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Life In The Spectrum Bubble

10 May

Maybe you’ve noticed, maybe you haven’t, that this blogger hasn’t been the most active these past few weeks? I’m not being lazy, experiencing writers block or falling behind! No, I’ve simply been taking time out, working on other things!

As a parent, especially to one on the autism spectrum you sometimes feel as if your whole life is taken up with social skills training, advocating, battles and special interests. You find it difficult to shut off your mind, think about anything else, take real time for you, yourself as a person.

This isn’t a good thing, we all need to just be ourselves, doing some of the things we love from time to time. Its not that I don’t love parenting my son as I do his siblings, and it isn’t because I dislike blogging because, actually… I love it! I just needed a little me time.

Things at home haven’t been too eventful… If anything drama levels have remained reasonably low so I don’t have much in the way of news to report. Little man has been experiencing some sleepless nights (as usual). What’s worse is his been experiencing some awful toothache and this has affected him badly. He is very sensitive to this type of pain and is having difficulty coping with it. His senses are in overdrive, and with refusal to see the dentist I think we are both at our wits end.

I also got a letter from his school today threatening court action. Little man’s attendance is well below but when his refusing to sleep and then attacking me as I try to pull him from his bed of a morning it isn’t the easiest task to undertake. Its not that little man dislikes school because he actually quite likes it. However, changes such as new children in his cab, new teaching staff and friends leaving, makes little man want to shut the world out.

Between looking after little man and the toddler during the day, I’ve also been busy working on my own stuff. Myself and a friend have been doing some selling at bootfairs, vintage fairs and craft markets, selling mainly that of vintage items, jewellery and other lovely bits. I actually love doing this, especially during the warmer months. Not only does it raise some much needed funds but it gets me out doing something, meeting new people.

We have to remember that just because we are parents of children on the autism spectrum, it doesn’t mean we can’t have interests, time spent on other stuff! We should be able to do this without feeling guilty too.

I’m not denying that when your child is on the autism spectrum life becomes a bit more hectic, it does! However, you adjust and adapt, making routines and adjustments as best you can.

Its easy to find yourself stuck in the autism bubble, you’ve just got to pop it, remembering that before your child’s diagnosis you concentrated on other stuff! After all,its not healthy to do nothing but study the best therapies and educational resources all day long.

We are far better parents when we are more relaxed, free from stress and happy overall.

All my children need a sane mummy… And I’m just working hard to avoid myself becoming anything other than that! After all I’ve been there and it isn’t a pretty place!

SiGG & Cuipo Helping To Save The Rainforest One Meter At A Time

26 Apr

We as a family love SIGG Switzerland bottles and are very lucky to get to review their products from time to time. When our latest assignment was delivered, we were really excited about what SIGG had provided.

You see, the latest addition of SIGG bottle designs are so much more than a cute image on your bottle. Yes, the SIGG Cuipo range are just as bold and brilliantly designed as always but when you purchase a bottle from this range you actually save one square meter of a Tropical Rainforest.

The first set to be released are available in two sizes. These are 0.6 and 0.3 litre bottles.

What’s more with every bottle comes a unique code that once activated online costumers can actually view the square meter of Rainforest they have just saved via google maps… Seeing really is believing! Just visit http://www.cuipo.org/ to activate

The CUIPO PRESERVE PANAMA

The Cuipo Rainforest Preserve is located near the Darien National Preserve in Chepo, Panama. Historically, dense forests and rocky terrain shielded the Chepo Rainforest from the outside world. Improved transportation made this land accessible and development has threatened this ecosystem. As agriculture, logging, development, mining, and tourism expand into these pristine areas, rainforest is gradually disappearing. Cuipo has acquired 13,354,600 square meters (3,300 acres) of rainforest to set aside for preservation.

Funds from the Cuipo bottles are donated to “One Meter at a Time” a Cuipo non-profit foundation dedicated to preservation of the tropical rainforest. The foundations aim is to safeguard and preserve each square meter of rainforest in perpetuity.
By teaching skills required for gainful employment in preservation, One Meter at a Time also employs locals and indigenous groups as park rangers and stewards of the preserved rainforest.

John Oswald, Co-founder of Cuipo said “We are thrilled to be expanding the Cuipo brand to include reusable bottles. SIGG not only produces top-quality bottles, but the company also produces a highly environmentally responsible product.”

Scott Shea, UK Commercial Director for SIGG said “Cuipo is a great social enterprise which genuinely makes a differencein the safeguarding of our planet and shares SIGG’s core values. We hope our collaboration will raise the profile of Cuipo in the UK”

And finally what we had to say (we meaning myself and three little monsters)

The SIGG Cuipo bottles are beautifully designed and as always, made to a high standard. To know that your purchase has helped to save something as important as the Cuipo rainforest makes buying one of these bottles all the more rewarding! Its not often you’re given the opportunity to see just where your money is going and how it will make a difference. SIGG have given us that and have done so in a brilliant fashion.

With our busy life’s, I admit that the Rainforest is often far from my mind. But looking into what Cuipo are doing, my eyes have now been opened to the importance of our Rainforest and how it plays an important part on earth!

Did you know that plants from the Rainforest have actually been discovered as cures for certain types of cancer? Well… I shamefully didn’t and my sister has overcome a cancer battle! This left me wondering… Did the Rainforest play an important part in keeping my little sister alive?

As for the SIGG Cuipo bottles and their designs, I must admit, these are just the cutest ever. What’s more, its thanks to SIGG and its 0.3 Cuipo Tiko, that the toddler has waved good bye to his baby bottle for good. He just loves the smaller Cuipo bottle and feels so grown up while using it.

20130426-045612.jpgThe SIGG Cuipo Tiko used by the toddler cost £16.49

The other designs we received were the 0.6 Fight Deforestation bottle and the 0.6 B.Y.O.B bottle. We actually took all three bottles away on holiday with us during the last half term. We chose the SIGG bottles particularly because We like to use Them in the car while embarking on long journeys. Not only does the water/juice contained within the bottles taste fresh and chilled for longer, but the lockable caps prevent any back seat spills which is a god sent for any parent.

20130426-045813.jpgThe Fight Deforestation bottle £17.99 and my favourite

And below is the B.Y.O.B. bottle that my daughter has claimed £17.99

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There is another bottle in the Cuipo range and that’s the ‘Steve the sloth’ bottle. We wasn’t sent this one but my guess is its just as great as the others…

20130426-050402.jpg‘Steve the sloth’ £17.99

So… Fancy a brand new trendy SIGG bottle? Want to help save a tropical Rainforest? Then you’ll be pleased to know that the Cuipo range of SIGG bottles are now available to buy online via http://www.sigg.com or http://www.cuipo.org and of course from all good SIGG retailers across the UK.

Find out more about the range over on the SIGG Facebook page (oh, and a little tip… Keep your eye open as SIGG hold some fabulous competitions on their page)!

Changing

23 Apr

A teenage terror!

Is terror a little harsh a word? Um, No, Probably not!

I myself went from a sweet little girl with pigtails to some unrecognisable rebellious monster with too many hormones! Ok, I gave my mum headache for a couple of years but then I got it out my system and grew up.

Nonetheless, I do remember the total chaos I caused in the house. My terrible attitude and stinking mood swings. Now as a mother I’m totally crapping myself at whats to come.

Little man is 12. His almost a teenager and already seems to be experiencing the changes puberty brings.

For many years family and friends have commented that when Little man becomes challenging he displays the many traits of a teenage boy. For this reason and others i’m left asking myself the question… “is the mix of Asperger’s traits and those of puberty going to create an explosive combination?”

Meltdowns are already highly charged. A trigger, depending on what it is, can spark some of the most explosive meltdowns that go on for hours on end. Will these triggers become more heightened or will we be faced with new ones all together?

I’ve already started to notice changes in little man’s behaviour. Having worked extremely hard to master the signs, these are now becoming harder to spot. Its that feeling that your walking on eggshells that or there is some ticking time bomb in the room.

I am extremely grateful to little man’s school. If he never had this placement he may have had to struggle through secondary school. For some children with Aspergers this can be a trying experience! I guess what I’m trying to say is at least he is in a supportive school who can help him through those sometimes confusing teenage years. This is one less thing to worry about.

But its not just meltdowns and mood swings that concern me. As a mother of a teenage boy I worry about all the normal stuff but then with Aspergers thrown into the mix I guess I worry a tad more. For one, there’s the issue of girls… Just because his on the autism spectrum doesn’t mean he won’t experience all those new and confusing feelings when it comes to the opposite sex.

Little man can be somewhat blunt when it comes to saying what he thinks so here’s hoping social skills training will make this area of concern less of a problem.

Changing bodies, feelings and an injection of hormones are sure to bring about a some important lessons for little man and of course for me, his mother.

We are currently working on issues surrounding personal hygiene. With tactile defensiveness little man absolutely hates to bath. He loves to use a power shower and this is something I’m currently requesting from the housing association (which isn’t a walk in the park). Having a shower fitment would make the world of difference to us as a family. Instead of wrestling him into a bubble filled tub, I’d instead have to wrestle him out of the shower. Both myself and his father have both talked with little man about the importance of personal hygiene, especially as he gets older. His already Experimenting with different brands of deodorants because as dad clearly stated… ‘No body likes to be friends with somebody who smells of BO’

As for sex education, the school have already began to teach little man and his peers the basics. There has already been lots of discussions on how their bodies will change as they go through puberty so that there will be no surprises or sudden shocks in the future.

Just yesterday little man informed me that he was developing a few teenage spots that were completely normal for a boy of his age. We talked about the importance of washing his face and reframing from spot popping to which he responded with, ‘ Yuck… I won’t pop them thats disgusting!’ Yes I too was pleased we agreed on something.

I don’t know what these teenage years hold for us. But like everything, its just a case of taking the rough with the smooth. No doubt there will be problems but I’m guessing there will be many achievements made by little man along the way.

These are the years in which little man will become a not so little man. The lessons both myself as his parent and his school teach him, will now be some of the most important to date! Now is the time to work together to get it right, shaping my little man for the future. The end results… A promising life as an independent working adult who looks forward to life’s little surprises instead of fearing them.

A Case Of Miscommunication

15 Apr

So, my mum says to little man while his having a “moment”

“You can’t just go around hitting anyone you fancy”

He had just lost his temper and hit out at his sister!

Little man replies, and with a temper I must add!

“Nanny your disgusting are you suggesting I fancy my own sister?”

It was one of those moments and mum couldn’t help but to laugh. However laughing was not on little man’s agenda!

“Don’t laugh at me nan” he screamed as he kicked the wall and throw himself on the floor.

You see, when talking to little man we have always tried to remember to put things in a way that is easy for him to grip a hold off and fully understand. Using metaphors and words that have two meanings can get confusing for little man, but over time he has learnt certain metaphors and their meanings (though this is mainly as a result of a past miscommunication).

Even though I am careful in how I speak to little man I’m also aware that I can’t be there all of the time and in actual fact, to some degree he needs these miscommunications In order to learn from them and go on to be successful in whatever it is he chooses to do in life.

Every time little man hears a certain metaphor we try our best to explain its true meaning to him! This doesn’t necessarily mean he understands it, or should I say… “Agrees” with it! His response will normally be something along the lines off… ‘Whats the point in that mum?’ or “Thats just stupid because why would anyone even have Skeletons in their closet?” Though, regardless of what he thinks about it, he will usually store the term along with its correct meaning for his own future reference.

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My point is, and its an important one! That our children on the autism spectrum will find themselves in situations like this. If we forever try to wrap them up in cotton wool, insisting that those who speak to them do so in a totally unambiguous manner all of the time, then what happens ten, twenty years down the line when your child is at work in the office, and having been a little moody to a fellow colleague that colleague, jokingly tells them ‘Ok, Ok … Don’t get your knickers in a twist’ Things could be taken completely out of context. I can Imagine Little man’s reaction to such a term ,having no idea that it was in fact a turn of phase, he’d be inclined to tell him that he doesn’t wear knickers and if anything doesn’t much like wearing underpants either.

I’m not saying that when our children go of to school in the morning, the teachers looking after them, should greet them with some low life wise crack comment. Teachers should do their best not to confuse the child with their language but like us, their parents, teachers should be their to explain such metaphors when and if our children encounter them. Given we all use these silly little sayings so often, one or two are bound to slip out now and then from someone, somewhere along the line. But then isn’t better they hear them now rather when they are 25?

Don’t forget this month is Autism Awareness month and despite the need to raise awareness everyday, why not start with today and share something with your family and friends directing them to this post.

What A Way Raise Awareness For Autism

10 Apr

A company called CARD.com, an online issuer of prepaid Visa debit cards have come up with a fantastic way to raise awareness for autism, with this fantastic new card design…

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Sadly its not yet available here in the UK (if it was I know I’d be snapping one up). Nonetheless, I really wanted to share this fantastic idea with you all, especially those of you In the states who can already access the prepaid card to purchase online now.

The card has this beautiful design of the autism ribbon and its a truly unique way to spread awareness, this autism awareness month and beyond.

Given We pay with plastic everyday – why not do so with a card that reflects something personal and important to you while making others aware of autism in such a unique way. A great conversation starter with the checkout girl at the local supermarket wouldn’t you say?

You can check out the card by clicking Here

Disclaimer: This is NOT a sponsored post, I haven’t been paid to share this content and have only done so as to raise awareness for a condition close to my heart.

Review – Butlins Bognor Regis – Wave Hotel

10 Apr

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This is one of two reviews I’m writing. This review will focus on the Wave Hotel and Premium dinning plan. The second, which will shortly follow, will feature the rest of the resort and its facilities.

So, last year I was selected to be one of 40 Butlins Ambassadors and at the end of the year I decided I’d book our family break for this April Easter half term.

I booked the break for a family of 6. The party consisted of myself and 3 children (Alice 10, Harley 3 and Little man who is 12 and has a diagnosis of Aspergers Syndrome). Also coming along was my mother and a good family friend.

The Accommodation…

We decided we wanted to try the newest of the resorts 3 hotels the ‘Wave’ and due to the number of guest in our party, we were offered interconnecting rooms.

We have been to Butlins a few times before with our last trip being a weekend break staying at the Ocean Hotel (which we were very impressed by). This time we would be staying midweek for a total of 4 nights (Mon-Fri).

As my eldest child has Aspergers Syndrome his very routine reliant, likes to know what is happening when and where and can become upset or somewhat challenging when faced with change. For this reason I made it my mission to fully look into all the accommodation and dinning plans available to us before booking. I also sourced images from the Internet and brochures as well as Videos on youtube to share with the little man so that the facilities were not considered too “New” for him.

My reasons for opting for the Wave Hotel was its focus on families with older children (Ok, Harley is 3 but both little man and Alice are older). The games room (Little man is PS3 nuts) and the positive reviews I had read.

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We arrived at the Hotel reasonably late (9.30pm) which meant we were the last to check in. Despite this there was still a few parking spaces left in the hotels private car park. The hotel has its own entrance separate from the main resort entrance. We did enter the wrong way despite the wave being clearly signposted (I blame the kids backseat arguments) but the guys on the gate were most helpful and understanding. The hotel car park also has allocated disabled parking available.

From the outside the hotel is most attractive, very modern and quite obviously newly built.

The reception area is smart and sleek with great lighting. It has beautiful water features to tie in with the whole wave theme as well as a large seating area, bar and coffee shop, cash machine and large checkin and reception desk. Its here you will also find the entrance to the state of the art games port that gives families access to PS3s, Wiis, 3DS consoles and even Mac desktop computers. There are a number of leaflets detailing local attractions on display as well as a good selection of family DVDs that are free to borrow (with a refundable £10 deposit).

We were situated on the hotels 5th floor and there were 4 lifts in operation. Lifts are not overly huge but we were easily able to load the luggage trolley and all six of us in the one lift. Given we arrived later than most the lifts were empty at this hour. The ocean themed imaging and jaws theme tune music, does really add to the whole “Lift” experience. 🙂

Our doors were opened electronically with cards for which we were given two cards for each room.

As mentioned we had 2 rooms with an interconnecting door. In one room we had a huge bed, kids room, bathroom and nice size balcony with great sea views. In the next room we had the exact same again, only with twin beds. Each had huge wardrobe fitments with electronic safes. There was a nice size fridge and full sized ironing board with iron. There was a hairdryer that was connected to a nice vanity unit with large mirrors. Lights were operated by an electronic card and lighting options were good. This is particularly important as Little man has many sensory sensitivities and the right lighting is essential to his mood. There was both low lighting and bright lighting in the main room.

The main room has a large TV with lots of channels and it is fitted to the centre of the wall in line with the bed. In the kids room you have bunk beds with a TV at the end of both beds. This is great only we didn’t find any headphones meaning watching both at the same time wouldn’t be an option. However, the reception may have provided these if asked, only we were to busy having fun that we forgot to even ask in the end.

As we had the interconnecting rooms, little man was able to have his own space which is important to a child on the spectrum. Only without sounding too negative, little man didn’t feel that relaxed in the room. The children’s rooms are very small and have been designed to resemble cabins. This didn’t sit well with little man. The low lighting was a little to blue and he commented that he felt like he couldn’t breath because of its size and lack of windows. Then again my daughter of 10 absolutely loved her room. She couldn’t wait to get in bed and relax at the end of each night so it all depends on ones own needs and taste.

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The children’s rooms have these really funky images of Octopuses and seahorse’s that are meant to come “Alive” with the use of a free iPhone app. Sadly my app wouldn’t work so the kids missed out. I have seen this work when used on a Butlins writing pad and when it works its fantastic. The app may have required me to have more space on my device. The iPhone is admittedly very full at present.

The bathroom is of a great size and has a good size bath with shower fitment. The water was always hot and the bath filled up quickly. The power shower was fast and powerful. Little man hates baths but loves showers (this again is a sensory thing)! He spent lots of time in the shower and noted how much he loved the lighting feature on the shower head (it changes colour).

We were provided with lots of soft clean white towels and a small selection of toiletries (note, we were provided with these whenever we ran out when staying at the Ocean, though this doesn’t seem to be the case for the wave) luckily we had brought our own.

We found our rooms to be of a good warm temperature on arrival and the heating was easily operated by a digital box on the wall. The decor was nice and modern with a yellow and blue theme throughout.

Tea and coffee facilities were provided, though it was felt that there just wasn’t enough milk for 3 adults. Nonetheless these were topped up daily which was appreciated.

We were pleased with the presentation of both rooms with all areas being very clean and tidy. Daily house keeping was of an excellent standard over the first few days and a good standard for the remaining day.

There was also some nice little touches, such as the addition of a card left on the table which wished us all a Happy Easter.

Free Wifi was provided in and around the hotel. This was easy to log into with no sign up required. Download and streaming speeds were great in the hotel and Ok around the resort. This was a bonus as I was keeping up with my emails via my iPhone and the kids had brought there tablets with them.

I did notice that when any of us including the children walked across the floor, this was rather loud, despite the addition of carpets. I’ve been informed that this seems to be common in newly built buildings. As I have a child with Autism who at times requires medication to sleep I did worry about the night times.

My worries were warranted as on our final night at 12.50am I heard a knock on the door. Little man had been having a minor meltdown some 20 minutes before and the Butlins rep informed us that someone had complained about banging on the floor. When your child has just finished a meltdown it can feel a little upsetting that others have phoned down to the reception to complain. However the rep was most understanding and very polite. Nonetheless it is felt that this is worth mentioning as if your child is very active especially of an evening you may want to ask for a ground floor apartment or go at a quieter time of year when the hotel is less full (term time if you have little one’s would be best). Its not very nice having someone knock to tell you that they’ve received complaints while your 12 year old is just calming down but doing so with listening ears.

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Rooms also have a telephone so you can easily call downstairs to reception with any questions. I was told I could use the hotel phone to call an 0845 national number for free but having followed the instructions more than once I couldn’t connect. Thankfully the reception staff were very accommodating letting me use the reception phone.

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Pros…

Great sea views
Nice clean rooms
Good house keeping
Free Wifi facilities
Great shower and bath
Good wardrobe and storage space
Very comfortable beds
Self controlled heating
Room under all beds for suitcases
Option of easily interconnecting rooms
Free cash machine withdrawals
4 lifts (especially of importance for wheelchair users and those with small children/pushchairs)
Games room
Kindle library (with options to borrow both kindles and iPods)

Those little things that may make it that little bit more perfect than it is already…

Room Service option

Drinks vending machine (nearest vending machine is at end of car park when bar/coffee bar closed)

More detailed room guide specifically for the hotel room (just to advise on how to work TVs, heating and phones).

More mood lighting for children’s rooms (like those provide in the main rooms at the ocean. Also some under bed trays like those in the Ocean would be good.

Some door stops or heavier doors that naturally close much slower so that these don’t accidentally keep slamming shut.

Dinning…

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As mentioned we opted for premium dinning plan and would be receiving both breakfast and dinner (half board).
On arrival we were allocated a dinning pass for the deck restaurant.

Firstly if your child on the autism spectrum has a very over sensitive sense of smell and is upset by this then I’d highly recommend self catering because as you probably know, the different smells of various foods can be upsetting to a child on the autism spectrum.

This is sometimes the case with little man but this has been steadily improving and we decided that if the noise and smells became to much for little man then one of us adults would leave with him.

Thankfully we experienced little problems on this front with only minor unavoidable upsets experienced.

There was a very good selection of foods on offer both during breakfast and dinner. This is great for those fussy eaters like little man. This is also a self service option so little man didn’t need to worry about different foods coming into contact with one another and was able to put different foods onto different plates with no questions asked.

At breakfast there was everything from fresh juices, cereals, toast with various spreads, fresh fruits and yogurts, freshly made omelettes and pancakes to full English fry ups.

Dinner time was just as good when it came to variety. A good selection of meat and fish with various sides of potatoes, veg and more. There was vegetarian options and menus designed specifically for the children. You were tempted by the salad bar, different soups and fresh breads, cheese and biscuits as well as a vast selection of both hot and cold puddings. I think the self service Ice cream machine was an instant hit with all three of my children with little man wanting to serve it up for all of us as he had developed a love for operating the machine.

As a premium diner you also have a Carvery and Someone cooking hot pastas which I must say were absolutely delicious.

We didn’t eat on the Friday but on the following three evenings we ate dinner I was very impressed with what I’d chosen and left feeling happy and content.

I’ve never been great with breakfast as don’t seem to eat as well at an earlier time. However, it was nice and the kids received a good start to their day.

We dined at various times of the morning and evening and never waited to long for a table. Though on the first morning we were allocated 2 tables next to one another which did mean I found it hard to keep the toddler seated (he kept wanting to go from table to table). Once we had explained that we’d like to remain dinning together on the one table, no further issues were experienced.

There were plenty of high chairs for little ones as well as smaller cutlery and even Billy Bear plates.

Pros…

Huge selection of food on offer
Self Service
Quality of food
Helpfulness of staff
Non rushed environment
Baby foods and bottle heating

Those little things to make it even better would be…

Clearer menus of whats on offer (many people need to grab there glasses or lean over others trays to read small cards.

A little more info when you arrive at the Deck restaurant for the first time (how it all works… I wasn’t sure if it was the one queue formed or a queue for each counter etc…)

On the whole the Wave offers a very present stay with friendly staff, nice rooms and good facilities.

The dinning plan also makes a great addition to your accommodation and is located right outside the hotel for convenience.

Did we love our Butlins Experience? You bet we did!

Here’s a video below giving you a sneak peak of our up coming review of the Bultins Bognor Regis Resort and its facilities.

Checkout the Butlins official site for all current prices and special offers

Disclaimer: As a Butlins ambassador I was provided the accommodation and dinning plan free of charge in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are solely my own and have not been influenced by my position.

My Child’s Diagnosis Didn’t Give Me Depression! The SEN System Did That!

7 Apr

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Its funny, Just recently I found myself engaged in conversation With a fellow parent at my daughter’s school. We were discussing depression, a subject I won’t hide from!

This parent reads my blog and is aware that depression has sometimes been a part of my life… More so than not.

So, if I’m ever asked a question I will try to answer it openly and Honestly. I’m not ashamed to say… “Yes I had depression” Why should I be? So, Having engaged in conversation for at least five-minutes with this lady I suddenly came to realise that there was some type of crossed wires on her part in regards to a depressive episode I experienced around 3 years ago! This started me thinking… Does everybody think the same way?

So I wanted to explain something, and do so very clearly! My son’s diagnosis of Aspergers Syndrome didn’t bring out any episode of depression within me. My child being on the autism spectrum has never actually left me feeling depressed! However, what has had me running for the antidepressants is that of the things that come with that diagnosis (like it being stuffed in a brown envelope and shoved in your hands). I’m not talking in relation to little man’s autistic traits, his sleepless nights or sudden angry outbursts! I’m talking about the battles to get others to sit up and listen. Basically, It wasn’t my child’s Asperger’s syndrome that depressed me it was the system in which I now found myself battling with.

You think a diagnosis is going to change thinks. The right help and support will come and be handed to you on a plate… Well dream on, it most certainly won’t! I learnt almost instantly, that for some, my sons diagnosis wasn’t worth the paper it was written on.

Over the years I’ve come to realise that being a parent to a child on the autism spectrum makes you a stronger person. It gives you fighting power, the type you never even knew you had! Because when your a mother its not only your job to ensure your child has everything they need to lead a full and happy life but the love you have for them that drives you. Almost any mother can relate to this regardless if their child is autistic.

Battling schools for appropriate educational services, educating society about autism and getting your child’s voice heard is all part of the package but it doesn’t necessarily mean its going to come with instructions, and I guess it was this aspect of his diagnosis that hit me the hardest.

Being told little man had Aspergers Syndrome was hard, I can’t deny it! No matter how prepared you think you are, you never are… Not really! Even when you’re told by specialists that its almost a certainty and you’ve therefore done all your own research and have reached the conclusion that “Yes, they are right… you can see it too!” I guess its because it makes it all the more definite, more final! But what must be remembered is that little man was the same child he had been the day before receiving a final diagnosis and I wasn’t depressed then!

Its all to easy to assume that the giving of a diagnosis is the reason why a mother crumbles and starts suffering such conditions as depression. What one must remember is that its all that comes after… The fight to make others do the right thing by your child, its this that can really drain your energy both physically and emotionally.

So if your about to receive that final slip of paper enclosed within a brown envelope, then brace yourselves… As the battle begins.

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A Quick Hello From Sunny Bognor

4 Apr

As a Butlins Ambassador I’m currently enjoying an Easter Half Term mid-week break at their Bognor Regis Resort. Myself, the three children, my mum and a friend are staying in the lovely new hotel the “Wave” and are really enjoying our experience so far.

When I come back I’m planning to write up a review in which I will share our thoughts on all aspects of our break. I will also be sure to share my thoughts on the services offered for those families off a child with a disability such as autism or Aspergers.

What I will say now is that Little Man is coping with the changes reasonably well and we are managing to have a good time despite the odd mini meltdown.

I’ll leave you with a few pictures for now… Enjoy!

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Do you see what I see?

2 Apr

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I see a boy sat alone, yet smiling and playing

You see a loner, the strange kid, the odd one!

I see a boy frustrated, confused and distressed

You see a brat with no respect, no decent upbringing!

I see a boy stood talking, trying to make a connection, a possible friend. He gets it wrong because of something he said wasn’t seen as appropriate. His been left rejected and upset.

You see a trouble maker, a boy who is rude and makes it his mission to offend.

I see a boy walk into a busy playground, I then see parents like you shaking your heads as you rush to gather your kids. I now see a boy stood playing in a large empty space alone!

You see “That Kid” from before, the one who swore as he throw himself on the floor, shouting at children like yours for accidentally running into him, pushing him as they chased a ball.

I see a boy stood drawing a tear as he watches the school coach leaving!.

You see the boy who ruins it for others. you see it as a blessing that he isn’t attending the school trip. Beyond this you see nothing.

I see a gathering of mothers stood at the school gate laughing. I see the reaction they give as I’m passing… Silence whispers and staring.

You see that mother, the one who drags up her kids… Failing to install good values, respect and self discipline

I see a sweet boy who has the tendency to become easily distressed

You see a boy who throws a wobbler whenever he fails to get the things that he wants.

I see a boy excitedly speaking to others about his interest. He speaks quickly announcing all he knows on the subject. A boy who hasn’t yet released its his time to quit speaking .

You see a boy who dominates conversation, his rude letting no one get a word in edge ways. You see a bore, a child who is self obsessed and selfish… Spoilt and for that you blame me… The parent.

I see a boy who counts to ten before speaking a child who has learnt that this may stop him from potentially offending.

You see an odd boy, one who can only be described as slow and profoundly stupid.

I see a boy who cares about “The Rules” who therefore reminds his peers that those rules are not to be broken.

You see a boy who is bossy. A child who is likely raised by a control freak!

I see a boy who is actually very bright, he has qualities that others could only hope for. I see a boy who continuously tries to get it right. A boy who gets up every time his knocked down, never giving up, nor giving in. Yes he can be naughty his a boy after all. But should you gather your kids and run when you see him… No! why… what ever for?

You see nothing I see.. How could you ever see what I see if you refuse to look a little closer.

You can’t see autism, it doesn’t get stamped on the head of a baby at birth. But knowing just how autism can present is an education you need. With numbers rising there is a good chance the child who sits next to yours at school or even that work colleague you have drinks with on Friday is on the autism spectrum.

My child like many is capable of just as much as you or I. He is an individual, with interests, talents, weaknesses and at time difficulties… We all are as human beings.

Certain areas of his brain work somewhat differently making some areas of life more challenging… Social communication, sensory processing and black and white thinking are to name but a few! Yet that doesn’t mean he should be judged or discriminated against.

Its not the traits of autism that make my sons life more challenging but the way others perceive them traits. His happy with himself 98% of the time and just wants you to except him but more importantly… Understand him!

After all… Where does being “Average” get you?

So I ask you… One this day aimed at raising awareness for those with autism and Asperger’s syndrome. Do you see what I see?

Or Will you at least try to see it Now?

31 Mar

Read and take note… Fellow blogger and mum to children on the autism spectrum.

Autism Mumma (Jeannette)

It’s World Autism Awareness Day on Tuesday 2nd April, an initiative that deserves more publicity than it receives.

I’m not suggesting that other initiatives don’t justify recognition, don’t get me wrong; it’s just that – as with most other mental conditions – autism is invisible. It can’t be seen, touched or smelt. It is a big ask, people normally rely on those first impressions, that use of the senses.

Individuals and carers for those on the spectrum ask for – but don’t always receive – not only awareness, but also understanding and acceptance.

As a parent of children on the spectrum, I (along with many many others) come across ignorance and discrimination every day. Whether it be direct comments or indirect asides/judgemental looks, it all affects us. Luckily the children/adults don’t
always notice how others are treating them, it is normally the carers who notice, who feel hurt and upset…

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