Me and my girl and boy, raising awareness and acceptance of autism

Archive for the ‘Autism’ Category

Bronze – Tues 9th Feb 2016

Today didn’t start fantastically well with D overwrought and refusing to say goodbye or wave (something she always does) at the top of the stairs as she headed to class.

She was over anxious because she was going to a Boccia tournament with school.  It was being held offsite and competing against five other schools – quite a lot for her to get worried about.

I didn’t know what Boccia was until D went along for her first game a couple of years ago, it’s this:

“Boccia is a disability sport that tests muscle control and accuracy. Players propel balls to land close to a target ball. Two sides compete as individuals, pairs or as a team of three over a set number of ends. Each side has six balls (red or blue) each end to try and score points. Points are accumulated over the course of a match to find a winner.

Sounds simple? It is to get started, but the tactics of the sport offer both tension and excitement as the game plays put.

A ball can be rolled, thrown or kicked. If a player is unable to throw or kick the ball, they can use a ramp. If players are unable to release the ball with their hands, they can use assistive devices – head/hand pointer.”

Sounds good, doesn’t it?  In the tournament I was able to go to a while back (generally parents aren’t invited but this was in a leisure centre near school), it did seem a nicely gentle game, apart from the competitive element and the fact that D would be sitting with strangers as the pairs waited to have their go.

And have a go she did.  In fact our girl practically sailed down the stairs this afternoon, beaming away and wearing this:

A bronze medal! It’s a really lovely heavy medal too, with fab detail on the back.

She does struggle with the competitive element and so it was fab to see that the team had been rewarded for what must have been a challenge for them all.

A great contrast to a not fantastic start today and, additionally, T seems to be turning a corner with this vicious bug that’s had him in its grasp for a few days. Hurrah! 

Thursday’s children are.. Tired 27th June 2013

I was reminded of the poem below when I was thinking of tonight’s blog title:

“Monday’s child is fair of face,
Tuesday’s child is full of grace,
Wednesday’s child is full of woe,
Thursday’s child has far to go,
Friday’s child is loving and giving,
Saturday’s child works hard for a living,
But the child who is born on the Sabbath Day
Is bonny and blithe and good and gay”

I realised having grown up with this poem that I didn’t know which day of the week I was born on….*googles*:

I was born on a Sunday (albeit 6 weeks early)
Hubbie was a Tuesday (over 2 weeks late)
T was born on a Monday (on his due date)
D was born on a Thursday (6 days early)

(I remember very well those last two!)

Do they apply to us? I’m not entirely convinced they do but I do know that:

This Thursday’s children are tired, very tired.

There have been tears of tiredness and frustration from T this evening, unusually for him as he does tend to bottle any emotions up and then go and bounce on the trampoline.

Also, unusually, he’s been very, very cuddly, which for T means standing very close and accepting cuddles.

Hopefully a good sleep will set him up for tomorrow and a busy weekend.

D’s also extremely tired. There was neither a body slam nor a bolt at home time, she was too exhausted to administer either.

I presume that the sports day activities and subsequent routine changes at school have taken it out of both of them. They tend to get extremely short-tempered with each other too.

Three weeks tomorrow until the end of term and it will be welcomed. Not from the routine changes viewpoint but just not having to dash out of the house at a certain time, taking things a bit slower and hopefully seeing my children laughing and comfortable in their own environment. They’ve both worked hard this school year, it’s deserved.

A wish for an easier day for my two tomorrow, at least it will be Friday.

I hope everyone’s had a good day, comments/RTs/shares as ever welcomed, thanks for reading Jx 😘


Creating a personalised tablet case and a discount code for readers – Product Review

There is one thing guaranteed to calm/entice/capture my children’s attention and that is me saying “would you like a few moments on the iPad/my phone”.

They are little whiz-kids on these, any app seems to be mastered incredibly quickly and they are learning so much through play – not least the importance of sharing/taking turns.

D has her little ipad mini, in its tough case and T will be getting his own for his birthday.

But the question arose about a case for T, I wanted something that would be individual to him and also provide protection to his (not inexpensive) gift.

The answer came in the form of a case from and I’ve created a case which I hope he’ll like.

(Please read to the end for a discount code to create your own case)

The case was created very quickly and easily using the ideal case app – free from the App Store.


So, how did I create a case?

Choose your device:


Choose the model:



Now we were ready!


In true “Blue Peter” style, I had prepared a case earlier, using the a background, image and text from the website so I imported that in:


The checkout process was easy and secure and I received a confirmation email.

The case was ordered on a Sunday and I received the case, well packaged inside a Jiffy bag on the Wednesday – a very good turnaround time.

And here’s how it looks:


I like the matt finish border and the charging point/volume control/headphone jack and one-off button all remain accessible.

I think he’ll be very pleased with his personalised case. are offering a 10% discount on cases created either on their website or the free app until the end of June.

Please add in the code getfab10 at checkout.

Thanks for reading and please send me a picture of the case if you do get one!

Disclaimer: we were sent a code to receive a case, my words and views are my own.

A Sports Day medal #Prose4T


This was D yesterday morning, my nervous but excited girl, on the way to her school sports day.

She’s at a special needs school due to her anxieties and autism, mainstream sports days just didn’t happen for her – unfamiliar/too many people, too much noise (from her perspective). We’d have the practice, the build-up, the change of clothes and then anxieties would overtake at the last moment.

Prose 4 T is being hosted by @EllieAllAtSea this week and I’m linking up with this:

A sports day medal:

Longed for, dreamt of, for days if not all year.
The absence of one would cause some tears.

Running fast, throwing far,
Trying her best.
She did it! She came second, she was (nearly) faster than the rest.

Angry bird tshirt worked,
She almost flew down that track,
She was aiming for me, cheering and standing at the line,
Nearly knocked me onto my back!

Tears turned to joy now, smiles and hurrays.
The event is over, a good way to spend a day.

Medal placed under pillow now,
Held close at night,
She did her best, my angry bird D,
A good ending was in sight.


A medal! Weds 26th June 2013

There is a happy 9-year old girl settling tonight, she’s added a medal to her little collection.

Her brother, T, is so sporty both in his thinking and how he plays, that he has quite a collection of medals and trophies. D doesn’t say, but with her fascination for shiny and sparkling things, I’m sure there is a bit of coveting that goes on.

At last year’s sports day, D won a silver and a bronze so she definitely had an expectation, even though – of course – it’s the taking part that counts,

This morning’s individual activities went really well, as long as she could see me, she participated and enjoyed herself. I did have a prolonged insight into WW2 from a fellow classmate who is fascinated by anything connected with that and wanted to turn javelins/golf clubs and hockey sticks into weapons *gulp*.

Here’s some pictures from this morning:

A nervous but excited D going into school:


Scoring a goal (T would have been proud):


Hockey dribbling:


The morning session ended with a inter-house tug-of-war, which had pupils, teachers (and me!) joining in. A tad competitive but very good fun!

Parents and carers weren’t allowed to be on-site at lunchtime so I left a clingy D for a while.

The afternoon’s events were running, egg and spoon and wheelchair racing. It’s always a bit humbling seeing the wheelchairs and the walking race for those with physical disabilities, there is always a fantastic atmosphere with music and lots of supporters.

D had a wobbly meltdown after her first race, when she came 4th. There were tears, shouting, bolting and a complete and utter refusal to take place in anything further. She came around eventually but definitely wasn’t the only disappointed child on the field.

Her next race was a relay and I’ve found with D that it’s best if I stand at the finish line and basically wave, jump around and shout encouragement in her eyeline so she has something to focus on and aim towards. It works! She absolutely powered down the track, passing over the baton and nearly bowling me over. Her team of 4 came second!


One delighted D, two very proud parents and several relieved members of staff.

Yes, it’s all about taking part and I’m so glad she is able to (mainstream sports days were a no-no) but a medal is a very nice reminder for her.

T’s had a good day, he’s been very pleased for D that she got a medal and her good mood has been infectious, they’ve had some bouncing fun on the trampoline in between mine-crafting.

I think it’s a “normal” day for both of them tomorrow, after the excitement of the last couple of days, would be good to get back to a semblance of routine.

I hope everyone’s had a good day, comments/RTs/shares as ever welcomed, thanks for reading Jx 😘


Lots of team spirit! Tues 25th June 2013

A very successful day, if I discount the squabbling due to the heat and tiredness on T and D’s part after school.

It was T’s sports day today and it was lovely, the weather was just right and it was very well-organised. The team spirit amongst the children was wonderful, cheers and claps for the fastest and the slowest, lots of children determined to finish even if they were quite a way behind those already past the finishing line. Some natural athletes, some not but all doing their best.

Here’s a couple of pictures of T, he carried on throughout, acknowledging his dad and I with a little shy smile:



T’s “house” came third but it was very close, I think it was only 20-ish points separating first from fourth place.

A tired but happy T at the end.

D greeted me with another body-slam at home time, she’d watched the oldest children in school do their sports day and she’s fascinated by their star-shaped medals. I know that the children have been told and we’ve been saying it too: “it’s not the winning but the taking part”, but my girl would like a gold (she got a silver and bronze last year). No pressure then!

She’s been squeakily excited about it all evening tonight and no doubt will positively bounce into school tomorrow, there are sports activities in the morning and afternoon at school so it will be a long day but a fun one.

So grateful that she is in the right setting for her, with the gentle support and high staff:children ratios that she needs. Sports days in mainstream were full of excitement beforehand and then suddenly, her anxieties would take over and she’d bolt all over the field, parents commenting and muttering about her being “out of control” when they couldn’t or wouldn’t understand. Seems a lifetime (and no doubt a wrinkle or two) ago now.

I hope everyone’s day has gone well, comments/RTs/shares as ever welcomed, thanks for reading Jx 😘


Not just one body-slam! Mon 24th June 2013

It was a double body-slam that greeted me this afternoon when I collected D, a full-on hello-Mumma-I’ve-missed-you-but-had-a-good-day-thwack, twice!

It was very welcomed, it had been a while.

She’s extremely excited about sports day on Wednesday, the school proms next week (singing performances) and she’s also going to the Kurling finals with school, her team got a silver medal in February so there is a mild expectation for more goodies!


It’s amazing, when D was in mainstream, she couldn’t participate in any assemblies/plays/sports days or anything due to anxieties and the busy setting, she has progressed so far in the three years she’s been in her SN school, it’s wonderful.

Of course, there has been so much preparation behind the scenes, one of the songs they are singing next week has been practised since last October, there is no way she could walk into an unfamiliar setting and do something off the cuff, respect to all the staff at her school.

T’s excited about his sports day tomorrow too, his class have been working towards athletics badges (gold/silver/bronze) and they expect to receive them tomorrow – after them being delayed for weeks, which has vexed Mr T, with his requirement for routines and deadlines.

He has shown a lovely moment of empathy though, his Asperger friend is expected to receive a bronze and T has said to him that he’ll give him one of his football medals if he does. Very considerate of him and T does not give his medals/trophies away lightly.

Neither have said that much about the rest of their days, they’re both too focused on the next couple of days. I just hope it doesn’t burble over into anxieties – it’s a very thin line – but I doubt it will.

Positivity is the mantra this week, it IS going to be a good one!

Hope everyone’s day has gone well, comments/RTs/shares as ever welcomed, thanks for reading Jx 😘


Would you want to know what’s in store for you?

I was chatting to another special needs parent this morning, comparing our daughters’ progress (he has a 14year old with Downs Syndrome) and our weekends – as you do.

I told him what my mum was currently going through (the medical miracle that she is) and he mentioned companies that offer full body scans which apparently can predict the likelihood of cancers, strokes and other nasties, based on genetics and advanced screening.

His reaction to these was “I wouldn’t want to know” but mine was different, I would want to know and here’s why:

As the Mumma to two autistic children, I want to be around for them for as long as possible. We are lucky, on both sides of the family there is a history of angina and more recently, strokes, but hearts are strong and healthy. No cancers either until recently.

Were someone to tell me that I had a tiny lump which was genetically disposed to turn nasty in ten years then I would have a choice of removal. Similarly strokes and diabetes: there are lifestyle changes that can be made.

It wouldn’t be for everyone though, I think you’d have to be strong emotionally and mentally.

I can think of a very good example in which this may have been useful:

We had a friend, a good friend who went through years of hormones and IVF without success. Practically as soon as they married 9 years ago.

She developed breast cancer 6 years ago and all fertility treatment was stopped, it had to be. She went into remission and they started discussing the process again and also considering adoption/fostering.

The cancer returned, in her brain. Completely unexpected as the doctors hasn’t scanned above her neck. She died five months later, nearly 2 years ago.

It has not been proven but there has been speculation that the intense fertility treatment may have advanced the tumours, no one will ever truly know but she went through years of treatment and failed hopes to no avail.

Maybe, advanced notice would have meant that her and her husband could have enjoyed the few years they had together more. I don’t know.

What I do know is, that once she knew her timescales, she planned, saw who she wanted to see, went (within reason) where she wanted to go and became very peaceful. The little things just simply didn’t matter.

Some people might think this is playing devil’s advocate but it’s certainly made me think today.

Cows and Princesses Sun 23rd June 2013

This morning started with a “lesson” on cows, D seems to have a renewed interest in them ever since she’s been placing them into her Minecraft world.



We’ve tried to decide how the bull’s horns are trimmed and what breed of cows her various little plastic animals are. She does like her small animals, whether they be Playmobil or others, the smaller the better so that she can carry them around in her hand or a small bag.

This afternoon D’s embraced her girlie side, she loves dress-up apps on her I pad. Toca Tailor and Princess are big favourites, I guess because the results are instant and very visual. She may have only had her device a month but the photo stream is full of her little fashion creations.

We found another app this afternoon – Princess Salon – not only is there the dress-up element but there’s the preparation beforehand too, hair washing and face packs. She loved it, very ironically for someone who dislikes hair washing intensely due to her sensory issues. The mildly gruesome bit is that before the face creams etc, the princess has spots – great big pus-filled ones – which promoted a discussion about the advantages of face-washing, bonus!

I’m relieved in a way that D bypassed the “princess and tiara” phase, she wasn’t interested and her sensory issues meant the fabrics and fastenings weren’t an option. I guess the app we found today is the 21st century equivalent of a Girls World but with far less mess! (always wanted one of those when I was D’s age 😳).

Sunday afternoon unfortunately means homework, in D’s case it’s her News. Literally two sentences to be copied out but it does cause her a lot of issues, part of me wants to say “don’t worry about it” but the more sensible part knows that she needs to persevere, that people in the future will expect her to have some sort of writing standard, it’s difficult to see and hear (because she does protest) her struggling though.

Offset by some jolly good singing at bathtime though!

Mr T has had a good day, homework (of which there was loads) out of the way this morning and attending a football tournament this afternoon. He’s had a busy few days – in fact he worked out precisely how many hours he’d seen me in that period, answer: not many – but he’s coped very well. It’s taken his mind off the will-he-won’t-he have a session with Chelsea coaches next week quite nicely.

A new week looming for us, sports days etc, thankfully on different days in their different schools, it should be fun!

I hope everyone’s day has gone well, comments/RTs/shares as ever welcomed, thanks for reading Jx 😘


Teaching children on the Autistic spectrum and what their parents would like you to know

A while ago (apologies that it HAS been a while), I was asked by a lovely trainee teacher what advice I could give to her on teaching children within the spectrum.


The spectrum is vast – as demonstrated by the above diagram – and although the aspergers diagnosis is disappearing (aspergers is now being referred to as high functioning autism), it’s an opportunity to remember that many different levels, traits and characteristics are contained with that one word.

I asked my followers what advice they would give and it was a resounding request for the following:

Treat every child as an individual. No two children are the same. Although there may be several children with autism in the class, each will have their own traits, anxieties and needs. Do not generalise.

However, many autistic children (and adults) respond better to positive reinforcement and a softly-softly approach when it comes to requests. Sudden noises and raised voices will cause them anxiety and may draw out a situation far longer (for example, an autistic child lashing out through fear) rather than a getting-down-to-their-level and gently finding out what has caused the anxiety.

With regard to positive reinforcement, consider using visual aids (ie a visual timetable), even if the child is verbal, there may be too much background activity for them to focus solely on verbal commands, visual aids will help with transition.

Don’t assume that just because a child is verbal, they necessarily understand. Many children use a form of “learnt script” or “echolalia”. This may mean that they appear to understand what someone else is saying but very often it’s a learnt response.

For example, ask D when her birthday is and she will say 20th May, which is correct. But ask her what the date is the day before her birthday or the day after, or what her birth year was and she is unable to tell you. This is because she’s learnt her birth date but can’t compute the other information.

There was a very good example of this mentioned by the National Autistic Society recently during their Push For Action campaign:

“Our conversation turns to the support some adults need, and a lady called Sally who took part in the Government’s trial assessments for PIP.

“When the assessor asked Sally if she can make her own meals, she said ‘yes’. But she can only make pasta with butter! Sally’s sister had taken more than six weeks to teach her this one meal and she still needs to be prompted and supervised. She’d obviously misinterpreted the question but ended up scoring no points –no wonder people with autism were so worried about those assessments!” The couple beside us turn around as Anna’s voice gets louder.”

Food is mentioned above and this is another point to mention, many individuals on the spectrum have sensory processing disorder and will stick to the food and drink they are familiar with. This does not mean they are “picky” and should not be classed as “difficult” or “fussy eaters”. Do not force them to try unfamiliar foods if it is causing them distress.
D has a fear of jelly, the sight, the texture, that funny squishy noise when a spoon goes in it. This was explained to staff but it did not stop them attempting to make her try some. She didn’t and couldn’t. They were surprised (but I wasn’t) when she then vomited due to anxiety.
The same would apply for new activities, in unfamiliar surroundings.

Take notice of anxiety soothers and calmers, they are carried for a reason. If the soother is not large, not constricting movement and helps the child/adult cope with the environment then it’s not an issue in my book. Better that than the fallout if they are purposefully separated.
For D, it’s Bunny, little Bunny who is either carried in her hand or under her arm if she’s writing/drawing. It used to be a play food asparagus when she was a baby, something easily grabbed and held.
For T, it was laminated Top Trumps cards or laminated football pictures, it’s now a book. Whenever we got out, even if there’s no likelihood of him reading it, it’s something for him to hold and focus on.
Every child is different but there are underlying traits.

Be aware of how lessons are taught, autistic children will take topics literally.

For example, D’s teacher last year ran an initiative on healthy eating and made great emphasis on “good” and “bad” foods. See my post on Lunchbox wars here. Her teacher at the time didn’t understand the consequences of her using “good” and “bad”, which D interpreted as she must not eat certain foods at all.

A home-school diary is a great idea, as long as it’s used. If a school commits to one, it should be completed. It doesn’t have to be pages and pages but parents like to (and need to) know what their child has been doing at school. The information can be used as a prompt to engage conversation, which if the child is anxious about their day/or has stilted speech or non-verbal is vital.

Of course, a diary works two ways, so read what a parent has written and acknowledge it, even if it’s just by an initial.

There can never be too much information when communicating about an SN child, never.

This is the one piece of feedback that came through time and time again:

Listen to the parents/carers. They know the child best of all. There will be times when they get emotional in meetings, in parents evenings, in class. That’s because they love their child very much, feel protective of them and want the best for them. They’re also probably running the gauntlet of emotions with the diagnostic process/the statementing process/the LEA/GP/CAMHS/OT – you name it – and they’re probably exhausted physically and emotionally.

Our autistic children are not just numbers and a budget figure on a spreadsheet, they are great individual children/young adults who with the right support and guidance will enjoy their school life. And they deserve to.