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

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(Not) Fickle – Sat 30th April 2016

From the moment she wakes up and is “served” breakfast, D knows exactly what she’s eating/drinking/wearing that day.  She most definitely is not Fickle.

Unlike her mum (me), on the rare occasions I go into town and (even rarer) if I pop into Prets and choose a sandwich, I differ and debate in my head the various filings (ham and cheese? Ooh yummy, but that’s a bit calorific.  Chicken and salad? Healthier but not too keen on Mayo.  Egg? Nope, just nope) and that’s before I consider white or brown bread, granary or gluten-free.

Nope, there’s nothing fickle about D, she knows exactly what she does and doesn’t like, same as her brother.

What she does like, though and what’s made her smile today are these:


And this:


Because she absolutely LOVES the Mr Men and Little Miss books and can quote verbatim vast amounts from the stories, she has an amazing memory for detail, but if you asked her “what’s 5 plus 10?” she’d struggle, unless it was written down.

Why the sausages?  Well, they were in our shopping delivery, extremely nice they are too and D is always very helpful when it comes to putting the freezer stuff and crisps away (bless her).

She spied the sausages (now there’s something I never thought I’d write) and was instantly reminded of these two pages:


Her absolutely favourite part of the Little Miss Fickle story and, every time we see sausages in the shops (especially at the fresh meat counter), out comes the “beef sausages or pork sausages? PORK sausages” saying.

Something that’s made us all smile today.

#ThisIsMyChild MumsNet Special Needs campaign

Special Needs Jungle

Tania writes…

MumsNet have today launched a new “myth-busting and awareness-raising” campaign called #ThisIsMyChild.

thisismychild-250It’s been launched in response to requests from MumsNetters and supported by input from some of the leading charities in the field.

Its aim is to support parents of children with additional needs, inform everyone else, and open up a conversation about how we can all act to make life easier for everyone caring for children with additional needs.

I am delighted and very excited to have been asked to support the campaign and will be picking my favourite posts from a Linky being launched on Tuesday – so standby for that.

Debs and I will  also mention some of the posts here on SNJ as the campaign progresses.

For this campaign to be a success MumsNet need it to reach far and wide, so please share as widely as possible – via Twitter (

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AutismMumma is moving ….. Please join me

*sniffs* this feels like a massive change but I’ll no longer be blogging with wordpress for either my autism or lifestyle blogs.

The autism blog will now be found at http://www.autismmumma.com, please click on the link to sign up and continue to receive email updates.

The lifestyle blog has moved to http://www.ditchflabgetfab.com.

Thank you so much for supporting me, I hope you’ll like the new sites.

Jeannette xx

Putting anxieties into a “Worry Bag” – Best £1.99 spent EVER!

First day back at school for D today, like many other children.

She didn’t sleep well last night – despite her melatonin – and anxieties overtook her at 3am. Cuddles, reassurance, back to a sleep which-wasn’t-really-a-sleep, a one-eyed-open sleep waiting for her to come back in.

A tired girl this morning, an anxious girl. Not wanting school, a particular anxiety around a fellow classmate overtaking her.

Then I remembered I’d bought this:

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A “worry bag” from eBay, the seller and I exchanged messages afterwards and she’s a mum to an autistic daughter too. Her website has some great visual ideas on here – asdbrightideas.co.uk – and it’s somewhere I’ll be returning to.

But in the meantime, we had a Worry Bag to try out. D was scared at first, she didn’t understand what we were doing but I wrote her anxieties down on a piece of paper, we read them, we folded them and placed them into the bag. Then we decided where we’d put the bag.

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Literally from that moment on, she relaxed. I got my girl back and the journey to school was fine. I got a big hug before my smiling girl went in too.
A complete contrast to half an hour before.

If only that worked for bigger issues as well…

Written in the hope that our experience helps, I didn’t expect such a positive result the first time we used it…but it worked.

Like the title says….best £1.99 spent EVER!!

Autism .. The Guessing Game – April is Autism Awareness Month – Day 8 of 30

As before, tonight’s diary post is at the end of the blog.

The post I’m revisiting today is one from March 2012, I don’t think it’s one that will ever have an answer despite the headlines from time to time.

Since I’ve been active on Twitter – about 15 months – there have been numerous causes banded around for autism, here’s just a few that I remember:

Flu in the mother
Elderly father
Weight issues in the mother
Chemicals in disposable nappies
Salt
Toxins

These are just a few examples and I don’t think these types of headlines are particularly helpful to parents/carers and individuals already wondering “Why?”, it just adds to the guilt that every parent feels.

Here’s the post:

Autism – The Guessing Game

Because there is no known cause or cure for autism, you receive your child’s diagnosis and wonder …. how did it happen and why? I blogged about this in my Looking Backwards, Moving Forwards post (click to read).

And then, you can’t help it….you look within yourself and your partner. You play a guessing game.

Hubbie, for example, has always been quoting virtually whole scenes from Fawlty Towers or Jasper Carrott sketches. Something will remind him, and off he goes….it’s endearing at first, but after ten years, I’ve heard them countless times. He always has to be early for everything, he’ll say he’s leaving at, say, 9.15am and then leave 10 minutes before. To be fair, he’s got his own business and is extremely self-disciplined.

And my family…Dad and three of my sisters are all accountants. Not for me, way too boring (not that I am knocking anyone who does accountancy, it just wasn’t for me). I check the back door is locked before we go out and then re-check it. Always drink my water in gulp multiples of 2!

And we are both extremely stubborn, but then that is a bonus, it will also stem into determination to get things done.

I guess when the genes balls were juggling for my beautiful D, they just collided a bit more, or fitted together a bit too closely.

Not that I would change her for anything. She’s my daughter who happens to have autism.

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Our day:

It’s been a bit of a roller-coaster, either T and D have been happily occupying themselves (T writing out his scores on his league tables from playing FIFA 13, D drawing and cutting out teeny tiny shapes endlessly) or they’ve been squabbling.

Squabbling over the smallest of things like we’re running low on crisps – D loves crisps, she’d eat them all day if I let her, but I don’t! So running low is a BIG thing for her – she said we’d have to get some tomorrow, T replied we can’t because we’re out, D gets over-anxious and we have a meltdown situation. Over crisps, which can easily be bought virtually anywhere.

The situation escalated too quickly for me to intervene until it was too late, but that is how it is sometimes.

So yes, we are out tomorrow but crisps will be purchased and popped in the shopping basket under D’s buggy. Obviously their purchase will have to be factored into the timetable for T.

That might seem like a boring example but sometimes situations do escalate quickly and without warning, especially if the issue is important to the child – in D’s case, making sure that there were crisps in the cupboard.

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

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#MagicMoments – Seeing Things More Clearly..


It’s Monday morning again and I’m linking up with Jaime at theoliversmadhouse for another Magic Moment. To read Jaime’s post for Joshua – click here.

Today’s Magic Moment is a bit different from one of my usual ones but it’s magic to me.

I’ve always used my sunglasses as a mask, these together with eyeliner and mascara. The sunglasses are a necessity with special needs parenting – you never know when tears will suddenly come – and the eyeliner/mascara needed because I’m so fair. Click here to read a post from last year when I let the mask slip.

For some reason T has been blessed with the longest thickest eyelashes ever, whilst his sister (D) and mother (me) have short, stubbly fair lashes. I did try eyelash extensions once and they were AMAZING until they started to grow out and then I looked like I had spiders legs above my eyes.

Anyway…digressing madly.

I found out about 3 weeks ago that I needed glasses, no great surprise and I would have been astounded if they’d said I didn’t.

Part of me felt a bit disappointed though, I always felt that the eyes were the window to your soul and wondered if I’d be perceived any differently.

T took the news very badly, he couldn’t understand why I needed glasses if I could see/read and he got very very upset. He admitted he didn’t want me to look any different. D, on the other hand, was delighted, as she’s been wearing glasses for a year.

T’s reaction made choosing frames very difficult, did I go for obviously kooky frames or something more subtle?

We had to wait until the school holidays to go into an opticians and just hope that T would be comfortable enough to accept frame suggestions that he was happy with.

In the meantime, I bought some frames from ebay and I had a blog review to do for a lenses re-glazing company (click to read) so I sent off the frames and waited for their return. Anticipating that T wouldn’t be terribly happy but it would get him used to me in glasses.

When they (the frames) arrived back, I was very apprehensive. Did I copy down the prescription correctly? Would they have read the numbers correctly? Would T be ok? Would I notice a difference?

The answer is yes! Finally here’s the magic moment you cry!

Subtitled programmes – which I have on at night if Mr Bluecrisps is doing his best impression of a warthog next to me – are clearer to read, it’s like everything is more defined. My eyes don’t feel so tired at the end of the day either.

Here are my current frames:
T doesn’t like the pink bit at the the top but we’ve now been and chosen some rimless frames so these will be spares.

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Here’s the rimless ones, they have an obligatory bit of purple in the frame arms and T is happy with them.

Free sunglasses too in the deal from Boots.

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A good example of the improvement is my front door, from a distance it’s now more defined. All the . Subtle but noticeable difference.

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Because I only need them for distance – not reading – I can do the glasses-half-down-the-nose bit and wag my finger, pretend to be stern and look quite daft!

So, purse lighter but eyes happier, I’ve joined the glasses brigade, but as I said in my Boots Feel Good Forum post – click to read – age is just a number”, it’s what’s inside that counts..me, wife and Mumma.

Silent Sunday

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