Sunday 28 June 2015

"Tea and sympathy" Vs "Wine and laundry"


So much of what you see out there when you first get a diagnosis for your child is all about the "core deficits of autism."  The "triad of impairments." The fact that it's a life long condition, and your child will be affected by their autism in every aspect of their lives..... and to be honest its all pretty overwhelming. I am lucky as I have worked with kids on the spectrum for many years so had a head start but for my husband all this must have seemed pretty bleak stuff.

But what they don't tell you at that meeting is the wonder of your kids uniqueness. I think its more complex than simply the things he cant do. Yes my sons brain works differently, yes he has autism and yes things are bloody hard (I'm not gonna sit here and pretend its a walk in the park) But its honestly not all doom and gloom. I quickly learned that I needed to take a step into my sons world to really understand him and appreciate his uniqueness.

All my kids are special and unique in their own way. My eldest daughter struggles with maths and isn't interested in sports. But she is incredibly perceptive and has always been such a loyal friend. She is very shy around new people but once she has figured you out, she's your friend for life through thick and thin. My youngest daughter has dyslexia and asthma and a wicked temper, but also a very carefree attitude to life and can breeze into a room with a smile on her face that lights the room. She is creative and such fun to be around.

And my son is no different. He has a great sense of humour, really bonds with animals and is amazing at sport.. and yes he has autism. Yes he has to go to a special school. We could sit and dwell on that..... and I have come across some people that cant get their head around my son. People who focus on what could and should have been, and the things he cant do. But as his mum I just don't share that mind-set. As scary as the future is, and as challenging as the present can be, I need to keep looking forward. Its my job to help him bit by bit to become as independent as possible. And without sounding all sunshine and flowers he wont achieve anything by focussing on all the things he cant do.

So lets look at this triad of impairments ......
Yes my son struggles with all of the above and more. But he has friends. Granted he doesn't go to birthday parties or other kids houses for tea.. but he has friends! He finds it easier to talk to his friends on headphones whilst playing together on the computer. And he can find it hard to share and takes turns. But he doesn't trap himself in the social lies I do...... We've all been there haven't we?.....  like when we get roped into doing something we really don't want to do but don't wanna say no..... then end up making a  rubbish excuse to get out of it??... ..No is that just me then ha ha !!
You see he tells a spade a spade and doesn't beat around the bush. He tells people what he really thinks and doesn't really care what other people think about him.  He wouldn't say yes to someone when he really means no, and he looks after number 1 ... himself !! (Is that such a bad thing?) 
Again yes to all of the above, he doesn't get jokes and sarcasm , but he does have a cracking sense of humour. He loves slapstick comedy I think because its so visually funny and often doesn't have much language (think Mr Bean). And yeah he does struggle remembering information, particularly spoken words...... BUT he can tell you all the potions, spells and characters from any Harry Potter book!!
He struggles to pick up on peoples body language and doesn't understand how his actions and words affect other people. But I think to be fair, people can struggle to understand him too and often don't get how their actions and words can affect him. His anxiety can appear as naughty behaviour. And sadly that's because people just don't understand that his actions and behaviours are his way of letting us know how he is feeling. He cant tell us he finds the room too overwhelming, or the smell too strong, or that what your asking him to do is just too confusing, so he goes into meltdown mode, and I kinda think that's not his fault really it?

I  suppose this is a biggy for my son. The changes to routine and anything new really does impact his life in a  big way. So we try to combat it by using daily timetables written down and preparing him as soon as possible for any changes. But in a busy family life that's not always easy. Its a working progress
And yes my son does appear quite harsh sometimes when he doesn't appear to care about others and that's something we have just had to get used to, as its not his fault. But he does show incredible empathy and caring towards animals . Its amazing to see. He has several pets as we want to help nurture this skill and hopefully transfer it into other aspects of his life.
 So here's my point .....
My son faces many challenges on a daily basis, but that doesn't need to define who he is. If I make the effort to really understand what makes him tick and see things from his point of view I can see the possibilities that lie ahead for him. Even though it worries me and it might not be what I originally had mapped out in my head when he was born. My son is wonderful, unique, complex, exhausting and has challenged me in ways I couldn't even comprehend. But he is who he is and I love him for that.

As his mum what I really want is for you to get know my child, learn to see his differences, not want to change him but embrace him for who he is... He is so much more than the "Triad of impairments" .....And I don't want you to feel sorry for him either.... Tea and sympathy isn't something you will find in my house. (Wine and lots of laundry maybe!!)

I truly belive my son will achieve his potential not 'despite of his autism' but because he is who he is!




Monday 22 June 2015

Demand avoidance

So weekends can be somewhat tricky in our house depending on how the little mans week has gone. Usually by Friday night he has had enough of the world and wants to escape to his room for a recharge of his batteries ( I know the feeling!). Sometimes he refuses to get dressed, do his teeth and leave his room at all for the whole weekend......not often, but its usually when he is in the middle of a really anxious period, and he becomes so demand avoidant it cripples him, and as a result I can become a prisoner in my own home

He has this sleeping bag that becomes his cocoon for the weekend, he walks around in it, sleeps in it and sits in all day if he possibly can! If I have to nip out to drop his sister off somewhere I have to persuade him he has no choice but to come with me .. and then he will hop out in this flipping sleeping bag and quite happily sit in the back of the car all huddled up in it! I dread to think what my neighbours must think if they catch sight of him sliding along the footpath like a slug to the car.

The sleeping bag slug suit!

I often find myself negotiating the days activities on his timetable..... as when he really doesn't want to do something or is too anxious to even cope with it I really need to psych myself up for the fallout if I try to and force it. We have had many a family day out that's started in disaster before we even reach the car simply because he can't cope with demands of getting ready. I need full body protection at times, and sometimes when I simply cant face the stress I don't even bother trying. Its taken me years to get confident enough to not care what people think now when I back down and don't force it...... but I have my own sanity and his sisters to think about too.

My sons demand avoidance takes many forms from the annoying and quite frankly irritating to the damn right dangerous. .....and I know its all anxiety driven. Take today for instance. It was my nephews tea party and he was really getting fretful about going. It was all timetabled in on his visual schedule, so he was prepared about who would be long we would be there..... you know the basics based on what I knew! But as the hour approached his behaviour began to ramp up. You see for him going to a party makes him as nervous as if we were going to a job interview I reckon. So much uncertainty.........

Where will I sit? What food will there be? Who will want to talk to me? What if I need a wee? What if there is a funny smell? What will they do? What music will be playing? Who will sit next to me? Will they want a hug? Will mum talk for the whole time and ignore me? Will the other kids be too loud? I don't know what to say?.....
The list of his worries, if he could verbalise all of them all, would be as huge as my weekly shopping list I think. I also think he has an exaggerated perception of the possible threat. So to him being a few minutes late or making a mistake ..well its like the end of his world.

So in order to protect himself from all this uncertainty and worry, my sons natural reaction to this huge anxiety is to avoid the demands as much as he can to keep himself safe. He displays this with challenging behaviour, which to an onlooker appears like he is a naughty kid which couldn't be further from the truth!

 Today we had tears, panic, refusal to get dressed, fretting, hiding in the slug suit, wiping off the schedule from the board and then finally swearing. On really bad days it has led to self injury and a mum on the verge of a mini  breakdown.I had two choices this afternoon.....I could continue to force the demand to come to the party or I could accept the fact that he was obviously in no frame of mind to cope with what I was asking him to do! Today because my husband was off work I took the easy route out....... some may not agree with me but the alternative would have meant  his sisters would have had a dreadful time, I would have been stressed, battered and bruised, and my son would be exhausted in the process... the party would have been no fun for any of us (that's if we had even got to the car in one piece)

In order for my son to access anything he has to feel safe and in control, and in situations like going to school of course its absolutely necessary to he learns to overcome his anxiety, but that's a very long slow process that involves a lot of support for the adults helping him. As a general rule if my son is displaying challenging behaviour its because as the adult I have put him in a situation he doesn't feel safe in, or he doesn't feel he will be able to cope with.. so he panics and either tries to run away or lashes out and becomes even more rigid in his thinking.

So you know what ....  I think regardless of what others may think, I have to be the one who is flexible. They are not living my life so have no idea what the stress levels can become like in a family like ours. I am learning to pick and choose my battles for the sake of the whole family not just my child with Autism. So today me and the girls went out for a couple of hours, had a lovely time at the party, and my son was happy at home with his dad. Its not giving in, or being soft, or letting him walk all over me.

 I would love for us to be this perfect family unit that goes to family gatherings and parties all together and it would be all sweetness and roses and well, normal ! But for my own sanity I cant dwell on that too long cos it would upset me if i thought about the 'whats ifs.' This is my reality and I have to accept that sometimes its the right thing to be flexible, and keeping his anxiety low is important not just for him ....but for me and the whole family.
After all its no fun for anyone living in the middle of a battle zone day in day out.

Faith and sparkly friends

So last week I managed to get to church for the first time in weeks. For those who know me well,  will know I found my faith several years ago completely out of the blue. I wasn't looking for it, and to be honest it took me by surprise. I am ashamed to admit that at times I have tried to fight against it, as I like to be in full control of my life. But its never gone away, and its helped me through some of my hardest days.

For people reading this who have no particular faith, please bear with me a little while. This blog I promised would be an honest reflection of my life. And this is an important part of who I am. None of my family share my Christian beliefs at all.  So my faith is a deeply personal experience that's kind of shaped who I have become. And I do honestly believe that its helped me get through the last few years, as I found a sort of peace with my life through my faith. But sometimes, just sometimes I struggle and wobble and feel sorry for myself, like yesterday!

For some reason I found this particular service at church really challenging, and I actually found myself sat quietly sniffling into a tissue and I didn't really know why. It was all about what it really means to be a Christian,  and opening our hearts to God. But whilst I sat there, instead of feeling comfort and peace, I felt a pain in my heart right deep down, that I know I often try to push back into the depths where I can pretend it doesn't exist. I have a burning ache that I just cant shift because sometimes its hard to accept my lot in life. Its exhausting accepting the difficulties we face on a daily basis. And its inevitable I suppose that I ask why me? Why my son?

I know some people hold the belief that God only burdens you with what you can cope with, But without offending anyone...... not me .....I don't buy that for a second. I have been rock bottom and felt so overwhelmed at times I cant possibly imagine God is looking at me thinking ... "Ah well maybe just one more meltdown about him getting dressed, yeah that will do, she can cope with that can't she? "
Nah I don't think so!! I don't buy that!

And I also don't believe the  ...... "Oh I wouldn't change a thing" positivity that you hear people say. In spite of how much I love him, I wouldn't have chosen this life for my son. I love my kids more than life itself.  But would anyone chose a life for their son that is full of such anxiety that they try to cut their hand with scissors as a way of coping with the stress of school at the age of 10. A life where your child feels so confused he lashes out and hits his own mum on a daily basis...... I don't think anyone would chose that life for themselves or their child... would they?

So what's my point? Why was I sat there so upset and feeling sorry for myself when I have such a deep faith and take such comfort in my beliefs? Why can I not just accept it and face each day like a domestic goddess?  (Pah!!) But seriously why can I not draw enough comfort from my faith, my friends and my family to cope everyday. I am sitting here thinking about this and you know what I don't have all the answers.......cos I am human. I am not infallible and I hurt deeply.  I know I cant make it all better for my son, and take away all his worries and that's hard for me to come to terms with, especially when I think too much about his future.

But  then I realise you know what, my son is amazing. He faces huge challenges on a daily basis just to get through the day in a world that he finds confusing. But he doesn't blumin well feel sorry for himself. He isn't upset because he is now in a special school. Or wish he didn't have Autism. Or worry about where he is going to be when he is 22. He is who he is, and he now loves the fact he is with other kids just like him at his new school....... He belongs.
And I love him for that.

You see my son sees the joy in little particles of dust dancing around in a beam of light and calls them his sparkly friends. His face lights up when caring for his pets or having a cuddle with the family dog. He is truly gifted at Minecraft and has created virtual worlds that I couldn't even dream of. Despite all his worries he sees the beauty in the mundane things that pass me by cos I am so busy worrying about how to timetable the days events for him, or making tea for 3 fussy kids, or stressing about the state of my house and when I last managed to hoover.

So I reckon that despite the fact that I don't have all the answers, face uphill battles, and sometimes fail spectacularly. What I really need to do is to let go of what could have been, what mistakes I have made and not be so hard on myself and trust my faith. I need to be more like my son, open my heart and see the joy in what's around me. The little things ... .like the utterly sad excitement I get when hanging out the washing on a sunny day knowing it will be dry in a couple of hours, the smell of rain, and the little sparkly friends dancing through the beam of light at the window on a  sunny day.

I have to accept  that I'm going to have good days and bad days and cry for no reason sometimes ......because I am woman and I can!! I am not alone in being a mum and finding life a bit sh***y sometimes. But doing this blog has shown me its a good thing to take comfort in knowing that there are others going through the same as me,  no matter what our beliefs are, we all face the same issues and challenges.

.......... And when I get chance and the light shines just so, I will make myself stop and smile at tiny little bits of dust sparkles that are dancing around in the air unseen and unnoticed by so many that my son calls his little sparkly friends, and I'll think to myself life ain't so bad after all !

Thursday 18 June 2015

A SLICE OF AUTISM: One line on a piece of paper

A SLICE OF AUTISM: One line on a piece of paper: So back to reality with a bang. This is the one I think is probably going to take the most courage to post. But I reckon I need to get it al...

Tuesday 9 June 2015

One line on a piece of paper

So back to reality with a bang. This is the one I think is probably going to take the most courage to post. But I reckon I need to get it all out there, as it's an important part of my journey. And maybe writing it down it will help me process what's happened and move on.

So the GP was fantastic all those years ago, and referred us onto the Children's Mental Health Services. But sadly this is where the system began to let us down. It actually took 4 and a half years to get a formal diagnosis for our son. That's almost 5 years of confusion, isolation, stress, paranoia, and at times I have to admit absolute bloody despair. We have now had the diagnosis for 1 year this June, and it's like it was the key that opened up a world of support that we should have had access to all those years ago.

It seems so wrong to me that families should have to wait like this. I can't think of any other condition that has such a long waiting list for answers. Those 5 years pushed me to my limit emotionally, and mentally and I consider myself to be a reasonably strong person!

As our son has grown up his needs have dramatically increased (he is now 11). His capacity to cope and mask his difficulties got harder and harder for him to manage. He would literally explode at home after a day at school, or a football match, or going to a friends house. Which led to us seeing a very different child at home than the child everyone else was seeing. I felt that people didn't believe me. I felt my parenting was in question. "Well he behaves OK for us," or "he doesn't seem to have a problem here," were comments that got thrown my way on a regular basis when he was younger.

I would walk in the door and he would lash out, swear, have a meltdown because he had been holding it all in until he was in his safe place- I was his safe place!

Can you imagine how this felt as his mother?

A gut wrenching feeling that people questioned your relationship with your child, and questioned your parenting- not for weeks or months even- but for years I felt like this.Whilst also trying to be strong for my family and hold it all together with no answers from the powers that be! I was also battling my own demons as I suffered from depression, and often I felt like a punch bag because he didn't feel safe enough anywhere else to be himself, other than when he was with me.

I was confused, drained, and becoming more depressed by the day.

I was also struggling to hold down a full time and demanding job which I loved with a passion. And in addition to this I was trying to find a way to help his sisters, and my husband cope with living in a house that was at times incredibly stressful. I couldn't give them a definitive answer as to why his brother lashed out at them or wouldn't play nicely, and was trashing the house after school. All I could do was my best to hold it all together because I knew it was his fault. And I make no claims to be a supermum or want people to feel sorry for me, I just did what I had to do to get through each day that's all.

During this 5 year period it was suggested to me that I needed the support of social services, family support workers, CAFS, parenting classes etc etc  by various well meaning people, as his needs became more apparent to them and difficult for them to manage. And ultimately they didn't know how else to help me I suppose - but each time it chipped away a little bit of my strength and resilience. I felt like screaming at them, you know what I bloody need- a diagnosis (hmmm and maybe a holiday by myself on a beach in the Maldives would be nice too if you really want to help!)

But seriously I just needed someone to say to me - I am really listening to you, I understand you know what's best for your child. And most importantly I needed someone to say to me - it's not you Mrs M,  and your son's not naughty- he has Autism .

That's what I needed!

Then I knew could have got on with the job of fighting to get him the right help and access to services that he so desperately needed. I knew in my heart that when he was getting the right  help he would become a much happier person and as a result of that we could adjust our family life around him. That's just the way it has to be- I knew that 5 years ago!

But instead what happened was that I became ill and exhausted, and our marriage became strained. I became paranoid and defended my sons every action as the lines of behaviour and autism were so blurred in my foggy mind that I felt like I had to defend his actions all the time. And so I become his voice in a world that was ignoring his needs, and none of it was his fault, the system was failing us all. My daughters needed counselling and struggled to accept his behaviours and so much of my attention needing to be on him.

We forced him into situations at the advice of others despite it going against our better judgement, and it always ended disastrously for all involved. But most of all we have been prodded and poked as family for years now. I struggled at times to see light at the end of the tunnel, or even myself in the middle of it all.

That's it I think- I lost myself in all the mess and stress. And I was so focussed on getting the right support for my son that it was easy to get so bogged down in it all as my kids are my world.

I felt so overwhelmed and could have given up quite easily on many occasions. I remember phoning Camhs in tears one day asking for them to see him and help me, as I was worried about his mental health and hyperactivity. And their response was to tell me to turn up at a children's centre in tears, and that would kick start a crisis action. No way was I going to do that! What we needed was to be told what was happening with our son, to have answers. I was far to proud to turn up somewhere to have yet more strangers prod at us and question my parenting. And why should I- I was still strong enough to realise that it was the system that was letting us down, none of this was our fault.

If I had known back then his sensory processing disorder was causing him to sensory seek and make him hyper it could have made his and my life so much easier. But I can't look back for too long and ponder on the 'what if's'.

And  its not all been doom and gloom so don't you dare feel sorry for me. My faith has helped me get through the really dark days, and I am blessed to have such wonderful friends and family around me.
It's been a steep learning curve for all of us! And we have got through it all together as family.

Over the last few years we have come into contact with many professionals who haven't benefited our lives to say the very least ( that's me being polite). But when I found an advocate, someone who did listen to me, and really heard what I was saying. Someone who took the time to get to really know my son, well I tried my best to keep them in his life, as I knew they would be able to help him become a happier person. They would help him be more comfortable in his own skin, and not try to change him into what they thought he should be. He has had the support of some wonderful teaching assistants, doctors and specialists these last few years and without their help we wouldn't be where we are now. To them all I am forever thankful

So fast forward to where we are now-
Well I left my job to care for my son full time. And as hard as that was because I love my work, it was definitely the right decision to make. He needed to attend school on a part time basis earlier this year which would have been much harder to juggle had I been at work. I am adjusting but still miss my job so much. But who knows what the future holds as I am loving writing about out lives and sharing our story.

His sisters are settling in their own schools, they still struggle on occasions but on the whole, the diagnosis has helped them both accept him for who he is. They are beautiful, caring and compassionate girls despite the teenage mood swings. And my hope for the future is that they can become closer to their brother as they grow up with more certainty.

His diagnosis and subsequent Education Health Care Plan has now allowed him to access more specialist education and he has stopped self harming. I want him to be happy with who he is and learn to make sense of the world around him. He is happy- so I am happy- its as simple as that really.

There is hope, and for the first time in a long time I feel a bit more in control of our lives. My husband is taking me away in a few weeks for a romantic night away (catching up on sleep) while my amazing sister spends the weekend here with the kids for me. And you know what, I  am looking forward to watching all my children reach their potential in the future and finding myself again.

 All this because of one line on a piece of paper that we waited so long to hold in our hands
                                           Diagnosis of Autism

                                       (Thanks for reading I know it was a long one !) x

Sunday 7 June 2015

From a nannas perspective .......

I asked my mum how she would feel about contributing to this blog, as having a child with Autism impacts the whole family.
This is written by her and she means the world to me.
She is always there for me, he may not be able to say the words but I can... Mum I love you xx

Harry Potter means I love you......(Autism from a Nanna's perspective)

“Harry Potter” means  l love you.
To me that is the most wonderful expression of affection l could ever wish for from my grandson.
If l don’t get anything else, then so be it.

Watching my daughter struggle with her son on a daily basis was very difficult, still is sometimes.
As a mother your instinct is to protect and seeing her being punched, kicked and swore at  was one of the hardest things l had to learn to cope with.
My grandson is very special and he needs that extra care and understanding.

You see, it has taken me a very, very long time to accept my grandson for who he is and not what l think he should be or how l think he should behave.
But, as a nana l wonder if l am doing enough to help, am l doing it right. I attended classes to understand more and it really   helped me to understand. But at times l still get the overwhelming feeling of helplessness. If l feel like that then how does my daughter cope.

A mothers love holds no bars. Just like my daughter l want to protect and provide.
Having a child with Autism effects all the family, sibling, husbands and grandparents. But, by making little steps, listening to each other, accepting help and advice along the way then there is a light at the end of the tunnel believe me. You can do it together as a family.

A few days ago my grandson attended his new school, a very traumatic day.  My daughter needed a “mummy” cuddle and a shoulder to cry on. If that’s all l can do for her and without judgement, then l accept the challenge with open arms.
Now on his 3rd day, no tears what a result. Let us see what tomorrow brings. 

I have gladly become a “buffer” but more than that l have become a supportive and understanding nana, and l love it.
I have a very positive relationship now with my grandson. He will come to my house ( but nobody elses ) and we have a rapor that l didn’t dare hope for before.
I text him every day….. I love you my ray of sunshine.. He replies… Harry Potter nana.
That will do very nicely Thankyou. 

Tuesday 2 June 2015

"Now I need two McDondedlles mum"

"Now I need 2 Mcdondlles mum!!" the text that my son sent me yesterday from his Taxi after a huge meltdown getting him in the car (obviously he normally only has 1 burger!) But he felt that my expectations of him to get in the taxi all on his own, and go to a new school all on his own warranted 2 burgers this time. And to be honest I kind of agreed with him. I was asking a heck of a lot from him on his first day........ So there were two plain hamburgers waiting for him on his return!

To some people it may appear that I spoil him and give into him too easily. I know this is one of the things his sisters find  hard to deal with, as he has to have a whole different set of rules and expectations from them. And I can understand how hard this must be for them at times as they often see it as unfair. I don't 'punish'  behaviours and actions from him that other people find socially unacceptable. I feel its my job to make sense of the world for him, and help him understand that there are some things he just cannot do and aren't acceptable like being rude, swearing, and hurting people. But its a long slow process as he just doesn't understand how his actions affect other peoples feelings. He can only see it from his own point of view. So punishment just doesn't work with him, he needs to be taught what is the right choice to make time after time,  until eventually he realises the consequence of what he has done is better for him when he makes the right choice. This requires motivation not punishment. I cant teach my son its not acceptable to shout at people when he is angry..... by shouting at him myself when I am angry!

You see he just doesn't process things the same way we do. My daughters want to please their teachers with their efforts in class. They want to make us proud and want to share their achievements with us. They are concerned about how they compare to their friends, how they fit in, and what other people think of them. My son just doesn't work like that, he generally doesn't feel the need  to please other people. Because his anxieties rule his life and determine what he will and wont do. The minute he feels out of control he shuts down. So in my sons world if he has to do something he simply doesn't see the point of, or finds really hard, he  certainly wont do it  just to please me.....I have to make it worth his while! And I suppose if you think about it we don't go to work every day to please other people no matter how much we love them, we go to work to earn a wage and get some job satisfaction.. that makes sense to him as it logical. You work ... you get paid.

Over the years  I suppose the times when its not gone so well for me is when I am too confrontational with him. When I have made demands on him that exceed his ability, and when I have made presumptions that just because he has done it once before he will be able to do it again. (There are so many variables in my sons world such as noise level, smells, crowds, level of anxiety that affect his ability to cope on a daily basis) And I have found the more rigid and demanding I am with him, the more rigid and demand avoidant he then becomes. I find myself digging a deeper hole with no way out for either of us and not wanting to back down ..  not wanting to let him win! So its easy to see why others can find it hard when I keep my demands low and reward all the small steps,  as it can appear that I am giving a reward to a child that doesn't deserve it.

But what they may not understand is that my son spends his whole life in flight or fight mode due to his high anxieties. He will either run away from the situation or when backed into a corner, like getting into the taxi, he will fight out as there is no where for him to run to. If I punished him or shouted and lost my patience in these situations it would be like pouring lighter fuel onto a BBQ, it would erupt and lead to a meltdown of epic proportions! Which believe me is no fun for anyone involved.

 So in these situations  ... I accept I am going to get hit in the firing line and have keep it as calm as possible by reducing my language to the absolute minimum and keeping my body language slow and calm.....which is one of the hardest thing I had to learn to do over the years. Its tough sometimes and I make mistakes.... but I am human. I sometimes think people must think I am choosing to do nothing, but its actually the complete opposite I suppose!  And I always try and talk about how what happened made me feel after the event....... but only when he is ready! And he has recently started to apologise when he has hurt me , which is a small step in the right direction. He is beginning to see how his actions can affect me.

This is why we made the difficult decision recently that he needed to be in a specialist school. If my son is motivated by holding a lizard,  playing on minecraft,  running around the field, or even spinning around on a chair, then that's what he needs to do! He needs to be somewhere that accepts him for who he is. And part of that means knowing that he is not going to motivated to learn or do things we want him to by the offer stickers, certificates or praise matter how much potential he has to learn and achieve in school. Its not a one size fits all world we live in.

People may look at me and judge, but you know what I am ok with that ........because I know my son inside out, I know what he needs, and I know what makes his so unique and special and I embrace that ...  And ironically its actually him that has taught me to have patience, see the best in people and always to try and see things from the other persons point of view. Not bad for a kid with Autism eh!

Now.......... who's for two McDonalds ?? x