When I was a young girl ( not that many years ago, I wish ! ) I was always travel sick on long journeys. I can remember as most children do asking my parents lots of times how far it was till we got to our destination for our holiday. The reply always started at a couple of hours , which when your children seems like a life time. Then every time after that the time would go down to just over an hour, less than an hour to half an hour and so on and so forth.
We had a VW caravanette, that had been converted inside to have a table in the back so my sister and I could use it to do activities on whilst traveling and none slip mats so ours drinks didn’t spill while traveling. That was in the days when seat belts were not compulsory in the back of vehicles. I used to keep popping my head through to the front to get a better look at where we were going.
Maybe it was because I kept moving around in the back swapping from one seat to another that I used to get travel sick, who knows !. All I know is from what my mum told me when I was older, is that I would always say I was feeling sick, and she would say we are nearly there hang on a little while, you`ll be fine, then both my mum and dad would open the windows fully to let the fresh air in. Still with no effect I would still say I was feeling sick, then the reply would be only a few minutes away now. You can last that little bit longer. Did I ever last that bit longer, oh no I didn’t. My mum says all she can ever remember is always arriving on holiday with me having been sick on her, literally 5 mins before hand. Then having to find somewhere to get cleaned up.
So it was of no great surprise to us both when my daughter Alison was also travel sick. When my eldest son and Alison were toddlers, it was my mum who used to come on holiday with me and the two children, because my husband was self employed at the time and couldn’t just stop work like that.
Through her expertise in dealing with me when I used to be travel sick ( which only stopped when I had past my driving test and had my own car). She would always make sure that in the rear of the car with the children we had a bowl so she could be sick in, plenty of baby wipes and a towel to clean her with afterwards. Then in the boot of the car was a separate bag with spare clothes for us all, a large bottle of water( which would inevitable be used to wash the sick bowl out with) and empty carrier bags to but any dirty washing in.
Then when our youngest son was born, it was of no great shock that he was also sick when traveling, but the difference being, Alison and I were only sick on long journeys. Where as he was sick every time he was in the car, no matter how far we went. Even going to the local supermarket ( which is only approx 8 miles away) was an escapade, as he was not only sick in the car, but continued being sick whilst doing the shopping, or should I say trying to do the shopping between cleaning him up.
I never thought there would be any other reason for this, as two of us in the family had been travel sick when younger, then why shouldn’t there be another, it just seemed logical to me.
When my husband and I first started to take all three children on holiday, our youngest son was only approx 18 months old. He was sick on the way there, which was of no great surprise. Also several times while away. Which I never really gave it much thought to. I just thought he had picked up a sickness bug.
Over the following few years, we always went to the same place for a holiday. As the years went past, my son was no longer sick on this particular journey. Again I never really thought to much about this. Also when going shopping to the local town and supermarket, he had stopped being sick in the car. I just thought he was growing out of it. Like Alison and I had done as we got older.
When ever he went on day trips with his school, I would always let them know he was not very good at travelling. So they always sat him near to the front. Inadvertently he was sick.
It was not until recently I realised how totally wrong I had got it. I could not have been further from the true reason his was being sick if I`d tried.
A couple of months ago I had taken my son to a CAMHS meeting, which happened to fall in a holiday time. He asked if afterwards could we go for a McDonald’s ( as normally he has to go back to school). So I said yes as he`d never had one before and I thought he would enjoy it. So as soon as we had finished at the meeting, I said to my son that we would now go and get his McDonald’s. His reply was that he`d changed his mind and he didn’t want one any more. I told him that was fine, but we still needed to go into the town center ( this is a different one to the local one, that my son is used to going to). He said do we have to, I said yes as I needed the bank. Whilst we were walking he said he felt sick,( I knew he was not ill). I told him he would be OK and we would soon be back at the car. The further we went, the more he kept saying he was going to be sick. The bank happened to be opposite McDonald’s. So I said if he changed his mind he could still have one. Alison was with us on this day and had been looking forward to hers, so I told her she could still have one anyway. The closer we got to get one the more my son was saying he wanted to go back to the car as he was going to be sick.
It was at that point that it dawned on me, it hadn’t been travel sickness all these years. It was how my son felt, when faced with going to new places or doing new things, and because of this he then starts to worry about the situation and then actually becomes physically sick. To him it is the fear of the unknown. This is what autistic children can`t handle. One of the things my son is unable to do is interpret feelings and emotions. So every time he gets like that, he doesn’t know why.
That explained why my son was no longer sick going into the local town, or the long journey to the same holiday resort. It was because he had become familiar with them, and why on some trips etc and not others.
I am so glad I have worked out that part of my son, because now with some forward planning I can hopefully help him to try out and do new things, surely that can only be a good thing and help to lead to less stressful situations for him. If he still decides he doesn’t want to, I know it is not through him being awkward, its because he want be able to cope and that’s when he will start to panic and be sick.
In case any one’s wandering, did my son get to have a McDonald’s. Well yes he did. Fortunately it was quiet in there at the time we went, and because Alison was getting hers, he said he would also have one as long as we could walk back to the car and eat it. So that’s what we did.
Mothering Sunday comes around once a year. From a very early age our children give us gifts, starting with the cards they make at school, made with their own loving hands. Followed by when they get a bit older and have a small amount of money of their own (for once which is not borrowed from us parents) they present us with lovely flowers and small gifts. Then when they are a lot older, they arrange to take us out for a meal. All of these we love, adore and cherish.
Today 2 of my children were ill, Alison had not been well for a few days and had spent most of it asleep in bed. My son over the past week had been coughing on and off, and had a bit of a runny nose. This morning he woke up complaining about his stomach hurting and said he ached all over.
Before either of my children woke up I had already got the lunch cooking in preparation of Alison serving it up once it was cooked. Followed be the usual jobs I do on a Sunday like ironing etc.
So how fortunate was that, as Alison though feeling better than she had been was no were near fit enough to finish lunch off. My son could barely move from his bed without crying out with the pain he was feeling of not been well. He has spent all day in bed calling out for me to go up to him to sort him out and get him better. Trying to explain to him that there isn’t a lot I can do other than giving him calpol, and the best thing he can do is try and get some sleep as he says he`s tired, is something he doesn’t understand.
My son has to take melatonin every night to help him go to sleep. Knowing that this is the only way for him, as no matter how tired he may get, he just can`t fall asleep like the rest of us. So to help him fall asleep this afternoon I put one of his tablets in a drink and gave it to him. The same as I do at night, this way he doesn’t realise he`s had it. He did sleep on and off all afternoon, each time upon waking calling for me and saying he wasn’t feeling well. Every time I went to him I tried to reassure him he will be OK, then gave him a cuddle.
All day I have been up and down to him like a yo-yo, and no doubt I will be all through the night. Along with doing the occassional thing to sort Alison out as well.
So on the one day that our children are told they have to go out and buy cards etc to give to their mums, then look after them for that day, I was the one doing the looking after my children. Would I have had it any other way. No I would not, because if you take the words Mothering Sunday literaly as my son does being autistic, then that is exactly what I was doing. Mothering my children on a Sunday.
I would just like to say thank you to everyone who has left comments on my web site, and any of you who (hopefully) will do in the future.
Here is some of the answers to your questions in general. A few of you say I must have been blogging for a long time to get my site to were it is. Which is very kind of you and makes me feel good that you consider it well done like professionals. In truth this is my first one and it was my husband who set it up for me, this is his first go at doing anything like this also.
Some of you comment on how you wish you could write things down like I do. The way I do it is very simple, I put it down as though I am actually talking to someone, it is something I have always done. I remember when my mum was abroad on holiday for several months once, She said she looked forward to receiving my letters for the fact that once she had read them, she felt I had actually been speaking to her personally. That was after she had finally finished reading them as they were always so long. Were most peoples are short and only briefly to the point about what they want to say.
A few of you have said about how knowledgeable I am about Autism and ADHD. The only knowledge I possess is that which I experience first hand through my children. What I have had to do is learn very quickly from past events what works and what doesn’t .Then alter accordingly, hoping for the best. It has been less than 2 years since my son was diagnosed with autism, so we are still adjusting to that as a family in a big way.
As to the design of my web page, we got that through going onto the free sites and spending a fare bit of time looking , until we came across the one we have now. There was plenty to choose from, but from the start when setting up the web site we agreed as a family to find one that we all liked. It was that that took the time, not the browsing.
We all love Birthday cake, whether it is our own or a piece of someone else’s. My son is no exception to that, like us all he can`t wait to be given some after everyone has sung happy birthday and whoever’s birthday it is has blown the candles out. But then we have to relight the candles for him to blow out.
When it is his birthday, he again like us all can`t wait for the time when the cake is brought out all alight with candles. Over the past few years we managed to get one of the cakes from Tescos that you can have a picture of your own placed on it. Each time before he would let us cut it we had to gently take the picture off so as not to ruin it (which is probably like a fair few children). Then he would share it when he was ready.
Now and again my son would decide it was one of his soft toys birthday, so a cake would have to be made, this was always in the shape of a rabbit, as his cuddly soft toy rabbits are his favourite ones, I had managed to buy a cake tin in the shape of one. I don`t claim to be an expert in making and decorating cakes, but my son always loved them when he saw it. When my son was ready we would all sing happy birthday to which ever soft toy he wanted us to. Then after blowing the candles out, that was as far as it would go, because my son would never let anyone cut into it, he would take it into his room and that’s where it would stay for the next few weeks, untill I could discreetly throw it away, because it had gone hard. Even continually telling him it would go off if he didn`t cut it made no difference.
The thing is it is not just the rabbit cake he will not cut into, but it is any food/ chocolate in the shape of a rabbit. Over the years we have given him the chocolate rabbits that you can mainly buy at Easter time, and he just will not eat them. Even if an Easter egg has a picture of one on, he wont eat it. He just puts them safely in his room.( The only way they did get eaten was from his brother finding them).
At the moment he has 2 in his room one that Alison got him for Christmas and put it from the two real rabbits we have, and the other was given to him on his birthday a few weeks ago. His reasoning is if he cuts/ eats the rabbit things he would be hurting his own toy rabbits as he can`t see that one is food and can be eaten and the other can be played with, to him they are all rabbits and are not to be harmed in anyway.
You are proberly thinking by now, well the easy solution to this is don`t make /buy him food in the shape of a rabbit, that is not as easy as you may think when your son is obsessed about them. He will ask for them as this is what he loves. To him it doesn`t matter if it is not eaten, it is being given it that matters most to him, so why deny him this. I for one can`t, as the joy in his face when he receives a rabbit item whether to eat or cuddle, is more then any words can say. What harm is there in any of it, none what so ever. So what does it matter if a few cakes end up in the bin. What matters most is my son is happy, and if that is what makes him so. Then who am I to put a stop to it.
A young child holding an adults hand is one of the most natural things they do. Not in the case of autistic children, as coming into contact with other people is one of the things they find hard to do, as they don`t understand the concept of anyone’s feelings or emotions and what they mean. The only time I was able to hold my sons hand when he was younger was when I had to grab hold of it to stop him from going and doing something he shouldn`t or he was in danger of doing something where he could get hurt, like crossing the road. No matter what the reason was that I got hold of it, he was always trying to pull it away. When children get older they are less likely to hold your hand, as its not cool to be seen doing it.
My son celebrated his twelve birthday last week. He was given some money, so wanted to go and spend it on Saturday. For the last few years he has stayed at home with his dad when Alison and I have gone into the local town(which is approx 7 miles away) doing the weekly shopping. On many occasion he had said he wanted to come and got as far as the front door, put then went back into the house. I now know the reason for this is because it is out of routine, and he finds it hard to be in busy places as it gets to much for him. After finding out he was autistic, on the odd occasion he did come shopping, I learnt that I had to be very specific about where we were going and which shops we were going into and let him know in which order. Any variation from this would cause him to get very upset and start panicking whilst out. So on this occasion I told him where we were going and what we would be doing so he knew before hand as his brother also had some money to spend, so I explained we would also be going into shops looking for things for them both.
We arrived as normal in town and parked up, then set of for the shops. Next to the carpark is a fairly busy road, so as normal I got hold of my sons hand so he didn`t walk into the road as he doesn`t see any danger. Then let go when we had crossed. What surprised me then was he put his hand back in mine. Instead of closing mine in a slight grasp around his, I just left it loose down by my side, so as not to frighten him of. Every time we came out of a shop he did this. I was inwardly over joyed and proud of my son as we walked hand in hand around town, as this was such an achievment for him, whether he realised what he was doing or not.
December 2010 was the very first year my son opened his advent calender daily. He had the usual chocolate one and his stocking one of which I put a chocolate in it daily so he at least would continue to have something to look forward to every day as previous years he had eaten the chocolate on the first day. Trying to explain to him that the idea is one per day was getting me know where, and I would end up buying more calenders. In 2009 I realised this was silly, so what I then did was buy chocolate bars, and whilst my son was at school in the day time I would melt the chocolate and fill the calenders plastic mould up, by the time he was home the chocolate had set and was all ready for the next day.
In 2010 I managed to buy him a Lego one as he loves playing with it. It was supposed to be a surprise for him to wake up to on Dec 1st. Instead he found it the day before, and came racing downstairs with it asking if it was for him. I could see the excitement in his face when I told him yes. I then told him that the idea was he was to open a new door each day and build the Lego item, leading right up until Xmas eve when the last item to be put together was Father Christmas and this would mean that Father Christmas would be arriving the next night, but if he made up them all together then Santa wouldn`t know which night he was supposed to come.
My son then opened the main box and took out the big plastic mould that had all the items in, I asked him what he was doing and he said checking to see if one of them actually was a Santa. After a while he seemed happy enough that he could see one that could be made into one. He then put it all back together again and sealed it up and placed it outside his bedroom. The next morning he awoke to the other calenders as well as his Lego one, like all children he opened them up before going to school and made his little Lego figure quite happily. So for the first time my son continued to open all his advent calenders daily, which meant I had bars of chocolate spare as there was no need to refill his up.
When my son found the Lego Advent calender I did feel a bit sad as I wanted it to be a surprise for him. I knew if I told him he was to put it straight back we would have a problem. So the easiest and simplest was to let him have it there and then. I was so glad I did because it would have taken him ages in the morning to sort it all out and check it over that he would then have been late for school.
No one wants to see their children ill, but this is the only time that I am able to get close to my son without him pushing me away, as autistic children do not like being touched by people. I remember the first time my son was ill, he had trouble breathing at the age of 2, he was gasping for breath, the only time the surgery could give us an appointment to see a Doctor was 5.30pm. By the time we actually saw him, my son was coughing whilst also trying to breath, then he was sick after his coughing fit. I could see he was getting weaker very quickly. Naturally as all parents do, you think the worst is happening to your child. The doctor checked him over thoroughly and told me he had Asma, he gave us an inhaler and told us he would be fine in a day or two.
Trying to get my son to use the inhaler was very hard going and still is to this day, as he doesn`t quite grasp the concept of what it does and how it benefits him when he needs to use it.
That night my son spent it downstairs on the floor trying to sleep, it was the only place he could get comfortable. It was during the next few days that my son would let me get close to him by gently rocking him from side to side to help him get to sleep.
At least once a month over the next few years the same thing happened to my son, and each time he would spend it downstairs. It was he who would get hold of my hand and place it onto his side, then gently start useing it to rock himself from side to side.
I was getting very worried by the time he was due to start school, because when he was ill it would last for the best part of a week, and this would mean he would miss a fair bit of his education, if he continued being ill so frequently. As luck would have it these asma attacks got less.
Over the years, and as my son has got older I have learnt that as soon as I can hear him start to wheeze, the quicker I can get him to use his inhaler, the less likely he is to be so ill.
My son kept saying he didn`t feel very well the last weekend before the children broke up from school for the Christmas holidays, but couldn`t exactly say what was wrong. On the Monday morning as usual I sent him to school as he hadn`t been sick as such. The next thing that happens is his school phone to say he was not very well. So off I go to pick him up. When we got back home he changed into his pyjamas, brought some of his favourite teddies downstairs, along with his small quilt. He then put his head onto my legs whilst I sat on the settee, then got hold of my hand and placed it onto his side and started using it to rock himself. We stayed like that for the rest of the day.
It was at this point that I realised that the only time my son lets me close to him, is when he is ill. So from now on moments like these will become very precious to me and I shall treasure everyone( not that I wish my son to be ill).
Once the health visitor had left it was down to my husband and I to start and put the naughty step into practise. We knew we would be in for a rough time, as this was our first time doing anything like this, plus by seeing how our son had reacted when I put him on the step whilst the health visitor was there.
During the next week it was mainly down to me to implement the naughty step, as I was the one at home looking after him whilst my husband was at work all day.
The main reasons I tried to put him there were because of his foul language, throwing things and trying to scream and shout at anyone who may have got near him,then he would just lash out at me.
Each time I did this, my son did the same to me as he had done when the health visitor was there. With shear determination I would always succeed in getting him to the step, getting him to stay on it was a different matter all together. He was as quick as lightening each time getting off it. This did not stop me from going through the process all over again. No matter how black, blue and sore I was getting, I was not going to let him win.
Another week had gone by and the health visitor was back again to see us both. She asked how we had got on using the naughty step, so I just showed her all my bruises. My son in the mean time, just wanted to look in the health visitors bag and see what toys she had and play with them.
The health visitor assured me it would take a little while for him to get used to the idea of being put on the naughty step when he had done something wrong, but if we could persevere and not give in , it would be worth it in the end. So over the next few years this is what I continued to do. Not once did it get any easier. In fact it got harder each time.
The week flew by from the health visitors last visit till this one. Once again my son was in the front room when she arrived, and he did exactly the same with his toys as he had done the previous week. The health visitor wasn`t bothered by this at all.
While my son continued to throw his toys about , along with his screaming and shouting, the health visitor started to get some of her own toys out of a bag she had bought in with her. These consisted of a few cars and some big building blocks. She started to put them on the coffee table which was in the middle of the room, then play with them. My son then stopped what he was doing and started to watch her. As this was the soul purpose of what she was doing was by distracting him from throwing his toys, it had worked. But what came next was not good as my son then picked up some of her toys and threw them on the floor.
It was at this point that I was then first introduced to the naughty step. She explained to me that he is to be put on the bottom of the stairs, and to sit there for one minute for each year of his life. So I picked him up and tried putting him there, all the while he his kicking and biting me, his hands trying to hang onto the door handle so I can`t go through it with him in my arms. I felt so awful about doing this and also so ashamed that the health visitor was seeing how bad my son was behaving, and wondering what on earth must she be thinking of us. I eventually got him through the door and sat him down, but not without a big struggle. The health visitor told me to come back quickly into the front room and leave him there. I remember him being quicker than me at getting back into the room. So she told me I had to start all over again at putting him back on the bottom step, as only consistently would pay off and it would take a little while for him to get used to the idea that this is where he would go for bad behaviour.
My son did eventually stay at the bottom of the stairs, but this was by way of him shouting and screaming for the health visitor to go home. After he had been there for 2 mins, I was told to go to him and get him to say sorry and explain to him why he had been put there. Just by me going anywhere near him made him worse, he started to throw all the things at the bottom of the stairs on the floor and kick the door. We could both see by the state he was getting into, I would not be able to go anywhere near him without getting hurt again, so I went back into the front room. The health visitor and I continued to talk while she put her toys away. It was the next thing that surprised us both, my son came back into the room and started to take the toys back out of her bag and line them up on the table. He sat between us both very calm and quiet, and never said a word. So the health visitor and I then started to play with the toys in front of him. We did ask him if he wanted to join in but he just shook his head. As she was leaving she asked my son if it was ok for her to come again and see him, he replyed “Yes”.
When she arrived and I invited her into the front room where my son was. He just looked at her and started to throw his toys all over the floor. She sat down whilst I made her a drink, while I was waiting for the kettle to boil I went back into the front room just in time to see my son throw a toy at her. The first thing I did was to tell my son off and tell him what he had done was naughty, then I apologized to her on my sons behalf as at his age he wasn`t able to say that much, I was so embarrassed. She told me not to worry and no harm had been done. It was from that moment, I just knew that this particular health visitor was going to be off a great help to us.
As we were talking my son continued to throw his toys about, again I told him off, then he started to scream and shout followed by bitting and kicking me. Both of us started to pick up the toys my son had thrown and started to play with them, so as to distract him from hurting me. This just seemed to make him worse, and he ran out of the room still screaming and shouting. I went after him to see he was alright, but again this just made it worse. The health visitor advised me to leave him be and see if he would calm down on his own.
We continued to talk and I explained to her that this is what he gets like sometimes even when his brother and sister try to play with him, and every time it is only me who gets kicked etc. Before she left we arranged for her to come again the following week again on a morning when my son was not at playgroup. Just as she was leaving my son came downstairs and surprise, surprise he started to kick and bite me again. He also kept telling her to go away, being the type of person she was, she just took this in her stride and again told me not to worry about it and she would see both of us the next week.
Once she had gone it was about 15 Min’s before my son stopped hurting me, he then turned around and started to cuddle me, it was another 10 Min’s before he settled down quietly again and got back onto the floor to continue playing.