right!

It’s so much more then that for us, for Little man! It’s his chance! Shamefully it’s been a hell of a long time since anyone had been willing to offer my son such a thing!

Do you know how it feels to suffer rejection over and over again? Maybe you do! But how many people can honestly say they knew that feeling at the young age of ten? I’ve watched every last inch of Little man’s self-esteem fade away, I’ve seen & wiped the tears from his eyes, I’ve spent days and nights giving him reassurance, trying to repair the damage and help him gain back his confidence… only for someone to come along and undo it all again, all them hours, days and weeks to make progress… vanished in seconds.

The worse thing of all is the questions projected at me! I’ve had to answer questions no mother would ever expect nor want to answer when their ten year old child asks, “Mum, why can’t I just be normal” or “If there is a god, why wont he help me fit in?” These are a selected few… There are sadly many more, some I find I am unable to write, by doing so I become a broken mess with questions of my own! This accompanied with his tendency to self harm by throwing himself into brick walls or his scratching his arms till they bleed is the extent of damage been done at the hands of those that should have provided an education suitable to his needs while ensuring his emotional and metal well-being was protected from harm, but instead taught him that, “it isn’t OK to be who you are!”

My son went through something I wish for no other child or adult! He was discriminated against for being the person he is, because it wasn’t what was considered “Normal”, what society expects from a child! As his mother I felt somehow responsible for this after all it was me that placed him in this mainstream primary school! I finally did remove him from at the beginning of December 2010, which felt amazing for all. Being a parent who has a legal duty to ensure their child is in school has been a nightmare for me! I have a child with social communication difficulties who developed school phobia (Yet no one told me such a thing existed) why ever not? After all this landed me in court.

The above was a situation I was placed in twice and of course this was before his behaviour became unsettled & challenging in the school environment.

It was towards the end of year three that things change! Along came a string of both unofficial exclusions (aka Illegal exclusions) and fixed period exclusions with added threats of the permanent type on a regular basis. There was even an unsuccessful push towards a pupil referral unit (PRU). I decided to get myself educated on education law… More particularly that of ‘Special educational needs

When your child is excluded or removed form every school trip/activity, isolated and hidden on the day of inspections, then you know there is something very wrong happening! Just before our tribunal hearing for the case of disability discrimination, I finally agreed to settle. A formal letter of apology was given to myself and Little man, review and adaption of policies was agreed, and most importantly staff training in special educational needs and discrimination would be carried out by July this year! Having removed him from the mainstream setting he has now been out of school since early December last year. Yet before this time he was only in half days taught in isolation (himself and a TA) this or exclusion meant he was educated at home more then in school. Since January he has received home tuition, on a part time basis of five hours per day. During this time and also on this very day I have been battling for amendments to be made to Little man’s final statement of SEN. This had been so badly written and lacked so much provision it wouldn’t be worth having (In other words it was no worse then not having a statement at all) Of course the LEA wouldn’t agree to the high fees of the independent school and firmly stuck to their guns, Well… they did up in-till time started running out. Having searched high and low for a state run special school over an area of around four or five boroughs, with all schools claiming they could not meet Little man’s needs. The LEAs response to the tribunal on the 5th of this month therefore stated that they are no longer in a position to oppose pt 4 of the statement, “My request for the independent school” as they were unable to secure a placement anywhere else!

Wow.. This meant that the LEA had approached all the school’s they felt suitable for little man, yet all refused… Although I wanted my Little guy at the independent school, it was still disheartening knowing no one else were willing to give him that chance

The school had assessed Little man in the library setting on the 16th and just this week he took a tour of his soon to be new school. Although he states his never going to a school again and his now really attached to his tutor, something magical happened as he liked it so much he asked, “So, when do I start?”

A slow transition at little man’s own pace is planed. This will involve his tutor attending alongside him in the beginning gradually reducing the support as his confidence grows.

I won’t lie and say I’m not scared, I’m petrified! Yet something tells me to put my fears aside because this is where it all begins, this is where it gets better! I have the pleasure of seeing my child happy as over-time he rebuilds all that’s been lost and damaged along the way, while achieving his dreams & showing everyone that never offered such chances or failed to see him as more then a child with difficulties… what they missed out on! An Amazing boy With Aspergers

Oh, in cause you’re all wondering… Did I make it to the shops? Yes, I did, though I wished I had looked in the mirror before setting off! All that crying had me mistaken as a Panda bear that or battered woman

Remember if you like the blog and think me and the little guy deserve a nice shinny award then please vote us the most inspirational blog at the ‘Mad blog awards 2011″

I’m no Vicky Pallord!

25 May pollard

Warning post contains sarcasm!

I’m a mummy of three, who doesn’t currently engage in paid employment! My hobbies include sitting on my backside smoking an excessive amount of cheap brand cigarettes while indulging in the awesomeness of daytime television. (it’s my opinion that daytime telly is seriously under-rated in its entertainment value).

When my two older children are in school I generally let my eighteen month old run a muck, while I get my daily fix of Jeremy Kyle. As I trust you all, I will let you into a little secret of mine! “I sometimes keep the two older children home from school due to me failing to get my arse out of bed of a morning, that or I require them to babysit their little brother as to allow me some me time! Yes, this is mainly spent socialising and networking on Facebook.”

So, there you have it! I’m basically a total bum who has chosen to live this lavish lifestyle as opposed to getting a, what’s that word again? …Oh yes that’s it, ‘JOB’!!!!

Can you blame me? Given the toss-up between the two, that is…   A lazy day at home in the company of Jeremy Kyle, or… The long commute on an overly crowded train in a bid to get to work five mornings a week! Sorry… Jeremy wins hands down!

Yer right as if! Please tell me you do realise that the above is nothing other than an example of my twisted humour, a hard injection of sarcasm! Come on people seriously…  I’m no ‘VICKY POLLARD

It’s incredibly lamentable that a large proportion of people in today’s society, will all to often draw such conclusions of those above when it comes to unemployed mothers!

I guess it’s all to easy to assume that the mother on benefits who lives in a council house, doesn’t work because its easier this way. You only have to watch television to see some great examples of the stigma surrounding this type of mother! I’m not stating that I myself don’t laugh till my sides are sore when watching ‘Little Britain’ or ‘Balls of steel’ I’m just stating that it’s a shame that in the reality of things, people everywhere actually see us mum’s in this light!

Well, this may well be the case for some mothers, but it certainly isn’t the case for me! I imagine it isn’t for many others either!

So, do I want to work? In actual fact… I do!

I’m not only a full-time mother to three children (one on the autism spectrum), but I’m also a volunteer adviser and caseworker, supporting parents of children with autism and special educational needs through the process of the SEN tribunal in-order to get their child’s educational needs met. My duties include: Advising parents on their legal rights, helping them make an application to the tribunal, then basically guiding those that need it, through the different stages of the appeal from then on till the hearing. I can’t begin to explain how for me this is an incredibly rewarding position! Its one that doesn’t provide me with any financial gain, no form of income! That’s right! I do it because I’m passionate about helping these families overcome the battle of obtaining educational provision for their children! After all, It’s something we as a family have continually faced.

My little man was a very different child, a deeply unhappy one, up in till we removed him from mainstream in December. His currently in home tuition (supplied at the expense of the LEA), since January this year. He was continually excluded from his old school, I was called to collect him almost daily and towards the end he was taught in isolation. Lucky, Little man is set to start a trail placement at a fantastic independent autism specific school at the end of June. All goes well… The school will be named in part 4 of his statement!

So, here’s my point, I do have one I promise! I’m sure many parents of children on the spectrum will agree with me when I say, “Who would want to employ a mother or a father of an autistic child?” I’m being honest when I say, “I wouldn’t employ me!”

Constant calls from your child’s head-teacher requesting you collect your child immediately! They want you to come in just to have a word with them, or calm your child down during a meltdown! To work would be wholly unachievable! Lets state facts here guys, tell it like it is! What decent company with a boss who is well on the ball, would even consider employing a woman like me?

Come November 2011, this mum will be putting the long-term plan into action, the one that sees her go get the career she wants! Yes, this is the date I hope to start studying for my Psychology degree, “The one I couldn’t start this month as previously planed” (Not enough time, what with Jeremy Kyle and all). My study will thankful be done from home with the ‘Open University’ allowing me the flexibility to care for the children and carry on volunteering.

So, you see… I’m not no ‘Vicky Pallord’ (you couldn’t pay me to wear that shell suit)! More importantly I don’t do any of those terrible things, with the exception of them horrid cigarettes (Yes, bad habit I know!) I’m really just a mum trying to do right by her children! Even if that is under the roof of a council house!

I’ve finally gone Mad & proud of it

21 May the mads

Stop it, I know I’m not the full ticket, but that’s not here nor there!

This really isn’t about putting the milk in the washing machine nor falling asleep while stood at the kitchen sink attempting the washing up! This is a different kinda ‘Mad’ altogether!


Do you remember around a month or so ago, when I wrote my shameless, ‘SOS’, post that mostly consisted of a load of begging and up-front pleading form me? Well, I’m here to deliver my second dose of classy begging as last time your kindness resulted in me reaching the finals! Yes, I’ll repeat that incase you missed it! “I’VE MADE IT TO THE FINAL!” and the final I’m referring to that of the, ‘Mad blog awards 2011‘, in which I’m shortlisted in the category, ‘Most Inspiring Mad blogger‘, sponsored by ‘Mothecare’. I’m really chuffed to be shortlisted alongside such talent.

But hang on in there tiger! That’s not it! Hell yer there’s more! I also made it onto the shortlist for the ‘ Mad Blogger Of The Year 2011′ sponsored by the fabulous ‘Parentdish‘ this sees me placed alongside five other very talented parent bloggers, who have some fantastic blogs! This category is not decided by the public but instead a judging panel.

Wow! I have to say that I feel truly honoured and thank everyone who put me there in both categories. You’ve helped me achieve this big fat cheesy smile that’s currently spread across my chops. Gosh it’s gonna take a hell of a lot to burst this mummy’s bubble. I can’t remember the last time I was this excited about anything which is why I’m holding onto this feeling with both hands.

Well, given that it worked last time it only seems logical to do it again, “begging that is” which is pretty much made up of…

“PLEASE, PLEASE, LOOK I’M ON MY HANDS AND KNEES!” or “PLEASE VOTE FOR ME, I’LL LOVE YOU ALL FOREVER AND EVER!”

On a more serious note (though the above was no joke), I would like to state that what really touched me is the fact my readers took them two minutes or so out their day to vote for little old me! I really mean it when I say you guys are totally ace.

I remember when I first embanked on my blogging journey, becoming part of the mummy blogging gang. Of course I didn’t see myself as part of anything at that time, I purely found comfort in writing down my thoughts, fears and hopes. In all honesty I never really considered it being of interest to anyone but me! After all, Who want’s to know? Then you get that very first comment! I remember mine clearly, a fellow mother who had a child & hubby on the autism spectrum! She reached out and without actually knowing so, she reassured me, “I wasn’t alone & showed me that,Yes people were interested in the blog”

As for the diagnosis, its like a roller-coaster of emotions! You don’t only learn a lot about yourself but those around you. Some become closer but some of the closest disappear.

There was a point at the time of diagnosis and that leading up to it, when Little man would not attend school (full on school refusal). This wasn’t dealt with by offering some form of support, but instead by taking me to court. It’s ironic really given my son has been school-less for the past 7 months due to mainstream no longer meeting his needs & no other school willing to take him on. The school attendance officer had written in a formal letter to our CAMH’S practitioner,“I can’t see why she would cry! Her son has a cousin with autism” This was in response to a letter the practitioner had written informing her that he considered it likely that Little man was on the autism spectrum possibly with Aspergers syndrome (which he went on to be formal diagnosed with just over a year later) He wanted the school attendance officer to know this alongside my reaction to the news, stating that they should reconsider court action, instead offering support wherever needed. Her comment was a great example of ignorance in its boldest form, sadly there was plenty more to come.

What I’m trying to get across to you all is that this blog came about in one off our darkest hours! Amazingly though its now become a real positive platform that also opened so many doors, one being to the wider community of mummy bloggers (with or without children on the spectrum).

Although a large number of us have faced some laborious situations, hurdles with a string of challenges to over come, and those constant battles to obtain the basics, such basics that without your child having ever received a diagnosis you would properly never have believed such necessities could be restricted from any child’s reach. You find out what really lies behind the school gates, you sit in the head-teachers office at your child’s school more often then you did your own when you were a child. Nonetheless I hope this blog shows that no matter how hard things become, you do get through it, and do so that bit wiser, stronger and if anything more determined.

What started as just my own personal diary changed over time. Although I still blog about the day-to-day life of parenting three children, one with Aspergers, I wanted to be sure to share anything of use, hear what others had to say and offer support where possible. It became my aim to reach out to parents of diagnosed children, especially those of newly diagnosed children as I was quite aware of that feeling of isolation that nearly always accompanies a diagnosis of autism. I also wanted to connect with those on the spectrum, and anyone else willing to listen. Importantly I wanted to try and remove some of the stereotype views & stigma surrounding autism & aspergers, that often lies with those who don’t have the privilege of knowing someone on the spectrum.

I want my writing to empowered other parents to speak out or to simply see that a diagnosis of autism doesn’t have to be a bad thing (after all that diagnosis entitles your child to services that were previously beyond their reach) If my story has helped just the one family, that’s an achievement itself.

Someone once told me “To beg is not classy” Now when did you ever hear me say I was classy? I’ve thrown all caution to the wind by deciding to get fully involved in the awards, “which I must add are totally amazing” If this involves getting down and dirty with the self-promotion then so be it! After all I’m proud of my little space and if sharing it makes it that bit bolder. That can only be a good thing.

So please If you fancy making this mummy’s day then please visit, ‘The Mad blog Awards 2011′ and Vote 4 me Aka, ‘A boy with Asperger’s as the ‘Most Inspiring Mad Blogger’


Lots of love Claire


From the heart of an eight year old

15 May silhouette_of_a_brother_and_sister_holding_hands_at_the_beach_0515-1004-2914-3627_SMU

Today’s post is a very special one!

Yes, it really is! Today is the day I write and publish a very special interview, one I’ve contemplated writing for sometime now.

I wanted to raise some awareness, not only for children on the autism spectrum, but those children closely related to them.

Well, you can’t get much closer then a sibling, well maybe if that sibling happens to be a twin! But a sibling is the closest I’ve got  (no twins in this house)

My daughter is a very outspoken little lady, she’s eight and like many little girls her age, she’s sometimes a bit big for her own boots.

Still I have no complaints, my little girls a treasure, a real joy to be around (99% of the time) But as I’ve written In a very recent post, these siblings fight like cat and dog.

Little Man and his sister couldn’t be more different! Yes I love them both the same, just as I do my youngest, ‘The walking home-wrecker’, “No, his two young to be a ‘marriage wrecker’ but he is an eighteen month old vandal who I’m considering awarding an ASBO!” Of course I’m joking, then again ask me that when his feeding the DVD player ‘Whootis’ and watering the plants with fruit juice.

My point is, “IF I EVER QUESTION LITTLE MAN’S DIAGNOSIS BY ASKING MYSELF DID THEY GET IT WRONG?” I just look at the differences in the way my two eldest children interact, play or socialise. This corrects my way of thinking almost immediately, even when things do seem relatively ‘normal’ and the questioning sets in there is always something around the corner to point it out.

Well, as usual I’ve done enough rabbeting for one post! So, with that I will now introduce an even bigger chatter box, ‘Miss Alice-Sara’


AFTER WHAT SEEMS A LONG WAIT SHE COME’S FLYING THROUGH THE DOOR LIKE A WEST-END THEATER STAR!

Umm… As I expected, she’s dancing around, flicking her hair and striking a pose. A gentle reminder from mum ( yes, that’s me) reminds her this isn’t television.

Mum: So,  if your finished giggling Ally would you like to start?

Alice-Sara: I’m finished, just one last *giggle* That’s better! What you waiting for mummy?

Mum: *cough, cough* shake head, ready now are you Ally? Right… Can you please tell me what your name is, how old you are and what school you go to?

Alice-Sara: Well, My name is… ‘Alice’, I’m 8 years old and I go to XXXXXX Primary school.

Mum: Very good! So Alice! Can you please tell everyone a little bit about your family Alice!

Alice-Sara: what like who they are and that?

Mum: Well, who do you live with, do you have brothers or sisters? Remember the readers don’t know you, just me!

Alice-Sara:  Oh, I thought so! Ok, I have no sisters (rolls eyes, sticks up bottom lip and crosses arms). I have two brothers! A baby brother and a big brother, who is sometimes really bad! Well, most of the time actually! Oh, I’ve got a kitten, well, we have two kittens but ones my brothers, and guess what they were really scared but now they are getting used to us.

YES, ONE VERY EXCITED LITTLE GIRL WHEN IT COMES TO THE NEW ADDITIONS TO OUR FAMILY!

Mum: That’s really great Ally! So, do you remember why mummy asked you to do this special interview today?

Alice-Sara: Yep,  Sure do mum! It’s so I can tell everyone what it’s like to have a brother with Aspergers!

Mum: Yes that’s right! Do you know what Asperger’s is? Should mummy explain it first (Not like I expected her to agree)

Alice-Sara: No, no… I can explain myself! Well, Aspergers is something that makes you a little bit different, no I mean a lot. He can be very naughty for sure! It means you like buses, or something else like buses, you like it a lot a lot, and that’s what you like to play all the time….., Isn’t it Mum!

Mum: Yes, I see what you mean! Little man has a special interest in buses! That’s right Alice! So, anything else you want to add or are you finished?

Alice-Sara: Umm… Your brain is a bit different I think, and you do things in a different way (looks my way for clarification, to which I give a gentle nod) Oh, You can cry if someone is just looking at you, can’t you mum! My brother hits me if I look at him, he says I’m pulling faces!

Mum: Does he hit you a lot?

Alice-Sara: Err Yer Mum, you joking? You know he does! I sometimes get so angry that I want to burst open… I say things I don’t mean sometimes, like… I wish you wasn’t part of our family! But he always says horrible things to me.

Mum: Like what?

Alice-Sara: Well, I don’t want to swear mum, or am I allowed to so that I can tell you?

Mum:  No…. I’m sure there’s other names he calls you that don’t require any swearing! (though I’m struggling with that one myself)

Alice-Sara: I know! He sometimes calls me butt head and fat!

Mum: You know your not fat though Alice don’t you?

Alice-Sara: Umm… Yes…., but I’m not a butt head either you know!

Mum: I know your not! (Flash her a smile and she gives me a quick hug) So, what’s it like at home? Do you play with your brother?

Alice-Sara: Not so much anymore. We always have to play school’s but he would always be the teacher (she is really exaggerating her voice). He just shouts the same thing all the time, like, “SHUT UP AND DO WORK, YOU’RE NO GOOD! NOW GET OUT MY SCHOOL”  That’s not the only way I showed him how to play schools! (Big shake of the head with hands on hips lol)

Mum: What, you showed him how to play schools?

Alice-Sara: I teach him all my games, but he just bosses me about and always puts a bus in our game somehow, even when I say no”buses allowed!” I’m not allowed to stop playing when I’ve had enough but he just walks away and stops playing half way through a game, “Yer that’s so annoying” Oh, and he don’t say anything, just leaves! He goes of making that noise! (Again roll of the eyes and raises her eyebrows)

Mum: Noise………?

Alice-Sara: Yes, you know mum (she says in a very low voice, almost as if she’s whispering), the noise… he always makes… I will do it quietly because he will go crazy if he hears me, I’m not allowed to like what he likes am I! “Beep, beep ,beep ,beep… but a lot more fast, then he goes sussssh it’s the beeping of the bus doors and the noise they make when they open and close! He loves that! It gives me and mummy a headache sometimes, don’t it mum, don’t it!

Alice-Sara: Oh… Mum, mum, I forgot! He uses strange things to be the front of the bus, *giggle* He uses a spoon or pencil and holds it in-front of his face, Oh, one more thing… he uses mum’s sunglasses as the bus doors (her voice lowers and as she giggles that cheeky giggle she says, “He always breaks your glasses don’t he mum!”)

Mum: Yes, he certainly does Ally!

Mum: Ok, just a few more questions now Alice!

Alice-Sara:  Oh, I’m having fun :)

Mum: I’m glad! So, how about school! Does your brother go to your school?

Alice-Sara: Not anymore! He goes to learn at the library and gets to do fun stuff, *Huff* “I wish I could go to school in the library!”


Mum: You wont say that when your bored with no one to play with!

Alice-Sara: Yes I will!

Mum: Alice……

Alice-Sara: OK, OK, maybe not! I do have lots of friends in school! My brother was a little bit bad at school, but sometimes people were horrible to him and that makes him more naughty.

Alice-Sara: I do love him because his my brother! Mum, Is it Ok if I don’t always like him though?

Mum: Of course it is honey, of course!

“Please Save me from the falling buildings”

13 May 811_25_7855---Canary-Wharf--London_web

It’s the 29 Th. April 2011 and the day of the Royal Wedding. Its getting late and has started to rain, within what seems like a second I’m wet through.

Stood on Waterloo bridge in bight red heels, “Heels I so, regret wearing!” I’m tired, becoming cranky and just wanna go home!

One problem! Little man wont cross the bridge.

Myself, a friend and my daughter had just started strolling across the bridge when little man shouted, “No, no, no! I’m not walking across that!” He stood very still with an expression of fear spread across his face. He shook his head repeatedly and started to mumble something which normally indicates his nervous.

Did I know he had a fear of this kind? Nope I truly didn’t! I can’t remember us ever having to walk over a bridge before (his fine with driving over them it’s just walking that presents a problem).

It hadn’t rained all day despite the predictions, the Royals married on a gorgeous sunny day. Well, that was in-till now! I was quickly losing the will to live as I tried desperately to persuade Little man to cross the bridge! The prospect of having to get the train one stop to avoid it was one I didn’t fancy having to contemplate. Then there was the fact I wanted to get a picture of the stunning views of the River Thames that I must say looked stunning on this particular night (despite the rain). The London Eye looked incredible, all lit up in blue and red, the colours of the union Jack in honor of the newly weds.

My friend took over and somehow after what seemed like ‘forever’ little man walked across the bridge.

The rain had stopped and despite how heavy it fell, it lasted no more than a mere 30 minutes (nonetheless it was enough time to soak an entire family)

The mission back to Waterloo east station would require us to walk past the London Eye. As we got nearer I suddenly realised another problem was about to unearth itsself! Little Man was now refusing to walk past the wheel. His anxiety levels rose and he become quite panicky.

“Please mum… I don’t want to walk past it, it’s to big, I’m scared!”

“What are you scared of darling?”

“What do you mean what am I scared off, I’m scared of that thing, that’s what I’m scared of!”

Well, didn’t that tell me!

This time there was no reasoning with the little guy and it was apparent by the frustration on my daughters face that she had now had enough and looked forward to a hot chocolate and her lovely warm bed. I looked at little man who now had his hands spread across his face in a desperate attempt to conceal his eyes from his surroundings, while shouting, “COME ON MUM, COME ON! ITS GOING TO FALL ON US IF WE DON’T GO RIGHT NOW, FOR *#*# *#*#”

Yes, bad language was flowing freely from the mouth of my little guy, he normally does when anxiety kicks in!

I knew from that moment we wouldn’t be walking past the beautifully lit London Eye and that this time not even my friend would be able to use her magic ways of persuasion, just as she had done on the bridge.

Now, did I know he feared the London Eye? No! However I had learnt through recent events that little man feared very tall buildings.

It was about three weeks pervious, when I decided to take the little dude on a visit to Canary Wharf during one of our ‘special transport days’ For those who are wondering what this crazy lady is chatting about, a ‘ special transport day’ involves little man super indulging in his special interest of transport by riding on the trains, tube, bus, dock-lands light rail, and not forgetting the clipper that jets across the River Thames into Greenwich or Westminster. Though this mum would like to see her little man splashing about at the swimming baths or playing with the other children in the park she wouldn’t have it any other way as seeing the enjoyment in his eyes makes it more than worth it (even if it does mean she has to be a transport enthusiast)

However once at Canary Wharf I could no longer see that same ‘enjoyment’ in my little mans eyes, Instead I saw fear. Stood amongst the skyscrapers Little man dropped to the pavement to the safety of the ground. I had never seen him react to anything in such a manner. I had clearly brought him to an environment that he could not tolerate.

Canary Wharf Isn’t to far from the London City airport and as a result the skies above see quite a bit of air traffic. As you can imagine this creates quite a noise as the sound of the aircraft bounces of the skyscrapers. This sent the little guy into an even bigger frenzy of panic.

As per-usual there were those that stopped for a look, this time it was different though, purely because my son wasn’t having a meltdown, this was in-fact a lot different, he was reacting like the terrified child he was instead of a child who come across as ‘challenging’ Nonetheless this was challenging for me, I still had to get him off the floor and back onto the tube.

Of course I succeeded but this wasn’t without lots of reassuring and encouragement. Back on the tube little guy questioned himself, he said he never thought he would be scared of buildings and couldn’t understand what went wrong! He said he was now feeling a little stupid. I explained that he shouldn’t feel stupid as it was a common occurrence, more than some may think. I wasn’t just trying to make the little guy feel better (even though this was of course my first priority), I was actually stating what I believed to be true, after all I was the same as a child. Once I explained to him that Mum had once felt that way, he really engaged and we discussed it all the way home.

It turns out that like me as a child, little man had felt dizzy and sick, his head went funny and his body wobbled! He even described a butterfly feeling inside his tum which he informs me was a very strange feeling. I think what he meant or at least tried to describe was the  feeling and  an experience of vertigo caused by his vestibular processing.

From the age of two I used to throw myself out of my buggy and lay on the floor every-time my mother or father pushed me past a bill-board poster. It took sometime for them to work out what was going on but they finally did, especially when my father took me on a crane where he worked and was presented with a little girl screaming her head off while shaking so forcefully that the crane wobbled (Well, at least that’s what my dad claimed *giggle*).

It’s funny as now I’m older I realise that I myself had quite a lot of sensory processing problems. I like my little man was and still am to some degree… tactile defensive!

You see, it’s not just the issue of fear here! This was a sensory issue for my little man. Well, it was defiantly a contribution of the two. Little man is also worried of a terrorist attack, something I should have considered before taking him there! Skyscrapers, aeroplanes and the feeling of being out of control on top of the vertigo was a tad too much for Little man while at Canary Wharf and seemed to be that same way now.

After a long day and night I decided that we would not walk past the London Eye, after all he had already faced his fear on the bridge (proud mummy)

I wrote this blog as I wanted to show how such issues can pop up out of nowhere, how it’s important to be aware of the possible triggers of anxiety, the achievements our children can make (the bridge), and also how I see a little bit of me in my little guy! No I’m not an Aspie but I’m his mum and his bound to be a little like me after all :)

It’s funny as a child I considered myself a bit of a nut job! what with the need to bite my sleeves even though it drove me mad, the fact i couldn’t deal with polo neck jumpers and school shirts, the way I hated G-strings in my early twenties lol (comfort babe is me) Oh, there are many more and I assume such issues of sensory processing disorder (SPD) were non-existent when I was a kid (now i feel old) Maybe if they were I may well hold the label, but then again I guess many of us would.

A love hate relationship

1 May charlie-lola

So, today I’ve been inspired to write this post by my beautiful daughter.

You see, my little princess is feeling a little left out! I guess I haven’t really treated her like the little princess that she is just lately.

I hold my hands up, life has been far to busy and she hasn’t received quite as much attention as I would have liked to have given her. I’m not stating I’ve neglected here, “As if my little diva would let me,” I’m merely stating that we need some one-on-one time without big brother! There has been less chick flicks & girlie pampering but far to many tears.

I look at my daughter with such pride, she is this truly amazing little girl who never fails to melt my heart. Like most siblings of Children on the autism spectrum, she seems quite mature for her eight years.

Over these past few months, which I must add have been pretty emotional for all, I’ve noticed my little girl has mimicked one or two of little man’s behaviours. It doesn’t take a genius to know why she has done this, after all little man gets quite a bit of attention when displaying such behaviours. Alice-Sara (My daughter) has claimed that she can no longer use certain cutlery when eating her dinner as it makes her feel fuzzy (tactile sensitivity). She has stated that it’s to noisy in school and has gone as far as throwing a tantrum over a miner mishap that wouldn’t normally bother her. This isn’t all! More recently see seems somewhat resentful towards her brother. It’s understandable given a good degree of the time he isn’t very nice to her and is extremely hard to live with, but it’s also to do with how much time I need to spend attending to Little mans needs, both social and educational. Last week I almost died of shock when my daughter, who enjoys school refused to attend. She throw me with her claims that she hated it and certain teachers didn’t understand her, yes, something her brother has stated through sobs of tears! She insisted that in-order for her to attend I would need to write some letters and sort things out in terms of her education! She also informed me that maybe it would be better to home educate her for a a bit while things settled down, Her worlds not mine! “Guys this little girl has a stack of friends and is popular with both the pupils and the teachers. Her reports always come back glowing with nothing but prise written all over them”. I knew what this was really about! With Little man’s pending Sen tribunal due to be heard in June, I have been writing statements, emails and filling out a ton of paperwork, mainly parental information needed to form part of his independent SALT and EP assessments. I have also been doing quite a bit of casework for my role as a TSS volunteer. Alice-Sara confirmed this to be the issue when I insisted we talk about it on the way to school when she so angrily stated why storming towards the front door, “Oh, You would have done it for him.” Yes, ‘him’ meaning Little man!

Alice-Sara loves her brother, however things are not always easy for her. All brothers & sisters normally quarrel, I’m not denying that, but come to our house, I promise you its beyond ‘Normal’!

Now, it’s not always the little dude who is the one to kick things off, my daughter has become accustomed to setting him off and she’s learnt how and what buttons to press in-order to get her desired reaction. However his rigid thinking and tendency to be inflexible and controlling has either brought her to breaking point or reduced her to tears. Lately she can’t seem to breathe without it bothering him. Just a few days back little man treated the family to a night on pain-killers. My daughter needed Calpol (children’s medicine) for her headache and although I had just taken a couple of good old paracetamol for my own chronic headache, I could have done with something a tad stronger like a few handfuls of tranquillisers to knock me out for the rest of the week!

Alice-Sara decided that having tried a ‘Fish Finger’ for the first time they were actually quite yummy. When dished up and the kids sat down for dinner, little man’s eyes wondered across the table in the direction of her plate. “OH NO…”

Little man: “Mum, you’ve given Alice the wrong dinner!”

Before I could answer…

“No, she hasn’t. I like fish fingers now.” Announced Alice-Sara.

Well, what happened next wasn’t anything unexpected as it happens on a regular basis! A full-on blow up was had that consisted of him claiming that his sister shouldn’t be allowed to like fish fingers as he likes them! “She’s copying me,” and “You’re horrible mum! They were my fish-fingers!” Those statements and a load more, accompanied together with kicking doors and throwing whatever was in his reach went on for a good proportion of the night. A real head banging event!

Last spring when things were really difficult at school for Little man which resulted in some challenges at home, I began to worry for both my Little man and my daughter. His aggressive behaviour was at a point that was deeply concerning. We went on a day out accompanied by my friend who ended up having quite an eventful time and one I’m sure she wont forget for some time! It was during this day out that I decided we as a family needed to seek professional help & support! Alice-Sara was happily flying a kite on the heath following the ‘Bike & Kite’ festival we had just attended. Out of nowhere came little man who had decided it was time she stopped! He run over giving her a massive shove that saw her fall to the ground. No tears followed, she didn’t even complain, just got up bushed herself off and returned to the joy of flying her kite. In that exact moment I realised that I had just witnessed something that scared the ‘crap out of me!’ Was this the ‘Norm’ for her? Did she consider it an acceptable thing for her big brother to have done? Would this little girl ‘my little girl’ grow up thinking it was Ok to be pushed around? I don’t want my daughter to ever allow herself to be treated like this, not by anybody including that off her big brother! It was lucky that at this time I was in contact with a lady who works for the autism outreach service for our area and how lucky was I when she agreed to visit me at home and have a chat with my little princess. I also gained some good ideas on strategies that I could implement that would hopefully stop little man becoming so physically aggressive towards his sister. It took some effort but results were seen, his hitting faded out and Alice-Sara would no longer turn a blind eye to his behaviour.

Sadly these past few weeks something has changed in the little man and myself and daughter have received some unwelcome attacks as a result. He even attacked his sister on a packed train when returning from the West End because she, ‘Disrespected Transport for London’ when placing her tired little feet on the seat she was sat on.

How can I make it stop? Consistency is our only hope. Strategies that we used last year have been tried but sadly failed, however this mum is on a mission and won’t give up on finding another strategy that works!

I’m guessing a number of parents of children on the autism spectrum will agree… consistency is a ‘must’ for all children but isn’t the easiest thing to apply when dealing with the child with Aspergers and they’re challenging behaviour.

To bring this post to a close I’ve finished with something positive. After all this talk of violence I think I need to! So, besides sharing some contact details for sibling support groups that some off you may find helpful, I’ve also included this beautiful picture that I captured yesterday on the train when on our way out for the evening to see a show in the West End to celebrate the Royal Wedding. Little man has his arm around his sister who happily excepted a hug as opposed to a slap or a punch! No-one requested he gave her a hug, it’s something that you just don’t see him do! I don’t know who was more surprised me or my daughter!

The Charity Barnardo’s run a number support groups for siblings of disabled children around the country. Some groups are mixed for both the Sibling and their brother/sister with a disability, whereas others are dedicated to the sibling alone. (028) 90672366 is the contact details for the London regional office. If anyone requires the number for their area drop me a comment or contact the above number as I’m sure they will help.

Contact a Family is another organisation who cater for siblings of children with disabilities. Further info can be obtained by calling… 0808 808 3555

Mencap are happy to put people in-touch with their local sibling support group. The number for England is: 0207 4540454

Kids are an organisation which runs play, education and social initiatives for disabled children and it is suggested that siblings may also benefit from their clubs, outings and residential weekends, and can be contacted on: 020 7359 7635 email: enquiries@kids.org.uk

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