Tag Archives: interview

What A Bummer!

5 Nov

Just a quick one…. I have a terrible tooth and earache and need to neck some Solpadelne before resting my head on my pillow… That is once my children stop terrorising me with their moaning and constant arguing. There is simply nothing worse than children’s menace like behaviour when your ill or in pain.

Well, I thought I should pop on to inform my readers that despite being lucky enough to make it to the final 10 in the “Smartest Shopper Competition” which involved having an interview with the lovely judges in London last Saturday, I sadly, didn’t go on to win.

It was a long week waiting to discover which one of us 10 finalist would be crowned the smartest shopper winning the opportunity to write a new money saving blog and 10K in prize money. I was finally put out my misery on friday some six days later. I don’t know who won. I do know a few other finalist who didn’t win but like everyone else I’m still waiting to hear who did bag this wonderful prize. I’ve heard that its being announced on Tuesday (why Tuesday and not Money I’m unsure). I just had to write this as over the weekend I’ve had some lovely messages wishing me good luck and felt I should just let my readers know.

Am I disappointed? God, of course I am… Savoo don’t know what they are missing… 😉

I wouldn’t be human if I wasn’t a bit gutted. The blog would have been a great new project for me and the fact I would have had the support of Savoo behind me would have been excellent. Then there is the money! I won’t pretend like its nothing… Because it is! I’m not well off at all and how often do You get that close to owning £10,000 in these tough economic times… Well, for me… Not often at all!

Throughout the competition I never said what I’d do with that money if I won and surprising no one asked… Not even the judges during the interview which i surprised me as I kind of expected them to, what with the competitions focus on money. I didn’t want to write about it in case I jinxed myself… Super superstitious is me!

I know it really doesn’t matter now, but I’m just going to be a tad sad and tell you anyway.

So, what would I have done with £10,000 then? Well, I knew exactly what I would have done with it.

Booked a family holiday to Disney and Universal studios, Florida. All my kids would love to holiday here but its something little man has been requesting for ages since hearing all about our neighbours adventures last summer. Despite this, he remains anxious about flying and has requested we only fly with virgin, as its owned by Richard Brandson, his idol. So I’ll continue to save for the families dream holiday.

Secondly, I would have upgraded my Mac Air as this one is playing up (though I think its only the battery which apple need to replace)!

Number 3 I’d done the rest of my Christmas shopping removing that pending stress.

Lastly and most importantly, I’d invested the rest in a new business. One I’d love to make happen in the very near future. It may now take a little longer then I wanted but I will still make it happen. How do I know? Well, simply because I’m passionate about it and believe in myself.

I don’t want to say to much, after all my ideas are not yet protected. What I will say its a fabulous idea… if I do say so myself.

Its always hard when you get so very close to something you want then it doesn’t happen. But experiences are important and like they say… everything happens for a reason!

I’m sure Savoo have found themselves a fantastic winner to work with… So very well done, whoever you are?

So… What about writing more about saving money! Well, my very clever little man who helps me save money in the supermarkets with his mental math skills and great ability to work out the best deal on the spot… has been suggesting a few new ideas and different angles (I think he thinks his my agent sometimes)! Nonetheless his suggested some good ideas backed up with some valid points and I can’t believe I’m saying this, but… I think I may just take the 12 year olds advice.

He thinks that I should still write a money saving and maybe one day create a new platform to share it!

You see… Its not all meltdowns and school exclusion. My little man is an extremely intelligent boy who would one day make the perfect business man.

So… There you have it. Here’s hoping that as one door closes another will open.

Thanks for reading & have a brilliant week.

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Words Written By Me

28 Oct

Wow… What an incredible week its been.

First off I discover I’m one of 10 finalist for the SavooSmartest Shopper Competition” then I go on to be interviewed by four great judges in London.

The competition has a great prize attached. The prize money is generous but you are also given the opportunity to write a “Money Saving Blog” with support from Savoo.

Did I feel incredibly shocked yet incredibly excited about getting this far in the competition? God, Yes…

No matter how far I get in any sort of writing related awards or competitions I still always find that need to pinch myself and pinch myself hard.

Why? Well, there are a few reasons for this but there is one that stands out particularly!

I could say that blogging has opened many doors for me, given me something to tell the grand children (in the FAR away future) but I won’t… Instead I will say how Writing has opened such doors for me instead.

Yes, without the blog how could I do the things I’m doing? But its what goes on the blog that should be noted, after all… What’s a blog without its content.

I wrote a post a while back that spoke about my writing and the reasons why I’d never imagined myself doing what I’m doing today. You see, writing was never my thing (just read this), if anything expressing myself through written content was something I struggled with and therefore disliked immensely! I remember my English teacher telling my mother how I had this amazingly creative mind that I was just wasting by not using it to reach my full potential! Once she started that if I could just put down on paper that creative vocabulary of mine, then we could sell books. I knew even at 12 that this was sarcasm. I’d been a bit of a diva and spoken back to the teacher who was simply not impressed with what I had to say (I had detention for weeks to follow). However, she was always impressed by whatever writing I’d reluctantly produce and she did think that by continuing to write I’d open up a whole new inner passion that I never knew I had.

“Blah blah blah…” I’d think to myself as I impatiently tapped my finger nails on the desk while yawning in an exaggerated manner. Teachers were never right, not by this girls knowledge anyway! I actually remember being sat thinking “Oh stop banging on about it miss… Its Not gonna happen!”

I often sit wondering what she would say if she see me now?

I’m not claiming I’m the best writer! I never read the stuff I’ve written and think to myself wow girl… You sound amazing, go write for a living!… Though I did actually make myself cry once when reading a post id written some months after I’d first published it! My point being, I’m always immensely humbled when I receive an email from a reader complimenting my writing style. I am used to getting emails from readers claiming that I’m an inspiration for sharing my life as a parent to a child with Aspergers and sen. I’d also get those thanking me when I would help them access educational services or advise them on the education laws surrounding their child’s special educational needs. And although i’m just about getting to grips with such words, its those emails and comments that claim my writing to be anything other than bog standard that leave me shocked yet amazed.

If you had asked me as a small primary child or even a raging mad hormone infused teen, if I’d ever see myself writing in the future, and more to the point… actually enjoying it , you can be bet your house on it that I’d quickly respond with with a swift “NO” followed by a burst of giggles (the type that implies you must be insane to even ask).

What I’ve leant is… Miss Whitehead, you were right! Yes, I love to write, I do express my feelings so much better on paper, and if I could chose to do anything during my “Me Time” I’d do exactly what I’m doing now… I’d write!

Did I want to grow up and find myself writing a blog? No!

Did I ever think I’d see any of my writing published in print? No!

Did I ever dream I’d be nominated for any type of blogging awards? No!

Did I ever once think Id go on to collect a Mad blog award (inspirational) in the name of my blog “A boy with Aspergers” for not one but two consecutive years? Whatever… This one is followed by that Swift burst of giggles that again imply your craziness.

Did I ever imagine that people would read about my little self and that blog of mine in the papers? Ha-Ha-Ha… Joker!

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I’ve learnt that by combining my passions with words and sharing them through written material in whatever format I choose, I’m able to gain something back that is incredibly rewarding! That something is the knowledge that by doing something I love I’m providing others with something they relate too, laugh at, learn from, take inspiration from or simply just enjoy!

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That is something wonderful… And Its something I’m not planning on stopping… Not for a very long time.

So, whether I’m blogging about the ups and downs of parenting a child on the autism spectrum, what I’m wearing, how to make your own face mask, sharing tips on how to get the most out of eBay or simply where to get the best shoes for the littlest price, it doesn’t matter… Why?

Because each would mean nothing without the passion I hold for the things I believe in, the things I enjoy and finally the desire to translate them into words, words written by me.

Every time something amazing comes from something I’ve typed on my Mac… I go through these same motions!

Its these motions that have inspired me to blog today… Who knows what tomorrow may bring.

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Questions & Answers

20 Feb

I was recently tagged by the lovely Kate over at “Kate on thin Ice” to answer 11 questions, before writing my own 11 questions and tagging some more lovely bloggers. Below are my answers to Kate’s questions

1. If you could wave a magic wand and change one thing about mums, what would it be and why? As a mother to a child on the autism spectrum as well as two other children, I’d wave my wand, in the hope of removing the ignorance towards mothers of children with autism, an ignorance that far to many of our society display today. Although I’ve become accustomed to the stares, looks of horror on the faces of my fellow shoppers, during one of Little man’s supermarket style meltdowns, to such an extent it doesn’t affect me as it once did! I’d still make it magically better if I could, especially for those parents new to this difficult, yet highly rewarding challenge of parenting a child with a hidden disability!

2. How many hours or minutes of housework do you do per day? However many time will permit! I have to admit, their father is a dab hand with the vacuum cleaner, I’m more of a sorter (you know, separating the lights and, darks for the wash, embarking on a mission to pair together socks, organising the cupboards and dealing with the bills)!

3. If you could change careers, what would you change to? Well, right now my career is taking care of my children. Little man is now in an independent special school more suited to his needs, my daughter continues to do great in school, while my youngest Harley who has just turned 2 is entertained by myself during the day. I do however volunteer helping parents of children with autism to get their child’s special educational needs met in way of a statement of SEN. I help when the LEA has turned down the request to assess or when the end of the assessment results in the failure to issue a statement and the parents are taking the route of the tribunal. The training I did was awesome and my very high pass marks were a result of my desire to help other families (especially as I’ve gone through the whole procedure with the extra addition of a disability discrimination claim I had filed against his “then”  mainstream, primary school… to which the school later backed down on, resulting in us coming to a settlement and an apology given to my son, one I had been waiting for, for what felt like forever).

Although Ive developed a strong interest to issues surrounding Education Law, and also that of child psychology and mental health, I now see myself changing directions and have considered doing something that involves me working for myself therefore giving me flexibility which I need having three children, one with additional needs! Yes, I have some ideas, though I’d rather not say anything just yet (watch this space)!

4. What is your favourite cocktail? Has to be a Mojito though it’s not often I drink, well, apart from the odd class of white here and there!

5. What is your claim to fame? Being me, surly… someone’s got to notice me sometime soon! Serious through, I do have a bit of a big mouth, so thought, why not exercise it in a productive manner! You see, I’m considering becoming the stalker of the man who lives at number 10! I feel someone needs a word with him before the country finally crumbles and disappears! Why not me? I’m sure that will do something for both our public profiles 🙂

6. What is the quirkiest object in your home? My son of course, his so very quirky but in the greatest possible way! Would I change this quirkiness? Hell no! Its part of who he is, plus I think quirky is very much all the rage at the minute!

7. Charity Shop Or Designer Boutique? As much as I love a Designer Boutique, which I normally only get to see from the outside these days…  A good Charity shop, wins every time. I love the whole excitement that comes with finding that unique item, the discovery of a beautiful find, marked up at a bargain of a prize! I go to some lovely charity shops and have been known to make a day out of it with a friend! Jumping in her car, we will drive some distance just to find them hidden little gems in tiny villages, or well sought after locations. Yes, I’ve had my fair share of magpie finds, one of my most recent, a real pair of women’s Ray bands in the children’s brick and brac box! How much?… A tiny 20p

8. How many hours of the day are you away from your own house? These days, not many! When Little man was in mainstream though I did seem to spend more time in his school then he probably did! The problem now is, you try to get the things done, that you can’t with all three at home, before you know it, its afternoon, leaving little time for the walk in the park you had planned with your toddler.

9. What is your guilty pleasure? Twitter & pinterest while sipping something chilled from the fridge and munching on a Lindor egg (you know… the red ones the size of a creme egg but with a far better centre)!

10. Retro or Modern? Both, though Retro in the home is a big hit with me right now! I love the vintage floral looks, pale pastel shades inspired from the 40s and 50s… I’m dead girlie, love shabby chick, classic and pretty vintage finds. I’m currently redecorating my bedroom, though at this moment it’s an overcrowded space, with bare walls! I want to ensure I have everything I need, to create that dreamy creation in my mind, and think I’m going to try to pin my way there on Pinterest.

11. What is the one challenge you are most proud of overcoming? This is likely to be the challenge to get my son’s special educational needs met, a statement of SEN, a place in a special school and of course a fight to prove my son was being discriminated against within his mainstream school. I hit some massive lows, cried many tears and in the earlier years of his life I even found myself on Prozac! Pre-diagnosis, I felt like I was screaming yet no one looked up. I was even taken to court for school attendance issues despite my child not sleeping of a night, having to be carried in the gate, massive meltdowns, so bad that even Supernanny could not have fixed them (she, was actually filming a family on my mothers road last summer and couldn’t get away quick enough when my Little man started throwing himself about and shouting some form of inappropriateness for the world to hear! I dare to think what she thought, though actually, now, I couldn’t give a hoot!

So here’s my 11 questions I want bloggers to answer!

1. How old was you when you gave birth to your first child & was this planned?

2. How did you feel both physically and mentally following the birth of your child, for example, how long before you felt yourself again, fitted in your old clothes, returned to work etc.?

3. Did you experience the “Baby Blues” or suffer postnatal depression? If yes, are you over this, slowly getting better, or maybe things are still quite hard?

4. What are your family values?

5. Are you a SAHM or a Working mother?

6. So, why did you start your blog?

7. Do you feel less isolated when blogging and interacting with other bloggers through social networking sites and if applicable, blogging events?

8. Are you going to Britmums Live and if yes… what are your reasons for wanting to attend? “waving hand in the air… I’ll be there”

9. As a blogger do you ever help the promotion of certain charitable organisations or engage in campaigns for a good course? If yes, what charities and why?

8. What’s the most amazing experience you and if applicable, your children, have experienced as the result of your blog?

9. Do you have a goal you want to achieve as a result of you’re blogging talent? Maybe it’s to write an E- Book, start an online business, start vlogging, or like me begin self hosting (I think I’ll be taking this leap in the early summer)?

10. Name one blogger who regularly inspires you

Finally…

11. What piece of advice would you offer to a new blogger or anyone considering starting a blog?

Now I tag

The Rules:

You must post these rules.
Each person must post 11 things about herself on their blog.
Answer the questions the “tagger” listed for you in her post, and create 11 new questions for the people you tag to answer.
Choose 11 people to tag and link to them in the post.
Let each blogger know that you have tagged them.

Also please leave a comment for me after you have joined in so I can take a look at your answers.

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.

I Judged The Argos Find The Face Competition

1 Dec

As some of you may already know, I was recently asked to join the judging panel for the ‘Find the face of the new Argos kidswear’ competition that was taking place at the ideal home shows christmas spectacular at Earls Court London a few Saturdays ago.

 I had been sent all the images of the chosen 40 finalist (20 girls and 20 boys between the ages of 4-10) in preparation for the big day. I have to admit that the standard of competition was pretty high up there, I was defiantly going to need to meet these Little people in the flesh before coming to any kind of decision, which understandable would prove to be extremely difficult.

The 40 fabulous finalist 

 As mentioned in my last post on the subject, the winners (one boy and one girl) would not only become the face of the new Argos Kidwear range but would also bag themselves a years modelling contract with the fabulous modelling and talent agency ‘Alphabet Kidz’ along with a whole other host of awesome treats. 

 Considering the above, I would think that, “Yes, this would be a big deal for some of these children and their families.” It felt totally weird knowing I was going to play some part in this huge decision that could possibly be a life changing experience for these kids.

 I’ve worked with a number of brands, I’ve attended some great events from festivals with the children to dinners and conferences with other bloggers. I’ve done a number of in-depth product reviews and run some pretty fabulous competitions! However, I’ve never quite done anything on this scale before! This was so totally new to me. Nonetheless, I was overly excited and as always love the challenge of something new.

 I think its great that Argos called in a judge who is completely independent to the company or that of the modelling agency, a judge who would be completely impartial when making a decision. Honestly this decision wasn’t an easy one, it was such a tough job and I  think we all wanted to pick them all (well, I certainly did)!

 I arrived at the Ideal Home Show Christmas Event with my 8 years old daughter Alice-Sara and my good friend Donna around 2.30pm.

 Unfortunately we had got off the tube a stop to early then walked the wrong way, and despite making it within plenty of time, I had endured Alice-Sara’s constant whining and struggled to cope with the horrid pain caused by the monster heels that graced my throbbing feet!

 The front of the exhibition centre had been transformed into something of a winter wonderland! Giant white christmas trees with twinkling lights lit the entrance, Christmas music played, and on entering the exhibition centre I was covered in a layer of glittering white snow (well, not real snow of course but pretty close)! It was all so magical and made it that bit easier to fall into the Christmas way of things. 

My daughter Alice-Sara checking out the Christmas Tree at the Ideal Home Show 

 Inside I was taken aback by the sheer size of the place, despite living in London, I really haven’t had the pleasure of visiting the exhibition centre before. 

 Despite the size of the place, it was extremely busy on our arrival so we quickly headed for the catwalk where the final would play out. Everyone was incredible friendly, Alice Sara loved it, she especially liked her Argos badge that she even took to school on the Monday (god knows what she did with it once she got it there). The badge allowed her to come backstage with mum and say hi to all the lovely finalist. It was here I meet my fellow judges, a buyer from the Argos kids range and 2 representatives from Alphabet Kidz. I was given a press pack and after a few minutes I took my place at the end of the catwalk with my fellow judges.

 Seriously this was one hell of a tough task and I couldn’t do it everyday(hats of to Alphabet kidz)! I can honestly say that all the children were totally and utterly amazing! The children walked the catwalk in pairs before engaging in a short interview with the presenter, who is used to the cameras given she’s one of the presenters from the Argos TV channel, the same channel that the two winners will also get the privilege to feature on once they become the adorable faces of the new Argos kidswear range

Me (middle) & my fellow judges. Check out them shoes.

 As mentioned the children came out and did their thing in pairs, First the girls and lastly the boys. They weren’t on stage all that long but it was defiantly long enough to get a taster of their personalities. I was quite surprised as a couple who I had ashamed would be quite confident, were more shy and reserved (shows never judge a book by its cover) nonetheless this was in no means a bad thing, I just think it proves that an image alone can’t always give you the full picture. The decision was a hard one and a couple of the kids gave me a big smile when they reached the end of the catwalk and were stood right before me. Every time it happen I found the decision-making process that bit more overwhelming.

Above some of the awesome finalist take to the catwalk like a duck to water

 Lucky for me, the fellow judges and I were on an even par as we had all chosen at least half of our top 6 girls and top 6 boys to be the same which made whittling it down to the 2 winners a little easier.

What a beautiful photo, how proud must their parents be!

 The remaining ten were then announced as the runners-up, all receiving an awesome goody bag.

Above: Some of the final ten and the Argos TV presenter 

And our winning two? 

 These were…

Girl: Lilly-Rose Aslandogdu

Boy: Ellis Duke Mccullagh

Above Ellis and Lilly-Rose the New faces of the Argos Kids wear range.

There were both fabulous as were all the finalist!

It was such a lovely moment seeing their names announced and there reactions to the news. 

 I had the privilege of giving the children their awards and it must have been the mother in me as I could honestly feel myself welling up! God only knows how their proud parents held it together.

 It was such a touching moments when Ellis was announced as our boy winner, he was totally overjoyed to have won and surprisingly a tad surprised (though I don’t know why as his just lovely).

 I also have to add how much I adore Lilly-Rose’s haircut, what a proper little fashion icon I can see her becoming! She has the hair cut I want and has actually inspired this 29-year-old woman to have the same do. 

Above: Lilly-Rose, the hair cut that inspires me 

Just as we thought it was all over there was another surprise! The lovely team at Argos presented me with the loveliest bunch of beautiful pink flowers that smelt and looked divine. 

Above: My stunning pink flowers presented to me on stage

 Thank you Argos

 I really can’t wait to see little Lilly-Rose and Ellis on our TV screens and modelling for the Argos kidswear. I guess I’ll feel a tad proud knowing I had a part in getting them there!

Oh… For those of you who didn’t know, Emma Burton (former spice girl and presenter of at Heart 106.2 fm) is helping design a new range of the fabulous kidswear at Argos, So… watch this space!

 So… as you can see, I had an excellent day and so did my friend and daughter who came a long for the ride.

 After the show was all wrapped up we checked out the rest of the exhibition that was totally fabulous despite the fact I spent all my weeks pennies! 

 Oh and before I wrap this up, let me tell you! 

 Deciding to wear my gorgeous Dune shoes was possible the worst decision of my life! Yes, I did come armed with a bag of flats but unfortunately left the bag in the car which was back in the station car park five minutes from my home back in South London! Given I had got off the tube a stop too soon, got lost and walked a mile to get to the show, my feet were already paying the price before the Argos catwalk had even began. I had no choice but to walk around the exhibition centre shoeless. My god, did I learn a valuable lesson! Heels were defiantly not to be worn at the Ideal home show.

Check out the awesome kids wear range by Clicking HERE

Recent review of the current kidswear range can be found over on this blog

A-Z Of Me

28 Nov

OK, I was actually tagged to do this post entitled the ‘A-Z of me’ in  WAIT FOR IT… September! Yes, useless I know! I discovered I had been tagged by the fabulous & lovely Heidi  writer of the blog ‘Him, me & three’ via ttwitter! I checked out Heidi’s post, thought, “Great idea let’s get started” yet somehow got distracted, as you do! Only to be reminded some 2 or more months later when Mummybird (another lovely blogger) posted her A-Z of me after being tagged.  I do wish to add that I only discovered that mummybird had written the A-Z of me, due to her taste in men! “Mummybird if you are reading this…. KEEP YOUR MITTS OF ROBBIE, HIS MINE WOMAN, MINE…”

SO, my fashionably late article, just like it’s writer is finally live… Here is the A-Z of me!

 Me in my festive get up.

Anorak… Do you have a sad side? I have a little bit of a stationary obsession and can’t help buying pens, diaries, note book, anything stationary really! I guess that is a tad sad isn’t it?

 BODY…What physical attribute would you most like to change? What part wouldn’t I like to change should be the question! Seriously I want my pre-preggers body back, it was dead easy with the first two, not with Harley his almost 2 and I still can’t get back in my size 8s… Gutted, but working hard on a number of keep fit projects… Bring it on!

 CELEBRITY…Which one would you most like to date and why? Robbie William’s  is a little bit of alrite isn’t he 🙂 but his now a taken man and I’m feeling pretty upset about that actually! Why would I like to date him? Do I really need to answer that? (Mummy bird, you really need to keep your eyes of my Robbie)   

 DEBUT …Tell us about your first ever blog post. What made you start blogging? I introduced myself, talked about Little mans autism and ranted about the system and how slow….. It was. I look back and think to myself how rather poor my blogging skills were back then, though it helps me to appreciate how far along my writing skills have developed! I may not be the best writer or have the top marks for grammar but I inject passion into what I write and I really hope that comes across to my readers!

 ERROR …What’s been your biggest regret?  Not finishing school because eventually you have to do even more to get where you wanna be! Its better to work your arse of when you’re a youngster so you can rake in the benefits as early on as your twenties. Despite this, I do believe it doesn’t take an A level or even masters degree to make a success of your life!

 FUNNY – who’s making you laugh? I think Lee Nelson is a very funny dude, its my childish side, I just can’t help but laugh at his Dr Bob and Faliraki Nights sketches! Also a big fan of Lee Evens and Russell Howard! 

 GRAND…If we gave you one right now what would you spend it on? If I’m honest I’d be dead tempted to get myself a new Macbook (currently have Mac air and though it’s stunning I need to move on!) I’d also quite like to get me mitts on a nice ipad 2! But what I want and what I get is two different things altogether! Yes… with three children & a Christmas list as long as my arm, plus the added addition of having a huge family network, I’d more than likely spend it on Christmas.

 HOLIDAY… What’s your favourite destination? Greece (Island of Rhodos) I lived and worked there when I was just 17 years old, gosh they were the days! Don’t get me wrong, although I love my children more than life itself, I do miss them days of sun, sea, sand, fish bowls, cocktails and late nights (Oh, yer I guess I still get plenty of late nights, don’t I!)

 IRRITATE… What’s your most annoying habit? The fact I keep using the word ‘Awesome’ God I don’t know where it came from, I don’t say it ever, just write it, why? I really don’t have a clue, I come across like some beach dude. AWESOME!!

 JOKER…Whats your favourite joke {the one that makes you laugh everytime you hear it}? I saw a bloke Moonwalking in the street. He was really good so I went over to commend him on his silky Jackson moves. He said “Get lost smart arse, I’ve got dog s*** on my trainers” Well, I honestly laughed loudly as I sat on the bus when I read this in a text from my nutty mate! She sends me at least 5 great jokes a day! 

 KENNEL… Do you have any pets? Yes, I have two kittens, two very naughty kittens I might add.

 LOVE…Are you single, married, engaged, living with a long-term partner? Live apart I have three kids already!

 MEAL… Whats your ultimate starter, main and dessert? Italian Salad followed by a pasta dish of some sort and finished of with Cheese cake. A couple of bottles of white makes a cracking addition wouldn’t you agree?

 NOW…If you could be anywhere right now where would you be and who with? I’d be in either in Greece or Italy with the children.

 OFF DUTY…What do you do in your spare time? When I have some precious free timeI blog, blog & blog some more! When I’m not blogging I social network (Holds hands up, Yes I’m a twitter head) I also volunteer for NAS, catch up with friends and family and when the funds allow it… I shop!

 PROUD MOMENTS …What are you most proud of? My three children, I’m proud how far Little man has come, and how his now embracing his Aspergers. I’m proud of my daughters ability to cope so well when things get tough, and the amazing developments my almost two-year old is making every single day, though I wish he would stay small forever, I really do! 

 QUEASY …What turns your stomach? Needles I loth them, I fear them, I run from them!!!

 RELAX…How do you relax? Writing here on the blog while blasting music through my ipod, (It’s the only way I can process my thoughts, to drown out the background noise, which tends to reach high levels in my house. I also like to read, tweet with a glass of white and a naughty ciggy! I also love to get deep into some art, or tend to unwind shopping for shoes… One of life’s little pleasures!

 SONG…Whats your favourite song of all time? I love music and listen to music more than I watch TV. I like far to many songs to choose just one, I also like a wide range of music from old skool garage, to a bit of Cold play.

 TIME …If you could go back in time and relive it again, when would you choose? The last time I saw my Grandmother, If I knew it was going to be the last, I would have said a whole lot more, I would have been sure to tell her I loved her though I’m sure she knew, I would have still have liked to have said it that one last time! 

 UNKNOWN…Tell us something about yourself that no one else knows? That Nobody else knows? Your seriously crazy, that would be a secret and a serious one if I was the only one that knew! So… Forget it, I’m staying zipped!

 VOCAL…. Who is your favourite artist? Really couldn’t say I have to many. 

 WORK….. What is your dream job, and are you doing it now?  Solicitor specialising in education law (no, I’m not doing it now)! I’d also like to write for living and own my own brand.

 XRAY…Any broken bones? Just my little toe, the hospital didn’t need a xray to confirm.

 YIKES…What’s been your most embarrassing moment? Realising my skirt was tucked in my knickers at school (sad thing was I only discovered this once I had walked through a crowded assembly hall) The red face of shame, I’ll never forget it!

 ZOO…. If you were an animal, which one would you be? It’s got to be a chimp, cute but all so bloody cheeky.

I don’t have a clue who has been tagged already, what with this post being so…. late who bets I tag someone to do this A-Z, who has already done it? Looks certain I will doesn’t it! 

Ok if you have done this then “whoops, I’m sorry!”  I tag… 

A step in the right direction for autism thanks to Anna Kennedy

21 Oct

I recently contacted Anna Kennedy as I read about a new dance DVD she had developed for children with autism and aspergers syndrome

 Anna’s DVD, ‘Step in the right direction’ has been produced in association with the world-famous, ‘Pineapple performing Arts school’ in London and a selection of children from the Hillingdon Manor school who each have a diagnosis of autism spectrum disorder.

 Anna was kind enough to send me a copy of the DVD to review with my Little man.

 Little man used to love to dance but as his grown older he does it less and less. I thought it would be great to try to encourage him to give it another go.

Little man is a child who requires a certain amount of Occupational therapy (OT) due to his difficulties with both his fine and gross motor skills, including varying areas off his co-ordination. 

 Once I had received the DVD I decided to watch it while little man was at school, just so I could get a taste for what it was all about before finally introducing it to the Little guy himself. 

 This DVD has been broken up into manageable pieces allowing you to skip between sections.

 Part 1

Introduction by Anna Kennedy

Anna Kennedy


 Anna Kennedy, founder of Hillingdon Manor school, kicks the off  the DVD with an introduction that sees here shop for pineapple dance wear for the children before heading off to the Pineapple performing arts school in London’s Covent  Garden.

 Part 2

Interviews

 Once here she introduces the viewers to some of the dance instructors at Pineapple including, ‘Maggie Paterson’ (Senior teacher) ‘Jade Flannagan’ (Senior teacher specialising in Street & Break-dance) as well as the schools founder, ‘Debbie Moore’ Anna interviews Maggie & Jade about working with the children and what their expectations were before meeting them.

 Anna, then goes on to interview Debbie who tells us about her incredible journey in fulfilling her dreams when opening what is now the world-famous school of performing arts, while taking us on a trip down memory lane.

Debbie Moore

Lastly all the children introduce themselves alongside Anna who then goes on to get them all warmed up in the third chapter of this dance DVD

 Part 3

Tutorials

This is where we get down to the business and following a great warm up section with Anna and the children, Jade steps in to show us some poppin’ lockin’ & tuttin’ (some really “cool” dance moves). Jade starts by teaching us at home the routine, he does this in easy to follow bite size pieces repeating each section a number of times before finally putting it all together and joining the children where they go on to perform the routine, incorporating some really cool freestyle dance moves, which for me was the highlight to this DVD. 

 It was great to see the children dancing, the enjoyment was clearly shown on each of their faces in the form of a massive smile! 

They are all clearly delighted to be taking part in the making of the DVD and should be extremely proud of themselves and one another for the fabulous routines they participated in and awesome freestyling they displayed. 

 The tutorials are finished off with a cool down with Maggie and the children.

 Section 4

Special features: Britain’s got talent finalist-James Hobley

Anna with James and his mum Sheila

Here Anna meets James and his mother, Sheila Hobley who tells Anna about what life is like for James (how he overcomes many off the difficulties children with autism experience, while fulfilling his ambition and dreams to dance). We learn about the barriers James has overcome and  difficulties he faced while participating in the ‘Britain’s got talent tour’ as-well as his hopes and dreams for the further.

 James goes on to show Anna some of his moves, to which she has a little difficulty keeping up with 🙂

We then get to see a delightful recording of James Hobley’s own routine.

 Lastly Andrew Stone (Star of sky 1 Pineapples dance studios with over 30 years of experience in dance, music and television) works with the children of Hillingdon Manor school on a small and final routine bringing the section to a close. 

 Section 5 &6

Useful Information & Additional Materials 

 In the last two sections 5 & 6 you can discover a little more about two of the sponsors behind the DVD, ‘MedicAlert’ (who Anna helped create the AK autism band) and ‘Childline’ (the UK charity backing Anna’s anti bullying campaign). 

We are then provided with the website address for “Anna Kennedy online” where we can read and download a number of fact sheets about the benefits of autism and dance.

These can be found at Anna Kennedy online.

Click HERE

Our Verdict

 Little man did have a go at the DVD and seemed to enjoy doing so. (He did however get a little upset when I tried to film him so we gave that a miss.) 

 His sister, ‘Alice’ who isn’t on the spectrum also enjoyed taking part, although she did spend half the time catching a glance of her self in the mirror. 

 In my opinion the routines are great! They have been put together in an easy to follow way and are not overly long, resulting in the children actively maintaining concentration throughout

 The music was fantastic, some really great tunes that made me want to shake my bootie too. 

 Anna engages the children in a great warmup routine that both myself and the Little man followed together.

 Jade Flannagan is the perfect choice for the main routine as his young and hip and the children really seem to relate to this guy.

Jade works with the kids really well and keeps them motivated with lots of positive praise and encouragement. One thing I did pick up on was there was no use of the word left and right within the choreography! Instead Jade used visual clues alongside instructions, like, placing a hand on his right arm along with the instruction on what to do, indicating that the children and viewers were to use the right arm. For me, I think this was a good idea, as the children did not become confused at the use of to many instructions at one time.

 The freestyle was the best part for me. I just loved seeing the children demonstrate their moves as their confidence was beaming throughout!

 I would highly recommend this DVD as an introduction into dance for children on the autism spectrum and even those without! I think it’s especially beneficial to those who seek lots of sensory stimulation. Children on the autism spectrum who discover an interest in dance, would benefit both physically and emotionally from such an activity. Such benefits could include, improved co-ordination skills and overall fitness and stamina, improved social interaction skills and the ability to follow more complex instructions, and importantly, development of their self-confidence which may be pretty low for those who have experienced incidents of bullying or isolation. Another excellent benefit that I found was, your child is more likely to sleep better if they follow the routines on the DVD in the evening. I know that Little man slept better on the evening we reviewed the DVD so this must be a great way to get rid off some of that excess energy our children on the spectrum always seem to have.

 The interviews were fantastic but are mainly aimed at the parent, though many children wanting to get into dance could really find themselves inspired by watching Anna’s interview with the fabulous talented James Hobley.

 Thank you Anna Kennedy for providing us with this great DVD.

We loved it!  

You can get a copy of this excellent DVD from Amazon priced at a reasonable £7.99.

Just Click HERE

Little man takes over the blog!

6 Oct

Well, Hello everyone

Very special post for you all today, a treat for all that voted for me as their Most Inspiring blogger, I’m humbled and still on cloud nine that I won.

Anyway enough off all that, I’m boring every one with my over excitement.

So, as for this treat I have to share? Those who have been following this blog from day dot will know how hard its been and may remember a post I was preparing back in late 2010?

It was in actual fact an interview as opposed to a post.

The person being interviewed would be my very own Little man (aka a boy with aspergers)

Yet things got messy and things were now far to uncertain in little man’s life. I was confused! Can you just imagine how he felt!

I made a claim to the tribunal on the grounds of discrimination against Little man’s old mainstream primary who were now teaching him in isolation, hiding him from ‘Ofsted’ inspectors, excluding him daily, which they did once or twice on an unofficial basis! This soon stopped as I set about learning the Ins and outs of educational law.

Little man was never able to mix with his peers, he missed one school trip after another, till he snapped and began throwing his whole body into brick walls, scratching his arms till they bleed and whacking his head against the wall!

He even sat in a room alone as his peers enjoyed Christmas Carols in assembly.

Final straw was well and truly pulled and I withdrew and become his mum and his teacher for a few months. He then got a home tuition programme on the grounds there were medical reasons.

We were now fighting for an assessment, then a statement. We got both, but the statement wasn’t worth the paper it was written on. Only a few months back did we receive his now final statement with everything in it (OT and SALT)

best of all his attending an independent special school for children with Autism and Aspergers.

We withdrew the discrimination case at the last-minute settling outer tribunal. We now have the apology letter for the heartache caused. It’s not going to repair things but it’s something and little man can look at that one day when he needs to as he often blames himself.

I was also taken to court for Non school attendance, what a disgrace I know! At least I didn’t go to prison, though it was possible.

Now life is better, I look at that mess and think about how stressed and unhappy we were as a family! That’s why I think now would be a great time to got that bit further and let Little man do a bit of the talking for a change, hopefully building up some confidence along the way.

We don’t have a magical tale to tell, just some pretty normal random stuff and a bit about the issues above. All the same we really hope you enjoy reading…

It’s 4 pm Little man returns from his day at school via his transport/taxi. He doesn’t ran off to his room like he always did in the past, things are different somehow now!

He came and sat with me and he spontaneously begins telling me about his day. He received ten thumbs up the highest achievement one could get! I was chuffed and he was just as happy, I could tell by the big fat grin spread across his chops.

Mum: So, Little Man do you fancy being interviewed

LM (Little man) Being What?

Mum: Interviewed!!!

LM: Like on the news mum?

We’ve both done reports with the BBC news and ITN as well as local papers and radio.

I can’t blame him for thinking it!

I explained what I wanted to do in terms of sharing it with readers from the blog. He looked at me like a weird crazy chick.

Mum: If I interview you the readers will hear your own voice instead of your mums!

LM: How, if its written?

Yep he has a literal understanding to which I try my best to avoid them little sayings but they sometimes slip of the tongue.

LM: What do you mean they want to hear my voice instead of my mums! You are my mum!

Yep, I’d hit him with a double dose of confusion!

Mum: Oh,You know what I mean (as soon as I said it I thought what a stupid thing to say).

LM: Umm Nooooo

A little bit more prep and we were back on track (though I avoided making that statement out loud)!

Ready steady go…..

Mum: Hi there, what’s your name and how old are you?

A burst of laughter filled the air!

LM: You know my name mum stop asking me stuff you know.

Mum: It’s not for me, it’s for our readers, come on let’s do it!

LM: Do What?

Mum: The blog… Do the interview!

LM: Oh… *giggles* I know now! My name is G and I am 10 years old!

Mum: *cough-cough, How old?

LM: Oh, Oh, I’m 11 actually I had a birthday on Saturday.

Mum: Sign you’re getting old.

LM: I’m just 11 years old, your very old…

Charming!

Mum: So you have something called Asperger’s syndrome can you tell us a little bit about it if you don’t mind?

LM: I can, Aspergers is a very, very clever thing, But I didn’t used to think this. Some geniuses have Aspergers.

Mum: What… Ginger’s?

LM: Nooooo Genius

A few months ago he would have taken that as me taking the “piss” out of his hair resulting in a meltdown. This time he laughed at my mistake alongside me 🙂

Mum: are you a genius?

LM: No! Well actually I’m a genius on buses and bus numbers I think!

We then get stuck into his favourite game for a further 10 minutes. I have to shout out random bus numbers and he states their destinations.

LM: Mum, I really Like the lady’s voice who announces your destination on the bus! Is she a computer?

Mum: Umm yes, I think so!

LM: Mum is she foreign?

Mum: What, why?

LM: I just need to know!

He continues mimicking her voice in a monotone type of way!

Redirection was needed, Buses could kill this interview!

Mum: What School do you go?

LM: xxxxx school for autism

Mum: Where did you go before?

LM: With my tutor!

He looks sad as he misses him dearly. The tutor taught him on a one to one basis at the library for 5hrs per day during the week as no school would take him (apart from his current one who the LEA first refused). He was with his tutor at least 6 months.

Mum: What school did you go to before that?

LM: A horrible one!!

LM: Why wasn’t I allowed to play or be with other children. The head told me I was rough and made me miss all trips at last-minute. He made me angry, he didn’t like me.

LM: Mum, I don’t understand why I was never allowed in classroom when I was good? Is it because I have Aspergers so I’m not the same?

Mum: No you’re not the same your better!

Slight smile…

LM: Mum tell the readers about the day he called us at home and wouldn’t let me on the coach!

I said two words and he cried… It still hurts, So we skip it.

Mum: What’s the best thing about your new school?

LM: Time!

Mum: Time… I don’t understand.

LM: You are not told you have 10 minutes or 20 minutes no one rushes you and makes you feel worried about doing work. That’s the best bit!

Mum: That’s good babe, anything else?

LM: The children some are like me. They don’t pretend to like me I think they do.

I’m rubbing a tear 🙂 a happy one of course.

Mum: Whats the best lesson?

LM: PHSE… No, no actually Social skills!

Mum: What’s that then?

LM: Faces and stuff…

Mum: Faces?

LM: Yes, faces and feelings and the way faces look!

Mum: Oh… I see.

LM: We can’t do science in special lab yet.

Mum: Maybe soon?

LM: Yes, maybe!

Mum: What are you good at?

LM: Maths… you know that mum because I’m better then you!

No, his not joking… He is!

Mum: What lesson are you not so good at?

LM: Handwriting, I don’t like it as it hurts my fingers.

Mum: What else don’t you like?

LM: A knife and fork scrapping on the plates like Alice does!

He pulls a funny face and wiggles

LM: It makes me fuzzy mum!

Mum: So, What do you really love like?

LM: Lots… I like buses best ever, then trains & tube and black taxies.

Mum: Anything else?

LM: The word international and music, I like Bruno Mars.

Then his gone…

Mum: “Where you going” I shout!

To which he replies…

“We are finished mum”

Charming, so, bloody charming indeed!

From the heart of an eight year old

15 May

Today’s post is a very special one!

Yes, it really is! Today is the day I write and publish a very special interview, one I’ve contemplated writing for sometime now.

I wanted to raise some awareness, not only for children on the autism spectrum, but those children closely related to them.

Well, you can’t get much closer then a sibling, well maybe if that sibling happens to be a twin! But a sibling is the closest I’ve got  (no twins in this house)

My daughter is a very outspoken little lady, she’s eight and like many little girls her age, she’s sometimes a bit big for her own boots.

Still I have no complaints, my little girls a treasure, a real joy to be around (99% of the time) But as I’ve written In a very recent post, these siblings fight like cat and dog.

Little Man and his sister couldn’t be more different! Yes I love them both the same, just as I do my youngest, ‘The walking home-wrecker’, “No, his two young to be a ‘marriage wrecker’ but he is an eighteen month old vandal who I’m considering awarding an ASBO!” Of course I’m joking, then again ask me that when his feeding the DVD player ‘Whootis’ and watering the plants with fruit juice.

My point is, “IF I EVER QUESTION LITTLE MAN’S DIAGNOSIS BY ASKING MYSELF DID THEY GET IT WRONG?” I just look at the differences in the way my two eldest children interact, play or socialise. This corrects my way of thinking almost immediately, even when things do seem relatively ‘normal’ and the questioning sets in there is always something around the corner to point it out.

Well, as usual I’ve done enough rabbeting for one post! So, with that I will now introduce an even bigger chatter box, ‘Miss Alice-Sara’


AFTER WHAT SEEMS A LONG WAIT SHE COME’S FLYING THROUGH THE DOOR LIKE A WEST-END THEATER STAR!

Umm… As I expected, she’s dancing around, flicking her hair and striking a pose. A gentle reminder from mum ( yes, that’s me) reminds her this isn’t television.

Mum: So,  if your finished giggling Ally would you like to start?

Alice-Sara: I’m finished, just one last *giggle* That’s better! What you waiting for mummy?

Mum: *cough, cough* shake head, ready now are you Ally? Right… Can you please tell me what your name is, how old you are and what school you go to?

Alice-Sara: Well, My name is… ‘Alice’, I’m 8 years old and I go to XXXXXX Primary school.

Mum: Very good! So Alice! Can you please tell everyone a little bit about your family Alice!

Alice-Sara: what like who they are and that?

Mum: Well, who do you live with, do you have brothers or sisters? Remember the readers don’t know you, just me!

Alice-Sara:  Oh, I thought so! Ok, I have no sisters (rolls eyes, sticks up bottom lip and crosses arms). I have two brothers! A baby brother and a big brother, who is sometimes really bad! Well, most of the time actually! Oh, I’ve got a kitten, well, we have two kittens but ones my brothers, and guess what they were really scared but now they are getting used to us.

YES, ONE VERY EXCITED LITTLE GIRL WHEN IT COMES TO THE NEW ADDITIONS TO OUR FAMILY!

Mum: That’s really great Ally! So, do you remember why mummy asked you to do this special interview today?

Alice-Sara: Yep,  Sure do mum! It’s so I can tell everyone what it’s like to have a brother with Aspergers!

Mum: Yes that’s right! Do you know what Asperger’s is? Should mummy explain it first (Not like I expected her to agree)

Alice-Sara: No, no… I can explain myself! Well, Aspergers is something that makes you a little bit different, no I mean a lot. He can be very naughty for sure! It means you like buses, or something else like buses, you like it a lot a lot, and that’s what you like to play all the time….., Isn’t it Mum!

Mum: Yes, I see what you mean! Little man has a special interest in buses! That’s right Alice! So, anything else you want to add or are you finished?

Alice-Sara: Umm… Your brain is a bit different I think, and you do things in a different way (looks my way for clarification, to which I give a gentle nod) Oh, You can cry if someone is just looking at you, can’t you mum! My brother hits me if I look at him, he says I’m pulling faces!

Mum: Does he hit you a lot?

Alice-Sara: Err Yer Mum, you joking? You know he does! I sometimes get so angry that I want to burst open… I say things I don’t mean sometimes, like… I wish you wasn’t part of our family! But he always says horrible things to me.

Mum: Like what?

Alice-Sara: Well, I don’t want to swear mum, or am I allowed to so that I can tell you?

Mum:  No…. I’m sure there’s other names he calls you that don’t require any swearing! (though I’m struggling with that one myself)

Alice-Sara: I know! He sometimes calls me butt head and fat!

Mum: You know your not fat though Alice don’t you?

Alice-Sara: Umm… Yes…., but I’m not a butt head either you know!

Mum: I know your not! (Flash her a smile and she gives me a quick hug) So, what’s it like at home? Do you play with your brother?

Alice-Sara: Not so much anymore. We always have to play school’s but he would always be the teacher (she is really exaggerating her voice). He just shouts the same thing all the time, like, “SHUT UP AND DO WORK, YOU’RE NO GOOD! NOW GET OUT MY SCHOOL”  That’s not the only way I showed him how to play schools! (Big shake of the head with hands on hips lol)

Mum: What, you showed him how to play schools?

Alice-Sara: I teach him all my games, but he just bosses me about and always puts a bus in our game somehow, even when I say no”buses allowed!” I’m not allowed to stop playing when I’ve had enough but he just walks away and stops playing half way through a game, “Yer that’s so annoying” Oh, and he don’t say anything, just leaves! He goes of making that noise! (Again roll of the eyes and raises her eyebrows)

Mum: Noise………?

Alice-Sara: Yes, you know mum (she says in a very low voice, almost as if she’s whispering), the noise… he always makes… I will do it quietly because he will go crazy if he hears me, I’m not allowed to like what he likes am I! “Beep, beep ,beep ,beep… but a lot more fast, then he goes sussssh it’s the beeping of the bus doors and the noise they make when they open and close! He loves that! It gives me and mummy a headache sometimes, don’t it mum, don’t it!

Alice-Sara: Oh… Mum, mum, I forgot! He uses strange things to be the front of the bus, *giggle* He uses a spoon or pencil and holds it in-front of his face, Oh, one more thing… he uses mum’s sunglasses as the bus doors (her voice lowers and as she giggles that cheeky giggle she says, “He always breaks your glasses don’t he mum!”)

Mum: Yes, he certainly does Ally!

Mum: Ok, just a few more questions now Alice!

Alice-Sara:  Oh, I’m having fun 🙂

Mum: I’m glad! So, how about school! Does your brother go to your school?

Alice-Sara: Not anymore! He goes to learn at the library and gets to do fun stuff, *Huff* “I wish I could go to school in the library!”


Mum: You wont say that when your bored with no one to play with!

Alice-Sara: Yes I will!

Mum: Alice……

Alice-Sara: OK, OK, maybe not! I do have lots of friends in school! My brother was a little bit bad at school, but sometimes people were horrible to him and that makes him more naughty.

Alice-Sara: I do love him because his my brother! Mum, Is it Ok if I don’t always like him though?

Mum: Of course it is honey, of course!

A message for Mr Cameron

14 Feb

Ok, So I had some problems with my auto publisher yesterday and this is a bit later than planed! However I think you will agree it was worth the wait. Colin explains how life is like for him today and back when he was a child. He tells us about his late diagnosis and the effects its had on his life. He even sends out a message for Mr Cameron, stating a few home truths.

Here’s my interview with Colin… A man with Aspergers

Enjoy.

Claire… Hi Colin, firstly let me thank you for taking part in the interview and also a big thanks for your continued support with the facebook page ABWA by way of the great advice and input you give within the page. So my first question to you is…

Would you be so kind to Describe yourself  in five words?

Colin… Obsessive, Stubborn, Shy, Intelligent, Creative

Claire… It’s my understanding that you were diagnosed as being on the spectrum as an adult… If you don’t mind me asking, how old was you when you were diagnosed and what diagnosis was you given?

Colin… I Was diagnosed at age 44, with Aspergers Syndrome

Claire… Can you tell us a bit about how the diagnosed came about? Did you always know you were somewhat “different” to your peers as a child?

Colin… My diagnosis came about through a councillor I was seeing, through talking to me about my past and how I interact socially. He thought I might have aspergers , so then arranged an appointment for me to be assessed to see wether I was or not. as for knowing if I was different or not, yes I did feel different even though I didn’t know exactly what was wrong, I always put it down to shyness and lack of self-confidence and being a little eccentric.

Claire… Wow I’m guessing that the diagnosis was quite a shock then?

Colin… Yes the diagnosis was a shock, even though it confirmed a lot of behavioural patterns that I had put down to something else…  The meltdowns, obsessions, not being able to talk to people etc.

Claire… Has a diagnosis changed anything for you?

Colin… Well if anything the more I know about my condition the more I feel im not in control. I was told that I would either just get on with my life without a hiccup or it would take over my life. Well, its taken over my life, ive let the diagnosis affect me. if that makes any sense.

Claire… That’s a really interesting statement… Do you think in a way you would have been better off not knowing then?

Colin… In my case I would have to say yes, only from my point of view, others might say I havent really changed at all, that the diagnosis has highlighted that it’s a condition not an attitude

Claire… How did family and friends react to the news?

Colin…  My family don’t know about my diagnosis. I havent been in touch with them for six years. I’ve not many friends at all in fact the ones I do call friends live over a hundred miles away but I haven’t seen them in five years, they don’t know! The friends I have online I’ve only told a select few

Claire…” I’m very sorry I didn’t know that you had not spoken to your family for so long and your friends live so far. I’m pleased you have those few people online to be open with (Me included)”

What would you say to the ignorant people who claim our children on the spectrum will grow out of it?

Colin… I would say that my case proves that you don’t grow out of it, as I’ve been told you either have aspergers from birth or you don’t have it at all, well for 44 yrs I wasnt diagnosed but when I was I certainly hadn’t grown out of it from childhood, it just didn’t suddenly appear it’s always been there I just slipped through the net for many years.

Claire… I mean all children with ASD become adults with ASD and sometimes I think people forget this. What do you feel is lacking within the current system in terms of support for adults on the spectrum?

Colin… There is no or little support from the government for adults, cause its taken as read that the diagnosis will be realised early enough to support them at an early age the support seems more geared towards children than adults, we are left to really fend for ourselves. There is a charity drop in center I can go to, but no 24/7 service. Basically I was given a diagnosis and go.

Claire… “I would have to say that this concern is voiced by every adult on the spectrum that I’ve come to know. It would seem the government just ain’t “getting it” either that or they don’t give a S**t!!!”

If I told you Mr David Cameron reads the blog (u never know lol) what would be your message to him?

Colin… We adults deserve support just as much as anyone else! Sweeping us under the carpet don’t help anyone, everyone talks about inclusion but if it cost money or difficult then you can forget it!

Claire… As an adult with AS can I ask you… Do the meltdowns, anxiety and extremely challenging behaviours improve with age, are you better able to control such  meltdowns now?

Colin… In my case the meltdowns still happen, but are less frequent than they used to be. As for controlling them I’m not sure I can control them… All I can say is that they don’t last as long as they did.

Claire… If you could go back in time and do things differently knowing what you know now what would it be?

Colin…  Not sure to be honest, I would have liked to have finished my degree in mechanical engineering, but let things slip. Not sure if that was down to my aspergers or not.

Claire… ” I would say it’s never to late to finish the things you started Colin”

How was your school life growing up?

Colin… I Was bullied at school, was a quiet and shy child who was quite happy to play on my own as well as with others. My obsession with music was noticeable to me at an early age about 10 years old.

Claire… “Oh my goodness I’m now getting an insight into the mind of my own little Aspie! Little man is 10 totally obsessed with buses and nothing has ever come closed till…… Now that is. He is a fan of Bruno Mars has stored a huge amount of info on the guy and after getting his album two days ago has memorised every song lyric for every track on the album. He can’t sing through and can drive me a bit potty with his singing lol”

So a quick change of subject! What do you think of our current educational system given that ASD is much more known today?

Colin… I Can only go from my own experiences, since I left school in 1979, can only say that the educational system is slow to react to things even when highlighted. Bullying is still rife now so what does that say?

Claire… “No Comment Colin”…. You know what I think!

So… Do you have any “special interest” Passions that take hold of you? Are these long-standing or do they change over time. Is music still a big part of your life?

Colin…  Music has always been a big part of my life, I’ve  been collecting music in various formats since I was 13. I’m obsessed with downloading music, writing poetry. All other obsessions come and go.

Claire… When are you happiest?

Colin…  Plugged into my iPod and writing poetry.

Claire… Do you or did you have Sensory processing problems as a child? Have these changed, improved or just been replaced?

Colin… Noise affects me and always has…  Just different levels or situations are more difficult to deal with than others, people eating, dogs yelping, get woken by the slightest noise so my sleep pattern is bad.

Claire… “I’ve always thought that Little mans father is an undiagnosed aspie and his pet hate is hearing others eat. You crunch he freaks out”

So, they say some people with AS have a high pain threshold! Do u? Little man don’t really get ill or catch bugs that often (unlike his younger sister) but he feels pain “big time” (if there’s blood we are in trouble) so, this don’t apply to us lol.

Colin…  Not sure if I have a higher threshold for pain, but I have a high threshold for dealing with low temperatures, don’t seem to feel the cold as deeply as others do.

Claire… “Yep Little man is the same…. No coat in winter and don’t take it off in summer”

Did you have many friends as a child and do you now?

Colin…  None, that’s my problem I don’t seem to be able to keep friends. People come into my life and then I let them fade away.

Claire… How do you find social situations?

Colin…  Still difficult, even with people I know.

Claire… What subjects did you excel in at school and what ones never made sense?

Colin… Technical Drawing and Maths.

Claire… Interesting… Can I ask is it mental math that your good at? Just that little man is ace at mental math ( better than me) and other parents have reported the same.

Colin…  Yes mental maths… I used to go to the shops at age 5 for my mother and was always able to count and know it was the right change I was getting for the items I was getting. still don’t use a calculator much in daily life.

Claire… It’s said by some that those with AS lack empathy! What do you say?

Colin… Maybe we lack social skills, but we are loving we just don’t know how to express things well, as for myself I express my self better in my poems than actually speaking etc

Claire… What advice would you give to an adult reading this that suspects they are on the spectrum? Is it to late for a diagnosis, is it really needed?

Colin… It really depends on his or her situation, whether it is affecting work and home life never too late for diagnosis.

Claire… What advice would you give to a child/teen that is struggling to come to terms with their diagnosis seeing themselves as someone who is  “abnormal” with very low self-esteem?

Colin… We are normal, we just look at the world in black and white rather than shades of gray, we can be too trusting. but as people we are no different from what is described as normal! We want to be loved, laugh, etc

Claire… “I just showed this to little man and he said thank you… He likes that!”

Colin… Tell little man I said thank you, us Aspies stick together.

Claire… What advice would you give to parents like me raising a child on the spectrum?

Colin… It will be hard, but if you keep giving your love and support as much as you can, the rewards will come, you will see your child grow into adulthood… I’m not saying with less problems but with more understanding and maybe more control.

Claire… Finally, I’m a big fan of your beautiful poems… I’m wondering if you could write one for us to sum up how life on the spectrum is for you. This would be a great ending to our interview.

I am seen but not seen

They see the book cover

Not the story inside

I breath, I bleed, I think

But I am not part of the crowd

My world is black and white

I can not understand

Subtle shades of grey

Warm bloodied

I am still bereft of love

For emotions are hard to fathom

What is easy for most

I find a mountain to climb

Do not pity me or scorn me

Do not hate me or ridicule me

Born from the womb

I am of flesh and blood

I am human too

By Colin Weir

That was fantastic Colin 🙂 Thanks again for giving us all an insight into the mind of a man with Aspergers.

Please feel free to leave your messages for Colin and I will see he gets them. If anyone would like to contact Colin you can friend request him on Facebook. Let me know and I will be sure to pass you the link.


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