Monday, 19 November 2012

Excellent spellings and sneaking out his Christmas present.

J now has use of an iPad, as well as his own iPod Touch, and my iPhone (if he is desperate to be calmed down and that is all I have to hand).
As soon as he spotted it he was asking for the "big telephone", over and over again.
He knows what to do with it, and seeing his favourite YouTube children's clips on the bigger screen made him really happy.

He can write several words by memory, but most are not understood by him as to what they actually spell out. One of the words he can write is Teletubbies, and this spelling he does comprehend. He can write it in the search bar on Youtube, and also I have seen him write it in the Google search bar, and then click on the images for them.
The other day, after getting the iPad back off of him, so I could charge it up, I looked in Google.
He had written out correctly more of his chidren's programmes he likes.
Most of them are no longer on t.v, only on YouTube.

The photo shows you what he wrote. I was amazed he spelt them correctly. His memory for spellings is improving dramatically, and with that his understanding of what they actually mean.

It also makes presents easier to buy for him. He does'nt enjoy or understand 'regular' toys which are aimed at his age group, and despite most of these shows not being aired anymore, which means no new products being manufactured,eBay is my haven for finding these rare toys and bits and bobs.

I have already purchased most of his Christmas presents, all off eBay, and all related to his favourite programmes.
I know he has found one of them though, and he is clever enough to understand that as I had hidden it (not well enough as he found it!) he sneaks it out, plays with it, and then puts it back.
When I spied what he was doing, I decided it was very clever of him, and it also made me laugh, so I let him carry on ; besides, you're only young once, and I love to see a glimpse into his world and his thinking.

Thursday, 15 November 2012

Blackberry Farm and tonnes of fun for our family

We were at a family friendly farm the other weekend, and one I highly recommend for all families, especially those with children who have learning diffculties, who love animals.
It is called Blackberry Farm, and is in Sussex.
There are goats,pigs, chickens, and ducks that you can feed (feed provided by the farm), ponies you can have a child ride on, a tractor ride around the farm, a small critter barn where there are guinea pigs, rabbits, chinchillas, rats, hamsters and a lovely parrot that enjoys being hand fed treats.
Aside from the animals there is a huge play area, for all child ages and abilities.
A giant 'pillow' that can have around 20-30 children jumping on. It is like a bouncy castle, but minus the sides, and it is shaped like a pillow, funnily enough.
Three enclosed circular trampolines, various climing apparatus, a sand area, a dedicated toddler area, a large wavy slide and a tunnel slide (the ones you need to sit on a mat and slide down on), a zip wire, a go-kart track, an inside soft play (two tier) gym, and a fully stocked cafe/shop.
For a fairly small entrance fee, this place is excellent value for money, and unlike a few other places we have visited, you do not pay any more for the play equipment or go-karts.

J wandered freely around the grassy tracks, stopping to lean on a picket fence and gaze at the trees.
He was not interested in feeding the animals, and was happy to let his brothers use all the feed up.
As the farm is housed on quite extensive fields, there is no squashing or clamouring against other visitors.
The only down side is the seasonal weather. The grassy paths become mud bogs with the rain. This then cuts off a substantial amount of animals, unless you are equipped with wellies, waterproofs, and a happy disposition to getting dirty.
The play areas are still accessible, but if it is bucketing down, it's unlikely you'll be letting your little one's stand around in it. The inside play gym would be the best bet for a wet day, but it is not epic in size, so can only house a limited number of children.

Bad weather aside, this farm is fab. A winner in value for money, spaciousness, fun, and enjoyment for all.

Now I have done a little advertising piece on the farm ( if they read this I am most happy to receive a free annual pass for my services!), I shall get back to the post I was composing.

J was bouncing merrily on top of the pillow, and there were three other children joining in ; two boys and a girl.
The girl, I guessed, was around 12 years old.
At first I thought she was feeling a bit perturbed by J and his exhuberant jumping. But after watching from my place of seating, I realised she was trying to catch his eye. She 'liked' him.
In that moment I had a thousand thoughts run through my mind. I pictured him having his first girlfriend, his first date, getting married.....and then remembered he won't be able to do any of those. He won't have an interest in any kind of relationship, let alone a friendship.
I felt sad. I felt upset. I felt cheated. I felt sorry for J, and what he will miss out on. Yes, he does'nt have comprehension of marriage, partners, or relationships, and as far as we are aware, he does'nt understand he is 'different', but still, this is my son, and when we are pregnant (and not aware of what the future holds for our child), we dream. Dream about the life this child will lead. Their future. And because the notion of a learning difficulty is not anywhere in your thoughts at that stage, you don't forsee what transpires as the actual reality.

I will just have to wait a little longer for the fun of first girlfriends, dating, and all the tribulations that that entails. As my middle son is only six and a half, I am thinking another 6 years or so before the fun begins!

Tuesday, 13 November 2012



It's been a very long time since I blogged here.
Life and all the twists and turns took over, and I did'nt find the time to sit and compose a post.
I had many great ideas for new posts, usually just as I was finally falling asleep and my mind was racing, but at that point I was loathe to click open the laptop and tap away.

To answer the question I have been asked many times before ; yes, J does still have autism. No magic cure. No miracle from up above. He's still my boy with autism.

I have submitted his forms for seconday school. That major event is fast approaching - September 2013. The reality that he is growing up so fast, whilst the provisions in place for young adults is still so poor and under funded, is looming over me.

In just a few years I know the question will be asked ; do I want J to be placed in a residential home for adults with learning difficulties?  As there are waiting lists (especially for the popular homes), the question is asked well before he turns 18.

After the scandal, and successful prosecution and jail terms, of the staff at one particular care home for adults with learning dificulties, it has brought home the reality that I will never be able to be confident in the care he may require in the future.
The images and film that captured the torment and torture of the residents is not just shocking, it is sickening to the core. The thought that these 'carers' found it funny or even gained pleasure from their abuse is incomprehensible to any kind hearted person.

Of course, if I had the financial capabilities, I could hand pick a home. A private home where provisions are to a higher standard. A place where, because money talks, my voice and any requests, will be heard and acted upon.
But who is to say the quality of carer is any better? The pay incentives may be better, but the personality of the individual can still be unsuitable.
In both council run home and private home, how would my non verbal son be able to tell me he is being abused?

It is my belief that families of residents are using spy cameras more and more. Hidden in photo frames or an ornament.
We have seen an elderly woman being slapped by a male carer, who was performing a personal wash on her in her bed. The woman was wriggling and moaning, not actually able to verbalise, and he repeatedly slapped her thighs, shouting at her.
The daughter had specified that only a female carer was to carry out personal washing on her mother, because of the intimate nature.
If the daughter had not planted a spy camera she would not have discovered the horrid truth.

There are plenty of admirable and capable carers out there. They have their patients best interests at the fore of their job. But unfortunately, the minority of the aforementioned above carers, puts the reality of the situation out there.
I have to trust 100% that my son will be cared for appropriately and with compassion and understanding.

At this point in time, I do not have that trust. He will not be living anywhere but with me.
That may well change in years to come, for whatever reason, but that is one bridge I will not be crossing for a long time.