Tag Archives: planning

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.

Preparing my child with Aspergers for our family festive break

8 Dec

17

Days till Christmas

We’re off to Butlin’s this weekend and are all rather excited about it.

 However, it’s really not a case of “just up and leaving” for us! Well, I suppose it isn’t for anyone really, but for us such a trip means extensive preparation.

 Little man is looking forward to the trip, however he has many concerns, things that for most add to the excitement of a holiday!

English: Skyline Pavilion, Butlin's, near...

Image via Wikipedia

 Little man wants to know, how everything will plan out! Just how will we get there; how long will it take; how long does each and every activity last; what are the bedrooms like; what do they use to clean the pool; does the hotel smell of bleach, will there be a shower?

 OK, OK… Most kids ask questions but for Little man it’s not just a question but a real concern!

 When it comes to days out we need to ensure good preparation has played its part, otherwise Little man will suffer and the entire family will pay dearly. The truth is, I’m unsure why god considered me the “Right” person to mother a child on the autism spectrum! Organisation has never been my strong point! Well, when it comes to actually getting somewhere on time, I’m the worst ever! Seriously no matter what I do, something always seems to happen… always!

 We went camping back in July and absolutely nothing went to plan. It was extremely hard work and at certain points of the holiday I did have to stop and ask myself why I was actually putting myself through this. Yes, that may sound selfish and maybe a thousand adults on the spectrum reading this will now jump on my back! I know it isn’t easy for the Little man either, but at the time when his having an almighty meltdown in the tent at 2am, I did ask myself why!

 I always come up with the same answer! His my son, and just because he has Aspergers doesn’t mean he should miss the experiences that all children are entitled to. As a family, we are all entitled to a holiday and as hard as this may be, I’m determined to keep on trying! It’s my belief, the more we do these things, the better Little man is able to deal with them. It’s not that he don’t want to go on holiday’s or have day’s out, if this was the case then of course I wouldn’t push him, the fact he does want to engage in such activities, no matter how hard these things become it gives me that nudge to keep trying.

Camping wasn’t ideal for a child on the spectrum, especially camping at a festival, to be honest, it was the most unstructured place to take a holiday and as much as he now declares his a big camping fan, I would need to be thinking long and hard before embanking on such an adventure again.

 Now, we have been Butlin’s before! Little man was around 5 and this was prior to his diagnosis. Nevertheless things went surprisingly OK. I know his that bit older and yes, things do tend to unfold quicker and normally in a bigger more explosive way, but considering how structured Butlin’s can be I think it may actually be a really good place for a family consisting of a child with Aspergers to take a break.

 Well, we’re leaving on Friday, after school so it really is upon us.

 Here’s what I have done in preparation so far.

 We are staying in the Butlins hotel and I’ve checked with facilities are in our room (tv, shower, single or bunk beds etc.)

English: Ocean Hotel - Bognor, near to Felpham...

Image via Wikipedia

 Packed his clothing separately from ours, making sure they have been tumble dried for maximum softness.

 Made sure I’ve packed him entertainment for the journey (Lego, books etc)

 Downloaded the Butlin’s iphone app which has the full weekends entertainment, including opening times of certain activities, shows, the weekend line-up and any additional special bookable extras. Also includes a Map which is a bonus as Little man is driven mad when we get lost.

 As we haven’t been for sometime (I last went about 6 years ago) I’ve been speaking to some mummy bloggers on twitter who have been telling me what we can expect (What to avoid and what not to miss) I’d like to personally thank @TiredmummyofTwo who very considerately contacted me to ask if there was anything I wanted to ask as she was aware of my situation (please note, this isn’t someone who works for Butlins just a fellow blogger) I really am grateful that she took the time to contact me and offer that bit of support (it really is the little things that touch a person’s heart)

OK…  I’ve planed transport

 As the children’s father is now unable to attend, I’m now taking a friend who knows little man really well and is as good as family. This is important as on the Saturday I’m at the Tots100 Christmas party and my friend will take care of the children (a great mate)

 Trying to plan Sunday as-well as I possibly can as it’s Harley’s second birthday and little man can find other people’s birthdays difficult at the best of times.

 Making sure Little man knows exactly how many days in-till we leave and the times in-which we are leaving.

 Plus a host of other things that are actually rather jumbled in my head right now!

 Oh… and you better believe it! I have spent so long worrying about the Little man, plus ensuring all three children’s belongings are packed that I haven’t even thought about what I’m taking! That means packing when his at school today!

I can’t wait till everything is sorted so myself, friend and the children can look forward to our festive break which is promised to be filled with Christmas Cheer.

So… Wish me luck people! I’ll have the Mac so let’s hope that the holiday update is just that, “An Update” and a happy one at that, avoiding a festive holiday “Rant!”

“Mum, your christmas presents belong in the trash!”

2 Dec

23 

Days till Christmas

On Christmas morning the children wake you up at the crack of dawn, keen to get going on their marathon of gift unwrapping. Your Child squeals with delight and surprise when they discover what’s been hiding under the tree! 

 But what if they don’t? I mean, what if they say..

 “Thanks but no thanks” 

 How would that make you feel?

 As a mother of a child with Aspergers, I know all to well how that feels, except the words above are a not exactly of his choosing!

 “Yuck, that’s nasty”

 “How much was it?”

 “I don’t like these mum”

 “Have you got the receipt so we can exchange it for something way better”

 All these terms and more have been used by the Little man, you may feel his spoilt or selfish, greedy maybe!

 The reality is Little man don’t do well with surprises, the thought of someone getting him something not of use or something he doesn’t like is a total worry that could literally mess up his whole entire way of thinking. 

With this in mind, it is safe to say that,“No, my son does not believe in Santa Claus” that much is clear to see.

 His choices for gift have always been… Well, lets say a little “absurd” though I’ve noticed that since his been “allowed” to be part of a school community his slowly becoming interested in other things, things that are considered more “Socially accepted” (though I’m pretty sure that nothing will be able to replace his “special interest” in transport) you may think his a bit of an anorak? If he wasn’t my son, would I think the same? 

 Anyhow, regardless of any of that above (to be honest I don’t know why I’m even bringing that into it) because it will always be the same whether he likes buses, Lego or the latest Nerf blaster! The bottom line is, he don’t do well with surprises and unfortunately when them “Surprises” are not to his liking he doesn’t do well on subtlety either and it would seem that Little man isn’t the only one!

 Yes, I created the A boy with Asperger’s (ABWA) Facebook page around a year after this blog as kind of an extension, that I hoped would somehow do well in the world of  “Social media” and to my surprise, it went down a storm, so much so we now have eleven amins and almost 4,500 members. The page has seen myself and many others through some difficult times and for many Christmas seems to be one of those! 

 We are quite lucky in the fact that despite Little man’s present opening can be somewhat disastrous, if not thought through, and the fact he can be quite impulsive especially around lots of people, he still copes far better than some children on the spectrum during Christmas

 After engaging in a group discussion on the Facebook page this week, it came to light that the whole situation surrounding gifts and surprises, was by far one of the biggest issues for our children at Christmas. However there was a lot of discussion around the topic of Christmas dinner, social gatherings which sadly included visits from the extended family.

 I found many parents with the exception of a few, complained that their families failed to fully understand or even accept their child, which made occasions like Christmas even more difficult families.

 I mean… Our children don’t mean to be so blunt, it’s not as easy for them to smile politely and say thank you, when let’s be honest they feel the given gift is best of in the trash than actually taking up space in their bedrooms.

 I remember from such a young age, Little man would so bluntly show his utter disappointment in a gift he had received. This made me dread Christmas and birthdays, I used to try desperately hard to… “BEG” him if you like, to not say anything rude and if he didn’t like something we would sort it out when everybody had left to go home! He would just look at me before coming out with a thousand and one… “But why” questions. Once convinced he knew the drill I’d just about relax and out it would pop… “Nan… what ever made you think I wanted this” I’d go darting over from wherever I was and quite literally gag him.

 This isn’t always the case anymore and most of the family understand this is just his way! My mum learnt her lesson quite early on and began taking him shopping for his own gifts (not usually a great idea is shopping, what with the tendency to quickly convert into meltdown mode, due to the sensory overload of the busy situation) but like myself, my mother has a plan (one that doesn’t always work… it a 50/50 thing) quite periods and the mid relaxation break at a costa branch normally helps! Strange choice for an 11-year-old I know but a decaf with cream seems to somehow make a bad situation a not so bad one.

 While on my Facebook page reading some Crimbo tips from my fellow parents of children on the autism spectrum, I discovered a few I wanted to share!

 Please bear in mind some of these children find the whole occasion that is Christmas far too much to bear and cannot cope with it at all. Many really do not like the whole social situation that comes with Christmas, where little man wants to socialise, he just has difficulties doing so.

 Christmas tips for the family of a child with autism  given by parents from the ABWA facebook page.

 One of our admin on the page… My tip is, don’t do it! Jo has asked for no decorations, to know what presents are, to do very little, to spend it at home with a mince-pie or two just me & him & Dr who! I think the buffet idea is the best tip I’ve heard of, that and allowing aspies plenty of space away from it all if there is a family gathering taking place (L)

Parent from page… Jamie hates surprises and too many presents overwhelm her so Xmas starts tomorrow for us, a present a day for advent and anything she isn’t happy with I will swap for something she wants. Xmas day will be very casual with a couple of presents to open when she’s ready and no Xmas dinner, just a normal day as far as food is concerned!

 Parent from page… Eli is obsessed with his nintendo dsi and zones out when playing games so we take it with us when we go for family holidays and he has as much down time as he needs. We don’t force him to sit with us or socialise…. He seems to visit when he wants and the dsi gives us all some peace.

 Parent from page… All my family are very aware of Liams need to get away so they always tell him which room he can hide out in when he wants and we bring his ds and he is happy. No one is allowed into his chill out room, as for presents he gives me a list of what he wants including stocking fillers… I get what I can and pass the rest on to the others then we move onto a ratio, vouchers so many previous Christmas ruined because we bought what we thought he might like …..big mistake

 Parent from page… For kyles bedtime routine (kyle is just 5) we have made a picture board using photos we took of him doing various things, they look so nice and also I think it makes it more personal for his understanding when he sees himself doing it in his room etc. I am hoping to get something to attach the pictures with at the moment so its like his “diary” he has at school. I am now trying to get some of the other things we do like taking a bus trip out etc 🙂 hope this helps x

 Parent on page… My 7-year-old son knows every present he’s getting! Last year he went on and on and on and on and on and on for a month before xmas, I learnt this year and he helped me choose everything so no surprises but he doesn’t care lol. x

 Parent on page… Limit the amount of time friends and family spend visiting you – everyone has this big thing about spending the whole festive period together but for my son this is like torture. So we have family over on the xmas day bit and have a limit on the amount of time they can spend with us , and this helps my son to stay focused and calm as he knows there is an end in sight and he knows when the time is coming where he can chill and just be himself. I will say that my son has a thing about being fully dressed, and eating in front of people, so for him it is good to know that he only has so long left till he can strip and stuff his face with xmas goodies!

 Parent from page… For those, like my son, who hate opening presents if they don’t know what it is, ask the giver to write the label ‘To Jake, a toy tractor with love from Auntie Julie xx’. It takes the stress out of the moment. Of course,if they don’t want the tractor that could be interesting too!!. X

 Parent on page… It doesn’t matter if you don’t open the presents all in one go, we do ours over the whole day and sometimes keep hold of some for the next day too. It seems too overwhelming for my lot and I wouldn’t say they’re spoiled either!

All the comments above have been left on the ABWA facebook page and permission has been obtained for their use within this post. Please remember these are personal comments from parents of children on the autism spectrum and the comments will be protected by the copyright that protects this blog

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