Relaxing Caramel Latte? Not a chance! How to deal with the Autism meltdowns in public.

Since writing my blog, I have done some market research and learned that parents of children with autism spectrum disorder believe their biggest challenges to be dealing with public autism meltdowns and handling the in laws. (I will cover the in laws issue in another post as I suspect it will be a very long one!).

In this post we will explore how to deal with the public outbursts and autism meltdowns . My darling boy, has only one setting, LOUD. This is one classic symptom of a child on the autistic spectrum. The world and its mother know about the ins and outs of balloon blowing, what he wants for lunch and when he needs a poo. I remember one day, while at the pet shop choosing his pet Guinea Pig, he announced mid way through a conversation about taking care of our new pet, that he had just farted, it was really smelly and when can we go home because he needs a poo. Thankfully the shop assistant thought it was very funny.

Personally my biggest challenge is not so much the autism meltdowns but more what he says in general. Two days ago while waiting for our Chinese take away, sat next to a man waiting, my son decided to ask me on repeat when would his yellow 4 foot balloon be arriving. I had to show him on my fingers how many no balloons there were until his new one arrived. Anyway he decided, as he does, to ask me this question repeatedly until I actually had a vision of picking him up and launching him right out the door. It was only a vision. Anyway my tone must of changed slightly and I calmly explained that he doesn’t need to ask me again about the balloon. “Alright, alright, keep your hair on “,was the reply.

Thankfully again the man smiled. I don’t actually know where he learned this expression as he is usually such a literal thinker and would freak out if someone said that to him, as he would actually believe someone was going to take his hair off.

Talking of visions, have any of you actually had visions that make you question, not only your sanity but also your credentials as a mother? I remember my friend telling me that one day whilst breast feeding her adorable new born, who was very thirsty for breast milk, every day, she actually envisaged throwing her baby out of the bedroom window! Obviously she did not do this but the very fact that she had the vision at all, stressed her out immensely.

I myself had a similar experience when my son was a baby. He used to cry a lot and would constantly want picking up and cuddling. One day while out for a lovely day out in Brighton, walking along the pier, he decided to have the mother of all tantrums in his buggy. Back then I used to get embarrassed and care too much what people thought. Always worried about feeling judged and what other parents perception of me was (Now I don’t give a shit ) and I actually had a very brief vision of picking him up from the buggy and throwing him in the sea! I was so distraught that this vision came into my head!! its a bit like when you think of something you don’t want to think about and then the more you don’t want to think about it , the more you do? well I hated myself and can honestly say I have not had any other visions like it , but I felt so guilty.

When my son is old enough to read my blog, he will read this and hopefully laugh. He may not speak to me for a week but I will have to take that risk. “Son I love you more than the world and you know that”.

So how do we address the issue of dealing with autism meltdowns . I think the biggest reason we struggle with this is because we care too much what other people think. We constantly worry about feeling judged and being criticised as parents. But why? No one knows your child more than you, and no one knows what your dealing with, so why do we worry about the disapproving stares and the comments about how they would of handled that in a different way. I get it. Your already worn down with the tantrum, the last thing you need to have to deal with is a big dose of feeling judged on top.

The truth is, your doing great. Children do not come with an instruction manual. If anyone reading this is not a parent, please, when you see parents dealing with children having a tantrum in public, please just be nice. When dealing with the autism meltdown I think its important to remember the following:

  • Your child is not giving you a hard time, they are having a hard time. Acknowledge their feelings. Let them have the feelings, talk about it and understand them.
  • Try not to get angry. Try to stay calm. If I raise my voice to my son mid tantrum, he shouts back at me!
  • Wait for the autism tantrum to pass. Forget what other people are thinking when they stare. Just allow the child to express their frustrations.
  • When the child has calmed down a little, then take charge. Be assertive but not aggressive and try to avoid bribes. Then try and talk the child through what just happened and how you can help them to feel better. I ask my son is he feeling happy or sad , to try and establish my next move.
  • I think consistency is important when dealing with difficult behaviour. Follow through on what you say will happen. I need to work on this one myself. I am rubbish with this.
  • Praise the good behaviour. I think ABA therapy focuses on rewarding good behaviour. Its reinforcing behaviour that is socially acceptable.

Once you have established what triggered the tantrum, maybe then you can take steps to avoid the same thing happening again. Remember I am not an expert and I am talking about how to deal with autism meltdowns specifically.

Click on the image for further information

Another option you have is to purchase some social story books or packs that highlight the appropriate way to behave in public. This may help your child with Autism. These packs are available online and on Amazon. Please click on the link below for further information.

https://amzn.to/2Z8Dw2F

As I am writing this post, I am sitting in my favourite coffee shop enjoying a nice skinny caramel latte. I am having more luck today than I did the other day. You see, my son loves a caramel slice and we often come here together for a coffee and a cake. One day last week we came here and my son, as usual, was blowing up his brand new sausage shaped balloon I just got him. You know the ones that can be manipulated into animals.

Sitting near to us on the next table was a lovely young couple enjoying a nice peaceful coffee together. My son was quite happily pumping away at his balloon when he decided to let it go. Lets just say the young couples relaxing coffee was not so relaxing anymore. They were not only interrupted by a flying balloon, the young girl also got an extra shot of deflated balloon in her coffee.

Thank you for reading. Please comment, follow, like or share and most importantly enjoy your morning cup of coffee. β˜•

“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.

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 🎈🎈.

Autism Siblings or only child β€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. 🎈🎈

Pets for autism.”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 .🎈

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.

🎈🎈

Sensory processing and fears β€œThe bird ate my chips!”

Autism comes hand in hand with difficulties in sensory processing. Autistic people often have difficulties in making sense of the world which can seem a very confusing place to them, together with sensory sensitivities. Because of these sensitivities they may act unusual in their behaviour for example be clumsy, rude, loud or defiant. They may be trying to cope with these sensory issues but not know the appropriate way to cope. To an autistic person, a loud noise or a bright light or even the label from their clothing or a particular texture of food, can cause a lot of distress for them. Difficulties in sensory processing can be broken down into two categories. Individuals that are hyposensitive and those that are hypersensitive. Hyposensitive individuals don’t receive enough information about the environment around them so they struggle to make sense of it. Their sense of the world and how they see , hear and feel , may be less sensitive than it is for a neurotypical person. On the other hand hypersensitive people may suffer extreme sensitivities to things like noise, and textures, or light, things that a neuro typical person might not necessarily even notice.

My son is what is known as a Sensory Seeker . He seeks input from sensory sources for comfort . Others may avoid sensory input for example they may hate to be touched or cuddled, my son however loves cuddles, the more the better. He will quite often sit and stroke my hair. He seems to need to do this in order to self soothe himself. It doesn’t matter where I am or what I am doing , if he needs to stroke my hair , he will . It’s usually when I’m doing my make up , particularly when I’m trying to do my eyeliner with a steady hand , when he will decide he needs to stroke my hair . So I go from a “cats eye” look to a “I don’t give a crap ” look . He also finds it highly amusing to scratch his bottom and then stroke my hair .He knows I don’t like it and it makes him laugh. It has become a bit of game whereby if he does that I will chase him then tickle him . Then I spend the rest of the day smelling like shit , literally ,and looking like shit, but at least I know he’s happy .

The hair stroking is sometimes a problem as he does like to stroke random peoples hair too and other children’s hair. I have tried to explain to him that this is socially unacceptable but he doesn’t seem to understand. In this situation, social stories are a good resource. I have yet to try these on my son but I have heard they are great for situations such as this. If you google social stories I am sure you will find what you are looking for. These stories are designed to replicate possible real life situations and what is an expected and socially acceptable response to that situation.

He did go through a phase of being terrified of hand dryers. I mean , terrified ! He would put his hands over his ears and just scream. It got to the point where if I needed the toilet while we were out, I would have to tell him the hand dryer was broken. I would have to stake out the joint before entering, make sure no one else was in the toilets and if they dare attempt to use the hand dryer I would have to leg it out of the toilets very fast, before he lost it and had a total break down. He wasn’t so bad with the Dyson hand dryers that dry your hands in 10 seconds, I think they are less noisy, but the old fashioned ones with the silver nozzles on…..just No , we avoided them. He is getting better now and seems to cope better with the noise.

After the hand dryers, came a fear of seagulls. I can understand that though, they can be evil. I think it was the noises they make that he didn’t like but of course it hasn’t helped that he has had two episodes of being terrorised by them. One time sat on the beach, happily eating his sandwich, minding his own business. I spotted this very angry looking seagull edging his way towards us, I didn’t think anything of it, I just presumed he would fly away as soon as we moved, oh how wrong was I. My son must of looked away for a second and then boom, his sandwich was gone. My son was sat with his hand open, and no sandwich. He just looked at me and started screaming! . Now every time he sees a seagull he is terrified. Another time we were sat having some chips in a beer garden and the same thing happened. The little buggers swooped down and swiped his chips. He was a little older when this happened so was able to vocalise what had happened. “Mummy the bird took my chips!” followed by unstoppable crying. It was so sad. My poor boy. We had to leave pretty fast, not before I finished my beer though, which I very much needed by this point. I am not sure if the fear of seagulls is a sensory , I don’t like the noise they make , kind of thing, or a , they keep stealing my food, kind of thing, but he hates them nonetheless. Stealing food is not cool. We briefly , and I mean briefly, had a budgie. I could not cope with the constant chirping from the budgie followed by my son screaming, so the budgie had to go.

Another common trait among autistic children, maybe adults too, is how loud they seem to talk. My sons voice level , particularly when out and about, is at an all time high. I constantly have to remind him to use his little voice. Seriously, when we are browsing round a shop for example, the entire shop will know about how his balloon is massive and has a big “dummy head” (that’s a whole other post). I find it cute but I can imagine it must be difficult for other people who are out having a relaxing shopping trip and then having to be dealing with a very loud little boy talking about “blowing to pop” and “look at the size of that!”. He is so lovely. I love him more than anything and everything. In these situations it may help to have a visual of a sound scale and point to the quiet end. Visuals are very useful and can be downloaded from the internet. Again if you search for visuals, the internet is full of downloadable versions you can use with your child. Not all autistic people will benefit from visuals as each person is individual and unique in their needs, but they are certainly a popular choice of communication.

The need for sensory input has meant that my son loves anything that is tactile and squishy. He loves Squishies and Oonies and anything slimy and generally messy. I recommend Kinetic sand , this is excellent and if you can cope with the mess, play dough and magic snow. We got some magic snow from Winter Wonderland at Christmas but I think we were ripped off as I have since seen it a lot cheaper in the toy shops. He also has a fidget cube and a spinner too but surprisingly he does not seem interested in these. Unfortunately he seems to think his male anatomy is a Squishy too and I quite often have to witness him twist, contort and stretch it into many positions. I am surprised it hasn’t dropped off , seriously, I think he mistakes it for his Stretch Armstrong ! Poor thing

I am currently in the process of making a sensory space in my sons bedroom and my next post will be about this and a recommendation of sensory products. A sensory room is a room or a space filled with a selection of sensory items such as bean bags , lights , mirrors and projectors. It is designed to offer a soothing environment for an individual that is experiencing a sensory overload. This can be done on a budget by simply using the corner of a particular room, like I am doing. Look out for my next post on this. Thankyou for reading x 🎈

You β€œStim” me right round , baby, right round !

From the time the boy who loves balloons was a baby , he loved to spin things . He would even try to spin things that wouldn’t spin. He would do this by continuously tapping on the thing until he could make it spin . This became particularly frustrating when he was going through his obsession with bendy buses . For some reason he would attempt to spin the bendy section in the middle of the bus by continuously tapping on it .

This wasn’t really a problem until we went out anywhere . As parents of ASD kids ,we often find , it’s the judgements of other people that can be the most challenging. Sitting in Costa or walking around the supermarket with my son loudly tapping his bus had become a normality for me. It was our normal. It was my ‘white noise’. My ears had become accustomed to it. But to onlookers this behaviour must have appeared quite strange . I can only see that now as at the time I was oblivious to it actually .

When he was a baby he was happy to sit for hours either spinning the wheel on his toy steering wheel , spinning the wheels on cars or sitting and watching the washing machine go round . We still have that toy steering wheel as it is of great sentimental value to me , well apart from the time I had nodded off briefly on the sofa and he decided to crack me across the head with it . I’m not too sure what prompted him to do this , maybe I’ll ask him. It bloody hurt I know that. Hang on…

Me: “Darling? ”

My Son: “Huh, sorry? Hey back off man, this is Dave Seville.”(He’s watching chipmunks, for the 4th time today, and mimicking the dialogue)

Me: “Do you remember that toy you had as a baby that spun around , the car steering wheel ?”

My Son: “Yes, was I in your belly? ”

Me: “No it was after you were born”

My Son: “Yes , I was little then, I’m big now”

Me: “Yes , can you remember why you hit me with that toy? ”

My Son: “What like this? ” (Hits my legs) ,” because I was little. I’m big now so I’ll protect you. Look mummy, Dave’s just farted”.

There is the reason.

multicolored ferris wheel
Photo by Tiago Lino on Pexels.com

Whenever we were out somewhere and he saw anything spin round , he would flap his hands frantically in excitement . It was actually quite adorable . I’m glad my hands don’t flap when I’m excited. Although I did meet Jude Law one day at work at the airport and my voice decided to go several decibels higher and actually I do remember flapping my arms around , and my bum seemed to adopt a funny little wiggle come to mention it , as I tried to tell everyone that Jude Law was in the building . Sorry .. the holiday is one of my all time favourites . I think I was hoping I could be his holiday romance . Even if it was just for the ten minutes he had while passing through the airport . Well you have to grab it while you can . Only kidding. I’m way out of his league.

Anyway back to stimming . As I look back over the years I realise that the stimming has presented in various forms, whether it be visual or vocal, there has always been some form of stimming.  In his book “The reason I jump” Naoki Higashida, a young boy on the spectrum, describes the reason for his jumping and arm flapping as a way to ground himself in times of anxiety and bring him back to the moment. So the flapping or any stimming of any form is often used as a way of self soothing in times of stress or high emotion. The world around can be a confusing and unpredictable place for an autistic person and stimming provides a level of comfort. Not only that ,some autistic people, such as my son, are sensory seekers and the feeling that comes with stimming, could also be a sensory stimulation.  Stimming is not limited to physical movement however, it can also be vocal.

My son went through a phase of kind of groaning while listening to something on his tablet or listening to a story I was reading . He would sit and just keep making a funny noise over and over again while concentrating on something. I tried to explain it to people but I just sounded like I was making orgasm noises and got funny looks , so I gave up.

One thing that makes my son flap his hands , is water. He loves the water. Nearly as much as he loves balloons. When he sees it , he flaps so much. Its the cutest thing. I love to see him so happy. When he sees water his clothes are off and he’s in. Even if the weather is cold , he will still jump in. Mind you , he likes to take his clothes generally. He went through another phase of getting naked and weeing in the front garden , when he needed. Can you imagine if I did that? Oh and then there’s the Poo song ! I have to sometimes sing, but I’ll save that for another post.

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Obsessional behaviour. β€œIf your happy and you know it β€œflap” your hands. Not today!

Well tonight my boy is certainly not a happy one. Yesterday while watching balloon videos on you tube, he decided he wanted some giant balloons. I would just like to point out that every time we go out we have to buy a packet of balloons and he now has a huge box underneath his bed, of every balloon you can imagine. Not forgetting the 6 foot balloon I got him for Christmas which cost forty quid. Seriously I have sold toys to accommodate balloons ( I wish I could sell his dad to accommodate Ryan Reynolds! ) but still , he fixates and that’s it, we had to have these balloons today. Not tomorrow , today. Well I ordered these balloons yesterday on my mobile while he watched me, and was promised , next day delivery, today.

I have been working all day today and the only way I could bribe , sorry soothe, him into letting me go to work,( he hates me going to work) was with the guarantee that his balloons would be here today. Well **** you Amazon Prime, I mean thankyou Amazon Prime, they were not here when I arrived home and what was waiting for me when I returned home was just slightly more tolerable than Japanese water torture. Three continuous hours of ” where are my balloons?”, “I hate you mummy”, “go away mummy” , “don’t kiss me mummy”, “I will hit the postman mummy ” , combined with a little shove here and there and an attempt at a Chinese burn.

The thing about autistic children and perhaps adults, is that they are able to mask their true feelings, and then when they feel safe, with the safe person, they unleash and show their true emotions. Its quite common for children with autism to hide how they really feel when they are at school but then have complete meltdowns when at home with their safe person, this could be mum or dad but I suspect its mostly mum. One thing that irritates me is when people state, “well they cannot be autistic as they know how to behave when they need to”. No, that does not mean they are not autistic, it means that they can mask their emotions.

Anyway, this is what happened today with Balloon boy. He managed to hide his frustration all day until now. I am mentally exhausted. I mean he didn’t just have a temper tantrum, he was completely inconsolable. I knew it was due to his autism and not him being a little shit, as he was so upset and sobbing , like we would if our pet hamster had died or something. I could see how distressed he was and I hated to see him like this. To him it felt like the end of the world and I could really feel his pain. He was expecting to come home from school to giant balloons and that didn’t happen so he could not cope. I dealt with this by giving him lots of cuddles and empathising with him. I also pretended to call amazon which seemed to work. I told him they were nearly at our house. I find that in these situations, giving cuddles works best. If I shout or get angry, he will just shout back at me.

I thought I had managed to soothe him as while I was cooking dinner he went quiet , watched some TV then announced to me that he had farted, so I thought he must be ok now, but I was wrong. We just sat down to our cauliflower cheese when a white van pulled up outside, well we were both hopping around so happy and excited, I mean both of us. I opened the door and the man said “delivery for number 9? ” we live at number 10 so I knew I was dead ! . “Are you from amazon ?” I asked “no, yodel” was the response. Oh fuck !

After more tears , sobbing and throwing cushions around and me pretending to call the delivery driver, his balloons finally arrived. Not before he asked me several times why his balloons had not arrived, reaching the end of my tether “because life’s a bitch” I muttered under my breath, to which he replied “why you saying bitch?” Oh no, I have done it again. He did somehow manage to still eat his dinner, I find food is an excellent decoy in these situations. At last my boy was happy and so was I. He ran up to me, gave me a big hug and told me he loved me, he was sorry and I was his princess. My loving and affectionate little boy had returned. The balloons, well they have been placed in his box underneath his bed with all the other ones. Huge shout out to the amazon delivery driver who made it by the skin of his teeth. 🎈🎈