Tag Archives: transport

“Please Save me from the falling buildings”

13 May

It’s the 29 Th. April 2011 and the day of the Royal Wedding. Its getting late and has started to rain, within what seems like a second I’m wet through.

Stood on Waterloo bridge in bight red heels, “Heels I so, regret wearing!” I’m tired, becoming cranky and just wanna go home!

One problem! Little man wont cross the bridge.

Myself, a friend and my daughter had just started strolling across the bridge when little man shouted, “No, no, no! I’m not walking across that!” He stood very still with an expression of fear spread across his face. He shook his head repeatedly and started to mumble something which normally indicates his nervous.

Did I know he had a fear of this kind? Nope I truly didn’t! I can’t remember us ever having to walk over a bridge before (his fine with driving over them it’s just walking that presents a problem).

It hadn’t rained all day despite the predictions, the Royals married on a gorgeous sunny day. Well, that was in-till now! I was quickly losing the will to live as I tried desperately to persuade Little man to cross the bridge! The prospect of having to get the train one stop to avoid it was one I didn’t fancy having to contemplate. Then there was the fact I wanted to get a picture of the stunning views of the River Thames that I must say looked stunning on this particular night (despite the rain). The London Eye looked incredible, all lit up in blue and red, the colours of the union Jack in honor of the newly weds.

My friend took over and somehow after what seemed like ‘forever’ little man walked across the bridge.

The rain had stopped and despite how heavy it fell, it lasted no more than a mere 30 minutes (nonetheless it was enough time to soak an entire family)

The mission back to Waterloo east station would require us to walk past the London Eye. As we got nearer I suddenly realised another problem was about to unearth itsself! Little Man was now refusing to walk past the wheel. His anxiety levels rose and he become quite panicky.

“Please mum… I don’t want to walk past it, it’s to big, I’m scared!”

“What are you scared of darling?”

“What do you mean what am I scared off, I’m scared of that thing, that’s what I’m scared of!”

Well, didn’t that tell me!

This time there was no reasoning with the little guy and it was apparent by the frustration on my daughters face that she had now had enough and looked forward to a hot chocolate and her lovely warm bed. I looked at little man who now had his hands spread across his face in a desperate attempt to conceal his eyes from his surroundings, while shouting, “COME ON MUM, COME ON! ITS GOING TO FALL ON US IF WE DON’T GO RIGHT NOW, FOR *#*# *#*#”

Yes, bad language was flowing freely from the mouth of my little guy, he normally does when anxiety kicks in!

I knew from that moment we wouldn’t be walking past the beautifully lit London Eye and that this time not even my friend would be able to use her magic ways of persuasion, just as she had done on the bridge.

Now, did I know he feared the London Eye? No! However I had learnt through recent events that little man feared very tall buildings.

It was about three weeks pervious, when I decided to take the little dude on a visit to Canary Wharf during one of our ‘special transport days’ For those who are wondering what this crazy lady is chatting about, a ‘ special transport day’ involves little man super indulging in his special interest of transport by riding on the trains, tube, bus, dock-lands light rail, and not forgetting the clipper that jets across the River Thames into Greenwich or Westminster. Though this mum would like to see her little man splashing about at the swimming baths or playing with the other children in the park she wouldn’t have it any other way as seeing the enjoyment in his eyes makes it more than worth it (even if it does mean she has to be a transport enthusiast)

However once at Canary Wharf I could no longer see that same ‘enjoyment’ in my little mans eyes, Instead I saw fear. Stood amongst the skyscrapers Little man dropped to the pavement to the safety of the ground. I had never seen him react to anything in such a manner. I had clearly brought him to an environment that he could not tolerate.

Canary Wharf Isn’t to far from the London City airport and as a result the skies above see quite a bit of air traffic. As you can imagine this creates quite a noise as the sound of the aircraft bounces of the skyscrapers. This sent the little guy into an even bigger frenzy of panic.

As per-usual there were those that stopped for a look, this time it was different though, purely because my son wasn’t having a meltdown, this was in-fact a lot different, he was reacting like the terrified child he was instead of a child who come across as ‘challenging’ Nonetheless this was challenging for me, I still had to get him off the floor and back onto the tube.

Of course I succeeded but this wasn’t without lots of reassuring and encouragement. Back on the tube little guy questioned himself, he said he never thought he would be scared of buildings and couldn’t understand what went wrong! He said he was now feeling a little stupid. I explained that he shouldn’t feel stupid as it was a common occurrence, more than some may think. I wasn’t just trying to make the little guy feel better (even though this was of course my first priority), I was actually stating what I believed to be true, after all I was the same as a child. Once I explained to him that Mum had once felt that way, he really engaged and we discussed it all the way home.

It turns out that like me as a child, little man had felt dizzy and sick, his head went funny and his body wobbled! He even described a butterfly feeling inside his tum which he informs me was a very strange feeling. I think what he meant or at least tried to describe was the  feeling and  an experience of vertigo caused by his vestibular processing.

From the age of two I used to throw myself out of my buggy and lay on the floor every-time my mother or father pushed me past a bill-board poster. It took sometime for them to work out what was going on but they finally did, especially when my father took me on a crane where he worked and was presented with a little girl screaming her head off while shaking so forcefully that the crane wobbled (Well, at least that’s what my dad claimed *giggle*).

It’s funny as now I’m older I realise that I myself had quite a lot of sensory processing problems. I like my little man was and still am to some degree… tactile defensive!

You see, it’s not just the issue of fear here! This was a sensory issue for my little man. Well, it was defiantly a contribution of the two. Little man is also worried of a terrorist attack, something I should have considered before taking him there! Skyscrapers, aeroplanes and the feeling of being out of control on top of the vertigo was a tad too much for Little man while at Canary Wharf and seemed to be that same way now.

After a long day and night I decided that we would not walk past the London Eye, after all he had already faced his fear on the bridge (proud mummy)

I wrote this blog as I wanted to show how such issues can pop up out of nowhere, how it’s important to be aware of the possible triggers of anxiety, the achievements our children can make (the bridge), and also how I see a little bit of me in my little guy! No I’m not an Aspie but I’m his mum and his bound to be a little like me after all 🙂

It’s funny as a child I considered myself a bit of a nut job! what with the need to bite my sleeves even though it drove me mad, the fact i couldn’t deal with polo neck jumpers and school shirts, the way I hated G-strings in my early twenties lol (comfort babe is me) Oh, there are many more and I assume such issues of sensory processing disorder (SPD) were non-existent when I was a kid (now i feel old) Maybe if they were I may well hold the label, but then again I guess many of us would.

Blink and I’ll sleep for a week!

18 Apr

Life right now is nothing short of manic. There’s simply no other word to describe it!

April has been one incredibly overwhelming month and we are just past the half-way mark.

I feel I’ve been put through my paces and had every emotion in my body put to the test. Some days I’ve been in fighting mode, others I’ve been so exhausted I’ve just wanted to crawl into my bed, hide away from the world while indulging in some longed for sleep. 

With each passing day I’m one step closer to hearing my little man’s fate, and no matter how much I try to prepare myself, I somehow feel that we’re hanging from a cliff top ready to drop!

Little man currently has no school placement for the whole of our borough and those that boarder us have taken one look at my sons papers & decided that they don’t have a placement available or lack the resources needed in-order to meet his level of need. 

Each day his left without a school is one day closer to him never going back! This shameful situation has ultimately made him regress, causing his social skills to decrease, and his dislike towards school to heighten. My ten year old son is now so anxious at the prospect that he will one day be expected to step foot in side a school along side other children that he will now require a tremendous amount of support when that day comes!

Whoever said that children on the higher end of the autism spectrum, have less complex needs were delusional! 

Just because my son has a reasonably good vocabulary and met most of his milestones doesn’t make his needs any less complex. However I don’t need to go into that, I don’t have to try and prove such a fact anymore, the system finally took note, it just did so a little later then needed!

This past year or so, my family has been left dangling from a string, I often ask god when that string will break.  April has come around so quickly, this time last year we were at the beginning of the tribunal process. However this wasn’t a special educational needs appeal but sadly a disability discrimination case! At that time and for a significant time thereafter, Little man endured so much. Fixed term exclusions that subsequently occurred one after another, removal from nearly every school activity, including educational outings, school plays, Christmas assemblies , etc. He has been illegally excluded and subjected to long spurts of isolation (received 1-to-1 teaching, just him and a teaching assistant in what was known as the den), he would only attend from nine till twelfth, and was made to play in the infant playground with children of a much younger age. My little man was classified as a potential health and safety risk that was a threat to children and staff! Can you imagine how that impacted on a little boys self-esteem! In December 2010 I eventually made one of the best decisions I’ve ever made for my son, ‘ to remove him from the educational setting that was impacting hugely on his mental well-being!’  As a parent I could not stand by while he was subjected to such treatment. 

During the beginning of October 2010 at the height of the discrimination the local education authority (LEA) finally agreed to undertake a statutory assessment of Little Man’s Special educational needs that he so desperately needed! In all honesty this couldn’t have come at a more convenient time! I was quickly running out of ideas and needed my child in an educational setting with staff equipped to meet his needs. 

Believe me, I was under no illusions that this was now plain sailing… some may say I’m somewhat a pessimist but as I’ve stated once maybe twice before that I prefer the term ‘REALIST!’ And as expected the LEA didn’t wanna play fair!

In January 2011 I received the proposed statement of special educational needs but instead of providing a statement that held the potentiality to see him progress, I instead received a proposed statement that provided nothing more then, ‘GOOD OLD COMMON SENSE!’ This statement was made final in March and delivered with a covering letter explaining that the statement had only been finalised to meet time-scales and would be amended to include my suggested amendments…. YES, I’M STILL WAITING!

In February 2011 just a few days before the disability discrimination hearing we eventually came to a settlement that saw his ‘old’ primary school review its policies, train staff in disability discrimination and a formal apology was given to myself and of course little man. 

Little man is currently being educated in a library on a 1-to-1 part-time basis by a tutor his now overly attached to.

Why? Because no ‘special school‘ will offer him a place.

On the 3rd of June our appeal against parts 2, 3 and 4 of little man’s statement will be heard by the SEN first tier tribunal. I will need to prove that the one school I’ve found that can possibly meet his needs, an ‘independent special school’ should be named in part 4 of his statement. I will also need to prove that part 2 does not list all his difficulties and that part three needs amending as to provide the right provision needed for him to succeed, such as… 1-to-1 support from a learning support assistant or at least a teaching assistant, as-well as occupational (OT) and speech and language (SALT) therapy.

 

I’m thankful for the fact that I’m a trained tribunal support adviser and volunteer caseworker for the NAS. This has obviously given me a greater understanding of the SEN law and tribunal process, nevertheless emotionally it’s no easier! I’m still a parent who has had to watch her child regress. Of course I feel a certain amount of anger towards this horrid system that has allowed such a situation as ours to reach this point (let’s not forget that I’m a mother who has been taken to court twice over her child’s school attendance, no one wanting to investigate the underlying issue nor listen when I pleaded for someone/anyone to help! I guess to some prosecution was the more appealing option) However it’s this past resentment that keeps me fighting and empowers me to help others who are walking the path I’ve walked!

So here we are now in April 2011 and as mentioned it’s been incredibility pressing. I’ve had a Birthday that saw me turn twenty-nine, I’ve been busy with my volunteering duties and contracted Pneumonia which I’m only just beginning to get over! I’ve been preparing Little Man’s appeal while also going a tad insane as a result of the Easter holidays & if this wasn’t enough… MY HOUSE LOOKS LIKE IT BLEW UP!

Despite all the above there is something else that has happened these past few weeks in-which I consider to be far more significant then anything I’ve already addressed! Its something that happened within me, a realisation if you like! I’ve had my eyes opened and although I knew Little man hand significant complex needs that admittedly have been made somewhat worse due to his lack of a suitable education, I’ve got to see his difficulties and what scale these are impacting on many areas of his life. The proof that without early intervention, an understanding environment and the right support, the effect on the child with Aspergers can be detrimental. 

On the 4th and 15th of April Little man underwent two independent assessment. One was carried out at our home by a fantastic independent psychologist (EP) who had her work cut out for her, commenting right from the start that Little man was a hard child to assess! The second assessment was carried out in central London just off Harley St, but this time by an independent speech and Language therapist (SALT) who again was a pleasure to met. Both assessments were carried out for the purpose of the tribunal. I needed independent assessments in order to gain reports detailing Little mans current difficulties and suggested provision to be added to part 2 and three of his statement.

On the 4th of April I sat and watched him struggle to cope with the assessment process that was carried out by the EP, his concentration was noticeably low and he found it near on impossible to focus on anything he was given! His anxiety levels were scoring. The Ep worked so hard with him and after four long hours she managed to gather enough information to write her report. 

On Friday we hit Central London for Little mans SALT assessment but even in a different setting from the home Little man found it hard to participate. With much persistence and an offer of a chocolate egg from the therapist we eventually got some off the testing done. I had of course realised that an SALT programme would be needed, but sat there listening to him try to make sentences with the inclusion of a word given by the therapist while looking at a picture in a book. It proved that despite his vocalness, his ability to put what he sees into words is somewhat a struggle for him. His literal understanding was also very apparent on the day!

Both therapists mentioned the possibility of an underlying condition which of course was ADHD and the EP is also pretty sure his dyslexic ( however she was in agreement that his mathematical skills are great) It was also recommended by both that little man undergoes an independent occupational therapy assessment (OT) due to concerns with both his fine and gross motor skills. I’ve also stated with certain task Little Man is like an elephant playing football.

After the SALT assessment we spent the day indulging in Little mans special interest (transport) Visiting London land marks by train, tube and bus. We visited Greenwich market where Little man met a magician which bowled him over before spotting a vintage model bus which after a little begging I reluctantly brought him. We hung out at the O2, visited Canary Wholf (that he didn’t enjoy and got the message across by bending his body into a ball and screaming that the tallest building in London was falling on-top off him! Well, that’s a post for another day) We also took the clipper (fast river boat) along the River Thames. He had such a blast and he smiled almost the entire day, with not one meltdown in sight!

 As I sat on the Dock-lands light rail (Yes we commuted on many types of transport that day!) I watched him shuffle awkwardly when another child sat by. He was obvious to the battle that lie head and maybe it was better that way!   

picture of  Little Man and Mr Magic

My little man, is just that little! His a ten year old boy and it’s not to late to give him what he needs! I hope that the professionals within the LEA and those employed by such a service read this and realise the effects their decisions, treatment and all to often delays have on the child and their family as a whole. Yes it’s your job, but this is mine, “to see that my child gets what he needs, is given the same opportunities as his peers and gets the adequate education he and so many others like him are entitled to” 

“Yep, you may not like it ‘LEA’ but this mothers on a mission!!”

SO SENDING YOU ALL A MASSIVE VIRTUAL HUG FROM MYSELF AND THE LITTLE MAN TO SAY THANK YOU, YOUR TRUELY THE MOST WONDERFUL READERS!

Little man writes poetry

23 Feb

I’ve been meaning to share this for a little over a week now.

Poetry seems to be a talent for many on the spectrum. I read an article recently about a girl on the spectrum who completely spoke in rhyme even if nothing was said for hours when she did speak it would always be in line so that it rhymed with the last syllable of whatever it was she had said two hours previously.

Little man sometimes answers a questions etc in a rhyming manner, however this isn’t all the time and he certainly doesn’t remember the last word he said a few hours earlier… though his a firm believer that a poem sounds better when it rhymes with the last syllable.

As most will know from a few of my past posts. Little man has become a fan of Bruno Mars. After I brought him the album some few weeks back, it’s been played daily to a extremity! Day one he had memorized every single lyric for every single song (much to my delight) pretty amazing, but also a little annoying.

He started doing this really irritating thing that was driving me round the bend. Everytime I spoke to him he would turn, look at me, open his mouth and out would fall song lyrics, completely unrelated to the topic at hand! He didn’t sing… more like spoke the lyrics before turning and walking away. With a sigh of relief I can safely say that this phase has come to a magical end. Sadly the obsession remains and is now on a equal par with transport.

Little man has always loved to create poetry. I remember a world cup poem he created last year, it was full on awesome and definitely a one of a kind!

On Valentines day on collection of my daughter from school she handed me one of her beautiful handmade cards (she is quite the little artist) The words she wrote were full of emotion and I admit I shed a tear or two (real emotional mummy is me)

Little man made a few of these cards when he was in the early years at school and although they mainly consisted of drawings of trains, buses & maps with no words inside (unless the teacher had noticed and therefore helped him write something) Regardless I always found them beautiful. The last few years, mothers day, birthdays, valentines etc Alice makes the cards Little man signs them. I’ve been reading a lot that many children/adults on the spectrum are great artist, I myself have created the autism art page on this very blog! However Little man has never really been a keen drawer unless it’s transport, maps or another new invention. He hates to use colour and I’ve learnt that this is purely to do with his frustration with his own fine motor skills… he has problems keeping the colour within the lines and has difficulty maintaining his concentration so he just won’t bother trying anymore. Although his sister, like myself love to draw and create pieces of art I’ve come to learn that my little man is an artist in his own right. He loves to write pieces of art (well dictate or type seems more fitting, as writing pen to paper is his pet hate) His poetry is great… very deep and meaningful, I think it’s his way of expressing his emotions at times. Then there are those that are full of humour… Whatever the kind there always pretty amazing.

So once home from the school he went off to his room where he closed the door behind him and vanished for the next half hour.

Sat on my bed half asleep but conscious enough to know little man was now stood directly infront of me.
One eye open (the night before wasn’t easy) I asked him what he wanted to which he made an annoucement.

“Attention please, Attention”

he then went on to say at volume…

“Today is valentines day, and all I know is its all about love and that stuff” he pursed to pull a funny face as to say love and stuff was yuck. “Its also my Nan’s birthday on Valentines day”

He was correct but I still sat wondering where the hell this speech was going!

“So, as I’m to tired after a long days learning at the library. I’ve decided not to make my mum a Valentines card, But I’ve made a poem for you mum instead. It’s all about Love & stuff” Again he did that face to resemble a person that was feeling sick. (the facial expression programme was certainly paying off)

I sat up and took note, smiling I nodded and said, “go on then do your thing”

“Its not a thing woman” he said in a offended manner! (yep sounded like his father a little more everyday)

“it’s a poem!”

“Calm down, I didn’t mean it in a rude way, it’s just something u say” I explained before adding…

“Oh, and a little less of the woman! It’s mum to you”

He laughed, cleared his throat and held up the paper in his hand at eye level then began to read aloud…

For the best, a poem that you will never want to miss.

He was a man that you miss and want to kiss
Your her blood and flesh
and nothing will go to mess
unless a heart will be broken
a tick of a token
You will be gone
and regret the bet you set.

Hands together I clapped and went in for a kiss which he reluctantly excepted with a screwed up face, only to then wipe it from his cheek with his sleeve saying, “yuck mum, that was a wet one”

“Nevermind that, your poem was exceptional” I proudly annouced.

to which he repiled.

“I’m good at this” (so modest like his mum)

As he turned around to leave the room I asked him where he was going now!

” I like the word exceptional mum so I’m going to put it in my book of best words. It’s not as good as the word loath, that’s still the best word”

He then came back with his book and asked me to write the word and it’s meaning. Of course I complied.

I get the feeling that everythings going to be alright from now on. With the exception of the odd bump in the road, i’m sure things are on the up. I’m so proud of all three of my children, each one with their own special character and amazing ways.

Looks like little man will be writing poetry besides patroling London transport as a member of the transport police when his older. Time can only tell.

Star struck

31 Jan

Ok… now you guys know I’m a mum that embraces her child’s “special ways” I’m always encouraging him to indulge in his “special interest” eventhough it’s got very over the top lately, I always praise him for his IT skills and his fantastic mental maths and it’s fair to say I’ve been equally accepting of his love of music. Now, don’t get me wrong the little guy has always been a fan of music but lately his been really feeling the music, He quickly programmes his brain to remember lyrics and then sings them aloud till his hearts content.

Now I’m not wringing “Ok maybe just a bit” and I’m only human here right… But last night and today I really wanna run and hide… either that or put my foot through little mans PC.

Here’s the issue! Little man has recently got a taste for the artist Bruno Mars who is currently number one in the UK charts. Now of course this isn’t a problem (well not as such) and it’s great he likes his music so much! However the problem is little man has never done things by half and becoming a Bruno mars fan was no exception. The number one single ‘Grenade’ was a song that I myself kinda liked… Well, that was in till little man totally killed it! I’m not being OTT when I say “His played it to death and I’m close to knocking myself out with some strong sleeping pills, and if that fails a frying pan… so I don’t have to hear it once more”

It’s not just the song I’ve heard playing over & over & over again that’s slowly sending me to the blink of madness, but Little man really sees himself as a talented singer and although I love my son… I do not love his singing! This isn’t the half of it! As well as streaming the video repeatedly on You tube, playing it on his HTC smart phone, creating a ringtone, reseaching the guy on the net and spending far to much time on his fan page… He also feels the need to talk about him to an excessive extent. Even buses and trains have been cut back a little as to allow room for this new idol.

As I write this post I have the song impregnated on the brain. It’s there against my will and will not leave as ordered. Well, this is the result of hearing it till the small hours and almost the whole of today. Any comment I make that even tries to suggest he stops and moves on to something else is reacted to in a less then positive way.

He told me that the main reason he loves this particular song so much was because the Artist (Bruno Mars) refers to a train within the lyrics. With transport being his love and given that it’s incorporated into this song, I don’t really think I stood a chance when pleading for a well needed rest from Bruno Mars!

I’m now hiding away in the sanctuary of my bedroom where I hope to remain undisturbed for the next half hour or so.

So… If your reading this Mr Bruno Mars… Please feel free to contact me so you can engage in the conversation of the art of moderation with my little guy “your truest fan” as you really do have a lot to answer for *giggle* But despite my crazyness it only seems right to thank you for making my little man smile.

Chessington the aspie way

31 Aug

The school summer holidays are almost over! to end things on a high we took the children to Chessington world of adventures curtesy of Merlins (Who we are most greatful to)
The day brought a mixed package of emotions but on the whole it was a great day. Little man did receive a ride access pass to avoid queueing, equally meaning this should aid the avoidance of meltdowns. However through this helped in a huge way, we did not avoid meltdowns completely in fact we did encounter a few.

First Meltdown: Before leaving.
Second Meltdown: Within 30 minutes of arriving at the park.
Third Meltdown: During the Journey home.

Although the above meltdowns are never easy and will be tough on all concerned they were bearable and easier to tackle compeared to some encountered in the past. These are what I refer to as Grade 2 meltdowns. it’s the grade ones that I really can’t bear!

Well from our own experiences, I would like to share some top tips. Looking back at the time leading up to our trip, the journey, and overall day, I think these tips could be extremely beneficial to any family like ours planning a day at Chessington world of adventures.

THE LEAD UP TO YOUR DAY OUT.

a) Adjust schedules and timetables as needed.

b) Prepare your child for the trip well in advance. We began this process weeks before. This enables the child time to adjust to the idea and prepare themselves mentally. (sadly they may also go on and on and on)

c) Avoid postponement where possible.
we had to postpone hence reason for meltdown number 1:( This is a disappointment for any child! For those on the spectrum it’s a disaster. You as the parent will pay the price.

d) Be sure to have the right documents for a ride access pass. New regulations state Photo ID is needed and proof of disability that relates to a condition that makes it hard for the child to cope with the concept of having to wait/queue.
We used a osyter 5-10 card and little mans writen diagnosis. More information can be found on the website.

e) Look online for any offers that can be used in the park. Some sites offer vouchers that enable you to receive 20% or more off food and gifts brought in certain food halls and gift shops within the park.
Note! Food can be expensive and you may want to bring your own.

f) prepare child for queues. Yes you can obtain a ride access pass but you will still need to queue for use of toilets, food outlets, gift shops e.g. My little man often pushed his way to the front while holding his arm in the air displaying his bright yellow wristband. He was shouting: “Clear the way, I have a wristband and don’t have to queue” Yes not ideal and a tad embarrassing.

g) Download a map of the park. if u have an iPhone or blackberry download as a PDF file. Maps can be picked up on the day but by doing it this way your child can familiarise themself with the park and it’s contents (Worked for us)

h) Check travel updates. Driving? check traffic update before leaving. If like us you use public transport be sure to check departure times of trains and buses. Long waits at busy stations are never easy.

JOURNEY TO THE PARK

a) Don’t even think about exploring the stations M&S or WH. Smiths. This didn’t go down well with little man.

b) If your child is like mine a transport enthusiast then be prepared. Once on the train little man beeped all the way there, pressed the button opening the train doors at each and every station, repeated all the names of the stations we stopped at, and took notes on the route for use later (AT HOME, AT 3AM)

ONCE AT CHESSINGTON

a) We had curtesy tickets meaning no long queue at the ticket sales at the gate. I suggest you order your tickets online. Pre-purchased tickets can be sent to you in advance meaning you two can avoid the massive ticket sales queue. If this isn’t possible be sure to arrive early.

b) Once inside head for Market square where you will find the admissions & information office. This is where you obtain your childs ride access pass (wristband) You are required to show your documentation before the child is fitted with the wristband. I found the staff most helpful and very understanding. (Ride access enable your child and between 2 to 4 carers to enter a ride via the rides exit area. This means the child avoids queueing. This is only for adults and children who don’t fully understand the concept of queueing or just can’t cope having to do so.)

c) While at the admission centre do get your child/children measured. Some of the big rides require you to be aleast 1.4 meters tall. We didn’t think to do this when we arrived. Little man spotted a ride that required him to be 1.4 meters. He just reached the top of the measuring stick but only because his fluffy hair encounted for aleast 3 inches. Me and the member of staff who was measuring him could not help but laugh when I pointed out just how lucky it was his father had not given him a hair cut. After much debate on Little mans part that consisted with a few worries “Does this ride ever break or get stuck?” followed by “what’s the odds out of a 100 of the ride becoming stuck while I’m on it?” We were allowed down to the exit to await instructions to board. Just as we went to jump on another member of staff asked to remeasure the little dude! With that we were pointed in the direction of the Admissions centre for a prober measure up. We were then told to come back with a blue wristband to show he met the requirements of the ride. He had the largest meltdown of the day. He was shouting “I have a F***ing yellow wristband!!! I don’t want a blue one”
He then sat with his head in his hands on the dirty floor. I stood asking if everyone was enjoying the show and his father who came with with us was running for the gate.

d) This ride should come with a Warning! It should state the BUBBLE RIDE may cause sensory overload!
I assumed little man would love this ride. After all I did as a child. I didn’t consider the sensory impact it may have on a child with ASD.
Note: This ride would be ideal for sensory seekers. The things a person on the spectrum may find unbearable.
. WATER: Its a slow moving ride that is water based.
. SMELL: The changing smells of bubble gum, soap, to fruity pop amoung others were very over powering.
. NOISE: The loud music that changed suddenly each time the ride entered a different area was messing with my head, so it must of done a great deal more to little mans!
LIGHTS: The ride features strobe lighting. A warning sign is displayed to show the risk for those with conditions such as epilepsy or pregnancy.
This ride frighten the life out of my little man. We purchased the ride photo that showed little man covering his head with his arms with the fear of god in his face. Another child with ASD enjoyed this ride and was now having their second turn. I had got speaking with his mother in the queue for photos who was telling me how much her son loved it. So this shows it can go either way. Sadly for us it was the wrong way. (at least Little sis had fun)

e) Bring spare clothing or waterproof wear. As fun as those water rides can be! there is nothing worse then wet wringing children! (Note the park provides halogen heated booths, but my children would not go near them)

f) Make time to visit the Zoo and Sealife centre. We did not visit the sealife centre as little man was having problems with the small queue. The Gorilla house is fantastic and worth a visit.

g) Do not wait for all the rides to finished before heading to the gift shop (open for extra 30min after park’s closing time) We did this and were faced with huge queues and a very crowded gift shop:( Stick to spending amount and do not cave with the added pressure from childs threat of tantrums.
I ended up spending way to much:(
Note: The best gift shop that offers best value for money (pocket money gifts) was the main Chessington Gift shop located in Market Square.

h) Leave before park closng time! Why? unless you want to be faced with huge queues for the bus (station a ten minute walk, little man cried like crazy as we promised the bus) Or a packed out very noisy train, that is very overcrowded? Then take my advice! We sat on the train and were surrounded by teenagers screaming and laughing. No wonder this was the reason for little mans final meltdown.

Yes we run into a few problems but we managed to still have fun. Little man loves rollercoasters and there were some smaller one like the runaway train. A train that’s a rollercoaster! Of course he loved it!

So there you have it! Chessington the Aspie way. I hope you enjoy your day, and with the help of my tips you get the best out your trip to chessington.

The need for running shoes

25 Jun

Ok First I have to apologise for being such a terrible blogger. It’s been weeks since I last posted and as always so much has happened I get fried brain trying to work out where to begin. So I have decided that It’s of great importance for me to report the ins and outs of our recent day out and what a complete DISASTER it was. It’s not easy having problem free days out with a child on the spectrum. Queues, noise, smells, environment are just a few of the many triggers that lurk and pose a threat on your family outing. Well, its safe to say once home and able to analyse the whole situation it was clear to see that all of these and more contributed to what can only be described as a challenging day out. No, it didn’t help that the free bike and kite festival that was put on by the local council was of no real interest to little man. Then there was the fact that he somehow thought we were going to a fun fair (don’t know where he got that idea) We spent the best part of the afternoon hearing ‘Is this bloody it’  and ‘where is the fair then’ No I’m not kidding it really was this bad and worse.

This is my account of the days events I’m guessing little mans may differ. After running around like a headless chicken trying my hardest to organised myself and the three children we finally made it out the door and into a taxi and headed off for what was meant to be a fun day out. We were of to the Bike and Kite festival. This is a free event that is run by the local council and often attracts a crown. Little man isn’t to bad with Crowns it just depends on the environment and his mood. His great with fun fairs the music and lights are a favourite part of the trip. With this I took it upon myself to assume he would feel the same way about the festival. Out the taxi things started well. We met up with my good friend who had a gift each for the children little mans being a model bus. Buses being his “special interest” made this the perfect gift and little man was displaying a huge smile. This huge smile then decided to shy away and hide out for a while as it was only seen a small number of times through out the day.

Little man’s ability to have a little fun was partially non existent at the beginning of the festival. He was beginning to get himself into a mood and getting him out of it is near on impossible. Walking around a few of the stalls he got upset and angry because we were looking at hand crafted jewellery. We had only just arrived and intended to look at everything in due course. Explaining due course to a child with Aspergers doesn’t come easy. Patience! Well, who needs patience? Certainly not little man or so he thought. ‘I wanna go there’, ‘I wanna see that’. I hear you say well isn’t this all children? Yes, to some degree but this was more extreme in many ways. Example! Once we had agreed to do one thing he is already freaking out about doing the next. I admit it had been sometime since we did a day out and I was starting to remember why. We were only safe when at a place of interest and even then it could be a worry.

A break was needed and we grabbed a spot to settle in. I had prepared a feast of a picnic and we were all pretty keen to sit and eat it. SORRY DID I SAY ALL? ALL EXCEPT LITTLE MAN THAT IS. He expressed his disbelieve at the fact we had chosen to sit and eat when we needed to be up and doing things. One of my many techniques as little mans mother is to try and engage him in conversation on a topic of his interest to get him to relax. He was stressing and pointing asking why others were able to do things and he had to just sit and eat crappy food he didn’t want in the first place. My tactics of engagement were failing fast and lucky for me and everyone sat around us A bike stunt show had started in very close view from our chosen picnic spot. Oh yer the blissful sound of…. Well, music and cheering but this was better then the full on wringing I was hearing a few seconds prior. Owning a bike and being rather good on it little man enjoyed the show and flashed us a brief smile. Moments like these give you the encouragement to carry on with your day with the hope of it becoming increasingly better then it had started out. To be honest things did start to go in this direction and for a few hours with the exception of minor problems (the inability to queue for the bouncy slide without displaying his need to get on the slide NOW. The tantrum over wanting me to buy him items that were well out of my price range) things were Ok.

I started to enjoy being there. My daughter was happy playing with a kite we had brought from one of the many stalls. My six month old sat happily in his pram starring at the beautiful display of flying kites and little man had gone from raging bull to a clam child who was pleased with the bubble gun he had brought. Things got even better when he spotted an open top bus parked on the grass. Unbelievable no matter where we go a little bit of little mans “special interest” comes with too. I don’t mean to imply that this bothered me if anything it tickled me! He was overly fixated on buses. His level of interest on his subject was fascinating. I have never seen anybody have a passion for something on this scale. I guess this is the true Aspie in him.

Little man darted to the buses leaving me far behind. Lucky we were with my friend still who dashed after him and explained that he was unable to just board the bus without the given permission of the owner. Can you imagine the terror in our eyes when the owner shouted ‘SORRY THE BUS ISN’T FOR PUBLIC USE’ Oh my god was he really going to do this to me. I sound selfish I know. I should have been thinking is he really going to do this to little man? The thing is I couldn’t bear the thought of losing the blissful day that was so hard to achieve. We had got this far the prospect of tantrums (huge ones at that) was to much to bear:( I guess an angel was looking down on us, This and the fact my good friend had a quite word in the owners ear as this got little man safely onto that bus and saved us all from the terror of what may of been (well for now at least)

Little man was in his element on that bus. I sat on the grass as he explored the thing inside out. My friend followed close behind snapping pictures of my smiley boy. My little girl was still flying her kite and seemed happy to do so all night if she could. It was great to see the children both enjoying themselves. Of and to not have the constant bickering was another joyful reason to be sat with a smile.

It only seemed right to end the day on a high and as the festival was near on coming to an end we decided to make a move. The festival had taken place on a large heath (Blackheath) The heath was huge and the festival had not even taken half the space. For this reason we were surrounded by grass and the children had loads of open space to run around and get all the left over energy out of their systems before heading home. Little man began asking how we where planing on getting home. By this he was obviously referring to the type of transport we would be using. I asked him what he suggested. By doing this I expected him to say lets catch the 54 bus back home. Of course I should have known better then to just assume. ‘Let’s get the 380’ he replied. Ok the 380 is a small bus and it only goes to Lewisham which is only half the distance needed. Then there is the fact the babies pram isn’t far off from being a bus itself! Yes, it’s big and red but only has three wheels not four. I did actually say this to little man and I said it in that exact way. Sarcasm and Aspergers isn’t a good mix and I found myself having to explain why I would consider the babies pram to be a bus. After a bit of a discussion little man seemed fine with my reasons for not getting the 380 and with the promise of riding the 380 on the following weekend as a reward if he manages to behave at school with this we headed off towards the 54.

THE MOTHER OF ALL MELTDOWNS

It was right at the end of our magical day (It had turned out this way) That a storm broke. I’m not referring to those that take place in the sky as an act of god! No, I’m talking about those involving abusive taunts and aggressive, challenging behaviour that are all an act of little man. Yes, we had left the festival and I really considered us out of the danger zone in relation to meltdowns. Silly how wrong one could be. It began with little mans bubble gun running out of bubbles and him entraining himself by chasing his little sister who was still happy kiting along the heath. I heard myself a number of times requesting he stopped and a number of times (all of them) he didn’t. He then decided to take things further and give her a push and a shove for no reason at all. I told him I would take his bubble gun if he carried on chasing or hitting his sister. Of course he did and of course I had to be consistent in my threat to take the bubble gun. The problem was actually getting it from him. Luckily once again the help of super mate was required Little man run and my friend gave chase. We do know that chasing little man is something he desires and we often try not to engage in this activity. My friend rolled around on the floor play fighting with little man. He loved it and it gave me the perfect opportunity to grab that bubble gun. In the struggle to do so I accidentally stepped on his fingers. With this he stood up and scream and swore for me to give him his bubble gun. He then told the world how much of a bad mother I was as I had hurt him. Please ground open swallow me NOW. Oh god it got worse. After a number of hurtful insults (many I have heard before) he then decided sod the 54 the 308 sounded a much better idea. Super friend even had trouble catching him as he ran towards the bus stop even crossing the main busy road running through the middle of the heath. Once he was finally back he decided to walk up to his sister and give her a hard push that resulted to her falling to the floor. It was her reaction that upset me most. She stood up without a word and carried on playing as if nothing had happen. She had become used to such unacceptable behaviour. With this and his on going comments.. Get run over by a bus and die, and I’m the worse mum ever and the fattest being a few I was at breaking point. I know shouting don’t help and it sure as hell wont with a child on the spectrum but I’m only human and Its fair to say I lost it. I had been on the edge best part of the day and I had finally fell. HEAD FIRST. I told him to go away then and with this he did. S**t that’s the thing with children on the spectrum they tend to do exactly that! Go away. My friend was fast becoming a world class athlete and given the location anyone would think she was training for the marathon. Again she brought him back and he sat on the grass with his angry face on. He went on and on and on about how I can control my feet, standing on his fingers was not an accident. Tired of the situation I admitted defeat and called his father who once heard my blabbering over the phone jumped on a bus and took the 25 minute journey to health. Little man had since gave me a quick hug. I think this is because he figured that yes maybe dad is actually coming after all. He says it’s not for this reason but because he don’t really want me knocked down by a bus (I only hope he don’t) He then said sorry asking me to do the same. Yes, I was sorry I shouted but not sorry I had taken his bubble gun or called his father. With this dad arrived and took both the children back home on the bus leaving me with the baby and an exhausted best friend who I love dearly:) And owe a night on the town to.

So what did I learn? I learnt a number of things and here’s a few… Don’t call the pram a bus! Call it a pram, Don’t step on little mans fingers (learn to control my feet) Don’t shout Go away! As little man will do just that. Lastly I learnt.. Buy a good pair of running shoes and wear them during family days out.

RUN FOREST RUN.

The sparkle in his eyes

20 Jan

My little man’s face was a picture.
His big eyes were wide open.
I could see the delight in which he was living. He was in one of his favourite places’ he was on the 136 bus.

Yes that’s right my boy was enjoying a trip to the supermarket on the big bright red London bus. There is only one other place that I see that look on his face and that’s the train.
For a long time G has had a great interest with trains and buses. He loves to board the bus where he can then observe everything in great detail’ and then process it in his brain.
The doors and how they work is where his true love is. He often’ well always acts out the opening and closing motion that they make. He can do this for hours at a time. He likes to know where each and every train and bus is heading. He will then store the information and later repeat it over and over as he walks from side to side demonstrating the moving doors with his arms or even using household objects such as a pair of sunglasses or two pens.

Watch out. If you happen to be wearing a British rail uniform or any uniform that shows that you are employed by London transport. Because if you catch my son’s eye it is extremely possible that you are about to undergo a extensively long interview. This is near on impossible to avoid.

My little boys interest is nothing less or other then pure obsessive.
He can wear you down with his consistent chit chat regarding the Hayes train line or the 181 bus having just installed new green bars where these used to be yellow.
I would be lying if I said sometimes I don’t think “PLEASE GIVE IT A REST MATE” But when I see that sparkle in his eyes and that smile across his face I know in a instant this is what makes him happy. And if his happy mummys happy:)

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