Tag Archives: autism

Double Figures


Yesterday my baby turned 10.      I just can’t believe he is now into double figures.

I remember the day he was born quite vividly.   He was an elected section, because of the problems M had when he was born.      However, despite being first on the list for the day, they decided to make me have a natural birth.   Needless to say, my blood pressure went array as with M, and I was taken to theatre for a section in the evening and he was born at 9:02pm.      When he came out, there was much relief he was a boy, because I had been given a scan a week before because of my BP problems, and all I remember seeing was hair.    Yes, he had so much hair that it was visible on the scan.   This made me think he would be a girl, despite being confident throughout the pregnancy I was having a boy!      I would have loved whichever sex my baby had been, but I had made up my mind for a second boy!      It was therefore great that my hairy baby was male.

He has grown into a beautiful person.   He has a kind heart, and would do anything to help others.

He does though have a side he doesn’t like showing the wold, but it is one that we see regularly at home.   The side of him when he lets go of his restraints of holding everything together, and he just lets rip.    It is of course not unusual for a person with aspergers to behave in this way.       It is as if he has multiple personalities.      Whenever I talk to the school, I hear about how quiet and reserved he is – at parents evening this week, the one negative his teacher spoke about was his lack of confidence to put himself forward and put his hand up.     But we know a very different boy.     We know the boy who gets upset when he isn’t perfect at everything he does.      The boy who screams and yells at those around him because he has a days frustration that has been bubbling up inside and needs to release.     The boy who is controlling to his brother because he doesn’t get his less forceful personality.       We also see the child who still needs Mummy hugs when he’s not feeling well, and he has had more than his fair share of illness recently.      The child who stands up to his friends when they don’t understand M’s flapping and ask him to stop, because nobody criticizes his brother apart from him.     We see the vulnerable child who hates conflict between his friends – although its fine when its sibling conflict!      We see the child who will stand up for his friends when they are bullied, but will not speak out when it is happening to him.      The child that adore his cats to the point of obsession.      The child who still believes in Santa and the tooth fairy, and not understanding why some of his peers are questioning their existence.        He is a very complex human being.      He is different people depending on his environment.     However the one thing that always shines through is his good heart.      I may be biased, okay, I know I am biased when I say he is a lovely person, but I believe he is.

Lego Obsession.


M is Lego mad.     He loves building with the kits.    He loves using his imagination to free build things – a true master builder.     His favourite wii-u gams are all Lego based – I must say of all the game genre the boys play, anything Lego based is far more fun to watch as a bystander.       He hates reading, but will pour over any book he comes across with a Lego theme.   The highlight of his month is when his Lego Club magazine gets delivered.      He is addicted to the stuff!

Recently he began talking about Denmark, and if it would be a good place for a holiday.     I have friends who are Danish and although I haven’t been for many years, think it is a beautiful country.      It then dawned on us, why he was suddenly so interested in going there.    He had discovered this was the home of Lego.    While he says he wouldn’t mind going to any of the other Legolands around the world, he thinks it would be best to go to the “proper one” in Denmark.     He also tells me there are some exclusive sets that you can only buy in Denmark!!     It would be an amazing experience for him to go there.

Recently he saw a competition where you had to design and build a new model for the Lego Friends range.      He was so enthralled by the idea of the prize, which was to go to Lego HQ and spend a week with their designers to turn your model into a real kit, including yourself as a Lego figure.      What an amazing opportunity for any child, and wouldn’t it be really cool to say you are a Lego figure?     Any way after much planning and fretting about what he should build, he decided on  a haunted house.    He got it about half built, and saw some pictures of models already entered, and decided his wasn’t of the same standard so gave up.     I tried all I could to encourage him to continue, even offering to help him, but he said that there was no point as the first prize was the only one worth having and he wasn’t going to get that.     His mind was made up and there was nothing I could do to change it.

We went to the cinema to see The Lego Batman movie a couple of weeks back.        He was so excited about this film coming out from the first time he heard the concept being mentioned.     The Lego movie is one of his all time favourite films.       Luckily, the reality lived up to his high expectations of it.     I really enjoyed it too, as it was very much scripted on multiple levels, with many references to the 1960’s series, which I imagine we have all loved every time it has been repeated over the years.      When M loves a movie, he becomes obsessed, and will watch a DVD back to back to back, but he has never before asked to go and see a film a second time at the cinema, as he has with this.     He is thinking him and me could have our date day with this at the weekend.

One of M’s support workers, who visits him from the academy, had suggested over a year ago that he might like to join an after school Lego club that she runs for children with additional needs.       He wasn’t interested.      It was at a time when he was in such a low dark place that there was no point forcing the issue.       The question of it came up a few more times, and while he tried to make the right noises about the idea of it, he would make excuses as to why actually attending it wasn’t for him.       He then made a friends with a boy in his class but a year below him – it is a composite class, who also has additional needs.   This other boy goes to the Lego club, and suddenly M wanted to go.     I spoke to the teacher and she was all for him going along.     The first week, he wasn’t too well, so didn’t go.    I did wonder if we were getting the excuses again for not doing any extra curricular activities, but thought I’d try again the next week.     That was when Old Person was ill, and so he was thrown off balance with her in hospital, that he wanted to be with her when she got home.     He therefore didn’t go that week either.         On Monday, when he came home for lunch, I asked him if he wanted to go to the club after school.    I was bracing myself to counter his objections, but instead he said he would.   Not a single argument.     I did think he still had a couple of hours to change his mind!      He arrived home from school and Hubby took him up to the Library where the session is held – it is quicker for him to walk home and then go out rather than try to park at the school at home time!       Hubby stayed with him as it was his first time there.     There were a couple of people M knew from SafeSpace – our local additional needs group, as well as the child from his class.       He was introduced to another boy his age who goes to the other primary school in the town, as the teacher thinks it may be good for them both to have a face they know other than those going with them when they change schools in the summer.       Hubby said that M just got in and started creating, totally oblivious to the surroundings and the people around him.        Give a child something he is confident with and he can achieve!      It was good to know what that it was a good place for him, but a pity it has taken him so long to have his head in the right place to be there.       The next day, the teacher rang me to tell me that she was so pleased to see M there.     I thought that was nice of her to do that.

In the summer, M and I are going to abandon the rest of the household and head to Glasgow for the BrickLive event.    It looks amazing with not just display models to look at, but pits full of bricks for free building.      I think it will be a day he will love as he will be surrounded by something he feels connected to – and no I don’t mean he has little dots on his head to clip things on!

Lego has been great for M as a means to express himself.    It is something he always wants me to do with him, possibly because I’m more patient than his father!!     He sees it as our thing, and that’s lovely.     It is great to have an interest to communicate with him, and I must say my love of Lego has been reignited when we sit for hours trying to find the correct piece, that of course hides when you’re looking for it.

I am looking forward to BrickLive, but think the trip to Denmark might have to be on hold for some time, while we save!

Community Café.


The boys school does quite a few things that make it part of the wider community, and not just limited to parents and carers, although they do make up the larger part of those targeted by the activities encouraged.      The type of things, include at Christmas time, classes go out and about to care homes, and sheltered housing to entertain the residents with carols.   There are afternoons at the school where usually the elderly residents of the community are invited in to have tea and cakes, being served by the children.

I think any activity that removes the blinkers from the children is good.   By blinkers, I mean, interacting with older people, teaches them something they might not otherwise get the chance to encounter, when they live in such a fast pasted electronic era.     I think they learn a form of respect to people who aren’t family and friends.

Another thing that they do is a community café.     It is hosted by the children of P7, working in small teams with support workers from the academy.       It is a way of the children learning the relationship between produce and money as well as making contact with adults they will be encountering when they move schools in the summer.

Last week was M’s turn.      He was in a group with 3 other children, one of them being his longest known peer, so someone who really understands him.    He was so excited to be doing this, to the point we have heard nothing but what they have been doing towards preparing, and planning for a week before.

The café is held at the old library, now a youth centre, opposite the school.        I was therefore surprised that M was so excited about it, pleasantly so I add, but to be going to an environment that is alien to him, to be with adults he doesn’t know, to potentially encounter people who would be strangers to him.        It wasn’t until he started talking to me in more depth about it, that I realised his excitement was about not having to be in the classroom, somewhere he still doesn’t feel relaxed, and that he was doing something practical that he could relate to a start, middle and end of .      It’s not a negative comment about the school, but more about the education system as a whole, that sometimes the work being done doesn’t show a natural progression for a child, and therefore they can feel rather disjointed by the learning.    I know M has said on several occasions that he doesn’t understand the relevance of a piece of work they are doing, and without that, he finds relating to the work difficult.

Wednesday morning, I received a message from the Mum of M’s friend, asking me what I was baking for the café as she didn’t want to make the same thing.     I was honestly confused as M had made no mention of needing to donate cakes.    He had though told his group that I would be baking .    Amazing in all his excitement he had forgotten to mention something so important.    It was of course the day before shopping day so after a quick look what I had in the kitchen, I decided to make a peppermint slice and some cola cupcakes.      I had not made the cola cupcakes before, but a friend had given me the recipe and said how lovely they were.     I went with a peanut butter frosting as the boys don’t like peanuts and I know they would have insisted on trying them, and not leaving any to go to school.     Peppermint slice is quite a long winded process, with needing time to set the peppermint layer.     It didn’t have the time to leave it long enough, and so was trying to cover with chocolate while it was still a little soft.       I left it over night before trying to cut it, and it didn’t ooze too much, so I deemed it good enough to go.

I can honestly say, that Thursday morning was the easiest day of the academic year for getting him out of the house in the morning.    There was a real air of enthusiasm about him that I wish we saw more often, as it is magical.      He made sure his Dad and I would be going, and almost skipped out of the door with his boxes of cakes.

By the time we left the house to wander up there, it was tipping with raining, and sleet.    It was horrible!         When we arrived, it was lovely to get in the warm.    M’s face just lit up to see us.      He was told to tell us where the money was going – the chosen charities are Cancer research and The Archie foundation which does the extras at the kids hospital, like parent rooms etc.      He then asked us what we would like.     While he was making my tea, his friend served us cakes – Hubby had a peppermint slice, complaining I hadn’t let him have any at home, while I went for a fairy cake his friend said she had made.      There was a class from the school in having their snack – each class goes over at some point during the year, so it was quite busy, but we plonked ourselves on the comfy sofas.       There were a few other Mums I knew there.     One of them told me she was the classroom helper on the Tuesday when they had been preparing and baking cookies, and she wanted to take M home as he was such a help, and brilliant at washing up!      I did say she was welcome to have him, but feel she thought I was joking!     Then one of the adults came over and told me M had burned his finger but it was ok, other than he didn’t want to run it under the tap.     I said he spends so much time helping in the kitchen, he has learned cuts and burns are just park of it so rarely takes much notice.      She then told me how enthusiastic he was.      It was so lovely to hear positive feedback about him, as usually the communication with the school is negative because he struggles so much.     The teachers then appeared for their morning coffee.       The head teacher, who used to be M’s teacher sat with us, and commented how much he looked like he was enjoying himself.       I told her that his delight was genuine, and I was worried he would hit a low afterwards because of it.    She said she’d see his teacher and make sure he was given something engaging to do.      I also had a chat with his support worker who has arranged an extra visit for him to the academy to have a look around without the large crowds who will be going up en mass after Easter.     It is good to see the plans being made for his transition.

When it was time to go, M became very clingy saying he wanted me to stay.      I told him it was just an hour until lunch so I would see him them.      When he got home at lunch time he looked exhausted.   I think he had really given it everything he had, and it showed.     When time came to head back, he sobbed that he didn’t want to go, and held tight to me.     I told him he had to go, as one of the teachers had asked me for the cupcake recipe as so he needed to take it to her.       He reluctantly returned.

I am so proud of M.    It is so special to see when he does engage with something so fully.     It is a pity it doesn’t happen often, but when it does, he shows what he is capable of with the correct motivation.

I hope over the course of the year they make some good donations to their chosen charities.     I am sure all the kids work equally as hard when it is their turn, but I do wonder how many are so upset that they only get to do it once as they would love to do it every week.