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What goes up must come down

28 Dec

You know what they say… What goes up, must come down! This is exactly what happen when Christmas Day suddenly finished. All that built up excitement and in someways anticipation experienced by the little man was suddenly gone… And boy, didn’t we know it!

No Christmas is Christmas without an Aspergers style meltdown and although little man sailed through the actual day itself in a somewhat relaxed and merry way… Boxing Day was somewhat different all together.

Waking him up was the hardest part, if I’d let him, I’m pretty sure he’d had slept the day away. His facial expression said it all… That evil deadly stare that says “Back off bitch or I’m gonna blow! Not to be defeated I persisted on my mission to get the little man up from his bed before the daylight had fully disappeared.

Crashing around, screaming and shouting, declaring me to be the most evil mother to ever walk the earth. Little man was now up… but happy about he he was not!

Literally throwing his whole body through the living room door, crying for reasons he himself didn’t know, he shouted in no uncertain terms “Stop trying to control me, this is my life, my time!” Somehow I felt as if I was sat watching the film ‘Kevin and Perry Go Large” but this wasn’t some stroppy 17 year old. It was my 12 year old who had gone to bed smiling and woken a raging beast.

I knew things could easily spiral into a more explosive episode, so with that I did my best to ignore the rude names and hurtful statements, fore I’ve learnt that engaging in an argument with your 12 year old only feeds his fuel. His sister, sat on sofa was next inline as he so angrily asked her what she was looking at. My daughter had a choice choose to ignore it like me or feed the fuel and if course she went for the latter.

Screaming over one another the hurtful comments flew about the air as the toddler sat watching Thomas drowning out the noise like he had done so many times before. To think it was not even midday and I was already reaching for the Paracetamol, was a clear indication of the day ahead.

Finally… some two hours later, a sore head and with this inner feeling of drain washing through me. I sat on the sofa next to the little man who was now much calmer meaning I could try to unearth the meltdown trigger I’d regretfully missed.

One would expectedly assume that the trigger for this meltdown was tiredness. His need to catch up on sleep if I’d had allow him too. I guess in some respects this is true. However this was in no way the main trigger it was just the one that sparked the rage. Whether I’d woken him or not, I was about to discover that today’s antics would have been unavoidable all the same! Why…
Well… Because the tigger was Christmas!

It had been on the agenda for so long. The build up, christmas crafts, school plays, parties and more! Suddenly it was over… No more Christmas for another 365 days and counting. Talking to him, I realise that for months his head has been consumed with nothing other than festivities. If it wasn’t the rehearsals in his bedroom for the school play it was searching the Internet for the latest WWE merchandise to add to his growing Christmas list.

Little man looked at me and with a tear in his eye he declared “I think I’m actually really sad its over!”

Well, there are many things a mother can try to fix but this is something I cannot. This is life… something that little man will face year and year again. But just being aware of this will help me prepare for the events that could likely follow as Christmas comes and goes in the years ahead.

20121228-180945.jpga happy little man on Christmas day

A Christmas Message For Our Readers

25 Dec

A message from the boy himself to wish our readers a very merry Christmas.

Love Claire, Little man and and family.xx

Look How Happy He Is Now!

24 Dec

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I never thought I’d see the day my son smiled like this… His at school, has a great role in the secondary years Christmas production and I’ve never felt so proud.

When your child is never ALLOWED to take part in the schools yearly Christmas nativity or play it tends to become somewhat disheartening. In mainstream he was either told he wasn’t allowed to be part of it all, coincidently excluded from school that day or just pulled out and told he couldn’t take part at the final rehearsals or worse on the day itself.

Some parents feel a Little disheartened for their child when they Become upset at having to preform as a star, Camel, or even tree year after year. Us… We would have been happy with just that.

Seeing him up there on the stage, contributing, being a part of it all, was amazing. Did I cry? What do you think?

He has been in his Independent special school For around 18 months now. I remember he’s harvest festival assembly Back when he first started. She was excited about doing a reading but he wasn’t used to this type of thing, given he had never been given the opportunity in the past, The poor boy just froze with stage fright.

Now look him up there, With his mass of red hair and great big smile Ironically playing the gingerbread man. He couldn’t have been happier And honestly neither could I!

It was a wonderful day that had followed a school Christmas dinner the day before. This gave me two opportunities to witness my sons happiness within his new school environment.

It feels somewhat weird Being involved in the school community. Watching your son perform in the school play and eating Christmas dinner side by side with fellow parents and your child’s teaching team. Let’s not forget my experiences of school especially when associated with my son, were anything other then awful.

Looking back to how things were, the discrimination, tears and even self harm. I would have never imagined us being here.Things were horrible and I couldn’t see the light past the darkness. We are the perfect example of hope for any parent with a child on the autism spectrum facing the same trying battle when it comes to their child’s educational environment.

There is hope… No matter how dark things may seem right now. Good, understanding schools do truly exist so please don’t give up the fight!

Big thank you to my sons school for a wonderfully festive few days and for giving my son the opportunities he deserves as a 12 year old boy.

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#silentsunday

23 Dec

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What Children With Aspergers Really Want For Christmas

5 Dec

Now, I’m not about to go all soppy by stating “That all our children with aspergers really want for Christmas is an appropriate school place and less judgement”because that wouldn’t be true.

Like any child, children with autism and Aspergers have their own interest, hobbies and Christmas wish list.

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Every single year in the lead up to Christmas I find that many new readers find my blog as a result of googling terms such as “What to buy the child with Aspergers for Christmas” or “Gift ideas for children with autism and sen”

Every year we do the ‘Santa’s Little Helpers’ feature where the children showcase and review some toys. This year I’ve been a bit busier than other years so the feature has been on a much lower scale than previous. However, any review that little man does tends to get pretty high page views for the above reasons.

Over the years little mans Christmas list has been anything other than average… Its featured many a bizarre item, from padlocks to safes, batteries to working shop tills. One year we even got a request for a whole crate of fizzy drinks.

This year as he approaches his teen years the list seems somewhat more “normal” in terms of its contents. Well, that’s except for the request to hang out with Drew McIntyre his WWE idol and that of a life sized 4D simulator (needless to say both requests are somewhat out of my reach)! As you can see, Little man isn’t the type of child who scores the Argos catalog for ideas.

With this, I thought it would be interesting to pop over to my Facebook page “A boy with Aspergers” and ask some of the members there what their child with Aspergers has requested for Christmas whether this year or in past years.

Its important to remember that despite any diagnosis, all children with Aspergers have different likes and dislikes, yet unsurprising the results show lost of similarities.

Firstly – LEGO seems to be that of the biggest contender, especially when it comes to boys on the spectrum. Many will know that my little man started to discover the joys of LEGO a few years back and as a result it featured heavily on last years Christmas list and has subsequently made a return this year.

Many of the members over on the ‘A boy with Aspergers’ Facebook page state that their child has either asked for Lego StarWars, Lego Hero’s or just LEGO full stop.

One member told me “Anytime people ask my son what present he wants for any occasions they will get the answer in number form. Because my son’s world revolves around LEGO and its not a ‘Lego truck’ its the model number 4435 or whatever the number maybe”

Other answers highlight that younger children on the spectrum have developed obsessional interests in super heroes with Batman being one child’s special interest for the past 6 years. This child’s Christmas list consists off Batman Merchandise and again LEGO.

It’s also apparent from reading members replies that as their children have aged many of the their requests have changed and now focus on technology. Xbox and PS3 appears a number of times with one member mentioning the new Book of Spells which little man is currently reviewing and thinks is wonderful.

Some members stated how their child wanted to connect with others online to play games over that of the PS3 or Xbox networks. I can relate to this as since little man got his PS3 in October for his birthday, he has discovered the joy of connecting with friends (mainly our extended family) to play against them on FIFA or WWE.

Another big contender was of course the IPad. Is it any surprise? Even I’m wishing for the latest iPad.

Most of the members on the page that took part in the discussion, are parents to boys on the spectrum but a few parents to girls were also happy to share their daughters wish list. One of the page admins shared that her daughter has actually asked for a fridge for her bedroom where another member stated that her daughter wanted money so she could bank it. Yes, this little girl wants her own farm in the middle of nowhere and is already saving for it (and no, I’m not talking about a plastic toy farm but that of an actual farm). Another little girl has asked for a unicorn pillow, slippers and a Star Wars DVD box set (which seems to be popular with both the girls and the boys).

Another item that reappeared more than once was that of spy items such as spy pens and night vision goggles. Again, I can relate as Little man is in love with a spy watch that has a dictaphone and secretly video records (yes, it does actually tell the time too)!

In terms of the more bizarre items here’s some that made me giggle…

Magnets (boy)
A Custard Doughnut (boy 5)
Feather Duster (little girl)
Farm In the Middle of Nowhere ( girl 11)
Cell Phone & Pocket Knife (boy 5)
Electric Leaf Blower (boy 6)
Pyjamas With Feet (boy 9)
To Be Just Like Santa Himself (boy)
Lottery Ticket/Scratch card (boy 7)
Fridge in bedroom (girl 10)
A white keyboard without computer (boy)

Biggest Contenders

LEGO
MOBILE PHONES
IPADS
SPY TOYS
STAR WARS
WWE
TRAIN SETS
PS3
XBOX
LAPTOPS
LASERS
HOTWHEELS
HARRY POTTER
SUPER HEROS (Batman etc)
SONIC
JAMES BOND DVDS
SKYLANDERS

Ooo… I almost forgot one… Mindcraft seems to be on everyone’s most wanted list too!

Special Thank You – This post was put together with the help from members of the Facebook page ‘A Boy With Aspergers’ Thank you so much to those who took part in the discussion.
Claire- Louise. Xx

Help your child with Aspergers to get the most out of Christmas

3 Dec

1 – if like my little man you’re child with Aspergers isn’t big on surprises then simply don’t surprise them! I used to hate that little man used to get anxious about what I was getting him for Christmas. He would worry himself sick that I’d get it all wrong so now he buys his gifts with me.

2 – Plan well ahead for Christmas Day. If possible try to spend Christmas at home so there isn’t to much change.

3 – We all know its the month for advent calendars. Little man can’t help but to open all the doors on day 1, just to munch the chocolate (sweet tooth like his mother).This year we are trying the LEGO Advent calendar and given he can’t eat the Lego this is working out pretty well.

3 – Let your child become involved in the overall planning of the day. Make a visual timetable together and let them hang it in their bedroom at least 3 weeks before the date.

4 – if your child has extra sensitive hearing and therefore freaks out every time someone decides to pull a cracker, then why not introduce an alternative to crackers. I shared a post on my sister blog mummy of many talents where I made cute table flavours made with a paper doyley and ribbon. You can pack this out with cracker treats and paper crowns so no one loses out.

5 – If your child is a fussy eater then its worth making a separate meal plan for them. however, do encourage your child to try some of what your serving up. Little man has gone from only eating a small selection of Christmas dinner to most of what we eat which makes dinner time a much each time.

6 – Don’t be surprised if your child with Aspergers just laughs in your face when you announce that Santa is watching to see if his been bad or good. Little man was just 4 years old when he informed me that he knew Santa was a fictional being. He told me it just didn’t make sense and was not logical for a man with a white bead and fat belly to be able to deliver presents to every single child in the world, let-alone fit through their chimneys. Yes, it broke my heart but this is the way he is and I expect this (as long as he doesn’t ruin it for his siblings)!

7 – don’t over do the tape when you wrap the Christmas presents. Little man struggles more than most as he has difficulties with his fine motor skills and he becomes all fingers and thumbs as he sits frustrated as he tries to rip the paper of his gifts… I then have to sit unwrapping the gifts I’ve spent the night wrapping.

8 – Little man has a lot of trouble sleeping and Christmas Eve is no exception. If your child takes melatonin then try to stop giving it to them around 5 days before Christmas Eve. This means that when you reintroduce it come Christmas Eve the body is more excepting and it therefore works much better (after all there is nothing worse then meltdowns on Christmas Day).

9 – Let your child have time to unwind and relax doing what they want on Christmas morning. Don’t be offended if your child offloads the gifts to their bedroom and then wraps the duvet around them why they settle on the sofa watching cartoons. Little man does this. Its not that his not excited about his gifts its just that he needs time to unwind and fully wake up before opening anything… Things will soon liven up so just enjoy the peace and peel the spuds.

10 – Don’t forget batteries! Every child will throw a wobbler if you do, but the child with Aspergers just don’t get how you forget and meltdowns can be mighty.

11 – Avoid doing the food shop with the kids in toll. Its bad enough taking your child with Aspergers to the supermarket but if you take them at this busy time you’re just asking for trouble.

12 – I’ve been trying for years to stop little man asking family and friends how much they paid for his gifts and where they brought them from. Its just that he can’t help but know it actually eats him up inside if he doesn’t. Family have come accustomed to his probing and we try to not make to much of a big deal of it now. My mum will go as far as leaving the prices on for a peaceful life.

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Little man features in an NAS publication on toys for children with autism

8 Jan
English: Nuevo América Sport Logo Español: Nue...

Image via Wikipedia


A good few months before Christmas myself and the Little man were ever so lucky to be sent a lovely invitation to join Sarah Milne, her little boy William and some of his friends for a day of Christmas toy testing for a piece Sarah was writing for the National Autistic Society’s NAS magazine.

 Sarah’s a freelance writer who also writes the blog ‘Oliver and Will’s’ which is based on Sarah’s life as a mum of 3 with the added addition of Oliver the families Golden retriever who has formed a special bond with William as Sarah trains him to assist her little boy with the more social aspects of his world. William, Like Little man has Asperger’s syndrome with other additional needs. 

 Sarah had organised for some of this years top toys to be sent her way so all four children each diagnosed as being on the autism spectrum, could try them out and voice their opinions.

 The whole idea was to create a list of recommended toys that may appeal to children with autism, Sarah would establish what toys suited the children best by observing how they played and interacted with each toy accompanied by the added feed back from both the child and their parent(s)

 There was a photographer also present who done a great job in taking the children’s pictures considering, he had a toy helicopter flown into his head on at least five occasions (would have to be my Little man wouldn’t it)

 Well, just before Christmas the article was published in the NAS magazine.  

 Sarah did an awesome job in creating the 2 page spread and the photographer took lots of shoots of Little man flying his Helicopter (I say his as Sarah was so kind to let all the children take a toy home with them & given that Little man was overly obsessed with the helicopter, this was of course his choice).

 I found it to be a wonderful experience… considering the fact I was in somebody’s house I didn’t really know (well, apart from a tweet here and there through cyber space) yet I felt really at ease and so did Little man! This is because we were joining other families similar to that of our own, no one judged one another and Sarah made it a really lovely few hours with her brilliant hosting.

 It was lovely to chat with Sarah about our boys and all them little things that make them extra special! All in all it was a really positive day that lead to a great publication in the NAS members magazine

 We, hope that little man’s involvement helped Sarah in her mission to create her fantastic article and that the article helped parents and members of the NAS find toys that their children would really want to open and play with on Christmas morning, instead of having cupboards full to the rim with unopened toys (something both myself and Sarah know all about)!

 Sarah, thanks so much for such for a truly brilliant day, I hope we can meet sometime again in the future. 

 Please check out the publication which I was lucky enough to obtain in a PDF format in-order to share with all my readers. 

 Little mans smiling face as he plays with the helicopter is clearly noticeable which just shows how relaxed and happy he was amongst a room through off people.

 The PDF is attached to this post and will open in a new window, just click the link.Pgs 14-15 CommunicationWinter11

I think my readers would also really enjoy Sarah’s blog ‘Oliver and Will’s’ So, why not pop over and check it out?

Just click HERE

A meltdown free Christmas (well almost)!

28 Dec

We are a family that all too often experiences a set of problems when it comes to holidays, special events and more. Christmas isn’t usually exempt from the list.

Over the year I’ve demonstrated a number of occasions that provoke change, excitement & anxiety for little man, the latest being our trip to Butlin’s.

However, I’m pleased to inform the world that despite one or two minor problems, a few tears and a little swearing, Christmas was a joyful occasion in the household of ‘A boy with Asperger’s’

We remained home the entire day, one very close understanding friend joined us and family dropped gifts off, the day before, or popped in for a brief moment. Christmas was a blissful occasion!

There was one meltdown, however this was not displayed by the Little man! Was it his 8-year-old sister or maybe his brother (at 2 this would sound likely)! No it was neither, it was actually me that had the meltdown! In true Christmas fashion, I had a mummy paddy when I misplaced a gift I had wrapped for a family member!

You see, I did make that classic stupid mistake of staying up the entire night to wrap every single gift I had brought. The sad thing was, I had only had around 2 hours sleep the previous night meaning that come christmas morning, I sobbed and moaned about everything and anything!

Yes, I found the gift, of course this was typically in the first place that I had looked, but throughout Christmas day, I lost everything I touched and considered myself on the blink of madness!

Despite my own temper tantrum’s Christmas was a blast there was family games, a lavish dinner and pudding and plenty of smiling faces on Christmas morning (though I really did feel like someone had kicked me in the stomach as I watched my children rip of the wrapping paper, I’d spent my entire sleepless night wrapping)!


One of the loveliest things about Christmas, was my youngest and his reaction to his presents. On opening all his gifts, his eyes were wide and his smile light the room as he shouted “Wow, Mum… Wow” Which did make me chuckle as one of his gifts was “Motorbike Max” from WOW Toys (which I must add his crazy about).

Alice-Sara was of course pleased with all her Monsters high dolls and accessories that I had trolled the shops in search off, and the Little man was relieved to get all that he expected with no sudden surprise (just the way he likes it). The Little man’s gifts were mainly made up of Transport Memorabilia, LEGO and of course a string of different Nerf products.

There was one gift I continually asked myself “Was, this a good idea” The huge Nerf-N-Strick blaster that I continually found myself the target off! Umm, next year… maybe not!

There was even a little baking, not bad for a non domestic goddess wouldn’t you say!

What a beautiful way to end the year!

The night before Christmas

24 Dec

1

DAY TILL CHRISTMAS

Well, it’s Christmas Eve, the kids are super excited, though little man’s brain seems to have become somewhat over stimulated by the whole thing.

No children are yet in bed and if I hear the word Nerf or Monsters high again, I think I may go for a long, long…. walk to ‘No Man’s Land’.

Harley is now 2 and he understands that bit more, I love that he is excited and keeps saying “HO-HO-HO Merry Christmas” in a little deep tone, it’s just super cute.

I’m still baking Christmas cake and will be for the next two hours (bear in mind this mum is no domestic goddess, so here’s hoping it turns out Ok, well, edible at least)!

Have I even wrapped a single present out of the hundreds of gifts bursting to escape their designated hiding places (the wardrobe, airing cupboard and under the stairs) to name but a few!

Hell, no of course I haven’t!

I think it’s a little crazy, I’m the mother of a child on the autism spectrum, yet organisation and planning is like an unknown second language to me! Seriously, I think I spend so much time making sure all them little things that tip my little guy over the edge, are just right in-order to avoid the mighty meltdown! The end result means that all the bigger stuff is left for me to tackle at some crazy hour! Will I sleep tonight? I can see me and Santa having a glass of something stiff and a mince-pie together tonight, So… that says it all really!

There is one Christmas Tradition I don’t want to miss (but sadly I may have to).

Midnight Mass is an event that I like to see in Christmas with, I’m not overly religious but somehow I find myself sat in the church whenever I am down or I just need some place quite to reflect. I used to live in a beautiful area that had a huge heath with a church sat right in the middle, that’s where I used to go to attend Mass and it was totally magic.

The Children’s father has offered to be with the children so I can go, I just can’t see me having the time nor energy!

Our very purple Christmas tree replacing last years snowy white tree.

Regardless of the big Christmas rush I am really looking forward to watching the children rip open their gift, even if I know Little man will want to know what shop each was brought and the amount they cost (and there just the ones he didn’t google and point me too). Yes… I’ve kept all the receipts, not only in case of problems such as, toy failures or the need for returns, it’s also to give to the Little man to save me reeling of all the prices and shops from memory (Oh the joys of parenting a child with Aspergers)

Merry Christmas everyone

I hope you all have a truly amazing day.

Love all at A boy with Asperger’s

Christmas Meltdowns, Supermarket Style

20 Dec

Anybody with a child on the autism spectrum will know that meltdowns are that bit different from your more ‘typical’ tantrum and that during this festive time of year they tend to be on the increase.

This is true for Little man, what with all those emotions mixed together, excitement, anxiety and more, there is just bound to be an increase in this behaviour, however knowing about it can make it that bit easier… OK, not that much but hey any improvement is better than no improvement isn’t it?

It’s extremely hard to avoid those things that make our children over stimulated especially when it’s the whole business of Christmas itself that tends to bring about such behaviour! Supermarkets are always that bit more crowded, then there’s all the festivities happening around us.

My Little man has never coped well with the whole shopping situation and I discovered last year just how much worse this becomes at Christmas! Seriously, there is no quite time to shop in December, nonetheless this is a good time however to try to raise some awareness for the condition and how sensory overload can play a huge part in our children’s behaviour! Just think about it, how do you feel when you’re darting around the supermarket last-minute trying to get all the bits for your Christmas dinner, everything is sold out, the place is bursting at the seams with other shoppers who are walking about at the pace of a snail and in the background you can hear people rattling charity tins as the local choir stood at the stores entrance belts out the sounds of “Ding Dong Merrily On High” yet there you are feeling a little less than festive when you’re in a rush and somehow no matter how fast you go… Nothing seems to get done!

Come on, we’ve all been there haven’t we? Well, I know I have and I’ll be honest when saying… It leaves me feeling bloody stressed out to the max.

Yes, we shouldn’t leave things till the last-minute but not every family is in a position to shop at the beginning of the month, myself included!

I don’t know 100% but I’m guessing this is how my son feels on trips to the local supermarket, just how I feel when christmas shopping at the last minute, so can you imagine how much worse it becomes for the child with Asperger’s during such a festive period?

I say I’ve learnt my lesson every year, have I really? No of course not, I still return to the supermarket the next year, kids in tow, battling the crowds as I try to do my Christmas food shop and it’s always the same… the end result is… Cans of baked beans rolling down aisle 10 and Little man shouting some pretty offensive language (at me of course) while kicking anything or worse, anyone in his reach! Not a pretty thought is it!

If you’re in a position to leave that little darling at home, I’d say… GO FOR IT! If you’re not then if you can, then do it as early as possible to get it out the way!

There is always the option of paying for your Christmas at the beginning of the year, and this isn’t just for the reason of spreading the cost but also avoiding the big Christmas rush and therefore huge Christmas meltdown.

Still, I don’t know why I’m telling you this? Do I take my own advice?

Never… though I really should! Still like many, I always find that Christmas is the last thing I want to be thinking about come January and then before I know it we’re in November and this mum is panicking BIG STYLE!

Maybe next year I’ll order myself a big fat hamper filled to the rim with Christmas goodies! Who knows, I can only but hope I hear myself saying that in January!

I hold my hands up, I do still have stuff to buy and I do see one or two meltdowns on the horizon.

Here’s a couple of things I will be doing to help avoid a blow up or a least a monster scale meltdown!

The biggest advice I can give myself or anyone else who are yet to shop, would be not to get too stressed! (Easier said than done, I know). However, when I’m stressed Little man easily picks up on my mood and therefore becomes more stressed himself! This is an important lesson I’ve learnt to date, regardless of the time of year or situation.

Another example why stressing is a super bad idea is the fact that it causes me to parent poorly, I can’t do the job that I’m meant to do, I become a wreck and becoming a wreck results in a worse meltdown from Little man. It’s all about remaining calm, dealing with the children best I can and getting the hell out off there!

Another piece of advice of valuable advice I can offer, is… Ignore the judgemental finger pointers, the glaring eyes of your fellow shoppers, who gives a rats arse what they think? Seriously it’s so not worth it!

Yes, I’ve stood in the supermarket trying to educate my fellow shoppers on autism, aspergers or sensory processing and at any other time I’d say, ‘Yay… go for it’ but at this busy & already stressful time of year, my advice is worry about no one but you and the children, get your shopping and get on out of there.

You could always do what I’m planing and wear a t-shirt with the words,

“Merry Christmas my child has Aspergers”

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