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THE JOHN AND ROBIN KIRTON INTERVIEW

24 Apr

So the time has come, It’s time for the big Interview. This Month I have John Kirton joining me. He and his wife Robin are the only parents in America who have six children on the autism spectrum. WOW. This Interview is a great insight into the lives of a family with six amazing children. Welcome to the Big Interview. ENJOY 🙂

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Hi John it’s really great to have this chance to chat with you today.

How are you?


I am doing FANTASTIC, thanks for asking.

 

And how is your wife and the children?

 

We have had a really good winter this year.  The last few years one of the children would bring home a cold or the flu from school, then another would get it. The next couple of weeks it would go through the entire family.  And that happened 3-5 times during each winter season.  It wasn’t much fun.  This year?  Just once and it affected only a few of the children.  We feel that taking supplements and a special diet have helped quite a bit.

 

So John for those that do not know! Why is it that you understand so much about Autism spectrum?

Well I’m no expert on Autism itself, but I am learning all the time.  

Is it true that all six of your children are on the autism spectrum ?

 Yes, it is true.

 

How is life for you and your wife?

 Well, six children were as much as we were counting on. However, when Autism came into the picture it added to the time and emotional requirements.

My son has ASD ( Aspergers ) He can be a little bit of a handful at times! But having Six children on the spectrum wow I’m guessing family life can be a little hectic.

 Very true, people do not know the half of it unless they have an Autistic child.  I read somewhere that having an Autistic child was the equivalent of having 3-4 “normal” children. If that’s true, we have 18-24 children!  No wonder we are a little crazy at the end of the day.

 

So Where along on the spectrum are your children?

 

Bobby (15), Emma (11) and Nephi (10) are all Aspergers.  Sarah (7) and Ammon (5) are classic or the most severely Autistic.  And Mary (4) is PDD-NOS.  We have had a number of people ask about the origin of the children’s names.  Some are because of my English heritage and some are from the Book of Mormon.  My Great-Grandfather, John Kirton, joined the Mormon Church in the 1890’s and immigrated from Wallsend, England to Coalville, Utah.

 

How does autism affect each one of your children?

 

Whoa! I can write a book on that question alone.  Bobby is very quiet, does very well in school (mostly A’s), has no real friends and has few social skills.  Emma varies from being quiet to very emotional, she does OK in school, she will have emotional ‘meltdowns’ but has done better with the diet, and she is a fantastic artist, writer and likes to design clothes for her Barbie dolls. Nephi varies from being quiet to very emotional as well, and is a more outgoing male version of Emma. Instead of Barbie dolls, he likes Bakugan and Star Wars/Clone wars.  Sarah is very happy and bounces and moves around a lot. One of our many nicknames for her is ‘Tigger’ from Winnie the Pooh. Her favorite ‘stim’ right now is tearing and ripping any kind of paper.  She’ll sneak away with a roll of paper towels or dinner napkins and we’ll find her bedroom ankle deep with the shredded remains. She has just a few words that we must coach her to say. And she is not potty-trained.  Ammon is much like Sarah in many respects.  His favorite ‘stims’ are flapping his hands, bobbing his head and watching doors that he can open and close (see him at the Zoo on my YouTube channel, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DbdkstTZhOE) He can climb anywhere and up and over most everything.  He has NO fear. He too is not potty-trained.  Mary is our child that is the most ‘normal’ of the bunch.  We thought the Doctor would say she was not Autistic, but she was diagnosed as PDD-NOS.  She talks well, has friends at school and is just a bit delayed right now.  However, at 4 years, 4 months she too is not potty-trained.  But she is at least working on it.  Looks like I did write a book.

 

Are any of the children home schooled? 

 No.  Robin says, “What, do you want me to totally lose my mind? LOL.

 

I love your site Autism Bites , I’m a big fan. Where do you find the time to add to this fantastic site?

I do it in spurts and usually when the children are in bed.

 Do you get much time for anything other then parenting?.  

To get anything else done, Robin and I take turns keeping an eye on things. Much of the time we are both on the job and rely on each other a lot.  During the times that we take an eye off of things… well that’s when we find surprises the children have created for us. Without one another we would never make it.

 

I am in the UK but I have still seen some of the shows you and your family  have appeared on. Good morning America and Larry king being a few of them. How do you find all the media attention? 

 Well, I put the ‘media ball’ into motion.  We went through a lot of grieving, emotional lows and soul searching as we found out about our new lives with Autism.  By having our story told we hope that we can help other parents with their trials. We blog, belong to various Autism groups, do TV, radio and Internet (wink!) interviews.  We get many emails though our website and so far have answered every one.  I’ve just been accepted as an Internet reporter for Autism on examiner.com and will be posting there a number of times each week.  People that ask or need more answers or help, we will contact by phone.  We have a number of Autistic adults that we talk to quite often.  We hope that our experiences can help others with their journey on the road of Autism.

 

And tell us a little about autism 6 on the Discovery Health Channel.

 

I got a call on my cell phone one day from the president, Bill Hayes, of the production company, Figure8 Films.  He told me that Discovery Health had been looking for a family that had multiple children with Autism to do a story about.  They discovered us from a local newspaper story in Salt Lake City, Utah.  They especially liked the idea that we have the entire Autism spectrum in one family.  Robin and I thought this would be a perfect opportunity to increase Autism awareness and acceptance.  We were of course concerned about how we would be portrayed. Bill said we would be able to see the show first before it was broadcast to insure we were happy with the final product.  We are.  The film crew started shooting every month for 2-4 days, from December 2007 to May 2008.  The crew was four people, the Producer, cameraman, soundman and crew assistant. Some people have expressed concern about our children being exploited or being put through undue stress.  We are a very loving family and our children just do not have much of the change of routine problems we hear that other families do.  Ammon would climb on the camera tripod and want to be picked up and hugged by all of the crew.  He was very persistent and got in the way of filming much of the time.  Sarah was going through a ‘sniffing everyone’ stage and did.  All the time.  When the crew followed Nephi at school, he introduced them to everyone they walked past, “This is MY film crew!”  The crew got a big kick out of that. The story is a piece on each of the children, with mom and dad comments throughout.  We have teachers from the schools and one of the doctors from the University of Utah’s Autism Research Project talk about their Autism.

 

As you know like yourself I’m a member of model me kids ( A great social network for autism ) Do you find it important to meet other parents of children with ASD and raise awareness for the condition? 

 

I really do.  It’s great to be able to find someplace that you like and are accepted.  Model Me Kids is the best I’ve found and I’ve been all over the Internet. (Thanks MT!)  There are too many places where parents fight, call names and are just plain nasty.  No one needs that, especially parents dealing with Autism already.  I just wish I had more time to be available to give comments or suggestions, but sometimes just getting up in the morning is a great day.

 

As it’s Autism awareness month would you be so kind to give us one reason to love and embrace autism. I know there are plenty but I only have the one blog:)

 

Love and embrace your Autistic child, advocate for them and get you and them out into the world so the rest of the world will know and love them too.  I’m not saying it will be easy, but I am saying it will be worth it.

 

Thanks so much for taking the time to speak with me John. I know you’re an extremely busy man and I thank you very much. Look forward to learning more and more about yourself and wonderful family. 

 

Thanks Claire.  Please ask your readers to be my friend on Model Me Kids (http://modelmekids.ning.com/profile/JohnKirton) and to visit and comment on our blog (http://autismbitestheblog.blogspot.com/). 

HAPPY EASTER TO ALL MY READERS

12 Apr

I just want to wish all my readers a very happy Easter Sunday 🙂 Thanks for your support with the blog, and thanks for helping me raise awareness for Autism and Asperger’s 🙂

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COMING SOON TO A BOY WITH ASPERGER’S

11 Apr

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HALF TERM BREAK DOWN

9 Apr

OMG Yesterday had to be one of the hardest days yet! Little man almost killed me.

We went shopping ( If you read past post, you will find that shopping sometimes leads to trouble in my family ) But little man seemed to be on best behaviour, yes I was checking out the shops in Bromley town centre with a smile on my face. We went to Game little mans favorite shop, had some lunch, all was going well. We went to grab little man some new track suits. I also needed a few bits, I wanted some pjs and a top. 

“COME ON MUM HURRY UP”

Little man likes to head for what he wants, he becomes the boss when shopping. After a good half hour in the shop we hit the till. The Que was long and the shop was hot. I just wanted the sofa and a cuppa tea if I’m honest. 

“YOU HAPPY WITH WHAT YOU GOT MATE”

“YER MUMMY, ARE YOU”

” WELL NOT REALLY AS YOU WOULD NOT LET ME LOOK AT ANYTHING. BUT IT’S OK “

The next thing I knew he had dashed of and was heading for the stairs. 

“G COME BACK” I chased him down three floors. Once on the ground floor he picked up random items of clothing from there rails

“YOU WANT THIS? HAVE IT! ” 

“YOUR SELFISH MUM” He said this as he dashed items of clothing at me.

I have never seen him this bad, my face was burning red. I but the basket down and said lets go.

“PICK IT UP NOW MUM”

I refused and headed for the door.

“PLEASE MUM I’M SORRY” OK I weakened and gave in but as we waited again he began to rage and shout . I was shamed I wanted to cry but could only laugh. I don’t know why this was but I think it was nerves. Yes I have had stuff like this happen before but this was different his words were nasty. The whole shop stood and watched. When It was my turn to pay I was close to tears. 

“YOUR A GREAT MUM! MANY OTHER PARENTS WOULD OF LOST IT BY NOW” 

This is what the lady at the check out said to me. I think her words just about got me through it. I payed for my shopping, all the time little man stood behind me shouting pay for my clothes now. I could fell all the eyes, hundreds of eyes fixed on my next move. What was my next move ? Well it was simple I took his little basket of stuff from his hands ( He likes to have his own basket ) then I said NO!

“PAY IT NOW MUM” He even went on to swear at me. 

“NO, NO, NO”

As I turned to leave he grabbed the basket and dashed it onto the floor. My god I was going to cry. And yes I did once outside, I cried and cried. I phoned my husband, little mans dad. We got a cab home I wanted to stay in doors and hide. FOREVER.

MY UPDATED VODPOD ON A BOY WITH ASPERGERS

7 Apr

The vodpod has now been updated.

Yes there are some fantastic new autism and Asperger’s related videos added. You have to check out the two Autism 6 videos. These films are clips of  life with the Kirton family the parents of six children all with ASD.  Im very pleased to say that John Kirton himself will be taking part in the Big Interview on this very blog A boy with Aspergers. Check this out on the 24th, April, 2009 This is one not to miss. 

Another video that grabbed me was the video explaining sensory overload. You have gotta see this one. I watched this with a pair of earphones in my ears. It really got me and I have to say that yes it brought tears to my eyes. My god anybody that copes with any type of sensory problem are really brave. This film let me see things that my little man may see on a day to day basis, even though it was for a short time, it gave me a much better understanding.

Melatonin update.

3 Apr

MELATONIN, HOW IT’S WORKING FOR US!

It’s been a good few months now that little man has been taking Melatonin for his sleeping problems. Is it helping? Hell yer! 

I was very against little man taking any medications what so ever. But his sleeping problems were well lets say heading to dangerous levels. After speaking with the doctor that was dealing with little mans case, and hearing the pros’s and con’s of the medication we decided Melation was the best step forward for us. Given the fact Melatonin is a natural product I felt this was a good option to take. 

I remember writing my first blog post a few months back about our first few nights and then weeks with little man on the treatment. After some ups and downs, sleep walking and talking things seemed to be going great. Now a few months on things are getting better and better. The thing is with this medication there is no miracles. Once the tablet is taken the effects will wear off after an hour to an hour and  a half. If your child does not settle by this period there is a pretty great chance they can or will over ride it’s effects. Yes this has happened once, maybe twice with us but on the whole little man gives in to the sleep that he so badly craves. 

I can not Begin to express my feeling’s to the way I felt when G slept his first whole nights sleep in god only knows how long. It wasn’t that I was so happy to not be having a bedtime battle, more so that I was so happy to see my son getting something his body so badly needed SLEEP. I can honestly say I have seen a lot of improvements in little man. LET’S GET ON THING STRAIGHT! MELATONIN IS FOR HIS SLEEPING ISSUES NOT HIS ASPERGER’S, EVEN THOUGH HIS ASPERGERS MAY BE THE CAUSE OF HIS SLEEPING PROBLEMS! What I am saying is yes G still has sensory problems, obsessive interest and so on, but he also has better attention, more energy and is not so snappy. All this is thanks to a good nights sleep. A good nights sleep is something all children and adults need ASD or not. We all would find it extremely difficult to function given nights of little sleep or no sleep what so ever.

So yes Melatonin is working for us. If your are thinking of putting your child on Melatonin then speak to your GP it may be right for little man but everyone is different. If you are saturated in the UK like myself this Medication is only available from your doctor via a prescription.

IT’S EASTER BABY.

3 Apr

I love this time of year, not only is the air that touch warmer and the flower buds are blooming , it’s also Easter! Not only this but after just having had a fantastic mothers day, It’s also my Birthday on Monday.

Little Man and his little sister Alice came home today with cards, pictures and other stuff they had made in celebration for Easter. Their faces where bright and happy! Why? Well it’s no school for them for the next two weeks. I think they are pleased of the break and I’m really gonna enjoy some lay In’s. The big question most parents will be asking themselves is HOW AM I GOING TO ENTERTAIN THEM FOR THE NEXT TWO WEEKS ?

Well we don’t have any plans as yet! Little man wants to go to the coast and check out the steam train that runs along the Kent coastline. Maybe judging apron the weather, This is the UK and the weather is known to be somewhat crazy at times. Alice is happy as long as she can play with here friends. We are really lucky that our little girl connects and gets along with other children in a really great way. Alice is best friends with the little girl that lives a few doors down. 

With Little man having ASD ( aspergers ) he tends to often play alone, writing his train timetables or in his black book where he keeps all information on his beloved buses. However we have been lucky as the little girl a few doors down ( Alice’s friend ) Has an older brother a year younger then little man. He has taken to him really nicely and the boy himself who is named Jordan  seems to also enjoy little man company. As I sit writing this the children are out playing. Jordans mum has taken the Children to the park and then for something to eat. She is fully aware of little mans condition and she seems to have no problem with him joining them. ( Great ) It’s wonderful to see my little man forming friendships with other children that do not have ASD. I think my little man will do pretty well in life, don’t you? 🙂

Monday Finds ( Week 9 )

16 Mar

I can’t believe that already we are on week 9 of the weekly feature Monday finds.  So we are near the end, Just one more week left ( Week 10 ) then a new feature will replace this one. Updates on new feature will be posted throughout the coming week.

THIS WEEKS FINDS ARE ALL RELATED TO APRILS AUTISM AWARENESS MONTH.

If you live in London like myself, you may of noticed we don’t seem to do the whole awareness month in a great way. Yes there will be events happening but it’s  a lot different from places like the States. So many of these finds are related to autism awareness month in the UK with some being Global events.

AGE OF AUTISM

Looking through the net I came across a fantastic site that offer support, advice on everything autism. There are links to many sites with events list for autism awareness month all over the world.

UK AUTISM NEWS

Yes this site has it all. Loads of autism news from all over the world. List and links for the best UK autism awareness events most taking place on the 2nd of April.

Stock Pins

A company in the States that sell great pins for Autism awareness. There autism puzzle ribbon label pins are sure to help you raise awareness this April. Starting Prices $0.99.

COUNT ME IN.

UK event’s calendar that have listed events for Aprils autism awareness month. Check it out to see what’s happening near you.

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