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All posts for the month December, 2012

#ThisIsWhatAutismLooksLike

Published December 22, 2012 by mandzmagee

#ThisIsWhatAutismLooksLike

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Requested Advice – #Equality #Autism

Published December 22, 2012 by mandzmagee

The Situation –

My first piece of requested advice (yay!) has been from a respite carer based in America who has been caring for a 7 year old Autistic lad for four months.  Her problem is that while out and about the little boy has very openly and matter of factly pointed out the differences of other people, it hasn’t mattered on the situation, colour, ability, disability, walking aids, wheelchairs, you name it as soon as a difference is noted the little boy feels that he has to comment on it.  With it not being visible that the little boy himself has Autism the carer has faced verbal assaults, disgusted and judgemental comments and facial expressions, being judged and labelled because she “hasn’t brought up her son properly”.  The family have tried talking to the little boy about how he’s making others feel by doing it, he doesn’t understand or remember this and continues to do it.

Personally I’ve never come across this situation, well, the judgemental people towards my parenting and looks I have but it’s always stemmed from public meltdowns or overly loud screaming etc. it’s never been because of comments about others.  So any advice that someone may be able to offer would be greatly received!!

My Suggestion – 

The way that I would gear Theo up to acceptance of others, if he wasn’t obsessed with the program already, would be to let him watch “Something Special”.  The program is shown on a BBC channel called Cbeebies, which is aimed at children with development delays.  They include the use of Makaton signing (for visual learners), show clips of children with various disabilities and difficulties, cover situations that can seem terrifying to children like the doctors, dentists, hairdressers etc.  Lots of the program is directed to children through song which helps to keep their interest too.  I hope that you’re able to view the video but if you’re not able too try searching http://www.youtube.com to see if there is any that are viewable out of the UK (Damned licensing laws!).  If you are finding these clips available to view there are loads of them on there, plenty of viewing if the little boy will tolerate it!!

Failing that perhaps your SALT could suggest visual books that would be appropriate?

I genuinely believe that the more common and normal it is that children with or without ASD see people with differences the more that differences are accepted!  I hope this helps and I hope that other people come forwards with their suggestions!

In Celebration of #AutismParents and #AutismCarers

Published December 22, 2012 by mandzmagee

A little something I found via a group on Facebook I simply had to share!

http://www.facebook.com/pages/Autism-Spectrum-Disorder-through-my-eyes/159306720822434

In Honor Of Autism Parents ♥

Congratulations! You’ve been awarded a new title. You’re super qualified. I know, you’re just a parent. You’re not an SLP, an OT, a PT, or an MD, a Psych or a BCBA.

You’re the person who got up at 4 am because your child only needed 3 hours of sleep last night.

You smiled as you watched him play out his favorite movie script, word for word.

You felt despair as you did everything in your power to convince him to put down his Game Boy and get ready for school.

You revelled in his endless delight with the soap bubbles when he washed his face.

You thought you were going to tear out your hair as you reminded him 40 times to put on his shirt.

You happily made his regular breakfast and cut his waffles into perfect squares with one dot of syrup in the middle, just the way he likes it.

You rejoiced when you watched him and his brother playing and laughing together.

You felt like you were on the verge of insanity when you listened yet again to the baseball statistics and answered the same question 23 times in a row.

You laughed heartily when he told you the weather was going to be poor and he was excited to see lots of Nimbostratus clouds and very few cirrus clouds.

You felt frustration and admiration when you asked him where his lunch bag was and he replied by naming 30 carnivorous dinosaurs, in size order and explained which period they lived in.

You felt pride when you watched him independently organize his school bag and gather his belongings.

You patiently waited 8 minutes for him to tie his shoelaces even though you grew increasingly anxious about the time passing by.

Your heart sang when he looked up at you as he was done, so proud of himself that he had done it alone.

Your eyes brimmed with tears when just before he stepped on the school bus, he turned back and without a word and without any eye contact, he gave you a big hug, letting you know in his own special way how much he loves and appreciates you for everything that you do.

This is the profile of an Absolutely Exceptional Parent. (AEP) So from now when you sign your name, make sure to include your new title…AEP.

– By Jene Aviram, AEP 🙂

This article is property of and copyright © 2003-2007 Jene Aviram of Natural Learning Concepts. http://www.nlconcepts.com/

Over the past year – #Family #Life

Published December 21, 2012 by mandzmagee

I’ve been sitting thinking back across the past year and well what a year it’s been!!

Stu and I have continued to grow and develop as a couple, yeah we’ve had our ups and downs but we’ve always been there for each other and no matter how difficult things have been we’ve supported each other through everything.  He’s an amazing person, I don’t know what I’d ever do without him.

Alisdair is forever turning into the young man, which is absolutely making me feel so old but I genuinely couldn’t be any more proud of him either.  He took his options for his GCSE’s at school and has stuck in doing really well at reaching target grades, well all except PE but lets be fair, it’s not everyone’s forte!  He spent the best part of 6 weeks in Europe with his Dad’s family living experiences I can only dream of and shared all of them with us when he got back, so proud of his photo’s and treasures that he bought along the way.  He goes with them every year for the summer holidays from school and it’s a long time to be away from him but hearing his stories and seeing how happy he is and sharing all the knowledge he’s gained it genuinely makes it such an amazing experience for us also!

Theo, well what can I say about him, every day he continues to strive, develop, surprise, frustrate, however most of all, make us smile!  His speech has absolutely came on, fair enough it may only be the people that’s around him every day that understands him but the progress has been amazing.  He’s grown in confidence in different situations, our holiday to Southerness for example, we were so worried that the change to his routine would have knocked him for six but he settled absolutely fine!  He didn’t care that he was away from home, he absolutely loved seeing his family that he hadn’t seen in years having remembered all of them and called them by name (in his “language”) without being prompted too!  He’s became more acceptant to playing with others and sharing his toys, which was a massive no-no this time last year!  On the whole it’s been a fantastic year for his progress and is ending the year as a happier and more confident, loving boy.

Alex, he too has developed massively, he’s genuinely such an intelligent child!  Having started year 1 at school his reading and imagination work has been truly unbelievable!  His confidence has been a little patchy but we’re working on that and have seen it grow and develop before our eyes too.  You’d swear that the little man has been here before!  He’s forever reminiscing about things we’ve all done together and relaying absolutely EVERY little detail about what’s happened, he’s like a walking diary for his life!  His Mammy is going to be having a baby in a few months and he’s never been more proud about going to have a little brother, it’s so lovely to see the pride in him telling our friends and family that he’s going to be a big brother.  It brings a tear to my eye every time!

Unfortunately it’s not all been high’s along the way this year, we lost a dear friend Jimmy within weeks of receiving a diagnosis of cancer in the stomach.  My Uncle Sandy to natural causes, I hadn’t seen him in such a long time but it absolutely hadn’t eased the pain of saying goodbye.  Then of course my Uncle Bill a couple of months later.  Uncle Bill went through a long ongoing struggle of alzheimer’s and other medical issues it was just a matter of time, again however, it doesn’t matter how long you’ve got to prepare yourself it doesn’t hurt any less.

Death may take away the person but nothing takes away the love and memories!

Over the years we’ve all lost friends, family and loved ones.  I absolutely believe we’ll see them again, and I know that this Christmas they’ll all be celebrating together and making sure that my Ickle Bubbs is having a fantastic time until we’re all together again.

I want to thank all of my family and friends for being there for me through out the year.  I love and appreciate you’s each in your own little ways!!

Stacey P – For seeming to always have a day off for bringing me back home from Dumfries!!  Coming down and keeping the friendship and bond with the family and me even with the miles between us!!

Kenty – Just for being you in general, you’re always the sensible one to talk too.  You make time for us when we need you and well our debates are always fantastic – we’ll always be able to agree to disagree after a few hours (and drinks!)  haha!!  You were my best friend down here before I even met ya!!

Lucy and John – You’ve also both been there for me since before I moved here, it’s ridiculous that we only live around the corner and never see each other.  I was so proud to have been invited to your wedding, the kids and you’s were so beautiful, it couldn’t have meant more to have been there to celebrate the day with you all!!

Tammy and Ecky – You’s are like my sisters and I love you’s unconditionally forever more.  You’s have dragged me out of the darkest of times and are always at the other end of the phone.  We just need to see each other more often!!

Jackson and Jasmine – Always my little miracles, growing up far too quickly and it doesn’t matter what you’s are going through I’m ALWAYS here for you’s!!  Just a phone call gets me there as soon as I can be!!

Kirsty –  I know we’re not in touch as much as we should be but with what we’ve been through in our lives together I simply can’t class you as anything less than a best friend.  Your friendship has always meant the world to me and again, we just need to see each other and keep in touch more often!  I have to admit tho, when we do get together it’s as if we’ve just picked up where we left it the last time!

Marion – I spent years wondering about you and I’m so pleased that you’ve been able to step back into our lives.  I don’t need to go into detail about how much it’s actually meant but you’ve helped so much you’d not believe!

If I’ve not mentioned you – well this is a big enough essay already haha!!  Those that I love and respect know it.

I wish you’s all a fantastic Christmas, a brilliant Hogmanay (you can take the girl outta Scotland, not Scotland out of the girl however haha!!) and all the best for a fantastic and magical 2013!!  Love and hugs to you all!!

Published December 19, 2012 by mandzmagee

Fantastic read!

Beyond Autism Awareness

It’s been almost a week since I last posted an entry. I had hoped to elevate others’ moods (and my own) this holiday season with the last entry “Autism Night Before Christmas” but as with the universe, the plans of mere mortals often go awry.

I did not want to post something here until today because I wanted to be sure of my own convictions in light of the horrific tragedy in Newtown, Connecticut last Friday.  Not that I was unsure of them per se; I guess the enormity of the whole situation was overwhelming and numbing.

The inevitable link made by the media over the gunman’s possible Asperger’s diagnosis and his nihilistic action did not make sense to me.  I am a parent of an Autistic child and work in a large residential setting for Developmentally Delayed adults, some with Autism, most with Mental Retardation and co-existing…

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Time for change Mr President? – #Connecticut School Massacre

Published December 14, 2012 by mandzmagee

March 1996 a little town called Dunblane in Scotland, 43 year old Thomas Hamilton entered into Dunblane Primary School armed with four hand guns and went on to massacre 16 children and their teacher. The gun law in Scotland was very quickly changed to make sure that private ownership of firearms was illegal and you needed to hold a license to be able to hold a gun.

Since that time there has been numerous public massacres in The United States of America where an abundant amount of innocent and vulnerable children and young people have either been injured or worse. Why does the government of that country not learn from experiences that have been forced upon others and help make the security of their Young People tighter and more reassuring for the parents. Far too many lives have been cut short, yet no changes have been made?

Today a suspected 20 year old gunman dressed in combat gear, went into a school in Connecticut 60 miles away from New York allegedly brandishing a 2.23 bush master riffle and two hand guns  going on to shoot dead twenty children and seven adults, it’s been reported that he took his life after the shootings however I’m not sure if his body is within that count.

I put to President Obama, isn’t it about time that you stood up to the minority of the country that wish to keep their freedom to hold a weapon?  Isn’t it time that a tougher procedure was being put into place for people to legally be able to own a weapon?  Isn’t it time that these victims that have had their lives cut short make a difference to change those laws for the future generations of children growing up in the United States of America are better protected by their own country people?

If the President see’s fit to send the countries military over to another country because of terrorism, why is he allowing his own country people to easily access arms, easily train how to use the weapons, easily gain access to ammunition for the weapons?  If you’re wanting to send your armed forces over to another country to try and stamp out people being trained to fight – shouldn’t you have the same idealism for your own country first?

President Obama – You were voted to stay as President, this is the time where you need to break the ease for these home grown killers and put blocks to help prevent so much more heart ache and loss for families, help prevent even more people leaving this earth far too soon!!

#MerryChristmas! – #Autism

Published December 13, 2012 by mandzmagee

Christmas and Autism means a whole mixed bag of emotions and feelings for our family that most others take for granted.

While most readers of this blog are busy spending December decorating their houses with beautiful decorations, we have to keep them minimal as this causes Theo to get anxious and highly strung. Where most people are taking their children to see Santa, we’re trying to teach Theo that this jolly happy person isn’t someone that is supposed to terrify him. While other people are taking their children to deliver presents and cards to friends and family we’re trying to get Theo to accept a change to his normal routine to be able to do this. While other people are taking their children to Christmas parties we’re trying to get him settled because he’s came into contact with too many people that have given him a sensory overload. While other people are putting Christmas presents below the tree and watching their children getting really excited to see them grow in piles and guessing what’s underneath the wrapping we’re locking the presents away because anything with wrapping paper around it makes Theo nervous because he doesn’t understand that it’s something that’s to be saved for a specific day and he can’t have it til then!

Theo absolutely loves Christmas Day however, Christmas day to us is like most other families, getting up at silly o’clock to see the kids opening their presents however that’s probably where the similarities end to most families,

Theo tears through his paper, carefully making sure that every scrap goes into the rubbish bag, neatly organising his new things into their specific piles, clothes in one pile, toys into a box, books in a colour specific order, money into the money jar and so on … If one of his brothers are making a mess he’ll stop opening his presents to make sure that their mess is tidied up then return to his when he’s satisfied.

At dinner time we’re at his Grandma Julies, with many other members of the family, which in hand makes him anxious and will melt down until he can start eating dinner, he’ll do things that he knows that he’s not allowed to do, keep pulling at either his Dad’s face or my face to get our attention focused onto him again. When dinner is served he’ll settle again and we’re sorted out, as long as there is nothing green on his plate! After dinner we’re back to the Mum and Dad attention seeking until the buffet is put out for when the rest of the family arrive. When he’s eating again he’s all happy, however Theo has no understanding of what feeling full or being hungry is, so he’d pretty much eat until he is sick.

When we return home he wants straight to bed, the day has been far too much for him and he just wants to be in a dark room with his familiar surroundings.

On Boxing Day he takes a bit more interest in his new things, he’ll take them into his room and self adapt to them being there, if there’s anything that he doesn’t like he will not accept it being in his room until he’s gotten used to the item. We spend the day encouraging him to interact with his new toys, sometimes he’ll cooperate! Mostly he wont however because they’re a change in his routine.

Autism makes our Christmas a very interesting time! I wouldn’t change it for the world tho!!

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