Sunday, 29 April 2012

Ya know yer getting old when...........

OK, so here it is. A 40 something rant! Don't get me wrong. I actually enjoy being in my 40's. I'll be 42 in July and I can honestly say that inside my head I am only 20. I still want to go and do mad, spontaneous things and I know at times my husband would just like to sedate me to calm me down! I don't think I will ever stop being this way. At least I hope not! But, getting to my age has also meant that at times I am a bit of a whinge! I like to complain a lot about stupid things. I have the cheek to complain about my husband acting like a pensioner at times. But shhhhhhhhhhhhh. We won't tell him about my rant. So, my rant-ish type post begins!

 Boobs - what on earth is going on with them. 'The girls' as they are affectionately known have taken on a life all of their own.  I don't know if its hormonal but they are growing and growing and quite often try to make a break for freedom! My friend in work often says that as a gay man he sees boobs far too often - mine! They spring out of my top when I bend down to pick things up of the floor etc. He often complains they are going to blind him one of these days. Needless to say I'm not getting much in the way of complaints from my husband. Quite often the bra gets whipped off the minute I get into the car after work and  'the girls' breathe a huge sigh of relief! I am so glad women possess the skill of being able to get your bra off whilst still remaining dressed! I think the skill of pulling your bra out of your sleeve is definitely a genetic gift!

Thongs - what has happened to my ass? Gone are the days when my ass looked great in a thong. Now the bloody things threatened to cut off all circulation to my nether regions. My bum cheeks look like melons fighting for room inside a piece of dental floss! Though, I would like to point out that I have not abandoned sexy knickers completely and pride myself on the fact that I have a healthy supply of sexy knickers. I may be getting on a bit but I'll be damned if I'll resign myself to giant Brigid Jones knickers. My work colleagues tell me that my bum in a pair of jeans is like watching a washing machine on spin cycle. Apparently it wobbles and sashays like someone eating gum!?? The young ones tell me that's a good thing! I'm not so sure to be honest!

Sleep - why the bloody hell can I not sleep? I have suffered from insomnia for years. Coupled with a child who likes to sing Wham songs in the middle of the night I often survive on only a few hours. However, during those times without the singing and when I have the rare opportunity for a lie-in, can I take it? Can I hell! I lie in bed thinking about work or housework or feeling guilty because I am not at the gym.  I've heard that as you get older you sleep less. If I sleep any less I'll be meeting myself getting up just as I am climbing into bed!

Alcohol - gone are the days when I could have sunk enough alcohol to sedate an elephant. Now, half a bottle and I'm almost comatose! Whats that all about? An entire bottle of wine can last a few days now! It does of course mean that my shopping bill is greatly reduced, leaving me more money to buy knickers!

Skin - why the fook has my skin taken on a whole life of its own. Why do I wake up some mornings and look like a hormonal teenager? Where are these spots coming from? I spend a bloody fortune on every lotion and potion and my husband says I smell like an explosion at a cosmetic counter! Of course, the most annoying thing about my skin is I often waken up with my hand print on either my face or neck, depending on whatever way I have been lying on the rare occasion I have slept. In my  younger days, that imprint would have disappeared in a matter of  minutes. Now I go into work with a big hand mark on my face and look like someone has slapped me around the room. The bloody thing takes hours to disappear. My skin has lost its bounce-back-ability! Waking up every morning is a mini adventure, not knowing what pattern will be on my face!

Crying - I cry at everything! I cry when someone on television sings a nice song. I cry with happiness when I don't burn the dinner! Hell, I cry when I run out of wine! Obviously the same hormones responsible for my ever expanding boobage!

Feet - when I first became single again ten years ago when I got rid of husband number one (the sperm donor), I suddenly became all sexy again, wearing high heels a lot. I looked fab! Now I look at a pair of high heels and wish they were trainers! Why have my feet gone all unsexy? Why do they not tingle with excitement at the sight of a sexy pair of heels? Why do they just moan and shout 'ohhhhh hell woman just put me in a nice pair of slippers!'

Young people - I work in a building with a lot of 20 somethings. Now, I like to think I am pretty hip and am pleased to say that the 'young uns' like to invite me partying because I can beat anyone in a dance-a-thon and do the splits when required (you kinda had to be there). But, one thing I have noticed as I get older is that the younger generation don't half talk crap a lot of the time! Not all I hasten to add. Just a lot of them. They are obsessed with celebs and almost throw themselves out a top floor window if their hair is not sitting right or they've broken a nail. Give me strength!

So, that's my rant for the day over. I'm sure there will be further rants. Its my age you see. Whats annoying you about getting older?

Sunday, 22 April 2012

Project Puppy paws!

Sometimes I look at my daughter and I get so frustrated because there are times when her autism and learning disability make me want to scream and shout and stamp my feet! I often want to shout at her 'But why can't we take the escalator?' Or, 'What do you mean you aren't getting into the lift?' Yes I do spend a lot of time running up and down stairs!!! FD is afraid of so many things and at times it makes me want to cry. I also get frustrated because at 13 she still can't tie her own shoe laces or not go to the loo without blocking it! Me and my trusty coat hanger are always on call to do a bit of DIY toilet unblocking! My life is so rock and roll!

FD also has a lot of sensory issues. The main one being that she is very touch sensitive. She recoils when I try to cuddle her and this saddens me. Of course she will accept a hug but only if she has snuggled into you first. And even then she sometimes doesn't want to be touched. Medical examinations are impossible and on one occasion she has headbutted a poor paediatrician because the woman tried to listen to her heart with a stethoscope! It was kind of one of those wishing the floor would open up and swallow me moments! We all have them!  You guys know what I mean! Surely some of you have had that cringe worthy moment that your kid has let you down a bucketful. No? Just me then? Oh OK.......

Anyway, FD's touch sensitivity can cause all manner of problems. As I previously blogged, last year we got a puppy for FD in the hope that he would help bring her out of her shell and socialise a bit more. And it has worked. She loves the dog very much. However, one thing she has never done is let the dog sit on her knee. He's a small dog -  a Westie Cross. So, he's not big. Anytime the dog has tried to sit beside her she has got up and moved away to another sofa. We do have one lovely photo of the pair of them however the first day we got the dog. He was  lying sleeping on the rug in the living room and FD lay down beside him, not quite touching him but very close. She called him her new best friend and it was a moment that had me blubbing like a lunatic. Anyway, that's as much progress as she had made in being physically close to the dog.

Let me tell you a few things about this dog. Firstly, he is totally insane. He runs around the house barking his head off at himself. He chases his tail until he falls over. He climbs on the back of the sofa and uses his paw to turn your head round to look at him. He drops his bone on the laptop to get your attention. He watches T.V (he loves the soaps and Marmaduke). He does a high five at you as you meet him at the top of the stairs. He wrestles on the floor with my son, and eats his Afro. He bites my toes when I walk and he bounces on my husband the minute he sits down. He does all these things with us but not FD. He has learnt not to jump on her or wrestle with her or nibble at her fingers or toes. He has learnt this instinctively without ever being taught. He's a clever wee sod!
Over the last few weeks I have observed a number of things happening between FD and the dog. Firstly the dog sits every morning and waits for FD's bus to collect her from school. He looks out the window longingly at about the time the bus comes. When he sees it he turns into a tornado on legs and dashes to the front door barking excitedly because he knows that the escort on the bus will scratch behind his ears and the kids will get very excited to see him, calling his name and clapping their hands with excitement. Secondly, when its time to put FD to bed the dog follows me and lies on her bed when I am sitting with her having a chat. He NEVER lies on anyone elses bed for any length of time (unless he's eating one of my shoes). What is amazing is that FD is letting him lie on the bed, albeit not to close to her. She has asked that he be allowed to sleep with her but I'm saying no to that because he'd end up eating one of her teddy bears and then all hell would break loose!

Another observation I have made is that FD is now starting to pet the dog and ask him for his paw. He is happy to oblige as he knows theres usually a doggie treat in store for him. I just think it is wonderful that she has made this progress. I love the way she talks to the dog and she gets so much pleasure from him. I love the way that he treats her differently than everyone else he comes across. He treats her special. Just when I thought that progress couldn't get any better, it did.

Last week I was sitting at one end of the sofa reading. FD was lying at the other end of the sofa on her ipad looking for pink cars on eBay (its her latest obsession at the moment). The next thing I know the dog jumped up on the sofa. Now normally he comes and lies across my knee or on the arm of the sofa. Not this time. This time he positioned himself behind FD's knees, lay down, rested his head on her leg and put his paws around her ankle, almost hugging her. I could hardly breathe at this point, waiting for FD to go into complete meltdown.

I was so torn, not knowing what to do next. Should I move the dog? Should I discuss what was happening with FD or would this trigger a reaction from her. I chose to point out to her that the dog was snuggled into her. She rolled her eyes and told me that she knew already and that it was OK! FD and the dog lay on the sofa together like this for about an hour before FD decided that she had had enough. THIS IS HUGE! And as for the dog, bless him. He didn't move the entire hour. He kept perfectly still.

So, I know for lots of people they might say, 'whats the big deal?' But for those parents with a touch sensitive child its a great achievement. FD never fails to amaze me. Of course we might have setbacks before we have more progress. But, that's OK too. Life would be pretty boring if everything just stayed the same or things were achieved too easily. Whilst all my friends are celebrating the fact that their teenage daughters are excelling in school, or have got their first boyfriend, I am celebrating that my child and dog had a cuddle. But hey, it makes me happy!

Tuesday, 17 April 2012

Career Crossroads - I'm not lost. Just undiscovered.

When I became a single parent 10 years ago I had 2 choices.
 1. I could sit on my ass and feel sorry for myself.
 2. I could get off aforementioned ass and get a job.

I'd been a stay at home mum for most of  my 12 years of marriage, with gaps for going back to college. I'd had some part time jobs on and off. So, I worked really hard and gained a place in university and completed a social work degree. It was bloody hard work but I am very proud of my achievement. It was a long hard slog and I have been a social worker now for 5 years. But now I find myself NOT wanting to do this job anymore.

As I have previously blogged, I do actually love the work. I love the fact that no two days are the same. I love the adrenalin rush I suppose. I feel my job has a purpose. However, 4 years in the child protection field has left me feeling burnt out. Trying to juggle all that's involved with being a mum to a special needs kid and all that's involved in social work has left me feeling a little bit pooped! I find now that I no longer get as much job satisfaction as I once had and that my cases are just a merry-go-round of attempting to change people's lives but usually not succeeding. I'm tired fighting my way out of the mountain of paperwork rather than getting out to do vital work with people.

So, I have made the decision to start looking for a new job. I have seen a great job advertised and I am going to apply. Its not a social work post and is less money but I will be working with carers of adults with learning disabilities (if I get the job)! But, there are a number of problems associated with me getting a new job.
1. Will I be able to keep my term time contract? Do I declare I have one of these already at interview stage or wait and see if I get offered the post? The job is with the same local authority I already work with so hopefully it won't be a problem.
2. Will I like my new job?
3. Will it be less stressful than the job I am currently in?
4. Will I ever find such a wonderful team as I have at the moment?
5. FD's up and coming operation could totally put a spanner in the works!
6. Will I be able to survive on even less money when we are already struggling!?

Of course my husband is very supportive and has encouraged me to go for the post. I am not even sure I will make it to interview stage or that my application will be accepted. I suppose even filling out the application form which is like a copy of War and Peace is in itself good experience.

However, part of me just worries that I actually don't want to work any more. Its not because I am lazy. Far from it. Even during my stay at home mummy days and my student days I always did volunteer work, committing to this every day off I had. But, having last Summer off work due to my new Term Time contract meant that I got a taste of being a stay at home mummy and I loved it. Yes of course it is extremely stressful and tiring. But I loved being with the kids and doing activities with them. I particularly loved having the opportunity to be a parent, rather than that rushed thing I feel I do at the moment that passes for parenting. And (cover your eyes all you feminists) I loved creating a home for my family. I liked the fact that I had time to cook again and actually do some proper housework (though not as much as I should have done). Maybe at heart I am just an old fashioned girl.

Unfortunately for me the option to give up work completely will never be there. With a large family to support and huge bills to pay it will never happen. Not sure I would ever be able to work part time either. Ideally I'd find a nice, very well paid part time job or a job I could do from home but that's just a pipe dream that will probably remain just that. All I know is that I am feeling very unsettled at the moment. I am not sure if its exhaustion or stress or both but I do know that I need to make some changes work wise. However, as a work colleague pointed out to me .........'if you want to keep your term time contract you will be stuck here forever!'

I know I am incredibly lucky to have work colleagues and managers that support me with regards to my role as a carer and that I am fortunate enough to have been given the term time contract I requested but I need a change before the job affects my health. I recognise it is going to be a long hard journey and its not going to happen overnight but I have now set my mind on doing it. I have been talking about it with my husband for a long time but never made any efforts to do anything because I was not convinced a job that met all my requirements would come my way. As a friend likes to say 'you need to invite good fortune and the things you want into your life!' I'm starting to believe that. So, wish me luck. Its time to pull up my big superwoman knickers and go forth and job hunt!

*The title of this post 'I'm not lost, just undiscovered' is a lyric from a James Morrison song

Sunday, 15 April 2012


Today's post is written in conjunction with Special Saturday which aims to raise awareness about special needs and to celebrate the accomplishments of those with special needs. Please pop along to the site and follow all posts on twitter using the hash tag #SpecialSaturday.
This week's theme is Time Management. As every parent knows, time management is our biggest challenge. Its the thing that haunts us in the wee small hours as we worry about how on earth we are going to fit in the multitude of tasks we have within such a short space of time. Let's face it. 24 hours a day is simply not enough!
Now, place yourself in the shoes of a special needs parent and multiply all your time management issues by 100. That's what stress is all about! However, us special needs parents have gotten this time management business down to a fine art. For us, its almost an exact science because without things running smoothly, when they are supposed to, life in our households can be difficult to say the least. Here are just some of the strategies we use in our household to ensure that our days (and nights) run as smoothly as they can.
Meals - oh now meals in the jonty house are a thorny issue because FD hates to eat. If she can get away with it she will go an entire day without something decent inside her. She also worries about what she might be having for her evening meal. So, in order to ensure that mealtimes run as smoothly as they can do and don't take up hours on end (yes this has happened), we try to have a weekly meal planner in place so that FD knows exactly what meal is being given and when. It doesn't always work but we try! Given that sometimes FD decides to eat a certain food and only that food we ALWAYS make sure we never run out! Life just isn't worth living at the moment if we run out of sausages! Also, being such a busy household it does save a lot of time after work if all our meals are prepared the day before. Things such as soups, stews etc that can be cooked in advance so that when we fall through the door exhausted after a long day at work its only a matter of re-heating.
Clothes - FD could take longer to pick out a pair of knickers than it takes to fly a man to the moon. Same goes for all clothing items actually. Left to her own devices she will come downstairs dressed as a reject from a charity shop with mismatched items of clothes. This, usually after it has taken her over an hour to get dressed. So, I always lay out her clothes for her. We 'negotiate' what she is going to wear that day and I lay those items out on her bed in the order they have to be put on. I also remind her to take off her dirty underwear as we have had occasion where she has dressed herself and ended up wearing two pairs of knickers! Because she is almost 14 years old and needs to be a little more independent I encourage her to dress herself (unless she is in pain with her back). Constant checks every five minutes are needed as she sometimes just 'forgets' to get dressed. Without these checks I would never make it out of the house and into work on time.
Diary - without the diary nothing, and I mean nothing, would get remembered! I have two diaries. I have a work one in which I also schedule FD's medical appointments. I have to use the work one to do this so that I can schedule work stuff around mummy stuff. I have a second diary of any health issues that arise for FD so that I can bring these things to the attention of medical staff or school and also use it to make notes about how medical appointments have gone. Without the diaries my life would come to a complete standstill as I would have lost the plot not knowing what on earth I am supposed to be doing. However, even two diaries are not always successful for making sure we get to where we are going in good time. A couple of weeks ago I ended up at an appointment on the wrong day! dohhhh!
Calendar - you'd have thought that with 2 diaries I would have the whole thing down to a fine art. Nope! I also use reminders on my phone for appointments too because sometimes I just get so caught up in stuff I forget to check the diaries! We also have calendars and schedules!
Shopping - food shopping is everyones most hated thing to do. Well it is mine. Its impossible to get round the shopping centre with FD without her pointing out every special offer and insisting we buy stuff we don't actually need or want! And don't even get me started with the crowds and the pushing and the shoving and trolleys with wonky wheels. All of these things are a recipe for cranky! Me, not her. Well yes actually her too. The thought of spending hours pushing a trolley fills me with dread. Plus its such a waste of valuable time. Time I don't have. So, in order to avoid this nightmare I do my shopping online. You have no idea how much time and effort this saves. I can dip in and out of the site throughout the week, adding items to my online trolley. I can plan my meals much better this way too. Lets face it. Who on earth wants to go shopping after work or on a Saturday afternoon when you are supposed to be out having fun! Although I should point out that I actually live right across the road from the shopping centre and still get my shopping delivered! My time is too precious to waste it standing in the supermarket queue!
Back up plans - always have a backup plan! This can save hours of screaming meltdowns and general upset. If we have plans to say go out on a picnic but are unsure what the weather might do, then we have a back up activity so that there's no huffing and stomping of feet. Mine again, not hers.
So, there you have some of my tips. They may not work for you. They work for us though. Usually. I suppose the biggest difficulty I have is trying to fit in everything that's involved with raising a special needs child with a very stressful and demanding full time job which I have to admit is suffering at the moment. But, I'm sure I'm not the only working mother out there with a special needs child. Its OK however to give yourself permission to feel sorry for yourself once in a while. Its OK to be selfish and in all that time management palaver, slot in some time for yourself. Its not easy and sometimes takes a lot of re-jigging of appointments but nothing is un-doable (is that even a proper word?). So you might not have the funds to go on a mad shopping spree or away for a romantic weekend away. But, for me its the simple things like reading, writing and getting to the gym.
In my area of work, time management is crucial. When I have been for job interviews for social work jobs, one of the questions I am always asked is 'tell me about a skill you have'. I always say time management. I had never thought of using this before until a friend reminded me that working parents are the best managers of time ever. Look what we have to do to ensure everything in our households gets done and on time and at the right time! Its exhausting and requires super strength superwoman knickers which have a pocket to keep your diary in!

Tuesday, 10 April 2012

But she looks so normal! Define Normal!

I'm pretty sure I've written a similar post before so forgive me if I am repeating myself! But, these things keep happening and I need a rant! All you parents of autistic kids will have heard the all too familiar phrases, 'But she looks so normal', or 'I've never seen her have a  meltdown. She's always well behaved!' Or, the latest one I heard this week from someone I work with, 'your daughter is very kind and caring. I thought kids with autism couldn't relate to people or show any empathy.' Please please please never say these things to the parent of an autistic child because you do risk getting a smack in the mouth and I pretty sure people get arrested for that! I can't begin to count how many times I have heard these things. Not only from strangers but also from family, who really should know better!

Whilst FD manages to function relatively OK when we are in company that's not to say that she's actually coping or that things are as 'normal' as they look. I suppose the only way I can explain how we 'manage' is to ask you to think about a movie production. What you see on the cinema screen is a story. All the actors are playing their part. The set looks great. Costumes look fab! The lighting is perfect. Now all these things didn't just happen by happy accident. There's a lot of background stuff going on behind the scenes. There has been days, weeks, months of planning. Every eventuality has been thought of and counter plans put in place. This production is running like a well-oiled machine! Its all kinda perfect. Or is it? Are there really a Director and a Producer behind the scenes tearing their hair out or having lots of sleepless nights with worry, dread and nightmares about how it could all go horribly wrong?

That's what our lives are like. Whilst we may be sitting in your home having dinner and chatting about this and that, you don't know that we had a 2 hour meltdown before getting to your house. You of course don't know about the anxiety my daughter had about what clothes to wear or the fear that you would ask her a question she couldn't answer. What if she didn't like your food? Would you be cross if she didn't eat it all? What if she needed my help in the bathroom but was too embarrassed to ask me in front of you. These are things she worries about. These are things we worry about.

Days out are an even bigger hurdle. FD hates crowded places so you can imagine the anxiety around going out to say a farmers market or a fair. So, pretty much like the production crew behind a big budget movie, we are constantly looking out for signs of imminent meltdown. Like good cowboys we are 'heading them off at the pass'! We stage things and situations in certain ways to allow FD to cope. Whilst we welcome a big family get together we just know that after a while FD can't cope. So we have our action plan in place for that. When it all gets too much she goes to her room and puts a 'do not enter' sign on the door. When she's ready to come downstairs again she will. No pressure.

There's always some little trick or plan we have ready to put into place at a moments notice. Family meals out for instance means I always ensure that I am sitting either beside her or opposite her so that I can help her with food choices or with cutting up difficult to eat foods. Although FD talks a lot, she actually finds it difficult to hold a conversation for long and so  having me sitting near to her ensures that she's never left out of things and always has someone to chat to, particularly if we are in a large group.

So, whilst you may think my daughter appears 'normal' and you have never witnessed her go into full blown meltdown. Or, you have never been up all through the night with her, doesn't mean it doesn't happen. We have just learnt to manage things a little differently. A little more subtly.  This isn't always successful. You just don't know about it! We are Directors extraordinaire! Stephen Spielberg would be bloody amazed! This is our 'normal'.

This post was written as part of the #definenormal blogging challenge via RenataBplus3 at Just Bring the Chocolate which I read about on the great blog Little Mamma Said. Go check out these blogs. They are pretty great.

Define Normal BadgeWhats your normal? Join in the blog challenge!

Thursday, 5 April 2012

Bring on the choccy eggs I say!!!

Well its been a funny old few weeks in the jonty household. We've had endless trips to GP,  hospital and psychologist. I'm convinced that the hospital are going to dedicate a parking bay just for my car! RESERVED FOR JONTYBABE WHO PRACTICALLY LIVES HERE! Has a nice ring to it don't you think? Thankfully with Easter fast approaching, all medically type people appear to be going on holidays so we have no appointments for a whole week!!! yay for Easter!!!! (Yes I know I am an atheist but I am allowed to enjoy the holiday!) And, we all know what Easter means for poor hard working social worky jonty............TERM TIME WORKING!!! Wohoooooo!

This means I am now officially off on annual leave until 17th April. I swear I practically ran out of my office at 8pm last night waving my arms about and yelling 'See ya. Wouldn't wanna be ya'! But I didn't. I walked out in the true manner of a dedicated and appropriate social worker who did not wish to mock her hard working colleagues. I waited until I got into the car before I started singing and waving my arms about! The work mobile was switched off and chucked into the boot of the car! My i.d card was thrown into my handbag and I sped off out of the car park doing a handbrake turn in my haste to leave the premises. Jontybabe has left the building! (Doing quick Elvis lip curl here).

One of the advantages of term time working is that I get to spend some much needed fun time with my kids. The disadvantage is that I have to listen for a couple of hours to FD screaming because she can't cope with the change in routine. Or looking at Afro Boy and his uncontrollable hair lounging about on the sofa whilst watching endless football matches on t.v and eating everything that doesn't move.

Speaking of his uncontrollable hair, I am convinced that it is actually a whole other life form. I swear it glares and me mockingly and sneers through the curls, 'ha ha ha you will never get rid of me. The boy loves me more than you!' I hate that hair!  I still think sneaking into his room in the middle of the night and shaving his head is a good option but I'm reliably informed that constitutes a violation of his human rights! The right to have 'a supercool 'fro that the chicks adore'. Well excuse me but there ain't too many chicks beating down his door right now! Every time he lies down on the sofa the dog tries to either eat his head or hump it! Poor animal is confused by the mass of hair.

Good old OH is also off work on Monday and Tuesday so we are getting to spend some time together - filling a skip with rubbish and garden waste! Oh the romance!!! I'm not sure I'll be able to cope! But hey! You've gotta take what you can! I'm pretty sure I can pull off sexy and alluring in a pair of wellies and gardening gloves! Not sure he can though but we'll wait and see! It'll just be nice to spend a bit of time together. And, the other thing about it is that we won't actually have the kids because.....................(drum roll please)........................The Sperm Donor has decided, after 10 years, to plan one of his twice yearly visits during a school holiday! I swear I nearly choked on my glass of wine milk when I heard! Its great for the kids but means I won't get too see as much of them as I had hoped or do as many activities with them as I had planned. But, its great they are getting to see their dad even if  he is a ********* & *****! You thought I was going to swear there didn't you! As if.

When my little darlings are off spending some time with the sperm donor and OH goes back to work what on earth will I be doing with all that free time? Housework? Nah! Ironing? Nah! I might do a bit of reading. A bit of writing. The dog might even get taken for a walk (its his birthday on Sunday so we are having a birthday party)! I have my Race For Life coming up at the end of May so I might even go to the gym and do some intensive training. Alternatively, I might just sit in the cafe at the gym and read a magazine and have a hot chocolate. Oh decisions decisions. Seriously though, I am not used to having this much free time that its giving me a headache thinking about it. I'm sure I'll cope though. I'll have Choccy eggs to help. Its a hard life eh? Happy Easter!

Tuesday, 3 April 2012

The true message of autism awareness!

My daughter was being exceptionally quiet in her room last night so I thought I would go and take a sneaky peek to see what she was up to. When I went into her room she was sitting on her bed writing. I asked her what she was writing and her response, 'I'm telling everyone about my autism'! Now, despite the fact that my daughter has a severe learning disability and autism, she has always been fantastic at reading and writing, although doesn't usually understand a lot of what she is reading. Her writing is very immature with awful spelling and is written in the style of I suppose a first year primary school student, even though she is almost 14 years old. But, I am very proud of this skill she has mastered and continues to persevere with. She knows how much I love to write and read and I am hoping this has rubbed off on her a little. I should point out that earlier on in the day FD had heard some news programme about Autism awareness day and I had spent some time explaining what it meant.

Anyway, to get back to my story. I asked FD if I could read what she had written and she agreed I could. Below is what she had written. I have not written it out exactly word for word because others may not get her sentence construction or understand the way she has spelt certain words. I have tried to keep it as much as the way she has written it though as it oozes such innocence. And I have taken the general message from it. So here it is. Have tissues ready people because I can tell you I needed them.

'My name is FD and I am 13 years old. I have ASD and it stands for Autistic Spectrum Disorder. I was born with ASD. I am very special with my ASD because not many people can do stuff like other people can. Some people aren't lucky to have a learning disability. But that's ok. But I do and don't mind. I am very proud and very special. All of my friends were born with a learning disability. It makes them very special like me. It doesn't matter what way God makes you. You don't have to be born with a learning disability or special needs. You can actually be born normal. But that's ok so don't worry about it if you are normal.  If you have something like I do don't be ashamed to show it. You don't have to hide it. Show the world how special you are with ASD or any learning disability. People who love you and care about you makes you more special. It doesn't matter which school you go to or if you have something wrong with your brain or your body. If you go to a special needs school like I do you are more special and you learn some things that others don't. And thats what autism is about. It means you are special and people who know you love you very much, whether you are born with autism or not. You are still special. There are millions of people like you with autism. You are still special and loving and caring and god loves everyone and that's why they have an autism awareness day to show people how special you are. '

I cannot tell you how difficult it was not for me to break down in front of her. What wonderful insight for a child who struggles with life on a daily basis. A child who requires so much assistance in her life and at times can't even manage her own personal care. What a wonderful perspective she has on life and I am proud she is my daughter. She is my hero. She is the superwoman I strive to be.