Low Key – Fri 31st Oct 2014

We don’t “do” traditional Halloween in the Bluecrisps household, neither T or D would relish the prospect of spooky looking strangers knocking on the door (they are fine with seeing costumes in the shops but it’s controlled, they can walk away, at their door though is a different matter and outside of their control) and similarly the food (food to them is meant to look like food, not disguised as bloodied fingers or eyeballs).

We have had a little nod to it today though with pumpkin carving, can you guess whose design is whose?


It was fun, choosing the pumpkins, then each drawing their designs on and then the not-so-fun bit for them, scooping out all the innards. Both T and D were delighted with the results and it’s definitely something we’ll carry on with, but may be experimenting with template designs.

It made up for earlier in the day when D managed to trap her fingers in the shopping basket handles. She was really quite distraught and wanted to run, but was stopped with big cuddles. T couldn’t have been more unempathetic, despite being aware of the situation and was quite direct in his mutterings about how annoyed he was by his sister. A see-saw scenario and one where I felt torn in two, whilst in the checkout queue (ooh, that rhymed!).

But things can’t be dwelt on and we did have pumpkins to carve, in our little nod to Halloween.

I hope everyone’s day has gone well Jx

Moments – Thurs 30th Oct 2014

There’s been a few “moments” today, from both T and D. They weren’t meltdowns, but “moments”, short bursts of high intense protests at a situation.

With T, they’re usually over quickly, more often than not because he withdraws completely from a situation in a silent but angry protest.

D, however, can sometimes switch to a “moment” in a flash, almost as if someone has flicked a switch within but then will take a long time to calm afterwards. Sobbing, shaking and not listening to reason.

And the triggers?

Well, T’s was that “elephant in the room” that’s been there since the start of half term, homework. It’s all done now but it certainly hasn’t been without protest. I can see it from his viewpoint, it’s meant to be a week off from school, after a tiring and challenging first half term at secondary but it has to be done. He was sufficiently calm this afternoon to joke (ish) about the fact he’d no longer be nagged to do it. Who me? *assumes folded arms, fish wife pose*

D’s trigger was her breakfast. It had been made slightly differently. It took a while to decipher through the squeaks and sobs and then there was the aftermath. Fragile.

Today somehow reminded me of when D used to go to mainstream nursery. Some mornings she’s physically be unable to go in as a group with the other children. The volume of people trying to get in and hang up coats/bags in a small area was too much for her and she’d bolt, usually into the grounds. Moments when I’d be going after her, feeling the eyes of others on us. One person always used to comment “oh look, she’s (D) off on one again”. “One what?” I used to think, amongst other thoughts as I’d pick up my overwhelmed frightened girl and prepare for the walk of shame past people who knew of her diagnosis but chose to pass judgement. All in the past but we develop tough skins, us SN parents, don’t we?

Friday tomorrow, I hope everyone’s day has gone well Jx


Inside Out #WellbeingWednesday

My wellbeing always takes a nosedive during the school holidays, we’ve had half term this week.

It’s a time when obviously the children’s needs come first and throw autism into the mix and it can feel a case of needing eyes and ears everywhere to divert any potential upset.

All along I’ve told myself that if you don’t feel right on the inside, you aren’t going to feel right on the outside. This is where diets are all about being in the right mindset, embarking on a rigid eating plan where you have convinced yourself that you’ll “cheat” and then feel “bad” for doing so, will inevitably result in failure, for me anyway. I have to be in the right frame of mind.

That is coming back slowly.

I made up a humongous batch of homemade vegetable soup this week and I’ve been having that for lunch. Packed full of veggies, it always makes me feel good.

The cross trainer thingy is in use daily, it’s great the way that you can not only see distance but also calories burnt. It’s a stark reminder that, say, one tiny M&S choc roll would take about half an hour to burn the calories consumed off.

That’s D in training mode above.

I am a right old worry-wort at times, sometimes too much and found a meditation type app, which I thought would be useful. I picked (what I thought was) a quiet spot and started it. Not banking on the excellent selective hearing of D, who always hears the “lunchtime” call but never the “it’s time to clear your floor”. Literally as soon as I set it (quietly), there was a “what’s that? what’s that sound? what does it do?” volley of questions. So maybe that’s something to try for next week, once they’re back at school, once I’ve had a coffee in peace.

Wellbeing Wednesday

Our (not so) Little Boy Blue #Prose4T

It’s been a calm day, a day of castle making for T’s homework. T is the grand old age of 12 next week so I’ve composed a little poem for him (and some throwback pictures).

Our (not so) Little Boy Blue

The last 12 years have simply flown by
Since you were born with a healthy cry
A pink mass of cuteness
Bang on your due date
Just like your dad
You don’t like to be late

Ever since you could stand
You’ve been kicking a ball
With that nifty left foot
It’s “stepover, shoot and stand tall”



There’s no “I” in team
You play in your position well
Whether it’s win, lose or draw
You make my heart swell


And you’re so clever too
Our studious little man
Your brain is just like a sponge
Eager to learn what you can

And now you’re nearly a teen
Our not-so-little boy blue
Whatever you end up doing when you “grow up”
Mr Pick, we’re so proud of you


Prose for Thought

Wellbeing Wednesday #WellbeingWednesday

Welcome to Wellbeing Wednesday, a linky with the aim of feeling better from the inside out.

It’s a chance for us as parents/carers/individuals to share posts on things that make us feel happy.

It could be:
*A new haircut
*A new diet (the Wobbles Wednesday aspect)
*Which leads on to weight loss
*A healthy recipe or a totally un healthy but delicious one
*Or a new pampering experience/shopping find
*Or maybe just a quiet coffee with a magazine (something I really miss during the school holidays)
*Perhaps a book that you’ve enjoyed reading or some music
*Appropriate reviews too

Hopefully you get the giste, it’s a linky that’s not children-focused, it’s for us! Although if you’ve had a fantastic family-focused experience and wanted to include that too, that’s fine, as long as it made you feel better.

Here’s a badge code if you’d like to grab it:

Wellbeing Wednesday
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Thank you for those who linked up last time, my highlight was :

@bodfortea’s preparation for her big run in a couple of weeks.

The linky will be open for a fortnight, as this linky is fortnightly and I’m looking forward to reading, sharing and commenting on posts.

Conventional police interview techniques are not effective for people with autism

I was sent the following release and wanted to share, for more information please see contacts at the foot of this post:

“Police find interviewing and interacting with witnesses and suspects with autism a real challenge, a study has revealed – highlighting that the ways officers have been taught to interview are at odds with what is needed in these situations. Existing interview techniques tend to focus on open questions, only later narrowing down to closed questions, but research shows that people with autism may need focused questions from the outset.

The Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC)-funded research studied what does, and does not, work when police interview people with autism. The researchers – Dr Katie Maras, University of Bath, and Dr Laura Crane, City University London – are calling for better training of police and criminal justice professionals as, at present in the UK, these groups currently have no standard compulsory training about autism.

“Laura Crane and I have heard of many cases where problems have arisen because police and other criminal justice professionals know very little about autism,” says Dr Maras. “Research in this area is still in its infancy, but it’s steadily accumulating. There’s a crucial need to get findings to practitioners to help them obtain the best evidence possible from people with autism.”

More than 400 UK frontline and investigative police officers holding a variety of ranks provided information for the study. They spoke of the difficulties and challenges they encounter when obtaining written, oral and identification evidence. Officers reported, for example, finding it hard to build rapport with people with autism, which usually plays an important part in interviews. They also described difficulties in arranging a suitable environment for interviews.

“Police stations tend to be noisy with bright or flickering lighting and strange smells,” says Dr Maras. ‘But people with autism are often sensitive to sensory input and as a result they can struggle to maintain concentration in interviews.’

Over 600,000 people in the UK have autism, many of whom will come into contact with the police at some point in their lives. Poor social-communication skills can make them vulnerable when involved with the Criminal Justice System as a victim, witness or suspect. Individuals with autism process memories in a different way from other people, which can lead to misunderstandings.

During the study, officers also answered questions about existing interview practices that they considered worked well, and were asked what could be done to develop understanding and skills. The researchers found examples of excellent practice, especially among police officers who were able to draw on their personal experience of the disorder through familiarity with a family member or colleague with autism.

On a further positive note, related research shows that there are simple and effective strategies that can enhance the evidence that people with autism give and improve their credibility as witnesses. For example, providing information about a witness’s diagnosis can improve his or her perceived credibility; unusual and stereotyped behaviours can be attributed to autism – rather than a lack of credibility.

At an event for police officers entitled ‘Experiences of autism and policing’, Drs Maras and Crane will lead a research-based training workshop that aims to improve practices. It takes place on 4 November as part of the ESRC’s flagship annual Festival of Social Science.

For further information contact:
· Dr Katie Maras
Email: k.l.maras@bath.ac.uk
Telephone: 01225 383137

ESRC Press Office:
· Aaron Boardley
Email: Aaron.Boardley@esrc.ac.uk
Telephone: 01793 413122

· Susie Watts
Email: Susie.Watts@esrc.ac.uk
Telephone: 01793 413119

The 12th annual Festival of Social Science takes place from 1-8 November 2014 with over 200 free events nationwide. Run by the Economic and Social Research Council, the Festival provides an opportunity for anyone to meet with some of the country’s leading social scientists and discover, discuss and debate the role that research plays in everyday life. With a whole range of creative and engaging events there’s something for everyone including businesses, charities, schools and government agencies. A full programme is available at www.esrc.ac.uk/festival. You can also join the discussion on Twitter using #esrcfestival.
3. The Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) funds research into the big social and economic questions facing us today. We also develop and train the UK’s future social scientists. Our research informs public policies and helps make businesses, voluntary bodies and other organisations more effective. Most importantly, it makes a real difference to all our lives. The ESRC is an independent organisation, established by Royal Charter in 1965, and funded mainly by the Government. In 2015 the ESRC celebrates its 50th anniversary.”


Small Steps Amazing Achievements

Welcome to this week’s Small Steps Amazing Achievements, as Jane at @ethansescapades and I co-host fortnightly, this week it’s Jane’s turn but you can link up below as the code synchronises.

Thank you to everyone who linked up last week, we enjoyed reading your posts.

If this is your first time reading this, you can find out about the Small Steps Amazing Achievements linky here, we do hope you join in. Posts can be old or new and please don’t forget to visit and comment on other posts too.

Here’s the badge code if you’d like to grab it:

Ethans Escapades
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Jane and I enjoy reading and commenting on your posts and sharing them via the #SSAmazingAchievements hashtag.

Here’s my highlights from last week:

First fairground ride for Monkey over at @BecomingaSAHM and he’s now a big brother too! Congratulations!

Max is talking over at @FamilyFever

Mmm! Mud pie time and learning lots at pre school over at @LystraMaisey

And how a dog is changing a little man’s life over at @RooJolly

We always find it difficult to choose a few to highlight as the posts linked up are always so wonderfully varied, but you can read them all here.

We can’t wait to read what your children have achieved this week.

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