Sunday, 18 October 2009

Ice-Cream Meltdown on a Cold Sunday afternoon

There is a God. I have proof.

Today we visited my husband's parents in rural Cambridgeshire. Well, fairly rural and certainly not in town. You'll see the relevance later... H was in a really twitchy mood, everything was bothering him and he was not happy to be fobbed off with his world of Pokemon on the DSi, needing instead to point out at every available opportunity how distressed he was. He even resorted to some echolalia and stimming, which I find rather unnerving since we are definitely seeing some regressive Autistic behaviour which I hadn't been prepared for.

My in-laws live a quiet life and an invasion of a large family must be a challenge for them at the best of times, but H was not built with any type of volume control and tries the patience of most older people on a good day. Today was not one of those days.

At lunchtime he decided he needed ice cream for dessert. In fact, skip the main course and forget the cutlery, he just needed ice cream. Now.

After realising there was no way of explaining the reality he chose to ignore (that there was none) and the implausibility of his preferred parallel universe (where we magically produced or made some) we tried ignoring him. But anyone who has a child with an ASD will know the odds of this tactic succeeding are about as good as winning the Lottery! Some chemistry experiments and playing yo-yos with spiders (don't ask) with Granddad helped buy us some time (Granddad is now recovering with a stiff drink in a horizontal position no doubt)but by 4pm we were running out of ideas and H was NOT running out of steam. And that's when we heard the most bizarre of sounds in a smart Cambs village cul de sac full of retired people and very few children. On a rather chilly Sunday afternoon. It was an ice cream van.....

So there you have it. Irrefutable proof that there is a benevolent God. One who realised the desperate nature of our situation and came to the rescue. Perhaps this God has an appreciation of life on the Autistic Spectrum or at least some experience of dealing with those on it. Pity then that I don't have his number for next time....

What was it Jerry Springer said? "I know of nobody who is purely Autistic or purely neurotypical. Even God had some Autistic moments, which is why the planets all spin."

Wednesday, 14 October 2009

Coffee Shops and Clinics - A magical mystery tour of London via "Underground Ernie" with a princess and her wand!

"So that's a tall, skinny, sugar-free vanilla Macchiato...." the Starbucks barista repeated back to me trying to suppress a grin. Well, it had been a long day, I *shouldn't* be drinking that much milk but a black, brewed house blend just wasn't going to cut it this time....

K and I had travelled into London (sorry, "Town", with the important capital "T") for two appointments with two different Speech and Language therapists and a Video Fluoroscopy (real time swallow X-Ray) in an attempt to make further progress and future decisions on her reflux and the impact her gut symptoms were having on her pro-motor development. The day started well, we left the house before H had woken up, K had chosen matching skinny jeans and her Next imitation Uggs to "match Mummy" and was surprisingly excited given the previous trip last month for more invasive tests.

We travelled light - one child, no buggy and gratifyingly normal adrenaline levels since I had avoided the pre-Ritalin nightmare back home. (I cannot describe the enormous positive impact that has on the rest of the day.) We ate breakfast at Liverpool Station, a necessity rather than a luxury since by 9am I was in dire need of caffeine after far too little sleep over the past week month year.

Today I saw a different London. Our first appointment was in Sloane Square and it was my first ever visit to this part of London. I found myself in a delicious time warp of duffel coats and Startrite T bar shoes, feeling oddly unique in up to date fashion myself. There wasn't a child there without a cashmere cardigan, tweed shorts and beautifully tailored shirts or blouses. I found myself pondering whether I should be growing out K's fringe and clipping it to one side, but quickly snapped out of my reverie.

We were drawn to "Peter Jones" and after the princess had been supplied with a magic wand to compliment this fairytale idyll we window-shopped, finally purchasing some of the ubiquitous shoes for school described above.

 Having never before been to Kensington/Chelsea I'm not sure we did it justice since the shoes were required and we paid no more than at home, but they DID come from "Trotter's Children's Outfitters" and we have the bag to prove it.

Our experience was complete as we passed Dame Maggie Smith as we headed back to the tube!
K sang "Underground Ernie" much of the way to the hospital, then back to Liverpool Street as we hurtled round the entire Circle Line during our trip.

It was, in actual fact, the single most useful and enlightening trip of its kind for us (obviously helped by the magical powers of K's new wand!!!) and we will be returning to my (newly) favourite part of London for Speech Therapy sessions in the not too distant future. Next time though I might leave the skinnies and Uggs at home and make sure K has her Startrite Mary Jane's on. It wouldn't do to let the side down.

Saturday, 10 October 2009

"Under the radar" and when to worry!

I had an interesting chat with A and K's nursery teacher yesterday. Apparently she hadn't realised how competent/able A was because he often "slips under the radar". She's realised he has his own agenda and likes to (quite cunningly I might add) complete tasks and move on. He makes little fuss, is always busy and has no interest in being star pupil like his sister.

K can recognise all her letters and knows the sounds and willingly demonstrates this in school; so came home with a letter book. A was most indignant, not that he hadn't got a book, but that Mrs W hadn't realised he knew at least as much as his sister. His teacher was actually concerned that she might have "caused me some trouble" by sending one home with a book but not the other, but we treat them as individuals so I wasn't bothered in the slightest. She spoke to me and commented that A often "slipped beneath the radar" and had his own plans for each session but he was happy, socialising and doing well.

Now, in actual fact the time to worry with A is when you can't hear him. When you are not aware of him, when he is "below the radar" he is most likely decorating the walls with lip-salve because he likes the oily texture......, signing his name everywhere "to practice", re-wiring the Wii (yes it WAS him) or downloading the entire "I can cook" recipe book from the CBeebies website and printing each page. He has also been known to link everywhere in the house with sellotape!

Granted this is difficult for his teacher to grasp. After all, four yeas ago she had H in her class. Now with H, the only time you do not have to worry or think about what he is up to is when he is quiet. Which let's face it isn't very often. So Mrs W might be rather pleased to have a quiet boy from our household who has his own agenda, completes everything required with minimal fuss and slips away to do his own thing. However, I hope she's got that interactive whiteboard insured, has locked away the lip-salve and sellotape.... and the computer isn't connected to the internet......

A's take on things was pretty amusing actually. I asked him if he was going to be bringing a book home soon. He replied "No Mummy, I don't need the practice!!!!
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