Tag Archives: challenging

The Do’s And Don’ts When Parenting A Child With Aspergers Syndrome

15 May

Its not easy being a parent to a child on the autism spectrum! Actually… It isn’t that easy being a parent full stop!

Below are some dos and don’t, all based around the stuff I’ve learnt while parenting my little man. Remember, I’m just another parent like you! No, I’m not doctor or child psychologist and what works for us may totally not work for you. But why not have a read anyway… If anything you won’t feel do alone. Please, feel free to add anything within the comments sections:)

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So… Here it goes…

Don’t feel guilty if you failed to spot the signs at an early age.

Do remember that this is common for children diagnosed with Asperger’s syndrome with many of them not gaining an actual official diagnosis, till their teenage years.

Don’t be to proud to ask for help!

Do fight for it, if those who are meant to provide it, withhold it!

Don’t force your child to be someone they are not!

Do show them you are proud of them for being the person they are.

Don’t assume its easy!

Do remember that parenting any child can at times be challenging.

Don’t feel you have to explain your child’s behaviour, every single time they do something that makes others stop and stare.

But do educate those who are willing to listen! The important issue here is, not to get stressed when out and about. this only makes things more difficult for both yourself and your child. Remember its ignorance and sadly many are guilty of displaying it!

Don’t restrict the activities you do as a family.

Do prepare your child for such occasions with the help of visual resources and schedules to avoid unwanted challenges on the day.

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Don’t forget you have a life too.

Do take time out for you, whenever the opportunity arises.

Don’t assume that any two children diagnosed with Aspergers will experience the exact same traits.

But do make yourself aware of such traits, preparing yourself for what may lay ahead.

Don’t assume a diagnosis is your child’s ticket to the support and services they may need.

Do be prepared to battle for them, services! Yes, you’ll be expected to provide evidence showing why it is the help is needed.

Don’t just expect others to instantly understand your child’s diagnosis

Do be prepared for ignorance & denial. Sadly many find that its friends & family who display the worst reactions to the news of a child’s diagnosis. As for strangers…. I not don’t even notice the states as my son displays a screaming match at the local train station. Ok its never easy, but you adjust and get used to it.

Don’t freak out if your child develops an interest in something considered to be strange or unusual.

Do embrace and encourage all that your child loves regardless of its wackiness.

Don’t assume your child will have learning difficulties.

Do celebrate the subjects they excel in, and offer help and support to improve in those they are not.

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Don’t base decisions on what you want for your child!

Do base decisions on what is best for them.

Don’t beat yourself up if you lose it! Meltdowns that go on for hours are likely to make you crumble.

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Do remember that your human and your child still loves you ( regardless of what they may say).

Don’t be surprised if your child announces to the lady sat on the bus, that she’s old, wrinkled and looks close to death.

Do play games and work on activities designed to help your child avoid social mishaps like that of the above.

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Don’t waste money buying your child the top branded toys, especially if they have failed to express any interest.

Do make them happy on Christmas morning if padlocks, staples and rulers were on their Christmas list.

Don’t be too disheartened if your child shows no interest in making friends.

Do have hope that one day that will change!

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Don’t force your child to play with other children…

… But do teach them the social skills required to do so! Most children on the autism spectrum will eventually show a desire to interact and play with others.

Don’t waste your time looking for cures

But do look into therapies that have been designed to help your child better develop the skills required to succeed in both child and adulthood.

Don’t assume that just because your child doesn’t display certain traits during childhood they won’t during adulthood.

But Do remember maybes are not certainties.

Don’t try to make your child fit into society!

But do mould them as you would any child so society fits with them.

Don’t use complex language (metaphors and sarcasm) when talking with your child

But do try and teach them that others will to avoid miscommunications.

Don’t force your child to wear certain clothing, eat certain foods or attend certain activities.

Do be sure to research sensory processing disorders as their refusal to do any of the above could be and likely is related.

Don’t assume that your child with Aspergers will have the abilities to cope in a mainstream school (not all can)!

Do make sure you are open minded… Sometimes special schools are all your child needs to succeed within education.

Don’t use your child’s diagnosis as an excuse for unwanted behaviour.

Do remember that all children can be challenging and all are not autistic… You will learn the difference, I have!

Don’t forget to be mum to everyone

Do remember that siblings of children with Asperger’s syndrome may display unwanted behaviour or mimic their siblings traits as a way to gain the attention they crave.

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Don’t assume your child will be bullied.

But do look out for the signs as statistics have shown that it is children like yours and mine who become targets.

Don’t force your child to believe in the mystical world of make believe.

Do remember that many child with Asperger’s syndrome like things based upon facts, the type backed up by evidence. If you can’t prove how santa gets round the world in one single night then chances are he will never believe. Just make sure he doesn’t share his findings with his siblings… Like little man has tried.

Don’t ask your child if you look good in a new dress unless you want blatant sharp honesty…

Do be prepared to be shown your love handles and chubby knees if you do.

Don’t believe everything the books tell you.

Do remember that every child has the capability to at least try and lie… Well, at least the desire to try and do so, is usually there! Its just that children with Aspergers are not all that hot at it! Little man usually cracks within minutes.

Don’t be so serious…

Do crack a smile, your child with Aspergers is more than capable of making you proud… Mine does.

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Don’t just assume your child will tell you if something is wrong! Aspergers is a communication disorder after all!

Do be ready to put on your investigation cap, as you try to discover just what has upset your child… Remember they will expect you to just know.

Don’t feel that everything has to become a mission in life because of your child’s condition.

Do be prepared to be pleasantly surprised when your child shows you that something you thought would be impossible for them… is actually totally possibly.

Don’t waste time asking yourself “What If?”

Do remember that we have one life, Our own unique and special story. All children deserve to be brought up happy with stacks of love and great memories to support it. Our children will eventually grow up and fly the nest… Yes even those with Aspergers Syndrome! My point? Just enjoy your kids, never taking a single day for granted… Even those not so good ones!

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A Mothers Reflection

28 Aug

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This is me, ‘Claire Louise’ daughter, sister, friend, blogger, mother of three… A Human Being!

Yes, this isn’t my most flattering picture, in fact I look a mess, but that’s not the point I’m trying to make here!

A year back I wouldn’t have dared post this image of me looking so worse for wear. But this weekend all that changed!

Little man had a meltdown, his first in a good few weeks.This meant it was a big one… Though huge is a better word to describes it! What with the looming return to school, little sleep and a whole host of other issues, he exploded and did so in a deadly fashion.

It was little sister who was his target and he hit the balls eye with her every time. I by this point had become a woman close to breakdown and as I saw him mid air, ready to inflict a karate style fly kick aimed at his unsuspecting sister, I finally lost it.

Flying of the opposite sofa I wrapped my arms around his waist and as I pulled him back we fell to the ground. He flipped, went ballistic, angry doesn’t seem a strong enough word. Little man does this certain facial expression which consists of him sticking the tip of his tongue out as he bites down on it. When I see this I know his now capable of going to far! His totally unpredictable and this scares me.

I was right… He went mental, trashing and hitting out at all in his way! Alice-Sara and the littlest tot had by now escaped into the garden and as I watched the mother of all melt downs unfold, it was now my turn to lose my cool! By this point I was screaming, swearing and bombarding him with orders mainly consisting of “Get out of here right now!” He throw some pretty nasty insults my way too and I’d just about heard “I don’t want you as a mum” one to many times!

“I hate you #%*+##” he screamed while throwing himself at me.

“Well I don’t much like you, maybe you should go find some place else to live” I roared!

As soon as the words had left my mouth I wanted to take them all back. I’d lost control and responded through anger, something I know doesn’t work with little man. Well, at least the shock had stopped him in his tracks but only because he had turned and gone running up the stairs. As his door slammed shut with an almighty thud, I felt my legs buckle from beneath me and I dropped to the ground in a messy, unhinged fashion.

Yes, I cried… I cried for reasons of anger, tiredness, frustration, hurt and regret! My words had now left me feeling like the worse parent in the world! Although yes, this was a bad meltdown, I have actually dealt with a thousand others worse! Ones that literally had me pulling chunks of hair from my head in pure frustration…. Why had I lost my cool now, today… This time?

The little man was now deadly silent, I could hear his siblings giggling as they jumped up and down on the trampoline. I knew little man did wrong and regardless of his Aspergers he needed to learn how to regulate his emotions and therefore control his temper. But I still needed to apologise for what I had said simply because this would be the only thing now on his mind, he would be questioning my reaction without having any consideration to what caused it! His part in it all will mean little because despite the fact my words had hurt him emotionally, he would still never relate the two, and it was my job to remind him of this!

I left him for a while… There would be no point me speaking to him when his in any type of highly emotional, angry state, nothing registers. I sat back on the sofa, picked up my iPhone and sent a tweet announcing my failed moment in parenting. I wasn’t looking for sympathy, I just wanted to tell people what I’d done. I guess I wanted some one to tell me to pull my parenting socks up, but they didn’t…

I got lots of tweets everyone reminding me that despite being a mum to a boy with Aspergers, I was also a human-being with feelings too. Yes, yes… I did know this, yet when your in that situation I’m in, you forget to remind yourself of such a thing! You’re to busy punishing yourself.

I thought about this for awhile before going upstairs to speak to the little man in-order to apologise for my hurtful words while somehow highlighting to him that what he did was wrong too! I also wanted to give him an important reminder on “how his words hurt me in a similar way to how mine hurt him”.

I knocked on the door, he didn’t answer but I could hear him sobbing so with that I open the door and sit on the bed beside him. I told him I’m sorry and explain in the best way I can that my words were those said through anger. I then tried my best to get him to see how his actions leave me and other family members feeling hurt too. I gave him a hug and come back downstairs.

After that I found him a sleep on the bedroom floor… The meltdown did have some benefits, it drains all the excess energy he has. We both hadn’t slept for a few nights and I can only wish that joining him was an option. However with two more little monsters in the garden, it wasn’t!

A few hours had passed, I had made dinner and was now escaping in a bid for this beautifully inviting bubble bath that was all ready and waiting for me. Only it was once I was in the bathroom that I suddenly caught sight of my own reflection. And it was the image above that I saw staring back at me. Yes, it was now clear that I’d walked about the house for the past few hours sporting a style that pretty much resembled that of Kung foo panda!!!

I then did something strange… I got my iPhone and captured that messy reflection of mine before finally sharing it with the world.

Why?

Because although I knew this was one of those days… The type you wish hadn’t come about, I also knew tomorrow would be better!

But there was something else I knew too…

I knew there would be someone else, another child like Little man on the autism spectrum, experiencing a meltdown to one of a similar degree. Another normally “together” mother, who like me suddenly loses it and then kicks her own backside for hours on end all because of such blunder. I knew that somewhere, someplace a mother like me would be stood looking in a mirror with a reflection that tells that of the same story.

It was for these reasons I posted my unhinged mental looking picture. In the hope that one day you would find it, relate to it and smile at it!

Tomorrow is another day, a better brighter day. That much I can promise you.

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”

You know your a parent to a child with Aspergers when….

16 Dec

Now I know that every child on the spectrum is different and no two children are the same! But I’m guessing there are a good few parents/carers that can relate to one or two of these….

… You know you’re a parent to a child with Aspergers when…

….You’ve watched Thomas the tank engine more times then you’ve watched Eastenders (You love Eastenders!)

You spend more time at your child’s school, then what you ever did your own school!

You know your child’s entire school teaching team on a first name basis and see them more then your own personal friends!

You begin to organise your own day, with the help of visual aids.

You laugh so hard your sides hurt & your eyes water.

Educational Jargon is no longer Jargon, but a second language!!!

You are taken for the ride of your life… A long the 450 bus route!

Who needs a husband, You’ve already got one!

Your idea of an early night is 3am.

The shop assistant thinks you’re the local crazy woman, who strokes and feels up all the clothing in the children’s department.

You can ask your child for their honest opinion… “Does mummy look fat in this dress?” And be given an honest answer! 😦

You find that slowly over time your ten-year old has converted you into an all time classic ‘bus spotter’ I’m stood like a tourist in the coldest of weather trying to gain the prefect shoot of a 194 bus. Just to keep your little man happy!)

Your child beats you hands down on a maths quiz…. Every single time!!!!

Yes, you find it’s them helping you with their homework!

Your addicted to over the counter painkillers, and yet for some reason you still have a headache!

The morning cup of tea is replaced with three shots of espresso, followed by a couple of Redbulls (I’m yet to grow them wings it’s talking about)

Coffee no longer=social chit-chat, but gives you the super mummy powers needed to to go on!


Your smart, but…Your child’s just that little bit smarter!

Your verbally bashed on a daily basis, yet you don’t love them any less.

“Mum’s got eyes in the back of her head” is a metaphor your never, ever going to use again….. Ever!

You find that over time you’ve become a natural at not giving a S**t what people think.

Fighting is no longer something you associate with boxing!

You wish for the ground to swallow you whole, when your child states the health benefits of losing weight to the slightly chubby checkout girl in Tesco.

Your face glows red when a passer-by slips and falls on the snow, and your child stands pointing, laughing and shouting, “Look they fell over… that is so funny mum” (They clearly don’t think so)

Your woken at 3 am because your ten-year old is feeling peckish… Yer right!

Tantrums are a little different from those you read about in the parenting books

Claire’s room station … Is in-fact Claire’s bloody bedroom… Beep- Beep- Beep… OUT!!!!


And lastly……

….. You live and breath your child’s condition, longing for them to be understood,accepted and appreciated for the truly wonderful child that they are….

…. The child you love just the way they are!!

WHAT DID YOU SAY ABOUT ME MUM?

28 Feb

OMG WHAT A NIGHTMARE!

OK maybe I should be more careful when I say something while little man is about! But come on sometimes he will go right over the top. But that’s just G. Well today we were at the supermarket’ everything was going to plan. For once I felt that my head was working as it should be (before I become a busy mum ). I was remembering everything’ yes without a list! and little man was on good behaviour. Everything was going my way. Shopping complete I make my way over to the check out.

“MUM CAN WE GO TO THE DO IT YOURSELF CHECK OUT?”

“NO G I HAVE TO MUCH SHOPPING FOR THAT. THERE JUST FOR PEOPLE WITH TROLLY’S WE HAVE A BASKET”

For those of you that may not know what the hell I’m on about. The self pay check out means there are no stuff’ you beep it then pay it by putting your cash or card through a machine. But, Big but! When you have a lot of shopping you pay at the check out with the assistant. And yes I sure did have a lot of shopping!

So there I am unpacking the trolley onto the belt. G is helping, he likes to do this. But today his doing it with anger. His not at all happy as his upset at the fact that we are not using the self pay check out. His talking away to himself, well more along the lines of moaning to himself! I ask him whats up but he tells me to shut up! NICE!. The lady at the check over hears and ask him whats wrong. ” My mum is horrible and nasty she never lets us use the self check out”. ” That’s not a nice thing to say about your mum” she says. He looks up and simply says I don’t care. When G acts like this I always think god they must think i dragged him up. G can be rude but he can also be extremely polite. It’s what mood his in but I guess that’s all of us really. Well to an extent. She asked if G was often like this! I jokingly replied yep everyday. Next thing i know his screaming at me and marching of at full speed ( His fast ) Grabbing the bags ( All ten of them ) I sling them into the trolley and do what seems like a supermarket dash as i run after him having not a great deal of luck in catching him up.

“What up mate?”

“U told the lady u put up with it everyday”

“G I was just joking!”

“No mum you were talking about me!”

You see the littlest thing gets to him in away it would not most other children. We phone a cab and sat on the bench to wait for it to arrive. Little man had a face like thunder and sat right on the other end on the very edge of the bench. Any passers-by must have fault I had something catching’ that or I smelt bad! Well at least he wasn’t screaming at me in fact he was doing a wonderful job of not talking to me at all, that was to …………. The cab turned up.

“My mum told the cashier I was bad everyday!” He was blurting on to the driver.

“No that’s not what I meant G!

“That’s a lie mum I’m not bad everyday and you said you put up with it everyday!” He went on and on and on……

I’m sure the cab driver wanted to laugh but he dared. As we parked up and started to get out the car the cab driver said good luck. I think he knew I needed it, I sure did! G went on about the whole thing for a least another 5 hours. I wanted to whack my own head against a brick wall. God my head was ready to explode. When it did stop I was so grateful so very grateful.

THE WORD PEACE TO A MOTHER’ ANY MOTHER IS A FANTASTIC, STUNNING AND GOD-SENT WORD.

TO A MOTHER OF A CHILD ON THE SPECTRUM IS ONE OF THE ABOVE AND SO MUCH MORE BESIDES.

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