Insights

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If there is one thing I struggle to get my head around is how autism can be seen as being “different” It’s so complex how can it not be seen as anything other than truly amazing.

For a 5-year-old to have a photographic memory, recognise complex shapes and love working with high digit numbers is nothing short of astonishing, If this is “different” then sign me the hell up as I would love to have these abilities! 

Autism comes in all shapes and sizes which is whats so amazing about it. The spectrum is so vast no two children are the same.

Autism normally presents itself by the age of 3, however, parents may notice signs as early as 12 months. For us, Teddie hit all his milestones when he was a baby, it wasn’t until he was over 1 we noticed a real change in how he saw the world. It honestly felt like one day he was ok then all of a sudden he wasn’t.

Teddie walked early, would high five his brothers, made eye contact with you, was so happy & even said a few words then it was like a switch had been flicked, he was a different boy.

Throughout my studies, I come across lots of theories on why children behave in certain ways (neurotypical and ASD children) Children all develop at different stages during pregnancy and after birth. As a parent of 3 boys, I’m still met with the need for my children to confirm but the fact is children will be who they want to be.

I’ve never felt the need to find out why Teddie has ASD. What we do know, however, is environmental factors & genetics strongly influence the risk for developing ASD. Do any of these apply to us? I’m not sure but I do ponder on a few questions.

One of the main issues Teddie faces now is recognising facial expressions and the emotions behind them. The question I always ask myself is what changed from when Teddie was a baby/toddler to now?

Studying and research have taught me infants regularly show facial expressions of sadness and happiness despite never being taught such emotions so this has to be something that is built into us.

A study I worked on a few years ago on how babies congenitally blind will smile when they are happy and cry when they are sad. These infants have never been taught or seen these facial expressions so it backs up the theory that these emotions are built into all of us. 

With this in mind, how is it possible for Teddie to be able to regulate all emotions at such a young age but find it all so hard now? Why does Teddie have empathy towards others but not towards himself?  

Did something happen for these changes to make such an impact on him? 

Even if my questions were answered it wouldn’t make a difference, in all honesty, I (we) would never want Teddie to be any different from the amazing kind-hearted boy we all love so much.

The mind works in mysterious ways & to complex for any of us to ever fully understand. No two people are the same which can only be a good thing. 

We love our Bear more than he could ever know.

 

 

 

Unplugging your kids, good luck……..

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I know we aren’t the only ones who have woke up first thing in the morning and thought S**t we forgot to plug the Kindle or Ipad in before we went to bed, hell is about to break out!!!

Having 3 children with roughly a 5 year age gap we have parented with & without technology.
Mobile phones had only just taken off when we had Harvey, the dark screen and the one game (snakes) was not appealing enough for me to hand the phone over to him when I needed him to be quiet, He did, however, like to use my brick of a phone as a teething soother!

Even years later Harvey never had any devices as a young child nor did Alfie when he came alone.
Harvey got his first console (ps2?) when he was about 8, think it was Gareths old one we certainly didn’t go out and buy him one at that age. We brought Harvey an iPod when he was about 10 as he broke his hand & arm just as we were about to fly out to Turkey (we still went)
We then brought Harvey an iPad for Christmas when he was 11, he never asked for one but all his friends had one & we knew the secretly wanted one.

Alfie got a kindle fire on his 8th birthday & got a PS4 on his last birthday, age 10.

Oh, how times have changed since the older two were young. Homework is now online, maths test are online everything is online now, mainly, as most households have internet access in their homes.

I got a kindle fire a few years ago for my birthday, Teddie was about 2. The minute I spotted a kids game with Mickey Mouse clubhouse in it I downloaded it and handed the kindle to Teddie, BIG MISTAKE!

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Our house is now filled with stressed out kids & parents arguing over where the bloody charger is!
The kindle charger is the same as the PS4 chargers, we have 2 kindles, 2 PS4 but only 1 bloody charger. 4 iPhones, 1 iPod (still going strong) 1 iPad but only 2 chargers, got loads of plugs but no leads!!

As a rule, I don’t set a time limit on devices but what I do do is monitor the children’s behaviour when they are on it.
I wrote before about the effects screen time has on children but even if I haven’t studied it the evidence shows itself.

When the boys (Harvey & Alfie) have been on their consoles for a few hours all I hear is banging on the floor, moaning and crying. To say it wines me up would be an understatement, it boils my blood and all I wanna do is shout and screen at them. It’s a bloody game for Christ sake but, it’s important to them so I do a little (sometimes a massive) inside scream to myself and give them a warning about their anger and frustration forwards the GAME!

Just after Christmas, we stopped Teddie having any electronic devices in the morning. Teddie was getting so distressed when I was telling him to pack away his Kindle as he had school, Teddie would just say

‘No school’

As much as devices can be a lifesaver they can also be the devil!! Teddie becomes easily wound up, screams ‘it’s not working’ especially when we are out as I cannot find a bloody wifi source, the game is lagging or worse still the battery goes!!!

Every night at bedtime we remind Teddie ‘No Kindle, No laptop, No iPad. Teddie only ever has the Kindle or laptop but if we didn’t cover all devices he’ll think he can have it as we haven’t said no to it-he’s not stupid!

When Teddie has his Kindle he goes off into his own world, he completely loses sight of what is going on around him. He doesn’t interact with any of us which really makes me sad. Once the Kindle runs out of battery that’s it for the day, you generally know when that happens as he throws it in the other direction!

Since we have stopped him going on devices morning, noon & night he plays more with his bricks & certainly bangs more often!

For us this works, it may not for everyone else, we are not the perfect parents, our children will have their devices when we r at a restaurant, in the car or on a long flight but we no longer allow them to have them all day.

FYI, the 101 ideas on how to unplug your child are crap!

 

Guess what, I’m not a super mum!

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Thank God for good makeup, otherwise, I’d look how I feel!

This week I’ve come to the conclusion I cannot do it all, I’m not the super mum people have claimed me to be in the past so I’ll let you in on a little secret…….

I just don’t care. The boys possibly wear the same pair of socks twice in a row maybe longer, mainly because I hate socks, I hate looking for them, I hate pairing them up, I.HATE.SOCKS.

Homework. I used to do the Harvey & Alfies (mainly Alfie) homework for them, I’d sit and glue a million cocktail sticks to a cardboard box to make a miniature Big Ben even though the homework instructions said to draw it. Them days have well and truly gone, If Alfie’s homework isn’t done it’s his issue, not mine I’m over sitting up the table while he’s on his PS4 chatting with God knows who online.

Saturdays. We very rarely get dressed and hardly ever leave the house. Harvey & Alfie sit on their PS4/Xbox most of the day playing games that are possibly unsuitable for their age but its two fewer children hanging around my feet annoying me!!

Earphones. I brought Teddie some earphones because I cannot cope with the constant noise coming from his Kindle, I cannot describe the sound other then horrendous if I hear it for much longer I may start headbutting the wall to ease the pain!!!!!!

Washing up. I go to bed sometimes and leave the dinner plates by the sink or I throw the dishes into the sink to “soak” but really my thinking behind the “soak” is it will be easier for Gareth to wash them up in the morning!

Sofa. Once my bum hits the sofa at night it never ends well, within 10 minutes I’m out for the count, If Gareth brings the duvet down I’ll be asleep within seconds! I very rarely watch TV at night, Thank God for catch up!!

Pj’s. I am in my PJ’s before all the boys most night, sometimes I put my PJ’s back on after the morning school run if I’m working on the laptop all day. Alfie has slept in his school shorts a few times this week, I would like to say he has put clean ones on the next morning but I’m not overly confident he has! Teddie keeps his uniform on until he literally climbs into bed as if we put PJ’s on any earlier he’ll have a shit fit as he’ll think he’s going to bed that second. Harvey, he’s 14 enough said!

 

The reasons:

Half the reason for all the above is probably my anxiety medication, it certainly suppresses feelings of not caring about things that have bothered me before I took the tablets. Although the tablets have helped my obsession with not caring about the littlest things I still have the sense of danger in the pit of my stomach that at times can take over and stop me from doing things I want to do. I have now taken the steps and self referred to Health in mind, I have had a pre-assessment with the aim to receive some CBT (Cognitive behavioural therapy) which I laugh about as it’s the area I’m doing my degree in. 

For anyone who needs help, please don’t suffer in silence, tell someone how your feeling or write it down as it honestly feels like a weight, although only slightly has been lifted. Contact health in mind!