All posts tagged discrimination

1 GIANT LEAP featuring Robbie Williams and Maxi Jazz, my culture

Published March 31, 2014 by mandzmagee

Daily Prompt: I Walk the Line

When I was working as a Youth Worker in Community Learning and Development for Dumfries and Galloway Council I had to give a presentation to both young people and other service providers to show what had inspired me into my post and what my beliefs were for healthy communities to work together without discrimination.

Growing up myself I faced a lot of issues and wasn’t able to find the support that I craved from the right people. When I found the support from the most unlikely place ever my goal for my career was to make sure that no young person ever thought that they were not “The kid who wouldn’t amount to much” and that by not listening to the abuse and discrimination they could be anything they wanted to be as there are other sources of support to empower them too. Yes … They could be “The one who landed the Rock Stars job”.

I detest discrimination, each off my children have faced it because of their different health issues. Never to be one for being backwards at coming forwards telling anyone of any age, status, background or social status … I advise them of their faults and direct them to “Never think that they’re all that special as not even Google has all the right answers” and that their air that they’re breathing costs exactly the same as everyone else’s.

Respect is an amazing thing when you’ve earned it. it’s the biggest punchline ever when people think that the world owes them it!!

#AutismAwareness – A Very Inspiring Find

Published November 8, 2013 by mandzmagee

Having a scroll down my Facebook friend updates I found myself absolutely inspired by a post that a fantastic UK based Autism Awareness group shared.  Personally I think the author is brilliant in wording her Autism life experience into a comparison that anyone would be able to understand wholeheartedly! I simply had to share with you’s all!! If you’re on Facebook like the group … Their posts are always inspiring!!  Links given at the bottom of the post.

The post went as follows …

Before You Complain

Before you complain about your child waking up too early….
Imagine if your child didn’t sleep at all because their brain and body couldn’t connect correctly…or if they woke up for 3 hours in the middle of the night just because

Before you complain that your child is ignoring you or not listening…
Imagine if your child didn’t acknowledge your presence, didn’t even realize you were there, didn’t respond to their own name or even a loud BANG

Before you complain that your child constantly wants you to play and won’t play by themselves…
Imagine if your child NEVER wanted to play with you or freaked out if you attempted to play with them

Before you complain that your child won’t stop talking….
Imagine if your child couldn’t talk or if your 3+ year old couldn’t even call you mama

Before you complain that your child’s insurance has a deductible or high copay…
Imagine if your child’s insurance had a high deductible and high copays…AND doesn’t even cover what your child needs, even after paying the deductibles and copays

Before you complain about your child throwing a tantrum because they can’t get their way….
Imagine if that tantrum was so extreme that the child was screaming(like they were being tortured) for hours, punching the walls, hitting themselves or you, banging their head on the floor, etc….and even if you give them what they wanted, they are so deep in that meltdown, that it doesn’t help. Or worse, if there’s no apparent reason for the meltdown.

Before you complain that your child had a potty accident….
Imagine if your 10+ year old was still in diapers (that you have to change) because their body doesn’t work right or their body is so undersensitive that they can’t feel when they have to go.

Before you complain that the schools don’t give your child all they need….
Imagine if your child needed special schooling and 20+ hours of therapy per week and wasn’t able to get any of it

Before you complain that your child won’t eat their peas…
Imagine if there were only 4 specific foods that your child would eat(not necessarily because they’re picky) and nothing else.

Before you complain that your child is whining….
Imagine if you couldn’t understand what they were whining about.

Before you complain that your child is too emotional….
Imagine if your child didn’t show any emotion…not even happiness

Before you complain that your child is always catching colds….
Imagine if your child has been to the ER so many times you can even guesstimate how many…you’re on a first name basis with the nurses…you have no clue how many times you’ve answered the exact same questions, sometimes to the same person

Before you complain that you don’t get enough alone time or enough breaks…..
Imagine all of the above….and even less alone time and less breaks because there are only a couple people that can handle your child or know enough about your child to make you feel confident leaving them

Before you complain….
Imagine what other some parents deal with on a daily basis…and never complain or ask for anything for themselves. All they do is pray that their child will get the help they need…and that others might be a little more sensitive.

Wrote by Nikki Hazzard Bumgardner

Links – Will open in another page (if it behaves!)

Autism Storms and Rainbows UK – http://www.facebook.com/pages/Autism-Storms-and-Rainbows/152663228214371

Direct link to the post – http://www.facebook.com/permalink.php?story_fbid=260237034123656&id=152663228214371

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!


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/

Toilet Training A Toddler With Development Delays

Published October 19, 2012 by mandzmagee

My guest post for http://www.wrigglyrascals.com

I’d already been through the whole toilet training process with Theo’s older brother Alisdair four years before hand, which had been an experience to say the least! This time round I was absolutely terrified of toilet training as I’d only had Theo diagnosed with Classic Childhood Autism when he was two and a half. I was still coming to terms with the ins and outs of the disorder and we were at least nine months to a year behind all the other toddlers at the Baby and Toddler Group that we went too.

Theo really wasn’t into social settings, to be honest neither was I with the Baby and Toddler Group. I was so jealous of all of these mothers bragging about how well their children were developing, the words they were beginning to put together but most of all how they’d managed to go several days without any accidents at night. The more I listened to them week after week the more the realisation was setting in with me that with Theo’s delayed progress he was yet again going to have his Autism completely standing out to other people and singling him out for people to be talking about him being so different.

To continue reading  http://www.wrigglyrascals.com/blog/2012/10/toilet-training-a-toddler-with-developmental-delays/

When you have read why don’t you take a couple of minutes to see if you can offer advice to help this Mum?  http://tiny.cc/wriggly149c

About Wriggly Rascals

Wriggly Rascals was set up by Shona Motherwell, a frustrated mum of twins Mhairi and Archie to get mums together to share pregnancy, baby and toddler advice via quick surveys to get the facts about what other mums do. Our mums pass on loads of great tips to mums who have asked for help. If you would like some advice, get in touch at http://www.wrigglyrascals.com

Theo’s Education #Autism

Published October 18, 2012 by mandzmagee

Before we moved to Washington Theo’s schooling was an absolute nightmare.  He was stuck in a mainstream school that had a Learning Centre that was for children with additional needs.  He had a one to one support worker called Mrs Herries, she was an angel with invisible wings!  He really took to her and stopped having anxiety attacks leaving me because he loved her company, she lifted such a massive weight off my shoulders it was unreal!  The head teacher of the Learning Centre however was her absolute opposite, I call her “The Battle Axe”, (I called her it to her face so I’m not being two faced!).  This woman wouldn’t accept help from Speech and Language Therapists, Occupational Therapists, Sleep Therapists, no one and nothing was up to her extended knowledge of children who were needing additional support.  Her idea of a school day was for Theo and his angel to go walks as soon as he showed signs of being stressed – normally this was spending five minutes in her company!).

The Battle Axe told me nothing other than “Theo will never do this”, “Theo will never accomplish that”, negative, negative, negative! The best line she ever came out with was “Miss Magee is such an incompetent mother, it’s the lack of parenting skills that has stunted his development.”, I couldn’t speak to her at the time, I couldn’t trust myself not to bite her head off and stick it where the sun didn’t shine!

He was only there for two years, then Stuart and I decided that we were moving to Washington, it was killing him being away from his son for as long after being used to seeing him every day.  When we made our decision that we were going to move my eyes were opened up to see what a different educational life Theo was going to have.

After we’d found a house and got all the moving dates sorted out we had a meeting education for both Ali and Theo was next on the agenda.  Alisdair was going up into secondary school – massive step for him that was coming several months early with the difference in the education systems in Scotland and England.  Alisdair was a bit nervous about it – he knew he wasn’t up to the same levels of learning because he was basically missing a year out.  He coped with the move fantastically though, the support that they were giving him for his Dyslexia was amazing in comparison with Scotland!

Theo on the other hand was going to be starting a specialist school for children on the Autistic Spectrum.  I met with the Head Teacher and his Class before he started and I was absolutely amazed at the school.  The head was very proud to tell me that the school was one of the top five in the country, I completely understood her pride!  I went onto be introduced to the Speech and Language Therapist and Occupational Therapist who were based at the school.  I had to double check that I’d heard that right and it was true, they were infact based at the school!  We’d only received a letter from SALT at the beginning of the school year to say that Theo was on a waiting list for SALT in Dumfries as he wasn’t a priority.  To actually have this support on site, every day he was at school, absolutely amazed me!

Theo’s class was fantastic, there was him and seven other children in his class.  One teacher and three – yes three learning assistants!  Each one of them were amazing, not one of them questioned Theo’s Autism, they were all filling in his home to school diary with all the positive things that he’d achieved, what they were going to be trying to do with him next, I genuinely couldn’t believe there wasn’t a system put into place like this in Dumfries with the amount of ASD children there is there!

The activities that the school were involved with amazed me too, horse riding every week, swimming every other term, football coaching from the professional coaches and players at Sunderland Athletic Football Club, just to name a few!!

Over the past three years both Theo and the school has completely blew me away.  Nothing is ever negative, I never hear what he wont achieve, I never hear what he’ll never be able to do.  If there is something that is becoming an issue the school consults with me then we as a team put a strategy together for to try and help him.

Today I received his school review and it’s been very tear jerking to read!  He’s made phenomenal progress, when I sit and compare the difference between the two schools where there’s only just over 100 miles between them it astounds me the differences.  Even the differences in him, he is now a much more confident little boy, has learned self calming techniques so he’s able to participate so much in other things that before were just never possible!  He’s truly amazed me and does so every day!

#Autism – Guilt, Recognition and Acceptance!

Published October 7, 2012 by mandzmagee

I recently joined up to a UK based website about parenting which I am really enjoying being a member of, http://www.wrigglyrascals.com.  It’s mostly geared up to pregnant and new parents however I found myself wanting to join up to share my experiences, thoughts and advice with other parents and parents to be.  Don’t get me wrong, I’m not in the slightest claiming to be an expert at anything, some of the pages are very thought provoking and I’ve found I can share my experiences on the site to try and help other people.  I found a couple of active questions about children with developmental issues which inspired me to write about this.  Have a look at the site and if you feel you can contribute to it do so!!

Before Theo was diagnosed it was very very clear that something wasn’t right.  He was late at hitting all of his developmental stages that a “Normal” baby and toddler should be hitting.  As he was growing up he developed what other people seen as unnatural obsessions and when people were passing comments I started getting very concerned and went to the GP to raise both other peoples concerns and my own.

We got Theo’s diagnosis at the age of 2 and a half, we were very lucky to have got his diagnosis so quickly, I know many a family that have struggled for years to achieve a “label”.  The fact of the matter is however – without the “label” there’s no support and nothing for you to research to try and help your child!

I found myself being isolated because of Theo’s behaviour, family, friends and onlookers comments, facial expressions and body language made me want to hide him away from all these people who were judging both his behaviour and my parenting skills.

I questioned everything I’d done for my son, had I caused him to be like this?  Was there something I’d done/ate/said during his pregnancy that had impacted on this little being that I hadn’t realised at the time? The guilt I put myself through thinking that I’d caused this was unreal, then came his diagnosis and I invested all my (rather limited) spare time into researching what Autism was.

You have no idea how that little label “Classic Childhood Autism” gave such a sense of relief the more I researched it.  My first hurdle out of the way and conquered!  It wasn’t my fault, according to statistics I’d found autism effected 1/88 people – so why weren’t people more informed about it?  Why was there so many other parents and carers going through the same guilt process as I was?

I joined forum after forum online and spoke to so many other families that had been through similar and it was such a relief to know I wasn’t the only one to have gone through it.

I still found myself protecting both Theo, Ali and myself away from other peoples judgements.  I knew in my head that nothing had been caused by myself, I knew that Theo wasn’t badly behaved but I also knew that other people didn’t see what we were now aware of.  I also wasn’t as confident or out spoken at the time to correct other peoples judgement.  We went walks on paths that Theo wouldn’t come into contact with people who would look at him strangely, where they couldn’t sit and mumble to their friends about how spoilt he was to be throwing a tantrum like that to get his own way.  How he only self harmed to get his own way.

My turning point was a time (post diagnosis) where family and friends had took the boys and I to a local (supposedly) family orientated fast food chain – an alien situation to Theo because I didn’t risk him facing the criticism of others  – where naturally it was out of routine so he thought he’d voice his dislike and discomfort.  Theo was nonverbal so it wasn’t in words – by jeebus that boy could (and still can) scream!  After placing our order and requesting a drink for Theo asap to stop his screaming (sucking was a calming technique) the manageress came over and told us that if we couldn’t stop “The child wailing” we would have to leave the premises.  All of a sudden I found my voice and well she was given the whole “what gives you the right to discriminate against a child with a disability, couldn’t you have asked to help and got the drink we’d already requested to calm him with instead of trying to make us feel uncomfortable and unwelcome?  Within a week I had the company’s area manager in a meeting with me about discrimination towards disability and found myself insisting on discrimination training along with customer services with feedback from the facilitator so that I knew that it’d actually took place (which surprisingly I received!).

I’ve never looked back!

Being in the local Tesco’s getting things for tea and Theo having a melt down at the till (Theo was still self harming at this point), the older lady in the queue behind me snidely passed comments loudly to the lady that was with her drawing attention to everyone around us – again I couldn’t help myself “My dear you do realise that your discriminating against a child who is disabled?  He’s Autistic you see, he doesn’t have social skills or an understanding that this behaviour is frowned upon by people that are supposed to set an example to the younger generations that respect is a two way thing.  I would like to thank you for your comments given in a horrifying tone to a 5 year old also the animated faces that go along with that disgust which will probably horrify him for days to come.  He may have disrupted your perfect little life for a couple of minutes in the supermarket however you’ve disrupted his daily life through your actions probably for the next week or so.  Thanks again!”.  Applaud was given by the onlookers and they all passed judgement towards the cantankerous busybody that didn’t know what to say in reply.

Now a days however I have to say – I’m a lot more reserved.  When I see people looking at Theo in disgust or talking to someone about what they’re witnessing, I simply point out how he’s got a hidden disability and how they should educated themselves about Autism.  “Just Google autism and you’ll see” is a favourite line.

I no longer feel isolated, I no longer shy Theo away from situations, I strongly believe that knowledge is power and I use my power to inform people and spread Autism Awareness (without biting peoples heads off n spitting them back!).

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