Mummy's Alphabet Soup

ASD, ADHD, SALT, SENCO, CAMHS – it's all mixed up into alphabet soup here!


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Thought of the Day – Should I Say Hi?

Today sitting in a cafe I spotted a fairly obvious autistic child sat with a couple who I guessed were his grandparents.  Then again I could be wrong, they may have been his parents, having had children in later life.  Anyway, I digress.

I sat there trying to decide whether to go up and say hi, and if so, then what.  He obviously had needs but would they be offended if I walked up and acknowledged the child’s issues and ‘diagnosed’ without so much as a by your leave?  In the end I left it.  I was scared of offending or upsetting them.  But would a stranger’s kind words and compassion from being in a similar situation have offended them or would they have welcomed the shared bond that is forged between ASD parents?

I’m still not sure what I should have done.  What would you have done?

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I Wish She Was More Autistic

That might seem like a strange thing to say: I wish she was more autistic.  But let me explain.

I was at a cafe today and sat at another table were a couple, grandparents I think, with a boy of about 7 or 8, who was being spoon fed and sat and clapped before every sip of his drink.  The boy was obviously autistic and from where I was sitting the only looks they were getting were compassionate.

Now let’s put Tulip in the same situation.  She’s talking loudly, she’s climbing under or over the tables, she’s stealing food off everyone else’s plates and she’s got her fingers up her nose.  What kind of looks do you think we get?  Disapproving stares, that’s what.

Sometimes the things we have to deal with, with Tulip, just look like naughtiness.  And sometimes I forget that she’s not being naughty, but it’s her ASD.  When she’s stealing food, bullying her brother and sister, tormenting the cat, did I mention the fingers up the nose, hands in her pants, yelling really loudly, clambering everywhere and touching everything it doesn’t ‘look’ autistic.  It looks naughty.  And some of those behaviours are no doubt linked to her ADHD as well.  But sometimes I wish she presented more autistic traits.  Or that her stims were less socially objectionable.  Nobody minds the child flapping and clapping.  No one can stand the kid with her fingers up her nose, in her mouth, slurp, back to her nose.

When I say I wish she were more autistic what I actually mean is I wish that the way she presented was more obviously autistic and less a badly behaved.  Obviously I don’t wish her to struggle with the world anymore than she already does.  But I feel she would get more sympathy and recognition if her behaviour were more identifiable as autistic traits than it is at present.

I hope that makes sense.  It’s just one of the disadvantages of having a high functioning autistic child.  I daresay a mother with a child who is non verbal and incontinent would rather their child have the abilities mine has.  But we all fight individual battles in this war that is Autism.  And we all have to cope in our own way and have sore spots.  One of my ways of coping is to express it here.  Writing it out helps me make sense of my thoughts and feelings.


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They’re Not All the Same

It’s scary to watch how quickly people will feel the need to be defensive.

What do I mean?  Well after the tragedy in Santa Barbara over the weekend one of the many autism pages I follow posted something along the lines of: Right, beware of backlash folks, it’s been confirmed the shooter had Aspergers.

I don’t come across many people unsympathetic to ASD and it’s issues, but obviously this person has had issues.  Do people really tar our children with the same brush?  That just cos one kid one the spectrum goes on a shooting rampage every kid will?

I will not condone what that kid did.  Never.  From what I’ve read of his ‘manifesto’, his belief in that he was owed adoration and love was scary.  A real sense of entitlement.  But what did tug at my heart was the bullying and insensitivity showed him by his peers as he grew up.  Maybe, just maybe, if his peers had been a little less quick to judge, less quick to call him weird, things may not have got this far.  Don’t get me wrong, I don’t think they are to blame for his actions.  But maybe their attitudes went some way towards his ultimate actions.

As a mother of a child with ASD it is heartbreaking to see them acting ‘different’ to the other children.  To see the invitations dry up, both individually and as a family.  To see people whispering about your child, or staring.  To know that as she gets older it is only going to get worse.  That while she’s oblivious to it now, she won’t be for long.

How can we expect these children to grow up into responsible adults when we exclude them from society from an early age?  How can we expect them to grow up without bitterness and resentment when they are shunned at every turn?  I know a bit what it’s like to be termed the ‘weird’ kid.  To get the sympathy invites.  To know that everyone who you consider your ‘friend’ are out partying and you are the only one not included.  To hear them laughing about how much fun they had and who did what with whom, right in front of your face on Monday morning.  No, I didn’t grow up to be a murderer and I like to think that I am now reasonably balanced but it still hurts.  And to know that that is what my daughter will face is heartbreaking.

So to those of you with NT kids, make a difference.  Invite the ‘freak’ to your kids parties.  Invite the struggling single mother with the ‘weird’ child round to your house.  Teach your kids to lose those terms and see our children as a part of society that isn’t going away but only getting bigger, that needs acceptance and friendship.  Teach your kids to be kind to everyone, to tolerate the child who is spinning in circles in the corner, or the little girl sticking her fingers up her nose and then in her mouth.  Teach them that just because one kid with Aspergers did something horrific, it doesn’t mean every kid on the spectrum will.  Don’t make us autism parents feel the need to be defensive every time something like this hits the news.  And remember that by teaching your children kindness to those who are different, you may very well be saving a life.

 

This post was suggested by a prompt: ‘Break the Silence‘, by The Daily Post blog.


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A Day In the Life

It’s been a day like any other
First one appointment, then another
Rushing about from pillar to post
Pausing to grab a slice of toast

First I must go and learn how to be free
It seems I must make time for me!
‘When?!’ I cry in deep despair
(I wonder what I’d look like with long hair?)

I dash back home to clean the front room,
Wipe the sink, tickle the floor with a broom,
Whiz around and make the bed.
What on earth have you done to it this time Fred?!

It’s nice to have some time alone
Best make use of it – where’s the phone?
It won’t be long before the kids rush in
Making their usual horrendous din!

Tulip’s going swimming, she packs her things
While she jumps around, dances and sing.
I check her bag as she’s ready to go:
An accordion dear? Not really, no!

That’s one out of the way, it reduces the noise.
“Ouch” I yell as I stand on their toys!
“Shhhh, Mum,” they say.  “We’re watching our telly!
And Peppa Pig has only one welly!”


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Flooding 101

freeimages.co.uk nature images

 

As a mother of a child with ASD you soon learn how to deal with flooding.  Usually the plug left in the sink and the taps left on, or, as in the most recent case, cupfuls of water poured over the side of the bath, presumably for the satisfying sound of hearing it land on the bathmat.  The first clue is usually a pitter patter sound, which, with 3 kids and numerous cats, isn’t always immediately identifiable as water dripping through the ceiling.  However as soon as the ‘splat splat splat’ sound is correctly identified as water landing on the kitchen table, defcon 1 goes into action.  The siren call of “FLOOD” goes out, and hopefully there’s another adult around to implement a two pronged attack.

Adult #1 must confront the bathroom floor with a sizeable towel or two in order to stem the tide of water seeping through the floorboards and downstairs.  Adult #2 must make a hole in the ceiling to allow the water to escape without bringing down the entire bulging edifice. In fact, holes in my kitchen ceiling are so important that I am resistant to any well meaning attempts to fill them! Once the holes are open and a steady stream of water is pouring into the kitchen then suitable receptacles may be placed to catch the surprising amount of water displaced from the bath.

If there is only one adult present this requires being in two places at once (standard operating procedure for an ASD mum) and her daily step exercise! Once these immediate requirements are met then the adult(s) will need to, in no particular order:
yell at remind the culprit that the bath water stays in the bath
dry the culprit who is blissfully unaware of the pandemonium they have created
run downstairs with heavy soaked towels to stuff in the washing machine, dodging buckets and pans along the way
mop up what water escaped the buckets etc and is presenting a very real danger of aqua planing to the adult busy mopping and shoving towels in the washing machine

After these tasks have been accomplished the adult(s) may have chance to dry themselves off having undoubtedly got damp on the process. However as the rest of the bedtime routine must be completed they may have to dry on the go!


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Hello and welcome!

Hi,

If you’ve made it here it’s more than I almost did! But I think it’s time I stopped muttering to myself and the cat and let you unfortunate lot listen to my ramblings.  A single parent of one daughter diagnosed with ASD and ADHD, a son with suspected ASD, and a small person who is hopefully NT (normal, to you and me), although her tendency to spin round in circles has me worried sometimes!  As you can tell I am used to running the full alphabet soup, and my repertoire of acronyms and initials would put a gathering of intelligence and law enforcement agencies to shame!