Tag Archives: meltdowns

Please let me come too

26 Jun

I stood heart in my mouth, I no longer could find the words needed to comfort him, I couldn’t make this pain go away.

I tried to be strong, really I did! But it was hard, it was incredibly hard to see him this way yet again.

As he sobbed, catching his breath through his endless stream of tears he tried to speak “Mum, please beg them to take me… please”

He would normally explode in a fit of anger, haul himself into a wall smacking his head as he screamed and used endless obscenities as he raged. Not this time, it was like he had no energy, no fight left in his body… He was broken.

“What use will it do” I asked him…

“I knew he would do this, I knew it” he sobbed as he lay in a heap on the hallway floor.

I turned away so that he wouldn’t see my own tears for I needed to be strong, strong for my child.

Two hours later my son was still laid out on the floor, red faced with bulging sore eyes. He wasn’t having a tantrum, he just laid silently as if in a deep trance.

My child had been told he wasn’t allowed on a school trip, he would be excluded on that day instead! Do you think his reaction was a bit extreme?

I don’t!

My son had been uninvited from many school trips, coincidently excluded whenever one was planned. I was in no doubt that this was just because my son has Aspergers Syndrome.

This was however a trip he had looked forward to! One they had continuously used as a reinforcement tool for gaining desired behaviour. They excluded him for two days, except one of these days feel on an inset day meaning it would consequently role over onto the next day, the day of the trip! What had he been excluded for? Something so small I can’t even remember!

It wasn’t just the missing out that hurt my child, it was every single act of rejection he was submitted to, each one breaking down his self confidence a little more.

So, why am I writing this now… Of course I mentioned it before, back when it happened, his now in a special school and enjoys many trips. However, this is not the case for every child and when I hear of another child being continuously subjected to the same treatment, it breaks my heart a little more!

The UK is fall of children stuck in pupil referral units, treated like a criminal when many just have SEN and have been failed by the system. Others are out of school because no one is willing to take them (especially when they see that exclusion record with your child’s name on it) this was the case for my child for around 6 months.

In my opinion the laws surrounding exclusion are slack. Why is it that children are excluded on trip days, given a double dose of punishment. Surly regulations should be made much tighter!

If you have a child subjected to this type of treatment then it’s time to speak up. Your not alone and if we all come together we have a much stronger chance at getting heard.

20 ways to make summer a less stressful time for the child with Aspergers

19 Jun

Summer activities with a child on the autism spectrum can become something of a wash out, something many families dread. But who wants to spend an entire six week school holiday stuck in the house fearful of going out.

All children need entertaining, boredom is something that never goes down well in anyone’s book and although I’ve done the whole staying In doors thing In the hope it saves me from the public meltdown, I’ve moved on from this, there really is no point in hiding away and not dealing with situations head on.

Summer is much harder when siblings are involved, there’s places they want to go, ones you know the child with Aspergers just can’t cope with. But as a parent you want your children to be able to experience the things they want to, building a set of awesome memories throughout the way.But as a parent you don’t want any of your children distressed and unhappy.

I am lucky in the fact that I can sometimes leave little man with his father while taking the other two children out for the day and vis versa but there are times I don’t have this option and therefore need to weigh up the pros and cons.

Below I have included some ideas that may help you have a reasonably good school summer holidays, but remember every child is different and what may work for some won’t work for others.

1) Many children on the spectrum are not great with overly hot temperatures so try to visit local parks etc in the late afternoon early evening. This way all the children can enjoy the trip to the park.

2) Avoid massive crowds unless you are visiting a facility that caters for your child’s needs. Most theme parks do a wristband that means your can skip the queues and avoid sensory overload and meltdowns.

3) Cinemas are now doing autism friendly screenings which means all children can see the latest film release and no one is left disappointed this summer.

4) Try to have a least one day out where the activities are focused around your child’s special interests. My son likes transport so a visit to the transport museum always goes down well. If siblings are attending spilt the day into two doing something they want to do first (I say first as yes your child is likely to ask when are we leaving and going to the transport museum for example, but if they go to the transport museum first they have nothing left to look forward to and may not cooperate as liked.

5) To avoid boredom on the days your not going out, set up a schedule of fun activities in the garden. All children can get involved. Have some sensory play in the sandpit, burn some energy on the trampoline and why not have some fun sensory play in the paddling pool. This is perfect as your child has the option of coming inside when it all gets to much and other children can continue to play and have fun.

6) If like mine, your child is a fussy eater and wont eat anything that is A) packed in a cool bag and B) isn’t hot, than picnics are not really a suitable family activity. Instead of having children miss out completely why not opt for a disposable barbecue instead. This way the children get the experience of eating outside in the sunshine without any tears.

7) If going out for the day to the park or beach a potable pop up sun tent is a must. These can be brought at a reasonably good price and is a haven for the child who becomes overly sensitive to the heat.

8) As much as I love to do things on a whim I no longer get this option. Checkout what’s happening this summer, plan a scudule and try to stick to it. This way your child knows what activities and visits/days out are happening on each day.

9) The above is essential when going on holiday. This is likely easier in places like holiday camps etc as you can adapte there scudule to suit that of your own and your children can easily express what activities interest them.

10) Another great thing about holiday camps is the supervised activities meaning your other children can still go of and have fun even if the activities are not to the child on the spectrums liking.

11) If going on long car/train journeys over the summer break, bring something to entertain your child, an iPod, iPad, potable DVD player, book or handheld game console (a must for all children).

12) Try to keep bedtime routines the same (as much as possible). This avoids problems when the holidays come to an end and your child returns to school.

13) Talk your Aspergers child through any activities planed for the summer, especially new ones. Try to do this well in advance. Show your children pictures of the places you plan to visit or check it out on there website if they have one.

14) Give your child choices, letting them feel they have a certain amount of control over planed activities. Many children with Aspergers need to feel a certain amount of control.

15) Don’t overload your child, ensure there are free days at home where your child can relax even if the day is scheduled.

16) If going on holiday take your child’s blanket and pillow to make sleeping easier.

17) Expect difficult days and try your best to prepare for them. Lack of routine will always make things harder for the child with Aspergers Syndrome.

18) Educational play is a good way of keeping your youngsters brain busy during the summer. This is great for the child who doesn’t like homework as they tend to learn without even knowing it.

19) Use the summer months as a time to help your child build on their independence skills.

20) When a parent becomes stressed this has an undesirable effect on the child with Aspergers. If your finding the summer months difficult try to talk to other parents in the same situation. There are many online support groups and forums for parents of children with autism.

The Kleenex man

10 Jun

I sit staring at the large white clock to the point some may think I’m fixated. It reminds me of the type of clock I used to have at school. I would stare at that clock for hours longing for time to lapse around me.

“Miss Parkinson… Miss Parkinson, can you hear me”

Shut up I thought, of course I can hear you, it doesn’t mean I want to!

But it was I who had came here, no one had asked me to, I wasn’t forced, dragged kicking and screaming.

It was I who had picked up the phone, dialled the number, made an appointment.

Now I didn’t know what to say…I didn’t… well no, I did know why I had come. But now I was confused so fucking confused.

“Miss Parkinson, have you got to be somewhere”

Bloody hell, now I felt as if I was in school! Seriously is he joking?

Sarcasm within therapy whatever next!

“No” I said

“Ok let’s get started, but at your own pace…OK?”

I nodded, I wanted to speak, really I did. I had a lot to say but now I was here my head it was all muddled like a jigsaw with pieces missing.

I had been here before, I trusted him, the man who wore the nonjudgemental face, the man who always had a box of Kleenex at the ready.

That’s why I chose here you see, I needed to see the Kleenex man!

I’m still staring at the clock, its tick and its tock can be heard through the bitter silence.

He coughs…. I look round

He smiles as he passes me those tissues.

Taking one I hold it tightly in the palm of my hand, if I don’t I know I’ll fiddle with it… likely pick it to tiny little pieces.

I take a deep breath in closing my eyes I excel opening them once more.

“Nobody believes me” I said.

I can feel it, the warm water leaving the corner of my eye. Please don’t ask me, I think. But then he speaks

“Who… Who doesn’t believe you, and what is he they don’t believe” he asks inquisitively.

Once more the room is filled with silence and I can hear the ticking and the tocking of the clock. I look down and there scattered around my feet are tiny pieces of tissue.

“Who…?” he asks once more.

As I go to open my mouth I taste the salt form my tears, like a child I catch my breath…

“The school… The school” I whimper.

Silence once more… Tick… Tock… Tick… Tock…

Then before he can ask…

“My son’s school, they don’t believe what is happening, they think it’s me… They think it’s all my fault!”

“They won’t help me… No one will, why, why won’t they help” I plead.

You see, I was close to the edge of crazy, so fucking close. The situation was costing me my health, what kind of mother would that make me? On That very day and at that very time I wasn’t aware of what I’m aware of now! The very beginning of a Journey one I never planned on taking, I don’t have a choice, no one asked me if it was okay, god didn’t ask me. I hate it when people say that god does everything for a reason, he chose me because I’m strong. Sat here writing this I remember that day with my therapist so clearly, and on that particular day I felt anything but strong! I felt desperate, I felt as if I was standing on a mountain screaming and nobody looked up… Nobody! Your little boy is hitting you, his so angry and he charges at you like some crazed bull, but his not a bull his a 6 year old child who tells you “mummy I hate you” as he rages with sheer frustration! But why is he frustrated? It’s just that, my lack of knowing… He wants me to, he needs my to understand what his feeling! I miss the trigger I then spend a lifetime discovering it. No one can teach me, I need to learn myself! But this doesn’t mean we don’t need answers… Everybody needs answers!

Ashamed I said nothing, for a while anyway. But i’m no super mum and soon I broke… Started crumbling into a heap of madness, but when I reached out, there was no one there to catch me. I didn’t say I needed parenting tips, I didn’t need some false caring stranger visiting my home and judging my parenting… Especially when I had asked my sons school for help. I felt judged, bullied… I felt disregarded! They failed to notice the bigger picture, they almost cost my child his diagnosis of Aspergers syndrome, they almost cost me my sanity!

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Why don’t you believe me

5 Jun

Why don’t you believe me?

As a parent to a child with Aspergers syndrome, I’ve heard myself ask this question a thousand times in an array of situations.

I really couldn’t care anymore if the lady up the road thinks I’m a bad parent and my son is the child of the devil!

But there have been some situations in the past when I have felt like bashing my head continuously against a brick wall, times when I needed support and understanding. People I felt should be naturally supportive were not, instead they made me feel as if I was an overreacting pain in the arse, one who had a problem with parenting… One who was full of Nonsense!

Those people were my child’s teachers, these people almost cost my child his diagnosis!

My child is challenging at home yet he doesn’t show such behaviour when at school is a common issue for parents who are going through the procedure of trying to obtain a diagnosis of Autism for their child (this is so common it should be added to the criteria for diagnosis)! It’s not that we are crying out for our child to have an attached label but without it we have little chance of obtaining the support we crave for both our child and ourselves.

It’s important to remember that us parents are not alone in such situations, but at the time it sure does feel like it!

It comes to a point when one really does question their own skills as a parent, we often find ourselves questioning our own abilities to do the job correctly. I actually started to envy other parents, their relationships with their children! “Why doesn’t their child violently hit, bite and kick them?” You start to wonder if your child loves you and if he doesn’t then why the hell not? You start to walk on dangerous ground when you start to wonder if this really is a case of “poor parenting”

It’s not easy knowing that your child is sat like some little angel in the class room, yet a few hours later his walking through the door and trashing his bedroom! Then someone suggests the autism spectrum, at first you instantly refuse to believe it, but the more you learn about it the more you realise the pieces of the puzzle begin to fit, in some sense you find comfort in the fact it isn’t down to you, your child doesn’t hate you, he just has difficulties regulating his own emotions, why? Because his frustrated with over loaded senses and an altogether different take on the world.

You climb mountains to get on that waiting list for an assessment, when you finally get that appointment the paediatrician nods his head and tells you his confident that your child has traits consisting of a diagnosis of autism ( in my case Aspergers)! More assessments follow and every medical professional your child meets draws them very same suspicions. Then they requests feed back from your child’s school and although you understand there to be no challenging behaviour you are confident that the school will share other concerns, odd behaviours and so forth!

So, why is it that they don’t… Instead they write a report that indicates your child is a typical boy, a child who communicates on the same level of that of his peers? Why do they fail to highlight any bullying, obsessions or quirky behaviours?

I speak for thousands of parents who have all had their child’s diagnosis held up or dismissed completely as a result of such report writing!

I remember feeling completely alone, So angry, So let down.

Every concern I had was disregarded as a lie, my child’s head teachers blamed me for the way my child refused to dress for school of a morning or when he failed to sleep the entire night. I began to hold back my concerns for fear of being judged!

I had now entered a new world, one that no longer got left behind at the school gate! A world of TAC meetings, CAF forms and assessments, a world of battles ones I’d eventually become accustomed to!

Sat in my doctors office, head in hands I cried, I cried so much I could hardly get the words I needed to say out of my mouth and into the listening ear of another! I was tired of fighting the system, I was tired of fighting my child to get out of bed and dressed each morning, I was tired of having my concerns pulled to pieces, most of all I was tired of being me.

It doesn’t help when your own mental health begins to slip away, when you find yourself only able to get through a day once you’ve tanked yourself up on Prozac! I remember reading my child’s education record some 2 years later, I remember the statements made in relation to my own mental wellbeing! What still makes me angry is the fact that my own health only suffered because of them… I didn’t do this to myself, they did it! Being strong enough to now say that with confidence is a wonderful thing!

Despite the depression I continued to battle on when eventually one year after that report my child received an official diagnosis of Aspergers Syndrome!

Why now? He had now seen a number of professionals and the very last assessment was the one that finally closed his case. A video interview with a speech and language assessment who specialised in the autism spectrum, plus a play assessment which helped highlight his intense special interest and rigid thinking.

School still failed to acknowledge his diagnosis as they should have, he was no longer 5 but 8 his traits were more noticeable yet the school failed to make prober adjustments. It normally came back to the issue of little man having no statement of special educational needs (something I later went on to successfully acquire, though not without a fight). Eventually though things changed direction and finally little man settled at home. This was down to working out his triggers that lead to meltdowns, different reinforcements for desired behaviours etc. Not everyday was problem free (far from it) but the hitting slowed a bit and I felt as though I had gain some control back. This was due to now having a better understanding of his needs. However, with the school’s complete lack of adjustments or understanding, little mans challenging ways started to surface once more… Only this time, it was within the school setting!

It’s a long story, but put it this way… That same child (the ‘typical’ little boy) was now excluded on a weekly basis, never taken on school trips and even taught In isolation. All this lead to a disability discrimination case which I finally agreed to settle before the hearing once all my commands had been met! (letters of apology, rewriting of policies and teacher training)! What a turn around!!!

My child now attends an independent special school for children with autism and Aspergers. Life isn’t perfect, who’s is! But we have the diagnosis, the statement and finally the right school… One where I no longer need to ask “why don’t you believe me”

I’m in the final for the mad blog awards in the inspiring category voting closes today (6th June 2012) at 5pm! Please if you love the blog pop over and give us your vote. Mum and Dad Blog Awards 2012

Summer Dreams

3 Jun

Summer dreams… I’m lying on a sun lounger some place hot, the sea or pool ( I really don’t mind which) is a stones throw away. I have a generous Glass of pims in one hand and a good read in the other!

So… Ordinary, wouldn’t you agree?

I used to have summer dreams like that of the one above. But dreams change, they no longer seem like dreams, more like desires that I long to achieve. My dreams are simple in theory but often unreachable in life. Not because they are not possible, they are… If I give it all I have to live them.

Now although a holiday is much needed by all, it’s something that I’m sure will not be happening this summer, so as the days draw on I begin to kick my own backside and remind myself that I have a dream that needs fulfilling, that dream… To have a well plan out and organised summer!

Sounds boring and yes somewhat pathetic, but for me it’s the key to a long and happy summer. Doing things on a whim is a speciality of mine but such a skill is unethical when your a parent to a child with Aspergers Syndrome.

Some days you wouldn’t know my son was on that Autism Spectrum. Like everything some days are more difficult than others.

Little man is currently on half term as is his younger sister ‘Alice-Sara’ (I’m bracing myself for plenty of sibling wars!) Now, although this week will get little man into a bit of a mess with the lack of structure and routine, (Yes, I do try but I can never complete with the structure of school) the summer holidays are for a much lengthier time period, this huge change and the pending anxiety about the coming new school year (new class, teacher, ect…) can mean an explosive 6 weeks.

So, what’s the solution? Well, I wouldn’t call it a solution, but a semi one at least. Organising activities in advance, making little man aware of where and when we’re going, good organisation and structure is the key to his and of course my own sanity.

You would think that I have learned my lesson by now.There’s been plenty of trips and occasions that haven’t been planed as well as they could have been. We’ve had our fair share of meltdowns as a result.

I maybe a mum of a child on the spectrum, but I’m in no means perfect and the whole organisation thing is not my strongest trait.

So… Although the dream of a day spent soaking up the sun’s ray, while relaxing on a beach some place inviting, still exists, it’s in the back of my mine it will stay.

If all is organised and I start booking trips and planing days out now… My summers dream could go something like this…

A day out as a family some place nice, we would laugh and smile, eat a picnic fit for a fussy eater. The children would run around having fun, playing games together… No screaming, arguing… No violent meltdowns, abusive language! There would be no tears, no anxiety, just enjoyment being had by all! And If I could control the weather and public transport I would!

Ok, almost, because life isn’t always so simple, anything can happen! A sensory related trigger, a delayed train or even a wrong turning (getting lost is my little man’s pet hate)! But I will try as by planning and preparing that summers dream will be that much closer to a summers reality!

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This post was inspired by this weeks Britmums blogging prompts! If you’re a blogger why not check them out and join in.

#HAWMC Day 27 – Difficulties and Victories

2 May

Now admittedly I am writing post 27/30 in the “Health Activist Writers Month Challenge” (#HAWMC) some 5 days overdue and yes I still have 4 more post to write (this one included). As its now May, a brand new month, technically the challenge has come to an end but come on, cut me some slack here! Mother of three demanding little monsters and them monsters come first. However, having come so far and not being a person who gives up on things easily I am determined to see the challenge through to the very end!

So… The 27th challenge was to give my top 5’s. These consist of the top five things I find most difficult as a parent of a child with Aspergers Syndrome as well as my top five victories (the things that kept me going when things got tough or the battles we over come)!

Now having bashed my tired brain for a while, I finally compiled a list for each, broke it down to the required number, explaining my reasons for each.

Things I find most difficult

1)Sleep: Yep, it has to be the total lack of sleep! Yes, this is more difficult than the meltdowns, swearing and black and white thinking style (such a thinking style can create problems). I often state that I’m used to the crazy sleep pattern that has been part of my life for donkeys years and as a result I’ve adapted my body clock, but in all honesty, despite this being true it really doesn’t make it any easier! Some days I’m fine where others I’m seriously having a hard time dragging my own arse around the entire day. I snap more easily, cry at day time TV and not really dig the huge black bags that dangle under my eyes most days.

2) Anxiety: Little man can become extremely anxious about the “smallest” of things. He can get so worked up that he loses himself in a thick fog of panic. Little man needs lots of reassuring when his like this! He may ask the same thing continuously, take many trips to the toilet and pace about loudly speaking to himself. His even been know to quite literally worry himself sick!

3) Discrimination: This is not a trait but something that comes with this diagnosis and many others besides. Discovering that those that are meant to do the best by your child, are actually treating him in a way that sees him extremely disadvantaged to that of his peers, is a terrible thing to witness as his mother! The fact that my child starts to become aware of this treatment, makes the situation one million times worse.

4) Days Out: These are meant to be enjoyable but yes, I do often find day trips and holidays quite stressful as does little man. This sometimes restricts our options, if deciding to embark on any spontaneous trips I need to do so at my own risk. Nonetheless, good planing and preparation is the key and combined have resulted in some good days out with little problems.

5) Meltdowns: As if these acts of built up exploding stress wouldn’t make my list… Of course they would! What can I say except who really wants to deal with screaming, swearing, crying and violence! But above all else the most difficult part of parenting a child with Aspergers is actually having to see your child become that overloaded and at times not being able to make things better for them! No mother wants to witness they’re child in this state.

Victories

1) Diagnosis: This itself is a victory, as to finally have that label actually opens more doors to services and support. I’m not starting you no longer need to fight for things, but without that label you have even less chance of getting anywhere.

2) Results: Having fought some almighty battles to obtain everything from acknowledgement, respect, suitable education, fair treatment and more, I can tell you it really isn’t easy! You discover that those you put your trust in are those you may need fear most! It’s tiring and at times you feel like just throwing in and trowel. You don’t, you just keep going and when the good finally happens its the most amazing feeling ever!

3) Progress: Watching the progress my son has made since attending an independent special school is wonderful! When your son goes up 7 reading levels over a few terms you know you made the right choice.

4) Rewards: Every time my little man receives an award at school whether it’s for improvements in behaviour or that of his learning progress, I’m overly proud. Of course I feel the same for my daughter, but these are things little man never received in mainstream and it’s lovely to see how such achievements rebuild his fallen confidence.

5) Inspiration: The inspiration my child’s diagnosis has given me to bring awareness and support to other parents of newly diagnosis children.

So, there you have it, my little list of 5’s.

This post is 27/30 in the #HAWMC

#HAWMC Day 9 – Stay calm get the hell out of here

10 Apr

He screams abuse in its strongest nature, he hauls it towards you thick and fast. You feel your cheeks burn as they light up an awesome shade of red. You try to reason with him, though he doesn’t listen, just calls you some awful name. Can you believe a child can make you feel such shame and in the most public of places. 

They stare, they stare that almighty stare, it’s as if their eyes are burning a hole right through your soul. 

Rushing along the aisles you hear their sniggers greet you, do they even care, surely their aware you can hear. 

“Please stop” you hiss as you try to gather the shopping from the floor. Your child stares at you blankly before declaring how unfair you are and running in the opposite direction. You set chase, knocking over the contents of the shop as you embark on the mission to catch you’re fleeing child.

Suddenly you stop, fall to the floor, throwing your head back screaming “God, why F***ing me… Why…?” you forget about those stood around you, mouths open wide, heads viciously shaking some may laugh too.

Hands removed from face, your greeted by the store manager who asks “IS EVERYTHING ALRIGHT MADAM” You feel like screaming “Does everything look OK?” Instead you give her a half-smile, Nodding like the Churchill Dog as you scrape your sorry arse from the floor and set about looking for your child, only to discover him right there next to you. 

“Sorry mum, can we go home now”

You feel yourself nodding once more. As you walk towards the door leaving you’re shopping behind you tell yourself…

“KEEP Calm AND GET THE HELL OUT OF HERE!”

Post 9/30 in the #HAWMC set by wego health 

 

Autism and Chores

25 Mar

Lets face it, household chores are really not much fun. We all need a little encouragement every now and then to get going.

My son, who’s now 11 and has a diagnosis of Aspergers Syndrome quivers at the word housework or chores, but then so does my 9-year-old daughter. Little man just needs a hard dose of motivation that’s all!

This isn’t only down to the fact he despises any housework related activity, though this does account for the majority of his reluctance, it’s also other factors, such difficulty following instructions, doing things in sequence and that of poor sensory processing.

As Little Man’s mother I’ve admittedly at times thrown in the towel and given up, though this maybe the easiest option at the time, it makes things a whole lot more difficult later on! This is part of life and as my mother still tells me to this day, “Life sometimes requires us to do things we don’t like, but that’s just life!”

In order for the little man to grow up and become fully independent, he will need to require simple skills such as these to make it on his own in the big real world. He must learn how to do the basics accruing more complex skills as he grows older! Another important factor in this situation is the fact he will also need to learn the value and importance of helping other people… So what if you didn’t drop those wrappers on the floor, helping shouldn’t be an issue non the less!

Firstly, I must say before rambling on any further, I’m just a mother, and I don’t have all the answers, in fact I’m unsure to whether I actually have any! Though I will always try to find answers, when I succeed, or even partly so, then I’ll share with you all, in the hope it helps you too!

So… here’s some suggestions on how to encourage a child on the autism spectrum to actively engage in household chores without all hell breaking loss and then regrettably freezing over. These tips may work for one child and not the other, you may be required to try a number of different techniques or maybe just the one, every child is different regardless of abilities and diagnosis. Note: I’ve also tried this with my 9-year-old daughter who isn’t diagnosed with the condition and she’s actually done brilliantly with many of them.

1) Children on the autism spectrum tend to be visual learners, they may use written or symbol prompts as to plan events, following instructions in completing a set task, or just to alert them as to what happens next. Little man has been using both a visual schedule at home and school keeping it consistent. He likes to know what’s planed and this is the same with chores, so, if he has chores as well as homework etc, these are added to a chore chat which he helps to devise on a weekly basis.

2) Don’t give rewards for every completed chore as this then doesn’t become a normal daily routine but instead a way to gain rewards. If one week you wasn’t in a position to provide the promised reward, failure could result in undesired meltdowns. Rewards can be given as a weekly treat and you should ensure its done for all children in the household.

3) Help your child to chose their weekly chores as in number 1, however try to encourage some weekly chores in-which you can both contribute in together, making it a fun bonding experience.

4) Don’t change the chores without giving a warning to your child, keep them consistent in the way in which you and your child devised them. Also try to agree on a time your likely to keep too, as this will only cause problems otherwise.

5) Do the same as in part 1 and 4 but remember to not make your child overly reliant on his routine, so try to adjust times for different weeks, but as mentioned in part 4, stick to them for that entire week.

6) Teach your child how to have a focus, this works fantastically for Little man. An example would be if vacuuming, say the living room, point out the half way mark highlighting how his almost there, then point out the finishing post. You will find that even though the break is offered at half time, 9x out of 10 they’ll keep pushing themselves all the way.

7) Don’t keep asking as it drives children like little man round the bend. If your child fails to look at the chart remind them to do so, if they just refuse then you may need to decided if a sanction may need applying. Stick to your guns and be consistent, as you will be in an even worse position for next time.

8) Don’t bombard a load of request upon your child at once, example, take up washing, put shoes under stairs, hang coat up then run your bath…. overloading will produce the undesirable. Remember children on the spectrum tend to be unable to follow instructions if not given time to process the information given, this is why I’ve suggested the chore chart.

9) Have something nice to look forward too! I’m not talking a treat as such, more like something you’ll be sitting to watch as a family that evening. Talking about the film etc why doing chores with your child, will help them complete without the dragging boredom.

10) If like little man, your child on the autism spectrum doesn’t do well in supermarkets (despite how much he protest he wants to join you) ensure you have prepared distractions and you are aware of any sensory triggers, avoiding where possible. I get Little man helping me write the list, this helps his handwriting and spelling skills, reading the list while we shop also helps reading skills (so they don’t know they are doing chores and a fair bit of education based work too). Little man is also fantastic at maths which he actually enjoys too. To keep his mind from distractions that may cause sensory overload or some type of social anxiety episode I ask what’s best value for money when deciding if to buy a product (example, buy one get one 1/2 price coke or that of the 50% extra free priced at 10p more) His actually quicker than I am and has on occasions save me some money.

Another thing that Little man loves is the “Self Service Checkout” I guess he feels independent. It’s a great way to distract your child or engage in a little social skills training.

11) Little man loves music and despite sensitive hearing (he can hear a pin drop, or a buzzing freezer sends him barmy) music however doesn’t have the same effect, he loves music, and the louder the better.

If you can tolerate a bit of loud music then its an awesome way to motivate both child and adult into doing the chores and it really does do well to speed things up.

12) Since being in special school little man’s become a dab hand in the kitchen. He cooks or bakes at school every Tuesday and has brought home some delightful dishes. I do think its the Italian in him as the kitchen isn’t my favourite place to be. Because of this I ensure he is appointed jobs that he really enjoys, like helping prepare a meal under supervision. He loves this and it’s simply not a chore in his mind at all.

13) One thing extremely important for the child on the autism spectrum, is that of prise, your child should be praised for the smallest accomplishments as these will eventually lead to those bigger ones, plus you’ll find over time that your child is setting out to please you.

14) Little man love’s some items that many other children have considered strange and undesirable. On little man’s christmas list, I’ve found all sorts such as juicers, smoothie makers, blenders and even a chip pan (don’t ask). His always begging to get his mitts on some type of appliance. This can be used as reinforcements, allowing your child to use the popcorn maker to create a movie snack under your supervision! However, your child will need to clean up and wash any dirty dishes (making sure sharp objects and blades have been removed first).

15) Occasionally, surprise your child with something nice. Do not directly state that it’s a reward for his engagement in chores but prise him for how his displayed good skills and is a good role model for younger siblings and now seems more grown up. This kind of thing makes Little man very proud, he then thinks about other ways of impressing me, not just for treats but the overall confidence boast he receives.

16) Don’t overload chores, give little on Saturdays and none on Sundays, allowing them some chill out time and space. They will continue their chores more efficiently once rested or having had some fun.

17) If your child has hygiene difficulties due to sensory reasons, then you should work with him to remove or reduce the trigger if at all possible, adding these activities to the chores chart also.

18) Encourage your child to recycle by speaking about the fascinating things that it involves and how certain objects can cleverly be used to make something completely different. Do a scavenger hunt, encourage your child/children to collect as many newspapers as they can as well as other recyclable items that can each be placed in its own boxes, example…. Glass, Paper, cans etc… making this a fun afternoon game.

19) If your child has their own pet (little man has Bella our pregnant cat) get them involved in feeding and grooming making it a responsible job and good practical chore.

20) Take the chores out into the garden this summer. With the beautiful sunshine and longer days. Little man and his sister enjoy the garden, and along with their father they are already planting and getting there fingers all green, which is perfect for me, given I hate gardening.

So, there you have it, a nice long list of 20 things that may help your child on the autism spectrum to complete their chores.

If you’re a parent of a child with or without autism, I’d love to hear of any tips with in your comments.

Meme – My 2011 Highs and Lows

15 Jan

I was recently Tagged to complete this Meme, ‘My 2011 Highs & Lows by Kate on thin ice‘ by the lovely Romanian Mum, who is a lovely blogger that write a fantastic blog.

 Not wanting to bail out and be a Meme bore, here’s my contribution that I hope you’ll all enjoy. 

(1) What was your happiest event?

 Watching my son in his school harvest festival assembly. He attends a special school and it’s been such a long time since his done anything of this kind as his mainstream school would never involve him in any plays or presentations. He did a reading but froze up, so all the other children came up and stood beside him and they all read the piece together, of course this made me cry proud and happy tears. Moments like these are totally priceless.

(2) What was the saddest thing that happened?

 We lost my dad’s brother to cancer. 

(3) What was the most unlikely thing to happen that actually went ahead and did?

 I won most inspiring blogger at the Mad Blog Awards

(4) Who let you down?

 I let myself down a number of times (we learn from our mistakes). 

(5) Who supported you?

 My friend Donna always supports me, also my mum.

(6) Tell us one thing you learned

 Not to be so hard on myself and sometimes I’m my own worse enemy.  

(7) Tell us one thing that made you laugh

 Taking the P&O ferry with Romanian Mum and both trying to walk to the other side of the ship while feeling a tad sea sick, we looked like two drunk women, falling all over the place.

(8) Tell us one thing that made you cry

 I cry a lot, I’m quite an emotional wreak at times. One occasion that comes to mind would be the time I lost my cool with Little man while at Butlins and I went running out the restaurant, where I then sat in the rain on a bench and uncontrollably sobbed.  

(9) Tell us three things your child or children did to make you feel proud

 I have three children so I’ll give you one for each!

 Little man (aka A boy with Asperger’s) giving his last 50p from his pocket-money to a homeless person sat outside London Bridge Tube station.

 Alice-Sara saving for charity (she has £12 so far) and started saving in December.

 Harley my now 2-year-old, saying “I love you mummy”

(10) Tell us one thing that made you proud of yourself

 Winning my Mad blog award.

(11) Tell us one challenge you overcame

 I over come a host of challenges every day, such as getting my son and myself through his public meltdowns in the middle of the supermarket. 

(12) Tell us three things you would like to change about your life from 2011

 Get fit, healthy and back in my size 8 jeans (I wasn’t that fit in 2011)!

Sleep better (which means trying to get Little man to do the same)!

To get stronger within myself, a lot stronger than I was in 2011! 

Now… to tag some other fabulous bloggers to complete the Meme! Let’s just hope that somehow they haven’t been tagged already.

Tags

  1. Innocent charms chats
  2. mumofthreeboys
  3. Bloggomy 
  4. Little Momma Said
  5. Mummy Lion

10 positives to parenting a child with Aspergers Syndrome

5 Jan

Having posted a post full of doom and gloom a few days back (Questioning your coping mechanisms) I wanted to post something a tad more upbeat and cheery today.

So… with this in mine, I have created a list of the top ten best things that come with parenting a child with Aspergers Syndrome. Yes, its full of them quirky little traits I love and the reasons while I just couldn’t live without them.

(1) HONESTY: Now don’t believe everything you read, a child with Aspergers can tell the odd porky pie, why? Because they are intelligent and learn how to do such a thing! However, 99% of the time you will find that your child, friend or family relative on the autism spectrum is indeed extremely honest! Little man speaks his mind and although this may have gotton him into the odd spot of bother (example… telling the head teacher at his old school that his breath smelt similar to that of a dog) it’s also a credit to him. When little man tells you something that sounds like it is the stuff of make believe, you’ll likely be surprised to find that… yes it’s actually true!

(2) SPECIAL INTEREST: When your child has a diagnosis such as Aspergers, you’ll find that

Wikipedia: Image of London Bus Child Ticket

Image via Wikipedia

with that title comes that of the ‘Special interest’ and if like little man, that special interest happens to be London Transport… you’ll never miss a train or a bus again!

(3) EYE FOR A BARGIN: When out food shopping with the Little man, there is a high prospect that the breakout of a meltdown may occur (what with the crowds and the tendency to become over stimulated). I try my best to keep the Little man calm and focused by getting him to help me with the shopping list! Here’s the great thing… I never end up out of pocket due to purchasing offers that secretly are not really offers at all! Little man has the tendency to act like a human calculator. I remember going to buy a bottle of coke that had so much free and at what I considered to be a good price! That was in-till my Little Man informed me that actually by buying the two smaller bottles I’d end up with more litres for less money… Clever lad!

(4) RULE BOUND: When Little man recently took a trip with a friend to the little row of shops around the corner from our house he went knowing the golden rule, “Cross at the traffic lights and only at the traffic lights!” When his friend tried to persuade him to cross the main road without the safety of the lights, little man refused and came back home! That’s my boy!

English: A Led Traffic lights

Image via Wikipedia

(5) YOUNG & BUSINESS MINDED: Many children at eleven are not sat for hours, days, weeks or years even, planing their business empire! Well, Little man is… ambition: To be the next Richard Branson (not a bad ambition for an 11-year-old kid, is it)? My little man already has a name for his brand and plans how he will take the world by force on a daily basis… Watch this space!

Image representing Richard Branson as depicted...

Image via CrunchBase

(6) TAKES A SHINE TO YOUR VAX: No… Not Fax, though I’m sure if I had one he would love it! I mean, ‘VAX’ a brand of vacuum cleaner. Oh… Yes, I can just see all them parents of children on the autism spectrum nodding their heads at speed because yes, the child with Aspergers Syndrome does have a tendency to like household gadgets or items considered odd by peers of the same age! Why is this a good thing? Well, what other 11-year-old do you know who offers to hover the living room and stairs for you on a daily basis? What a great job he makes of it too!

(7) HAVING A LAY IN: OK, OK my son isn’t the best at going to bed and falling a sleep of a night, he often struggles till 3am or later even with the use of Melatonin (natural sleeping medication) however when his head hits the pillow he refuses to move it and after a late one making sure he gets of to sleep, I deserve a lay-in! (NOT GREAT ON SCHOOL DAY, JUST WEEKENDS)!

(8) PERFECTIONIST: Not always a good thing, especially when it means they refuse to do school work as they feel they just can’t do a good job of the task at hand so outrightly refuse to try at all. Nonetheless when the child is passionate about something, they do a mighty good job of it, making the parent a very proud one (I have some amazing pictures of little man’s LEGO creations).

(9) MANNERS: Little man has huge problems with his use of swearing and at times I’m dead embarrassed when out and about a meltdown breaks out which often starts with some really offensive obscenities. Yet, when the Little man is polite and his engaged in a conversation of interest or sat talking to the elderly lady on the bus, his manners are outstanding and many comment how proud I must be 🙂 Put it this way… My son has never got of a bus without thanking the driver, always holds doors open for little old ladies and once offered FOR ME to carry someone’s shopping to their car at Tesco!

(10) AMAZING MEMORY: Little man may not have the best short-term memory especially when asking him to fetch his dirty washing or find his shoes, but when something interests him he gathers the facts surrounding the topic and stores them away safely. It is truly amazing that Little man can tell you where almost every bus in London is destining for just by giving him its number!

A fMRI scan showing regions of activation in o...

Image via Wikipedia

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