Tag Archives: autism

A day in our life, Autism and Home Education

I’ve not done a “day in our life” post for quite some time. I thought some of you might enjoy reading about our day today, autism and all! I was awoken at 6:20am by Little S, thankfully she’s happy to come into bed for a cuddle and a cup of milk. Daddy left for work at 7:45, the children and I slowly rose and started our day.

I gave the children breakfast and made myself a cup of tea and a teacake. I heard the distant sound of water running so I went upstairs to turn it off. In the bathroom I found Little S covered in purple face paint. I ran her a bath and in she hopped. 2 seconds later she was covered in bright pink lipstick! I have no idea where she found it.

During this time E repeatedly comes in asking if I can watch him play a game. Yes, not play with him, just watch (gotta love Autism). Once Little S is out of the bath and dressed I go to spend some time with E. He is playing a game called Doodle God, where he has to mix different elements and objects to create new ones. It’s quite good and gets his brain thinking.

Next I try to do a bit of washing up and put a load of washing on. I get interrupted because the children want to use a cardboard box to make a slide on the stairs. Once it’s done we have a go, zooming down the stairs onto a pile of cushions.

Yummy

R decides she wants to do some baking so she goes to the village shop to get some ingredients. Little S is playing small world with my little ponies upstairs and spills water everywhere. When R gets back she finds the recipe she wants to try and we bake some caramel slices together.

While the slices are cooling she sets upon a project she asked to do. She wants to learn how to prepare a whole fish and cook it for dinner. We had bought the fish yesterday after she chose the perfect one. First she learns to clean the fish, discovering that it’s a male fish. Next she beheads and bones the fish. She is very curious about the workings of the fish, taking time to examine the eyes and gills. Last she skins the fish, before poaching it and turning it into fish nuggets for dinner. S comes in to help make the fish nuggets too.

I prepare mine and daddy’s dinner and tidy the kitchen, then clean out the guinea pigs with help from S. The children eat their dinner, both E and R enjoy the fish nuggets but S isn’t so keen. Little is vegetarian so has Quorn nuggets instead. After dinner E gets upset and has a large meltdown. He turns his room upside-down, tossing the mattress off the bed. Neither he nor I seem to know what triggered it. Autism rarely makes sense.

Daddy gets home from work, but he doesn’t feel very well. Little S wets herself so needs cleaning up. All of a sudden the house plunges into darkness. We check the fuse boxes and see that they’ve tripped. Turning them on S exclaims that T.V. isn’t working. Little S pipes up “I put this (screwdriver) in back (of T.V.)!”

OH!

So now we have no T.V. as our 4 year old has blown it up.

I have my dinner then help E put his room back together. Poppy dog needs a walk, so torch in hand, we wander out into the darkness. When we get home it’s time to get everyone ready for bed. S complains of a tummy ache, then suddenly discovers why. Time for another clean up!

So now it’s 9pm and I’ve just sat down. I can’t remember the last time I had a cup of tea and I’m gasping. But no rest for me. E still needs settling which could take another 2 hours. I also need to tidy up before tomorrow, the children want to do some science experiements.

 

Following our interests, A visit to Sealife Weymouth

The way we home educate mostly involves us following the children’s interests. For E most of those interests revolve around fierce animals. Dinosaurs, Sharks, Monsters etc. We were given the opportunity to visit the Sealife Centre in Weymouth on Sunday. Sunday happened to coincide with the Ironman  competition, which did mean that Weymouth was very busy and the car park at the Sealife centre was closed. We were quite worried about how this would affect E, but he coped fantastically.

 

Hands on learning

On arrival we decided to have our picnic, E however, was so excited he didn’t want to eat. He rushed off to visit the seahorses, then the rock pool, then the seahorses, then the turtles! Are you beginning to see how our day went?! He must have visited every exhibit at least twice. Flitting between them, taking in all the sights, seeing all the different varieties of sea creature.

The girls enjoyed exploring and seeing everything, the also loved the play park with all it’s many twisty slides, and the splash area. Daddy and I had to take it in turns to follow E to his next target area. Occasionally we managed to visit an exhibit as a family, though we were rarely in one place for more than a couple of minutes. I liked that E had the space to roam and explore.

When we arrived at the ocean tunnel, E’s face was a picture. He soon spotted the sharks, his eyes lit up and he gasped with excitement. SHARKS! We spent a while there, watching them swim around. We even went back a bit later for another look.

 

At the end of the day we stopped off at The Royal Oak pub outside Blandford for dinner. The children were all in a great mood after a fun day although a bit tired. We enjoyed a really tasty meal and the pub was so child friendly with board games to keep the children entertained and a play area outside. It’s a day we shall look back with great memories.

Do you imagine Autism?

My son is disabled. When you hear those words your mind automatically conjures up an image of what that disability might look like. You may imagine a child with cerebral palsy, or in a wheelchair or maybe with a severe mental disability. But do you ever imagine a child with Autism? A child that looks perfectly normal, one that can talk well?

My son was diagnosed with Autistic Spectrum Disorder with significant Pathological Demand Avoidance in January this year. At one time it was known as Atypical Autism. He has many of the common Autistic traits but he also has other traits not seen in typical Autism. It also means that, for him, the strategies commonly used for helping a person with Autism cope in everyday life, do not work for him.

He doesn’t cope with a rigid timetable, he needs life to be more flexible and he needs to feel that he is in control of that flexibility too. He needs to be able to choose, but too many different choices will overwhelm him causing him distress. If he feels pressured, or that a demand is being made it causes him to have an anxiety attack or a meltdown. These are often violent, aggressive and out of his control. When he is calm he knows hitting is a bad thing, but in that moment of anxiety, fight or flight takes over. When it is over he often feels guilt but struggles to express that, he finds it very difficult to apologise.

As I’ve learnt more about his condition and him, I’ve begun to understand him much better. He can be quite cruel with his words, like many people with Autism he has no filter. He will say what is on his mind. He doesn’t understand that what he says may hurt someone. For him pain is solely physical. If words have hurt him it’s because they were loud and hurt his ears, causing physical pain.

I once came home from a dog walk in tears, I had had an altercation with another dog walker that had upset me. My son asked if I was crying because the man had hit me. I explained that he had shouted at me and that I was upset. My son then asked me if it had hurt my ears, when I replied no it hadn’t he asked me “well, why are you crying then?”. It became clear he didn’t understand why I should be upset as I wasn’t in physical pain.

I am learning what makes him tick, how he thinks and feels. Knowing this helps me teach him how others think and feel. At times when he is calm I can have wonderful conversations with him. He is a very bright boy, and I’m sure that in time he will begin to understand that others think and feel differently from him. That the ways in which he interacts with others can cause them to think or feel differently to him. He will get there, but for now he needs extra help in understanding his peers and society. Be patient with him.

A day in the city

Some times I wonder why I do it. Why do I go to busy places on my own with 4 small children, 1 of whom has diagnosed Autism and 1 who has extra needs. Why do I give myself the added stress? Today was one of those days. I took the children to city.

I was nervous before we left the house about going into the city, and to a museum no less, with all the children. E struggles with museums, they are noisy, busy, claustrophobic and not often very child friendly. Today there was an activity planned for the children to help make a giant Lego art picture. I thought it could be fun.

We went on the park and ride bus as the children love a bus ride. We walked the short distance to the museum, so far so good. As soon as we stepped inside it all started to go wrong. I hadn’t even got my purse out of my bag before E ran out of the museum. I retrieved him and struggled trying to hold him whilst handing over our tickets. Maybe he’ll be fine once we get to the Lego I thought.

R loved the Lego and is looking forward to seeing the finished piece displayed in the local library.  Little S had a go with the Lego but wasn’t able to complete a square for the picture. S decided she would rather just play quietly in the gardens with some of the other children. E threw Lego everywhere, kicked me, tipped over chairs, shouted, tried to run, and hid under the hood of his jacket.

Maybe I should go home? No, I can’t let a meltdown ruin the day for everyone. We walked past a traditional sweetshop and decided to pop in for a look. The children marvelled at all the sweets. We all chose something small and went in search of some lunch. After lunch we went to find our bus and go back to the car.

We had a few minutes wait for the bus, another challenging time for E. I’m on high alert for the next meltdown, as well as watching the 3 girls next to a busy city road. By the time the bus arrived I had to carry E on, and find us a seat.

It must be time to go home right? No, now we must brave the perils of Tesco as the cupboards at home are bare. I have to put Little S in the trolley otherwise she will run around, she is tired now and over stimulated. We’ve barely been inside 2 minutes when E drops his lolly pop from the sweet shop, it shatters all over the floor. He runs to find a hiding place. I spot him curled up in a ball at the end of an aisle, he’s sobbing. I can’t get too close or he’ll run away. I find some shopping items I need on a shelf nearby and pretend he’s not there. I carry on with my shopping, keeping him in my eyeline. I want to go and comfort my crying child but I can’t.

The girls are great, R and S go to nearby aisles for bits we need. Eventually E has calmed and he is ready to talk. I explain that I was able to collect the lolly and wrap it up. It’s safely in my bag so we can wash it when we get home if he would still like it. I know he probably won’t want it, but if I tell him it’s gone forever then he will fall into another meltdown.

We try to complete our shopping as quickly as possible but now E is well and truly ready to go home. I don’t have time to check my list, I just call out items I think we need and the girls grab them and throw them in the trolley. Little S has a pint of milk that she’s clutching in her little hands. She accidentally drops it and it sprays everywhere. Uncontrollable crying ensues. R goes to find a member of staff to help with the spillage and S goes to get another pint of milk for her sister. My two older girls are so helpful and grown up at only 9 and 5.

We finally finish and pay as quickly as possible. The girl behind the checkout is lovely and lets Little S scan some of the shopping. I am completely frazzled. We go home and the kids settled down to watch a film. I put the shopping away and have a much needed cup of tea.

Some days out with my children are amazing, some are well……

My Random Musings

Time to explore

Apologies for the quiet spell, I’ve had a few blog problems and have also been busy with the kiddies.  The cold, grey and often wet weather is somewhat stunting our ability to spend much time outside. Although we do take the opportunity to explore whenever possible, even if only for an hour or two.

Over the past few weeks we have been to Moors Valley, Upton Country Park, and Knowlton Church. The children do love to explore the outdoors, make dens and see friends. Poppy dog also enjoys or outside days when she is able to join us.

We have also enjoyed going to a café for breakfast after an early start dropping our car at the garage. We’ve spent time with Grandparents and baked cakes. We dissected our old and broken vacuum cleaner, to see what was inside. Our Dyson challenge cards came out one day and we tried a few experiments. Yesterday our National Trust membership card arrived so we will have many more places to explore this coming year.

E has had many appointments since the beginning of the year. He does find them very challenging but he does so well. We finally have an official diagnosis of Autism for him, and are hoping that this may provide us with some much needed support.