Tag Archives: spectrum

Changing

23 Apr

A teenage terror!

Is terror a little harsh a word? Um, No, Probably not!

I myself went from a sweet little girl with pigtails to some unrecognisable rebellious monster with too many hormones! Ok, I gave my mum headache for a couple of years but then I got it out my system and grew up.

Nonetheless, I do remember the total chaos I caused in the house. My terrible attitude and stinking mood swings. Now as a mother I’m totally crapping myself at whats to come.

Little man is 12. His almost a teenager and already seems to be experiencing the changes puberty brings.

For many years family and friends have commented that when Little man becomes challenging he displays the many traits of a teenage boy. For this reason and others i’m left asking myself the question… “is the mix of Asperger’s traits and those of puberty going to create an explosive combination?”

Meltdowns are already highly charged. A trigger, depending on what it is, can spark some of the most explosive meltdowns that go on for hours on end. Will these triggers become more heightened or will we be faced with new ones all together?

I’ve already started to notice changes in little man’s behaviour. Having worked extremely hard to master the signs, these are now becoming harder to spot. Its that feeling that your walking on eggshells that or there is some ticking time bomb in the room.

I am extremely grateful to little man’s school. If he never had this placement he may have had to struggle through secondary school. For some children with Aspergers this can be a trying experience! I guess what I’m trying to say is at least he is in a supportive school who can help him through those sometimes confusing teenage years. This is one less thing to worry about.

But its not just meltdowns and mood swings that concern me. As a mother of a teenage boy I worry about all the normal stuff but then with Aspergers thrown into the mix I guess I worry a tad more. For one, there’s the issue of girls… Just because his on the autism spectrum doesn’t mean he won’t experience all those new and confusing feelings when it comes to the opposite sex.

Little man can be somewhat blunt when it comes to saying what he thinks so here’s hoping social skills training will make this area of concern less of a problem.

Changing bodies, feelings and an injection of hormones are sure to bring about a some important lessons for little man and of course for me, his mother.

We are currently working on issues surrounding personal hygiene. With tactile defensiveness little man absolutely hates to bath. He loves to use a power shower and this is something I’m currently requesting from the housing association (which isn’t a walk in the park). Having a shower fitment would make the world of difference to us as a family. Instead of wrestling him into a bubble filled tub, I’d instead have to wrestle him out of the shower. Both myself and his father have both talked with little man about the importance of personal hygiene, especially as he gets older. His already Experimenting with different brands of deodorants because as dad clearly stated… ‘No body likes to be friends with somebody who smells of BO’

As for sex education, the school have already began to teach little man and his peers the basics. There has already been lots of discussions on how their bodies will change as they go through puberty so that there will be no surprises or sudden shocks in the future.

Just yesterday little man informed me that he was developing a few teenage spots that were completely normal for a boy of his age. We talked about the importance of washing his face and reframing from spot popping to which he responded with, ‘ Yuck… I won’t pop them thats disgusting!’ Yes I too was pleased we agreed on something.

I don’t know what these teenage years hold for us. But like everything, its just a case of taking the rough with the smooth. No doubt there will be problems but I’m guessing there will be many achievements made by little man along the way.

These are the years in which little man will become a not so little man. The lessons both myself as his parent and his school teach him, will now be some of the most important to date! Now is the time to work together to get it right, shaping my little man for the future. The end results… A promising life as an independent working adult who looks forward to life’s little surprises instead of fearing them.

Thank Goodness Its Over

2 Jan

Firstly, let me start by wishing you all a very happy new year. Here’s hoping all your hopes and dreams are granted this year.

We may only be in the first few days of 2013 but what an eventful few days these have been… Well in our household anyway! With the children still off school it sure hasn’t been quiet!

Little man’s routine has gone totally off course and once again as a result I have a child who sleeps all day and is awake all night. Yes, I do drag his backside from his pit most days but when you’ve spent most the night awake yourself it is kind of tempting to let him sleep. One, your able to get stuff done and two… Have you ever tried dragging a 12 year old boy from his bed? Especially one who has the tendency to wake in a super foul mood? I rest my case!

Still, its to be expected I guess! Christmas and New year does tend to interfere with the body clock of a child on the autism spectrum. OK, he isn’t the best of sleepers generally, its just that bit worse these past few weeks. That’s why I’m kinda glad its all over now… Well it will be once the children are back at school. I don’t wanna sound all ba humbug, I actually love this festive time of year though I also love a little normality in the house (not that we are your average family on most days but I guess you get my drift).

So… Let me tell you a little about our Christmas and New year…. There was lots of fun in our house. Christmas itself was really pleasant. Yes, dinner was a tad later than expected, but it was actually really nice and chilled. That’s as chilled as Christmas can be! I know for some it can be a really stressful day. Especially when you have a child on the autism spectrum who likes everything to run like clockwork. However, this year we managed an almost stress free day. Keeping things small really helped. There was no huge family dinner, just me and the kids and their father. We briefly popped to my mums in the morning which was really short and sweet, then we sat watching Christmas TV with a load of Quality street within reach. Dinner did ran a little late as mentioned but I blamed the Turkey! It had clearly been living in another time zone when living as it had no intention on playing by the rules and cooking in accordance with the timescales so clearly stated on the packet. Little man did get a little stressed at this point but so did I. Maybe it was a mix of his Aspergers traits and that of hunger. I’m guessing it was more of the latter as I know I was close to starting on the pudding I’d prepared at some point.

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As mentioned in a previous post, that of Boxing Day didn’t go so well. With no schedule as such little man was handed a dose of the post Christmas blues and handled this in the only way he knew how… With a Good old fashioned meltdown… Little man style.

As the days passed, Little man kinda felt as if he was in limbo. The week between Christmas and New Year is a hard one for little man and I can kind of understand why. I swear, even I was unaware of what day it was occasionally. With money spent up on Christmas I found myself with nothing else to do but watch television and even I was getting pretty bored of this. What with one day being a holiday and the next day not, supermarket opening times still up in the air and not knowing if the rubbish would be collected or not (not great when you have a bin full of turkey bones, rotten veg and a truck load of gift wrap) you can’t blame him for the confusion… or me for the lack of schedule planning.

As for New Years Eve, well, this was spent with my mum. Just myself, mother and the children. So again a pretty quiet family affair (that’s if you don’t include the noise that was coming from little mans direction)!

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You see, little man gets somewhat excitable when it comes to New Year. He is petrified of fireworks, but only when stood beneath them, so the prospect of watching them on the television is one of great excitement for him. As the stroke of midnight grew closer little mans excitement was growing off the scale. He had come up with this wild and somewhat bonkers idea to do his own countdown for the benefit of his youtube channel (have I not yet mentioned his growing fascination with creating videos for youtube? Another time maybe). Anyway this meant that he wasn’t only sat filming the mental piece clock but that of the TV. As the stroke of midnight finally came we were not only greeted by the sound of the fabulous London firework display on the TV as well as a somewhat loopy firework hating barking dog running around mums living room but the sound of little man as he commentated the whole thing in his own unique style (sweet you may thing but you were not the ones reaching for the Paracetamol so early on in the night)!

So… There you have it. With all the festivities well and truly over I’m just about ready for the year ahead. I have our holiday to butlins in April to look forward to but before that I have a monster high themed sleepover/party to organise for a very excited 9 soon to be 10 year old daughter…. The joys of being a kid!

I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas too…. Heres to a splendid & wonderful 2013.

STOP MOCKING CHILDREN WITH AUTISM

22 Sep

Why does our TV channels feel its OK to screen shows featuring comedians mocking children and Adults with autism?

What really annoys me most is that this same channel screens programmes that actually help to raise awareness for autism yet they are happy to feature so called funny comedians joking at the expense of a child like mine.

I was sat up late on Thursday night/Friday morning as I couldn’t sleep. I sat on the sofa wrapped in a blanket, a cuppa by my side, watching BBC3.

“Oh Russell Howard… I like him” I thought to myself.

I like how this young comedian is able to take something and brighten it up. His funny look on life is refreshing. He never seems to overstep the mark, and importantly he is able to laugh at himself.

Then what happened? Yer, you’ve guessed it… Russell Howard joined the many other unappealing comedians out there and I suddenly found myself going off him in what seemed like an instant.

The show ‘Right Here Right Now’ is a stand up recording of Russell Howard on stage doing his thing.

The not so funny joke…

“Why is Bieber famous?? I’ll tell you why, it’s because he said the word baby more times than any man in a 3 minute period. It’s like an autistic child in a maternity ward, Baby, Baby, Baby… OOH. That’s not music that’s mental illness!”

Did I overreact by writing this? I don’t think I did. For one autism is a spectrum condition, not all children with autism repeat things! Secondly and most importantly, Autism isn’t even a mental illness it’s a Neurological condition. Miss informing a nation that’s already built upon ignorance and stigma isn’t going to help anybody is it!

I don’t think any comedian who feels its OK to mock another because they are autistic or suffer mental health difficulties is worth watching. Would he had thought twice if this involved another medical condition? My guess is yes!

But above all what upsets me more is that the BBC are happy to screen such rubbish, especially given they broadcast shows that do such a great job to highlight the positives in autism.

I’m a mother who has watched her child struggle not just with aspects of his Aspergers diagnosis but at the hands of ignorance too. Yet somehow I do manage to add some Witt to my writing, sometimes my motto is “if I don’t laugh I’ll go crazy” but this isn’t the same is it! I’ve tried to look at what Russell Howard said and see some light hearted banter in it, sadly I can’t… It was just a horrid uncaring thing to say.

I think this show was a repeat from months back as the YouTube comments Stretch back for over months! Therefore maybe this is something of old news to you? Nonetheless, the comments are still being added to YouTube, some in support of the autism community, others just to comment on how funny they found it…

“Russell Howard is my role model. I use his jokes and my friends don’t stop laughing. If I saw Russell Howard in real life… id thank him for his work.” MrTheRUNESCAPER 8 months ago 3 Comment taken from Youtube

The above comment worries me, as does many others. No wonder its often a struggle to get our children through school without finding themselves the victims of bullies.

Please BBC, be more careful with the message your sending and Russell… You’re just not funny!

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.

Hands together let’s pray for autism.

11 Feb

As I scroll though my Facebook home page I read the many status updates. Most are full of excitement for in a few days time it will be Valentines day. But if like me you are a mother of a child on the autistic spectrum you will know that Valentines day Sunday 14th Feb 2010 will be a far more important day for some. A day to come together, show support, raise awareness and most of all pray. What are we praying for? Autism that’s what.

Autism Sunday  is the International Day of Prayer for Autism and Asperger’s Syndrome. It’s has now become a recognised worldwide event that was first founded in the UK in 2002 by Ivan and Charika Corea. Who like myself  are proud parents of an autistic child and both British autism campaigners. When I read about this massive achievement  they have made by taking something and forming into something massive by using none other than their voice really inspired me to get heard and not be ignored. If  we are not the voice for our child and others like them who will be?  I seem to spend a great deal of my time fighting for little mans rights and convincing myself that the longer and harder I push the more chance I will have in succeeding. Yes it can behard work, tiring, upsetting, disappointing but also you will find it gives you a great sense off  hope and passion. Like they say if you don’t seceded the first time try again. And it’s so true you never give up. Right now I’m fighting for a better education for my son. More SEN services and support groups. I think once this is donesomething else will need addressing it always does. So when days like Autism Sunday come around it puts it all into perspective. And when the world is coming together in pray for something I raise awareness for every single day it’s so exhilarating 🙂 It’s wonderful to see just how far we have come.

Another great thing about Autism Sunday is the messages that flood in from some of the great people of our nation.  Here I have listed you a few people who have sent best wishes for this coming Sunday

  • Prime Minister Gordon Brown
  • The world-renowned autism expert Professor Simon Baron Cohen of Cambridge University
  • The Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families, Ed Balls
  • Dawn Primarolo, Minister of State for Children and Young People at the Department for Children, Schools & Families
  • The Minister of State of Her Majesty’s Government, Angela Smith MP who is the Minister for Third Sector,
  • Shadow Welsh Secretary and the architect of the Autism Bill 2009 in the United Kingdom, Cheryl Gillan MP
  • The Mayor of London Boris Johnson

To read these great tributes you can visit the site Autism Sunday or Facebookers can join their group

So are you with me in joining the 1,000,000 Prayers ? Here are a few pray points not to forget.

  • Pray for all people with autism and Asperger’s Syndrome.
  • Pray for better public services in health, education, specialist speech therapy and respite care.
  • Pray for greater awareness of the condition.
  • Pray for parents and careers of children and adults with autism and Asperger’s Syndrome.
  • Pray for national governments that they will offer public services and listen to the voices of disability communities.

  • Pray for teachers in mainstream schools and special schools that they will think of real educational strategies to help children with autism and Asperger’s Syndrome. ( This one is one that will be in myprays for sure )
  • Pray for the improvement of communication and social skills for children and adults with autism and Asperger’s Syndrome.

So please this Valentines day in between hearts, flowers, and sweet nothings  make time for a short pray for Autism & Asperger’s. It’s just one day for you but everyday for our child.

WASH YOUR MOUTH OUT.

3 Feb

What do you do when your 9 yr old Aspie son developes a taste for bad language?

I have to say that I don’t think I have the answer. I’m lost and at my wit’s end. Not only do I feel that I have lost control of the situation I also feel that everyone else is thinking the same thing. I got passed the looks and rude comments pushed apron me from other parents or members of the public. As I wrote in a past post some months ago I’m not going to feel like I have to explain every single thing little man does or action I take to deal with it. Yer I used to do this but I was losing the battle. How can you get the world to see things in a different light. Some people will always be stuck in their ways and little old me can’t do much to change it. It’s just that old fashion way of  thinking. There is no such Thing as autism or in our day it was just called bad behaviour. Yes I want to raise awareness for ASD and hope people do begin to see past bad behaviour in children on the spectrum but there is only so much you can do. The thing is Little mans use of swear words has become so bad Its making me avoid taking him anywhere. I can’t help worrying what others think when they hear his disgusting fool language during an outburst of rage. I tell him off though my tears of shame. My father used to go ballistic if me or my brothers and sister swore. If we ever dared swear at an adult we would be punished to the highest standards but saying that I don’t think it ever happened. We were pretty polite children. I try to stress how important it is not to swear, I tell him it doesn’t sound big, clever or cool. Sadly I just think that now his using certain words without even thinking. A swear word seems to appear in every other sentence and a habit is forming . A very embarrassing habit! As a parent to a child with Asperers I feel that life will alway hand you a problem to try and over come. Once you have mastered it something else comes along. It’s like one long test. But as a friend once told me God will only dish out what he thinks you can handle. Being a parent full stop is a learning game we parents of the ASD child just have a little extra to get through. I guess I’m just finding this one a little harder to overcome.

Techniques I have tried to help stop little mans use of bad language.

  • Taking away his belongings.
  • No playing  outside with his friend next door.
  • No treats.
  • Pocket money lost or reduced.

I know that following a punishment though is important with all children. there times I caved but as the behaviour has become worse I have  stood my ground and Little man has hindered his punishment but still with no long-lasting effects. So this is to all you parents out their that have been though it. I need your advice! How do I reduce his swearing and then finally stop it?  All suggestion welcome from parents with or without children on the spectrum.

Something has got to be done. If little man is like this with me and other family members he must be using the same language in the classroom. I already know he is rude to stuff and has problems separating Children and adults so I think that this could be highly likely.

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