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Merlin’s Magic Wand helping children benefit from the magic, that is unless they have autism!

23 Nov
Day 255: Magic Wand

Image by amanky via Flickr

When you have a child on the autism spectrum life is that bit harder, no matter how much you dress it up it’s not easy! We as a family have been judged and judged again, Little man has often been left to feel his not “Normal” that he doesn’t deserve the experiences that other children have, he feels this because at the tender age of 11 his been discriminated against more times than I care to remember! 

 2009/2010 my son missed out on nearly every single school trip that his then mainstream school embanked on. Why? Well, he was either conveniently excluded on them days, not given letters, or just remained in school in the hope I’d never hear about it! Disgusting I know.

 It was the most stressful time of mine and my son’s life, we had no choice but to take the discrimination route and just as the Tribunal date neared we settled the case happy that the school had finally given up the lie! I remember my son throwing his whole self into brick walls and scratching his arms till they bleed when the head teacher called late in the evening to inform me my son was excluded the following day and would therefore miss the one trip he had so looked forward to for months! My child was labelled a liability and a health and safety risk.  

 Thank goodness for charities like Merlin’s magic wand, the charity that creates magic for disadvantaged children, especially those with a disability and young carers like my daughter. 

 He missed all his school trips but at least come the summer holidays we would have our trip to Chessington World of Adventures to look forward to! The Merlin’s entertainment group really were creating magic for children like mine. 

 Little man didn’t feel so different as he raced around one of Merlin’s attractions, smiling from ear to ear. 

 As a parent of a child who benefits from such an awesome charity I did my bit to donate and even considered over coming my fear of heights  by embarking on a sponsored skydive next year to raise some funds in the name of this awesome charity & the NAS.

 Lately I’ve been running some competitions here on the blog to win tickets to a number of Merlin’s attractions, It’s basiclly a sponsored competition isn’t it! However unlike many other companies and brands do, Merlin’s didn’t offer any compensation to the blogger, after all it’s free advertising to the brand and many bloggers spend time writing and checking each entry before drawing the winner. Many of the other bloggers I know refused to do this, they just don’t have the time to run a competition and the fact their isn’t really a thank you for doing so added to this (after all this wouldn’t happen in newspaper or magazine).

 Nonetheless, I didn’t vacillate when it came to such competitions and was happy to help, after all look how Merlin’s have helped my child and millions more like him on the autism spectrum. This was me giving them something back alongside my readers! So, why not!

 Yesterday I visited my Facebook page (A boy with Asperger’s) only to discover something that hurt and angered me!

 This is what I read…

 Dear Merlin’s Magic Wand Applicants,

 For those of you wishing to take advantage of our complimentary tickets for 2012, there has been a change in the way that Merlin’s Magic Wand will manage applications in 2012, for those families whose children are on the Autistic Spectrum or who have any Autistic related disability.

 This year (2011) Magic Wand handled over 5000 applications, nearly 50% of these were from families with children with ASD.

 Our Charity has very limited resources and funds and unfortunately we are no longer in a position to be able to manage these applications as efficiently as we wish. Therefore we have had to put in the following process in order for us to continue to work with families of Autistic children.

 Applications from individual families will no longer be accepted. You will need to contact your local National Autistic Society Branch (NAS) in order for them to apply for tickets on your behalf. If you are not a member of your local NAS, you will need to contact any other organisation that you are a member of (incl Special Needs School) that specifically handles children on the Autistic Spectrum. They will be able to submit an application on behalf of all their members.

 The NAS are aware of this new procedure and the regional offices will be asked to contact the families on their books to see if they wish to take advantage of our attractions complimentary tickets.

 We apologise for any inconvenience that this may cause, however, this change needs to be made so that we can help as many children as possible and for us to continue our promise of giving children magical experiences.

 Thank you

 Hilary Birkinshaw Charity Manager

 Nicky Elliott Applications Manager

 The Merlin Magic Wand Charity

3 MarketClose/Poole/Dorset/UK/BH15 1NQ 

Fax: +44 (0)1202 667867

 This was posted on the wall by one of the admins I have appointed on the page.

 I read this three times and was utterly disappointed to learn that basically Merlin’s our heroes were kicking us in the teeth just like so many have and will continue to when you’re a family that consist of a child with autism.

 From reading this a number of times I am in no doubt that this is yet another act of discrimination against our children! How can it be interpreted any other way when it quite clearly reads, 

“This year (2011) Magic Wand handled over 5000 applications, nearly 50% of these were from families with children with ASD.”

 Before going on to state that they will no longer accept applications from families of children with ASD directly and this must now be done via NAS or through application from a special school!

 As mentioned I fought a discrimination case and we come out the other side smiling, I’ve helped a number of families who also have children with autism who feel they are being discriminated against. 

It’s even harder when a group of children are being  singled out and treated differently than children with other types of disability especially when it is being done by a children’s charity!

Above Little man enjoying a trip to Chessington world of Adventures thanks to Merlin’s Magic Wand in 2010

Here is Merlin’s promise which I’ve taken from the Merlin’s Magic Wand Website

Magical and memorable experiences

Unfortunately, many children, through circumstances which are not of their own making, are not in a position to be able to experience many of the things that most children take for granted, including trips to theme parks and attractions. 

This may be through difficulties in the home, or maybe because they have to care for a sick parent or relative. Sadly, sometimes children suffer abuse or have serious health problems which prevent them from having a normal life. 

We hope that by making available magical and memorable experiences, at one of Merlin Group’s many and varied attractions, Merlin’s Magic Wand Children’s Charity can bring some pleasure and improvement to the lives of some of those children.

 I do wonder if Merlin’s are fully aware of the laws surrounding disability discrimination. Surly the big guys at Merlin’s run this decision past it’s legal team?

 Here’s something they should have read…

 Service providers are not allowed to discriminate unlawfully when providing goods or services to people. Discrimination when providing services means:  

  • refusing to provide a service, providing a lower standard of service, offering a service on different terms than you would to other people.

 So, yet again, because you can’t see autism it makes our children less worthy of a smile?

 Has Merlin’s ever considered the fact the reason the applications sent from families of children on the autism spectrum is so high is because there are a massive number of children with autism that actually benefit from this type of help? Autism is more common now than ever yet the misunderstanding and judgemental crap is still smacking them in the face with crap such as this!

 Merlin’s what were you thinking?

 From what I understand Merlin’s Magic Wand is a charity for disadvantaged children and that’s not only those with disabilities! Example… A single Parent can apply for help from Merlin’s simply stating how disadvantaged their children are simply because she is so broke, Merlin’s will then make the decision whether to issue the tickets or not!

 The point I’m making is, our children should be allowed to enjoy the things that children are meant to enjoy without having to fight tooth and nail to do so. 

The fact that Merlin’s are stating it is only the families of children with autism who need to take this new route of action is discriminating and god dam flagitious. Our children didn’t ask to be born with autism and we as parents spend much time and energy trying to install self-confidence into our child with autism or aspergers syndrome. I tell my son he is no different from other children, he just has some extra special ways, yet his not silly he knows that the world is a harder place to live in when you have a “Label” such as his! Its imperative that children on the autism spectrum don’t get left on the sideline, but receive the same opportunities as others their age.

 Not every family of a child on the spectrum are members of the NAS and sadly this may shock you Merlin’s but do you know how hard it is to get your child into a special school? Your changes will not affect my application as my son goes to a special school but only after one hell of a battle, one that almost killed me! Now your asking parents of children like mine who haven’t been as fortunate as me to win the battle with the education system, to battle  your application process. Yes, sadly I find this barbaric and have trouble understanding how you think your actions are even justifiable? 

 Merlin’s are not saying this to the parent of a child in a wheel chair, just to the parent of a child with autism… Why? Because you can’t see autism just from looking at the child, there is no physical disability so our children are sadly pushed aside.

 I ask would Merlin’s state this about a child’s race or religion? I don’t think so!

 They have more and less stated that they hope by taking such action the application number will fall and they can help more worthy children to have fun.

 Will, I be sharing this with my 11-year-old son? No, I don’t want him to feel rejected not by a charity that he is thankful to, not to one that he trust, I wont do that.

 Since making the discovery I have visited the Merlin’s magic wand Facebook page which has a wall full of comments from parents, advocates and adults on the spectrum. Sadly I have not read any statement given from Merlin’s. I await such a statement, I would of course like to hear why? and hear it from them!

 I didn’t receive the email about the changes, I don’t know why, maybe I will in the next few days, they obviously have a number of parents to upset given they have stated that half its applicants are families of children with autism. 

 I will finish the current competition I have running solely because I have opened it and it wouldn’t be fair on those who have entered to suddenly remove it, however, I won’t be running another competition on their behalf simply because I’m not just a mother who writes a blog I’m a mother to a child on the autism spectrum who writes a blog and it would seem that right now Merlin’s couldn’t give a flying f*** about that!

So, there you have it, Merlin’s Magic wand are bringing smiles to the faces of children all over the world, that is unless they have autism!

Please leave a comment and share your views, especially if your child or loved one will be affected by the changes. Like I always say, in order to raise a subject and get heard we need to spread the word, so lets do it!

The search for two new faces for the ‘Argos Kidswear Range’ is on, and I’m a judge!

17 Nov

As many of you may have seen, I’ve been doing some work with Argos lately as part of the ‘Santa’s Little Helpers feature’. How excited was I when I received an email on Tuesday, inviting me to the Ideal Home show (Christmas Event) this Saturday 19th November! Yes, I have been asked to join the Argos judging panel who will be selecting one boy and one girl (aged between 4-10) out of the 40 finalist who entered to become the face of the ‘New Argos Kidswear range’.

The competition has been running a while, thousands of proud parents uploaded a picture of their little angels to the Argos Facebook page and the judges had the hard task of narrowing it down to just 40 finalist.

The two lucky winners will model in a photoshoot for the Argos Kidswear page on the website, feature on Argos TV home shopping channel, win the entire clothing collection in their favourite character as well as being given a modelling contract with Alphabet Kidz! How awesome a prize is this!

Ten runners-up will each receive a Argos Kidswear goodie bag.

All 40 finalist will be walking the catwalk and undergoing a short interview at the final. In preparation for the day, I was today sent the picture of the fab 40 and WOW… What an amazing 40 they are! This is gonna be one hard decision, I just know it.The 40 finalist in the Argos competition to find the new faces of it’s Kidswear range

I felt very privileged to be asked, I’ve never been a judge before and wasn’t really aware of the competition in-till recently, but goodness am I excited! As a mother to three beautiful children I can really relate to how excited yet nervous all the parents of the final 40 must be feeling. I’m also guessing that all are pretty proud right now, and rightly so, I would be too!

When I told Little man that Mummy was gonna be a judge in the competition, he asked if I was now like Cheryl Cole, I had to laugh, “I only wished son!”

Honestly, I really cannot wait till the big day, not only will I get to check out the fabulous exhibition, (I’m sure the ideal home show Christmas, will be spectacular event) but I also get to experience something a Little different and try something new. It feels strange knowing I’m going to help make some Little boy and girls dream come true but it’s also very rewarding and I’m totally up for.

As for the new Argos kidswear, my youngest would love the George pig and Thomas the tank engine range, and I’m sure my daughter would also be pretty keen to get her mitts on some of the gorgeous outfits. I’m already an avid Argos shopper, especially at Christmas, the clothing addition fits really well and I can see myself adding items to the christmas shopping list this year. You really can’t go wrong with kids character wear, kids just love it!
If you fancy checking out the range for yourselves, then just click here.

Current models showcasing the Argos Kidswear range

For those of you who maybe interested in popping along to the event itself, the children will take to the catwalk on Saturday 19th November at 3.30 pm at the awesome ‘Ideal home show Christmas’ at Earls Court London.

If you’re coming along then do say hello, I love to meet those that read the blog as It’s always lovely to put a face to a comment & say thank you.

Lastly… Good luck to all 40 awesome children lucky enough to get to the final (you should all be very proud) and I can’t wait to see you all this Saturday.

Just remember one important thing! Have fun!

Note: I’ll be running a fabulous competition next week, offering you the chance to win a £100 worth of Argos shopping vouchers to spend this Christmas! So keep your eyes peeled.

Scooting is much more fun with Scooterearz

22 Sep

I love writing a blog, not only is it a way to help me relax, reach out, raise awareness, share and vent, it also brings me some awesome opportunities, testing some of the latest products to hit the market.

 Scooterearz, is one of them awesome products,

and here’s why!


If your child has a scooter, then you will relate when I say, “Kids like to take them everywhere” (Well, mine do). This is fine, I’m a mum who’s cool with that, after all it’s a great way for your children to stay fit and active.

However, when them summer days are turning cold, things are not so simple. Little man loves using his scooter, yet in the winter I’ve discovered that I’m the one dragging the scooter up the road because his decided his hands are much to cold to have out of his pockets. Yes, there are gloves, but this makes it harder to get a firm comfortable grip on the handle bars, therefore giving less control over the scooter. (which isn’t great with Little man’s motor skills) Little man also has sensory sensitivities (especially tactile) so he can’t seem to tolerate gloves for to long, preferring the fingerless type which isn’t ideal when out on your scooter.

That’s why I was interested in finding out more about this new product, ‘Scooterearz’.

 Here’s what the founders say…

Founded: October 2010

About: A brand new product designed to keep those little fingers warm in those cooler months.

Description: Scooterearz is a universal weatherproof hand warmer to be used specifically on children’s push along scooters. They stay attached to the scooter handlebars (although can be transferred easily ) and keep children’s hands snuggly warm.

Our Scooterearz came is a nice clear sturdy bag that can be used to keep and store your hand warmers in! We were sent the Dark blue Scooterearz with the red outer thread. There are a number of other colours you can choose from therefore offering something suitable for both girls & boys.

  Little man was lucky enough to be given the opportunity to review the new Maxi micro scooter a few months back, so the scooterearz makes the perfect accessory while keeping the little guys fingers all lovely a cosy. 

 It was pretty hard to fully appreciate the product for its true potential given the weather was still pretty nice when they arrived! Then suddenly yesterday I noticed how cool the evenings had become! At around 8pm I decided to take Little man out on his scooter to burn of some energy to enable him to settle and therefore sleep once home (Yes, little man has problems with his sleeping so getting him to burn of some excess energy is a good idea). 

 At home on my Mac, already sat a review on the Scooterearz, yet I felt it deserved so much better, a real good  testing in the appropriate conditions and weather!

 Little man instantly took to the hand warmer, despite the fact it is waterproof  (the waterproof material normally drives him up and around the bend) but Scooterearz has a cosy fluffy lining, removing that tactile experience for the little man. 

 Little man reported how his hands were nice and warm, the material was nice and cosy and he was still able to have a firm grip, maintaining full control of his scooter. 

 My daughter also had a go on her scooter (not a micro scooter, one she’s actually had a few years and due an upgrade) despite his fact the scooterearz still fitted to the handlebars of her scooter without any issues at all.

 What I do love about the product is the fact that once the Scooterearz are attached to the handlebars (one on each side) they can remain there, but can be easily removed if & when desired. 

We even tried it one the handlebars of little man’s bike which provided the same comfort.

 We really like Scooterearz and feel it’s an awesome new product at a really reasonable price of just £12.99 RRP.

The full product launch is set for autumn, though you can already buy Scooterearz from a selected number of online stores or direct form scooterearz themselves, Right NOW. 

Visit the site for a full list of retailers now stocking Scooterearz or buy direct. CLICK HERE

What’s everyone else think about Scooterearz?

Check out a few of my “follow mummy bloggers” to see what they have to say about Scooterearz

Busy mum of 3

The lovely Mummy bird (including a giveaway of a scooterearz to one of her lucky readers. Closes 3rd Oct)

Loved by Lexi

and one of my favourite review sites: Bubbaloves

As part of the big launch Scooterearz are offering some amazing offers to schools

Scooterearz Schools Promotion!
Your school can earn 20% of all sales of Scooterarz in our Schools Promotion – If your school or nursery would like to take part contact us 

info@scooterearz.com

Visit the Scooterearz facebook page where all the different colours and designs will be displayed. They are also in the process of launching their new and improved website any day now and will celebrate this by offering introductory offers and other exciting opportunities. Click HERE.

How probiotics are helping my son with Aspergers Syndrome

15 Sep

It’s  a little over a week since myself and the kids started on the OptiBac Probiotics and here’s a progress report!

 As many will now know, OptiBac are sponsoring me for the Mad Blog awards, this is the perfect partnership, what with the link of probiotics and there effect on gut and digestive health in children on the autism spectrum.

 This was an issue that was getting me down. More lately, little man had been experiencing gut problems, including bloating following a small meal, reframing from using the toilet other than those at home (always been the case, yet stomach aches had really increased somewhat of late) awful wind (I mean awful) and generally, a lot of tears. 

 Something I didn’t know before, was the possible links to the use of probiotic supplements improving anxiety, behavioural problems and other non related digestive health concerns, when given to children on the autism spectrum.

 I love Little man the way he is, and certainly wouldn’t change him! However, I would like to make things easier for him by improvement of any issues that cause him great difficulty, and therefore affect his overall health (wouldn’t we all as parents)? 

 I admit, I’ve always been a big sceptic about supplements and their improvements on autism! We tried the fish oils and saw no improvement what so ever (plus he hated taking these) However this hasn’t been the case with the OptiBac Probiotics.

For those of you that are not aware of what Probiotics are, they are a type of friendly bacteria living in the gut. It is documented that Children with autism may have more digestive health problems due to the imbalance of good and bad bacteria. 

So, this is what the lovely Soraya over at OptiBac sent me for the Little Man

 For daily Wellbeing: OptiBac Probiotics Extra Strength 

The Extra Strength Probiotics contain 20 billion live microorganisms and five friendly bacteria strains, in one capsule. This is the premium range and will give a child on the autism spectrum a good kick-start in achieving good digestive health, therefore bringing with it a range of other benefits.

 Test Run

 Little man had no issues taking the capsule (if preferred you can open these up and sprinkle in a glass of water or juice as the contents is flavorless)

These are recommended to be taken in the morning with breakfast! That was our problem, Little man doesn’t eat in the mornings, through we have him taking this with a glass of cold milk. 

 Any changes in digestive health?

 It’s early days but yes, there has already been some changes in his digestive health! Pretty quickly after having first started the probiotics, Little man seemed more comfortable, the last few days I have noticed that he is able to eat more of his food without it upsetting his stomach. By day six I noted that Little man wasn’t nearly as bloated as he usually gets. His of course continuing to refuse to use public toilets waiting till his at home, though he doesn’t get as uncomfortable in the process, whereas before after ten minutes this would have caused himself to double up in agony. 

 As for the wind, hardly a trump to be heard! This, ladies and gentlemen, is heaven, my little man would break wind non stop (no matter who was there) For some reason it is always worse at night, his farting wakes me, I swear. (and no my son will not be at all embarrassed that I wrote this, he would pretty much laugh his arse off)! 

This, I can only put down to the Probiotic extra strength supplement, as nothing else has every worked!

What a result!

 Other issues, non gut related

 What I’ve noticed

Slight improvements in anxiety levels

 Again, It’s just over a week, I can’t say a 100% that the probiotics are the reason behind a slight improvement in his anxiety levels, though I think it’s looking pretty likely to be the case! 

Even such a small decrease in a week, to me is fabulous. Anxiety is the thing that triggers a lot of little mans impulsive behaviours, along with his difficulty with sensory processing.  

Any improvement in this area are much welcome! 

 Little man is a little less likely to over think things, reading too much into things, which he does a lot! This past week, there has been fewer questions asked by little man, which is often fired at me so to offer him reassurance! He will normally do this even if he knows that something will or will not happen, just so his that bit more reassured. When increased anxiety has risen, there has again been a small improvement in the speed in-which his anxiety is again reduced to a clam state, therefore allowing reasonable thinking.

 Behaviour

 This has obviously also sightly improved, due to the reduction in anxiety which again, along with sensory processing, is one of his main triggers for behavioural difficulties.

 Sleep

 No improvement here as yet, though he is getting up quicker and dressing a little faster! There is definitely something happening here folks and for just over a week I’m seriously impressed.

 The siblings 

 Alice-sara and little Harley are taking the 

‘For your Child’s health” probiotic and prebiotic 

 These come in individuals packets and are powdered so can be added to cold drinks and cold food. The range is safe for children, pregnant women, and mothers who are breastfeeding.

 The box contains 30 powders and at one a day (more if desired) they last one month.

 Results

Alice-Sara has always experienced bloating and discomfort and over the week, this is again starting to decrease. Harley has not had any more stomach cramps (These were regular before using the probiotics) his had no constipation what so ever! Bonus!!

 And as for me… (Mum) 

 Product: Maintaining regularity!

 It’s working! Enough said (Hide’s glowing red face and cringes with embarrassment)!

Though this are also good for gaining a flat tum, No that hasn’t happened as yet!

 So, what more is there to say, except… OptiBac Probiotics don’t cost the earth so are really worth a try, especially if your child has autism. Watch this space for another OpticBac progress report soon.

 OptiBac Probiotics Facebook Competition

 Wouldn’t it be great to test run these fabulous supplements for free?

 Enter the facebook competition on the OpticBac facebook page, to bag yourself , child or both, some OptiBac Probiotics!

 Win… Extra Strength premium capsules (that Little man is currently using, and reviewed above) Awesome for those with autism but equally as great for those without.

Win… ‘For your child’s health’ probiotic and prebiotic (as taken by the siblings and reviewed above, good for children with and without autism).

 Win… For Bowl Calm’ trail pack.  Great for upset stomach and can be given from three years plus.

 OptiBac asked me to invite my lovely readers over to their facebook page.

 If you are willing to quickly click the like button, letting them know ‘A Boy with Aspergers’ sent you, before finally sharing the competition by pressing the share button on their page, you’ll be in the running for both kits with a prize value of over £40! 

CLICK HERE FOR THE OPTIBAC FACEBOOK PAGE

 How easy is that!!!

  Most products are Ok for those on, gluten & yeast free, vegan & vegetarian diets and are also free from artificial colourings and sugar. Each of the products vary slightly, check the OptiBac Probiotics website, where you will find a full list of info for each product. 

 Note: The competition is hosted by OptiBac who will draw the winner from random, please see their full T&C when the website by clicking HERE

Remember to let them know who sent you.

Scooby-Scooby-Doo

26 Aug
The Scooby-Doo Show

Image via Wikipedia

Exciting news for all you Scooby-Doo fans (Yes, including this 29 year old mum and her brood).

 For all the latest Scooby-Doo news, including details of new television shows and all the latest Scooby products, (Video games, DVDs, toys, books and more) then get yourselves over to Facebook where you can now discover and be part of the first ever UK official ‘Scooby-Doo fan page’ 

Here, you can find all the above, plus loads of fun scooby-Doo facts, games & art work. Look out for, ‘Monster Mondays’  and ‘Fun Fridays’ when games & fun content is shared, ensuring hours of Scooby-tastic fun!

Click HERE to become a Scooby-Doo fan on Facebook.

As part of the launch the Scooby gang have invited me and the children to become part of the team by reviewing Scooby-Doo’s latest products.

Wow, how could we refuse, after all Scooby happens to be one of my oldest childhood friends, (as I write this the Scooby-Scooby-Doo tune is making it’s way around my head and out my month. What will the neighbours think)!

We received our package last week, from a very smiley delivery man. It was kinda like Christmas, in the fact I had no idea what was being sent out, (well, apart from the fact it was Scooby-Doo related that is).

 We were not to be disappointed when we finally got the box open, for we had been sent the awesome, ‘Hide & Seek Scooby’ Little man too deep in his bus route planning, failed to even look up. However, an extremely excited 8yr old, accompanied by a bouncing 20m old toddler resembling, ‘Tigger’ who was shouting, “See, see” were very keen to get Scooby out of his box.

I have to confess… I was now acting the big kid by declaring, “Mum needs to have a proper look first in order to establish how it works and its suitability, much to the children’s horror!

What you get:

Hide and seek Scooby is a soft interactive toy, that comes together with a remote control which acts as a locator. 

How to play:

The idea of the game is to get someone to hide the Scooby soft toy (be sure to switch him on first) then those with the interactive remote can try to track down Scooby. The locator interacts with Scooby giving the children spoken clues as they go, (a few being, “Your colder than a snowman, and “Your on the right path” etc.) The remote has a light system which also helps the children establish just how close they are to finding him. The light goes blue for cold, yellow indicates you’re getting nearer, and Red means your red-hot (very close to finding him).

Note!

Warning… This toy requires 7  AAA batteries between both Scooby and the remote. This toy is aimed at children 5 years and over.

Putting it to the test:

It was so sweet watching my toddler of 21ms hugging and kissing Scooby. Although the whole concept of the game, is a little much for Harley to understand,the toy itself makes a great cuddle buddy. Harley also had fun finding Scooby alongside his sister. I tried my up-most best to find the most sinister of hiding places, *Evil laugh* Alice loved the clues and the lights which indicate just how close you are to finding Scooby. After about ten minutes she successful found Scooby in the airing cupboard (where the children never visit due to spiders, ha-ha-ha what an evil mummy). 🙂

Verdict:

We all really like the hide & Seek Scooby, even little man had a little go with his sister which makes a pleasant and welcome change from arguing. 

Rating: *****

Hide & Seek Scooby is featured in our Santa’s Little helpers and can be brought from all good toy stores including Argos & Toys R us for £29.99 (price does very)


We all have a right to life

31 Jul

     We all have the right to life!

 As I sat reading through some old post on the blog (as you do) I was drawn to a post I had published in March this year, “With the rise in Measles it’s decision time”

 It was clear from reading the post that the issues I had raised were ones other mothers had felt the need to contemplate at a stage in their children(s) earlier years. It was of an issue full of controversy and remains to be this very day. I wrote it because I needed to express my fears, yet I knew the possibility of a debate could be raised, it was clear I didn’t need nor want one! I was lucky the post didn’t become overloaded with anti vaccine debate, (Shame the same can’t be said for Facebook).

 However, given some of the more recent events that have occurred in my life, I felt the need to write this now and have done so without fear of a verbal battering from overbearing “Anti vaccine campaigners” At this moment in time I’m ready for you, So bring it on!

 So, what is there to say now that couldn’t be said in March?

 OK, here it goes! 

 Dear Anti Vaccine Campaigners  (Yes, those whom have chosen to campaign against the use of vaccine as a way to immunise our children)

 I do ask you ever so politely to please reframe from sending me emails requesting my signature on your anti vaccine petition! Please do not try to add me to your anti vaccine groups on Facebook! I do not want to Re-tweet your anti vaccine tweets when on twitter, nor do I wish to hound those who have chosen to vaccinate their children preaching to them what it is that you believe! 

 Why?

 Because It’s not my belief , nor do I intend to make it mine!

 So, here’s why

 On the very first day of October some ten, almost eleven years ago, I gave birth to the beautiful baby you all know as, “Little Man” It was the year off a new Millennium it was the year 2000. “Me”,  I was just a teen, a very young eighteen (Yes, mum I know that now)

 As the months passed quickly Little man grew and before I blinked he was a toddler. I grew a great deal too! Yes, of course I grew older, “Don’t we all” the growing I’m referring to, is that of the person I was becoming. Little man was a blessing a baby that never cried,(Except for when he had horrid colic) he was a baby that my mother referred to as a, “Little angel” He was easily fixated to the colours that flashed from the telly, the trains at the station and the wheels on his toy car. I weaned him with little problems (apart from his particulars  for finely mashed food). He was a baby and toddler that met all his developmental milestones, even exceeding a few! Yet looking back it was there! The clues, yet so little… What first time mother would notice? My Little man did certain little special things (Yer, they were different, different but oh so bloody amazing all the same)! Admires would glance at him cooing about how clever he was. He walked at a reasonable age through never crawled. He spoke, he spoke too well at times. I considered him a cheeky little monkey as he took my hand using it as a tool to point and pick things up for him. Lazy I had thought! But how wrong, how lazy he was not! Fully potty trained throughout the day and night before the age of two isn’t what most would describe as “LAZY!” 

 My Little man had all his required vaccinations at all the required times! Of course this included that of the MMR and although he almost broke that nurses nose when he delivered an almighty head-butt right on the shaft of her hooter, when attempting his getaway plan. There were no complications at that moment or during the days, months even years that followed. 

Age 4 years was the age in which I began to notice significant differences between that of Little man and his pre schooling peers (Differences that his then nursery had noted too)! Yes, I knew he was somewhat different prior to this age, but in all honesty I didn’t have much to compare his behaviours to. It was the arrival of baby number two, “My little girl, Little mans sister and rival” as he all to often treats her, who was born when Little man was 2 and 6 months old that many issue were raised. 

 Sadly we moved, “Good bye nursery that was so willing to help” Instead we started the long four year battle with the primary school his now escaped. It was only after much upheaval, tiresome and challenging battles that Little man finally got the diagnosis of Aspergers Syndrome just as he turned nine. This was a diagnosis that we had first been told about at our very first CAMHS appointment back when he was just 7 years old. Oh yes, we were told way back then that, “Our little man was very likely to be on the autism spectrum, with Aspergers being the most fitting diagnosis! Gosh what happened in them two years between them words and that final diagnosis is scattered all over this very blog! 

 As for his educational needs, It wasn’t till this year January that we final got the LEA to agree to statement and after the mother of all fights, he was placed in a special school for children with autism! This was just one month ago! 

Back when Little man first attend CAMHS age 7, when I first heard the words Autism My world changed for ever (for one it lead me to this blog back in 2008) I knew that there was a massive controversy surrounding the possible links between vaccines and that of autism. Though this was mainly targeted at the MMR due to it’s administrating of three vaccines within the same time deterioration. I would be lying if I said I didn’t wonder or question the MMR at this point in time, “Of course I bloody did!” but I had a healthy daughter who received that same vaccination, besides, it wouldn’t change the fact he was on the spectrum… I decided to bury it somewhere in my head. I didn’t need answers, I needed to concentrate on the now, for all our sakes! 

 But that changed when my third child was born, my now 20 m old son “Harley” When that time came, I had to dig the question back out and ask my self… Do I want my child to contract a virus such as measles and quite possibly die? Hell NO

Do I want my child to develop autism? Again NO 

Then I asked myself, Do I want my son to catch measles and maybe DIE or do I want to take the chance of my child possibly developing autism therefore avoiding the risk of measles allowing him to LIVE?

 I instantly had my answer! God I called the doctors receptionist within minutes! Two weeks later he was vaccinated.

  I don’t regret my decision, there is NO proven link between that of autism and the MMR! But it’s a known fact that measles can be fatal! Yet despite the, “No Link” being proven you anti vaccine campaigners argue it as being wrong or somehow fixed….I think some just want something, someone to blame! Without that link you have no answers and that hurts! But isn’t it time you focused on what’s important here,”The child” You’re not going to change who they are by embanking on your mission… Its time to embrace your child and deal with the diagnosis.

I will be outspoken and now share my opinion by stating that, “Those that leave their child totally unprotected, opting not to vaccinate a child in fear of autism, are playing Russian Roulette with their own children’s life, as well as that of the life of those at risk like new-born babies to young for vaccination. (I am sorry if I’m offending supporters of the blog, fellow followers on twitter & friends on Facebook, but it’s a view I feel so strongly about.)

 How would you feel if your child passed on rubella to a pregnant woman who ended up giving birth to a baby who was severely disabled including the loss of sight due to the mothers contamination of Rubella during her pregnancy? Would you feel guilty? 

 Last month I received the news that a friend who sadly I had lost contact with 3 years back had lost her daughter to Meningitis (another vaccine that is avoided) her daughter was not yet old enough for that first Jab. This was contracted on her 8th day off life! God this saddens me! 

 I hold no guilt! I can hold my head high as I walk the streets with my children by my side. I know that when a life is lost or a baby is born disabled due to the mother contracting Rubella, It didn’t come from me or my children. 

I told myself, “If the MMR or any other Jab causes my youngest to develop autism then so be it” I’d rather that then risk him never having the opportunity to experience life! 

 There are children in disadvantaged countries that are dyeing every single day. They don’t have that choice, the choice to be vaccinated. Why? Because there is no vaccine, there is no choice, its all about luck, an unwanted gamble, one you all so knowing have no choice in taking. Please Ask them if they had the choice what would they chose! I think we all know the answer. 

 Your child was brought into this world by you, its mother!!!!

Do you want to risk the life of that beautiful child you created, being crawly taken away? Or do you want to do what a mother is there to do, protect!  

raise their child, giving them every chance off a full and happy life (with or without autism) 

 Anti Vaccine Campaigners, I do not apologise for my outspokenness nor do I apologise for giving my children the right to life

Amen  

My first toy giveaway

17 Jul

I’m so excited to be able to bring you all my very first blog giveaway thanks to the lovely Jon over at the fabulous WoodenToyShop, as part of the new blog feature ‘Santa’s Little helpers’

This exciting feature, will see my three little monsters converted into elf’s from now all the way up till December. We plan to build a fantastic Christmas list that showcases some of the hottest toys on the market this coming Christmas as well as those that are great for children on the autism spectrum or those with special educational needs.

With competitions, guest post, money saving offers and tips, plus recommendations on Christmas events. The Santa’s little helpers feature is hopefully destining for success.

As some may already know the little Elf’s Aka my children have already put on there uniforms (Yes, Elf’s don’t only work at christmas) and have started to tell us what they think. This is all thanks to the WoodenToyShop who sent us some toys to review (free of charge) If this wasn’t nice enough they also let us pick something special for the readers. This wasn’t easy! I wanted to choose something that was unisex and appealing to all children especially those like my son on the autism spectrum. Though everyone is different I still struggled so appointed my chief Elf with the responsibility. Little man didn’t disappoint and I hope you all agree!

Win a John Crane Children’s wooden guitar in one of two beautiful designs.

Choose from pink flowers or blue stars.

The guitar is being sold over at the woodenToyShop for a very respectable £21.99 It’s a small but perfectly formed instrument that can be tune easily by little fingers as to allow maximum creativity. It would make a beautiful gift for any budding musician with its pretty pink flower design or its magical blue companion that is decorated with little stars. From age 3 years plus, this guitar is perfect for little hands and fingers and would easily convert your little one into an awesome little rock star.

How to enter this exciting giveaway

  • Follow me (@clairelouise82) & the @WoodenToyShop on twitter (compulsory)
  • Visit and like the WoodenToyShop facebook page and tell them I sent you, “A boy with Aspergers” (compulsory)
  • Leave a comment here telling me you have done all the above and the words PINK or BLUE as to indicate what guitar you prefer if you win. Be sure to leave me an email address or twitter id so I am able to contact you if you are lucky enough to win this fantastic prize (compulsory)

Optional extra entries

Please come back and comment for each action taken, be sure to comment separately as each comment will count as one entry. Maximum entries allowed three

  • Comment on another of my post, return to tell me which one
  • Tweet ( Great toy giveaway via @clairelouise82 http://tinyurl.com/3yjcukj ) comment to let me know you’ve done it.
For the full range of musical toys sold at the WoodenToyShop click here

Competition Is for UK residents only, closes at midnight on the 31st July and will be drawn on the 1st August 2011. The winner will be drawn at random and notified via email or twitter. The competition prize is curtesy of the WoodenToyShop and sent direct. This prize cannot be exchanged for any other product and there is no cash alternative. PLEASE NOTE THAT THE COMPETITION CLOSING DATE HAS BEEN EXTENDED TO 1ST AUGUST MIDNIGHT DUE TO THE SERVICE I USE TO RANDOMLY SELECT A AWINNER IS DOWN. COMPETITION WILL NOW BE DRAWN 2ND AUGUST
Thank You for understanding

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

 

Cybermummy meet and greet

21 Jun

So, here’s my post as part of the CyberMummy 2011 meet and greet.

For all those that don’t yet know what Cybermummy is, then where have you been? Cybermummy is the one and only place for a mummy blogger to be seen at on Saturday the 25th June… Oh my gosh that’s this Saturday, can you tell I’m excited?

It’s a place for all parent bloggers including fathers, to join one another, improve their writing skills, meet with brands, gain blogging tips, participate in fabulous workshops or just mingle

So, as some may know I finally got my golden cybermummy ticket a few weeks back. Yes, a certain fairy godmother offered to send me to the ball, however luck wasn’t on our side as we were unable to get our hands on a ticket (due to the sell out) Then like magic I won a ticket from those lovely people at Lego Duplo via the Cybermummy website.

To make things that much better, I got myself a sponsor! The awesome site LondonTown.com. These lovely people will be putting me up in a hotel meaning I’m gonna get some much needed sleep, and although I will miss them three little angels of mine…. Sleep is really needed!  I’m just hoping Little man doesn’t have to any meltdowns in my absence.

 So, Here it goes…

Name: Claire Louise

Age: 29

From: London

I am a: Cybermummy virgin

Cybermummy sponsor: LondonTown.com

Blog Name: A boy with Asperger’s

About: Parenting three children, one with Aspergers

Blogging since: 2008

Hair colour: Blonde

Height: 5,7



What I will be wearing at Cybermummy: Unsure but likely it’s going to be something black

 Likes: Writing, reading, art, shopping for bags and shoes, raising awareness for autism, good food (only if I’m not cooking it) & lastly, shaking my butt to some tunes (Oh yer… I love to dance)

 Dislikes: bitchy school gate mothers, eggs, lairs  (In no particular order)

 Most excited about: Meeting fellow bloggers &  Mad blog finalist

 Most worried about: Being a Cybermummy loner (don’t all us CyberMummy virgins worry about this)?

 Twitter name: @Clairelouise82

Sponsors twitter: @LondonTown

 Facebook: you can find the link in my sidebar

 Facebook fan page: A boy with Aspergers

That’s about it! So to save me from becoming that CyberMummy Loner please come and say hello.

I’m no Vicky Pallord!

25 May

Warning post contains sarcasm!

I’m a mummy of three, who doesn’t currently engage in paid employment! My hobbies include sitting on my backside smoking an excessive amount of cheap brand cigarettes while indulging in the awesomeness of daytime television. (it’s my opinion that daytime telly is seriously under-rated in its entertainment value).

When my two older children are in school I generally let my eighteen month old run a muck, while I get my daily fix of Jeremy Kyle. As I trust you all, I will let you into a little secret of mine! “I sometimes keep the two older children home from school due to me failing to get my arse out of bed of a morning, that or I require them to babysit their little brother as to allow me some me time! Yes, this is mainly spent socialising and networking on Facebook.”

So, there you have it! I’m basically a total bum who has chosen to live this lavish lifestyle as opposed to getting a, what’s that word again? …Oh yes that’s it, ‘JOB’!!!!

Can you blame me? Given the toss-up between the two, that is…   A lazy day at home in the company of Jeremy Kyle, or… The long commute on an overly crowded train in a bid to get to work five mornings a week! Sorry… Jeremy wins hands down!

Yer right as if! Please tell me you do realise that the above is nothing other than an example of my twisted humour, a hard injection of sarcasm! Come on people seriously…  I’m no ‘VICKY POLLARD

It’s incredibly lamentable that a large proportion of people in today’s society, will all to often draw such conclusions of those above when it comes to unemployed mothers!

I guess it’s all to easy to assume that the mother on benefits who lives in a council house, doesn’t work because its easier this way. You only have to watch television to see some great examples of the stigma surrounding this type of mother! I’m not stating that I myself don’t laugh till my sides are sore when watching ‘Little Britain’ or ‘Balls of steel’ I’m just stating that it’s a shame that in the reality of things, people everywhere actually see us mum’s in this light!

Well, this may well be the case for some mothers, but it certainly isn’t the case for me! I imagine it isn’t for many others either!

So, do I want to work? In actual fact… I do!

I’m not only a full-time mother to three children (one on the autism spectrum), but I’m also a volunteer adviser and caseworker, supporting parents of children with autism and special educational needs through the process of the SEN tribunal in-order to get their child’s educational needs met. My duties include: Advising parents on their legal rights, helping them make an application to the tribunal, then basically guiding those that need it, through the different stages of the appeal from then on till the hearing. I can’t begin to explain how for me this is an incredibly rewarding position! Its one that doesn’t provide me with any financial gain, no form of income! That’s right! I do it because I’m passionate about helping these families overcome the battle of obtaining educational provision for their children! After all, It’s something we as a family have continually faced.

My little man was a very different child, a deeply unhappy one, up in till we removed him from mainstream in December. His currently in home tuition (supplied at the expense of the LEA), since January this year. He was continually excluded from his old school, I was called to collect him almost daily and towards the end he was taught in isolation. Lucky, Little man is set to start a trail placement at a fantastic independent autism specific school at the end of June. All goes well… The school will be named in part 4 of his statement!

So, here’s my point, I do have one I promise! I’m sure many parents of children on the spectrum will agree with me when I say, “Who would want to employ a mother or a father of an autistic child?” I’m being honest when I say, “I wouldn’t employ me!”

Constant calls from your child’s head-teacher requesting you collect your child immediately! They want you to come in just to have a word with them, or calm your child down during a meltdown! To work would be wholly unachievable! Lets state facts here guys, tell it like it is! What decent company with a boss who is well on the ball, would even consider employing a woman like me?

Come November 2011, this mum will be putting the long-term plan into action, the one that sees her go get the career she wants! Yes, this is the date I hope to start studying for my Psychology degree, “The one I couldn’t start this month as previously planed” (Not enough time, what with Jeremy Kyle and all). My study will thankful be done from home with the ‘Open University’ allowing me the flexibility to care for the children and carry on volunteering.

So, you see… I’m not no ‘Vicky Pallord’ (you couldn’t pay me to wear that shell suit)! More importantly I don’t do any of those terrible things, with the exception of them horrid cigarettes (Yes, bad habit I know!) I’m really just a mum trying to do right by her children! Even if that is under the roof of a council house!

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