Child’s Favourite Book – #SEND30DayChallenge

By | August 22, 2017

Today’s prompt is “Child’s Favourite Book”, oh I loved thinking about this one! 

I am so grateful that both T and D really enjoy reading, it opens up new worlds for them, both in terms of the author’s imagination and the language used.  I remember many happy school holidays at my grandparents ploughing through their books that they’d set aside for their grandchildren, books handed down and with inscriptions in, all very special.

When T and D were growing up, they each had their specific bedtime story books, as well as a shared love of the Mr Men and Little Miss stories and it’s pure coincidence that their favourite books for bedtime both had Monkeys in the titles!


T used to absolutely love the “Hairy Monkey book”, we had one copy which was read over and over, the touch-feel sections were much loved and we ended up buying another one just in case the book fell apart one night whilst it was being read!

It’s the story of “Elephant invites Hairy Monkey to his party. He’s giving a prize for the best coat. Everyone is surprised when Hairy Monkey’s coat turns out to be a prize-winner–but only for the messiest coat!”

There were voices of the other animals to be made and T would always laugh as one night Hairy Monkey would have a deep voice and then a higher voice!

Definitely recommended!

D’s favourite was “Monkey Puzzle”, a book about a monkey trying to find his mum.

“I’ve lost my mum!” 

“Hush, little monkey, don’t cry, I’ll help you find her,” said butterfly. 

But somehow butterfly keeps getting it wrong. Will monkey ever find his mum?”

Along the way there are loads of counting opportunities and animals to spot, D absolutely loved the rhyme at the end “come little monkey, come come come.  It’s time to take you home to ….. mum!”

A trip to town with them could be (and was) fraught with sensory issues but get them inside a bookshop and they’d relax, each choosing a book to buy and invariably read on the bus home.  Love it!

When I was being operated on yesterday, Hubbie took D into a bookshop and she chose the new Captain Underpants story as she’s been enjoying watching the film trailer on YouTube and a Mrs Pepperpot book, which were stories I loved during those summer holidays at my grandparents.  Wonderful!


She’s also a great fan of Enid Blyton stories, especially the Mallory Towers and St Clare’s series and ever so often, the grammar used in the stories will come out in her speaking, “oh gosh, look at that!” or “best of luck for your operation” and how she’ll write things out.

Which reminds me that I’ve a stack to read too, whilst convalescing! 

Does your child have a favourite book? 

10 things you don’t know about X #SEND30DayChallenge 

By | August 21, 2017

The second day’s blog prompt is above.  I was originally going to write this post about T and D (and did draft something which I wasn’t happy with, reading it back earlier) but I’ve chosen to re-blog a post from ABC news, around the various myths surrounding autism.

I don’t normally cut and paste and all credit to ABC News but – having had my op today, it’s easier (albeit a bit lazy) for me.  It’s also a very good read for a bit of awareness.

“As the number of Americans diagnosed with autism spectrum disorders climbs, so, too, does the number of questions surrounding this disorder. Namely, what is autism, and what is causing a rise in autism diagnoses among adults and children nationwide?

Amid these questions, television shows and magazines feature a barrage of stories and imagery — families rallying for and against vaccines, debates between medical experts pointing to both genetic and environmental causes, and images of individuals diagnosed with autism who struggle to speak and function independently, while others can interact with others and are able to hold jobs. For many, these competing messages may make this already complex condition even more confusing.

Fortunately, doctors and researchers are learning more about the causes and characteristics of autism.

The following are answers to common myths, that may help us better recognize the range of symptoms we call autism spectrum disorders.

Myth: Autism is an emotional or mental health disorder.

While physical or social behaviors of individuals with autism may suggest that they have a psychological disorder, autism is actually a biological illness that affects the brain’s growth and development.

“In the case of autism, the parts of the brain that are most affected seem to impact three areas of functioning,” said Michael Alessandri, executive director of the University of Miami’s Center for Autism and Related Disabilities. “Social behavior, communication and restricted and repetitive rituals and routines are ways that the child or the adult with autism interact with the environment.”
Although autism is now understood to be a neurodevelopmental disorder, Alessandri, an expert for ABCNews.com’s OnCall+ Autism section, said autism can still be considered a complex disorder because its range of symptoms is so diverse.

“Scientists and clinicians now understand that autism is not a singular entity, but rather, a variety of syndromes that … create the autism spectrum disorders,” said Alessandri.

Myth: There is an autism epidemic.

The word “epidemic” often implies a sudden burst in the number of individuals within a fixed time who have, in this case, autism.

Although the CDC reports that one out of 150 children born have an autism spectrum disorder, some experts are quick to question whether a surge in autism cases is actually occurring. Some are more likely to link the upshot of numbers to the combination of a broader definition of autism, a wider spectrum, and an earlier diagnosis.

“The condition has not become more widespread, but there is more diagnosis of autism,” said Dr. Bob Marion, director of Children’s Evaluation and Rehabilitation Center at Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York.

Sheila Wagner, assistant director of the Autism Center at Emory University in Atlanta, added that more awareness of symptoms has allowed more people to identify individuals who have autism.

“There’s a lot of media exposure to autism, in television and movies,” said Wagner. “This has made [autism] more recognizable in the lay population.”

Myth: Autism can be cured.

Some parents may allude to a certain diet, medicine, or set of behavioral treatments that have cured their autistic children, where other parents may try the same mode of treatment and see no results. While there are treatments created to improve an autistic child’s ability, there is no known cure for autism.

“We do know that with early intervention with younger children and Applied Behavioral Analysis, we can improve a child’s functioning,” said Marion.

Applied Behavior Analysis, or ABA, is one form of therapy for newly diagnosed children. It includes repeating behavioral activities to improve a child’s social and physical functions.

According to Marion, there is no blanket treatment for autism, and it is up to the individual’s doctor to assess what treatment will offer the best benefit for each autistic child.

In some cases, Marion said, behaviors, including eye contact, interaction with others and development of language skills, will significantly improve — but the underlying biological disorder will not change.

“And that is definitely not a cure,” he said.

Myth: Autism is the result of cold and unemotional parents.

In the 1940s, Austrian doctor Bruno Bettelheim theorized that autism was a result of parents, especially mothers, who did not love their children. Children in such situations would withdraw and become autistic, Bettelheim believed.

However, researchers have thawed the “refrigerator mother” theory. According to medical experts, a child’s autism diagnosis has nothing to do with how the child is raised.

 
“We don’t know if there are any things that a parent can do or not do, conclusively, will determine whether their child gets autism or not,” said Dr. Daniel Geshwind, director of UCLA’s neurogenetics program and center for autism research. “Most of the evidence right now points to there being a very strong genetic predisposition in most cases of autism, but not all.”

Myth: Individuals with autism always have hidden or exceptional talents.

Stephen Wiltshire, 34, is best known as the human camera. He can replicate architectural designs and landscapes down to each blade of grass — even if he is only given one opportunity to observe the area he is drawing. Wiltshire has reproduced panoramic scenes of Tokyo, Rome and London by memory after one short helicopter ride over each of the cities.

Wiltshire is an autistic savant. That is, he has extraordinary cognitive skills that allow him to recall details of designs, numbers and measurements that are normally considered too difficult to remember.

The concept of an autistic individual as a savant may have been popularized by Dustin Hoffman’s character in the movie “Rain Man.”

But while Marion acknowledges that there is a minority group of individuals with autism who have unusual islets of skills, savants are an unrealistic portrayal of the majority of individuals on the spectrum. He said most do not have talents or skills that distinguish themselves by extraordinary talents.

“There are strengths and weaknesses in every child,” said Marion. “It’s important for every child with autism to have a multidisciplinary evaluation by health professionals who have experience in assessing a child’s skills and deficits, to come up with an educational plan that will benefit the child the most.”

Myth: Repetitive or ritualistic behaviors should be stopped.

One of the classic indicators of autism is repetitive and ritualistic behaviors, according to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM IV), a physician’s tool to diagnose autism.

While these behaviors — which can include hand flapping, banging on walls or rocking back and forth — may seem odd, they do have a purpose: they can be calming; they can feel good; and they may help the individual communicate with others, said Wagner.

Repetitive behaviors may only pose a problem if they begin interfering in family life or if they prevent those with autism from functioning independently, Wagner added.

However, according to Dr. Pauline Filipek, associate professor of pediatrics and neurology at the University of California, Irvine, a child may learn to outgrow repetitive behaviors.

“Often, as an individual gets older, they learn that such behaviors make them stand out in society, and they learn to miniaturize those behaviors,” said Filipek.

Myth: Individuals with autism are unable to build social relationships.

“This is a generalization and needs to be individualized because the spectrum is so wide,” said Marion.

In short, social relationships are possible for some individuals on the autism spectrum, but not for others on the most severe end of the spectrum, Marion said.

The DSM IV, which includes diagnosing guidelines for autism, lists “impairment in social interaction” as one indication that an individual can have an autism spectrum disorder. But not every child on the autism spectrum will have the same degree of difficulty connecting with others.

“At the most severe end of the spectrum, yes, that’s true,” said Marion. “But there is a multitude of children who have friends, and even some who do have close relationships.”

Myth: Autistic individuals are a danger to society.

“It is a disservice to think that all people with autism are dangerous,” said Wagner.

The idea rises from numerous news stories of individuals diagnosed with Asperger’s syndrome, a high form of autism, who have been accused of burglary and, at times, murder.

However, if you look at the entire population of people on the autism spectrum, the number of people involved in crime is small, said Wagner. If someone with autism were to act out, it may be due to frustration or perhaps physical or emotional overstimulation, not necessarily malice, she said.

Credits to: Lara Salahi and Radha Chitale, ABC News Medical Unit 

Finally Post Op! 

By | August 21, 2017

Well, the first one of two anyway.


At home, in bed and doing a very good impression of a cotton bud!

Do you like the arrow? D finds it very funny and I’ve no doubt that it will be added to with some faces and flowers felt-tipped on in the next couple of days.

It was an early start for us all and Hubbie and D headed off for a bookshop visit and lunch whilst I was being operated on.  

The surgeon has rectified the problems from my op last October and also performed fusion work on my big toe, the second toe in has had its tendon broken and reset with a bit of wire in it.  

So, plenty more scars for my #scarfeet but hopefully it will all be worth it.  

Then it will be the same for the other foot, probably in January as I don’t fancy going through this again just before Christmas.

D coped brilliantly but did let all her emotions out when we got home, she’s been through a whole range of them toddy, it’s understandable.

She’d been saving me a bit of her Easter Lindt bunny for post-op (her idea) and we’ve just shared it, watching Bradders in Cash Trapped.  On a day that was very much out-of-routine, this little element was very much welcomed.

For now though it’s 48 hours of elevated bed rest, then elevation of my foot as much as possible in between being a bit more mobile before I head back in two weeks for a checkup.

Phew and all that! 

The meaning behind my blog name #SEND30daychallenge 

By | August 20, 2017

Yes, I’m doing another challenge and one that is even closer to my heart than music.

A challenge for special needs bloggers, there are a lot of us about. Each sharing our experiences and wanting to raise a little bit more awareness and acceptance within – at times, a not very open – Society.

It’s also very timely for me as it’s my operation tomorrow so, I can schedule a few of the prompts in for the next few days.  If I don’t mention how my recovery is going, it’s not because there’s no update, it’s merely because the posts have been scheduled.

So, Day 1, the meaning behind my blog name.

When I first started blogging and tweeting, I was “bluecrisps”, anyone remember? Named after D’s favourite snack, cheese and onion Walkers crisps.

I’ll go all “Daily Fail” now and here’s a picture:


I loved D’s little interpretations for items:

Ketchup was “splot”

Quavers were “yellows”

Custard cream biscuits were “gold bars”

We still have a few:

The hair dryer is the “hair driver”

Our conservatory is the “observatory” – but really it’s our junk room

And 

Ready salted crisps are still “really salted”, which they are.

I enjoyed being Bluecrisps and my blog was a wordpress hosted one.  There then followed a change to self-hosted as AutismMumma, firstly with Overblog (not recommended) and then back with WordPress.

So, why the name change?  Well, when I first started blogging it was intermittent and it was a big change for me as I’d kept loads of notebooks where I’d scribbled whilst in teen angst but not really since.

I found that blogging helped me offload when my head felt bunged up with thoughts and I hoped that my experiences and thoughts as an SN parent may help others feel not so alone with their challenges and achievements.  Reading other people’s certainly helped me.

I blogged through D’s first few terms at SN school and then through T’s diagnosis of high-functioning autism when he was 10.  Truth be known we’d had an inkling for a few years that he was probably also on the spectrum but left it as he was “masking” a lot of emotions and “coping” in primary school.  

When it came to the possibility that his traits were starting to become more obvious and that support may be needed in secondary school, we felt a “label” might help him get any necessary support.  I’ll have a slightly hollow laugh here because secondary school haven’t taken any notice of his diagnosis at all and he does still mask an awful lot.  He gets home, sticks his headphones on and bounces on the balls of his feet.

Blogging has brought me some fantastic opportunities materially but the one big thing it’s given me is a feeling that I’m not alone, that fellow bloggers and SN parents understand.  

I’ve been very fortunate to meet a few bloggers in real life and hopefully next year – BAPs and feet permitting – I’ll meet some more.

Quite simply my blog name is me, AutismMumma.

Day 30! #30DayMusicChallenge 

By | August 20, 2017

I know I’ve taken over 30 consecutive days to complete this but it has been a lot of fun, in between raiding my memory bank for things I’d buried.


The last song(s) are ones I can really identify with:

“Read All About It” just speaks to me as a blogger.  I’m not a “look at me! Jazz hands!!” person, I think about things before I say them too much and kept my thoughts generally to myself or write them down/blog them out.

I’m not naturally an over-sharer and I’d rather hint at things than blurt them out.  I swear in my head with the occasional F-word but really hate seeing statuses that are full of swearing, it’s just not me but if it helps others get out what they want to say…

Blogging has also brought us opportunies and a chance to connect with other mums/dads/carers who “get” living with autism/special needs and the challenges it brings.  

There are a couple of groups where I know I can pop in and either want to cry or laugh and always get support, anytime.  Thanks ladies, you know who you are xx 

I hope I’m supportive too.

Because this is the final Music Challenge and it’s my operation tomorrow (Monday), one of two which will hopefully get me happier feet, I’m popping this video in too:

“Take A Chance To Become…Time To Be What You Believe In”

Fingers crossed I will.

Day 29 – 30 Day Music Challenge 

By | August 19, 2017

Today’s prompt is “A Song That You Remember From Your Childhood”.

I have to admit that I’ve thought and thought and thought a bit more about this and couldn’t remember any, which is sad really because we always have a music channel on here when there’s not a great deal on TV but hey ho.

So, I’m revisiting a song that will always remind me of T and D when they were babies.

This song must have been played and sung by me hundreds of times, if not thousands, it was the song that I’d softly sing to T just before he’d either nap or settle for the evening.

I remember having the twinges of labour with D (she was born the following lunchtime at home) and singing this song to T, knowing that in the next few hours he’d be a big brother at the grand old age of 18 months.

We had this song on VHS video too and took it on holiday with us in case T needed it, after checking there was definitely a video player on the apartment.

Such fantastic memories with this song, will always love it.

Which song would be your childhood/your children’s favourite? 

InstaLinkLove Week 50 #instalinklove 

By | August 19, 2017

Welcome to the fiftieth week of InstaLinkLove. 

The linky is with me for a while to enable Vicky to rest and enjoy her newly extended family life.

If you haven’t joined us before, then this is the easy-to-use linky which helps you get your Instagram posts a bit more interaction and interest. 

Thank you to everyone who linked up last week and welcome to those who are back for more and those who are first-timers.

This is a really straightforward, no stress (none of us need that in our lives!), easy to use linky. All you need to do is link up the URL from up to two of your most recent Instagram posts. I say most recent because this is better for interaction. 

All you need to do is find your Instagram account on-line, click on the photo that you want to link up, click on “share post” and then copy and paste the link to that specific page.

The only condition is that you go over and like everyone else who links up. 

Here’s my favourites from last week’s link-up:

Please remember the rules:

*You can link up to 2 images per Instagram Account per week. 

*Please remember to visit and “like” the other pictures linked up.

 

It would also be great if you could share your post with the linky on Instagram using the hashtag #instalinklove to help grow the community. 
 

Thanks and really looking forward to seeing what you’ve been up to on Instagram this week x  


Day 28 of 30 Day Music Challenge 

By | August 18, 2017

Today’s prompt is “A Song By An Artist Who’s Voice That You Love”.

Regular readers of my blog will know that I’m a fan of 80’s music and regularly feature these both on this challenge and in my posts.

I’ve decided to feature a song by two artists, Shakespeare’s Sister, Stay:

Yep, in true J-style, I’ve got to the last bit one day and only just found out how to put the actual video link in as opposed to a text link – as D would say “Mumma!”

Anyway if you haven’t heard this song before it’s a kind of good-versus-evil and the voices of the two singers reflect that too.  There’s the very angelic tones of Marcella Detroit (goodie) versus the really quite sinister Siobhan Fahey.   You wouldn’t think it but they really do complement it other in a wonderfully weird and wacky song.

Siobhan also does a rather spectacular eye roll near the end which always makes me laugh (teen goth that I was!) 


Whose singing voice do you love? 

Rugby – Our #WOTW 

By | August 18, 2017

It’s an unexpected word to sum up our week today, not a word I’d thought I’d use, being a pre-dominantly footie (well 50% anyway) family.

You might have thought my word would be hospital as I had a quite lengthy pre-op on Tuesday and because the first of my rectifying feet operations is on Monday, or Music as D has been singing and whistling a particular song for much of the week, when she’s not been talking about Rugby, that is.


ITV4 have been screening matches from the women’s World Cup and D has really got into it!

She asked to watch an England match and I thought “yay, new  experience” etc and she loved it.

I’ve had to (quickly) google answers to questions like “how long is each half”, “why is there a time in a yellow box under one country?”, “what’s a goal called?” and “what’s a scrum”?  She’s been very interested.

It’s also made her laugh as well when the players have been tackling each other, she’s called it “cat fighting” and it must be quite strange for her to see the players doing things that PE staff would have told her class not to do i.e. play nicely, don’t grab each other, don’t “fight” and definitely don’t run into each other on purpose.

D has always shied away from contact sports at school, especially if it’s an inter-house tournament with larger, older children playing against her but…..she said yesterday that she might…..just might…..like to give rugby a try sometime, although I imagine on the actual day it would make her extremely nervous.

I think I’ll have to look out if there are any local ladies teams that we can go and watch sometime, once my operations are over, that is.

How’s your week been? 

Day 27 – 30 Day Music Challenge 

By | August 17, 2017

I have to admit, I ground to a bit of a halt over the prompt for Day 27.


“A Song That Breaks Your Heart”

It took me to places that I didn’t particularly want to visit, those of being 17 and thinking I’d found “The One”, of suddenly becoming a single parent with a three year old 13 years later (not the same person, neither were “The Ones” obviously) and a song that reminds me of my grandparents dying within a year of each other, they were absolutely devoted to each other.

Not the best place to be when I’m already a bit “aaaargh” anyway!

So, I’m not featuring any of those, they can remain tightly locked away (until they unexpectedly pop up on a music channel), my choice is from this wonderful man:


Praying For Time is such a beautiful song and the announcement of George’s death late on Christmas evening 2016 was something that made me gasp, someone I’d grown up listening to (as had everyone), someone who’s voice had such a range and could write some pretty wonderful songs too.

It transpired after his death that he’d secretly donated money to really deserving causes too and, by all accounts, enjoyed a pretty secluded life in a village where people just let him be.  None of this “oooh get me in the magazines because I’ve met someone/had an argument/had lipo/broken wind” palaver.

There were so many songs of George’s to choose from for this.

I do have one as my album in the morning, it’s the opening lines from Fast Love, “Gotta get up to get down, gotta get up to get down” and it’s always a bit of a race to either turn it off or snooze before the lines “all that bullsh*t conversation” comes on.  

Do you have a favourite George Michael song?