Friday, 29 April 2016

Favourite Friday: Should I tell off another mum?

So, Anthony's a bit of a stickler for rules. Rules are great if you have autism; they set boundaries, they prepare you for what's expected, in a funny sort of way they make you feel safe.  This means it's easy to feel nervous, upset or unsafe when the rules are broken by other people.  One of the things said a lot in our home is "Who's job is it to say what happens when a rule in broken?"  because Anthony will storm around ordering siblings, parents, grandparents and visitors to 'go to their room' or 'sit on the stairs'.

But what's really confusing is when other adults ignore the rules for their kids.

Our school has a rule that you can't ride your scooter inside the school grounds.  Drop-off and pick-up time is chaos and there have been several scooter related injuries both in and outside school grounds that mean the school set a rule.... but it's effectively down for parents to enforce.

Read more here

Each Friday, Rainbowsaretoobeautiful publishes it's most popular post from last week - here's your chance to catch up if you missed it. Catch up on all our Favourite Friday autism stories here.

Thursday, 28 April 2016

Different possibilities can be ok

Yesterday's school run was a disaster.  We only just left the house on time but the journey was doomed. Two sets of road works had sprung up over night (seriously) and that added to a delivery truck blocking a single lane road led to one inevitability... we were going to be late.

I'm not really a stickler for being late.  Admittedly, whether I like it or not I'm more a 'just in time' kinda girl. With two boys on the autistic spectrum and a toddler, waiting if you get somewhere too early can be a disaster. But school... it's so important that the boys days start well if they are going to have a good day. Routines really help them to stay calm and feel safe.  Missing the morning routine of name call or 'placing your pear on the tree' could potentially spell disaster.

But every now and again something happens that means we are late.  The day David was sick on the breakfast table.. we were late. The day a bus broke down in the high street, we were late.  And the day two sets of road works sprung up on our route over night.. we would be late.

I'm frustrated. Mentally I've already figured out every alternative route from our current position and know that all I can do is watch the minutes clock by on the car display.  If only Anthony hadn't got an invisible stick in his shoe, if only Jane hadn't moaned and asked for another piece of toast... if only I hadn't had to chase David around the living room for a minute before I could hoist him into the car.

Being late like this used to be terrible. Anthony would become very anxious.  "Are we going to be late... oh no.. it is my fault?"  Obviously it's never actually Anthony's fault because it's my responsibility to get the kids to school but Anthony knows when he has had difficulty focusing and no doing what he supposed to.  He'd panic the whole way there.  The time I needed to change the format of the morning to deliver the children to their prospective schools in reverse order released a small monster in our son David.  He didn't understand why he was being dragged out of the car to the wrong place and had a meltdown outside the school gate.

But yesterday as I sat in the car... going no where I become calm.  Anthony was giggling and singing, "We're going to be laaaate... we're going t'be laaate," which while being tedious and annoying was a great step forward. We have been late more than once and we have recently had to come out of school for various medical appointments.  When this has happened I've explained that it's ok, no one is upset with Anthony and sometimes things are just different.  Anthony has learned it's ok to be late sometimes.  As long as he knows what's happening he is fine with it.  David has also had to accompany Anthony to school for the odd reason and he is now much better at being out of routine.

And while I'm desperate to try and make the near impossible double drop school run every morning in a calm and civilised manner, being late for school is not the terrible drama it once was.

Anthony made it to school on time (just). David was 10 minutes late but class routine hadn't started. Neither were upset.  So maybe not such a terrible start to the day after all.

Links
Our blog - The slightest change is difficult
Our blog - Autistic Anthony's always to blame, problems on the school run

External
National Autistic Society - Routines & obsessions

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Keep Calm and Carry On Linking Sunday

Wednesday, 27 April 2016

#WonderfulWednesday: Do autistic children have friends?

This week's wonderful Wednesday share is from Catie over at An Imperfect Mum and her lovely post 'Do autistic children have friends?' It's a beautifully written piece about her son and his challenges finding, keeping and understanding friends and friendship.

What I really think is wonderful is Catie's underlying assumptions. True, there are possibly stereotypical autistic people who prefer to be alone but not all do and it's much more about how instead we as society can adjust to allow, neigh, encourage them to participate in whatever activities they wish.. including friendship.

Our son talks about all his class mates as being his 'friends' but we know that's probably not really the case. That doesn't mean he doesn't choose who he spends his time with. He happily admits his dad is his best friend (lucky dad) and he actively misses him when he's not around for any reason at all.

Playing with peers definitely happens. Play dates have the difficulty of what to do with siblings if invited to play dates. First visits usually require breaking in and that's difficult with a non verbal five year old and a toddler in tow. Plus, Anthony needs to be invited round somewhere or want to have someone round himself which doesn't happen often.

We help Anthony by introducing him to new things that are more age appropriate for common ground. This is providing him with the opportunity to see what he enjoys and it turns out that he loves marvel Superheros and Formula 1.  Truth is he'd probably still be into In The Night Garden if we didn't help him along.

Catie picks up on a common interests theme in her post along with her own sons perceptions. It's a lovely insight that proves autistic people can want friends too. If you haven't read it already, go over to An Imperfect Mum for a look.

Links
Our blog - Our terribly truthful son
Our blog - To the boy who showed an interest in my son's special interest

External
An Imperfect Mum - Do autistic children have friends?


Tuesday, 26 April 2016

I hate playgroup

I hate playgroup. It's not always been the case, but three kids in and I'm now happy to admit it. Because the thing is.. the playgroup is only as good as the people who go there.

So, what am I saying... I don't like the people at the playgroup at the moment?  Maybe? However,  I have identified that I feel like this almost exclusively at this time of year.

We live in a busy area, there are a lot of playgroups but whether they are great or not they always fill up really quickly.  This means that you get different people at the playgroups every week.  Sometimes your friends will get in and sometimes there will be people you don't know... and sometimes people you'd rather not go to a play group with.  The people who sit or stand talking, ignoring their kids.

I get it. It's as much a break for mum as it is for the child but it's not about abandoning your terrible two, three or four year old to the vortex of the  room and ignoring them at every opportunity.

I've seen kids crying with no mum coming to the rescue until a volunteer or another caring parent has basically sorted it out.  I've seen kids being pushed away by their mums  or childminders whilst they are on the phone or chatting. But the worst are the one's who let their kids do anything they want.

This might be why it happens worst at this time of year.  One half of the kids in the playgroup are going to school next year and their mum has just had the confirmation through that their child is going to the cool school down the road. These kids are bigger and maybe mum and them have this strange artificial sense of independence and superiority that means they are let loose to the detriment of the other kids and parents present.

One little girl needed help at the craft table... her carer or mother was no where to be seen.  After helping Jane I offered her some help with the glue.  She was giving it a good go but making a terrible mess that was accidentally destroying several other kids makes. And I helped clear up the very sticky mess. The mess wasn't the only thing that was sticky... this kid then stuck to me.

I'm happy to help out but I tend to use playgroups as another play opportunity with my kid.  Yes, I can grab a cuppa, catch up, but I'm also playing shops, helping Jane dress up or reading a book.  After a while I was doing this with Jane and this other little girl. And then it got worse.  The little girl started to demand all my attention.  Maybe that's why mummy needed to disappear (seriously where was she) whilst the little girl now decided that I wasn't allowed to play with my own daughter to the point of trying to remove Jane's dressing up clothes.   Quite rightly, Jane went nuts. "She's not being very nice of me," she cried.  

Jane  and I are fairly used to standing up for ourselves. Jane has two older autistic brothers at home who are both full on during their play and fairly selfish with toys. I'm used to a fair amount of attention.  Perhaps I should have stood up for Jane earlier?  I'm happy to help other kids but it's really not my place to be their mum when their own parental interest has waned.

I'd just about calmed Jane down for snack time and sat her next to a little boy whose mother was stood behind him chatting to another mum. It was a busy so I grabbed my tea and stood watching around the other side of the table.  Jane was calmly eating her biscuit when the little boy turned and pushed her so hard it tipped her off her chair. It was enough for several mums to go 'ooooh' when she fell but little boy's mum barely blinked.

I came round the table to pick up Jane who was actually crying at this ladies feet and got there only just before another mum who had been watching and askes if she was ok (Thank you). I grabbed Jane's biscuit and took her to the side to calm down.  The little boys mum.... ruffled his hair and patted him on the head without breaking eye contact with her friend.

What did I miss?

Has there been a new study that says if your kid is a bully in playgroups they grow up to be highly successful? That saying to your kid, "pushing people isn't very nice" could damage their potential?

I actually knew this mum from when I used to go to playgroups with my autistic kids (that didn't happen for long).  I couldn't help wondering if she was in some way punishing my little girl for bringing my boys along previously?  Surely not?

We didn't stay for much longer.. and as I left I was disappointed.  Everyone has good and bad days, mums and kids included. Being a mum is hard and I see a lot of people moaning about how hard it can be.  I know it's hard being a mum, but being a kid is harder.  Yes they need help with clearing up, learning new skills and sharing, but they also need help with learning what's right from wrong and good behaviour.  It wouldn't have been ok for Jane to push someone, so why is it ok for someone to push Jane?

And it's not my job to tell other mum's how to do their job.. but if the playgroup is teaching Jane that snatching is ok and pushing is ok.. then it's not ok for us.  She gets pushed enough at home by kids who can't know better.  We can happily play somewhere else. Woe betide the little boy when the girls start getting bigger, he might learn his lesson the hard way. I wonder if his mum will have any interest by then?  



Links
Our blog - Should I tell off another mum?
Our blog - Talking to other mums - dinosaur and kitten chat

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Little Hearts, Big Love

Rhyming with Wine

#ToddlerApprovedTuesday

Cuddle Fairy

Monday, 25 April 2016

Help kids getting dressed and deciding what to wear?

Deciding what to wear is hard enough when you are well practiced but can be really difficult for some kids.  Out autistic boys get dressed in what we put them in or what is laid out for them. Initially we helped our eldest, Anthony get himself dressed using a sequencing strip and this was very successful.  Although I still have to lay out his school uniform on school days, he can now choose clothes for himself at the weekend but he still sometimes is sent back upstairs because something isn't right.  It's colder than he thinks so he needs trousers not shorts, a top looks very strange with the trousers etc.  Our younger daughter Jane was doing a fun craft activity and I thought it looked like it could be a great way to help the kids decide what to wear. 

Jane was having fun making a doll out of a wooden spoon and dressing it. Either the adult, or the adult and child can dress the doll and then kiddie can copy it to get dressed.  School day? Dress it in a school uniform. Sunny?  Try shorts and t-shirt.  You may have fun making the clothes too, Jane thought crayons would be best.  However, if like our autistic kids can be sometimes, your child needs things to be exact, then you can do this.  We have a generic smiley face, but you could add your child's face to the spoon or use photos of their real clothes.

What you will need:
  • A wooden or other large spoon
  • A face /hair
  • Various cut out clothes
  • Masking tape
  • Glue stick
Simply stick the face on the back of the spoon and then use masking tape to add the clothes. By using the masking tape you'll be able to re use the clothes.  After the spoon person is dressed simply stand them up in a cup.

This fun activity can be used just for play, for learning about what clothes go together, what to wear given the weather today or even just as a labelling activity for kids learning to name their different clothing items.   Let me know what you do.

spoon doll pieces

dress up doll clothes on

Links
Our blog - Mess free picture meal play
Our blog - Our mummification mishaps - autism and dressing up in school

As listed on:


#ToddlerApprovedTuesday

Monkey and Mouse

Diary of an imperfect mum

You Baby Me Mummy

Friday, 22 April 2016

Favourite Friday: Turning fears into fancies

Like many people with autism, Anthony has long been scared of fireworks. It's common for many kids including our neuro-typical daughter to be scared of the loud blasts and bangs that accompany the beautiful lights on the night sky. Some children with autism are sensitive to sounds, you may see them covering their ears when you vacuum or near busy roads. But our house is loud all the time and both our boys are very visually stimulated so we thought fireworks might be something they could enjoy.

Anthony is one of the 75% of people with autism who is verbal. This means that, unlike his brother, he can try to say when something is upsetting him. Enabling him to describe how he is feeling is part of the our job as autism parents and we do our best to calm Anthony's anxieties and help him understand and communicate how he is feeling. Anthony has in the past been able to tell us that it's the sudden bangs, effectively the unpredictability of the loud noises, that scared him.

It's been a busy few weeks for the family and Anthony in particular has discovered new things about himself.

Firstly, he has discovered he has autism and ADHD.   Secondly, he has discovered that he doesn't fear fireworks anymore, he absolutely loves them!

How did that happen?  Read more of last week's favourite post here

Each Friday Rainbowsaretoobeautiful publishes last week's most post popular, just in case you missed it.

Thursday, 21 April 2016

Should I tell off another mum?

So, Anthony's a bit of a stickler for rules. Rules are great if you have autism; they set boundaries, they prepare you for what's expected, in a funny sort of way they make you feel safe.  This means it's easy to feel nervous, upset or unsafe when the rules are broken by other people.  One of the things said a lot in our home is "Who's job is it to say what happens when a rule in broken?"  because Anthony will storm around ordering siblings, parents, grandparents and visitors to 'go to their room' or 'sit on the stairs'.

But what's really confusing is when other adults ignore the rules for their kids.

Our school has a rule that you can't ride your scooter inside the school grounds.  Drop-off and pick-up time is chaos and there have been several scooter related injuries both in and outside school grounds that mean the school set a rule.... but it's effectively down for parents to enforce.

Every day we only just make it to school in time by respectively running and scooting from David's special school to Anthony's mainstream school which is a 10 minutes walk down the road and through a cemetery. Despite nearly being late, Anthony understands the 'no scooting' rule and every morning dismounts his scooter at the gate and either gets dragged along on it by me if he is tired or walks while I pull it to his class (no small feat when I've been running with a buggy carrying his younger sister).  At least once a week we see another child scooting through the playground and Anthony comments how they will need to be told off.  But the other day, it was one of his class mates.

"Jessica's riding her scooter!" he gasped and then yelled it two or three times more as I gathered my response.

I glanced over my shoulder and there, indeed was Jessica, accelerating across the playground with her mum behind her.

"Mum, you need to tell her off."

"Anthony, whose job is it to tell Jessica if she needs to be doing something different?"

Now don't get me wrong, Anthony had this down. He knew it was Jessica's mum, what was upsetting him was that Jessica's mum wasn't doing anything to stop her.  Jessica's mum was ignoring the rule completely. And any moment now, Anthony was going to tell her that.

"Anthony, do you think you should tell Jessica's mum what she should be doing?"

"Mum, who is older, you or Jessica's mum?  Because if you are older you can tell her off."

Thank goodness we had got to the classroom door and everyone had dismounted.

Because the truth is that I'm not going to tell off Jessica's mum! Because that's not my job. It's our own jobs as adults to set and adhere to rules and that's something Anthony is going to have to discover for himself as he gets older. Nevermind that as the family with the additional needs kids I don't want there to be any more distance between us and the other families than what's there already. The proper route of course is complaining to the school office and getting them to 'remind' ignorant parents.  But I think I'll keep that to myself for the moment along with the fact that Anthony hasn't noticed the 'no scooters' symbol in the cemetery - we'd be late for school everyday if he enforced that one!

Links
Our blog - Anthony's always to blame, troubles on the school run
Our blog - Our terribly truthful child

autistic boys scooter in the cemetery

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Mummuddlingthrough



Keep Calm and Carry On Linking Sunday

Wednesday, 20 April 2016

#WonderfulWednesday: My son has the type of autism that is not a hidden disability

This week's wonderful Wednesday share is from Faith Mummy and is called, "My son has the type of autism that is not a hidden disability."

Faith Mummy honestly describes an incident when her son bolts from a supermarket and is 'caught' by a passer by:

“He has autism and he is heading right for the car park lift. Thanks for your support.”
“I knew right away he had autism. You can tell.”

So apart from the writing and honesty, why do I think this is a wonderful post?

Firstly, it's great that 'autism' is being recognised by just a someone... and that someone lent a hand. They didn't stand back, they didn't cower in case their kids caught 'something', they recognised someone who would use assistance and gave it. Plus, I like raising autism awareness so I'm absolutely fine when someone asks if my kids have autism.  It's part of them, why wouldn't I be?

Secondly, Faith Mummy highlights the ever continuing battle of recognising that every person with autism being different. Just like everyone else. They aren't all Rainman... or Joe from The A Word. They aren't even all somewhere in between the two.  It's a huge scale and each person with autism has their own (sometimes similar) difficulties and treasures.

Our son Anthony, could easily fall into the 'hidden' category.  Our son David, would not. And that's OK, they still both get the support they need from us and are lovely unconditionally.  Every case that highlights how autism is different also creates awareness and that's wonderful.  If you haven't read Faith Mummy's post yet.. here it is.

Every #WonderfulWednesday I share a post that I think is wonderful from my last week online. See them all here.

Links
Our blog - Steve Silberman comments on our 'autisms'
Our blog - #WonderfulWednesday: The A Word
Our blog - Anthony's always to blame
Our blog - David's glorious gloves
Our blog - #WonderfulWednesdays

External links
Faith Mummy - My son has the kind of autism that is not a hidden disability

Wonderful Wednesday about autism




Tuesday, 19 April 2016

Mess free picture meal play

Play food is great fun and a way of repeating an everyday task as a play activity. Our play and cut fruit are constantly in use with our little girl but the boys aren't really interested unless they are 'doing' something.  As the boys have autism they are the ones who need a little extra encouragement learning to use their bodies.

This easy mess free activity is great for developing fine motor skills and thinking about food without getting messy if your kids are sensory adverse. You will need:
  • Paper or plastic plate (some kids might find it difficult to switch the activity so be careful if you use the plastic plates you have for dinner as they might expect to be play the game again too)
  • Food pictures for sticking or cutting up from magazines, photos or print-outs to stick and pens
  • Glue stick 
If your kiddie is at the point of using scissors then you can try cutting food out of either magazines or print outs together. Easigrip scissors can help some kids develop a scissor action and won't stay shut so can be useful for those with emerging motor skills. Either way kids will need to use both hands in coordination for either cutting or glueing as they will need to hold the paper or plate still and this helps bilateral motor skills develop.
Easigrip scissors help with motor skills

If you place the cut out food items around the table you will encourage your child to stretch across their midline too which can be another area of difficulty for some kids with emerging motor skills.

Once you've got what you need get sticking and create dinner or lunch. We went for fish and chips (which were fired potato slices) with some bread rolls which was his was related to the 'bread & fishes' story we heard at the church playgroup.  Jane said she was sticking 'toetatoes'. It's been requested that we also add some 'gween peas'.  So we'll be adding some felt tip pen dots I think.  'Dotting' is one of the first ways kids tend to make marks and some peas is a great way to get started.

What will you make?






Links

As listed on:


Little Hearts, Big Love

#ToddlerApprovedTuesday

Monkey and Mouse


Diary of an imperfect mum

You Baby Me Mummy
LarabeeUK

Monday, 18 April 2016

The slippery slope of medicating my kids

autism and medication

My boys are not in any physical pain. They are not bleeding, their organs aren't failing, they have no broken bones. They very rarely get colds or flu. But this afternoon, I'm visiting another medical professional seeking more drugs for one of my sons.

Friday, 15 April 2016

Favourite Friday: Will he live on his own

This week's Favourite Friday was last week's wonderful Wednesday share from Carrie Cariello and is called 'Will he live on his own?'

It's an honest and beautifully written post about a question that many parents of autistic kids probably think about. Our eldest son, Anthony, can tell you the names of all the villains in every single episode of every type of power ranger there is, but at nearly eight years old he can't brush his teeth unless there is toothpaste already on the brush for him. Read the rest here

Every Friday Rainbowsaretoobeautiful publishes it's most popular post from the previous week, just in case you missed it.

Thursday, 14 April 2016

A little bit of obsessions in action

F1 autism obsession

"Did you see the Bahrain Grand Prix?"

Seems like a simple enough question.  And if you and your friends like this kind of thing then it's probably not unusual.  But what if the conversation was:

Wednesday, 13 April 2016

#WonderfulWednesday: Sights and Sounds video by the NAS

My wonderful Wednesday share this week is a video I saw on Facebook from Upworthy, that originally came from the National Autistic Society. Unlike most of my shares I'm not sharing it because it made me feel particularly happy. I think the video is wonderful because I wonder on a daily basis what life must feel like for my boys and this video attempts to show me that.

Yesterday I wrote about what I thought it might be like having Dyspraxia, and how mentally tiring it must be to be constantly fighting to get your body to do what you want it to. I thought it might be a bit like trying to write with the wrong hand.

A few months ago I wrote about going for a walk on a blustery bright day and how I found it difficult to see anyone properly and couldn't hear when anyone was shouting out to me.  I thought it might be a bit like that on a regular day for my boys.  Realising the kind of things Anthony coped with when going to a swimming gala nearly brought me to tears.

The more I understand what's it's like for my boys the more I can simply be there for them. The more others can imagine what it might feel like, the less stigma there will be attached to my boys actions and conditions.  And that's wonderful.

It's a simple video attempting to show what's like for an autistic boy wondering through a Shopping Mall.  Go check it out and let me know what you think.

Links
Our blog - Gale winds and a low sun - is this what it's like for my autistic sons?
Our blog - Motor planning skills reminder
Our blog - Never prouder of last place - Anthony's swimming gala

External Links
Upworthy
National Autistic Society

autism in the mall

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Brilliant blog posts on HonestMum.com

Tuesday, 12 April 2016

Motor planning skills reminder

Motor planning skills is one of things I never really thought about until I had kids diagnosed with autism. At first I didn't realise our eldest son's motor skills were anything different to other kids, then when I noticed, I thought it had something to do with his autism. Of course I discovered that his difficulties with motor planning skills is a comorbid condition than can have a diagnosis in itself, referred to as Dyspraxia.

Anthony had difficulty with a range of fine motor skills which are small movements like:
  • picking up a pencil 
  • doing up buttons or zips
And difficulty with gross motor skills which are larger movements like:
  • running, skipping
  • jumping with his feet together
  • using alternate feet to go down stairs.  

Anthony found all these things difficult and his pencil use is still terrible.

It was only when I had other kids that I spotted how they intuitively knew how to move their body to do things in a way that Anthony never really did, or possible still does.

I was pulling Anthony's little sister Jane along on Anthony's scooter this morning as we headed back to our home from school. I carefully pulled her along and she casually tapped her left foot along the floor, mimicking her older brother's movements.  I remember how we had to physically place Anthony's feet where they needed to go on his scooter when we first got it, and when had to hold and move his feet for him until he understood what his body needed to do to get the scooter moving.

Jane of course was oblivious to the effort Anthony had to put in.  She seamlessly switched feet and began to tap her right foot on the floor instead.  I said something like, "You might get confused my switching feet." as I have to really think about it when I switch feet on a scooter or skateboard.  In fact, I'm pretty sure I can only skateboard with my left foot forward on the board.  I have tried it the other way but my body doesn't seem to know what's doing and I had to think about what I was doing with the individual parts of my body. 

A bit like when I drive an automatic car in the USA. I know how to drive but it takes a while to think about the gear console being on the other side and I have to think about what I'm doing with my left foot because there isn't a clutch. Goodness knows the mess I make if I try to write with my left hand despite knowing the shapes of the letters etc. And then I thought.. maybe that's the feeling Anthony had all the time.  It must have been so mentally tiring for him every time he had to do something.  At times it had felt frustrating when he was holding up the family because putting on a pair of socks took 10 minutes.  But it must have been far more frustrating for him.

Of course, Jane was just fine and I don't think it will be too long before she is on a smaller scooter by herself. As she switched feet again I wondered if in fact she was comfortable with both, maybe she'll turn out to be ambidextrous like my brother? 

Links
Our blog - Mess free motor skills fun activity
Our blog - Disastrous at decision making - comorbid conditions


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You Baby Me Mummy

Monday, 11 April 2016

Turning fears into fancies with autism



Like many people with autism, Anthony has long been scared of fireworks. It's common for many kids including our neuro-typical daughter to be scared of the loud blasts and bangs that accompany the beautiful lights on the night sky. Some children with autism are sensitive to sounds, you may see them covering their ears when you vacuum or near busy roads. But our house is loud all the time and both our boys are very visually stimulated so we thought fireworks might be something they could enjoy.

Anthony is one of the 75% of people with autism who is verbal. This means that, unlike his brother, he can try to say when something is upsetting him. Enabling him to describe how he is feeling is part of the our job as autism parents and we do our best to calm Anthony's anxieties and help him understand and communicate how he is feeling. Anthony has in the past been able to tell us that it's the sudden bangs, effectively the unpredictability of the loud noises of fireworks, that scares him.

It's been a busy few weeks for the family and Anthony in particular has discovered new things about himself.

Firstly, he has discovered he has autism and ADHD. We wrote a social story for Anthony that explained why he found some things easy, some things difficult and that he and we can help him when he feels he is finding something hard or confusing.

Secondly, he has discovered that he doesn't fear fireworks anymore, he absolutely loves them!

How did that happen?

Well, sort of because his first discovery. Understanding that he has autism and ADHD has empowered Anthony in a sort if way. He has started to understand that there are reasons for the way he feels and that he and we can help him when he feels like this.

We went one of the Disney theme parks over the holidays with a large family contingent. Trust me, it is no small feat taking five kids all under 8, with the oldest three having multiples of autism, ADHD and hyper-mobility amongst them. That's why we went with six adults!  All of those going would love to see the end of day light parade, show and fireworks by the Disney Castle. As autism mummy I think, bright lights, loud noises, crowded spaces, losing kids in the dark.... to name but a few.  But sometimes you just have a feeling that actually this could work and you prepare what you can and then go for it.

The biggest preparation was with Anthony. With his new found, "I have autism and ADHD" knowledge  we were able to help Anthony focus on a few things prior to the fireworks. First was how he could help himself, by not focusing on his fear. Once Anthony had told us about being scared a few times we then asked him to try and not talk about it after that because talking about it made him feel more anxious, like dwelling on a problem. He would still start to mention it many times of course and then stop himself.  Secondly, we asked him to trust us that just as his social story said, we would help him if he found it difficult and we could leave at any time if he really wanted to.

Of course, when the lights went low and the music started, Anthony was still extremely nervous, but after a few bangs with a loving adult by his side he was mesmerised. Disney do a fantastic light and firework display. They incorporate a story to music and use characters that the children know and love. Anthony was totally enthralled. He was jumping around and squealing with excitement like Tigger himself. His knowledge and trust resulted in a moment of anxiety becoming and experience of joy, for us all.

An new version of this post as a photo story has been published with Tinboxtravller, award winning travel bog on the on TravelTimehop series.

Links
Our blog - It's time to tell him about his autism
Our blog - Preparing for fireworks
Our blog - My Joy of his acceptance - What Anthony thinks about having autism
Our blog - Issues when Anthony's always aloud

Friday, 8 April 2016

Favourite Friday (again): It's time to tell him

Last week's favourite post is still this one, it's had thousands of hits.  For us it answered the question many parents with autistic children have... when is it time to tell them about their themselves?

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. 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 .

Wednesday, 6 April 2016

#WonderfulWednesday: Will he live on his own?

This week's wonderful Wednesday share is from Carrie Cariello and is called 'Will he live on his own?'

It's an honest and beautifully written post about a question that many parents of autistic kids probably think about. Our eldest son, Anthony, can tell you the names of all the villains in every single episode of every type of power ranger there is, but at nearly eight years old he can't brush his teeth unless there is toothpaste already on the brush for him. And our middle child, David, can play different games simultaneously on two iPads, but he doesn't talk. I'm constantly weighing up academics and life skills and quickly convincing myself that the later is going to be of greater focus as they grow up.

Every parent wonders or worries about their kids future.  And parents of autistic kids are just the same I guess. It's maybe just different to be worrying about such things when my kids are still in primary school.  Perhaps it's because some things, like when I discussed my fear that our son would have to go to a residential setting miles away in a written plea to our Health Minister, could happen much earlier than just when the kids go off on their own. 

Either way, the concerns are there, for their future and mine. And this is picked up on wonderfully by Carrie. If you have the chance, go and visit her post.

Links
Our blog - Rocky Reality: Autism and imagination
Our blog - David's iPad, an alternative to parenting?
Our blog - Dear Health Minister, I don't want to lose my son

External
Carrie Cariello - Will he live on his own?


Mummuddlingthrough

Friday, 1 April 2016

Favourite Friday: Its time to tell him

Last week's favourite post had thousands of hits.  For us it answered the question many parents with autistic children have... when is it time to tell them about their themselves?

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. 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 .

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