Sunday, 14 May 2023

Mental health and our autistic son

School boys

Earlier this year our eldest son really struggled with his mental health. He was missing lessons at school, struggling to cope outside the home and crying and worrying about his future a lot.  I read some recent research from Wysa that showed more than 8 in 10 teenagers are experiencing mental health worries, with 1 in 3 needing professional support. According to the research, half of young people can't access the support they need, with many feeling too ashamed or uncomfortable to talk to teachers or mental health teams at school. 

Tuesday, 25 April 2023

Trying to tell if my pre-verbal autistic son is in pain?

David is not like most other twelve year old boys. He's not got a favourite football team, he doesn't eat pizza and he's never played a game of Fortnite. But that's not surprising.  David is autistic and part of this means he's also never tied his own shoes, independently brushed his own teeth or used spoken words to tell us anything other than his basic wants.  One of my greatest concerns is that David will need to tell me something and he can't.

And one of the things I worry about him not being able to tell me... is if he is in pain. 

Tuesday, 11 April 2023

Helping my autistic kids feel a bit better when they are under the weather

Boy with temperature

Nobody likes feeling sick. Even minor ailments can get in the way of you going about your day. Add in not understanding why you are feeling unwell or how to make yourself better and it gets even more complicated.

Thursday, 23 March 2023

Ways to teach our autistic kids about the natural world


Teaching anything to my autistic kids can be a challenge.  Even when it's an area that they are interested in it can be challenging to support them to learn when they have such significant difficulties with communication.  David is in Yr 7 according to his age but in many ways he's operating like a child who is in Yr1.  He speaks in only a few words and needs to be shown most things to learnt them as he only understands some of what is said. 

Wednesday, 15 March 2023

Will increased free childcare, in the budget, discriminate against autistic, SEN kids like mine?

The government has announced an extension to free childcare but a quick calculation shows me that if my son, David, was in childcare now... he would only get ... three... just three hours childcare a week, a tenth of that of his fellow peers. And all because he has autism.   If free childcare is going to be offered it needs to be offered without discrimination. 

Monday, 13 March 2023

What is alternative provision?

Boy in woods

I have been working in various types of education for nearly 15 years.   I have three children (if you can call my teenager a child) in education - two of these with special educational needs attending specialist provisions. One of whom started in what's called mainstream (a regular government funded school) and has ended up in a special school as mainstream became unsuitable for him. 

Friday, 24 February 2023

Helping our autistic son sleep when he is feeling stressed

Anthony reading the AniMalcolm novel

Stress is a normal part of life, but when it becomes chronic, it can impact our physical and mental health.  It can impact our whole life and we've been struggling recently with it impacting sleep.  

Wednesday, 8 February 2023

The joy I get from fictional autistic characters

The Sound of Violet Movie Image Credit:'Morning Star Pictures'

Whereas some people wonder if Sherlock Holmes had Asperger's Syndrome, it's difficult to tell if this fictional character was designed on the autistic spectrum.  However, there are some absolutely brilliant novels which are, in my opinion, better for their autistic adult characters.  

Thursday, 26 January 2023

The clothing of an autistic teenager

Teenager wearing hoodie

Anthony is rapidly heading towards his 15th birthday.  He is well and truly into his teenage years and it shows.  He is changing all the time - he's now way taller than me, struggles with his new array of emotions and constantly wants to assert his independence (when before everything was help me).  But even as a relatively well functioning autistic teen, change is challenging.  And to top it all off the wardrobe of a teen changes too. 

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