Tag Archives: disorders

#HAWMC DAY 10 – Dear 16-Year-Old Me

10 Apr

Dear 16-year-old me…

Yes, I know you think it will be easy, move to Spain living the high life with your pals, pals that will actually be long gone by your 17th Birthday! Surprised?

You will be!

Do you think the world owes you little girl? It owes you nothing, in fact you need to brace yourself for the ride of your life, a roller coaster that will leave you clinging, one so fast and furious you’re not know if you’re coming or going!

Life owes us nothing and you’ll soon discover this!

Here’s some valuable advice to start you on your journey.

You’ll face some difficult times, ones that test your inner strength more than you’ll ever know possible.

You’ve already come so far, though metal health will always remain a big part of your life. Stop hiding from it, deal with it, life is far simpler this way.

You’ll continue your battle with OCD but as you grow, you’ll grow stronger and every now and then you’re realise how you’ve grabbed it by the balls.

You’ll become a young mum, but a good one. Your journey through parenthood wont always be an easy one but it will be an awarding one at that.

Your first-born son will be diagnosed with Aspergers Syndrome at age 7, you’ll use so much strength obtaining the diagnosis you’ll have little left to digest it!  

Remember, those who are meant to understand probably wont, don’t waste your energy trying to make them… take it one step at a time.

You, have so much to offer, though you don’t know it yet god has a plan, it’s a pretty good one too.

Eating disorders, anxiety and OCD, you’ll thing you’ve faced it all, only life has some surprises, you’ll get through them your strong.

You’ll discover that schools are not what you thought they were when you discover how the child you love is so cruelly discriminated against and at this point you’ll be gearing up for the hardest battle yet.

You’ll learn all there is to learn when it comes to special educational needs, but your determination will see you through it and this determination will then be used in the most powerful of ways.  

You’ll endure the heart breaking pain of losing a pregnancy and never meeting your twins, but you’ll be greeted with the beautiful toddler you have today.

By age 30, you’re the mother of three beautiful children and though life can be hard at times, you know your blessed with the most precious of gifts one could ask for. 

Oh yes, right now you hate to write, actually you loath it! The funny thing is, this will become your love, you’ll write everything, your life becomes an open book, one you hope inspires others… writing is what you now do, you even bag yourself an award for doing it so well.

Yes, little Claire Louise, I see you hold your tummy as you laugh yourself into a frenzy… just you wait and see!

Blog 10/30 in the wego health #HAWMC 

Feeling a tad proud

28 Aug

Wow, can you believe it? I managed to get my article, “Big issues for Little Man” published in SEN magazine!

Back in late May I sent some press releases to the Media relating to the Mad Blog Awards. I was overjoyed when, ‘Peter’ the editor for ‘SEN magazine’ emailed me stating he really liked the blog, “Especially that of my latest article” (remember this was late May). Peter then went on to ask me  if  I would be interested in writing an article for the magazine based on my experiences parenting a child on the autism spectrum. 

Umm, Yes Please! 

SEN Magazine is a great resource for parents and professionals alike. It contains all the latest information on Special educational needs, as-well as host of other areas.

SEN contains resources and articles relating to a number of different conditions and disabilities. It provides contact details and links, pointing you in the right direction of all them need to know organisations! SEN, shares all the latest events and exhibitions and even has an online resource that shares extracts from the mag as-well as breaking news in the world of special education. 

The magazine is delivered via a subscription but is given as a free resource to all Special school. There is a free trail taking place at the moment, meaning you can have a copy of SEN delivered free of charge (try before you buy). I recommend this magazine to anyone with a child with special educational needs, (and no, it has nothing to do with my contribution what so ever) it’s just an awesome resource throughout!

I really didn’t think I would be able to upload a pdf file of my article on a,’wordpress.com’ blog (I have only been blogging here for like three years :))! 

Well, to my surprise and utter delight it turns out that I can! This means that I am able to now share my article with all my lovely online friends and anyone else for that matter! 

So, before you click the link and see the article I’m so very proud off, let me thank all my wonderful readers, new and old. Yes, its every single one of you guys that has helped me through the many battles I’ve faced as a parent to a boy with Aspergers.

 Could I see myself writing an article about the subject a year ago? No way! Life was far to messy to even contemplate such a thing! (Having your article published in a magazine, somehow feels a tad scarier then on the web!)

Writing this article actually shows just how far we’ve come as a family!

 The link will open a pdf file (Note: please feel free to download if you wish)! It would also be great if you could help me spread the news by sharing the link to my article online.

Thanks and enjoy

Claire-Louise 

SEN54 autism

Do your homework!

20 Aug

As a parent I’ve read many articles floating about the net, all written with the aim of assisting parents who have children returning to school this September. I find that many do not offer any information to assist those parents of the “non typical” children, the child with autism or aspergers.

 In some respects I kind of think, “Well, why would they” but when I  think about the high numbers of children being diagnosed as being on the autism spectrum, I ask myself, “Well, why the hell haven’t they!” I’m no expert, “Far from it” but as a parent of an almost 11 year old  boy with a diagnosis of Aspergers syndrome who has been through both mainstream and special school (where he thankfully now resides) a child who was an active school refuser, who had been excluded more times than I care to remember, I have needed to tried one or two techniques aimed to ease the whole returning to school situation! It’s these few little techniques that I am willing to share with you here today! Sadly there are no quick fixes, believe me I know!

  I Hate this uniform

 Uniform, a total nightmare for the child with autism, especially the one who is tactile defensive! We all like to buy new school uniforms at the beginning of  the new school year (we often don’t have a choice what with the rate they grow)! However, if that uniform still fits, don’t change it! Of course there are those times it unavoidable, change of school, the start of secondary school is one great example that a new uniform will need to be brought! When little man was at his mainstream school, they suddenly introduced a new school uniform policy. Uniform posed a massive problem for little man causing all sorts of issues (even exclusion). He went from no uniform to full uniform, a huge change for any child! So, Here’s some tips on ways to make wearing uniform that little bit easier for your child on the autism spectrum!

 Get it washed

That’s right, wash new uniform in your usual detergent, not once but a good few times prior to your child returning to school. Use a fabric softener and if possible dry in the tumble-dryer as opposed to the washing-line, where clothing tends to become stiff. The tumble-drying of uniform will help to create maximum softness of garments.

 Test run

Get your child wearing the uniform for a few minutes each day increasing the time as you go. This enables your child time to get used to uniform rather then expecting them to wear it for the first time when returning to school. Think of it as wearing in a new pair of  shoes to ensure they don’t hurt your feet when you wear them on your big night out for the first time.

Let’s not go Shopping

 Most children with autism hate the prospect of shopping, even those that enjoy it fail to cope with it well. If you are lucky enough to be in the position of leaving your child with a loved one when doing your, “back to school shop” then do so. If something don’t fit you can always return it! Shopping online is another good idea. Try to buy from those you have brought from before. This way you will have an idea of the ranges they stock and the service you will receive (fast delivery, good  returns policy , etc.) Your child will also be familiar with the texture, material of the clothing, important for those who are sensitive to certain tactile input. If you do find you have to take your child shopping then go at a quieter time/day. Have the aim of buying everything in the one shop (if  possible). You can also check stock before hand if stock is in! Some stores will be helpful enough to check and then hold the items back (especially if  you explain your situation) This means you can pretty much do an in & out job which could save your child from experiencing a sensory related meltdown!

 Advanced preparation

 Most schools will introduce all children to a new teacher or learning environment (classroom) before the last day of term. This is fine for the typical child but those on the spectrum may require that bit extra!  If your child is in a special school then it’s my guess lots will be done to prepare your child for even the smallest transition.  Mainstream schools also have a duty to make reasonable adjustments for the child on the autism spectrum and this would be considered one of  those adjustments! Speak to your child’s teacher or school senco to see if the child  could maybe spend extra time with the new teacher in the run up to the end of term (school year). Maybe arrangements can be made for your child to spend a  few hours per week in the new classroom starting a few months before hand ( though there are times that schools will not be aware of the child’s new learning arrangements till the last few weeks of term, nonetheless, careful preparations need to be made). All the above and more should be done for a child making the transition from pre-school to reception and those off to secondary , etc.

 Social stories

 A great idea would be to create a social story for your child. This could be done with the help of your child’s teaching team. A picture of the new classroom  in-which your child will learn and even a photo of the new teacher could  prove a massive help. You can spend time going through your child’s social story with your child during the school holidays. If this is something you haven’t done already, don’t panic! You can create a social story with the focus of change and returning to school with cut-outs from magazines, newspapers or from visuals downloaded from the net, it’s never to late!

 Visual aids

It’s important to use visual timetables at home if used in school, this helps to create some level of consistency. Many children require images & picture symbols where others do just fine with words. Visual timetables can be expensive but you can get creative and make your own (maybe I will show you how in a post one day). Be sure to highlight during the holidays how many days are let till the return to school (Children on the spectrum like to know what’s coming next). We had this highlighted at the side of  little mans home made magnetic timetable. We just used the symbol for school with the correct number next to it as to indicate how many days remained till he returns to school. This is also a great way to avoid school refusal.

Consistency 

Another good thing to do is remain consistent throughout the school holidays. I mean keeping the bedtime routine the same. Sadly little man has trouble maintaining bedtime routines at the best of times which  technically puts me in no position to advise on the matter! Still, the concept is a good one, which is basically to keep things the same! Who knows it could work for you.

 Well, that’s it, I have an arm arch from the typing, so I’m done! I hope my little tips assist you in some way, even if it just makes one thing less trying that’s got to be something?

 Little man has just two and a bit weeks left. Here’s hoping we have a  good return to school.

Are you really brave enough to put the word Aspergers down on your job application?

9 Jul

The power of the internet is truly amazing, for me it’s brought information, peace, opportunities, comfort, experiences, support, education, understanding and friends. (Those and so many more!) 

 Yesterday, I got to meet one those friends in the flesh, over a fabulously delicious skinny latte, with lashings of cinnamon generously sprinkled over a layer of froth. (No, that wasn’t a snip-it from the Marks & Sparks commercial, but me really appreciating a good mug of coffee!) Thanks Neil 🙂

 Star bucks was the ideal setting to chat to a new friend, one I had been wanting to meet for sometime but life being life just made it an impossible task… Well till now! 

 I suppose to classify Neil as a “New friend” isn’t quite right! You see, I’ve known Neil for sometime now, though conversations are only ever exchanged in the land of cyber-space. Neil, an adult on the autism spectrum who was given a late diagnosis of Aspergers syndrome, is a regular contributor in discussions and a massive supporter of the support page, ‘A boy with Asperger’s’ the Facebook page in which I created some few years back as an added addition to this very blog (hence the name of course). His opinions are always given in a frank and honest manner, his certainly given some great advice to many of our members, including that of myself. To be honest Neil has provided me with a sort of insight, highlighting how things could possibly be for my own child in adult life (an important issue to which I will elaborate on soon enough)! 

 Here I was, finally about to meet Neil who yes as mentioned has Aspergers. Just, after 1.30 lunch time I arrived to found Neil awaiting my arrival at the entrance. I knew it was Neil and his profile pic on Facebook had sod all to do with it! So… What gave him away? Only the fact he checked out my footwear as I entered through the door ensuring I had no sandals upon my feet (Yes, Neil hates sandals) There was no awkwardness having only previously met in cyberspace, well… this was the case for me and Neil seemed just fine too! Having got passed the shock that was caused by the similarities of my common London girl accent to that of someone you would likely find staring in the soap ‘Eastenders’ We chatted about life in general. Honestly, Neil is a genuine guy who is extremely interesting and speaks from his heart. He says exactly how it is (Which is an aspie trait you cannot fail to appreciate). 

 Everything Neil said was of interest, I found it a privilege to have him tell me about his life on the spectrum. He put the myths to bed and although I myself  always knew it possible, it was just so good to hear that the best part of his life has been a great success! How else can you describe a good education, (through it wasn’t always easy) a happy marriage and a beautiful son. However, there was something that had never been quite right! At no fault of his own Neil has never been able to hold down a job! Why because society wont allow him that right, the basic human right to make an honest living, to be the loving husband and father who provides and I should add ‘Wants’ to provide for his family… WHY? Its simple! Neil is not seen as a) a “Team-Player, b)  a big communicator  and c) one of them (you know part of the click) Yes, that’s right, those that will a least give him a chance assume his some kind of character from the film ‘Rain man’ sitting him in the corner alone, far away from his colleagues, drawing the conclusion that it’s for the best as this is what those with aspergers want and need to be social isolated from the ‘world… Well, isn’t It! 

This alone screams out loud how little those in the work place, especially that of senior staff really know about AS!

 Neil isn’t under-qualified in-fact he proves that yes, people with AS have great minds and given they put everything into it just as one would who isn’t on the spectrum, they can go on to obtain good qualifications, even having excelled in many areas of  their learning. Is it right that many people on the autism specturm or those with learning disabilities, mental health problems, especially those who’s condition is characterised but that of a difficulty with social communication, are taught by society at large that it is at there utter best interest to go to collage and then university, for god knows how many years, to obtain a degree only to face to total disappointment on the discovery that they are completely unemployable? Even when they do get their foot in the door ready for the challenge of the world of work, a large number of employees with a disability are treated just like my friend Neil (Though you haven’t yet heard the half of it)! Note: I’m not stating those with autism or any other form of disability shouldn’t go to university, obtain a degree! Maybe one day that of my own son will, through that’s his choice and his alone! Nor am I stating that all employers treat employees who have autism/aspergers or other, in this same manner… That would mean I was writing this in a discriminating way! I acknowledge that there are many that do not discriminate and actually do take the time to get autism aware and inflict that awareness on all of its employers! But sadly the number that do not are still far to high, just ask Neil or better still,  just go back a few months when MP Philip Davis outrageously called for all disabled to work for less then the minimum wage… Something he must have unquestionably considered fair in his discriminating little brain! 

 Neil’s last job ( in IT) saw him and around approximately fifteen other employees, employed on a fixed term contract! Neil once again was sat in a corner, left to his own devices. Where was the structure? Of course there wasn’t any. As a woman who isn’t on the spectrum, though I often like to be left to my own devices, I like to know exactly what it is I’m supposed to be doing, how, when and how long for in order for me to do it and do it well, who don’t? For someone like Neil this is imperative! This didn’t happen, like many people with a social communication difficulty he didn’t feel to ask, he didn’t want to, this wasn’t the comfortable thing to do. Failing to see that In-fact Neil was human and would kind of appreciate come social interaction… No one took notice! The results… Neil’s work wasn’t at its finest (but still good I must add). 

 The very end result…

You guessed it, (If, u didn’t after such a long rant then you’re clearly not following.)  Neil’s contract came to an end as planned and just as it did for those fifteen others! Well, fair game then, a contract ending is just that, a contract ending! Where is the problem? Here’s the problem… The other fifteen, all except Neil that is, found themselves happily celebrating the fact they immediately had their contracts renewed for a much longer period of time by their once more praising boss. What a sack of crap!!! Seriously can you imagine how that must have felt? Maybe It felt something like how my own son felt when he was taught in isolation, away from others, left to his own devices, maybe it kinda resembled that same feeling like when my son was told he wouldn’t be allowed to attend educational trips or participate in activities alongside that of his peers! My point… From class room, to office, child to adult discrimination due to others inability to except the person you are, that of disability discriminate still delivers that same devastating blow! Was it Ok, after all the contract had come to a timely end? Crap! This was wrong and Neil for one knows it. Lets not forget its not his first job and likely wont be that of his last! He was told, Sorry you are not much of a team player and yes your work wasn’t always up to scratch. The fact is, having they had made the work place that bit more accessible, made adaptions allowing for his Aspergers from the word go, with the added courtesy of  some instructions, which would have been much appreciated, Neil would have produced the work expected and would likely have been a great deal happier in his working environment!

 My very last point… Promise!

 Not only did I learn from Neil that my son could possible get married, have children, ride a motorbike and hate sandals as much as him! I also learnt he could possible found himself unemployable and yet again the target of discrimination. Yes, my child may have got in to our desired school but like Neil showed me… To get into his desired job is something his yet to face! 

 Neil is looking to make a stand! His words to me, “I want to change things so children like your son don’t have to grow up and be treated in the same way!” My opinion… That was spoken with passion! Please help. I don’t often plea for your help (Ok, Ok excluding that of the Mad blog awards) but this is so very important and its life changing for him and so many others. Neil is searching for other adults both young and old who have autism or other related conditions to get in touch. He wants to collect your stories and get them heard… I guarantee that this will be a campaign he will fight to the bitter end but to do it alone just makes it harder! Neil is looking for people who feel they were discriminated against at work due to their disability, who wants change and wants it with a passion. 

Contact me here by leaving a comment here on the blog

To visit Neil’s Blog: Click HERE

Contact me on twitter: @Clairelouise82

 

IT’S ALL ABOUT AUTISM & ASPERGER’S

14 Oct

How many people in this world can tell us what the word Asperger’s means ? It’s shocking that despite the high percentage  of people now diagnosed as having ASD, It’s still not known or it’s just greatly misunderstood!

ASD stands for Autism Spectrum Disorder. Asperger’s is a high functioning form of Autism that is on that very spectrum. Being a mother of three beautiful fantastic children one in which has been diagnosed as having Aspergers is an amazing experience for me. I love being a mum and feel it to be my life’s purpose! This blog has been created as place I can express myself, Get heard, raise awareness, stress rant and rave ( some of the time 🙂 ) But most importantly a place for me to share this amazing boy who has this gift, The boy I’m so proud to call my son! Having a child with Asperger’s or ASD doesn’t mean the end of the world! Far from it! God it can be hard and at times you feel like screaming but it’s also incredibly rewarding. ASD is not an illness but a condition. If you look for a cure I’m sorry but I don’t believe you will find one. My advise to you would be embrace and love your child. Aspergers can be seen as a gift! There will be many battles to fight and problems to resolve but there will also be many times that your Aspie child makes you catch your breath as your heart melts with pride. That I promise you.

By writing this I’m reaching out to other parents and careers of Autistic children. Lets share and advise one another. Let’s keep talking! By doing so we create awareness. If we are not the voices of our children who else will be ?

IF YOU HAVE JUST TAKEN THE BIG STEP INTO MY WORD AND JUST DISCOVERED YOUR CHILD IS ON THE AUTISTIC SPECTRUM. THEN IT’S MY HOPE YOU GAIN SOME UNDERSTANDING AND COMFORT BY READING MY STORY.

This post was updated on the 8th April 2010. This update included a name change and new image.
Glitter Graphics

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