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Only two people in this picture, of my family, are not on the autism spectrum…

Autism: In our case, an invisible disability.

Don’t we all look fabulously ‘normal’. That’s because we are 😉

The school year is about to start and I’m bracing myself and creating the school year positively in my mind.

To all parents and teachers who are in contact with children on the autism spectrum.

Only three years ago, thanks to my two eldest sons, I found out I myself am on the autism spectrum.
In the past I used to think I was an angry, silly, oversensitive, weird, socially impaired loner. Now I know my brain is wired differently. I am a beautifully highly sensitive, creative, caring and out of the box thinking woman.
My thirteen year old has Aspergers and my 11 year old is on the spectrum.
For many, they think it’s a fashion but I can assure you its not. People are just, finally, becoming more aware.
Even though we are totally lucky to be able to live independently, we still have to learn how to live with this invisible disability. Countless times we have heard ‘But they don’t look like they have autism.’ ‘But he was so polite…’ …
To all mums and dads harnessing themselves for the daily school struggle, confrontations and battle against the system: – You are doing amazingly well.
– Don’t give a second thought to those that judge.
– Don’t listen to negative gossip.
– You are not alone!
– Not everyone gets it, even GP’s. So if you even the slightest, feel deeply inside your gut that there is something with your child which is different from what society expects…
– KEEP KNOCKING ON DOORS TO MAKE SURE YOUR CHILD GETS ALL THE SUPPORT THEY NEED! If you don’t do it, sadly enough, no one else will!
– For mums and dads who find it difficult to accept their child ‘has something’. Check how many of those incredibly successful people are on the spectrum… ridiculously a lot! Having autism doesn’t mean your child is stupid or cannot get anywhere in life!! (massive misconception)
– All the change you bring for your child, all the awareness you bring to others will not only help your child but every child that follows!
I have stood in school, in front of a door, crying, after it was shut in my face by the SENCO help saying ‘I cannot help right now, make an appointment’.
I have had to make one million phone calls and emails to get things in place for my boys.
I have cried a billion tears, trying to fight ‘the system’. It is true, you cannot make the blind see but you can do things to bring change.
I have screamed and shouted at my husband to f***ing do something as often, (shame again to the system for this) people only listen when a man gets involved.
And last but not least: there are many (sadly the schools don’t even know about them and you have to research research research to find them) There are people out there, specialised in helping children on the spectrum. CALL them! Schools seem to listen more with those Angel beings under your arm.
To all teachers who are aware and working hard to help our fabulous children on the spectrum: THANK YOU!
To all teachers who don’t know much about it. I have worked as a teacher before and I know that the work pressure is enormous but please:
– That child that tells you continuously that his classmate ticking his pen on his bench is driving him crazy… Listen to him.
– That child that flits his eyes nervously around… Ask if everything is ok.
– That child that tells you other boys or girls keep calling him names… Don’t just say ‘I’m sure they are just playing around’. Listen to him and acknowledge what he is saying.
– That child that comes to you with pen tops and paperclips other children have thrown at his head, again… Don’t just say, ‘just ignore, throw it in the bin’.
– That child that suddenly refuses to communicate which is seen in modern society as rude… Don’t assume, he is probably so over stimulated that he is completely shutting down.
– Or in the case of having Aspergers: That child that is all over the place, shows repetitive behaviour and seems like the top has come off a shaken soft drink bottle… Don’t get angry but help him breathe, close his eyes, give him your full attention so he can come to himself again.
– That child that refuses to do something because it hurts… Remember that the senses of children on the spectrum are enormously a lot higher than people who aren’t. That child is not being a wimp, they are simply and beautifully highly sensitive.
– That child that was happy and suddenly turns over a ‘silly thing’ like… CHANGE… (I’m laughing very loudly now) Remember that people on the spectrum do not do change! It turns their whole bloody day in a massive pile of tornado shit. Every morning and every evening, I recite the schedule for the week and the day ahead with my boys.
– That child that refuses to come into school, tries to run off, cries, screams and makes a scene (even though society thinks you’re now to old to hang on your mothers’ skirt and oh God forbid we are to evolved to make scenes at a certain age so ‘For Gods sake behave’!) … Stay calm, for three hours if you have to as threatening will make him not ever trust you again and it will not ever get him into class.
– That child that throws a scene because his PE short is scratching… Find a solution. He really does feel the tissue of the shorts in a completely different way than others.
– The child that has come to you a million times to ‘complain’ about other children saying weird stuff but suddenly finds himself having punched ‘the bullies’… Even though physical ‘violence’ is never accepted, listen and don’t just punish full guns blazing. I wonder how long you would hold it, being a constant target because others think you’re weird.
– Aspergers: That child that runs awkwardly and always drops stuff. That child that desperately tries to tie his shoe laces in the weirdest way, nervous, hidden away for no one to see… Make it light as they are already aware of how terrible their coordination is.
Most of all, please teachers, be calm, understanding, patient and please, even if it takes three hours to settle a child, to get him in class, to get him to do his work… Never ever give up. They really aren’t doing it on purpose and the more patience at the beginning, the more trust is formed and the more fabulous results you will create for the child.
I have stood at the school gate with a screaming distressed child for many, many times. Other parents look. Some judge. Some look at you full of pity. Only an incredibly small amount really gets it. I haven’t been able to work whole days after being so totally distressed/sad/angry because of feeling let down by the educational system.
My 11 year old says ‘People think we are the different ones but who is to say its not all of them who are different and we are normal.’ (He’s got a point)
The world needs to change so they brought the people with a different wired brain. Society has given it a name as it is different from the norm: ‘autism’. In reality, we are just normal people.
We are highly sensitive beings. We see, feel, taste and hear everything multiply one million. It is our gift. It is our special power.
‘Change is one of the hardest things for people on the spectrum but it is the biggest thing they bring.’
That’s why I write, to make a difference in the world.
Drama short film, ‘The Boy and the Ladybird’ based on a true story to bring more awareness. ‘Under construction’
#director #BenHyland #producer #AdamSmith 
Watch this space

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