How to help my child with Autism, make friends. “Mummy, ask Arthur if he likes me”

You don’t need me to tell you that friendships are so important. Friendships formed between anyone on the Spectrum, are particularly important and need to be nurtured. My biggest fear for my son is that he be bullied. This thought terrifies me. At the moment he is doing ok socially, he has a few regular friends, one best friend and even a girlfriend. Apparently she kisses him daily , takes his coat for him , seeks him out at play time and she is going to marry him .So he tells me.

He’s been invited to birthday parties . I remember his first party invitation . I was so happy I wanted to open the champagne. These things matter but they matter tremendously when your a parent of a special needs child.

Knowing that he has friends and is included in activities, makes me so happy and warm inside. I feel happy to leave him at school in the morning, knowing he will have a day forming meaningful relationships and not being left out. 

For some parents I guess school drop off can be extremely traumatic and I sympathise with those parents and children. I know I am blessed that my boy has friends but I do worry as he gets older , how he will fit in and will he still be able to form friendships. I worry how he will cope with social boundaries. At present he likes to stroke hair and will approach random people and play with their hair. Most people think its cute but I don,t think he will get away with this behaviour when he is an adult. 

As he gets older the gap between him and his peers may grow bigger and that worries me. At present they are 8 year old boys who share similar interests, playing dens, tag and football but as they grow into teenagers and develop opinions and complicated emotions , how will that work out for my boy. Where will he fit in. Will he cope. Will he be accepted for who he is. Where will he fit into society.  I worry about this all the time.

I will try my hardest to protect him from bad experiences but I also have to cut the apron strings and allow him to experience real life and learn how to deal with it for himself. It’s going to be a difficult task but I will try my best.

My son has a good friend at school. They have been friends since infants. They have regular play dates and cinema dates together and I have explained to my son that he is very lucky to have a friend like this. I try to nurture this friendship as much as I can, for my son, although he seems to be doing a pretty good job himself. This friend will protect my son from any of the other children that may be nasty or try to hurt my boy. This boy has got into trouble himself by protecting my boy. That kind of friendship is very special. I hope they remain friends for a long time. These are the friends we need to protect against the bullies. 

I have been volunteering at my sons school, in his class, and I remember the first time I met another little boy in my sons class. His name is Arthur. He too is on the spectrum. One day while at school my son asked me if I could ask Arthur if he likes him.  So I did. The reply was “I don’t want to be mean or anything, but no, not really”. When I asked why he replied, “I don’t get him. He likes balloons and I like lego”. I explained to Arthur that my son likes lego too, and ever since that day they have been close friends. Arthur will come for dinner regularly and my son will have play dates at his house. Its lovely to see. And they even share a love of balloons now too.

 The only problems we have encountered are that my son doesn’t seem to understand that it is ok for Arthur to be friends with the other children too. We will have to work on that. 

Another boy in my sons class, hates being touched and my son is the opposite. Very tactile. These two boys have to be supervised and often seperated during play time. There have been bites and harsh words exchanged, but learning that other people are not the same as us, is part of the rich tapestry of life and something we all learn as we develop. Children with Autism are no exception. 

In my quest to help my son form meaningful relationships and friendships, I have come across some useful resources that you may want to have a look at too. If you purchase through my links I may receive a small amount of commission but at no extra cost to you. 

Click on the images to view the books in more detail. 

One thing I have noticed about my son is his ability to form close bonds with people of all ages. He is quite happy to play with a two year old toddler but is equally happy to spend time with adults. He is very close to two of my best friends and is happy to spend time with them. 

Click on the image for more details about this book. 

In my experience the best way to help your child with Autism to make friends and keep them, is to ensure they understand the importance of friends. Create visuals or social stories to educate them in correct social conduct and maybe look at their interests and hobbies and find a club or after school activity that caters for that interest. This will give them a greater chance of meeting like minded children. Once they have formed friendships, continue to nurture these relationships by having regular play dates and dinner dates. 

Thankyou for reading and please do comment and share. 

 

 

โ€œHey Siri, call the policeโ€

How do you feel about our children and technology? I am unsure of when to allow my son to have a phone of his own, for example. A part of me thinks he should have one now, with my number set on speed dial in case of an emergency, and the other part of me thinks its too soon, to introduce him to the world of having a mobile. I am not sure if my son is able to distinguish , at this point, the difference between an emergency and a non emergency situation. I am confident he would ring me up just to say his balloon had a big dummy head, or ask how many yes schools there are until Jack comes for dinner.

I like the fact that my son has not yet discovered video games, and the internet (apart from you tube). I like the fact that he would still rather play in the garden or at the park with his football, than play a game on a mobile or have his own social media account. There are plenty of his friends his age that already have their own facebook account. I am not sure how I feel about that.

Its amazing how he knows how to use my mobile and the tablet, as if it is his own. He knows the password. I have to ask him if i can use my own phone, and if someone calls me when he is using it, he will just hang up on them. Sound familiar? At this point however, he is only interested in watching videos of balloons on you tube.Its actually suprising how many videos there are of people just blowing up balloons and letting them go again, and probably making quite a bit of money from it. I definately need to re evaluate my money making strategy.

Like many of you, I am unsure on what the boundaries should be with regards to screen time. Although I realise that too much is probably not a good idea, ironically, the tablet calms him down and offers me some respite. While I try to limit the amount of time he watches his tablet, I do enjoy the quiet time I get and I can’t pretend that I don,t.

Films seem to calm him down too. He will quite happily sit and watch a film from the beginning to the end. Ordinarily this would not seem such a big deal, but when dealing with a child on the spectrum, this is a big deal. As parents, we try anything to keep our children happy while also having as less stress as possible ourselves. I cannot open a bottle of Merlot at 10am, so a film on the tablet is a good substitute. The only problem I find is that we need to watch the same movie over and over again. He will become fixated with that film for a while then move onto something else. First it was Moanna, then Minions and at the moment it is a choice between Horrid Henry, Matilda or the Chipmunks. I am more familiar with Alvin, Simon and Theodore, than I am anything else. And as for the dialogue ! Well me and my son can recite nearly the whole dialogue for all those films. Its like living in Groundhog Day, every day. Its like living in Groundhog Day every day . Its like living in Groundhog Day every day . Sorry ….. I couldn’t resist.

Today we went to the cinema (as we quite often do) to see, The Secret Life of Pets 2. It was very good, I would recommend it. My son laughed so much. I love hearing his laugh, its the most beautiful sound. Anyway, before the film came on, there was an advert that used the characters of the film, I think it was an advert for Sky. When the advert had finished my son announced that the film had finished and it was time to go home. Its the shortest film I have ever been to. It made a few people smile. He often makes people smile with his comments.

Sometimes I worry that he offends people though. After the film we went to the toilet. My son used to be very scared of hand driers. This seems to be a little more under control now, however every so often it rears its ugly head and today was one of those occasions. Sat in the cubicle, a lady outside decided to use the hand drier. My son blocked his ears and then announced very loudly, when she had finished , “Mummy, I hate that lady, why is she using the hand drier, I hate her”. My apologies to anyone that he has offended or insulted over the years. She is not the first and she definately will not be the last.

Autistic children are extremely honest. Up until recently I had never had my eyelashes done. I have always prefered the more natural look. Anyway my friend runs an eye lash business. Emmy at BeautyxBegins. I would recommend her, she does a fantastic job with eye lash extensions. Have a look for her on Facebook and Instagram. Anyway back to the point, she did my eyelashes for me and well I fell in love with my new lashes immediately. Well , so did my boy, it would seem. A couple of weeks later, I decided to have them off to give my natural eyelashes a break. I think this is a myth however, as I dont think they damage your natural lashes at all, but anyway, I decided to have them off for a little while.

When my son saw me without my lashes he cried and said I looked like a teacher? Not sure what he meant but thats what he said. The next morning when I woke up he took one look at me and said “Mummy, I dont like you like that, change your face, you look scary”. I think I will need to get the lashes back on soon.

Siri and Google are so fed up of my son in our house. Google gets told โ€œPoo Pooโ€ followed by a lot of laughter. Poor Siri gets asked a lot of questions to which she does not know the answer. Yesterday , my son told Siri to call the police , which she did! Oh well at least he knows what to do in an emergency situation. Sorry police ๐Ÿ‘ฎโ€โ™€๏ธ

Literal thinking . โ€œYou donโ€™t need to go to work mummy, I have money in my money boxโ€

Literal thinking is a common trait in Autism. The other day my son was trying to tell me something. “Spit it out” I said, and he did just that. He spat on the ground. How could I be annoyed at that. He just did as I asked .

There have been lots of times when he has made me laugh out loud because he thinks so literally.

One day he asked me why do i go to work. To make money, I explained. “But I have money in my money box mummy, so you dont need to work” he replied.

His concept of time is interesting too. Quite often when he asks if we can do something, if i say , in a minute, he’ll get upset and say “No today!” And if I ask him to โ€œgiveโ€ me a minute , well that just opens a whole new can of worms.

His new response to everything i say is โ€œWhy not?โ€. This started a few weeks ago when he asked me for a chocolate biscuit. โ€œWhy not โ€œ I exclaimed, to which he then had a meltdown about as he thought I was saying NO .

When I explained to him that โ€œWhy notโ€ actually means โ€œyesโ€ he was delighted and now it his response to everything. Darling finish your peas, โ€œWhy notโ€. Darling clean your teeth please.โ€Why not โ€œ. Darling would you like some juice, โ€œWhy not โ€œ. As usual it makes me smile. I wish his response to darling itโ€™s bedtime, was โ€œWhy notโ€ as opposed to โ€œJust go mummy , get your shoes and go , Iโ€™m not talking to you โ€œ. Bless ๐ŸŽˆ๐ŸŽˆ

“Think”happy and you will be happy. The power of visualisation and the promise of the universe , to each one of us.

As busy mums to children with special needs, it is no suprising that many of us get low moods, feel stressed and maybe even get depressed at times. It can be a very lonely and isolated existence. Actually I am going to re phrase that and say it can feel like a lonely and isolated existence. This is no different for mums and dads of neuro typical children however with children that have special needs, its a time consuming and often exhausting job, however also the most rewarding. Lets look at our situations with a glass half full mindset and we will see we are the most blessed people. My son seems to be a happy soul and embrace life with all its ups and downs, and trials and tribulations. He is always happy and smiling and his positive attitude is an inspiration to me. I aspire to be like my son. Hows that for a confession.

Yesterday , he asked me for a 4 foot balloon from the internet. I explained to him that I have no money. His response was that he had some money in his bank account. I then explained to him that he didnt have enough money for the balloon that he wanted. I explained to him that if he did some jobs around the house to help mummy, he would get some more pocket money and then he could save this up and get the balloon he wanted. His response to this was that he will come home from school, help me with some jobs , then I will give him the money he needs for his balloon! That is a positive mindset right there, either that or the work of a very manipulative mind ? Lets be honest, he has me wrapped right round his little finger and he knows it.

Even during an emotional crisis, my son is able to focus on the positives. I,ll ask him is he happy or sad and the majority of the time he will say he’s happy. Even if he has had a boring day, I will ask him are you bored or happy, and his reply will be “I am happy”.

The laws of the universe teach us that what we desire , manifests into our reality and that we actually have, within each of us , the power to create our own reality, based on our thoughts and desires. Children wake up early each morning with an excitement for the day ahead and a zest for life that is beautiful. They have hearts full of desires for the day that usually come true. It is only through our experiences in life and material problems, that as adults, we lose that zest and carefree feeling that our children have. Maybe we all need to be more like our free spirited children, see them as our role models, see the world through their eyes. I try to do that with my son, and my world is a much happier place because of it. They have a desire for life and fun and they focus on that with no exception. They have a desire to be loved . These desires for them, come into fruition because they are not resistant to letting the desires become reality. As adults we become more resistant to realising our dreams and desires, but why ? Why cant we live our lives as carefree as we once did.

My son is very good at making his desires and wishes come true. If he wants a balloon from the internet, he will repeatedly ask me again and again until I say yes. If i say maybe , he will answer “that means no mummy, say yes!”. I dont know if he gets his own way because the universe is giving him what he desires, or if its because he is bossy and mummy is gullible, but whichever it is, the outcome is always the same. He gets what his heart desires.

As we get older, we do have more responsibilites , but it doesn,t mean we cannot enjoy our life and our children. So go and get a football, tennis racket, bike , balloon, crayons or whatever it is that your child enjoys, and have fun together. Try to find the positives in each and every day, because in doing so , more positives will emerge. Happiness really does come from within.

5 ways to become a more relaxed, Special Needs Mum.

As mums I think we always question ourselves . Are we doing enough ? Could we do more ? Are we a good mum ? As special needs mums, this is no exception and is probably even more prevalent. I have come up with a list of 5 things I believe are important to make us better mums. I am not an expert , merely a mum myself , but I hope this post will help.

1. Exercise and make time for yourself.

I have put this as number one as I believe that as mums we need to look after ourselves as much as we look after our children. I know as mums we must put our children first and we do , however I think self care should be just as much of a priority. After all if we are not mentally and physically well , how are we going to be able to take care of our young ones. This is especially the case when parenting special needs children. This can be an exhausting job and it’s important that as mums we find the time to rest.

I’m not suggesting that if your child is hungry and needs a meal that you prioritise your sleep over that and take a nap while your child stays hungry, I just believe that we should all make time to rest. Easier said than done , I know , but this is where we need to ask for help ! There is nothing wrong with asking for help. It does not make us weak or a failure , it makes us responsible and caring mothers .

Exercise is a fantastic natural anti depressant and is a great mood lifter. I regularly run or walk and i find it really helps to make me a happier person and that’s what our children need , a happy mum and happy parents.

Hobbies are also a great way of relaxing and taking time away from being a mum. If your anything like me, you feel guilty when you indulge in a hobby but we need to remember that while we are mums, and yes that is the best job in the whole world, we are also individual women with our own interests and yes, that is allowed.

2. Stop criticising yourself and comparing yourself to other mums.

Its too easy to compare the way we bring up our children, with other mums. However what we need to remember, especially as parents of special needs kids, is that each of our children are individual, with their very own unique needs. No one knows better than you, how to raise your child. I think too often we forget that and critisize ourselves, when really we are doing a fantastic job. If your child is happy ,fed and regularly gives you hugs (if they are able to)  then you are doing a pretty amazing job.

We also need to stop letting others judgement of us, effect us. Nobody knows what you go through day in day out as a special needs parent, so nobody has the right to judge you. Next time your little one has a meltdown in public and some snotty nosed mum gives you a look, just ignore it and know that what you are doing is right for you and your child. The chances are that person judging you, has no idea what your daily life involves.

3. Learn to ask for and accept help.

Accepting some help when you need it, is not a sign of weakness or failure. It actually makes you a responsible and mature mother. If you are lucky enough to have family around, then embrace that and accept help when its offered and ask for help when its needed. And, dont feel guilty about it. Its benefitial for children to form relationships with other members of the family. If you worry they dont know how to look after your child properly, remember that they themselves have likely raised children at some point and they might actually be a great resource for you. You can always show them the ropes and once it becomes a routine, it will get easier for everyone. Learn to accept the help now and in the future it will become easier.

If your not fortunate enough to have family local to you, then find out about local support groups and services available to you. Every county has provision for special needs and particuarly if your child has an Education and Health Care Plan (EHCP) you will most likely be entitled to a lot more than you might realise.I myself need to look into this as unfortunately my family are not local.

4. Make time to listen, play and communicate with your child. Daily. 

This might sound patronising to some, but its not intended in that way, but is is suprising how many parents I see at the park or out with their children, that are glued to their mobile phones. I too am guilty of doing this at times, I am far from perfect, but what I try to do every day and I believe we should all do to make us better parents, is to actually put the phone away and engage with our little ones. Listen to what they are saying, its important, and if thay cannot talk, listen to what they are trying to say with other means of communication. Whatever our children have to say, it matters. Its the most important thing you will hear today. Listening to them, teaches them that they are worth listening to, and what they say matters and this will build their self esteem and confidence. I believe this to be true for all children but particuarly special needs children, as they are often more vulnerable to mental health problems later on in life.

Ok so we are all busy and I get that we cannot sit and play with our children all day, every day. If we can sit with our children for a little bit daily, and engage with them and whatever activity they are doing, this will benefit them and us greatly. I think we need to remember that they won,t be little for long and they grow up fast so we need to cherish these little moments while we can. Reading to my son is something we enjoy together daily. Its a time when we can talk about the day too and practice some reading and listening skills. Each child is different and their needs vary but whatever play time consists of for your child, just join in for a little part of it, each day.

5. Routine and consistency.

Again I think most children thrive with a routine but I think its important more than ever with special needs children. My son likes to know whats going to happen next and if that changes he will become very distressed. He likes to know what to expect and this is where routine and consistency work. Its imporant to let them know that plans do change however and that life can be unpredictable but where possible i think having a routine creates a calmer home environment. Again all children require a different routine and level of consistency when following that routine so only you can know what your child needs.

Of course you can always ask for feedback on your parenting skills, right from the horse’s mouth. Ask your child. I ask my son if i am a good mummy, most days. If he is angry with me he will say no I am a bad mummy, I am like Miss Trunchbull. But if he is happy with me, he will say I am a good mummy, I am like Miss Honey. For those of you familiar with Matilda, you will know who he is referring to.

As i said before, I am not an expert and I am far from perfect but in this post I have just shared what I believe will help, and what I myself have found helps me and my son. If I have helped even one mum feel a bit better today, then I have achieved what I wanted. Please feel free to comment and share your tips for being a better mum, as I dont know about you, but I am always wondering, is there more I could do? Am I enough ?

Thankyou for reading and if you think it will help please click on the share icon at the bottom.

Maths and English? No I want to dance. Naked.

So how many of you struggle to get your little ones to sit and learn ? Personally I struggle to get my son away from his balloons or watching balloon videos on you tube.I do try, daily , to sit with him and work through some work books that we have, Maths and English. He’s aged 8 but currently we are working on age 3-5 Maths and English.

The problem is his attention span is very poor. He has an excellent memory. He will remember that a week and 2 days ago I promised him a caramel slice from Costa but getting him to pay attention in the short term is rather like pulling teeth. How many of you can relate to this and what is the solution ?

Much like worrying how he will cope when he is older, I also worry will he know sufficient information to be able to get a job , will he be able to cook a meal , read a book , fill out application forms or even read a shopping list. Although I suspect that won’t matter as he loves pot noodles so would more than likely live on those , specifically the green ones , not the yellow ones or the brown ones , only the green ones. He also likes Mattesons chicken bites and of course the all time autism favourite , chicken nuggets.

My only ambition for my son is that he is happy and not lonely. I want him to get a job , meet someone and be happy. This is my dream so if that happens I’ll be a very happy mummy. I would like him to have independence but if he needs to live with me forever, this is also ok for me. Up until the balloon obsession he wanted to be a bus driver but now he wants to make animal balloons and work with mummy at the airport.

While I know that he is not at the academic level of some of his peers, I am incredibly proud of his progress. It’s important not to compare our little miracles with other neurotypical children , as they will shine when it’s their time. As long as progress is being made that is the most important thing. Every day when I pick my son up from school I ask him what he has learnt that day , the answer is always the same. I learn’t the letter “e “.

He’s always played with Jack , ate all his lunch and learnt e. His teacher has always had crisps and a ham sandwich for lunch.

We work around the attention span issue by using egg timers and dedicating little chunks of time to learning . Egg timers are very useful as they are visual.

Another little hurdle we often encounter is the literal thinking . So for example if the activity is to find the letter “a” in the words , he will circle the big letter “a” at the top of the page . Technically he is not wrong but he is not right either.

As a mother I constantly feel like I could or should be doing more to help him , but I guess we all feel a little bit like that ? I am doing my best and I hope that is enough.

The other morning we were singing the alphabet song together when he asked me where the f###ing “p” was ? Oh well , another day , another experience . At least he can say the alphabet.

So tonight I’ve tried to get my son to do some work with me but he only wants to talk about going to Bournemouth. He keeps asking me the same question over and over again about when are we going to Bournemouth . It is his favourite place, because of the beach . I want to do some work with him , he has told me he wants to sell me and get a new mummy !?.

Then he decided to shout in my ear , which I have told him not to do as it makes my ear drum tickle but he thinks this is hilarious. I told him not to do it and his response is he’s not talking to me , to which I replied “Ok”.

“Why you saying ok ,mummy?”

Me: “Because you don’t want to talk to me”

“That’s not cool mummy, this is bullshit”

Me: ” Why are you saying that ”

“Iron man said it at the cinema”

Then he decided to take his clothes off. He seems to do this a lot. He likes to be naked. For some reason though he has decided he also wants to dance and sing to “Gangnam style” . I cannot un see what I have just seen , but he makes me smile and most importantly he’s happy.

Oh well , I’ll try with the learning again tomorrow. Thank you for reading ๐ŸŽˆ๐ŸŽˆ.

Autism Siblings or only child โ€œWhen I was born, did I come out of your feet? “

At the moment i am questioning my sons future and worrying about how he will cope when he is an adult. I am sure this is one of the main concerns of all parents and especially the parents of autistic children. Being an only child myself, i constantly ask myself would my son benefit from having a brother or sister. To be honest i worry , if I have another child , that it will negatively affect the relationship i already have with my son, we are exceptionally close , but i worry about him being alone when i am no longer around. This is what keeps me awake at night and I’m sure a lot of you can relate .

When asking my son his opinion on the matter, he most definately does not want a sibling. “The baby can go and live in a different house” was his response.

“If I have a brother or sister I’ll find a different mummy !” was another.

At this tender age his world revolves around mum and dad, balloons and food . I think he loves me a little more than balloons but it’s a close call . But as he gets older , will he wish he had a brother or sister ? I don’t know the answer. Unfortunately circumstances dictate that it may not be possible to give him a sibling anyway. You know the old body clock , current life situations and not forgetting that I already have a lot on my plate .

This question will probably remain unanswered until the universe reveals to me , what is meant to be . What are your thoughts on the subject of siblings ?

Of course there is the other question of genetics and would another child be ASD also . This is all something to consider.

My son seems in such a hurry to grow up . “Mummy , when I grow big up to the sky , will I pop ?” Bless him .

“Mummy when I’m big I’ll make you a cup of tea ”

“Mummy when I’m big I’m taking you on holiday to Cornwall ”

“When I’m big I’ll protect you Mummy ”

The other day we got into a rather awkward subject of “Mummy when I grow big will my winky be really long ?”Erm ?

Until recently he believed he came out of my feet when he was born . Well I thought babies came out of belly buttons when I was small .

The other day he asked me why I had to go to work . “To make money ” I said. ” You don’t need any money mummy , I have money in my money box “. There we have it , maybe I’m worrying for nothing , maybe it will be him that’s looking after his old mum in the future. ๐ŸŽˆ๐ŸŽˆ

Pets for autism.โ€Henry’s in fish heaven” “No he’s not mummy, he’s in the dustbin”

So emotional support animals are becoming more popular and you may be wondering what pet to get for your child. My son is a little scared of dogs , so a dog is not even an option yet. Although i’m not too sure who would be more scared of who, my son of the dog, or the dog of my son. He has been known to try and pull legs off dogs before. Don’t worry no animals were harmed. He seems to enjoy squashing bugs with his fingers too , i suspect all children go through this phase. My son however seems to enjoy it a little bit too much for my liking.  I think a pet could be quite a benefit to an autistic child, but I also undertand that sometimes autistic children struggle to realise that it is a living thing and not a play thing. If you manage to find the right pet however for your child, i believe it can have such a positive impact on them. It teaches them the resposibility of caring for something and teaches them a respect for living things and also it can provide a great comfort to them in times of stress. It has been known that autistic children have formed very strong attachments to their pet and this must be something positive , right ? I have done a bit of research and it seems dogs are a popular choice for children on the spectrum. I would love to hear your stories and comments on this so please do message me and share with me.

So we tried a rabbit for our first pet for my son. This started off quite well. He seemed to enjoy stroking him and playing with him, and he even let him hop about in his bedroom. It was lovely, for a while. Then , well, it was’nt. The problem we had was the rabbit decided he no longer wanted to be confined to a run (he was an indoor rabbit)and decided he would have the free run of the house. This did not please my son, who i suspect did not like the unpredictability of having a mad rabbit running around inside. Every time the rabbit hopped out of his enclosure, my son would have a meltdown and cry for me to put him back, which of course the rabbit was having none of and just kept hopping right back out. It was fun. When i asked my son why he didnt like the rabbit running around, he replied “because he chews everything” which in fairness , he did.  I remember one day, we were quite happily sat together watching television when Robbie (the rabbit) decided to join us on the sofa. Completely engaged in whatever it was we were watching, all of a sudden a big white rabbit comes flying past. He landed on on the rug and looked a little confused as to how he got there. Me and him both. I can only assume that my son gave him a little reminder to get off the sofa. So i made a tough decision to re home our beloved Robbie. He was adorable but unfortunately, my son did not really feel the same way.  I could have put Robbie in the garden but he was used to being indoors. He got rehomed with a lovely family who had a little girl and a conservatory for him to run around in.He got his happy ever after.

We briefly had a budgie. Charlie was his name. He was beautiful to look at , lovely blue and white colouring. I thought my son would be ok with a bird as it was confined to its cage most of the day and didnt bother my son in any way. How wrong was i !. The problem with Charlie was that he was, as budgies are, quite vocal and noisy. Well , my son did not like the chirping and would cover his ears shouting at Charlie to shut up every time he chirped. So he had to go too. He went to a lady that had an avery overlooking the sea apparently, and finished his days out there being as noisy as he liked.

Then there were the fish. We started with a tropical fish tank then it became a bit addictive and we then got another tank with goldfish . Anyway my son shows a bit of interest in these and will offer to feed them . The only problem is instead of a pinch of food, they get half the tub ! If your little one is a little rough handed with animals as my son is , I recommend fish as they are easy to care for ( apart from cleaning the tank) and they are soothing to look at . I even considered putting them in my sons sensory corner but I just had visions of him getting them out of the biorb and squashing them in the middle of the night . He does need supervision with animals . Anyway unfortunately one of the goldfish , Henry , died the other day . I decided to soften the blow for my son and approach it with sensitivity. “Henry is in fish heaven” I explained ” No he’s not mummy , he’s in the dustbin !” Was the reply ! Well that pissed all over my bonfire.

Don’t you just love the comments our little wonders come up with . My son makes me laugh on a daily basis and I wish I had written down all the funny things he says . Maybe I will start. I could write a book ! There’s a thought ?

Why not drop me a comment or message me and share with me your little ones anecdotes and funny things they have to say ? I would love to read them . My son invited his friend round for dinner the other day and his friend who is also on the spectrum and loves telling stories was explaining to me that he was a ninja pig warrior and he wanted to zap the pig with electricity, when I asked why he explained that it’s because he likes the smell of bacon ! I can see his logic. It did make me smile . I love to listen and see the world through their eyes . Apart from today when my son decided to say in his “loud” voice while we were travelling down the escalator that his whoopee cushion he had just inflated , ” looks like your boobies mummy !”And yes there was a man standing right behind us listening to the whole conversation.

Anyway back to the subject of animals and we have decided that our best choice of pet is the guinea pig . I would recommend these adorable creatures as a pet as they are so easy to care for and so loving and very vocal . My son loves the guinea pig . Our beloved Winston is the perfect pet for my boy , until he gets mistaken for a squishy !

Thankyou for reading and do please comment , or message and share your experiences with me .๐ŸŽˆ

How to create a sensory space to be proud of, on a budget

As explained in my previous post, a sensory space or room is ideal to help soothe an autistic individual when they are having sensory overload. The calming noises, lights and textures can help to distract them from the stress they may experience from too much sensory stimulation.  You will often find sensory rooms in special schools and units and the airport I work at has just opened a sensory room to cater for passengers and children with autism and difficulties with sensory processing.  Spaces or rooms such as this offer a safe place for the individual to go to and calm themselves. These spaces can be as elaborate or as basic as you like and you don’t have to have lots of money to make one. I have been making a sensory space for my son and on this post I will be talking about how I did it , sharing photos with you and recommending products and telling you what products I used and where I bought them. You may decide to make a full sensory room such as in a bedroom or simply make a space within a room, which is what I have done for my son. You can use a corner of the room, half of the room or even make a space under a cabin bed. It can all be done on a tight budget. Shops such as BnM and the Pound Shop often supply a variety of sensory things at very low prices. With a little imagination you can have a space to be proud of. You may , as I have often done, find yourself retreating there for a bit of respite. Since making this space I think I have used it as much as my son.

The thing with autism is thats its diifcult to determine whether challenging and aggressive behaviour is due to the condition or just downright bad behaviour. I personally find it hard to know how to discipline my son. He is going through a phase at the moment of telling me to shut up a lot. I don’t know if he means it or if he is mimicking dialogue. Echolalia is the repetition of dialogue that the child has heard. It is often meaningless and is a sign the child is trying to communicate. This is one of the early signs of autism and used by professionals when making a diagnosis. I think this repetition of speech extends beyond the early years and continues into the later stages as I quite often catch my son repeating  dialogue to himself, that he has heard from the television or you tube. He is currently telling me “mummy stop being a pussy”. I suspect he doesnt actually know what this means as it is completely out of context,I am merely on my laptop typing this post. As a result I struggle to know how to approach this.

I have tried the normal strategies, believe me. We have tried the naughty step, but as a result of that, my son now threatens me with the naughty step if i do something to upset him! I can see his logic. If he has to go on the naughty step for doing something wrong, why shouldn’t I ? I remember one day, my son whacked me really hard with his bus. I cannot remember why. Anyway I decided to try the normal response of sending him to his room, but without a lock on his door, this proved pointless. He just kept coming back downstairs. So I decided to hold the door shut. Well that was it! He went mental. He was crying and shouting at me to “f### off “, the neighbour was outside trying to have a quiet fag, I can’t imagine what she was thinking. Then he decided to throw a bus at the wall and put a huge dent in it. Landlord if your reading this, its sorted now . Basically , by doing this , I gained nothing but a very distressed and angry child, and neighbour.  I believe that a neuro-typical child would realise that this is a direct consequence of unacceptable actions, but I honestly believe that children on the spectrum cannot always make this connection. I may be wrong , but this is my experience. I would love to hear your views and stories so please do comment on my post or message me . The purpose of my blog is to raise awareness and make a connection to other parents so we don’t feel alone. It is not about me preaching about what I think is the best solution, as I am no more qualified to answer this question than you are, so please do send me your opinions and lets talk about these issues. I for one do feel very alone when it comes to the subject of dealing with the aggresive and challenging behaviour. I want that to stop. I want us to help each other. A lot of behavioural issues could be sensory related.

Have a look at the following link to see how to deal with challenging behaviour and sensory issues. I found it extremely helpful with my son.  < https://07d0d2slw2p-lwfccgwf3-vn93.hop.clickbank.net/?tid=DONNAB1977

Anyway back to making a sensory space. The best thing to do is research online about ideas for a sensory space. Pintrest has some very good ideas. The first thing i bought was a bubble lamp from BnM . This is a plastic tube that has little plastic fish inside that float up and down the tube with the bubbles, when the lamp is switched on.  It also changes colour and is very pretty and soothing. The tube needs to be filled with distilled water which can be bought from Halfords or online. This prevents algae build up in the tube and once filled with water you won’t need to change the water for a long time. I think we have had the same water in the bubble tube for two years now.

The next item i bought was a sensory tunnel mirror. My son loves this. During the day it looks like an average mirror but in the evenings it transforms into a beautiful tunnel filled with LED lights. It changes colour initially but then settles on the red colour you can see in the picture above. The red is very striking and calming.  It looks like you are looking down into a tunnel. Its very effective. It was also a lot cheaper that i expected. Please click on the link below to have a look and order one if you think your sensory space would benefit from having one.

Click on the image for further information.

The next item on your sensory room list, should be a projector. This may sound daunting but they are so small but so effective and also very cheap if your following a budget. Sensory projectors work by projecting an array of colours and sounds often emulating the sea or animal sounds. They are colour changing and very therapeutic. I would definately recommend one for your sensory space. My son absolutely loves it. It comes with a remote control where you can change the colour combinations and adjust the volume. It can also be muted if you prefer. You can also choose between various themes such as the sound of the waves in the sea, or the sounds of animals in the rainforest. Its very relaxing and when the lights are switched off , the colours reflect on the bedroom ceiling and look like the motion of water. Its stunning. Click on the link below for more details and you can also order one from here .

Click on the image for further information .

Another important item should be a bean bag. It provides a comfortable seating area but is also quite sensory to touch. This can be customized with textured scatter cushions. They can be as small or large as you wish and they come in a variety of colours. The one I bought my son is very good quality and is waterproof so it can be used outdoors or indoors and it is very hard wearing. Click on the following link for more details on this product.

Click on the image for further information.

 

There are many other options when making a sensory space and lots of products on the market, but these are the three I would personally recommend as a start. In my next post I will be looking at and reviewing a variety of sensory toys. Please comment , follow or message me. Thankyou for reading.

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