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Are you Doing it for World Autism 2012

2 Apr

It’s here, World Autism Awareness Day and as promised today I’m doing it for autism by posting a picture while wearing something that resembles the autism awareness colours and holding up a card simply stating “Doing it for world autism” (yes, kids enjoyed creating the oversize mask).

This idea was one I put together quite late in the day but still remain hopeful that lots of you will take 5 minutes and snap and share a picture too? Bloggers can post them on their blogs to get the message out, as well as linking here, sharing on twitter using hash tag #worldautism12, share on the A boy with Aspergers Facebook page and anywhere else you fancy. What do you gain from it? Nothing other than the knowledge you took a few minutes to help raise awareness for children like my little man! You don’t even have to be a blogger just sharing your picture on twitter or our Facebook page means everyone can do it but only if they want too!

I’m hoping to collect enough images to create an awareness collage (You can see some old ones by clicking the autism college link in the blogs header).

So, what do you say? Everyone and anyone, whoever you are, wherever you are… Please help me raise awareness and stamp out the ignorance that surrounds us daily!

It will always be world autism day in our house and thousands others besides… Can you take five minutes to make it yours?

So… here’s my picture! Please don’t judge my smoking, it was one of those mornings, plus after Little mans refusal, I was simply filling in at short notice ūüôā

Linky will be added to this post:)

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Flu, Campaigning, Gratitude and getting sodding old

31 Mar

Yes, I’ve been absent from blogging for a few days but not without good reason!

I was hit with the nastiest most evil flu bug ever! Yes, lifting my fingers was a tiresome effort let alone typing! This thing was the Daddy of all flu’s and note this woman’s had swine flu at 8 months pregnant and even that didn’t have a patch on this evilness!

As a kid, one doesn‚Äôt fully appreciate the ‚ÄúBenefits‚ÄĚ of being a young ‚Äúvictim‚ÄĚ to the flu… No ‚ÄúNeed to do lists‚ÄĚ no commitments and most significantly… No children to care for!

Oh yes… It was hell, pure hellishness in its almighty form! Surely there is nothing worse than parenting three quite demanding children between the ages of 2 and 11 one on the autism spectrum who is wanting to have in-depth conversations on his interest one minute then swearing the next, while your basically feeling like a big piece of steaming ‚ÄúShit‚ÄĚ (excuse my language but I have no nicer words for the experience). I love my kids so… much, but flu and parenting is never going to be a good mix is it? Worse still their father got washed down with the same bug the following day! The echoes of the croup type coughing episodes throughout the house must have driven the neighbours barmy while passers-by would be forgiven for thinking they were walking past an old people’s home (only one full of kids)!

I guess it didn‚Äôt help that Little man and my daughter were ill at the beginning of the week leaving no time for adult sickness to take place! The toddler… he just ran around like a child on red bull, though he was the only member of the gang consumed with energy at this point I can assure you that the older two more than made up for any lost adventures… Oh yes…

The overwhelming need to sleep was the ultimate killer, a mum fully capable of losing sleep and spending nights up with the boy‚Äôs (Yes BOYS… the toddler is still at it) but Oh my…. When sickness becomes part of the accession then I‚Äôm a zombie moaning monster

So… You can appreciate the smile upon my super pale face today, when for the first time in a week the shivers, aches, pounding head, sweating trembling and general feeling of death decided not to show up for its evil work today… No more hours spent head over toilet pan while the older two kick the crap out of each other and the toddlers gentle knocks on the bathroom door turn to great big thuds accompanied with the words ‚ÄúMummy… Mummy… What you doing…?‚ÄĚ Over and over again! God, how you take feeling well (as well as can be) for granted!

Well, I guess I‚Äôve got some catching up to do! Let‚Äôs not forget its April tomorrow, therefore the beginning of a month-long awareness campaign for autism! Despite trying to raise awareness throughout the year, it’s still an opportunity to push that bit harder as people tend to listen a little more and take note which I guess is because more activist are out there putting the word about, just look at last year… we even had a number of news reports and documentaries make the TV, a great thing but still we have a long road ahead before ignorance is reduced at an even greater level and importantly more awareness is raised amongst the public and those in authority… schools, LEAs… social services, the list is endless! Why is it more important more now than ever before but likely to be more important tomorrow than what it is today? The Statistics, increasing numbers of children and adults receiving a diagnosis every single day!

That‚Äôs why on the 2nd of April, this World Autism Awareness day I‚Äôll be ‚ÄúDoing it for world autism‚ÄĚ and with some great bloggers getting involved in the action I‚Äôm more confident about the whole idea, with a bit more pushing can I possibly pull it off? Haven‚Äôt a clue what I‚Äôm banging on about? Click here and discover how myself and others are planing to raise awareness on the 2nd of April, feel inspired and leave me a comment to let me know your up for it too… you don‚Äôt even need to write a blog! Yes, myself and thousands of other families could truly benefit from a smudge of your time this World autism day.

Another challenge I‚Äôve set my self is to take part in the April health blogging challenge! 30 prompts, 30 days, 30 post… goodness let‚Äôs hope that flu stays at bay!

On a massive high note, I‚Äôve discovered some of you lovely lot nominated me for ‚ÄúBrilliance in Blogging‚ÄĚ (BIB) award hosted by Britmums (without none of my begging too)! As a result I‚Äôm actually shortlisted in not one but two Categories, Change and inspiring! WOW, there are some amazing bloggers on that shortlist and I feel privileged to be there! Whoever felt me worthy of a nomination, Thank you… YOU‚ÄôRE TOTALLY AWESOME!

Now I wont spoil it by pleading for you to now vote for me but I‚Äôll include the badge regardless, well it would be totally rude not too! ūüôā

Change Shortlist


Inspire Shortlist

On top of all this it‚Äôs the Easter holidays which means no school for 2 weeks… with this I‚Äôm feeling that there maybe some crafty play and a serious need to carefully construct a plan of action for some day-trips. Maybe I‚Äôll even share a post on any autism friendly finds I may discover during the Easter break, watch this space!

And lastly Good Friday is my big 30, Yes sadly I‚Äôm leaving my twenties kicking and screaming and in true Claire-Louise Birthday fashion I‚Äôll celebrate this milestone by not only getting my heels and lipstick on while drinking cocktails throughout the night… yer right… But I‚Äôll also be hosting a 30th birthday giveaway… So… you can raise a glass and toast the wrinkles with me!

Help Me Reveal The Bigger Picture This World Autism Day

6 Mar

Mild, what do you think off when you hear the word “Mild”?

A mild curry, a mild headache, a touch of man flu (or so some call it)!

Maybe you think of a mild case of chickenpox or a mild amount of pain?

Now, let me ask you,
“When you see a child of… let’s say 11 years old, throwing himself¬†¬†aggressively around the local supermarket, red, hot and flushed,¬†¬†shouting & screaming obscenities, refusing to walk, with no apparent¬†¬†sense of danger, what do you think? Does the word “Mild” come to mind?

I didn’t think so!

If you were 100% truthful with yourself, my guess is, challenging,¬†spoilt, dragged up, brat, may have come to mind! Although this is¬†usually¬† never truth, I’m not about to jump into a written description¬†on the worlds misconceptions or that of the importance of ignorance¬†¬†(intentional or otherwise). I’ve done plenty of this lately. I will¬†however agree that the word “Mild” is not one I’d chose to describe¬†the above situation!

When you have a child with Aspergers Syndrome, who has displayed such¬†¬†behaviours..more than once, you deal with it, though when you turn¬†to another and inform them of your child’s diagnosis, for that person¬†to turn around and refer to it as “Mild” you can’t help but want to¬†¬†
SCREAM…

This misconception has just got way out of hand. Whoever chose to¬†describe Aspergers as Mild was basically of their trolley! You see¬†Aspergers is only described in such a way as to highlight the fact¬†there is normally no intellectual difficulties, however social¬†difficulties are just as pervasive as those children with what some¬†may refer to as “Classic Autism the difference being that those¬†children with a diagnosis of Aspergers Syndrome are normally fully¬†aware of their differences, some even referring to themselves as not¬†“Normal” as has my own child.


Those with Aspergers are not oblivious to the world around them… OK,¬†¬†maybe while engaged in their “Special Interest” but other than this,¬†the prospect that the child with Aspergers wants to engage with peers,¬†having friendships like yours or mine, is always normally the case!¬†The sheer frustration at not being able to always make these¬†friendships or in many cases, keep them, is often too much for the¬†child, hence the reason, so many children with aspergers¬†find¬†themselves diagnosed with depression or some type of anxiety related¬†illness!

Now, I ask you again..”Does the word “Mild” spring to mind when you think of the above¬†¬†
explanation¬†It’s not a competition, I’m in no way even comparing the different¬†types of autism, it’s a spectrum, where no two cases are ever the¬†same! I’m just merely pointing out that the term mild is not actually¬†a suitable one, as it is of course, taken out of context, leaving¬†¬†
others (even teachers, and other professionals) expecting more than¬†maybe they should from a child with Aspergers. It’s my belief, and¬†that of many others, that this is likely the reasons behind¬†high¬†school exclusion rates, placement breakdowns in mainstream schools and¬†¬†
so forth. My child is very literal, yet despite his previous school’s¬†awareness of this, metaphors were continuously used by staff, during¬†conversations with my child! He was just expected to get these quirky¬†little phases, such as “Has the cat got your tongue” or “The teacher¬†can’t hold your hand forever” so, of course being adamant that he¬†never holds the teachers hand, he quite rightly informs the head¬†teacher, to which he is ordered to remove his sarcastic tone, that or¬†stop being thick!

The child with Aspergers, has to continuously adjust ones normal behaviour, something they are most uncomfortable with, to fit neatly into the life, that society expects and accepts.

Its common for many diagnosed with Aspergers syndrome, to receive a¬†late diagnosis! This is true, but only due to the signs being¬†suppressed by the child in question, as they either keep themselves to¬†themselves, blending into the background or speak to one or two¬†children, though not actually forming friendly relationships with¬†them, yet teachers commonly mistake this as healthy peer relationships. What then will often happen, is once that child returns to the¬†safety net of home, the bubble pops and like dynamite they explode¬†letting go of a whole days bottled up frustration, becoming sometimes¬†uncontrollable! Of course the parents reports such goings on, yet they¬†are looked upon as one sided concerns! Teachers mainly assume the¬†issues must be down to some problem in the home, why wouldn’t they considering the lack of¬†challenging behaviour within school? This was certainly the case with¬†Little man!

Suddenly something changes! As the child grows older, incurring a¬†stronger urge for peer interaction, a low threshold for dealing with¬†sensory inputs and lack of understanding of the social rules, Suddenly¬†a flip in the childs behaviour may occur, one that to the school is¬†that of a sudden change, to you, the parent…it’s been a long time¬†coming!

The child may now stand out that bit more, maybe seen as a bit of a social odd ball as he goes about trying to socialise, they may then become targeted by the bullies! Sadly, due to the childs lack of social understanding, especially around the issue of friends, they may well find themselves as a target without even knowing it.  
Little man is, once more a prime example of this….. He was seen by¬†other children to be a child who would easily break social rules (only¬†due to the fact he was unaware of there boundaries)! As a result, when¬†the bullies befriended him, the popular kids, he was proud to finally¬†have a group of friends.This started during his fourth year of¬†primary school and by the end of that year he had already undergone an¬†obscene amount of formal exclusions and when he was in, he was being¬†taught in isolation, heartbreaking, referred to by staff as a health¬†and safety risk! As for the bullies who he mistakenly was proud to¬†name his friends, these would do a number of horrible things, then¬†stand back and laugh as little man got into trouble. An example would be, getting him to slap a¬†teacher around the back of the head with an orange glove, he believed¬†it to be OK, as it was just a game, “The Tango Game” surly the teacher¬†would know this right? You can only imagine the reaction of that¬†teacher! Worse, her unexpected reaction would shock little man in such¬†a way, it would trigger more challenging behaviour, most failed to¬†make the connection between the two and of course his education and¬†self-esteem suffered greatly. As his mother, I watched him slowly¬†putting the pieces together, the children not knocking when they¬†claimed they would, his invite to a party becoming lost in the post,¬†the fact they were suggesting he do things that he was now learning¬†were not acceptable due to the repeated reactions these caused! This¬†is the point when your child starts to accept that his actually¬†friendless, being used and laughed at too! You, the parent watch as¬†your heart breaks, you ask yourself, maybe it would have been better¬†if he never saw the light, he continued thinking peers were his friends.

I hear hundreds of horror stories mainly consisting of discrimination¬†and misconceptions. Like my own child, the child is never allowed on¬†school trips, coincidentally excluded on the day of a trip or that when OFSTED visited school. What was worse was those times he was sent to work in isolation, mother and child completely in the dark¬†that a trip ever existed… well, that’s in till some other mother¬†mentions it! You hear her words, you play along, yet inside your¬†crying,you’re screaming, rage ripping your insides to pieces. Even¬†worse your child finds out, unable to cope with more rejection so he hurts himself by¬†throwing himself into brick walls, smashing his head, scratching his¬†arms drawing blood, or worse still… threatening to stab¬†himself!

Please, I ask you once again…

Would you use the term “Mild” in association with any of that above?¬†Would you?

Myself nor my son, and countless other families like mine, are not asking for your¬†sympathy, your kind words, your half smiles as we catch one another’s¬†eye across a crowded playground, though those things are incredibly¬†thoughtful, we need so much more than this to make a difference!

We, need you to take just a few short minutes having read this post,¬†to process what you have read! If you agree and only If you do… we need¬†your help! I’m asking that those parents & individuals who don’t have¬†a child on the spectrum as well as those who do (and anyone else who’s reading) takes just a few minutes to¬†help raise awareness for autism and aspergers, this “World Autism Awareness Day (2nd April 2012)

How?

Bloggers… with the power of your influential voice, your blogs can reach a 1000 voices or¬†more… Please Join me in creating awareness, by wearing something¬†that resembles the colours that make up the autism puzzle or something that resembles autism. Maybe wear¬†a T with the awareness ribbon or a puzzle piece displayed across your chest and back,¬†paint your face, design an eye mask, just let your creativity run¬†wild, then write on a large piece of card, “Doing it for World Autism¬†Day 2012” hold it up, where ever you’re at and take a photo… the¬†more funky and eye-catching the better! Post your picture to your blog¬†adding a few words if you wish, state you’re raising awareness for world¬†autism day and link your picture/post to the linky I’ll place on here on my blog!

You can tweet using hashtag #worldautism12 , post on the “A Boy with¬†Aspergers” Facebook page and share any other way that grabs you.

Please it’s just one day, a few minutes of your time which will¬†undoubtedly help spread awareness! I’m not asking you to raise money or¬†even go to work looking like a clown! Like many other families all¬†over the world, Its world autism day everyday in our house! I’m just¬†¬†asking you to make it yours on the 2nd April 2012 (if only for 10¬†minutes) your reward… you¬†will help create a better world for¬†children like my Little man.

Non Bloggers

There is simply no getting away from it! Simply do the above but¬†instead tweet your pictures using hash tag #worldautism12, Post them¬†on your own Facebook page and to make it count by posting them to “The Boy¬†with Aspergers” Facebook Page.

Those who can’t post anywhere, email them to me via address in sidebar¬†of this blog and I’d be happy to post them out there for the world to¬†see.

The final part of the plan

I will then hopefully have enough to create a collage of pictures of all those that¬†took part, whether they held their awareness board in Sidney, London or¬†New York, it will count.This can’t happen with a collection of one or two pictures!¬†We need a huge amount to pull it off!

I will open the Linky on my blog at 11.59 on the 31st of March.

Please feel free to click and save the art work below to use in sidebars or within post, please link back.Please stay tune as there may be a few exciting surprise on the way¬†too ūüôā

So… There you have it! My plea for your help¬†

Help me create the bigger picture, I can’t do it without you!

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