Saturday, 13 December 2014

Things my two sons autism has taught me. top 20

Throughout my time as a dad to two autistic boys, both on different ends of the spectrum from each other. I have learned many things I never even thought about in my life. Some of these things are throw away lessons, others will stay with me through life. Food ranks highly in this list, and the small things are sometimes more important than the big things.
So here is a list of some of the things that my boys have taught me. :)

1 - Yellow Skittles are evil. And should be disposed of in the most dramatic of fashions (throwing them very far away seems to work)

2 - If the blankets aren't straight they wont be good enough to sleep on!

3 - If one light is turned on the house, then every over light shall be turned on as well (this also works in reverse, if one gets turned off, they all do)

4 - Starting a play tickle fight 10 mins before bed time is a BAD idea, and nobody will settle in their routine (but I'm a fun dad and this is sometimes beyond my own restraint lol)

5 - Couscous is a suitable breakfast, followed by jelly and six packs of prawn cocktail flavor crisps (who wouldn't go to school after that ready to learn and develop)

6 - Washing up bubbles feel great in your mouth (not my mouth)

7 - Communication is more than words (as Aidens nursery teacher said 'He has taught us to listen and share with our hearts)

8 - If in doubt? ask Connor, if he has an answer it is mostly correct.

9 - Catalogs make for fine reading (far superior to novels, or poems)

10 - the biological nature of eating a big meal does not affect my boys the way it does everybody else. Where we may need some time for a meal to digest, they are more than happy to spin, run and jump on a trampoline directly after a meal (sometimes whilst still chewing)

11 - sleep is for the lazy and weak.

12 - Cuteness and charm can and will get you out of many a sticky situation.

13 - Sitting in mud, sand, chalk, yogurt is all fine, But a spot of gravy or a crumb of bread on the plate where it is too near another food item BAD, very bad, run and scream bad, new dinner bad!

14 - It's not a 'mess' it is methodical placing of toys, cushions, and crockery.

15 - Changing agreed plans is bad, and should be dealt with in the ways of a high court. Fines are usually issued to the contract breakers.

16 - Be open to any and all people you meet, for the sooner they realize the boys are  running off a different program to us, the sooner they accept and embrace these quirks.

17 - The ability to be a permanent and never ending supplier of answers and amused responses. (you may have to laugh at one joke 42 times in a row, hey! they made a joke, this is big)

18 - Coffee is for adults for a reason!!!

19 - Never! watch a movie they have already seen before you (if you wanted to watch it for your own joy)

20 - Grow a beard! There's never any shaving foam left anyway!

Wednesday, 26 November 2014

I never thought I'd hear myself saying THAT!

Parents ALL find themselves saying the most obscure things out loud.
But parents of autistic children (of which I am one of those parents) They say the down right shocking and Insane things out loud! sometimes they are lucky to be at home when they say them, but sometimes they are out and about in 'public' when they realize 'what have i just said?'

Here is a list of some of the most crazy, shocking, hilarious things I have found myself saying out loud.

1- Who has eaten the new soap?

2- Why is there a Hippo in my shoe?

3- No! that is not your uncle, Its just a strange man with a beard, Get off his head!

4- Thomas the tank engine does not like it if you put your penis in his funnel!

5- Why Oh Why are you eating the wall?

6- Is that pooh or chocolate?.........Damn! I shouldn't have tasted it to check!

7-  Please don't rub your private parts on grandmas lap!

8- Why do you eat mud and sand, but refuse to eat fruit?

9- It's the hottest day of the year, Why are you wearing wellies and a hat?

10- Please get up off the floor, I'm sorry you are not allowed to eat mommy's lipstick!

11- No. roller skates on the trampoline is NOT a good idea!

12- We wear clothes on the trampoline in the garden. Yes, even underpants!

13- It's the middle of the night, Why are you being a teenage mutant ninja turtle?

14- Sure! you can have your dinner on 6 different plates, as long as you eat!

15- where has all the toilet roll gone? ......... Oh you wanted to be a mummy? that's nice, could you spare some arm bandage so can go to the toilet?

Thursday, 20 November 2014

The dreaded IEP meeting.

Today was Aidens IEP meeting at his school, As I was at work today, my wife had to take this challenge on all by herself <3
Here is 'In her words' how it went.

Mommy's report.

Today was Aiden's IEP meeting,  normally such things would be looked forward to, waiting to hear about Aidens areas of improvement and just what he would be working towards over the next few months.  This one was approached with a complete feeling of ' Oh crap ' from myself as he'd been well behaving like a mini beast over the past couple of weeks and their were areas of his behavior that needed to be addressed! Erghhhhhh.  It all went really well actually, feeling totally relieved now,   he is using his visual queue cards well,  ( OK well only the cards that show what food he wants ) But his using the cards and that's great from my point of view.  He needs to work on his ability to wait for the food to be produced as he is using the cards quite impatiently.  But patience has never being his strong point,  nor is easy for any child with autism.  I had to smile as they described just what a clever soul he is at heart as they described how out the class he is the only who manages to work out where they have hidden the keys to the cupboards and then sneak out all the hidden goodies from just anywhere they hide them.  They also were really pleased when I explained that his strange version of sneaking up behind you and resting his chin on the back of your head, and then rubbing your hair, was his version of affection and a kiss.  His teacher was really pleased with this as he only does it to two people and she was one of them.  She was a little shocked as she thought her hair was boring compared to some of the others there.  So her realising its not about the hair, its about the love, really made her day.  I guess all is forgiven, well at least for a week or so!

Wednesday, 5 November 2014

They don't give you a guide book for this!

When you start a family, everybody is full of advice and opinions. But the one thing they don't prepare you for is if your child is 'different'
In my case case it's that my second and third children have been diagnosed with AUTISM, they have a different diagnosis to each other, one is high functioning, the other is severe non verbal!
But this I say as a relative expert on the subject as I have done everything i can to research and study and live with these diagnosis!
The people who were there at the beginning with words of wisdom have now shrunk away and look to me as an 'icon' of wisdom? (why? because me and my wife have just accepted what we have, and have made the best of ours and our children's life x)

Everything we were told from the beginning has been banked in our memory banks, and occasionally used for 'real life' but the rest we have had to make up ourselves. These people and their advise has not been a bad thing, they meant well, and from the most honest part of the heart.

But to function as a parent to an autistic child!!! well that comes with no map, no plan, and no rule book!
We have to make this up as we go. and we also need to record our lives, as others need a reference point to judge their own life! and we need to feed from other parents for their advice, and suggestions.

Search the dictionary and 'autism' has 3 lines of definition???    What a joke! It needs at least 379 pages with room for expansion!

I don't even think that I could write a 'complete guide to autism' to help others, as I can only talk about my own personal experiences. and my story is not the same as the next person.
All I can do is share my life, and hopefully help one person to recognize and accept.

If I saw a book on the shelf titled 'Autism A-Z everything you need to know' I would just laugh and pass that by as a fiction novel!
Life and living with autism, or somebody with autism is the only true way to understand the differences and delicate way of coping with everyday mundane tasks.

But I do wish there was a more globally acceptance of the diagnosis as some see it as a 'stigma' or 'curse' or 'disease'  And it would be better for the people directly affected by autism for those around them to understand, and sympathize.

As a parent to autistic children, My heart and love goes out to EVERYBODY out there who are going through similar circumstances to me and my family xx

Tuesday, 4 November 2014

A surprise response

In my previous blog
 about how angry I was about hearing how people are so rude when they see children with autism acting out in public, TESCO supermarket contacted me to apologize and send their sincere concerns for what my son and wife had to go through in their store.
I did not write this blog to gain a response from TESCO, I wrote it to spread awareness of autism, and to stop the public stigma that it brings. But the supermarket has contacted me and offered to do something for my son. It is things like this that make you realize that the big chains have a heart and care about the customers.

Saturday, 1 November 2014

It will be all OK tomorrow. and other jokes we tell ourselves.

Parents to autistic children

To keep and maintain sanity we all tell ourselves little white lies daily.
here are just a few.

1- It's OK nobody saw that.

2- Just one more coffee and I'll be fine

3- They will sleep well after today's adventures

4- What stain on the carpet? I never saw that before?

5- This time! fruit will be eaten and not used as bouncy balls

6- If I clean the house now, it will stay tidy all day.

7- If we could just get them to eat what is put in front of them, then we can go to that really nice restaurant together.

8- Lets just get a babysitter!

9- this time next year everything will be sorted and all good.

10- It's the weekend, we can sleep in.

11- The neighbors can't hear whats going on.

12- Oh! the plan has changed. That won't be a problem?

13- Fruit jelly counts as one of your five a day.

14- It could be worse.

15- Yes, That is how I wanted it to happen.

Hey you! yeah you. keep your ignorant insults to yourself !!

When a mother and her severely autistic non verbal son go to the supermarket together to buy some household essentials, they DO NOT appreciate the horrible and offensive comments of total strangers!
So my son was 'acting out'.
So he was making loud noises.
So he was taking solace on the comfortable cold floor.
He was not! hurting you, himself, or anybody!
He was just expressing his current frame of disappointment, because they had no pink doughnuts on the freshly baked goods shelf! What?

But you. You self righteous opinionated bully! You thought the best thing to do would be to is to grunt and huff and say how disgusted you were. (in a volume so you knew you would be heard by others)
Well? You appear to me to be the type of person that needed more hugs as a child, but you didn't get them and you have forever spent your life spiting the world for your own insecurities.
If I was there with my wife and son I would have let you know just how inappropriate your attitude was! We live in an open world here, and differences are everywhere! It's selfish spite and hate in the people who see themselves as 'normal' that is whats wrong in the world. Take time to think, question and then, make an opinion!

My wife was hurt, upset and annoyed, by the words of this person.
My son was hurt, upset and annoyed by the fact they had no pink doughnuts.
My wife did not take it upon herself to loudly verbalize her disgust of the supermarket for not behaving in a 'normal' way for not having a fully stocked shelf.
But you took it upon yourself to loudly verbalize your disgust of my child's actions?
So ask yourself. Who was the person acting 'out of public decency?'

If you see or hear this happening when you are out and about, and you think that the parents of a challenging child, then feel free to jump in and say to the horrible people saying horrible things, 'Hey I think that's out of order, Can't you see they are looking after their child, they are doing a good job. And your words are just poison!'
These people need to understand that their opinions are worthless poison to the world!

On the other hand. If you are the parent of a child acting out, and you hear these offensive verbalization from the horrible people, then just ignore them or turn around, look at them in the eye and say 'What? Do you hate children? is that it? should I call the police because you are stupid?' (this I have used before, and it was fun to see them shrink away like a slug on salt)

Autism needs a voice. It needs understanding, and it needs accepting!

Monday, 20 October 2014

Wow. I can't believe what my son did today.

Having children on the autism spectrum, makes you see thing in a different way to others. 
My youngest son 'severe autism, non verbal' has taught  me to see improvements on a microscopic level, and still be as enthused as any other parent who sees there child who pass exams. 

Why, the other day I was doing the ironing. And Aiden was watching me and getting excited at what I was doing. I thought he was excited to see his uniform and he thought he was going to school, this was a cute interaction. 
But he next day he went into the kitchen, picked up the iron (with a sense of joy and pride in himself) then he went over to the pile of clothes on the chair in the dining room, and proceeded to straighten them out and push the iron backwards and forewards over the clothes. Then standing back to admire his work. Then in a moment of true love, he kisses the iron as it is his tool of perfection. (Thank god it was a cordless iron and wasn't on)

And another recent development I noticed (or should I say, noticed, and then told everybody I know)
I came home from work at 5 ish. Mommy said to me 'they have had there tea. But Aiden is not eating!' So I say 'come on Aiden, let's eat dinner' he looks at me, smiles,walks up to the table, picks up his plate, looks at me, walks to the kitchen, looks at me, the he tips his plate of dinner into the bin. 
Am I angry? Upset? Dissapointed?
I am SOOOO  proud of my son for doing the right thing with leftover food (yes I know, it wasn't exactly left over) 
And then he led my hand to the bread to make him some toast instead!

Never underestimate the power of non verbal communication. 

Sunday, 12 October 2014

Be creative

When dealing with autism, you find that you have to get more creative than you ever thought possible!
There is no limits to the times you need to try some other way or something new or something completely out there just to get an end result.

Dinner time
Getting dressed
Bath time
Potty training
Public outings
Hair cut
Social situations
Bed time
Change of routine
Doctors appointments

As long as you are aware that 'plan A' will most likely fail!! and you have at least 3 other options to try (sometimes more), then all will be fine in the end.................................... and by that I mean when you have calmed down from the stress of it all and can sit back and say

 'well, we got through that one!'
 'At least we know what to do next time'
 'It's OK we never liked that place, who wants to go back anyway?'
 'That was different'
 'Yes high fives all round, that was awesome'
 'open the wine! this day needs a drink'
 'Hahahahahahahahaaaaa did you see the look on there faces'
 'If anybody needs me, I'll be in bath, I think this has stained me down to the bone!'

Monday, 6 October 2014

The best BIG SISTER in the world!!!!!!

Keira. 8 years old.
She has to be the best big sister in the world EVER!
She has taken to her little brothers and how their autism has affected their development in life.
She has made me so proud of how she deals with the tantrums/outbursts/meltdowns! as if they were nothing. but also understanding the need and approach to deal with these situations!
She would make the best teacher, carer, support worker, mentor that anybody could ask for.
She has the knowledge and understanding to put into perspective what others need to go to school for 4 years to understand, she is so compassionate and delicate when explaining to people 'why her brothers do what they do' and she doesn't see it as anything other than what anybody else would do. It is just in her nature to see differences and not judge but just accept and move on and work with what you've got.

She occasionally needs some 'Keira time' and she understands this. She will come to me an say 'Daddy I think me and you need to go to the shops and get out for a bit, maybe sit on the bench and have a treat from the bakery'  (this is something I did for her when I noticed she wasn't herself) and she will sit there and let out steam of how frustrated she gets, and how she wishes she could fix it with a magic wand! We will talk things through and she will start to feel good about herself again.

She knows that her life is not the same as other children at school and she understands that we cannot do some things as a family that her friends do, but NEVER resents this. What she does is, take the things that we can do and see the positives in it. our day trips, our impromptu fancy dress party's, even the small things like  having a group hug on the sofa, or when her brothers are better behaved on a bus than the other naughty children.

She has even considered teaching special needs children when she grows up, because she know that she has the best understanding of special children that others 'just don't get'

I don't think that I could have wished for a more amazing, special, unique, caring, educated, loving, thoughtful, daughter!! I find it hard to remember she is still only 8 years old, she has the temperament of a grown up.

So when she asks for a 'special day' like an Alice in wonderland tea party, or a Medieval themed Saturday. me and Mommy will do our best to give her what she wants x (and so far we have done OK)

Friday, 3 October 2014

Real men cry

I am a man. I drink beer. I love sports. I have a beard and everything. 
But is not beneath me to shed a tear once in a while. And it should not be looked upon as a sign of weakness! We all do it, and it's healthy. I've cried at weddings, funerals, kneeling on Lego, and when Dumbos mom was taken away from him at the circus (Disney you b#%<>*<s) 
But becoming a dad has been the tear releasing juggernaut that I wasn't expecting, and having two of my children diagnosed on the ASD spectrum has added to the already emotional roller coaster that is parenthood. I see my boys developing at there own speed and have been taught how to look at things differently. 
I could write a list of the times I have been bought to tears but that would be too long (seriously it would go on for years) and I can't justify putting them into a top 10 (that would be unfair to the times that didn't make it) 
So you've got to believe me when I say "I cry for good and bad and funny reasons"
My children have made my heart swell with pride, work on a level I never thought possible, shrink with pain, stop with panic, and feel like the most lucky person on the planet. 
I look forward to tomorrow, I dream of the future and I treasure the past. 

Saturday, 27 September 2014

The things we don't want to tell people

Any parent of an autistic child will have the thought 'I can't tell people that' whether it's because it's embarrassing, taboo, disgusting, or just too damn private!
But things happen! and keeping it a secret can become a reason for depression or isolation, and I feel that some people may think it is only them that have to deal with certain things and that others will look down on them as parent's/people if other people found out what their child actually does! but in my life and social circles I have found that these 'things' happen to others, and it is such a relief to be able to talk to some who understands and doesn't judge. maybe if we were more open it would become easier to talk and thus creating a greater feeling of acceptance and involvement with the outside world.

I myself have no problems telling people what my boys have been up to. I tend to use humor to help the poor innocent non-knowing people, my tales of woe and disasters. As these innocents might not be strong enough to deal with the truth! and it in turn with humor it allows them to have some form of interaction with my stories. And it diffuses any potential pre-conceived ignorant ideas of what it is actually like to raise autistic children.
So here is a list of 'Taboo' subjects parents may feel uncomfortable to talk about.

1 - POOH. my son has a hatred of pooh, and whenever he does a pooh and we don't notice, he will try to remove it with his hands, and then he will try to get it off his hands, and then me and mommy have a lot of cleaning to do. clothes, carpets, walls.

2 - POTTY TRAINING. (see No 1 for consequences) my son is not yet potty trained at 5yrs old and shows no sign of improving any time soon, he wears a nappy almost 24/7. Get over it!! I'm not asking you to change him!

3 - DINNER TIME. hahaha this one is always a treat, we have to make up 3 different dinners for our children every day (and have a back up plan if plan A doesn't work) they eat at random speeds, anything from shoving everything in their mouth in one go (yes, better the wipes to clean up after this one) to placing every item off their plate into intricate patterns on the table, then walking away for a suspicious amount of time, only to come back later to eat everything. Not forgetting the 'DUCK flying potato' alarm!

4 - SPITTiNG. we have had to deal with this one on a random basis (thank god) as it is pretty disgusting, It seems that holding and swilling juice or phlegm in you'r mouth is a great thing! but what do they do when they have had enough fun? Yep! that's right, it just comes out, wherever they are whatever they are on. it gets even worse when they try to suck it back up! Oooh fun. speed and a keen eye is key to tackle this one.

5 - SPEECH. Both of my boys have had problems talking (connor can now talk, he started about 4/5) But Aiden is definitely non-verbal. strangers and new people we meet will say to him (innocently) 'hello, you look happy, whats your name?' and its up to me or mommy to tell them he cant talk! They mostly reply with 'oh I'm sorry' Sorry? what for? you didn't do it to him! It's just him, like he has blonde hair or blue eyes, nothing for them to be sorry about, we can communicate n a way that we can mostly understand. It's o.k.

6 - TANTRUMS. They happen. and we know how to deal with them(ish) They can happen anywhere, and They can be BIG, but we learn from the triggers and try to not let that situation happen again, especially in public places where it can get dangerous. Who gives a f&*k what other people say to each other and stare in awe as to how awesome I am as a parent when I get the situation under control, and do not turn to the ways of 'bad parent's' by hitting and swearing at my child like I hate them and only have them for the money! (yes  just had a dig at those unworthy parent's)

7 - SCHOOL BUS. Aiden gets picked up and dropped off outside our house every week day of the school term time. This is a blessing not a stigma!

8 - RUBBING. erm? well? oh? ah?.........this is probably my most feared public display of sensory exploration! as it can't be seen in any other way than my son is 'spanking the monkey' but he does this outside of his clothing, and not the way that teenage boys do! He is only creating a physical sensation to himself when he gets bored, irritated by an uncomfortable nappy, or lack of other stimulation's. It makes everybody feel uncomfortable who witness it, and he gets very angry when we stop him (he doesn't understand why it is wrong) as he is only trying to feel something that he can identify with, The things we do to distract him from this are, dancing, singing his favorite songs (that involve holding his hands for actions) and just offering another type of physical stimuli.

9 - MY HOUSE. My house has been adapted to make my children safe and secure. Yes all of my doors upstairs have locks on them! after you have stopped the bathroom from flooding the entire house and caught you'r child from hanging out of the window by his ankles, and removed toys and teddies from the toilet, then you can say that is an extreme and oppressive way of home management!
Also, my carpets are stained, the wallpaper is missing pieces, and I don't have shiny ornaments on display!! But it is clean (unless you come at that perfectly timed moment that everybody seems to)

10 - MANNERS. As much as you try to teach you'r child manners, when it comes to situations like visitors coming into you'r house, they will go straight for the 'What have you got for me? and give it me now!'
And Connor has the 'The truth is the truth' way of life, like the time he went up to a complete stranger and told him "you'r belly is fat" and "that woman has a beard! is she a man?" these situations make you want to curl into a ball and disappear, but let's face it. It's only the boundaries of society that stop us from saying exactly what we really want to, and given half the chance we would!

Wednesday, 24 September 2014

Thank you x

Throughout the life of a parent raising an autistic child, The support network around them can be the most helpful and inspirational people in the world. Be they family, friends or professional, And they sometimes don't even know how important they have been, so now is the time that I give those people their own recognition for the support and help they have given me and my family.

1 - Grandma x for being the only person who can take ALL 3 children away from us for overnight sleepovers, and her unconditional, never judgmental grandma love for her grandchildren.

1 - Nanny and Grandad x  For taking the children on days out and making their time fun. and for the efforts in trying to understand a new way of looking at life with autism.

1 - Joel x For taking my boys way of life and turning into an excuse to spin them up in the air and play the fool every time he visits.

1 - Katie and Anthony x For being the Auntie and Uncle that never treat my children in any other way than loved, and never judging the differences.

1 - Thomas and Fiona and girls x For welcoming and accepting and getting on the trampoline to act the fools like nobody cares.

1 - Tina and Michael and Jamie x For listening to me and then acting upon my words to do what they can to help and support. for coming up with ideas to help my boys.

1 - West Heath Nursery and ALL the staff x for being the unrelenting machine of power, who helped us put through Aidens diagnosis when the doctors showed no interest in our opinion, and for going out of there way every day in their attempts to teach themselves about autism and how they worked with the other children and families. And how they put themselves out to help out Aden when he didn't have a school to move to, when they opened their doors for him to stay on longer than they had to, And for the love and care they showed me and my wife constantly. And for meeting with Sue the head mistress dressed as a giant cat (it was for themed day, and made a few giggles) And........ you name it, they did it Awesome praise for this nursery.

1 - Tesco cashier ladies x who never once questioned when we said "and this mostly eaten pink frosted doughnut" at the checkout.

1 - Parents at the school x for those who ask questions, and those who have helped out on school outings.

1 - Charley x a boy in my daughters class who helped the other children just accept the differences as if its nothing.

1 - Keira x my daughter, for being the best big sister any parent could hope for, her love and understanding of her brothers makes me so proud I cry.

1 - Miss Foster x For taking the time to understand and be pro active when it comes to helping Connor through his emotional struggles at school.

1 - Miss Yeoman, Coach Richard x for being the extra support Connor has needed and the individual approach they have took to work with him on a personal level.

1 - Miss Callow x for Being Connors favorite teacher and pushing him into the academic side of schooling.

1 - Friends - Emma, Rhiannon, Mark, Nick, Sam, Dib, Ian, Alan, Jo, Shane, Bex, For helping us find the humor when we tell of how disastrous our days have been.

1 - Hayley x for being a co' autism mother and sharing stories of joy and woe, and letting us know that whenever we need to vent, she is more than ready to listen and share.

1 - School bus ladies x for being there every morning to welcome Aiden on, and for every afternoon when they see him off safely.

1 - Facebook friends x for enjoying my stories and contributing there own tales of life with autism.

Thank you all x

Friday, 19 September 2014

Keeping the peace.

Autism has brought about a level of stress and frustration to my household that I never thought possible when me and my wife first had the discussion of 'making babies' but we went ahead and did what lovers do, 3 children later.
We had no idea that our second and third children would be on the spectrum (we didn't even really know what 'the spectrum' was at that time....we do now)
So time is moving on and we notice that the things we thought we'd be doing as a couple/family has not exactly met our expectations. But throughout the development and discovery of our two boys ASD diagnosis and the understanding of how they are, We have adapted our relationship with each other to both care for the children and each other.
We have made some changes in ideas, and compromised what is decent alone time.
Throughout all the struggles and stresses we have remained a very loving partnership (arguments over who's turn it is to get up at 02;35 to try and settle down our son don't count)

This is a list of some things that I think have helped me and my wife maintain a loving (romantic..ish) life.

1. Expectation - Whatever you think you wanted from a romantic night together with your partner, forget it, and just enjoy the fact that you're not on clean up duty (even if you are just watching crap tv together on the sofa)

2. Alone time - unless your children are at school or 'definitely' sleeping in bed, then don't even bother. But if they are then this is the perfect time for you as a couple to do what you've been dreaming all week for.....NOTHING and that's fine.

3. Onesies -  Not a personal favourite of mine, but at the end of a day fighting and battling with getting dressed, and dinner, and ignoring stupid comments from strangers, This is what she needs to feel 'Aaahh relaxed and happy'

4. Compliments - no matter how small or insignificant you think things might be, Always say to them how well they did and how proud you are of them for doing it. i;e I love the way you managed to clean that one corner today, or, Thank you for letting me sleep in today. (the big compliments will be better received when you notice the little things)

5. Effort - even if all it is a touch of eye liner and wearing matching socks! these are the things that let you know they are not dressing for the kids.and should not go unnoticed!

6. Conversation - anything that can not involve autism is a winner (we recently had an amazing sharing of minds over the best recipe for cottage pie) It may seem silly, but it let's you know that that you're still human.

7. Taking turns - Set down a basic rule that taking turns is natural thus avoiding the 'It's your turn' battle. Fair is fair.

8. Baby sitters - A mystery to most parents of autistic children, But if you find that ONE person who you can call upon (Grandma, sister, friend, whoever) then this should be treated as a special occasion indeed. this where you can go out, or maybe just know that you both can sleep in.

9. Humour - Finding the funny side of your day is probably the most important thing to stop you both from gong insane.

10. SEX - yes, you read it right, It doesn't matter if it's a middle of the night silent entanglement or an all out screaming shouting (the kids are asleep aren't they) letting go of tensions. this probably the thing that lets couples know that they are more than just parents, and that they are in fact lovers in a relationship with each other. and that they still enjoy each over for them! and not just for what they are as parents.

(this list may be adapted for all parents, but for my experiences it is the way I maintain my loving relationship with my wife and balancing that with raising autistic children)

Friday, 12 September 2014

Autism and the evolution of housework phrases.

As a parent raising autistic children my life has changed and so has my view on certain things.
Here is a list of autism parent views on housework.

1. Hey that's nice and clean.

2. I'll pick that up in a minute

3. That can wait till after dinner.

4. Where did all that come from?

5. Get the bin bag!

6. I'll face that in the morning

7. Wheres the bleach?

8. Nope, we'll just have to buy a new one.

9. Your turn, I did it last.

10. I only just cleaned that 2 minutes ago!

11. Who left the soap powder on the low shelf?

12. What is that?    No don't tell me I'd rather not know.

13. This is a two man job

14. Please don't move, touch anything, breathe, we've got guests coming in 5 minutes........crap! you moved!

15. Lets just move to a new house.

Saturday, 6 September 2014

My autistic son will probably never leave home

There are things in a parents life that they take for granted.
Some of those is that their children will grow up, get educated, get a job, and move out!

But I have come to terms with the fact my son will probably never 'leave home'
At the moment he is 5 years old severely autistic, non verbal, and behind in most of his developments, He needs 24/7 support and care. He is Hyposensetive and demands large amounts of physical stimulation to get any form of satisfaction.
Jumping, on beds, on trampolines, on me
Dancing (mostly by being held and bounced)
Tickling (hard enough to bruise any other child)
Eating (everything from ice cream to mud)
Making loud noises

He has no concept of personal safety, And this makes the outside world (also the safety of home) a very dangerous place. He will try to touch flames, swallow what looks interesting, climb up anything, run and chase something that catches his eye (cats, sweet wrappers people etc) when upset, he will fall to the floor and roll screaming (this has happened on a main road before)
He is very loving to me and his immediate family, He will hold our hands when out, and be led safely.
He feels safe with people he trusts and knows, but he can also take a shine to strangers he see's as safe! (this is a bit worrying)
He thrives on routine, and if that routine is broken then chaos will ensue, e;g If his school bus is 2 mins late, he will scream and shout and run up and down the lounge, banging himself into walls and windows to show he is distressed! (this has made our patio doors very wobbly and in need of replacing)

All of this and many more incidents have made me and my wife have the discussion 'what will we do if he never improves?'
This was a short and easy question to answer.
We both agree that, He's our son, we love him and we will always be there and do what is needed for him, The thought of putting him into care is something we both are against (even as he grows older and gets stronger) We will just adapt to his needs as they come. We have looked and researched as much about autism as we can, but living through it has been more educational than any book can be. And from what we've researched the only conclusion is that he will be better off living with us (forever)
I have long since thrown away the ideas of a relaxed retirement and am now planning for how best to serve my sons needs. I see articles from parents saying how hard it is to let their child go, but I could not see myself doing this (yes I know, things will get harder, but my stubborn mindset is fixed)
I have seen too many horror stories in the news about vulnerable people in care for me to feel even slightly convinced that they will be able to offer a better life for my son. I may be over protective, naive, and scared. But, that is how i feel and my determination to be the best parent to my children that they deserve only leads me to this conclusion!
I am and always will be a 'family is important' man. I will do anything to keep my family happy.
I have thought about and planned for the worse case scenario, and if that doesn't happen then I will be thrilled. The future of my son is not yet written and he could take massive leaps forward, but if he doesn't then I am ready! I will always be ready, for that's my mantra.

Friday, 29 August 2014

Autism From A Dads Eye View. blog day 1

Being a father to 3 children s hard work. When 2 of those children are diagnosed with ASD then life gets tougher.
My 2 boys have different diagnosis to each other. One is high functioning, high levels of intelligence and vocal range, though lacking in social awareness and lack of emotional control. The second is severe non-verbal hypo sensitive and very demanding in one to one care.
I will be posting blogs about my life and the events that shape me as a dad to autistic children. Some funny, some sad and some awkward.
I have no problems talking about Autism and the things that come with that life.