Tag Archives: help

Let Me Tell You About Matthew!

27 Jan

I only met Matthew a week or so ago, his not even really a friend of mine.

The story of how we met is an important, yet interesting one, that goes something like this!

So, it was late… Gone half past one in the morning. A friend was staying over at mine which meant she was able to watch the children while I dashed to the 24hr petrol garage at the end of my road. Now I don’t normally make a habit of taking late night trips to the garage, but there are times when a girl needs some chocolate and this was very much one of those times.

So… Moving on… Matthew who I was yet to meet, was being quite loud as he walked across the car park leading to the garage. I thought that maybe a couple of lads had likely drunk to much and were now on their way over! Well, I was wrong!

Matthew, around 20 years old, dressed in all the latest clobber (stylish trainers, jeans and a hoody) was walking with a middle aged man and a dog. By now I was busy trying to direct the woman on the other side of the glass window around the shop floor like some crazy lady as I demonstrated a string of erratic arm movements and silly actions in order for her to select the items that I wanted! (seriously, her face when I showed her 5 fingers indicating that I wanted 5 cream eggs was a picture.)

Matthew was now stood staring at me, admittedly, I did feel a little uncomfortable at first! Back at the glass window Matthew then started speaking to me. In all honesty, he wasn’t making much sense when he grabbed ahold of my arm while laying his head on my shoulder and requesting I take him home.

By now a reasonable length queue had formed. People were trying to keep their distance from Matthew who was now making his way down the queue asking those in it a string of strange &random questions mainly surrounding the topic of what car they were driving.

I looked at the guy with the dog, he smiled and shook his head saying… “I’ve just met the young lad can’t seem to shake him off” I nodded as I stroked his dog.

“How do you know his name?” I asked.

“He told me” he replied.

He then went on to state…

“Actually he wouldn’t stop talking about motoring, how certain vehicles are made, who makes them and so forth”

With that something clicked within my head…

“No…. surely not! No… I’m reading to much into it” I thought.

Now, I had paid for my items and should have been heading home. It was late after-all and I didn’t want my friend to worry but something inside me just stopped me from leaving.

Matthew was now stood by my side. He was telling me he was cold and asking for my coat. I explained that I was also cold and that my coat was designed for a woman and wouldn’t actually fit him.

At this point an extremely rowdy woman dressed in very little and so obviously a little worse for wear shouted “For Goodness Sake, he don’t want your coat his going to rob you, you silly cow”

Moving my eyes in her direction, my request for her was that she should simply shout up.

By this point I had decided that I’d probably been gone long enough for my friend to call out a search party so turned around and started to walk away.

The middle aged man and his dog were now ready to leave and I could hear him talking to the dog as he walked behind me. Suddenly I felt the sensation that someone was incredibly close to me. Before I knew it these hands just grabbed ahold of my shoulders. Throwing my whole body around I see Matthew!

“Oi Matthew, Get Off her” Cried the guy with the dog.

“What do you want?” I asked. Followed by the question… “Matthew.. Are you Ok?”

He was now crying, begging that I’ll walk him home. He then went on to tell me through muffled speech that the drunk lady had gone and told him to fuck off!

Something wasn’t right! Matthew may have looked the part, young fresh faced, nicely clothed with one or two cheeky one liners.

Matthew so clearly wasn’t drunk and if he was planning on robbing me I’m sure he would have done so by now!

As I took hold of his arms to move them from me (his grip had become tight and uncomfortable) His sleeve slightly shifted from his wrist and there it was… An ID bracelet. Taking his arm I held it into the light to get a closer look. “Matthew… Do you have autism” I asked as I looked up into his eyes only for him to quickly look away.

“Well, he can’t have!” said the guy with the dog who had come running to my rescue”

“He… He looks so normal” he said as he shook his head in disbelief. Yes, I guess he was displaying a certain amount of ignorance, though intentional this was not! Actually this man was one of the only people in that queue who actually didn’t misjudge him as a robbing thug.

I took out my phone from my pocket and punched in the numbers that were scripted on his bracelet. I then told him I’d be staying right there with him in till his mother had arrived to collect him.

Matthew seemed pleased with that idea and suddenly peace had been restored. We sat on the wall facing the car park, and as we were sat here Matthew went on to share with me his love in motoring. He was incredibly intelligent and had so obviously self taught himself well on the subject. In many ways he reminded me of my Little man.

Matthews mother was lovely. Turns out that Matthew was thought to have been in his room sleeping. She told me that Matthew had a diagnosis of HFA (high functioning autism) sadly he had never been given much support when in education and as a result his social skills were very poor. I then learnt that although Matthew Is capable of going out alone, at night he struggle as he becomes quite frighted. Regardless of this fact, he has such an interest in checking out the vehicles in the car park that he just goes on autopilot. Its only once he has indulged his interest that he realises how late it is and then starts requesting that strangers assist him home. His mother informs me that the bracelet is handy but he forgets his wearing it. It really was lucky I’d seen it as the last time this happened he had ended up spending the night be hide bars.

We walked up together. Turns out they live just off my road.

My friend looked relieved to see me alive and was just about to wake three sleeping kids to come look for me! Lucky for me she understood once I’d explained.

Let… This be a lesson to you all! You really shouldn’t judge a book by its cover.

Things are not always as they first seem… Matthew is proof of that!

Questioning your coping mechanisms

3 Jan
One of Those Days

Image by rosefirerising via Flickr

Some days are great and others… not so great… yesterday was one of the latter!

Unfortunately a family row commenced at home yesterday (something I wont go into on the blog) however I do believe that as a result of this, a series of high-profile challenging behaviour was demonstrated by my little man. In all honesty, the behaviour was off the scale and I really did struggle to maintain sanity!

I do understand that arguments should not break out in front of children, especially those on the autism spectrum, already easily tipped into an overly anxious state of being, but I’m human and there are times certain situations commence, especially when you find half the arguments are caused by something or another your child on the spectrum may have done or said, worse the person who is arguing with you just can’t leave it a lone, refusing to stop!

I thought it would properly be a good idea to take the children to my mothers, we could see my mum and chill for a bit! Little man could spend some time playing the PS3 with my sister’s boyfriend and all should convert to something far merrier! My plan was going ever so well, though as the evening approached, little man began getting worse and worse… before I knew it, he was throwing a load of nasty swear words at me, why proceeding to kick, punch and lastly spit at me.

God I felt like running away and staying away! When your child has a tendency to throw a load of offensive nasties in your face, you tend to get used to it (in a wrong kind of way) though sometimes such obscenities hurt a thousand times more than any violence… and this time his awful name calling was becoming much to hard to bare. Little man finished his almighty meltdown with a hard punch in my arm and a thump in his sisters back, all while his little brother of two sat screaming! It was at this moment I actually thought… Maybe it would be better if his not here any more, maybe he should live some place else!

I felt such a mix of overbearing emotions as I tortured myself over the thought that had entered my head! I felt assumed and heartbroken how I could even think such a thing! Yet.. at that time as he stood showing no remorse for his actions and I watched how he continued to lash out at his sister, I know I couldn’t help it, I just couldn’t! Every time I stood trying so hard to reason with him, he’ll just laugh and swear! I seriously felt complete despair, lost on where we go from here! I just felt like going to bed forever!

Day’s like this, I wonder what happened to my Little red-haired boy? Though he was always noticeably different, he would sit watching his favourite Thomas video or sit happily playing (even if it was mainly alone… he seemed happy, that’s what counted)! Not anymore! I just see an angry child, who gets anxious, depressed, violent, and often acts in quite an evil and scary manner!

As my Little man grows into someone who actually doesn’t resemble that of a little man at all, I fear for him, I fear for us as a family! At 11 he is reaching the stages of puberty and with it I notice so much more anger, the ability to care less about the people who get hurt in the cross fire. I therefore question my ability to control such behaviour, longing for an answer! As the little man grows bigger, stronger and sadly more violent, I worry he will hurt himself, me or his siblings! Though there is one thing that I fear that little bit more…. Asking for help!

My contribution to the world of SEN

11 Sep

A while back I came up with the idea of creating a number of information sheets, that contained information for parents regarding special educational needs (SEN). These would be first published on the blog with the option of a download via my, ‘Goggle Doc’s’. 

 Like always, I took this plan and laid it out bear, for all members of my facebook page to see! This was in the hope of gaining constructive feedback, and establishing just how many people within one group may benefit from such information! The feedback has been overwhelming, with all that responded requesting I push on a head as many are at their wit’s end.

 Bearing in-mind the, ‘Green paper’ and the impact it would have on the way an LEA statemented a child, I was unsure whether It would now be a waste of time to go ahead with such an idea. However, given the response and the fact I’m still seeing a mass of parents visiting the, ‘Boy with Asperger’s facebook page’ on a daily basis, all with the same concerns, relating to the SEN system, especially that of the statementing process, (how it works and what rights they have). I decided to go ahead! 

 Of course these documents will need a complete overhaul, once the new system comes into play, but for now, they may be very beneficial to somebody who is about to, or otherwise already on, the Special educational needs roller-coaster.

 It’s a big old jungle out there, meaning there is a huge amount of information you will require! So… this is how if decided to deliver it!

I will create three sections, these will be… section one,‘Understanding Special educational needs’ (requests, assessments, decisions). Section two, ‘Tribunal, the right to appeal’. Section three, ‘Preparation and the hearing’. Section four, ‘Maintaining a statement of SEN’(annual review, requests & decisions) Section five, ‘Disability discrimination

 Now you know what Sections will be covered, here’s what each will contain!

 Section one, ‘Understanding Special education needs’ (request, assessments and decisions):

  1. Introduction to Special educational needs (SEN)
  2. Stages of SEN & Is my child receiving the right support
  3. Request for a, ‘Statutory Assessment’
  4. Decision to make a, ‘Statutory Assessment’ (Process & time-scales involved in carry out an assessment)
  5. Decision to Statement (Delivered in three sections 1) The proposed statement, 2) Parental choice (type of school, including a break down of options) 3) The final statement.

Section two: ‘Tribunal, the right to appeal’

  1. A refusal to carry out a statutory assessment
  2. A refusal to issue a statement
  3. Appealing the contents of a first Statement (including the school named in part 4)
  4. Appealing the contents of an amended statement
  5. A refusal to amend following a statutory reassessment 
  6. A refusal to change the school named in part 4 of a statement
  7. An LEA’s decision not to amend a statement of SEN following an annual review
  8. An LEA’s Decision to cease to maintain a statement

Section Three: ‘Preparation and the hearing and decisions ’

  1. Mediation 
  2. Witnesses 
  3. Working documents
  4. Representation
  5. The hearing
  6. The decision

Section four: ‘Maintaining a statement’ (annual reviews, requests and decisions)

  1. The LEA’s duty to deliver the contents of a statement (required steps if duty is not delivered)
  2. The right to request the school named in a child’s statement 
  3. Requesting a Reassessment of your child’s special educational needs
  4. The Annual Review process (Including information on an interim review)
  5. The Annual Review Year 9
  6. Annual Review Year 10

Section five: Disability discrimination

  1. Admissions
  2. Every child’s right to education
  3. School trips and education & additional activities (including playtimes, assembles, after school activities)
  4. Unofficial exclusions
  5. Exclusions
  6. Alternative education
  7. Permanent exclusion
  8. Raising complaints
  9. Claiming Disability discrimination and the Law!
  10. The order of the tribunal

 Each section will come with useful links and contacts. Section one, (a) will be posted on Monday the 12 th September. This post will be copied and added to the SEN, Know how! Page (This page will list all the post already published, providing a link for easy allocation). This means you will be able to locate your desired section and its content whenever you require it. It’s a challenge to bring you, my readers, all of the above. But those that know me, even in cyber-space, will know, I love a challenge!

My plan is to cover all the above, depending on how fast I can do so, is yet to be seen. Remember the laws and procedures applying  to Special educational needs are all gearing up for a change (I will adapt this as need be, in-order to fit in with the new Education, health and Social care plans as of when it arises). As for how often I can publish each section and what it contains is random. I’m not prepared to tie myself to a certain day of the week, for one, this would be far to many weeks and at times I may decided to write two at once, or three a week, other weeks, I may have no time to write non at all. SEN is a complicated process, you really do need to be in the right frame of mind to get this out there. You should also remember I haven’t personally been through every single one of the listed above. However, I have been through many, and have read and studied a great deal in the subject. 

 Disclaimer: The information provided, has no bearing on my role as a tribunal adviser with NAS, and the advice provided is given on an independent level through my own choice to help others dealing with the listed issues and is created to form an additional feature to this blog and my facebook support page. Each post will contain a link that enables you to download as a fact-sheet via Goggle Docs. Copyright still remains the same! No one should copy or republish the information without given credit to the author and providing a Link back. If you require the use of this informational for anything but personal reasons, full permission must be sought. Please do not edit any of the wording in any of the post or the downloaded documents (these are provided for personal use only)!

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

 

AND THE WINNER IS…

19 Feb

WOW I WON!

What a fantastic felling it is when you win something. I’m not taking about a win on the bingo although the money is wonderful! I’m taking about the felling you get when you win something for an achievement in something. That something takes work but work you enjoy as you fell it could be you that’s helping to make a difference’ Your helping others and at the same time you get this chance to express yourself and let it all come out. OK i should at lets fill you all in on what it is I’m rambling on about this time! Well i won! What? That’s not important! What is important is that the people that voted for me not only took the time to check out my blog but also felt it was me that should be the winner.

My blog’ This blog got down to the last 5 blogs in a public vote. Then I’m extremely proud to announce it went on to win. The bloggers competition was held and hosted by  the site Autism learning felt.  http://autismlearningfelt.blogspot.com  run and written by Tammy Lessick. My blog button is now featured on the Autism learning felt’s website in the sidebar for one month as my prize for winning the contest:) Thank you Tammy:)

I hope my blog has interested and helped others by me sharing my personal experiences within the world of the Autistic spectrum. I have got to know so many wonderful people through this blog. This alone has made the whole blogging experience a great one. Not only is it great when i get some really touching and uplifting comments but it’s even better when someone offers support or advice on something that I’m having trouble dealing with as they have been there lived it and have become to have a better understanding of the whole situation. 

As the blog has been going so well better then ever expected i have decided to create a website to link with the blog. Kinda funny i know as the website often comes before but that’s just me lol. 

So that’s it  I won and yes I’m proud’  that’s a fact! I’m me Claire Louise just a normal mommy, wife and friend with a huge goal in a small world! But if this blog brings awareness or comfort to just one person it’s one person more then there was ten miniutes before. That brings a smile to my face and I’m proud to admit that.

 

Thanks readers for your ongoing support with this blog:)

Time to tell

14 Dec

Has it reached that time when you have to tell your child that they have Aspergers? It’s a hard and upsetting task as me and my husband found out. Our son Giovanni took the news very well. He asked many questions (he needs all the facts) we answered them the best we could. I said mummy and daddy love you just the way you are. You have Aspergers but that doesn’t change a thing. As you are you. You are Giovanni Sarcone;)
When looking on the net for Advice I came across a fantastic blog. http://ramblingsofafrazzledmom.blogspot.com within this blog I discovered a post that was very moving but enjoyable to read this is the post that helped me when it was time to tell. Maybe it could help you too?
Super blog that I will visit again:)

Aspergers sites.

10 Dec

When i first heard that my son may have Aspergers i wasn’t sure where to turn for help.

If your new to my world then I’m guessing you are in search of some answers and like myself have turned to the Internet find them. I hope that this site helps you along but I’m a mother not an expert. And as this blog is fairly new i fault i would share some off the great AD sites that have helped me  over the past few years.

www.aspergerfoundation.org.uk

www.AspergersSociety.org

www.oaasis.co.uk

www.assupportgrouponline.co.uk

www.aspergers.com

www.aspect.org

 

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