Monday, 28 March 2016

Easter Break: Via Facebook & Twitter

During the Easter Break, I'll be taking a part-time break. 
I'll be highlighting 'Helpful Holiday Posts' via my facebook and twitter pages 
and I will still publish my Wonderful Wednesday shares and Favourite Friday posts. 
Normal service will resume after the Easter Break. xx

Happy Easter message from autistic son

Friday, 25 March 2016

Favourite Friday: Getting into the Television

Jane and I were walking through a nearby park.  The sun was shining and if you stepped off the shady path into the sun you could almost forget the chilly breeze.  A gentleman with a dog, a big coat and hat walked past us.  Jane was busy commenting on some crocuses that were coming up through the grass.  As she looked back she saw the gentleman and said to me, "Look, I can see Sven."

Of course, she was talking about Sven from Disney's Frozen. By the time I'd figured out what she was saying, the gentleman was a bit far away to say hello, so we talked for a moment how we might see him again another day.  I also made a mental note to talk again to Jane, who is nearly three years old, about not talking to strangers without mummy or daddy.

Then, Jane announced that she had an idea. She'd figured out how we could see 'Sven' again. "You need to get some scissors and cut a hole in the television." Ahhh.. yes, that way we can get into Frozen.  Read the rest of the post here

On 'Favourite Fridays', Rainbowsaretoobeautiful will publish the most popular post from the previous week. If you missed it, then here's your chance to catch up. See all our Favourite Friday's posts here .

Thursday, 24 March 2016

Appreciating the talents of others?

Sometimes it can seem as if a child with autism is stuck in their own world. Our son, David, can cut himself off from those around him and enjoy the time he has on his own. Anthony needs this time too but that doesn't mean he can't see what's going on around him or appreciate it.

We were nearly late getting Anthony to school a few days ago. As we arrived I had him set up for the idea that he would probably be going straight through to assembly. When I collected Anthony at the end of the day, he gladly let me know that I had been wrong and there hadn't been an assembly at school that day.  I suddenly thought that perhaps this had something to do with an Easter Parade, but as Anthony was not forthcoming with information I let the questioning slide.

Today I found out that the school had attended a rolling Easter Service at the Church and this is why there had been no assembly. See, I knew it had something to do with Easter, he does after all attend a church associated school. 

One of the girls from Anthony's class was singing at the service. Anthony's teaching assistant told us he had been very good during the service, he had also commented that his friends singing had been just wonderful. So I asked him about it.

He said that he couldn't talk about it. Her singing was just too beautiful to talk about.

Sometimes the emotions through his senses are just too high. In the same way Anthony doesn't want to look at rainbows because they are too beautiful, he attached such appreciation and delight in the memory of this girls singing. 

Isn't that just lovely. It's as if it took his breath away.

What took your breath away recently?

Links
Our blog - Mysteries of memories
Our blog - showing pride in others in Never prouder of last place 

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Wednesday, 23 March 2016

#WonderfulWednesday: The A Word

Usually my Wonderful Wednesday share is something I've seen or read that has touched me. This week I'm breaking this tradition to share something I've not seen yet.

Last night was the first episode of 'The A Word' on BBC1. I've seen lots of positive comments on social media but as I was working last night, I haven't had the chance to see it myself. Of course not all the positive comments are about positive feelings. For some it has brought back feelings of loss and others have found they relate well to the all too familiar sad situations it portrays. 

So if I haven't seen it, why am I sharing it? 

It's a BBC1 drama and its sharing an experience of autism. I've always said that if you know one person with autism then you know just one person with autism. Everyone is different and so is everyone with autism. My son's are hugely different to each other and to those we know who have also been diagnosed with ASD. I was never expecting The A Word to 'get it all right'. But it is spreading autism awareness to a mass audience and shows what it could be like. And that's worth promoting. 

If you've seen it, let me know your thoughts. If not, catch up with me via iPlayer. 

Links
Our blog - Comments from Steve Silberman on 'autisms'
Our blog - Without an ASD diagnosis, we would not...
BBC iPlayer - The A Word



Tuesday, 22 March 2016

The slightest change is difficult

This morning started off like any other. In fact it was going quite well, everyone had was dressed, had breakfast and we're ready to go nearly five minutes early. As we all got into the car to go to school I smiled as the car clock revealed we were ahead of schedule. But it was not to be in any part of the school run.

As we approached the bottom of the road we entered a stream of near stationary traffic. Sometimes there is a bit of a queue up to the round about junction which is about another 100m down the road but today's was unpresidented. It took over 10 minutes to travel 100m. 

Parents who were able to walk to their school strolled passed us at a leisurely pace. Anthony was sat in the front and I began to explain to him that there was a problem with the traffic and we would be late getting to school. We are rarely late but sometimes if we are it's better to drop the children at their respective schools in a different order. Today was going to be one of those days.

Anyhony and his younger sister Jane are able to understand this. David is not.

As we pulled up near Anthony's school, David was deep in the iPad and seems ok as I carried him and walked with Anthony and Jane to the school reception. Anthony was only 3 minutes late so we'd actually done well given the traffic.  However, as we entered reception, David recognised where we were and began to shout and scream. He wanted to get down. We had once had to take David to a meeting at Anthony's school. While he was there he played with a train set. That's what he remembered about here and that's what he was after. 

Anthony was taken through to his class and Jane and I walked back to the car holding a licking and screaming David.  He calmed down once back in the car but when I dropped him at his school he didn't go in as his happy usual self and insisted on hanging around in the playground with one of the assistants. 

It's sometimes easy to forget when things are going ok that these small changes that are so easily absorbed by some of us are a difficulty for others. David has probably now got over his change to his day but it's hard to know just what affect it will have had on his mood and what that might mean for his learning. 

It's impossible to tell when things won't go as you plan and there really is only so much extra time you can allow for things being different. Hopefully as David's understanding approves he will be able to. Impressed when change is happening and that will give him some time to adjust. Exposure seems to be the way forward. After all, Anthony used to really struggle and now he takes it in his stride ... sometimes.  

Running late with autism


Links

Monday, 21 March 2016

It's time to tell him

clock and autism word

There are some things you never expect your children to say.

Anthony is crushing his forehead with his hands.  He's making a haunting noise that's a cross between a scream and a growl. And then he said, "Please, kill me, then make me again with a brain that works properly."

Sometimes I wonder if our son is aware of his difficulties.  Anthony has autism, ADHD and a bit of hypermobility and anxiety thrown in for good measure. He knows some things, like he finds it difficult to sit still and has someone help him at the school.  But this was the first time I've been stopped in my tracks by his awareness.

It was over something as simple as copying a sum from a screen onto a piece of paper.

Anthony was converting a picture sum into a column addition. He was doing the sums very well but after a short time started to struggle. His poor motor skills meant he wasn't always lining the numbers up correctly and he started to forget what he needed to do to work the sum out. "Ohhh mum, my brain and fingers are being very naughty," he said.  A few sums later and he was becoming annoyed and upset by his own inabilities.

"Kill me," he screamed.  "Please, kill me, then make me again with a brain that works properly."

Can you imagine?

I felt my heart thump in my chest, like a booming base drum.  Where was the next beat...?.  The world suddenly seemed in slow motion. I felt my eyes widen and glisten as my stomach shivered. Then I couldn't tell where my failing heart ended and my stomach started.  Oh son.  On the outside I held it together, inside I was a mess.

You see, Anthony's brain works differently as part of his autism.  He processes everything differently.  Sometimes this makes things more challenging and sometimes he sees things in a wonderful way that no one else does. Anthony has also been diagnosed with ADHD.  This is an added complication. Not only does his mind work differently, but then he also loses focus, making some tasks even more challenging.

Anthony knows he can copy sums.  He knows he can work out the answers.  He's learned to overcome difficulties with sensory input and seeing things differently.... and then his mind fails him again with concentration.  Please, give my kid a break, I thought.

Of course I hugged him, helped him focus and worked him through the sum.  I said he had done his sums very well and he could finish. No more homework for him tonight.  I was relieved, to say the least, when he told me he didn't want to die.  That he was just frustrated and being a literal thinker he was pretty sure the only way to get a new brain was to die first, and he didn't want that.  Perhaps I'll talk to him about neurosurgery later...much later.

We've always been in agreement that Anthony should know about his autism, ADHD etc when it seems right.  And we are now on the edge of labelling Anthony's conditions for him. He knows he has hypermobility. When the physiotherapist gave him exercises to do it made sense to tell him.  He says his knees are being silly. Perhaps it's no surprise that he thinks his brain is malfunctioning and being 'naughty'.  He has commented before that his brain is not doing as he asks.

I know we'll highlight all the good things about him.  It's not going to be a brand new thing, we've been drip feeding him the idea for a while. But I'm still extremely nervous.  I feel that thump... thump in my chest again just thinking about it.   Anthony's unexpected outburst means it's time for us to do what we've been expecting.  However he reacts, we'll be there to support him.  But it is time to tell him. It's time he had the opportunity to understand himself.


If you have stories about telling someone you love about a condition they have..please feel free to share your link.  Email me if you don't wish to use the comments box and I'll add your link for you.

Thursday, 17 March 2016

Favourite Friday: Autistic Anthony is always to blame

A quarter of people with autism are non-verbal. They don't talk at all and may use other methods of communication. Our eldest son Anthony can talk well. He attends a regular mainstream school.  But that doesn't mean he's always understood. His honesty and difficulty communicating often means that without someone there who understands him, he is blamed for what's gone wrong.

Such an event happened on our way to school last week. Our school run, like many family's, is a busy one. Read more...

On 'Favourite Fridays', Rainbowsaretoobeautiful publishes its most popular post from the previous week. If you missed it, then here's your chance to catch up.  See all our Favourite posts here

Shoes... in the laundry?


David is five years old and attends a specialist autism education unit.  Being five and having ASD means school activities are still based around play and developing the senses.  The other day, I was met by David being carried by his key worker at the gate of the school.

Wednesday, 16 March 2016

#WonderfulWednesday: The one with the A word

My Wonderful Wednesday share this week is from 'Random Thoughts from a Random Woman' called 'The one with the A word' about receiving an autism diagnosis for her son.

It's a common thing to post about, but I'm sharing it for two reasons.  Firstly, it caught my attention because it's less than a week until BBC's 'The A Word' comes out.  We have known both our boys are autistic since before they were four years old but it won't be long until at least one of them is also aware of the A word too. Secondly, and more importantly, there's nothing like this on my blog.

I started blogging quite a few years after our kids diagnoses. I'd come to terms with their condition and most of my blogging is about overcoming challenges, things that help and heart felt achievements.  This post from 'Random Thoughts from a Random Woman' gives a lovely example of what that first period after an autism diagnosis can be like. Every parent and person feels differently about the diagnosis.  Some parents and people may have fought for a diagnosis, waiting months in some cases.  Others are scared of it. Either way, being nervous about it all is completely normal.

We have found having a diagnosis for our kids is very beneficial.  We've been better able to access services for example.  Our boys aren't any different because of the diagnosis.  Indeed, most of all it has helped us understand them and soon it may help them understand themselves.

Links
Our blog - Without an ASD diagnosis we would not...
Our blog - What is there had been an autism screening? Would I still have had my kids?
Our blog - How autism is like the new courtesy car

Tuesday, 15 March 2016

Dry Sensory Easter Rabbit Craft Activity


Some kids with autism can be sensitive to wet textures or not like mixing dry and wet textures together but still enjoy being creative.  We had great fun with this craft activity at a local group, Me Too & Co, which supports children with additional needs and their siblings.

Dry Sensory Easter Rabbit

Apart from cutting out rabbit shapes from coloured paper this activity is easy to set up.  Choose some different dry textures in bowls, add glue sticks and pens and let your kids have fun.  At Me Too & Co they had:

  • Different coloured felt shapes including ovals, rectangles, squares and triangles
  • Cotton wool pleats
  • Little pom pom balls
  • Feathers and
  • Tissue string.

Encouraging fine motor stills

If your child has emerging fine motor skills then this is a great activity. Kids will need to use and develop their pincer grip in order to pick up bits of felt and the little pom poms.  If this is challenging, don't worry they can have an easier time with the feathers and tissue string.  

Pulling the cotton wool pleats apart will encourage bilateral motor skills (using both hands together to achieve an outcome).  By placing the bowls of bits around the child you will also encourage them to cross their mid-line when they reach over to grab items.

Using a glue stick may encourage a classic pencil grip but even if not it will still encourage pre-writing movements while you cover the rabbit with sticky glue.

Encouraging Labelling

Different shapes of felt and the different colours of items give you and opportunity to label shapes and colours.  It's also a good opportunity to label textures such as soft cotton wool, crinkly tissue paper or fluffy feathers.

You can also label using makaton, have a look at the Makaton #wetalkmakaton sign of week for helpful ideas.
Jane had a great time at Me Too & Co and I loved her finished rabbit. 

sensory Easter activity materials for autism


Links

Monday, 14 March 2016

Getting into the television

Jane and I were walking through a nearby park.  The sun was shining and if you stepped off the shady path into the sun you could almost forget the chilly breeze.  A gentleman with a dog, a big coat and hat walked past us.  Jane was busy commenting on some crocuses that were coming up through the grass.  As she looked back she saw the gentleman and said to me, "Look, I can see Sven."

Of course, she was talking about Sven from Disney's Frozen. By the time I'd figured out what she was saying, the gentleman was a bit far away to say hello, so we talked for a moment how we might see him again another day.  I also made a mental note to talk again to Jane, who is nearly three years old, about not talking to strangers without mummy or daddy.

Then, Jane announced that she had an idea. She'd figured out how we could see 'Sven' again. "You need to get some scissors and cut a hole in the television." Ahhh.. yes, that way we can get into Frozen.

Jane and I laughed loudly for a few minutes while I talked about how we can't cut a hole in the television.

Wouldn't that be silly, clever idea, but a bit silly.

Kids are going to lose themselves in virtual reality when it comes out. However, the event also reminded me of the literal thinking her brother showed in a similar circumstance.

Anthony is an eight year old boy with autism.  Like many autistic children he uses television and books to help him with his imagination.  He was reading a book from school about a magical adventure. Often if Anthony is reading a book that sparks interest we will try and find a way to allow him to experience this.  For example, in one story the children were transported back in time to the Blitz.  We took Anthony to the Imperial War museum to see what life was like during the war.

However, this magical adventure was a bit too far for us to 'visit'.  Anthony had mentioned the trip to the museum to his teachers and they had suggested he imagine being in the new magical story.  So at bedtime whilst reading his book, Anthony asked me, "But mum, how do I get into the story." 

I looked closely at him and realised he wasn't just looking closely at his book, he was physically pushing his cheek into the page.  Next he got out of bed and put it onto the floor to jump into the pages 'Mary Poppins into a chalk pavement picture' style. Like many autistic people, he has had difficulty with communication and realising the real value or meaning of some phrases and questions.

It was adorable of course.  Then we talked about the real meaning of 'getting into the story' and he is now pretty good at using his imagination this way.

As for Jane, well, we are hoping to visit one of the Disney theme parks at Easter.  This will surely blow her mind.

Links
Our blog - Beautiful Belle has a point about books
Our blog - Rocky reality: Autism and imagination


Autism and literal translation of getting into a show on the television

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Friday, 11 March 2016

Favourite Friday: To the boy who showed interest in my son's special interest

Last week's most popular post was also published in The Mighty. 

You wrote him a short note saying you thought karting sounded interesting and could he tell you about it. All we can say is thank you.  Thank you for giving Anthony the opportunity to write. Thank you for providing him with motivation.  Thank you for allowing him to show what he knows.  Thank you for giving him confidence in himself.  Thank you for showing him someone cares about what he thinks.


As a boy with autism, Anthony's interests tend to be very focused and he has difficulty engaging in conversations or meaningful tasks not associated with what he's interested in. Some people with autism can turn their special interest into an advantage, such as a career, valuable hobby or a way of relaxing.  Anthony reveals in talking about and doing anything to do with his current special interest, motor racing.  But what happened when one boy took an interest in Anthony's topic, was, to us, amazing.


Read more here


On 'Favourite Fridays', Rainbowsaretoobeautiful will publish the most popular post from the previous week. If you missed it, then here's your chance to catch up. See all our Favourite Friday's posts here .


Thursday, 10 March 2016

Mysteries of memories

"I can't find my shoes, where are they, where are they?" screams Anthony as he races through the house. Anthony needs to be reminded to put his shoes in the hall when he takes them off. He can never remember where else they might be and has huge difficulty actually seeing them even when in plain sight. It's like directing a blind folded person to an object on the floor sometimes.

He can't remember where his shoes are, or his reading book, or his favourite toy or the remote control (that is actually still in his hand).

Part of the time I think this is more difficult for him because of his ADHD, and then other times I'm surprised by his memory.

For anything to be remembered for more than a few seconds or minutes (for it to be turned from a short term memory into a long term memory) it needs to be encoded in our brain. What you experience is broken down into component parts and stored for recall later.

If you can't remember something it means it's either not been stored to start with or you are having trouble recalling it. For example instead of recalling a memory from blank you may recall through recognition. This could be remembering which way to go because you recognise a route or spotting an answer on a multiple choice test. You may also remember through relearning, so suddenly remembering how to set the TV box to record once you have been shown again.

The more you access memories or relive them the stronger they are and easier it is for your mind to recall them.  Your mind brings together the same components that make it up. If you have a strong emotional attachment to the memory it's also easier for you to recall.

Anthony gives up looking for things almost immediately and the same goes for recalling information. We have to summarise the previous parts of his bedtime stories most nights.  I think part of this is he's not really paying attention and encoding the memory in the first place. But I was surprised to hear the other day that he remembered some things from years ago very well.

Anthony is nearly eight years old so it was easily half his life ago that he went to nursery. He came out with this information the other day after being collected from school. We were talking about his younger sister maybe going to the same school next year after she had finished nursery. He was able to tell me:

  • That he went to a different nursery to Jane
  • He went there early in the morning before I went to work
  • He had breakfast there, Weetabix a lot of the time
  • It wasn't very far from our old house and was near to where his grandparents now live
  • There was a boy there named Henry
  • That David, his younger brother, also went there for some of the time 
Along with a few other facts (ha, that I've since forgotten). Admittedly I was quite impressed by these memories. Anthony attended the nursery for about two years, but it's fair to say that as a child with ASD he wasn't talking very much and appeared to shy away from and not interact with the world around him a lot of the time. 

I've seen several studies that look at the differences in the way children with autism learn and what happens in their brain while they are taught how to do a simple task, for example maybe learning a sequence to open a box. Children with autism often appear to take in a lot of the information each time they are shown the task and it has been suggested that this is because it's not being stored quickly. I wonder though if they may be able to remember how to open the box years later?  I don't know how my son's mind works differently but I think what he can do sometimes is amazing. 

It won't be long before it's time for me to collect him from school today. Here, he appears to be unable to tell me what he has done at school at all. Most parents would say the same thing but I honestly think Anthony can't recall what he did just five minutes before I arrived. At least we can help him by reminding him to put things back so he doesn't have to panic when he can't find his shoes again. And we can try to 'jog' his memory using the recognising and relearning methods. It's something we all probably practice. In a few minutes I'll wander round the house trying to remember what I did when I came in earlier, so I can find my car keys.

Do you have difficulty remembering things or have you been surprised by something well remembered recently?

Links

autism and puzzles of the mind


You Baby Me Mummy

Mummuddlingthrough

Wednesday, 9 March 2016

#WonderfulWednesday: Was I right to tell off someone else's child?

Usually I have my Wonderful Wednesday share all lined up before the day comes but I didn't today. I was wondering what to link to when I stumbled across this post from Cardiff Mummy Says called, 'Was I right to tell off someone else's child?'

Admittedly this is usually one of the titles I would click on with a sense of dread. Having two boys on the autistic spectrum with a variety of other issues, and then a toddler in tow, I'm often aware that other people may be judging me or my kids. But this post didn't arrest me, it reassured me.

This lovely post at Cardiff Mummy Says retells an incident we are all familiar with: A child shoving others at a playgym. I'm familiar with it from both sides. Sometimes the stares stop when the Mums see I'm using Makaton sign language. Sometimes I get the 'what are you doing bringing a child with special needs to a public place' look. That look breaks my heart every time by the way.

Instead when a child was acting up this wonderful mum considers all the options for their behaviour and the lack of parental presence. In the end she nicely talks to the 'misbehaving child' and moves to another part of the playgym  when the shoving continues. This gives me hope because alternative reasons for acting out has been considered and she doesn't 'blame' the child at all. Indeed Cardiff Mummy is concerned she has gone too far.

Thank you Cardiff Mummy for your thought and care. Honestly, I wish more were like you. See more from Cardiff Mummy Says here



Tuesday, 8 March 2016

Sensory Banana Flapjack recipe

This recipe from Jane's latest trip to Cookie Tots club can easily be adapted for either the sensory seekers or sensory adverse whilst providing a great healthy, sweet delicious pudding or snack.

Anthony has autism and ADHD and is a big sensory seeker desperate to get in and hardly notices if his hands are a mess.  If your kids are sensory seekers, then get stuck in. Allow your little one to mush together the banana and rest of the ingredients my hand. It'll make a lovely mess on their hands but then they can have the joy of washing them really well too.  Washing sticky messy hands will also help develop a good pincer grip to pick off all the sticky bits. 

David is also autistic but doesn't like mess on his hands at all.  He will reach for a towel or cloth to clean his hands or clothes if they get food on them.  For the sensory adverse, make the flapjack mixture in a large bowl. Provide melted butter to make stirring in the bowl easy and then mash the banana with a fork on a board before adding to the mixture.

As for the recipe, our Kiddy Cook instructor suggested a teaspoon of poppy seeds as an extra and we didn't use the honey or apricots pieces as the flapjack was plenty sweet with the banana.  Once cooked it was sweet and very soft - like a flapjacky banana bread.

Our kids are big flapjack fans and this was a complete hit with them. 

Sensory banana flapjack ingredients

Sensory banana flapjack method

Photo of sensory banana flapjack


Links

External links
National Autistic Society - Sensory system


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Monday, 7 March 2016

Autistic Anthony's always to blame, problems on the school run

A quarter of people with autism are non-verbal. They don't talk at all and may use other methods of communication. Our eldest son Anthony can talk well. He attends a regular mainstream school.  But that doesn't mean he's always understood. His honesty and difficulty communicating often means that without someone there who understands him, he is blamed for what's gone wrong.

Such an event happened on our way to school last week. Our school run, like many family's, is a busy one. David goes to a specialist ASD unit but we are lucky that this is located half a mile on the otherside of Anthony's school. This means we drive to David's school and park then Jane goes in buggy and Anthony goes on his scooter while we run this get to Anthony's school on time.  Yes, every single school day we are seen running across a cemetery. The traffic is so bad that it is more consistent to cut through the cemetery, with many other parents, than it is to try and drive and find somewhere else to park. Without the scooter for Anthony, we would be late everyday.

But with the scooter comes an extra hazard. We have practice stopping at roads and missing objects a lot. 

"Stop at the road"
"Look out for the gentleman" 
"Say excuse me"
"Careful by the buggy" 

These things get hollered a lot. 

Anthony has slipped on ice once this year, but on Friday it appeared he'd scootered straight into a little girl walking to his school.  It happened soo fast. My view was blocked for a second as we past a tree and then suddenly the little was on the floor and Anthony was stood their apologising. "I'm sorry," he said. "I couldn't get past. I hit her."

The girl was probably about five or six.  She was very upset, there was a lot of tears.  The girl's mother was giving her lots of hugs and said that these things happen. She even said for us to go so as there was no need for us both to be late for school. I think mostly the girl was just a bit surprised, but it looked like she'd hurt her hand and bumped her knee as she had fallen. I couldn't help feel guilty. I should have been closer, I should have shouted more warnings to Anthony. 

Then by the time I'd dropped Anthony to his class and talked to him and Jane, who was still in buggy, about being careful, I felt guilty in a different way.

I saw some great quotes on Twitter from The National Autistic Society and the AutismCon on Saturday.   According to a speaker, 99% of public say they have some understanding of autism but 84% of autistic people feel they are not understood. 

By the time Anthony had got to school I had determined by some answers from him (but mostly by conversing with Jane who is nearly three in comparison), that the little girl had infact stepped in front of Anthony and thrown her hand out to the side to point at something. Anthony had been passing but still hit her hand.


Despite the mum having said that these things happen I still felt like I should have defended him in some way. I felt guilty for almost assuming he was to blame.  I wanted to bump into the lady on the way back to our car, though what would I have said? "Excuse me, actually it wasn't only my son's fault that your daughter got hurt?"  Of course not, because I think the same, these things happen.

Anyone when they are in a stressful environment or hurt can have difficulties communicating. People whose first language is not English but can converse in it perfectly well can have difficulty and revert to their native tongue when stressed or in pain.  It's the same for lots of kids. My son will revert back to basic communication. "I hit her." He absolutely did hit her hand. "I couldn't get past." Well, no, neither would I if a hand was suddenly thrust into my path. "I'm sorry." Of course, no one wants anyone else to be hurt. 

I guess mostly I'm just aware that one day, these difficulties might have more serious repercussions. He's not going to grow of autism. What if he was asked to make an instant police report or appear in court? What if he was involved in a car accident? And this brings up the other point I saw from AutismCon. John Wilson said, "How do you communicate you are different if you have challenges with communication?"

This is undoubtedly something my boys and countless other autistic people face. And we will have to figure out how to help them with this.  He can learn. In the meantime, I can be proud that Anthony was very truthful about his actions, he didn't try and hide from what had happened. I can be proud that he was concerned for the little girl that was hurt. I can be pleased that his sister was there to help clarify what has happened. And I can try harder to keep up with him, so I'm right there if something happens. 

How do your kids handle confrontation or stressful situations? 

Links

External links
National Autistic Society (NAS) - Conferences


Autistic child scooter on school run through cemetery

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Friday, 4 March 2016

Favourite Friday: Dear Health Minister, Please I don't want to lose my son

I have this secret fear.  It sits way in the back of my mind and only comes out when I hear things that make me shake.... and then I think, please, I don't want to lose my son.

It smacked me on the face when I was listening to Radio 5 Live on Monday. I was listening to a mother who is desperate to be part of the team that looks after her son with learning disabilities. Despite her borough doing everything it can, there is a shortage of facilities and services so her son is miles away in a care facility.  A facility that she has since discovered has abused him.

As I'm listening I feel my body temperature rise and it's as if my palms have been instantly covered in sweat.  Please, don't let this be the future for my son. Read the rest of this story on the original post.

On 'Favourite Fridays', Rainbowsaretoobeautiful publishes its most popular post from the previous week. If you missed it, then here's your chance to catch up.

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Thursday, 3 March 2016

To a Special Mum

autism mum is special mum first

I am a mother to three beautiful children; two of them have an assortment of additional or 'special' needs. I sometimes feel like I'm treated differently because of this. Some people think I'm special in some sort of supermum type way with the kids, some others think I'm special because I have to 'deal' with a lot because of the kids. I hear "I don't know how you do it," quite a bit.

Wednesday, 2 March 2016

#WonderfulWednesday: Different stories

This week's #WonderfulWednesday share is a quote from Stuart Duncan (founder of www.autcraft.com) that I saw via Stories About Autism.


This small quote encapsulates so much. My boys are both on the autistic spectrum but they differ in so many ways. Anthony could never cloud watch like David because Anthony is afraid of rainbows. David won't get nervous about going back to school like Anthony, because David loves school! As I commented on Neurotribes, it does seem that sometimes we should talk about 'autisms'

I also love that it says 'stories'. I love stories, happy ones are my favourites and maybe that's why I read this as an almost joyful quote, though that won't be the same for everyone. My boys stories often make me smile. I grinned at David's interaction in the playground and could barely hold back tears of joy when Anthony participated in a swimming gala. It's infact usually my own fears that cause me occasional sadness and that's usually about stories that haven't been made yet. 

 Each child's story is different and the same goes for those on the autistic spectrum. 



Tuesday, 1 March 2016

To the boy who showed interest in my son's special interest

Anthony Karting
This post has been featured on The Mighty Site.

You wrote him a short note saying you thought karting sounded interesting and could he tell you about it. All we can say is thank you.  Thank you for giving Anthony the opportunity to write. Thank you for providing him with motivation.  Thank you for allowing him to show what he knows.  Thank you for giving him confidence in himself.  Thank you for showing him someone cares about what he thinks.

As a boy with autism, Anthony's interests tend to be very focused and he has difficulty engaging in conversations or meaningful tasks not associated with what he's interested in. Some people with autism can turn their special interest into an advantage, such as a career, valuable hobby or a way of relaxing.  Anthony reveals in talking about and doing anything to do with his current special interest, motor racing.  But what happened when one boy took an interest in Anthony's topic, was, to us, amazing.

Anthony has no problem talking about racing.  Indeed, sometimes you can't stop him.  This currently includes being able to script all the highlights of the 2015 Formula 1 Season from the television.  When he appeared to his class for Show & Tell in his full karting gear, it was deemed the 'best ever' by the class.

What Anthony really struggles with at school is writing. Anthony has autism, ADHD, SPD and hypermobility.  In short this means he finds it difficult to hold a pencil, feel what the pencil is doing, concentrate on what he is supposed to be writing and finds it physically tiring. It's no surprise that Anthony has never written more than a single of page of work at school in messy writing.  He is also very concerned about getting things wrong so will make sentences short, using small words so he is less likely to get tired or make a mistake. This has limited his practice and confidence.

But, thanks to a friend of a friend from school, Anthony has suddenly surpassed himself.

Following this kind gesture, Anthony was able to let go of worries about getting everything exactly right, he was able to write as he would talk. He produced three pages of words which talked about karting and showed the world that he isn't stupid and has an understanding of principles such as counting, friction and forces.

I have transcribed his letter underneath.


To Henry,

This is my Kart. It's black, it's very good and its got a full tank and it's got a speedo.  I wear a rib protector and a karting suit and I wear karting shoes and I wear karting gloves and I wear a balaclava and I wear a helmet ad a wear a neck brace. These are the tracks I have been to. I have been to Surbiton, Daytona, Clay Pigeon, Rye House, Camberley, Barford Meadows and Thruxton.

My Kart goes very fast.  My kart has got an engine and it's got pedals. It has a radio just for information. Sometimes I drive on my own and sometimes I drive with boys and girls. You have to be a bit older to practice at some tracks. My kart has got very grippy tyres and it has got worn-out tyres and it has got dry tyres.  The dry tyres are very slippery because they are very cool.  But when I get them very hot they're going to be faster than the worn-out tyres. My kart has got three engines.  You do have to be a bit older to do kart races.

Love from
your friend



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