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No… My Son Hasn’t Become Addicted To Gambling Because He Won A Raffle

25 Jan

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If you read the blog regularly then you will already know that little man won an iPad mini just before Christmas with Vivo miles (his school reward system). If you didn’t read my blog post about the win, you can find it Here!

So… Recently, well a few weeks back in fact, I came across an article (well more than one actually) regarding the online raffle that my son won. The article told how a parent had reported Vivo Miles to the Gambling Commission after the parent accused the popular school reward scheme of encouraging gambling when they allowed pupils to take part in a raffle for high-tech gadgets.

Pupils were able to purchase raffle tickets from the points they had been awarded by their teaching staff. These tickets are paid with by points but worked out to the Equivalent of around 5p each in money.

It is said that the parent complained having discovered her son had taken part in the raffle without her permission. She was concerned about this and complained that her child had been allowed to gamble, spending his well earned points on an online lottery!

Now, before I go any further, I wish to make a few things known and noted…

Firstly… Yes… Little man did win an IPad mini on this very raffle, and No… this has no inference on my current thoughts and opinions on the subject. I have read the articles, given it some thought and done some research.

So, the articles are not that positive, the papers and online sites did well to highlight the less then positive factors within this story! As always things could have been better explained and other important factors included… But hay, where’s the juice in that?

Now… I understand the parents concerns, especially if she had no indication of her sons entry into the online raffle, but what everyone is forgetting to ask themselves is why didn’t she know?

As mentioned within the articles, shools pay to join the Vivo Miles reward programme. What it fails to mention is that each school receives a programme tailored to its specific needs and more importantly… budgets. The schools independently select items to be placed on the they’re schools profile. Pupils can then make selections from the school’s rewards and exchange these items for their points. Every item is pre-selected by members of staff within the school, So, this therefore includes the inclusion of the raffle itself.

The staff in charge of managing their online profile are the ones who have a duty to inform parents of the raffle… Not Vivo Miles. Vivo deal directly with the schools, even the rewards are sent directly to the schools as opposed to pupils home addresses.

I wish to add that Little mans school informed us, the parents! About the online raffle as soon as it went live. My daughters school (Mainstream Primary) don’t use Vivo miles but do always ran a school Christmas raffle! Here’s the difference….

My son’s school informed us by letter. They explained ticket prices and how the raffles would be run.

My daughters school also sent out letters stating the school office had raffle tickets for sale. The note states the price and suggestion that we give our children money to buy tickets when at school!

In many ways I struggle to see the differences! Only that little man would act more independently when deciding how many of his points to spend on tickets. I actually think this teaches some independent and decision making skills to the child.

Yes… The prize was nice! But also educational! For a child like little man on the autism spectrum, an iPad mini is a great tool, one that many schools are actually giving to pupils to use at school (costing them large amounts from its budget).

My daughters school also had great prizes on offer, some more expensive than others.

I also checked out some other school raffles by doing a google search and discovered that some schools were offering really elaborate prizes, such as hotel stays, bottles of champagne and games consoles. Again most of these schools wrote that children could come into school with the money to buy tickets. The only difference here is that parents know what they are sending the money in for, but its still an exchange of money and if anything a more realistic form of gambling due to the visual aspects of it! I was fully informed about the Vivo raffle and could have therefore stopped little man joining in anytime, just as I could have chosen for my daughter to opt out by not supplying her with the funds for the ticket (regardless of if its her pocket money).

The biggest issue I see is the schools mistake of not informing this parent of the Vivo Miles raffle (as it seems they didn’t).

I wonder if the parents who did have an issue with the online raffle feel the same when it comes to school tombolas. Kids can spend their pocket money on 3 tombola tickets for a pound. They can do this without a parents consent. Children open the tickets in the hope their raffle ticket ends in a 0 or a 9 to have their pick of prizes from the table. There is no limitation on the number of tickets kids can buy and although the prize is not an ipad its a relevant, its taking a gamble all the same! I my opinion its worse as the temptation is laid out before their very eyes.

For me the term lottery is a strong one!
As far as I’m concerned proceeds from the raffles that were in its 3rd month of trails were donated to charity.

Vivo also encourage children to donate points to their chosen charity & our kids are free to do so if they wish.

Now, I did hear that during the trails there was some sort of mix up. It has been stated that Vivo Miles insisted the raffles were only open to pupils in the 500 secondary schools subscribing to the scheme, but admitted that two primaries had also “inadvertently” been included.

What can I say… This is a careless mistake but one that both Vivo and the schools in question need hold accounting for.

It is rumoured that the parent who made the complaint is a parent to a primary school child aged 7 years. It is also noted that she was surprised when her child had told her he had participated in the raffle. All I want to know is why no one felt the need to monitor this child’s Internet usage. A child at 7 could run into allsorts of trouble, what with inappropriate website and child grooming! I for one would be monitoring my 7 year olds internet usage. Was this mother not regularly checking the sites her child visited and did she not feel the need to view her child’s Vivo profile at all. I have even seen a thread on a forum where it is said that primary aged children were making comments on the Vivo Facebook page, yet Facebook is a social networking site for children age 13+. In one sense these parents are rightfully complaining about their child taking part in an online raffle but in another sense happy for them to have free run of the net and chat on Facebook? Its our job as parents, along with those teaching our children, to protect them and teach safe Internet usage.

There is yet more rumours, one being that Vivo miles didn’t plan on giving all the money to charity. I was told in writing that the money would go to charitable courses when I was informed about the raffle. As of yet I haven’t had any reason to suspect otherwise.

Lastly… As noted, my opinion have no bearing on Little mans win. I spent a long time in a relationship with someone addicted to gambling and it tore apart my life for sometime. If I believed I was allowing my child into that world then I wouldn’t have allowed him to participate.

Since his win, my son has not become some over compulsive gambler. He doesn’t cling to me, dragging from my legs kicking and screaming begging me to buy him a scratch card or anything! His iPad has become a great communication tool, a place he can store a visual schedule that’s totally mobile and personalised to his needs, somewhere to store notes to remember important information, a learning and resource device, and of course a place to play Mindcraft… (Com on his got to let of steam somehow).

I’m confident in stating that little man has become much more independent since using Vivo miles. Having attended schools who’s past reward systems failed (let’s not forget this little boy with aspergers was left with no school as not one mainstream school said they could meet his needs) he has now been lucky enough to have discovered a programme that works for him.

Since attending special school his never again been excluded and considering this was a weekly occurrence, it would seem evident that Vivo mile, along with good teaching has given my son the opportunity of educational success.

Little man actually brought all the family small Christmas gifts with his points before buying any raffle tickets (see… he was budgeting). If Vivo miles were able to have continued the raffles would he have entered anymore? Maybe, maybe not! He hasn’t mentioned wanting to and if he wants something he knows how to bleb on about it. Why am i so confident that Vivo Miles haven’t created a gambling monster? Given he entered just the one raffle out the 3 or 4 that were run and the fact his not searching for more makes me confident. His plan has always been to save his points for next years Christmas shop… Now does this look like the ideas of a newly formed gambler?

No… It doesn’t!

He won a raffle, lots of kids do and will continue to do so for years to come!

We won’t apologise for that and I won’t admit to allowing my 12 year old child with Aspergers gamble… Because that is simply not the case!

Reference: Related Mumsnet forum thread

Also another blogger from across the pond has some interesting points on this story: Chellie’s World

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NatWest Search For A New Iconic Piggy #pigsbykids

6 Nov

Have you heard about the NatWest #pigsbykids Campaign?

No? Well, let me fill you in then…

NatWest are encouraging children to save by way of launching a fabulous campaign based around its iconic piggy.

NatWest Piggies have long played a massive part in the banks advertisements and savings promotions… Its actually a huge part of NatWest as we know them! And I for one have always related the two very closely, especially given how I always wanted one of my own piggies. Its fair to say that the last piggy became somewhat famous within its own right, what with it being worth a good few quid nowadays. Maybe your lucky enough to still have one of your own?

Well, its a new generation of saving and with it must come a new generation of pig. So, with this, NatWest are encouraging kids to bank their pennies with a fabulous competition. They are on the look out for a new piggy icon and they want your children to get their creative juices flowing by way of creating one.

The winning child’s pig will then shoot to fame by becoming the brand new NatWest Pig.

Little Man and Alice-Sara have both been extremely busy creating their pigs. They have started the design plan on paper and are now applying their ideas to clay model designs which are not yet complete and still very much a working progress.

Nonetheless, I can’t wait to upload their final designs and enter them into this exciting competition.

It really has given little man lots of motivation, given his not all that keen on art due to his difficulties with fine motor skills and low concentration levels. Its really is a positive step that he feels inspired to give it a go.

I really like the message behind this campaign and love how NatWest are delivering it. This is a fabulous opportunity to get your children’s imaginations over flowing while teaching them why saving money is important. I wanted my children to have a good understanding about the campaign and the reasons behind it! I’m all for children having some degree of independence when it comes to money. Children need to learn the importance of saving and the true value of money at an early age.

I also think it would be pretty awesome to see a design created by a child used in such a way by NatWest. Children tend to have the most magical, wonderful and if not sometimes slightly strange ideas floating around in their heads. So, I for one cannot wait to see what both my children and others produce in the name of #pigsforkids

Alice’s paper creation

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As the competition has a deadline of the 11th November 2012 I wanted to make sure everyone was aware so they could join in the fun and get creating Piggies of their own. However, I will be sure to pop back and share the children’s designs that they are currently creating with the use of some fantastic art materials that were so kindly supplied by NatWest.

Read the information below to discover some of the competition requirements and a link to the full terms and conditions over at Natwest.

The competition is open to children up to 13 years old.

The winning design will become the new NatWest pig.

The closing date for entries is 12pm on 11th November 2012

Terms and conditions apply and should be read over on the NatWest website.

This is an advertising promotion for NatWest.

I am promoting the competition as its one of great interest and something the children will be taking part in themselves. I was not paid to write this but NatWest did supply the children with a great craft kit to help them create their own little piggies.

Green Fingers

29 May

So, about a month or so back, I was sent a Birds Eye Growing Kit with the aim to grow my own fresh vegetables.

I was quite excited to learn that Birds Eye had launched these fabulous seed packs that allow us to grow our own peas, sweet corn and carrots.

Little Man has really been enjoying getting out in the garden and doing a spot of gardening. Admittedly I’m not a particularly green fingered person, the little man clearly gets this interest from that of his father.

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I knew he’d enjoy this little project, he loves to see results and although the likelihood of him actually eating anything remotely healthy is slim I love veg so he could grow it and I’d eat it! 🙂

The growing kit we were sent came with everything we needed to get started.

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The whole growing process has been going well. Below is a picture of our peas just a few weeks after potting.

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And here’s the sweetcorn

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At first we used the pots supplied in our growing kit. These came with clear lids and things started happening at a speedy rate.

Once they grew to a certain stage it became clear these could no longer be maintained within this growing space. With this we decided to move both peas and Sweetcorn into the garden.

Admittedly the growing process slowed somewhat and I had a feeling that just maybe I’d killed them (which normally is the case for me). However the peas flowered as expected so I’m guessing maybe I’m on track. However this is now the stage I’m at with the peas

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I’m not to sure what’s happening but they are green and bushy so here’s hoping its a good sign.

As for the Sweetcorn, nothing more happened for some time, then suddenly this happened!

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Mind you I only have 3 of these shoots which is a tad different from what I had growing in the pot. Here’s hoping these turn into beautiful sweetcorns.

The problem with having them in the garden is the fact you need to water them more, especially in this weather, plus theres the issue of weeds that tend to start growing within the same space and need removing regularly. Nonetheless, it’s keeping the little man busy and his enjoying being a little gardener (though he won’t wear gloves and due to the fact he has some sensory issues and won’t allow me to cut his nails without a fight is a slight issue as his gardening results in some dirty nails and equal meltdowns).

Oh… I should also mention that we also received a packet of carrot seeds with the growing kit. I just may have unintentionally killed the carrots as I’m yet to see progress 😦 I guess two out of three isn’t to bad!

We will keep you all updated on this little project.

It’s easy to have a go too. All you have to do is visit the Birds Eye Facebook page where you can claim your own free seeds by entering a code found on special packs of Birds Eye veg.

It’s a great way to save money and get the kids outside planting, giving them something to be proud of when it’s dished on the plate at dinner time! You never know they may even eat some 🙂

If like me, your not that green fingered, don’t worry, Birds Eye have experts on hand ready to help… Plus a series of YouTube videos to help you on your way. Just visit the above Facebook page for more information.

Disclaimer: We were sent a Birds Eye Growing kit to try out in-order to share our honest opinion and bring you this review. All opinions are honest and my own. This is not a sponsored post and I was not paid to write this.

#HAWMC Day 4 – Why I chose to share my story

4 Apr

Why do I write about my sons Aspergers, and has my reasons changed since I first started writing this blog?

I can’t deny it, they have indeed changed and quite a lot I may add. I’m more passionate about raising awareness now than I was 3 years ago when I first started blogging. There was no specific plan, I didn’t suddenly make the decision to share my story then go looking for somewhere to put it! I guess you could say it was as if myself and WordPress just crossed paths one day and as a result here I am some 3 and 1/2 years on. I quickly discovered that WordPress offered me a platform to off load both my worries as well as achievements, ones that others took for granted, such as managing to get your child dressed and into school that morning or something as simple as your child allowing you to cut his finger nails. Honestly, I never imagined people were reading it or would even want to, right then and there It was purely for my own sanity!

But like most things in life stuff changes and my very first blog comment saw to that! This was received from a mother just like myself, one who understood the daily struggles as well as them times we felt the need to celebrate! I soon began to discover a whole new world, one that consists of those who finally understood my situation. Why? Because they too had a child like mine! Many had already fought a host of battles, others were still fighting for a diagnosis in-order for their child to receive the support they terribly needed.

I have some very loyal readers, ones that have been there since day dot! They have witnessed our journey from the very beginning, they have seen myself evolve from a mother plunging into the depths of depression to the person I stand today.

Those watching from the sidelines saw myself try to climb the mountain, continuously falling at many points on the way. There were so many times I felt like giving up, admitting defeat, then with the encouraging words read within a string of comments I’d pull myself up and start climbing again, till I finally reached the top.

It’s actually strange sitting here thinking off all them huge mountains we’ve needed to climb since, and how like the first I’ve continued to fall only to eventually reach the top. As a parent of a child with Aspergers and Special Educational Needs, I’ve found myself stood facing every typical hurdle from diagnosis, discrimination, statementing and of course the big old battle of getting the right educational setting to meet my child’s complex needs. There are plenty of others nested in between and I’m under no illusion that there are plenty more still to come (after all my son is only 11).

Over the years I’ve learnt a lot not only about my child’s Aspergers and various other needs, the system and the ins and outs of education law, but that of myself and the person I had become, my inner passion to help any parent who felt as I once felt, scared, worried and a lone.

I discovered I’d opened a window to our life and that window was not only providing me with an outlet to off load my inner thoughts but provided others with something they could relate to.

As a result the Facebook page was born, with now 12 committed administrators who help me keep it ticking over its become a supportive and informative online haven for some almost 5,000 members.

If you told me some 4 years ago we would be where we’re at today, I’d never have believe you. An exhausted mother with a son refusing to sleep or even go to school, assessments every other week that were sending Little man into a frenzy of meltdowns I felt powerless to control, a top draw loaded with Prozac… Yet still a good few months from diagnosis, and let’s not forget a school attendance order and a pending court case… Like I said I’d never had believe you!

Embarking on such a journey has helped me to eliminate built up anger or the glowing red cheeks as I cringe with embarrassment as my son throws himself around the supermarket. I now embrace his Aspergers and try to remind myself of this when things go sour (though I’m only human)!

But above all else, it’s helped me unleash a passion I didn’t no I had, to raise awareness for what some refer to as the hidden disability! I’m passionate to help anyone who finds them self stood in a crowded room screaming yet no one looks up, or the parent struggling up that mountain!

It wasn’t just a diagnosis we brought home one day but the willingness to fight all that comes our way, get through it and then help others to do the same.

Now that’s why I continue to share my story and It’s my son existences that lights the way!

This post was written as 4/30 in the #HAWMC want to learn more or discover post from various other health activist? Click Here.

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Cillit Bang All in 1 Dish & Surface – Review and competition

3 Mar


I’ve always openly stated that I’m no domestic goddess, if anything I hate housework, unless I’m over come with the desire to spring clean, which is rear! Most of the time I feel it’s boring and quite honestly drains away valuable hours of my day, often leaving me a little peed off! Still that’s the life of an adult and what has to be done must be done, regardless of if I enjoy it or not… as I tell my children, “Life is full of stuff we don’t like, but sometimes we just have to get on with it best we can” That’s exactly how I feel about “Washing up”!

Doing the dishes is my idea of hell! I have sensitive skin and get eczema on my hands… of course I blame doing the dishes! If the other half isn’t offering to get on the job, then I want to get it down as quick as humanly possibly… leaving things to soak, uselessly results in my non return (well, till the following morning at least, and who wants to wake to a sink full of soaking dishes).

So, of course I’m going to say… Bring it on, when I’m asked to review and run a competition on a new product designed to make my life easier!

Before, I give you the chance to win a prize, let me tell you about the product at hand.

When I think of Cillit Bang, I hear the words “Bang and the dirt is gone, replaying in my mind” Despite how long the brand has now been going, I still usually only link to the first product in its range! However, Cillit Bang actually has quite a tidy product line, with Cillit Bang All in 1 Dish and Surface, being the latest!

The All in 1, designed for both dishes and surfaces, comes in a handy automatic pump dispenser which senses your sponge and dispenses a plump of liquid, meaning you only get what’s required, therefore making the product last longer and pennies stretch further!

I found it to be a real gem on the dishes, even removing brunt on food residues from baking trays (which often occurs when I’m cooking) much faster and easier than other leading brands of washing-up liquid.

The fact that I am able to use the product on both the dishes and that of the kitchen surfaces means both convenience, space-saving (storage of cleaning products) and good value for money! What’s more, the liquid goes a long way when cleaning the kitchen sides, I only required the one pump which is activated by a motion sensor triggering its release. This built up a good lather on the sponge, leaving sides sparking clean and smelling super fresh.

The Cillit Bang Starter Kit, comes complete with dispenser and one refill, so, you’re only required to buy further refills thereafter.
Currently there are just a few varieties of Lemon Burst & Lime Blossom and Mint, to choose from, though I’m sure the brand will be introducing more beautiful scents, as time progresses.

I personally found the Lemon Burst very pleasant smelling, it’s not to over powering as some cleaning products tend to be. I am however, yet to give the lime a whirl, though I’m sure it will delight, what with it normally being my preference if given a choice out the two (I love the tangy scent of Limes)!

Overall, I was impressed with the results of Cillit Bang All in one Dish and Surface! The dishes needed little soaking if any, meaning I haven’t waken up to a sink full of smelly last nights dishes! When using on surfaces, Cillit Bang left them gleaming and reasonable shiny! I hate it when sugar gets residues get stuck on the work-tops (for some reason, men leave it there to get stuck) and then its hard to remove, this really wasn’t the case when using the all in one.

The automatic dispenser is said to dispense an average of 160 dispenses and for me this makes the current online exclusive price of £7.99 for a pack of three refills, excellent value for money!

Other online exclusives are the Super Sava Bundle Packs at a whooping reduction £14.99 reduced from £32.99, plus you can buy a starter kit containing your automatic dispenser and one refill back for £9.99 instead of the normal £19.99!

Now for the good bit! Those people who brought us that famous slogan “BANG AND THE DIRT IS GONE” are actually, very nice people! Why? Because they have given me 5 start packs of Cillit Bang All in one, to give away here on A boy with Aspergers!

So, want one of the five starter packs? Here’s how to go about winning yourself one

Simply complete the compulsory action which is…

Subscribe to this blog via feedburner! comment to say you have done so leaving email or twitter handle ( please also let me know the name you subscribed via feedburner – note don’t forget to activate subscriptions via your emails).

For 1 extra entry per action (leaving separate comment for each) do the following

Subscribe to on my sister blog Mummy of many talents

Use any of the Like buttons below (remember a comment for each)

Good Luck, Competition will close on the 31st March 2012

Disclaimer, we were provider with a starter pack from Cillit Bang free of charge for the purpose of this review. No other compensation was given for this or the hosting of a competition.

T&C
UK Only Please! Competition will close on the 31st of March 2012 at Midnight! Please follow the rules carefully as each entry will be verified and those who haven’t maybe withdrawn! Prize will be dispatched directly from the prize provider, names, emails and postal addresses will therefore be required and should be sent via email to the address located in the blogs sidebar under contact information within 72 hours. All winners to leave an email or twitter handle per entry!

ThePrizeFinder – UK Competitions

Winners: @olivia280177 @tracyknixion @maisletoo @baggiesbabe69 @Dorothee77

Help Sudocrem raise funds for the NSPCC All babies count campaign

23 Jan
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Image via Wikipedia

As many should know by now, I’m pretty big on helping raise awareness for worthy campaigns that’s why I’m taking a minute to share this with everyone and anyone!

 The NSPCC is a charity who campaign for UK children, ensuring they can help children who are subjected to cases of neglect, mistreatment and abuse . Without this fantastic charity the UK would likely be a much darker place, with high numbers of children not being protected as they should be. Everyone deserves a full and happy life, where they can live without fear of another and children are amongst the most vulnerable groups of people subjected to such crawl and evil ways.

 One of the  NSPCC latest campaigns  launched, is the All Babies Count campaign which aims to reduce the number of cases of neglect, mistreatment and abuse inflicted upon children under the age of one! The NSPCC have stated that “One baby is killed every two weeks here in the UK” The NSPCC is working hard to end this shocking statistic.

Stepping in to support the charities campaign is the well-known baby brand Sudocrem who have pledged to donate a total of £25,000.

  However, Sudocrem need our help to reach this target!

No… Sudocrem are not asking you to donate any money, they understand that despite how passionate many of us are to support such worthy courses we just can’t afford to give because we simply do not have the additional resources, what with many of us donating through direct debit to an array of charities on a monthly basis. All Sudocrem are asking for is a simple like and a tweet!

 Let me explain: For every “Like” Sudocrem receive on their Facebook page they will donate 50p to the campaign and for every tweet/Re-Tweet using the#allbabiescount hashtag they will donate 25p to the charity!

You can visit the NSPCC website and use the tweet button which kindly asks that your follows give your tweet a RT and Sudocrem will therefore donate 25p to the charities campaign.

What’s more for every comment left on the NSPCC  Facebook Campaign page, Sudocrem will donate a further 50p
  So… to help such a worthy campaign all you need to donate is a tiny bit of  time!

 A few minutes if that, is what such a task would take! If you want to go that extra mile why not spread the word and get your friends and family to do the same, after all it could make the difference of life and death to a baby!

Like the Sudocrem facebook by clicking HERE

For the NSPCC Facebook Campaign page click Here

If you’re worried about a child then please visit the NSPCC website for advice. Please Click Here

For the Sudocrem website please Click Here

For the Sudocrem blog please visit: http://www.sudocrem.co.uk/blog/

Thank you to Blog Match for helping bring awareness to the campaign by sharing it with us Blog Match members

Understanding The Diagnostics Of Autism And Aspergers Syndrome

13 Jan

Today, when I thought about writing this post I had this strong urge to kick my own arse, as I asked myself the question… “Why haven’t I written this post already”

The Facebook page is now reaching numbers of 5,000 + and although that’s great, it still shows how many more children are being diagnosed as being on the autism spectrum, that or the high numbers of parents seeking a diagnosis and therefore seeking out advice on something they long to understand…. “The Diagnostics of autism”

Subject: Quinn, a boy with autism, and the lin...

Image via Wikipedia

This basically means the different tests and routes undertaken in-order to diagnosis a child as being on the autism spectrum, and it’s this I want to write about here today.

Firstly I should make it crystal clear that there is no set procedure, some places, areas and countries do it differently to another. However, the most important thing to remember before delving in any further is, “One child may be diagnosed in record time, another it may take longer, one child may only see two professionals whereas another…. they may meet hundreds!  

I’m situated in the United Kingdom and my son, now 11 years old, was formally diagnosed in early 2009 as having ‘Asperger’s Syndrome’

One of the common misconceptions made by parents (including myself) is when a child psychologist informs you that your child is indeed on the autism spectrum… you then understandably think you’re child was just diagnosed! Com-on, why the hell wouldn’t you, he just sat there and said it didn’t he? You’re child normally isn’t actually diagnosed and normally it will be a while till they actually are. I remember being told on my first visit, Little man was most likely on the autism spectrum with Aspergers Syndrome being the most appropriate title! Yes, he rambled on about coming back on this date to have this elevation & that observation done, but he said it… I bloody heard him! You’re child isn’t technically diagnosed till them words hit paper, that’s when it matters, that’s when it counts and means anything to schools and services in your local area! I learnt this the hard way, Little man’s mainstream school wrote it off completely, they proceeded to do sod all, that was in-till they saw it there in black & white some two years later! Remember it’s not always so long, actually it should never be this long! We had problems with certain doctors and the schools input didn’t help, we actually had to re-enter the waiting list when the person taking care of Little man’s notes was dismissed, meaning little man was missed completely. Anyhow… My point… when there is still testing to be done and you don’t yet have that paper with the title of any diagnosis, then the likelihood that you actually don’t have one yet… Is, well… quite certain!

Below I’ve posted some of the diagnostic tools you may come across if your child is being assessed for an autism spectrum condition or Aspergers Syndrome.

Aspergers Syndrome Diagnostic Scale (ASDS)

Diagnostic tool used on those between the ages of 5-18 years old as a diagnostic tool. 

Method: Parent/teacher questionnaire made up of 50 questions which are rated and therefore indicate the presence or absence of behaviour mostly associated with Aspergers. The scores give the tester an indication on the probability of a diagnosis of Aspergers syndrome. This is a diagnostic tool, though its rarely used alone when diagnosis a child with Aspergers The above test was one of the tools used for Little man’s diagnosis.

Autism spectrum

Image via Wikipedia

 

Autism Diagnostic Interview Revised (ADIR)

This is a diagnostic tool used on children aged over 2.

 ADIR is a structured 90 minute interview consisting of 93 items spit into three functional domains. The responses given are then coded in 8 areas.

 The test is to look for the early developmental signs of autism spectrum conditions including a child’s Speech and language, the way they communicate and interact, repetitive and stereotyped behaviours and intense interests. (This is another test performed on little man).

Autism Diagnostic Observation Schedule (ADOS) 

This is a diagnostic tool usually used from the ages of 2+ (commonly used on adults as well as children) professional play based observation done on an interactive format (child/clinician) 

 The test is used to assess the child’s social communication & interaction skills, imaginative play or creativity, stereotyped behaviours and restricted interest. It was the ADOS that finally lead to Little man’s formal diagnosis.

English: Subject: Quinn, an ~18 month old boy ...

Image via Wikipedia

 Childhood Autism Rating Scale (CARS) 

A diagnostic tool for children over 2 years.

 The test consists of 15 items rated on a 7 point scale. These items are made up from parental input/questionnaire clinician observations, other related reports and input (educational reports etc)  A wide spectrum of behaviours are assessed including those above and more. The test will establish three possible outcomes… not autistic, mildly/moderately autistic or severely autistic.

Gilliam Autism Rating Scale-Second Edition (GARS-2)

 A diagnostic tool usually used in those between the ages of 3-22 years of age. It consists of 3 sub-scales based on observation of frequency of behaviours such as, stereotype behaviours, interaction and communication, of occurrence and parental interview

Diagnostic Interview for Social and Communication Disorders (DISCO)

A diagnostic tool used for diagnosing children/people of all ages. This is a semi-structured interview schedule lasting some 3 hours with parents, other care givers, which is mainly used in assisting the diagnosis of autism.

Sudocrem – Mummy Matters Week

9 Jan

Us mum’s can’t be super mum’s all of the time and every now and then, even we can do with a bit of advice!

That’s why the leading baby brand Sudocrem are hosting a Mummy Matters week over on Facebook, as to be honest… Us mum’s do matter!

Between Monday 9th & Friday 13th January 2012, a team of the UK’s leading lifestyle experts will be sharing need to know advice on a range of subjects as well as answering direct questions from the Sudocrem Facebook community.

Each day will host a different expert (as outlined below), who will share around 20 key pieces of advice and answering questions on their subject throughout their allotted day.

Sudocrem would love for all Mums to join the Sudocrem Facebook community (www.facebook.com/Sudocrem) and get involved by asking questions directly to the experts.

Monday 9th January 2012 – Jennifer Liston-Smith (Executive & Maternity Coach)
Tuesday 10th January 2012 – Claire Wylde (Dietician)
Wednesday 11th January 2012 – Jo Barnard (Careers Advisor)
Thursday 12th January 2012 – Wendy Powell (Pre & Post Natal Fitness Expert)
Friday 13th January 2012 – Beth Goodrham (Personal Stylist)

Will I be popping along to see what it’s all about? Well, I do quite fancy discovering what Friday holds. What with it being a New Year and the need for a wardrobe revamp, its properly a good idea!

Visit Sudocrem by Clicking HERE

Christmas Shopping onboard a P&O ferry

7 Dec

18

Days till Christmas

Have you ever considered doing your Christmas Shopping on board a ferry? Well, I hadn’t, that was in-till I received an invitation to do just that!

 It’s not often you get an invite to come shopping on the P&O ferry is it? So myself and fellow mummy blogging friend ‘Romanianmum’ headed to Dover very early Sunday morning to catch a ferry to Calais. 

 The morning started off a very eventful one, as I raced to Victoria station to meet Romanianmum and catch the National express coach to Dover. I did make it, but only by the skin of my teeth and was most grateful for the sit down once on board. 

 After a 2 hour drive up the motorway we arrived in Dover and headed straight for the check in. We arrived rather early and found the service provided by the check-in team to be exceptional! They even offered to put us on the earlier ferry as we had arrived so early. We very politely declined, preferring to catch up over a coffee and a naughty ciggy instead. 

 When it was time to finally board, being foot-passengers we were taken by shuttle bus to the ferry via the normal passport and secretary procedures. The Ferry was huge and I have to admit to having a few butterflies given I’d never stepped foot on one before. 

 Once on board I was impressed at the sheer size of the ship, it was massive and could easily carry 1000 men or more. There was a gaming zone, loads of places to eat and drink from restaurants to smaller Costa Coffees. The ship was also really festive and you couldn’t miss there lovely Christmas tree. 

 I also noted that the ship had its own Bureau de change offering 24/7 foreign exchange onboard, meaning you don’t have to worry about currency exchange prior to boarding.

  P&O had so kindly upgraded us to club lounge which I guess made this a whole different travelling experience all together. Impressive really doesn’t seem to do it justice. The lounge is located at the front of the ship on the upper decks and you are surrounded by glass windows giving you a beautiful view out to sea. We were offered a host of treats from Champaign to some beautiful lunch time delights.  

  We also discovered that we could actually smoke on the upper deck (outside) which will delight all you smokers, I’m sure. However I actually only went for a smoke just twice as I was there for one thing and one thing only TO SHOP! 

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 I’d be lying if I didn’t mention that I was a tad sea sick and sadly so was romanianmum, so I’d strongly recommend if you are the type of person to suffer motion sickness then I’d  take something first as to not let it ruin your experience of shopping at sea. 

 Nonetheless, despite the fact we were a tad green, we had a pretty awesome time, we were child free (always a bonus) and ready for some serious shopping.

 The onboard shop was huge and stocked everything from all your finest perfumes to toys for the Children. There was large range of designer handbags and purses, some pretty awesome makeup and lots of lovely chocolate and alcoholic treats to be had. Of course you could also buy cigarette’s at a good reduced price. I loved that the P&O are now stocking products from the high-street chain Accessorize and so did Romanianmum who couldn’t resist the beautiful hat and mittens for her beautiful daughter.  

 There was up to 30 % of beers, wines and spirits and you could save as much as 40% on UK prices for fragrances, skin-care and cosmetics. The toys were also a bit cheaper than most UK retailers and when we travelled they had an awesome 3 for 2 deal running meaning it was even cheaper. I got some fantastic bargains and spent just £99 0n…

Nerf N-Strike

Cuddly George Pig

MR potato head

2x littlest pet shop Blythe’s

Style me up set

Disney Fairies

SEKONDA Watch

 We had decided to do a round trip meaning we would not depart the ship once at Calais which seemed logical considering we were foot passengers. This is the perfect idea for those who just want to come onboard and take advantage of the shopping facilities. P&O currently run some spectacular deals allowing you take this option which are really worth looking into. 

 We headed back down to the shop during the time the ship was docked at Calais and even-though we had plenty of time to shop while the ship was docked we somehow found ourselves still shopping on the way back to Dover and the shop was noticeably more busy. With this I would highly recommend that those doing such journey shop on the outbound journey as this was far less busy, with smaller queues. (We just couldn’t pull ourselves away from the fabulous club lounge).

 We really did have a great child free day aboard the P&O, despite being a little sea sick, the shopping and club lounge really made up for it!

 I have to admit that myself and romanianmum were a tad childish… Just check out the images below. 

 But to hell with it! We were there to enjoy ourselves and that’s exactly what we did. 

 If you fancy getting some last-minute shopping onboard the P&O then why not check out some of their awesome deals

 Oh… and before I forget P&O are running an almighty Christmas Competition over on their Facebook page, giving you the chance to win loads of awesome prizes. All you have to do is fill a virtual stocking with goodies from their online shop and then one winner will be picked at random to win the lot! Yes, its P&O’s way of wishing you all a very merry Christmas! Just Click HERE to enter 

“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

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