Category Archives: autistic spectrum

Squidge, splodge, squeeze!

Sometimes with sensory seekers you need to redirect hands that can get up to mischief. Well he’s 4 so maybe it’s just that he’s 4 but there’s been some undesirable behaviour recently. (I’m not going into detail because I want to respect his privacy)

Playtime needs to up its sensory game so here were yesterday’s ideas:

  1. No mess painting. Splodges of paint on paper inside a ziploc freezer bag. Squidging time!
  2. New slime. Yes I know you can make it but I bought some cool slime from Tiger. It took a bit of encouragement but he soon let me lay it on his hands and we were away. 
  3. Pouring and squeezing bottles. I poked some holes in a bottle lid (blue tack under the lid and be careful using the knife). I filled a bucket put in cups, a jug and plastic bottles on the table outside. It was a great success. I love messy play that you don’t have to clean up. He was cautious at first but was soon squeezing and spraying.  I could even see some bilateral skills which he is working on still. 

I’ve got some rainbow beads on order to make the water more colourful and a new Sensory Play Ideas Pinterest board here

Mum’s night out 

The other half failed to get home in time for me attend yoga again tonight so I’ve had a little Mum’s night out…

Long walk to get the Fitbit steps up, listening to a true crime podcast (my second favourite way to relax after yoga). Tonight’s choice was Wrongful Conviction. Startling listening, really well done but the stories hit you hard.

This particular outing highlight was trip to cinema where I got an email address to find out about autism-friendly performances and a trip to Tesco to get some bin bags (and some chocolate I shouldn’t have eaten). 

Meanwhile I have been keeping up with autism forum posts and a WhatsApp group as I walked home. 

I don’t get to switch off from this job. Despite that, I do feel better for my evening out. How do you get your Mum-me time? 

Guilt #3458 Dentistry

 Tooth decay is apparently rife amongst young children in London. Friends’ children have had to have teeth out (maybe not always just because of decay). Chatting to a friend I realised I needed to try again. The one previous attempt failed – he didn’t open his mouth. 
Here’s how you strategise doing something new that he may not want to do

1) visual schedule 

2) what will happen social story 

3) repeat story several times and ask 1-2-1 to do the same at school

4) Hope for the bloody best!

Visuals really worked because he felt confident enough to let me push him through the transitions. Two buses! However on the way there were a lot of tears because 

  1. Mummy wouldn’t buy sweets
  2. There was a broken down bus
  3. We missed a bus (it’s London they’re regular)
  4. He had to choose to sit upstairs or downstairs 

Tantrums are pretty rare these days and his upset on the bus was bordering on meltdown. Lots of stroking and speaking to him soothingly. Given how well prepared he was this behaviour showed me that he wasn’t fully coping with the anxiety. He is very good at masking. 

Arriving at the dentist there were hardly any toys which he was annoyed about so he switched the lights and went through all the doors including walking in on somebody mid treatment. Often I forget that he used to do this all the time. He once walked into my neighbour’s house when she was having an at-home facial. Seeing him act like his two-year old self was a sign his anxiety was heightened. Of course he has to explore a new place. I brought out his favourite train and the Peppa and George at the Dentist book. 

Inside the room he was very happy with the big chair. He wasn’t having the small mirror near him and hit her hand away. She had an excellent manner and got him to smile at himself in the mirror so she could look. A clean bill of health! Phew!

Happy boy, happy Mummy

Doing it all wrong?

A kind friend wrote to me recently to praise me for all the work I do to help Little A. I had posted about helping him overcome his phobia of level crossings (which I will blog about separately) Clearly I was touched that she troubled to contact me and it did give me a boost for that day. 

Except the problem is that my social media output feels like a highly-curated version of real life. Except most of the time I feel like I’m doing a rubbish job. So when I post these things am I telling the truth?

Parents of children with special needs are excellent at celebrating small achievements. This is the main thing we do on our Autism Mums WhatsApp group aka the best support group ever.  We post almost daily “guess what he did today” and sometimes  I am so happy and proud I share his news with Facebook too. The thing is that if your child is developing at a different rate from other children (they all are of course but when they have a developmental delay it does seem more obvious) then small steps, they’re massive!

So where does this leave my mum guilt that I am “doing it all wrong”? It leaves it in this place of worry and fear that hits you in quiet moments.  What if he never puts his own shoes on and he gets bullied in PE? what if he is addicted to juice and loses his teeth? , what if I’m too permissive because I like him happy and he ends up in big trouble? (There is a downside to having a vivid imagination). 

In her message my friend said I should blog more about what I do to help other parents. I think I will take her advice not just to help others but also help myself. Sharing the highs and lows was where this blog started. But also sharing the triumphs alongside the trials may help too. 

Life with little boy isn’t a direct train, it’s definitely more of a rollercoaster. 

Escapism vs The Novel

It’s been a tough few weeks. Little man is too hyper to go to sleep most nights. And other family things have troubled my mind.  I have found myself escaping. A coping strategy that I have long employed. There’s the bingeing on  audiobooks when I am sat in the darkened hall waiting for him to drop off. Then there’s the Netflix binges if he does go to sleep-the reward for being blessed with an evening- that keep me up past my own bedtime. 

It occurred to me this morning though I may have excellent reasons to escape my real life, I don’t want to lose the chance to have the life I want. I do deserve a break but still, still there’s the damn book. The one I am writing. The one that inspires me and comes to me in flashes. The one I am meant to write. 

Sitting down to finally type up pages and pages of scrawled disorganised scenes this morning I resolved once again to escape into the world that I am creating. I often read that to write you need to read. I subscribe to this advice whole-heartedly but my aim this coming month is to use the novel as an escape. Not always, that’s not realistic.  Surely it must be possible to sometimes indulge in something that does not distract my mind but instead engage it? 

Does anyone else write in odd places? It seems appropriate to my own experience that I should write sat on the top step just waiting for the chance to creep down the stairs. 

Moving out

In a few days we will be moving out of our small flat to a small house. We seem to have accrued a lot of stuff since moving in 6 years ago, getting married and having Little A. I mean who doesn’t need 32 1980s compiliation albums (here’s looking at you husband)?

Change is tough for little A so it is better to involve him in any activity. He flicked a duster at a few of our less breakable possessions this morning as I madly clean and sort.

The reality is though I cannot pay as much attention to him and he resists change. Queue choas. Drinks dumped out, eggs broken on the floor, toothpaste eaten… Behaviour that is showing me clearly he is already finding this week challenging. And being Little A he refused the Time Out handed out for this until he was ready and told me “I want time out on the bed.” Me too kiddo.

After calming play with the fans, some special time with play doh and of course some bouncing we have recovered. I may just leave everything else dusty.

Cornflakey fun

To break the monotony of building the track and to encourage imagination we have been using sensory play for a few months.

Full credit to my fellow Early Birds Mummy friend who introduced me to the concept of rainbow rice and cornflakes.

Cue large storage box, poundland cornflakes and the emergency vehicles.

It took him a few minutes to get stuck in. But soon we were scrunching, putting the cornflakes in pots and then making it rain over the vehicles.

Cones provided a track for the cars until he decided they were ice cream cones. Lovely to watch the imaginary play. Although being a literalist he then HAD to eat the cornflakes. Which is why the end of the activity was this…

Tucking in!