Archive | christmas with Aspergers RSS feed for this section

Preparing my child with Aspergers for our family festive break

8 Dec

17

Days till Christmas

We’re off to Butlin’s this weekend and are all rather excited about it.

 However, it’s really not a case of “just up and leaving” for us! Well, I suppose it isn’t for anyone really, but for us such a trip means extensive preparation.

 Little man is looking forward to the trip, however he has many concerns, things that for most add to the excitement of a holiday!

English: Skyline Pavilion, Butlin's, near...

Image via Wikipedia

 Little man wants to know, how everything will plan out! Just how will we get there; how long will it take; how long does each and every activity last; what are the bedrooms like; what do they use to clean the pool; does the hotel smell of bleach, will there be a shower?

 OK, OK… Most kids ask questions but for Little man it’s not just a question but a real concern!

 When it comes to days out we need to ensure good preparation has played its part, otherwise Little man will suffer and the entire family will pay dearly. The truth is, I’m unsure why god considered me the “Right” person to mother a child on the autism spectrum! Organisation has never been my strong point! Well, when it comes to actually getting somewhere on time, I’m the worst ever! Seriously no matter what I do, something always seems to happen… always!

 We went camping back in July and absolutely nothing went to plan. It was extremely hard work and at certain points of the holiday I did have to stop and ask myself why I was actually putting myself through this. Yes, that may sound selfish and maybe a thousand adults on the spectrum reading this will now jump on my back! I know it isn’t easy for the Little man either, but at the time when his having an almighty meltdown in the tent at 2am, I did ask myself why!

 I always come up with the same answer! His my son, and just because he has Aspergers doesn’t mean he should miss the experiences that all children are entitled to. As a family, we are all entitled to a holiday and as hard as this may be, I’m determined to keep on trying! It’s my belief, the more we do these things, the better Little man is able to deal with them. It’s not that he don’t want to go on holiday’s or have day’s out, if this was the case then of course I wouldn’t push him, the fact he does want to engage in such activities, no matter how hard these things become it gives me that nudge to keep trying.

Camping wasn’t ideal for a child on the spectrum, especially camping at a festival, to be honest, it was the most unstructured place to take a holiday and as much as he now declares his a big camping fan, I would need to be thinking long and hard before embanking on such an adventure again.

 Now, we have been Butlin’s before! Little man was around 5 and this was prior to his diagnosis. Nevertheless things went surprisingly OK. I know his that bit older and yes, things do tend to unfold quicker and normally in a bigger more explosive way, but considering how structured Butlin’s can be I think it may actually be a really good place for a family consisting of a child with Aspergers to take a break.

 Well, we’re leaving on Friday, after school so it really is upon us.

 Here’s what I have done in preparation so far.

 We are staying in the Butlins hotel and I’ve checked with facilities are in our room (tv, shower, single or bunk beds etc.)

English: Ocean Hotel - Bognor, near to Felpham...

Image via Wikipedia

 Packed his clothing separately from ours, making sure they have been tumble dried for maximum softness.

 Made sure I’ve packed him entertainment for the journey (Lego, books etc)

 Downloaded the Butlin’s iphone app which has the full weekends entertainment, including opening times of certain activities, shows, the weekend line-up and any additional special bookable extras. Also includes a Map which is a bonus as Little man is driven mad when we get lost.

 As we haven’t been for sometime (I last went about 6 years ago) I’ve been speaking to some mummy bloggers on twitter who have been telling me what we can expect (What to avoid and what not to miss) I’d like to personally thank @TiredmummyofTwo who very considerately contacted me to ask if there was anything I wanted to ask as she was aware of my situation (please note, this isn’t someone who works for Butlins just a fellow blogger) I really am grateful that she took the time to contact me and offer that bit of support (it really is the little things that touch a person’s heart)

OK…  I’ve planed transport

 As the children’s father is now unable to attend, I’m now taking a friend who knows little man really well and is as good as family. This is important as on the Saturday I’m at the Tots100 Christmas party and my friend will take care of the children (a great mate)

 Trying to plan Sunday as-well as I possibly can as it’s Harley’s second birthday and little man can find other people’s birthdays difficult at the best of times.

 Making sure Little man knows exactly how many days in-till we leave and the times in-which we are leaving.

 Plus a host of other things that are actually rather jumbled in my head right now!

 Oh… and you better believe it! I have spent so long worrying about the Little man, plus ensuring all three children’s belongings are packed that I haven’t even thought about what I’m taking! That means packing when his at school today!

I can’t wait till everything is sorted so myself, friend and the children can look forward to our festive break which is promised to be filled with Christmas Cheer.

So… Wish me luck people! I’ll have the Mac so let’s hope that the holiday update is just that, “An Update” and a happy one at that, avoiding a festive holiday “Rant!”

“Mum, your christmas presents belong in the trash!”

2 Dec

23 

Days till Christmas

On Christmas morning the children wake you up at the crack of dawn, keen to get going on their marathon of gift unwrapping. Your Child squeals with delight and surprise when they discover what’s been hiding under the tree! 

 But what if they don’t? I mean, what if they say..

 “Thanks but no thanks” 

 How would that make you feel?

 As a mother of a child with Aspergers, I know all to well how that feels, except the words above are a not exactly of his choosing!

 “Yuck, that’s nasty”

 “How much was it?”

 “I don’t like these mum”

 “Have you got the receipt so we can exchange it for something way better”

 All these terms and more have been used by the Little man, you may feel his spoilt or selfish, greedy maybe!

 The reality is Little man don’t do well with surprises, the thought of someone getting him something not of use or something he doesn’t like is a total worry that could literally mess up his whole entire way of thinking. 

With this in mind, it is safe to say that,“No, my son does not believe in Santa Claus” that much is clear to see.

 His choices for gift have always been… Well, lets say a little “absurd” though I’ve noticed that since his been “allowed” to be part of a school community his slowly becoming interested in other things, things that are considered more “Socially accepted” (though I’m pretty sure that nothing will be able to replace his “special interest” in transport) you may think his a bit of an anorak? If he wasn’t my son, would I think the same? 

 Anyhow, regardless of any of that above (to be honest I don’t know why I’m even bringing that into it) because it will always be the same whether he likes buses, Lego or the latest Nerf blaster! The bottom line is, he don’t do well with surprises and unfortunately when them “Surprises” are not to his liking he doesn’t do well on subtlety either and it would seem that Little man isn’t the only one!

 Yes, I created the A boy with Asperger’s (ABWA) Facebook page around a year after this blog as kind of an extension, that I hoped would somehow do well in the world of  “Social media” and to my surprise, it went down a storm, so much so we now have eleven amins and almost 4,500 members. The page has seen myself and many others through some difficult times and for many Christmas seems to be one of those! 

 We are quite lucky in the fact that despite Little man’s present opening can be somewhat disastrous, if not thought through, and the fact he can be quite impulsive especially around lots of people, he still copes far better than some children on the spectrum during Christmas

 After engaging in a group discussion on the Facebook page this week, it came to light that the whole situation surrounding gifts and surprises, was by far one of the biggest issues for our children at Christmas. However there was a lot of discussion around the topic of Christmas dinner, social gatherings which sadly included visits from the extended family.

 I found many parents with the exception of a few, complained that their families failed to fully understand or even accept their child, which made occasions like Christmas even more difficult families.

 I mean… Our children don’t mean to be so blunt, it’s not as easy for them to smile politely and say thank you, when let’s be honest they feel the given gift is best of in the trash than actually taking up space in their bedrooms.

 I remember from such a young age, Little man would so bluntly show his utter disappointment in a gift he had received. This made me dread Christmas and birthdays, I used to try desperately hard to… “BEG” him if you like, to not say anything rude and if he didn’t like something we would sort it out when everybody had left to go home! He would just look at me before coming out with a thousand and one… “But why” questions. Once convinced he knew the drill I’d just about relax and out it would pop… “Nan… what ever made you think I wanted this” I’d go darting over from wherever I was and quite literally gag him.

 This isn’t always the case anymore and most of the family understand this is just his way! My mum learnt her lesson quite early on and began taking him shopping for his own gifts (not usually a great idea is shopping, what with the tendency to quickly convert into meltdown mode, due to the sensory overload of the busy situation) but like myself, my mother has a plan (one that doesn’t always work… it a 50/50 thing) quite periods and the mid relaxation break at a costa branch normally helps! Strange choice for an 11-year-old I know but a decaf with cream seems to somehow make a bad situation a not so bad one.

 While on my Facebook page reading some Crimbo tips from my fellow parents of children on the autism spectrum, I discovered a few I wanted to share!

 Please bear in mind some of these children find the whole occasion that is Christmas far too much to bear and cannot cope with it at all. Many really do not like the whole social situation that comes with Christmas, where little man wants to socialise, he just has difficulties doing so.

 Christmas tips for the family of a child with autism  given by parents from the ABWA facebook page.

 One of our admin on the page… My tip is, don’t do it! Jo has asked for no decorations, to know what presents are, to do very little, to spend it at home with a mince-pie or two just me & him & Dr who! I think the buffet idea is the best tip I’ve heard of, that and allowing aspies plenty of space away from it all if there is a family gathering taking place (L)

Parent from page… Jamie hates surprises and too many presents overwhelm her so Xmas starts tomorrow for us, a present a day for advent and anything she isn’t happy with I will swap for something she wants. Xmas day will be very casual with a couple of presents to open when she’s ready and no Xmas dinner, just a normal day as far as food is concerned!

 Parent from page… Eli is obsessed with his nintendo dsi and zones out when playing games so we take it with us when we go for family holidays and he has as much down time as he needs. We don’t force him to sit with us or socialise…. He seems to visit when he wants and the dsi gives us all some peace.

 Parent from page… All my family are very aware of Liams need to get away so they always tell him which room he can hide out in when he wants and we bring his ds and he is happy. No one is allowed into his chill out room, as for presents he gives me a list of what he wants including stocking fillers… I get what I can and pass the rest on to the others then we move onto a ratio, vouchers so many previous Christmas ruined because we bought what we thought he might like …..big mistake

 Parent from page… For kyles bedtime routine (kyle is just 5) we have made a picture board using photos we took of him doing various things, they look so nice and also I think it makes it more personal for his understanding when he sees himself doing it in his room etc. I am hoping to get something to attach the pictures with at the moment so its like his “diary” he has at school. I am now trying to get some of the other things we do like taking a bus trip out etc 🙂 hope this helps x

 Parent on page… My 7-year-old son knows every present he’s getting! Last year he went on and on and on and on and on and on for a month before xmas, I learnt this year and he helped me choose everything so no surprises but he doesn’t care lol. x

 Parent on page… Limit the amount of time friends and family spend visiting you – everyone has this big thing about spending the whole festive period together but for my son this is like torture. So we have family over on the xmas day bit and have a limit on the amount of time they can spend with us , and this helps my son to stay focused and calm as he knows there is an end in sight and he knows when the time is coming where he can chill and just be himself. I will say that my son has a thing about being fully dressed, and eating in front of people, so for him it is good to know that he only has so long left till he can strip and stuff his face with xmas goodies!

 Parent from page… For those, like my son, who hate opening presents if they don’t know what it is, ask the giver to write the label ‘To Jake, a toy tractor with love from Auntie Julie xx’. It takes the stress out of the moment. Of course,if they don’t want the tractor that could be interesting too!!. X

 Parent on page… It doesn’t matter if you don’t open the presents all in one go, we do ours over the whole day and sometimes keep hold of some for the next day too. It seems too overwhelming for my lot and I wouldn’t say they’re spoiled either!

All the comments above have been left on the ABWA facebook page and permission has been obtained for their use within this post. Please remember these are personal comments from parents of children on the autism spectrum and the comments will be protected by the copyright that protects this blog

We’re planning a break away

9 Nov
A poster announcing Storm and The Hurricanes a...

Image via Wikipedia

I recently got invited to the Tots100 Christmas party for bloggers on the 10 th December which will be held at Butlins Bognor Regis during the Christmas Fantasy weekend and I can’t wait to see some of my fellow blogging friends again.

As we have been offered discounted hotel accommodation I’ve decided to make a weekend of it and the children will be accompanying me to Butlins, much to their delight.

It will be an extra special weekend as my youngest Harley will be 2 years old on the 11 th of December so he will be spending his Birthday at Butlins amongst some of his favourite people, Bob the builder being one of them (his one time true hero… His Bob bonkers).

 

 We will be doing lots of planning prior to the weekend because of course the Little man himself will be joining us. His quite excited about staying in a hotel, bless him but we will still need to ensure his fully prepared for the event of leaving home for the weekend.

I feel confident that all three children will have a great time. We have taken Little man and his sister to Butlins before, of course this was before Harley came along. He loved all the structured activities and he adored all the exciting shows over at the centre stage. Nonetheless I will still do everything to ensure all goes smoothly and this includes the choice of travel to the holiday site.

I find this is where issues arise. Little man is a massive fan of transport and his adamant that we take a coach, where I’d rather we jumped on the train, a coach will take double the time and it could spark some boredom within him and the last thing we need is a couple of rowing siblings, and that’s what tends to happen when Little man and his sister become bored.

Another thing I will need to consider carefully is the sleeping arrangements. Little man may not do well sleeping in a strange room, we have only just got him sleeping in his own room, which is a whole other post. Plus the prospect of him sharing with his sister may be a little too much to expect.

We are quite lucky some children with Asperger’s cannot cope one bit when it comes to day trips or weekends away, Little man can get a little anxious at what to expect but tends to adjust well, especially when in the company of family

 There is one thing I can promise the Little man wont be doing while at Butlins… Visiting Santa! Hell no, Little man has the tendency to ask the man with the white beard

how much he gets paid for humouring small children!

He doesn’t believe in Santa one Little bit!

 December looks set to be an awesome month for the children, what with Harley’s 2nd Birthday, a trip to Butlins and Christmas there will be lots of excitement in my house that’s for such.

Christmas… Little man style

29 Dec

At long last I write a positive post… And I’m loving it

The blog has been full of doom and gloom this past year! Ok there has been a happy post here and there… But only a small handful at the most. It brings me great joy to report some happiness has gone down in the Little man household … And it’s all thanks to a little thing called Christmas!

We tend to take no day for granted, as we know Little man can often blow like a volcano without any prior warning.  Christmas time can be incredibly stressful for any parent, However parenting a child on the spectrum at Christmas (like most days) can be a great challenge. Social gatherings, changes in routine, over excitement… ect… ect…  All these and more can be a child with asd’s nightmare.

The fact we have had such a hard time this year… What with the whole school situation and the up and coming tribunal, I just wanted us all to have one special day. Was it too much to ask the man above for….  A day without meltdowns or tears, a day where little man felt truly happy, and so did we? I just wanted Little man along with his brother and sister to have an amazing magical day.

Things were looking pretty bleak in the run up to the big day. Little Mans bedtime routine has gone of the wall… The “crazy”  Little dude is settling down to sleep at  6am… Not at all ideal when Mum needs to wrap a thousand gifts. I think it was a whole lot of everything that was contributing to this lack of sleep routine. Since the week before the children officially broke up from school, Little man hasn’t been (And isn’t going back!) As mentioned before in an earlier post… Little Mans mental wellbeing was becoming a great concern and for this reason I decided enough was enough! Luckily we have been told a statement is in the process of being drafted… we’ve just got to wait and see what’s in it and make a preference for a special school. The LEA have already asked all the maintain special schools in and out of the area. They either have no places, or can’t meet his needs… We have been offered five hours tuition in a library in till a school place comes up! What a bloody disgrace! I sure as hell wont be agreeing to this being put in part four of his statement. So…  My point is…. A lot has gone on, and the prospect of a meltdown free day was…. Slim!

Well… I had to eat my own Christmas hat! Christmas was a meltdown free zone. Given the fact Little man had rarely closed his eyes, and his tendency to be easily “set off” when sleep deprived… He  proved me wrong and was a star!

“OK… OK, I would be lying if I said he didn’t have the odd moment… But his ten and that’s what most ten-year olds have… MOMENTS! We had the brother and sister bickering, and he almost lost it when his sister began singing “All I want for Christmas is You” By Mariah Carey (He goes mental if people sing… But this isn’t acceptable and upsets his sister a great deal. He has to learn to tolerate this as his sister tolerates his “loud” singing at all hours… day & night) Apart from these Mini hiccups, We had a pretty awesome Christmas.

This year, given the fact Little man is a non believer in Santa… I let him choose his gifts. He hates surprises and if you get it wrong… “HE TELL’S YOU SO!” So I took my chances and stuck to the plan. I even broke one of my own golden Christmas  rules when I reluctantly agreed to take Little man out with me to the shops where all the crazy christmas shoppers rushed around us. We went the day before Christmas eve and I convinced myself I was in for some hard work… Again I eat my own hat… Little man coped well… If anything I was the one stressed and falling apart. There was one funny story to our trip…  I asked Little man to go to the collection point in Argos while I was at their Jewellery counter awaiting something else. We had been wise and had reserved a number of items via the net ensuring that they would be in stock and would save a great deal of time (Waiting & Aspergers… Never a good combination, as I was about to find out once more…) Once I had collected my item of jewellery I walked over to the collection counter where little man was stood. As I got nearer I could hear him talking to the assistant in an overly formal voice. “I’m not being at all funny, but… The number has been called, yet I don’t see the item I want… My ticket also say’s a six-minute wait… (he now looks at his watch)… I make it ten whole minutes” Can you just imagine the look on this guys face! I think he was utterly gobsmacked…. Once he had gone over my little man’s words in his own head… He replied, “I’m extremely sorry sir, but we have a small problem with staffing today and I will be sure to look for your item right away! Again I’m very sorry” Little man stood nodding like an old grumpy man, and I felt my cheeks glowing. I told the assistant I was very sorry… which lead little man to state… “Shut up Woman, You always undermined me” Lol… He was deadly serious and I was now gobsmacked alongside the assistant and my fellow Christmas shoppers. Sensing a volcano brewing I grabbed our order said my thank you’s and good byes and got us the hell outta there.

I often wonder where he finds these lines… He really does take in everything!

So…  Meltdown avoided… Shopping was a success 🙂

Little Man had been bleating on about getting a smart phone (htc) I was a little reluctant given the price and his age… However I discovered the HTC was a lot like my iPhone (Which he doesn’t leave alone) He would be able to download apps and these applications could have a great impact on his communication skills. There are educational games, applications aims at children with Sen and autism, social stories and more. Also little man has been using music as a de-stressing tool of late. He can listen to music for hours… Sadly the same song or set of songs… Over and Over. The phone doubles up as an mp3 player… Something I was already considering putting on his Christmas list, so the HTC was suddenly becoming very appealing! After finally agreeing we got on the net In the search for one. My god these things are like gold dust at Christmas and things were not looking promising…. Till… One of our local stores emailed me informing me they had just received two in stock and would put one aside for us to collect in store that or the following day. Little Man did not stop begging for his present early… I admit he did my brain so much damage I almost gave in! It was so worth the wait as Christmas morning he was over joyed… So much so that he stood crying! I’m not talking watery eyes… I’m talking River Thames! His father stood shocked, turned to me and said… “Why is he crying, don’t he like now?” He really couldn’t get his head around the fact his son was reacting this way due to sheer happiness. All though it was fantastic to see him so happy (been a while) he didn’t seem to stop! He cried on and off every few hours, he sat staring at it. He spoke about it non stop to anybody that would listen and he took it to his room where he recorded himself announcing  bus destinations!

Other things he added to his christmas list were… Safety pins, magnets, handwriting pens, stapler, new padlock, bus picture, 2011 diary, and lots of stationary items!

After three long days awake (that’s me by the way) due to sleepless nights with little man, Christmas shopping and looking after the children throughout the day, and wrapping Christmas presents till 7.15 am Christmas morning had finally had a huge impact on me… I  fell into bed Christmas night at just past midnight. My bed was warm and comfortable… To me it felt like the best place in the world! After having had such a beautiful christmas day… I thanked god and happily entered the land of nod 🙂

The Christmas Survival Guide

19 Dec

Getting into the seasons spirit of good will, I thought I would do my bit by sharing some Christmas DOS & DON’TS

This is the Parental Christmas Survival Guide.

DO… be prepared for your little darling to hand back that present he considers RUBBISH.

DON’T… invite anyone around your house who you’ve gossiped or nagged about in the past. All children have a mind like a sponge, but our little Aspies have a mind like a safe! Your child telling that Aunt or cousin, “Mummy thinks your a pain in the backside once drunk” isn’t a great situation to land yourself in!

DO…. visit Santa with caution! If you haven’t done so yet be prepeared if your child like Little man is a non believer… Anything could happen! Little man has called the man with the White beard a FAKE, laughed at his fat belly, asked him if he has a real job with meaning, and made him a list of the things he knows he will never get.
Oh and warn Santa that your child may want an indepth conversation surrounding their “special interest”

DON’T… Expect to have control of the TV remote control this Christmas.

DO… Make sure all children have the SAME number of gifts. If they have a present that was more expensive, be sure to make up the numbers with little things. Nothing worse then a Christmas morning meltdown.

DON’T… Run out of gift wrap to find the only thing you have left in the house is left over pink birthday wrapping paper. Believe me it’s so not worth the migraine.

DO… Stock up on essentials! Alcohol & strong painkillers spring to mind. A glass of White to take the edge of the stress and Painkillers for the end of the day when your dragging your arse to bed!!!

DON’T… Be shocked if your little Aspies ask everyone who gives them a gift how much it cost! Little man just can’t help himself.

DO… Not expect a quite Christmas. This one goes for anybody with Children… Full Stop!

DON’T… Even dare take your child on the spectrum out shopping with you. This is the busiest time of year… You wanna get through it alive don’t you!

DO… Make sure when that lady in Argos asks, “Do you want batteries with that” you say, “YES” When you tell a child with Aspergers you forgot to buy the batteries… You can expect a response that isn’t a great one!

DON’T… Try to force your child to like all the latest toys, because the thought of buying them… Batteries, Pad locks, and 20 cans of Dr pepper make you wanna cry. I used to buy Little man toys that he had no interest in because I convinced myself that he will play with them soon enough… Because that’s what children do! Isn’t it? Now if he wants a battery charger or a food processor… That’s what he gets!

DO… Be prepared to watch that DVD you got them… Over & Over again.

DON’T… Pull crackers without due notice.

DO… Expect ignorance! No not from your child, but from others! If your having people over… Choosing those who know and understand your child is always best.

DON’T… Ask your child if your Christmas party dress looks Ok! Unless very Honest opinions are being sought!

DO… Let them wear themselves out. If like Little Man your child has a poor sleep pattern at night, You will be grateful when they do sleep! For us it’s normally Christmas, after a long day out, Birthday parties… Ect…Ect.

DON’T… Make big plans for Christmas at a hotel, holiday park, or aboard! This maybe Ok for some families… However your child will be most comfortable at home where he can escape the mayhem of Christmas day to retreat to his sanctuary of loveliness… The Bedroom! This also goes for parents needing that five minute hideaway!

DO… Make sure your day is well planned out. Just like any other day, your child will want order and routine to their day. They will want to know what time dinner is and who’s visiting and when (of course this has a lot to do with the gifts people will bring as opposed to the person bringing them!)

DON’T… Get drunk and make a complete tit of yourself! Your child will never let you live it down… Telling everybody what you did for weeks, even months after!

A christmas messeage

29 Dec

Hope you all had a nice christmas. Ours was fab. Giovanni and his sister Alice were really pleased with there presents and stuff. We had a really nice dinner and had no problems with Giovanni eating we made sure all his food was put out on separate plates and he ate it all.

Not sure what we are doing for new year yet. I hope it’s as fantastic as christmas.

HAPPY NEW YEAR EVERYBODY.XXXXXXX

christmas eve

24 Dec

It’s Christmas eve and my children are really looking forward to tomorrow. My son made a pretty funky list this year. Well he does every year. Paper clips, padlocks and stapler are pretty much what he wants. If your child has Aspergers you may know where I’m coming from. Children with aspergers tend to collect strange items and some how find lots off enjoyment out of them. Last year after shopping for dolls and prams for my little girl i convinced myself my son may like some spider man toys. I also  got him some trains and tracks which i know he would like as he loves trains and bus’s. However the spider man toys did not go down well. He has never played with them to this day. This year i know better he likes what he likes and there is no changing that. One good thing amongst all the padlocks and paper clips he asked for a wii computer console which I’m pleased i managed to get befour they all sold out. Looking forward to seeing there smiling faces when they open up there presents even if Giovanni’s are a little strange.

MERRY CHRISTMAS

15 Dec

Just want to wish everyone a very merry christmas.

Thanks to all of you that have visited my blog. Im really enjoying putting the blog together and raising awareness for austim. Im really looking forward to this christmas. Having a nice relaxed one with family. Giovanni and his sister Alice are really looking forward to it. Giovanni keeps telling Alice there’s no santa. She is only 5yr old. So i took her to see santa at a shopping mail and now she knows his the real deal.

%d bloggers like this: