The very real anxiety of transitioning.

As a person who has always worried about being late and experiences anxiety of making a journey I found this post by Danielle spot on. It’s so so important not to dismiss a child’s anxiety…

The Autism Diaries

When I was in primary school, my dad drove me to swimming lessons every Saturday morning. I loved my lessons, but the journey to the pool I absolutely did not love. In fact, it was the most stressful part of my week. Why? Because even at the age of 8 I suffered from anxiety. Anxiety that I would be late, that everyone would be staring at me as I walked in, that I would fall over and be laughed at in front of 30 or so people. My fear of being late still subconsciously grips me today. If you know me personally you will notice how I’m often early for pretty much everything. This is because although I do not fear being stared at or falling over in the same way, my habits to protect myself are completely ingrained in my every day behaviour. And believe me if I’m ever…

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Why autism doesn’t fit into a tick box…

The Autism Diaries

I’ve been involved in a lot of discussion lately around the “high” and “low” functioning labels that surround an autism diagnosis. Although I do see the use of labels in generalised diagnoses such as autism, adhd and sensory processing disorder (see blog on why labels absolutely do matter), I have really never understood the whole high and low functioning side of things.

In the beginning I was led to believe by articles and professionals that higher functioning individuals were able to survive mainstream school (“survive” being the word there), communicate socially (but viewed as “awkward”) and have a higher than average intelligence. Lower functioning individuals were seen as those who were non verbal, had additional learning difficulties and were destined to spend their future lives in a care home. So the divide was pretty clear.

Over the last year I have learned just how dangerous these labels can be. Yet…

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A confession, a book and a doll

I have a thing about dolls. I still have many of the dolls from my sixties childhood. They are hidden away. I’ve kind of felt ashamed about my doll love affair. It’s childish. I thought people would think me childish. Yes I am childish in many ways, after all, being child-like is an autistic trait. But. The new, no, …the real me… is gradually appearing and taking over and conquering the fears of the person I thought I was.

So, I’m coming out. And, my dolls should come out of the closet too.

I need to find a glass fronted antique style cabinet to display them. This is important as our home has two fires and sooty dust is a fact of life.

A year ago, before my shoulder became fully frozen I was completing a lot of jigsaw puzzles and this was one of them…

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This jigsaw helped me re-identify with my authentic doll loving self. As a child my mum encouraged me to play with my dolls. I didn’t know how. But i did love to look at them. I liked collecting them. (During my teenage years I found all my dolls under the house and in the refuse bin. They were rescued and hidden away!)

Wind forward a year later too late November 2017 when I bought this book…

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And inside I found the pattern for this doll that I completed last week…

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I made her with my handspun yarn and she’s stuffed with fleece, yarn ends and a bit of poly fill.

My dolls are still in the closet. It’s time to get them out.

That book

I looked up To Siri With Love on Amazon and read the parts available with the ‘look inside’ thing. I thought the text I was able to read rather narcissistic.

But the thing that got me to write this post is what’s not there. The book is about an autistic son called Gus. Gus has a twin brother, whose name I forget at this time.

At the end of the book comes the acknowledgments. Maybe I’m missing something but it seems to me very remiss of the author not to mention her sons. Most other people get a mention.

To my mind the omission says it all.

Balloonacy and Me in the Chronicle of Higher Education

Balloonacy post number three…

An Intense World

I have been mentioned in the Chronicle of Higher Education in a piece on the author of Balloonacy. Scroll down to the second piece, titled Work as Play. They specifically mention my involvement in this video, based on what I had written on this blog about Daniel’s reaction to the play.

It turns out that the playwright, Barry P. Kornhauser, had in fact written the play to reach children who were either deaf or couldn’t speak English–meaning, he had disabilities and language difficulties in mind, even if it wasn’t specifically autism. In fact, in a private email, he admits that though he works with children on the spectrum all the time, it hadn’t occurred to him that the play would be perfect for them. I’m certainly pleased that he was touched by my words, even as Daniel was touched through his play’s lack of them.

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Troy and Daniel’s Trip to See BALLOONACY at DCT

There are two follow up blog posts to the first Balloonacy post I reblogged a few days ago and I’m very pleased to share them 🙂

An Intense World

The Dallas Children’s Theater did this animation based on this post. I there is a performance of Balloonacy near you, I encourage you to see it. Whether your children (or you) have autism or not.

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Stourbridge hairdresser championed as a safe place for parents to bring their children with special educational needs

I’m really impressed by this business and want to give it a ‘heads up’. If I lived closer I would investigate having my hair cut there. I have been cutting my own hair for four years and its rather difficult to say the least.

Dudley CVS blog

We recently caught up with Anthony Cokeley, Interim PSIAMS manager at Dudley CVS, to talk about exciting developments of a new online resource for children with special educational needs (SEN).

Care & Share, developed by PSIAMS systems, is an online community website and platform that supports children with SEN and their families. The website houses useful information and resources whilst behind the scenes lies a bespoke system which allows families, carers and professionals to document, track and celebrate the progress of the child.

One of the great things about the website, due to officially launch this month, is how the featured information has helped people with additional needs to connect to local businesses recognised as safe places in the community.

Labichi’s, a local hairdressers in Stourbridge, has recently featured on the Care & Share website as a safe place for parents to bring their children with SEN for a comfortable…

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Early years

This evening, following dinner, I’ve been sitting watching tv but unusually I wasn’t working on anything. If my hands are idle they have to do something so they scratch and pick at my skin. Another thing I do is to fold my arms with my hands tucked under. Sounds normal enough but what I do is to press my arms tight down on my hands and I’ll maintain that pressure. It’s the same when I’m traveling as a passenger in the car; my hands sit just above and between my knees and I’ll apply constant pressure for miles. As far as I know I’ve always done this. It got me thinking about my early years.

Mum told me that I had a very worrying habit when I was a toddler. I would sit under the table and repeatedly and consistently bash the back of my head against the wall. It worried her so much that she took me to the Dr who in turn sent me for x-rays. Nothing untoward was found.

Another time I disappeared and Mum found me under the caravan eating the tea leaves she always chucked under there…maggots and all. It frightened her so much she washed my mouth out with some kind of disinfectant solution.

My poor mum!

My earliest memory is from when I was two years old. We were staying at my grandparents. I was in the bath having my hair washed and I was screaming my head off. My grandmother came in to offer me a coin, one off those old large pennies, if only I would be a good girl and be quiet. It had no effect. I carried on screaming. My grandfather was a baker and they lived over the shop. My grandmother was probably concerned because my screams could be heard downstairs. You can just imagine them trying to reassure customers that I wasn’t being murdered!

Mum says over the years she tried every possible different way she could think of when it was hair washing time. Nothing worked, I always screamed the house down. I can remember when I was five lying on my back along the kitchen counter top with my head tilted back in the sink, holding a face cloth over my eyes. I was crying.

I don’t remember why I hated it so much. I was never able to explain to mum so she cannot enlighten me. I still can’t explain myself. Something’s been wrong today but I can’t explain it. Maybe next week. Next year.

I think I was about six or seven when I stopped crying when having my hair washed. I still didn’t like it though.

I presume these were autistic traits rather than me just being a temperamental child.