Tag Archives: support

Mum you’re my inspiration in all that I do!

18 Mar

So, today is Mothering Sunday, a day to show your appreciation to the woman who carried you, gave birth to you, loved you, sang to you, taught you invaluable life lessons and nurtured you from the day she laid eyes on you!

Although, I’m a mother to three amazingly wonderful children, who have so lovingly surprised me with mini rose brushes and melt in the mouth chocolates, as well as some impressive home-made cards, I’m actually posting today, more so as a daughter than that of a Mother.

I’m thankful to my mother for so many things, more than I could possibly put into words! She, gave me a wonderful childhood, and although at times life was difficult, mum never let anything beat her. It could not  have been easy to discover your 2-year old daughter is riddled with the evilness, one better known as cancer! Yes, my baby sister had leukaemia (Cancer of the blood) and although at 10 years old, I knew this to be bad, it’s only once I had my own children, that I could truly appreciate how much that must have frighten and sadden my mother.

Mum has always been an inspiration to me, she’s the type of woman who doesn’t have a bad word to say  about anybody, even if they are #@•## holes. This is simply her way, one of her many beautiful qualities!

Growing up we had ups and downs, ones I guess mothers and their teenage daughters everywhere could easily relate too. Yes, I was a bit of a rebellious one at age 13, though in my defence, My challenging ways were sorted before they had started (well, that’s not exactly true, It was for a period of one year tops…. honestly)!

At 17 years old I fell pregnant with Little man (aka A boy with Asperger’s) giving birth to him on the first day of October during the year of the millennium! I was now 18 years old, an 18-year-old mother in fact. 

Regardless of such a reality, I wasn’t exactly your “average” 18 year old, I’d already lived and worked in Greece at age 17 and at this point, had been in a relationship a little over 3 years. Of course I worried that my mother would disapprove, think that bit less of me! Though this wasn’t true, mum supported me, she had faith in me, just as she continues to on this day. 

If any of you have followed the blog from the beginning, some 3 plus years now, you’ll understand when I say that for the first few years of my son’s life, all was well! Little man was a good baby, a great toddler who never had a tantrum, Boy did I gloat. Little man spoke early, he spoke well, he met milestones and even exceed a few. He was potty trained by his second birthday and seemed to be the type of child you only heard about in dreams.

Sadly most good things come to an end and although I had noted concerns by the time Little man reached 4, no one really actually listened. It really hit a peak shortly after his 7th Birthday when he displayed the meltdown of all meltdowns, hitting me with a metal pole in the process. This almighty meltdown seemed as if it was sent to make up for all them years without a tantrum. His sleep pattern, well more appropriately “lack of sleep pattern” was at a high, he became an active school refuser giving me my first taste of what life with the AWO (attendance and welfare officer) on your back was like! I guess people found it hard to digest, no, correction, believe! My son could go a whole 48 hrs sleep free, I’d wake up in the most unusual of places, laid on the stairs, on the toilet and quite shocking stood at the ironing board! I was so, tired and had no say in the  process, despite being his mother I failed to improve the situation! Black baggy eyed and rambling to myself on a daily basis, I considered myself to have reached that point, the one referred to as  “Madness”

My mother has been a rock throughout, attending the numerous meetings with professionals, supporting me throughout my battles to obtain the services, educational or otherwise that Little man has needed to progress! No matter what life has thrown in my direction, My mother has been there every step of the way! 

I know I’m incredibly lucky, not everyone in my situation is as lucky to have this degree of support! I’m blessed to have such a wonderful family and I hope that my children grow up to appreciate my mothering ways as much as I do appreciate those of my own mothers!

This is for the woman who thought me the beauty and benefits of good honest value’s ! A woman who showed me how to look at the world and make it my own, a woman who loves me whatever happens, someone who has always believed in me no matter what! This is a woman I owe a thousand thank yous, a woman I admire for her hardworking ways, and sheer positiveness however testing life becomes  …. A woman I’m dead proud to call my mum! 

HAPPY MOTHERS DAY MUM

YOU’RE THE INSPIRATION IN ALL THAT I DO  XX

 

Never fulfilling the criteria

8 Mar

Some of you may have read my post “Help me to reveal the bigger picture this world autism day” which I posted no longer than a few days back. I wrote the post in an attempt to gather others by my side, in-order to help me pull of a great idea for this World Autism Awareness day (April 2nd 2012)

For those that didn’t read the post, please do, you can find it HERE.

A very quick summary… Basically I’m trying to encourage people to wear something that contains the colours of the awareness puzzle or ribbon. Maybe one of the two symbols on a tee-shirt, face paints, a home-made funky eye mask, etc… it’s totally up to you just be creative! Next write the words”Doing it for World Autism 2012″on a large piece of card and hold it up. Lastly, regardless of where in the world you are, snap a picture.

This is aimed at all, especially those who don’t have a child, partner, relative on the autism spectrum, as well as those that do! Bloggers, especially mummy & daddy bloggers, health bloggers, autism activist etc, can then upload pic onto their site/blog with small description stating that they are doing it to raise awareness for autism. I’ll add a link to my blog and everyone can submit links to linky.

Would love you to also tweet pics and messages using hash tag #worldautism2012 on Twitter

Those that love to network on Facebook, can upload to there profiles or pages tagging the page A boy with Aspergers, which is the fan page connected to my blog and has become a support haven for almost 5,000 members, who are looked after by myself and a great group of admins who have stuck with it throughout.

I’m hoping to get enough images of people around the world dressed proudly in their autism bright’s with a board in their hands. Why… Because I’ll make this into an awesome awareness collage!

For the full details please check the link, as given above!

Now, that’s done, I wanted to touch on yet another issue That I raised within that very same post a few days back!

Those who read, will know that I gave some examples to demonstrate how the word mild, when used with High functioning autism and Aspergers Syndrome, can all to often be seen in the wrong light, resulting in likely misconceptions, causing many distressing situations for those on the higher end of the autism spectrum. This is mainly due to the term mild being widely used to describe the intellectual side of asperger’s and HF autism which then leads people to dismiss every trait to be that of mild! I tried to demonstrate how this is rarely the case when it comes to the social aspect of HF autism and Aspergers.

Now, I did go off to bed late last night, questioning whether I made my point clear enough, explained it as well as I could have! Some fans on Facebook stated I hit the nail on the head where others couldn’t get passed the need to compare Aspergers to what some describe as classic autistic (lower functioning) I did point out that those with autism often get stuck in their own world where’s those with Aspergers often (well, at some point) realise they are different! they want to socialise and just cannot do so, this can cause great depression within the child.

Now to cut to the chase and reframe from writing that whole essay of a post all over again,I’m here today because I came across a news story that highlights the importance of the issues I raised last time… When I asked you.. “would u use the world “mild” to describe…”

Now I ask you the same with another example, one that was reported within the news. I ask does the article you are about to read represent the word “Mild”?

A 11-year-old boy diagnosed as having Aspergers Syndrome was reported to have run away from home because he was struggling to cope with his autism!

The report told how a massive police search was put in place when the child known as Ben, went missing from his bed sometime during the night. He was found to be missing at 7am in the morning when his parents went to wake him for school!

Ben had left a handwritten note which stated that he did not wish to be found!

His father reports how his son Ben who is diagnosed as having Aspergers syndrome, suffers from anxiety and was particularly anxious due to the Sports day taking place at the school which he attends.

Ben’s parents state that “Ben running away is part of an inability to cope with certain social
situations and pressures, which is part of his condition.”

However it was noted that Ben had never ran away before, making this extremely worrying for his parents and everybody else involved.

A huge search was underway when Ben was thankfully spotted by officers who were searching above by helicopter in Elloughton Dales just after 10am.

It is said that Ben told his parents that he had planned to return home later that day.

Ben himself, is a child who has tried to raise awareness for his condition! It has been reported that Ben previously worked raising awareness for autism as part of the Lifestyle Project, organised by Humberside Police.

As I continued on Reading the article, I sadly discovered something that although unfair and anger provoking, it came as no surprise to me whatsoever!

Ben’s father told reporters, that his son is currently under the care of a paediatric consultant, but has only now, since the incident, been offered more help!!

An all to often situation, parents asking for help before the child in question gets into a worrying or dangerous situation, only any previous request are outrightly declined, with the explanation always the same… Your child nor family fit our “criteria” therefore you’re not eligible for support!

Yes, it was reported that Ben’s parents expressed concerns for their child many times, they were noted to be constantly asking for support for Ben, they fought for Ben, though in the end, it took a situation that could have ended so much worse, for that criteria to finally be
met! severe

After Ben’s return his family contacted their local Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service, known to most as (CAMHS) to demand support for Ben, which was thankfully agreed.

The parents wanted to thank the public, family and friends for support. There was also words of thanks for the guys in blue for their fast and efficient response that lead to Ben’s safe return home.

It was reported within the article that CAMHS had made the following statement.

“A spokeswoman for Humber NHS Foundation Trust said: “All referrals to our CAMHS team come either through a professional, such as a school nurse, who has concerns about a young person’s mental or emotional health and would contact one of our primary mental health workers, or through the family’s GP”

Finishing by saying

“All referrals are considered by the multi-disciplinary team to decide on the appropriate care route for the young person.”

This is just one more example of why we need to be heard, Ben like many others, my own child included, deserve a happy childhood, after all this is what every child should have!

Those older Adults on the spectrum, also deserve good decent services, support, recognition and acceptance.

Please wear your colour and hold up your board this World Autism
Awareness day 2012 due to kick off on the 2nd of April.

Also I’d love you to right-click and save the art work, save and display. If so, thank you that is very kind of you all.

You can read the full article from which I sourced this information by clicking HERE and see

The power of positivity

25 Oct

 A pretty exciting thing happened to me yesterday. I was contacted by a reporter for the “Weekly News” which is part of the D C  Thomson  &  Co (a Glasgow Newspaper and media group)

 lovely guy interviewed me over the phone and had a particular interest in my attitude to Little man’s diagnosis of Aspergers Syndrome.  

 It was my positive outlook that got him, he was interested to hear all about how I know embrace my sons condition instead of fighting it! 

 Now, what took me by surprise, was his interest in this side of things. You see, since I first started the I’ve had a number of journalist from the media contact me wanting a story on our most difficult & trying times. Now don’t get me wrong, I’m happy to discuss this, after all it gives those who are currently experiencing them same difficulties, the feeling that they are not alone, and yes they can come out the other side! But to have someone contact me with an interest I’m my positive approach to Aspergers was somewhat refreshing. 

 You see, if this same reporter had read my blog this time a year ago, he wouldn’t have come anywhere near me for a positive story (well, I wouldn’t have that’s for sure)! Ok, I’ve long had the attitude that I will never change little man, but during them long hard days of dealing with a school that didn’t give a donkeys rear end, or while fighting the never ending battling to obtain a statement, positive I was not! 

 I’m proud to say that I’ve come a long way since pre-diagnosis and the day of diagnosis itself.

When I look on my dressing table and see that glass award with the words “Mads Most Inspiring” I can’t help but break out in a smile, and here’s why! 

 My son’s difficulties were the reason I started using a computer, my god back then a snail could type faster than me and yes, I know a snail has no fingers, so what does that say about me ah? Now I’m so fast at typing I could do it with my eyes shut. Back then I was looking for answers and support, why? Because their was nowhere else to find them! That was in 2008 and that’s when I one day found myself blogging… Blogging, the girl who said she would never write through choice, My goodness, I actually love it now! My point being is it was the online community that provided me support and taught me one of the most important lesson of my life to date, one I will always hope to teach another… 

“My child may have Asperger’s but his still the same child, he is no different! The label will not change this” 

 From that moment on I looked at things differently! Once I got that diagnosis, the one I knew he would get (let’s not forget it was two year prior to his formal diagnosis that the child psychologist first told me he was 99% certain my child had Aspergers) I didn’t see it as something we needed to fight through, I was already past the stage of asking myself, “Why my child” or “Was it something I did?” I leant quickly that their would be a lot of battles I would need to fight as a result of the diagnosis. I learnt not to take it personally, it was all about money when obtaining the right support, not the fact nobody believed me, like I first thought. The system didn’t wish to believe any of us for the same reason! The cost to them to give our children that little bit extra support each one desperately required!

 Yes, I wouldn’t change my child, he is who he is and taking his AS away would change so much about him. However of course there are certain things I’d wish away in a second, things that would make his life a little easier, who wouldn’t? I’m his mother after all!

 I don’t blame the parent of the non verbal child or the child who has great developmental delays, when they state they would want to cure autism if they could! How could I, my child can speak and is that bit more high functioning! However I would state that just because he can speak or has the ability to do Math, doesn’t mean his difficulties are not always as trying. So… yes, I’d take away his anxiety, I love him to sleep better, but I wouldn’t take his brilliant mind, his interests and his inquisitiveness as these are parts of his wonderfully personality. 

 It was a really nice interview and I put down the phone feeling positive and positivity is the way forward when your child has a diagnosis of Asperger’s Syndrome.

 If anything, it’s the only way forward!

Section one, Part (1) Introduction to special educational needs

13 Sep

  Introduction to Special educational needs

 So, what exactly is the definition of Special educational needs?

A child is only considered to have special educational needs, (SEN) if they have a learning difficulty that requires a greater level of support than his or her peers. This would therefore require educational provision to be made for the child.

 A child who has a disability that prevents them from fully accessing the same educational facilities as his or her peers, would also be considered to have SEN. This also counts for children who have social and emotional difficulties, or conditions that affect a child’s mental state, though this child would only be seen as having SEN providing such a condition hinders them from fully accessing educational facilities, therefore requiring provision that is either extra or different from what the school gives through its usual differentiated teaching.

 Children that are younger than the compulsory school age, can also be considered as having SEN, if it is determined early on, that such child could not fully access the same educational facilities as his or her peers, or they have a learning diffculty that will certainly require special educational provision that is extra or different to the provision given to his or her peers, as and when the child was to start full-time education.

Section 312 of the education act 1996, stats, Special educational provision means:

“a) For children of two or over, educational provision which is additional to, or otherwise different form, the educational provision made generally for children of their age in schools maintained by the LEA, other than special schools, in the area.

b) For children under two, educational provision of any kind.”

Definitions in the 1998 Children Act (section 17 [11], Children Act 1989) defines a disability to be…

“A child is disabled if he is blind, deaf or dump or suffers from a mental disorder of any kind or is substantially and permanently handicapped by illness, injury or congenital deformity or such other disability as may be described.”

 Autism and misconceptions

 It is often the case that parents of children whom have been diagnosed as having an autism spectrum condition assume that their child’s educational setting will naturally make adjustments and accommodations for the child! Most assume that a child with autism is automatically considered to have special educational needs, therefore requiring additional provision to be made. Again isn’t actually the case at all. A formal diagnosis of autism is just that, “A diagnosis of autism” nothing more, nothing less! Such a diagnosis does not entitle a child to receive additional educational provision (through the school must make reasonable adjustment for any child with a disability, this is a different thing all together).

 Although a child with a diagnosis of an autism spectrum disorder is classified as having a, ‘disability’ this is not a ‘learning difficulty’. Whether the child has a learning difficulty is usually determined by the school or local authority (LEA) dependent of the child’s age.

 Common confusion

 It should be noted that despite a child’s autism, they may well succeed academically, requiring little if any extra provision at all. This is more commonly the case for children diagnosed with High functioning autism or Aspergers syndromeHowever it is extremely important to remember that regardless of a child with autism high academic progress, who may have even received the top grades in their class, can still be considered and seen as having special educational needs. As mentioned before, if such a condition as autism affects areas of the child’s social and emotional functioning while at school, hindering the way they access education could result in a child being placed on the special educational needs register. Behavioural difficulties, exclusions, misunderstandings, due to poor social interaction and communication, increased anxiety and school refusal are all factors that should be taken into account when considering if a child has SEN. Sadly it is often the case that LEAs refusal to carry our a statutory assessment or even issue a statement as they claim the child does well academically therefore not requiring additional provision to be made. This is not true and certainly isn’t a good enough reason not to make educational provision for such a child.

 Lastly it is important to remember that just because a child doesn’t speak English as a first language doesn’t  mean they have SEN.

 Coming up next time… Section one understanding special educational needs, part two, ‘The stages of SEN and is my child receiving the right type/amount of support?’

All information has been created to help others for their own personal use, this advice is independent and is given by myself a lone (No 3rd party participated was used throughout). Please do not use article for anything other than personal use, nor edit the information in any way. All published articles, throughout this site remain property of the author and this blog. Alway seek permission before using any post for anything other than described above. 

Thank you 

Creator

Claire-Louise

To download or see the rest of the fact-sheets via Google Doc’s Click HERE

I’m no Vicky Pallord!

25 May

Warning post contains sarcasm!

I’m a mummy of three, who doesn’t currently engage in paid employment! My hobbies include sitting on my backside smoking an excessive amount of cheap brand cigarettes while indulging in the awesomeness of daytime television. (it’s my opinion that daytime telly is seriously under-rated in its entertainment value).

When my two older children are in school I generally let my eighteen month old run a muck, while I get my daily fix of Jeremy Kyle. As I trust you all, I will let you into a little secret of mine! “I sometimes keep the two older children home from school due to me failing to get my arse out of bed of a morning, that or I require them to babysit their little brother as to allow me some me time! Yes, this is mainly spent socialising and networking on Facebook.”

So, there you have it! I’m basically a total bum who has chosen to live this lavish lifestyle as opposed to getting a, what’s that word again? …Oh yes that’s it, ‘JOB’!!!!

Can you blame me? Given the toss-up between the two, that is…   A lazy day at home in the company of Jeremy Kyle, or… The long commute on an overly crowded train in a bid to get to work five mornings a week! Sorry… Jeremy wins hands down!

Yer right as if! Please tell me you do realise that the above is nothing other than an example of my twisted humour, a hard injection of sarcasm! Come on people seriously…  I’m no ‘VICKY POLLARD

It’s incredibly lamentable that a large proportion of people in today’s society, will all to often draw such conclusions of those above when it comes to unemployed mothers!

I guess it’s all to easy to assume that the mother on benefits who lives in a council house, doesn’t work because its easier this way. You only have to watch television to see some great examples of the stigma surrounding this type of mother! I’m not stating that I myself don’t laugh till my sides are sore when watching ‘Little Britain’ or ‘Balls of steel’ I’m just stating that it’s a shame that in the reality of things, people everywhere actually see us mum’s in this light!

Well, this may well be the case for some mothers, but it certainly isn’t the case for me! I imagine it isn’t for many others either!

So, do I want to work? In actual fact… I do!

I’m not only a full-time mother to three children (one on the autism spectrum), but I’m also a volunteer adviser and caseworker, supporting parents of children with autism and special educational needs through the process of the SEN tribunal in-order to get their child’s educational needs met. My duties include: Advising parents on their legal rights, helping them make an application to the tribunal, then basically guiding those that need it, through the different stages of the appeal from then on till the hearing. I can’t begin to explain how for me this is an incredibly rewarding position! Its one that doesn’t provide me with any financial gain, no form of income! That’s right! I do it because I’m passionate about helping these families overcome the battle of obtaining educational provision for their children! After all, It’s something we as a family have continually faced.

My little man was a very different child, a deeply unhappy one, up in till we removed him from mainstream in December. His currently in home tuition (supplied at the expense of the LEA), since January this year. He was continually excluded from his old school, I was called to collect him almost daily and towards the end he was taught in isolation. Lucky, Little man is set to start a trail placement at a fantastic independent autism specific school at the end of June. All goes well… The school will be named in part 4 of his statement!

So, here’s my point, I do have one I promise! I’m sure many parents of children on the spectrum will agree with me when I say, “Who would want to employ a mother or a father of an autistic child?” I’m being honest when I say, “I wouldn’t employ me!”

Constant calls from your child’s head-teacher requesting you collect your child immediately! They want you to come in just to have a word with them, or calm your child down during a meltdown! To work would be wholly unachievable! Lets state facts here guys, tell it like it is! What decent company with a boss who is well on the ball, would even consider employing a woman like me?

Come November 2011, this mum will be putting the long-term plan into action, the one that sees her go get the career she wants! Yes, this is the date I hope to start studying for my Psychology degree, “The one I couldn’t start this month as previously planed” (Not enough time, what with Jeremy Kyle and all). My study will thankful be done from home with the ‘Open University’ allowing me the flexibility to care for the children and carry on volunteering.

So, you see… I’m not no ‘Vicky Pallord’ (you couldn’t pay me to wear that shell suit)! More importantly I don’t do any of those terrible things, with the exception of them horrid cigarettes (Yes, bad habit I know!) I’m really just a mum trying to do right by her children! Even if that is under the roof of a council house!

I’ve finally gone Mad & proud of it

21 May

Stop it, I know I’m not the full ticket, but that’s not here nor there!

This really isn’t about putting the milk in the washing machine nor falling asleep while stood at the kitchen sink attempting the washing up! This is a different kinda ‘Mad’ altogether!


Do you remember around a month or so ago, when I wrote my shameless, ‘SOS’, post that mostly consisted of a load of begging and up-front pleading form me? Well, I’m here to deliver my second dose of classy begging as last time your kindness resulted in me reaching the finals! Yes, I’ll repeat that incase you missed it! “I’VE MADE IT TO THE FINAL!” and the final I’m referring to that of the, ‘Mad blog awards 2011‘, in which I’m shortlisted in the category, ‘Most Inspiring Mad blogger‘, sponsored by ‘Mothecare’. I’m really chuffed to be shortlisted alongside such talent.

But hang on in there tiger! That’s not it! Hell yer there’s more! I also made it onto the shortlist for the ‘ Mad Blogger Of The Year 2011’ sponsored by the fabulous ‘Parentdish‘ this sees me placed alongside five other very talented parent bloggers, who have some fantastic blogs! This category is not decided by the public but instead a judging panel.

Wow! I have to say that I feel truly honoured and thank everyone who put me there in both categories. You’ve helped me achieve this big fat cheesy smile that’s currently spread across my chops. Gosh it’s gonna take a hell of a lot to burst this mummy’s bubble. I can’t remember the last time I was this excited about anything which is why I’m holding onto this feeling with both hands.

Well, given that it worked last time it only seems logical to do it again, “begging that is” which is pretty much made up of…

“PLEASE, PLEASE, LOOK I’M ON MY HANDS AND KNEES!” or “PLEASE VOTE FOR ME, I’LL LOVE YOU ALL FOREVER AND EVER!”

On a more serious note (though the above was no joke), I would like to state that what really touched me is the fact my readers took them two minutes or so out their day to vote for little old me! I really mean it when I say you guys are totally ace.

I remember when I first embanked on my blogging journey, becoming part of the mummy blogging gang. Of course I didn’t see myself as part of anything at that time, I purely found comfort in writing down my thoughts, fears and hopes. In all honesty I never really considered it being of interest to anyone but me! After all, Who want’s to know? Then you get that very first comment! I remember mine clearly, a fellow mother who had a child & hubby on the autism spectrum! She reached out and without actually knowing so, she reassured me, “I wasn’t alone & showed me that,Yes people were interested in the blog”

As for the diagnosis, its like a roller-coaster of emotions! You don’t only learn a lot about yourself but those around you. Some become closer but some of the closest disappear.

There was a point at the time of diagnosis and that leading up to it, when Little man would not attend school (full on school refusal). This wasn’t dealt with by offering some form of support, but instead by taking me to court. It’s ironic really given my son has been school-less for the past 7 months due to mainstream no longer meeting his needs & no other school willing to take him on. The school attendance officer had written in a formal letter to our CAMH’S practitioner,“I can’t see why she would cry! Her son has a cousin with autism” This was in response to a letter the practitioner had written informing her that he considered it likely that Little man was on the autism spectrum possibly with Aspergers syndrome (which he went on to be formal diagnosed with just over a year later) He wanted the school attendance officer to know this alongside my reaction to the news, stating that they should reconsider court action, instead offering support wherever needed. Her comment was a great example of ignorance in its boldest form, sadly there was plenty more to come.

What I’m trying to get across to you all is that this blog came about in one off our darkest hours! Amazingly though its now become a real positive platform that also opened so many doors, one being to the wider community of mummy bloggers (with or without children on the spectrum).

Although a large number of us have faced some laborious situations, hurdles with a string of challenges to over come, and those constant battles to obtain the basics, such basics that without your child having ever received a diagnosis you would properly never have believed such necessities could be restricted from any child’s reach. You find out what really lies behind the school gates, you sit in the head-teachers office at your child’s school more often then you did your own when you were a child. Nonetheless I hope this blog shows that no matter how hard things become, you do get through it, and do so that bit wiser, stronger and if anything more determined.

What started as just my own personal diary changed over time. Although I still blog about the day-to-day life of parenting three children, one with Aspergers, I wanted to be sure to share anything of use, hear what others had to say and offer support where possible. It became my aim to reach out to parents of diagnosed children, especially those of newly diagnosed children as I was quite aware of that feeling of isolation that nearly always accompanies a diagnosis of autism. I also wanted to connect with those on the spectrum, and anyone else willing to listen. Importantly I wanted to try and remove some of the stereotype views & stigma surrounding autism & aspergers, that often lies with those who don’t have the privilege of knowing someone on the spectrum.

I want my writing to empowered other parents to speak out or to simply see that a diagnosis of autism doesn’t have to be a bad thing (after all that diagnosis entitles your child to services that were previously beyond their reach) If my story has helped just the one family, that’s an achievement itself.

Someone once told me “To beg is not classy” Now when did you ever hear me say I was classy? I’ve thrown all caution to the wind by deciding to get fully involved in the awards, “which I must add are totally amazing” If this involves getting down and dirty with the self-promotion then so be it! After all I’m proud of my little space and if sharing it makes it that bit bolder. That can only be a good thing.

So please If you fancy making this mummy’s day then please visit, ‘The Mad blog Awards 2011’ and Vote 4 me Aka, ‘A boy with Asperger’s as the ‘Most Inspiring Mad Blogger’


Lots of love Claire


A BULL IN A CHINA SHOP!

15 Aug

It’s Mid August and we are over half way through the summer holidays. I’m pleased to report, I still have my sanity, and things are going pretty well.

The fear of family trips has eased, which is good, given that we still have a few to come. Some nice days out we have had, and though they have never been problem free, they have been achievable. It’s somewhat easier when knowing what triggers a meltdown or another form of behaviour, then coming up with ways to manage and overcome them. Certain things have been avoided, and others tackled. I discovered that I myself was avoiding social situations in fear of not being able to control them. How was this fair on any of the children! Little mans sister and baby brother may live to resent him or me for them missing out. Little man also needs to be given the opportunity to make social mistakes and like most children, learn from them. It’s all well and good teaching him a string of social stories, but he needs to put them into practice. I’m not saying I don’t take them out or avoid outings of any kind, It’s certain times and places I’ve avoid, WITHOUT EVER KNOWING I WAS ACTUALLY DOING SO. I once took Little man to the park for lunch, this was in his school lunch hour, another period of time he was on home dinners. We sat on the grass to eat, but he had little interest in food, preferring to run around. He then went into the play area. This would prove to be a bad idea! Something went on involving Little man, another child, and a toy train. (We all know what Little man is like with anything transport) Little man had a complete meltdown, throwing the train, then the child across the play area. Little man was in his first year of full time school, We had moved to the area from Blackheath, and his school life was less then prefect. He had attachment issues and hated going. Mornings consisted of me trying to remove him from his bed, refusal to eat, not wanting to get dressed, and me having to chase him pin him and psychically dress him myself. Feeling I had seceded in my task, I would be ready to leave the door, only to discover he was butt naked again.  Well, we had no diagnosis back then, school got education welfare on my back for his lateness and lack of attendance, and now my son was having a full on meltdown in public. Though the park was busy, I had never felt so alone, and this feeling was completely pushed to the limit when the staff  went on to ban him from coming back. (This is a 0-5 supervised play area, within the park) The looks from the other parents! Needless to say, none of these local mothers have chosen to since speak with me. Lucky for me “I don’t give a dam.”

So was it since this day I’ve avoid play parks in fear of Little man being excluded? What I considered to be forgotten was very much still there. No mother wants their reception aged child labelled as a spoilt brat! So yes I would think it properly was.

A part from a recent school trip to the park, It’s been ages since we went. We go to the local parks, but they are much smaller, with fewer children. Now I found myself taking all three children to a large park, at a really busy time. The park is massive, extremely popular and host to many public events. Today their was face painters and bouncy castles. We saw birds of prey, and sat eating ice cream. Little man spotted a large play area, that was bursting with kids of all ages. The play area was very modern, far from your standard slide and swings, more recreational with rope swings, and space aged roundabouts, he ran straight for it, with his sister not far behind. Yep, you could easily see it was the summer holidays! The playground was filled with parents attempting to gain five minutes break, and hoping their child or children, would run out all their energy, resulting in them having early nights, leaving the parents free to chill. How comes, everywhere you go, you see these mothers! The types that easily form friendships with one another, resulting in large groups of mothers indulging in mothers meetings, based around parenting, soaps and bitching. I consider many of these “groupings” of mothers, to resemble those of teenage girl groups, that compete with one another over who has the best boyfriend, makeup, and hairstyle. Like these teenagers, these mothers feel no shame when sticking their nose in the air and shaking their heads, like the bloody Churchill dog! You see mothers like this stood around the school at home time! They are known to some as the “School gate mothers” No I’m not being a stereotype, I’m not saying all parents who stand at the school gate, chat, smoke and gossip! But many do, and that’s just how it is.

I sat my eight month old son into one of the swings. With me stood in front, Little man gently pushed his giggling baby brother. My daughter was well gone, she had taken herself off to the large sand Pitt and within a few minutes was playing along side another group off children. “Why don’t you go and play?” I asked little, why giving him a gentle push to encourage him. With this Little man was off, darting around the playground like a child running on super strength batteries. He was everywhere, kinda like a bull in a china shop. He didn’t hesitant, and attempted a number of times to involve himself in group play. Little man was jumping into conversations that did not involve him, then becoming upset by the children’s responses. Ok, of course I know Little man struggles socially, he has a social communication disorder, this isn’t new to me! I have watched Little man struggle with turning taking inappropriate language, controlling behaviour e.g. It’s just that I see this behaviour displayed when interacting with those we know, or friendships his already building. We do have problems with other children when out as Little man tends to tell it like it is. The only other time I saw little man really struggle to a great degree was a few years back. It was at a time in his school life were he wasn’t displaying challenging behaviour at school (More so at home) But he also didn’t seem to socialise with anyone (aloofness) I think he was just starting to want to interact and join in. When leaving a meeting in school I saw little man running around the playground from one group of children to another. I cried when I saw that these groups walked away choosing not to engage, others just run away. I assume because he was able to hold down a few friendships now, despite his more challenging behaviour, It would be the same, when faced with this type of social situation we were now in. I watched parents running grabbing their toddlers, moving them away from Little man. I understood, as I guess to a degree I would have done the same. He wasn’t horrible to these children he just had no regard for them when running into them as though they were not there. He often ran up the slide why children attempted to slide down, and had no concept of waiting. What was heartbreaking for me, was watching him attempt to communicate, this would always be with the older children. He jumped on the roundabout and shouted very inappropriately “Move it, that’s my seat” The child who was sat where Little man wanted to sit was in my opinion 14-15 years old (I later discovered he was in fact 11, just very tall.) Of course the boy was far from impressed and told Little man so. With this little man started shouting and telling everyone to shut up. I was shocked as I heard him saying you can’t do anything because my cousin who is 13 will come sort you out. The girls on the roundabout started laughing and telling him to go get his cousin. (Think they just wanted him to go away) I went and saved him, making sure all the children knew he wasn’t alone.

So here is the crazy bit! After all the above, Little man spots a tyre robe swing, and dashes over to it with no regard for his safety as the swing was full of children going in all directions. He then runs around trying his hardest to stop it. Finally it did stop, and with that little man jumped on squeezing his way between two other children. He then looks up and says to the boy swinging the swing “Push me then” He must have come across stupid as this child who was stood swinging the children, was the child who Little man had argued with ten minutes previous . What shocked me more was the fact this child chose not to continue arguing and did in fact carry on swinging the children, Little man included. With this I sat relieved  for five minutes and gave my baby and daughter a little attention.

A lot can occur in just two minutes! As I turned to check on Little man, I caught one of the girls from earlier push Little man hard in his chest. I ran over, baby under my arm to find Little man now screaming abuse and going absolutely berserk. “Your lucky you are a girl” followed by “My dad said I shouldn’t hit girls, but I really wanna hit you” was a sample of his language minus the swearing. Turns out the group of girls had got of the roundabout and fancied a go on the swing. They told the older boy that he should give it up as his had it ages. Little man got involved and the girls taunted him about his previous threat concerning his cousin. Little man then went on to make, what he considers to be a fair and valid point to one of the girls, “I don’t think it’s a good idea, you having ago on this swing, as your far to big and somewhat overweight” Umm not good I know! I was thankful for the older boy and his help to calm little man down. He had suggested going on the roundabout instead, and with that little man run off to select the best seat. With little man out of sight, I took my chances and explained that little man had problems with social communication, I said he was autistic. The girls did seem to look at his behaviour in a different way after that, I found them to be very grown up about the given situation, however this didn’t seem to be the case with everyone! As I turned to walk away, the eyes of every mother burned into me. I could hear the sneers and tuts. But my child was no longer a little reception age boy with no diagnosis, I was no longer a lonely mother. You see since discovering little mans Aspergers, I’ve discovered a whole new world. With the support of others and the love I hold for my son, I now hold my head high. I didn’t feel the need to explain his autism to every parent shaking their head, and those that wanted to judge me without knowing me, Well it was their problem! Non of these people mattered and still don’t. Yes, little man has normal naughty behaviour, typical of a nine year old, But he also has a communication problem. Can ignorance be cured? NO. Can autism be cure? NO. My point is as a parent to a child on the spectrum, I will always face such ignorance. I will be sneered at, laughed at, Pitied and gossiped about. Some days I have great tolerance towards these people, Other days I may not.

Next time you see a child in the park or anywhere else for that matter! Think before you judge, Who knows why the child is behaving in such a way? However I do know that the parent is likely to be facing enough stress in life, without such added pressure from strangers.

I just want to be “NORMAL” mum.

11 Jul

It breaks my heart when I see my son so broken. I feel that so much has happened so fast his cognitive and emotional state has suffered. His confidence is also hitting an all time low. Little man needs lots of assurance I look at him and see a ticking time bomb. At home he can seem just fine then something happens to knock him down and the bomb starts ticking again. No child should have to feel like they are not “Normal” nor should they have to try figure out what it is about them that contributes to them being excluded from everyday life. Does every Child still matter? Is inclusion just being pushed aside? Just because you can’t see autistic spectrum disorders don’t mean they are not there! Every time a child gets left behind so does a bit of their ever flaking confidence. I myself would find the guilt intolerable if I contributed this. The more acceptance and understanding from society the less a parent gets told by their child ‘I JUST WANT TO BE NORMAL MUM.’

What I want and need to say to my child

Little man…..

..From the moment I discovered you where there I knew you would be special with many gifts and talents to share. I couldn’t wait to hold you in my arms and meet the little boy I had created. I would spend hours a day thinking about you, what you looked like and the person you would become. You were about to make me a grown up. Yes, I was young at just 18 but I was determined to be the best possible mother to you in every way. I had already done so much so young and had not long returned from working and living in Greece. I had a fantastic time and if it wasn’t for your dad I may off just gone back. Just knowing something this amazing was taking place right inside of my tummy was a breath of fresh air. Your great nanny Peg had just left for heaven and I could not see a way through something so painful you gave me the strength to carry on. Its like Nan had left leaving a new beginning in place of the one we had just lost. You were already more than just an unborn child. I loved you from the moment I discovered I was carrying you. Already you had changed something inside me I felt stronger than ever, you made it Ok to smile again. I felt extremely lucky and still do.

Four days overdue on the 1st October 2000 you proved you liked things done differently when you decided that it was time to let the plug out the bath so to speak . Yes, as I waddled like an over weight penguin around the supermarket it really wasn’t exactly the best of timing. Little man your dad ran away with embarrassment as he was convinced mummy had peed in her pants. Needless to say I was more than grateful to be out of there and safely in the comfort of the delivery room. 6.05 pm without a sound you were born. YOU SOMEHOW DECIDED LABOUR WOULD BE A GREAT TIME TO CHILL OUT IN THERE!! SO WE REQUIRED A LITTLE HELP. I was stunned at just how relaxed you were. With lots of red hair weight of 7 lb. 1 oz and a who the hell are you? Expression on your face you were handed to me and I held you for the very first time. You looked at me as if you knew all about me I remember thinking wow I’m now responsible for this little person! That and Wow where did you get all that red hair from? It was then I promised you I would always keep you safe and never let anything happen to you.

It’s rather comical! As I write this you laid stretched out on my bed. Your legs are so long your feet almost reach the end of the bed. It’s been another long night and when you eventually fell asleep on my bed at 3 am why sitting up discussing 194 bus doors I thought it was probably best leaving you there. Thing is you’re not that little 7 lb. baby anymore your almost ten years old. At first glance most would say you’re an average ten-year old but get to know you things will undoubtedly change. Average you certainly are not. You are so much more than that. YOU’RE MY INCREDIBLY CLEVER, TALENTED TEN YEAR OLD WHO CAN TELL YOU THE ROUTE OF ANY LONDON BUS. I’m so proud of you and I say all the above because its true and I hope that despite everything and everyone you know that! Now and always. Little man be proud of who you are the people who care will like you regardless of how you speak, what you wear, or how intelligent you are. Don’t fall behind in school to fit in, dumbing yourself down is heartrending. Express your interest without fear and those that are not understanding can just disappear. Show what your good at poems & numbers. If something hurts or isn’t right don’t run away its Ok to ask for help. Be proud of yourself because you are special. Don’t ever feel ashamed, those that don’t like it can ultimately lump it.

At the same time try to be considerate to others feelings counting to ten before saying something that maybe true but hurtful too. If your anxious walk away and find somewhere quite but safe. Please don’t hit others or yourself 😦 If you’re feeling like you’re not coping or you feel upset please tell me somehow something is wrong.

When you came home from school and said you wanted to be normal I didn’t know what to say. I know I should have responded straight away and I’m sorry I didn’t. This was only because I was upset that things were getting so bad for you I hope that I explained it to you in a way that made sense for you. It was as if I somehow felt I had failed you by not protecting you like I promised. But the truth is I can never protect you from life. Sadly life is often difficult but then when its good it’s fantastic. As for wanting to be Normal nobody is “Normal” Who came up with the term and who are they to suggest what is and isn’t “Normal” we are all individuals with a certain degree of uniqueness. If we were all the same life would be boring. The only difference for your uniqueness is yours has a name and like I’ve said before that name isn’t silly nor is it a name that defines you. Aspergers don’t make you who you are you make Aspergers what it is.

WHAT IS IT?………..

………..IT’S JUST A BOY LIKE EVERY OTHER BOY BUT WITH A LITTLE EXTRA MAGIC.

Its ignorance that’s shameful not you, not Asperger’s! I won’t lie the probability that in life you will sometimes feel you are excluded from society is almost a certainty. But never think this is because you are not “Normal” never sit and ask yourself why! It’s societies lost. One day they will wish that they had taken the opportunity to embrace and learn about The boy with Aspergers but by then it’s to late because his now the man with Aspergers who never looked back.

I love you so much little man and through I know you find things stressful and can get angry or aggressive I know a lot of the time your anxiety levels are just to high. I’m so proud of you for giving it your all and trying to reduce certain behaviours at home. Your aggressive behaviour towards your sister is improving and that’s all down to you. I hope that in time things improve at school and everyone gets to see you for the bright star you are.

AND THE WINNER IS…

19 Feb

WOW I WON!

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

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

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

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

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

 

Thanks readers for your ongoing support with this blog:)

Great new features

25 Jan

Had some super ideas for this blog  floating around in my head. There is so much I’m going to add.some will be added with some help from my blogging friends. The Autism and art page (kids art) is one of the first on the list to be launched. This page is due completion on the 01-02-09. Kids art is a collection of drawings and painting from aspie, autistic children and adolescents.

Giovanni’s page… Giovanni is my 8yr old son that this whole blog is based around. So when he asked if he could have his own page i only fault it would be fair to say yes. Im guessing that Giovanni’s page will be based around his favorite topic Trains and Buses. This page is coming soon.

Sibling Support….. A page that is aimed at sibling of  children with autism and Aspergers. Aiming to provide lots of sources of information and advice. Will be weekly features for siblings to participate in. No date as yet for this page to be added but aimed for completion within the next 8-1o weeks.

New weekly and monthly features for A boy with Aspergers.

Monday finds.. Started last monday’ week two tomorrow. Every Monday i am to bring you my top ASD finds of the week. For more information read post Monday finds.

The big interview.. Will be interviewing someone new every month. Authors, Teachers, Parents, Aspies kids, Aspie adults and more. You be able to join the big build up to the interview day as the name of the person on interview list will be reveled one week before the event. The Big interview will be up and running by the end of next month. Dates will be displayed on blog nearer the time:)

If anybody wants more information on features please leave a comment which i aim to reply to within 24 hrs. However if you are interested in taking part in Kids art or The big interview please email me asap. parkinson.claire@yahoo.com

Looking forward to creating something great with a little help frm my friends:):):)all-my-phone-pics-151

%d bloggers like this: