58. #Autism and Christmas= Sensory Overload/Marketing hype

Santa and Autism? How do you explain the story and marketing hype?  We have watched the “Elf” movie with Will Farrell. In the lounge room on a night before Christmas and my 6 yr old son is sitting on the lounge, enraptured with the moment and the story and says “Mum, I am going to stay up all night and wait for  Santa Claus to come to our house.” While he looks out the window. And I look at him. I look at his father who believes in telling his children the truth. What a killjoy! I want my son to enjoy the fairytale of christmas and encourage him with whatever he wants to believe and do but as a parent I feel conflicted because I want him to be able to identify reality from the fairytale marketing rubbish where the story of Santa Clause is used to sell toys to parents/kids for money.  In his life he must know  the difference so he is not clueless. I want him to identify a tall story from a short one.

I look at my beautiful boy and say, “Darling life is full nof stories and the story of Father Christmas, dressed in Santa Suit, flying all over the world, through the air in one night on a sley and reindeer is one of them!” I explain the Santa story defies the laws of physics and is a slick marketing campaign to make people spend their money on products manufactured in warehouses. All of which mean nothing to my boy who, earlier in the year, wanted to fortify his room because he lost a tooth and was scared the tooth fairy was going to come in the night and steal it.

Eventually he did fall asleep on the lounge

57. Ok, so stim! #Autism

My 5 yr old stims. A self regulatory behaviour in response to too much stimuli.  Where are the filters? Is it the pressure he needs? I don’t know! He  rubs his legs together allot.  I  love you son, so lets work with the unique makeup of you. I’m sure the child will get knock knee’s! Or cause a friction burn on his skin. Where is the vasoline!  Is it something to do with the Atopic Eczema he had as a baby I wonder? But this is his stim and apparantly, according to experts, like biting nails, it is a self-sooth. A response to outside stimulus and anxiety. I was rather concerned when the child dropped to the floor, and rubbed when on social outings. But not wanting to make a big issue about it just went with the flow. Keep on moving on. Don’t draw attention to the behaviour and it will go away. Well it has not!

I thought maybe he needs to have the sensory pressure.The light pressure of water flowing over his skin, awakening the proprioceptive factor. He finds it hard to follow instructions from his teacher. I enrolled the kid in swimming classes, which seemed to do the trick for the 10 weeks that classes lasted. Then things changed, our particular instructor moved on and it is so hard to find a special needs swimming instructor.

Why is it so hard to find a special needs swim instructor? Around $300 to get a 2 day swim teacher registration with a reputable organization, then another couple of hundred to be a special need registered on top of that. No wonder they are hard to come by. Apparantly you can do Aquatic therapy classes, I think this is water skills without the stop start time frame and meant to be stress less.

He has been doing it for atleast 8 months now, on and off! I thought perhaps he needed to go to the toilet, because it sometimes does look like a potty dance! Is this child holding on too long!  Then I thought I might like to get him horseriding, as sitting in a saddle might be an acceptable or suitable outlet for this stim. I have not jumped through the hoop yet. I thought maybe they could get a saddle chair for him at school.

 

56. #Autism School first day

There is 3400 children with Autism in South Australian Schools.  More than 50% of children and students with Autism are enrolled in a school without a specialist unit or special education teacher. The Department of Education policy for a mainstream school is to have  between 21 and up to 36 students per class with one teacher and a school services officer.

Well, if your child needs more attention in school to help their learning, then you really can’t beat 4-6 students per class with 1 teacher and 1 Student Services Officer. The 2 boys were all geared up to go to their new school that catered to the needs of children with Autism.

Upon asking the 5 year old Jack how much he liked the new school he stretched his arms out to show me how much. That was huge!! I hoped that the two transitions the previous month, before starting, would introduce to the physical layout and make  them comfortable with the new environment. I think it did. I think they like to wear the uniform, although there was protest about entertaining the idea. I think they liked going into get the uniform from the  reception area.  While sounds of jackhammers filled the air, (capital works in tow to get school up to scratch before start of school term) we attempted to pay our uniform fee’s. A  slightly perplexing assignment for anyone with hypersensitivities in the current context.

Low and behold! My  9 year old kiddo liked it the first day! He wants to go back after the first day. I can’t believe it. He liked the activities and schedules that they did. As soon as he went to class he got to sit at his own desk and play a word search game about his favorite video games in it. He went in with a mission, he was going to do the day! Alright! Wow! Well, I am shocked to see the ease into the siituation. There were visual schedules and visual plans around to direct the visual learners. There was a visual plan for the day. There were many sensory objects all aimed to reduce anxiety. I felt these were learning luxuries catered to an Autistic learner that I had to fight long and hard for with the former school. Kiddo was tired from processing the new  environment and activities, he fell asleep in the car on the way home.

The youngest kiddo, the 5 year old did great, but by lunchtime he was pooped. The new environment and new faces! Turning to a blurr! And where is my Mum! The beginning reception students were picked up at lunchtime, as half a day was thought to be enough for them, yet my Jack has had a year at (a different mainstream) school and thought to be more experienced at the whole school thing.

But I had blown it!! I did not pick him up at lunchtime with the other kids.  Boy oh boy he let me know it. Oh shite! Oh dear! After storming off, screaming at me and throwing himself on the ground. He turned on the waterworks! I was actually a little pleased that he was firmly moulding/imprinting the shape of his body in the pavement. This kid will be remembered. I asked him “So do you want to sleep at school all night? Or are you coming home with me!” and off we toddled back to the car.

We will see what the next day heralds! I am pretty sure I shall be commanded to pick him up at lunchtime, the kid has me twisted around his little finger and I for sure do not want to break the bond  between mother and child. The sacred trust! Oh darn it! I had stuff planned today! Lol.

55. #Autism specific School

So we are off to this Autism specific school and the kids actually want to go.  I am amazed! Finally. The children will be with children having similar Sensory Processing Disorder and Obsessive Compulsive etc. so they will be able to identify with the other kids and possibly even make some friends. I want hppiness for the kids. I want them to enjoy school. Is this possible?

Does it iron out quirkiness? I hope not because I love the little quirky!  The quirky makes me laugh and I love  it? The quirky kid has a different view. My quirky kids wants to live with the Ants in an anthole at Uluru! I try  to explain the physical impossibility of this. My quirky wants to crawl through the doggy door forever, to get inside. I feel as if we are going to meet Alice in the wonderland of our house. I explain that he will grow. I love difference. I am pleased because he acturally wants to go to the school,  which is new as its a struggle to get him to go at the old school. I hope he will abe happy with it.

Apparantly this new school is designed for smaller class sizes, in the vicinity of 3-8 students per teacher and an School services officer compared to between 21 to 36 student:1 teacher and 1 School Services officer ratio in a mainstresm school. The programs run at this school are specifically designed to work with the talents and uniqueness of Autism.

I would like the younger kid to be able to read, decode words, and enjoy writing. Know their maths and enjoy it.  Heck, that is what I want for both of them. I think a smaller class size may be the trick because, if the social pressure is less there may be less pressure and more ability to uptake information and perhaps even to be inspired by something.

The price tag associated with the new specialized private school, may I say it, could possibly put the opportunity to go out of the price range of alot of the population but perhaps not. What does one do in this situation? Homeschool? Stick your kid in mainstream and hope for the best? Get a scholarship? Education is not free.

Neurotypical kids find it hard to identify with my Autistic kids. My kids have quirky behaviour because of the Sensory Processing difficulties experienced and they act in certain ways or repeat certain behaviors because repitition of behavior 20 or more times either gets their pull the string lawn motor running or makes them feel better. So we have to work with this. Sure, it’s annoying and slower than normal, and trying to train your child about the  road safety is essential do they don’t get skittled. Instilling a sense of self preservation in your child is another good idea. We run on on Autistic tie frame which is not the normal time frame. Time is expanded out of normal parameters.

 

#Autism List of sub categories

54. Bookmagpie.com

53. Autism and Problems at Mainstream school.

52. How did the kid learn to read so early?

51. Autism: Sensory Processing Disorder and Socks!

50. Murphy’s Law! Today: It’s ones of those days!

49. Autism Siblings.

48. Writing for writing’s sake!

47. Car Troubles and Laughter!

46. Comedy Radio, Laughing and walking to school!

45. Mum! Stay still I am putting a chip up your nose!

44. The 5 year old.

43. Let’s take our Xbox controller to school!

42. Autism and the 2 km walk to school!

41. Where is the demarcation line?

40. My son wants an X box!

39. Life in another Language: Auditory Processing Disorder.

38. Drama and the kiddo!

37. The elephant in the room: Shame or not.

36. Useful Bedtime techniques for our kids.

35. Laughing and a loving family life.

34. Calming ideas for a stressed out kiddo.

33. Respite for Parents.

32. Feeling Isolated, Parental Depression, Feeling overwhelmed!

31. Autism: Clothes and Socks.

30. We have to trim your nails: “No Way Mum!”

29. “Can we wash your hair?”

28. Autism: Gloves and Bandaids.

27. Autism: Shoes, Socks and Clothes.

26. Cost of Education and Autism.

25. Swimming week 2014.

24. Autistic Meltdown 2014.

23. Diagnosis Days 2014.

22. Autism and School Socialization.

21. Why? Why? Why? Diabetes 2!

20. 9 yr old. I want an X Box.

19. Real life experience in the caravan.

18. Singing lessons? Martial Arts?

17. IPad Parental controls and Daily household chores.

16. 3rd pregnancy: Miracle Baby Jack.

15. 2nd Pregnancy: Miscarriage.

14. “No, I don’t know want to take my shoes off!”

13. Pregnancy no. 1: Birth of a miracle boy.

12. How to Survive on a camp trip with Bear Grylls!

11. Understanding signs and symptoms of Disgraphia.

10. “New Shoes! It’s Groundhog Day!”

9. Useful resources: Autism Support Groups/Reference books/films.

8. I am so proud of my Autistic son.

7. Autism and bedtime techniques.

6. Law mowing and being tired!

5.Writing therapy for parents.

4. National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) and coordinating therapies.

3. Ok! Let’s talk about Autism, Poo, Toilet training and Sensory Processing Disorder.

2. Ok, let’s talk about Autism: Fixation and Obesessive Compulsive Disorder.

1. A full on Meltdown: I did not expect!

53. #Autism and problems at mainstream school

I am feeling raw. I feel like I coudn’t organize a chook raffle! Things are fraying around the edges. I’m starting to get cynical.

What is the bigger message here on the grand scheme of things? Is it to learn to fit in, so the societal machine keeps working? Is it that you have to learn how to deal with your sensory processing issues or else? Or is it that you are doing something if anything so you can fit?

My darling 5 year old child having trouble at mainstream schools. It’s not the child’s fault. It’s not the teacher’s fault. It’s not the principal’s fault. Class sizes and the price tag associated with educating your child is a systemic problem. 5 years old. Autism Diagnosis. There is a policy of inclusion in mainstream schools but can schools provide if resources are already stretched. If classes are too big. If there is not enough attention given for the child with special needs. Is it because of money! I am Mum and advocate for this little Dude!

Do I park money with a limited budget myself, to start a treadmill of tests which will tell us what? Haven’t I done this before?  I take him to get his hearing checked. Heavens above! What good will that do? It’s all a matter of two year old perception. A two day suspension disrupts the life of a busy/stressed special needs parent. The little treasure says he gets bored with what the teacher says. So he wanders off. “Be where you are meant to be” is the mantra repeated at school.

I’ve told both of the kiddo’s if there is no school duties for the day/ then there is home duties. As a deterrant! But it seems to be a sweetener!

Each child has a bucket and they put a rocks in bucket for duties completed. A certain number of completed duties. Then they get some free time. Who is familiar with this positive reward training method? Wash the dishes. Wash the clothes.  Mow the Lawn,. Take the rubbish out! Thanks kiddo!

Turning myself upside down and inside out to try and make things fit! They don’t. Trying to do all the different suggestions from respective therapists. I’m worn out! Where is the coffee because I am already tired of this crap!

Occupational therapist ($120/wk) says that his sensory needs are met at home as the house has been turned into a play sensory gym as much as possible. Pay more attention to his emotional needs. Well, kiddo is telling me that he hates going to school. How do you deal with that little pearl?

I feel as though I am walking through quicksand! What to do? I guess, we will find out his hearing level from the audiologist ($80 one off appt). Oh yeah, we have to get an IQ test ($100-300 one of appt). I feel as if I’m sending therapist on a holiday to Accapoco. I’m already doing the $167 Psychology, Speech Pathology and $57/wk Social Skills group. Therapy costs a fortune.

It’s Mum’s taxi, on steroids, driving them to this that and the other. Where’s all the money for the petrol coming from! Hold on I’m losing the plot, doing all the driving, here there and everywhere. Co-ordinating school and therapy timetables making sure that therapists all talk and understand the plan of action. I’m not even sure what the POA is but I am doing as I am afraid of not doing anything.

The kid is very smart. He is starting to snort like a horse over the last month or two. I have a little trotter running around the house. I wonder if I did assemble a race track around my house if that would do us any good.

I make a booking at Dr’s because maybe he has some difficulty with ears, nose and throat. Knows how to work the teachers. Knows how to not follow the rules of engagement by dancing on the cupboards and table-tops. Knows how to not do what one is told.

Parent: What is the matter child? Kiddo: I don’t want to go to school. How do you tell a 5 year old that they cannot stay at home all day. Chores or else! No problem Mum! It’s a joke! How do you tell kiddo in a way that he understands that as an adult you need to look after yourself/ have time for yourself to exercise/knit/do your thing to stay healthy for them? And also most importantly stand up for yourself.

The 5 yr old kiddo is abit easier to get out the door than his brother. Both anxious when they leave the sanctity of the house. He does not pick up on the rules of engagement. He doesn’t see the social cues. He finds it difficult to understand that the things he does at home, generally, he can’t take transition objects to school. He doesn’t have any emotional attachments to kids or the teachers to make him want to go to school and want to be there.

47. #Autism Car troubles and laughter

It’s raining yet again just as I am due to do the school pickup after a lovely swim and the electrics in my car have given up the ghost! I can’t open the door! It’s raining! Great! This is just great . Thankyou Murphy! Why? I’m going to listen to some comedy! All of a sudden Nanna drives by with her key. Saved by the bell! 😃