Super Powers can be Invisible!

If you have read some of my other blog posts (Where are the Instructions?) you will know that my son has autism. Samuel was not diagnosed until he was six but the signs were always there.  I just didn’t know what the signs were!  At 37 I had no experience of children, had never even held a baby until my son arrived grumpy and red-faced (the result of a C-section).  My first thoughts were “OMG the baby has red hair”!

When I look back, I see how different he was even from the very beginning.  The difference stands out more when I compare his behaviour with his sister.  Today in the playground, Lydia was running around, interacting with her friends playing “tag” and “hot-dog” (not sure what that game is!)  Samuel was quite happy on his own and “stimming”.  His autism is the “high-functioning type”. But, even so behaviour can be challenging and it drains me as it is always changing.  You achieve one milestone only to be faced with another challenge.

A couple of years ago, when I was Continue reading

Dealing with Exclusion

How would you feel if your child was excluded from school? Most parents would feel devastated.  Unfortunately, it is an experience that many parents of autistic children go through and one that I am bitterly familiar with.

My son has been excluded from school twice.   My feelings on these occasions have always been complete devastation mixed with defeat, depression and failure. These are feelings that parents of autistic children face frequently.   I do not know if schools recognise the impact this sanction has on families who face challenges on a regular basis. Challenges that many parents don’t have to face.

I am not sure what schools are hoping to achieve when they use exclusion as a disciplinary measure for children with ASD. My son was only 6 Continue reading

Thoughts of Mother’s Day

There are certain scents that take you back and bring to the fore deep rooted memories. For me the scent of daffodils always reminds me of the Mother’s Day service in Church. My sister and I were both in Brownies and attending Church Parade each month was a regular occurrence. I remember best the Mother’s Day service, where all the children would be given small posies of bright springtime flowers to give to their Mum.  The scent of the daffodils would fill the church and their smell is always a reminder to me of that time.

Too often now, I see adverts for the perfect gifts for Mother’s Day; luxury goods to show how much you care.   Growing up in the 70’s my sister Continue reading

Pulling The Rug Out

There are some times when I feel everything is working out well and then something occurs that pulls the rug out from under me.

My son was a Beaver and is now a Cub and the transition has been rather bumpy. Samuel tends to get overwhelmed in certain situations.

Recently there was an incident at Cubs and I had to go and collect him. He was dreadfully upset. Samuel finds team games, turn-taking and losing very difficult. If he is “caught out” or if he perceives a slight then he can have a major meltdown.   I did offer to stay with him if he wanted to stay on but he was adamant that he wanted to go home. Then once at home he became terribly upset because he wanted to go back. I never try “to win” in these situations.   The best approach Continue reading

Leaving a Blueprint

There is no denying the fact that I am an older mum. I was 38 when I had Samuel and 42 when Lydia arrived.   As a result I am very conscious of the age difference between myself and my children. This normally manifests itself in how tired I feel! They say that you become more aware of the passing of time as you get older and I have found that to be very true. I have this urge to make the most of everything and to try new experiences. What has become increasingly important to me is in creating memories that will live on as my family folklore. I have a real desire to create those “do you remember” moments for my children for when I am long gone.

I have always been a fairly creative person and in the past few years my main activity has been crochet!  That is for grannies I hear you smirk! But I think crochet (and the same can be said for knitting) is making a comeback. I hope to teach my daughter to knit as my Mum taught me. But, I taught myself to crochet.

I find it very therapeutic.   When I crochet I can’t think of anything else – just the pattern and the shape that is evolving under my hands as I work. It is also so quick and easy to make up.  I have had far more success with crochet Continue reading

Legoland Lemming

Being a member of the NAS can have a lot of benefits. One of which are the trips they arrange for families with autistic children. On one occasion we were able to go to the London Science Museum. It was an early start but, the Museum were running their “Early Bird” session which meant for 2 hours in the morning the museum was open just to those families who were attending as part of a Special Needs group. Fantastic – it means no queuing!

At the beginning of December, we went to Legoland. Samuel has wanted to go for ages and we have never taken him because queuing would always be a problem. Lydia went there earlier in the summer as part of a school trip which did not go down well with Junior as you can imagine.   Anyway, the first Sunday in December was a day for families with special needs which was great.   No queuing!

I was very happy being in charge of the camera and taking videos as I hate rides of any sort. Therefore, I am not quite sure why I followed my family (like a little lemming) onto the Swing Boat.  I was most concerned Continue reading

The Importance Of Planning

Never underestimate the importance of planning. This is particularly important when planning any event involving a 5 year old, a “tweenie” and a child on the spectrum.   This is where you put all those skills from those long forgotten training courses at work into practice. You know the type of skills – the ones you think you will never use. Well think again!

Before each family outing I have a vision of how it is going to go. The type of vision that mirrors the perfect family outing that you see televised on the Christmas adverts. Everyone trooping back into the house with lovely smiley faces from a beautiful long walk, happy smiles, glowing faces! Experience has taught me not to mix fantasy with reality as then you won’t be disappointed!   Reality usually consists of winging, whining, shouting and the adults longing to go home after the first 10 minutes.

After one particular fractious outing (we were only going for lovely walk in a nature reserve in Norfolk), my sister and I have decided to carry out a thorough analysis of the proposed event and plan for every eventuality that can go wrong.  That way we can then be equipped in advance and have a ready solution to the problem in hand!

We have also found that planning for after the event is as equally important as planning for the event. I quite favour a nice dry Sauvignon Blanc perhaps a Chablis or if I’m feeling “flush” I may even treat myself to a Sancerre. My sister tends to favour a Chardonnay. But whatever takes your fancy the big decision is wine bottle v’s wine box . Quality v’s quantity ! In any case, find a nice quiet room, relax and start planning for the next day out!

Mum’s united (a bit like a football team but with more players!)