Category Archives: parenting

take a stance

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We saw a lot of kids and grown-ups dressed in orange today in our school, and I should not be a cynic who thinks wearing a t-shirt in a certain colour changes really not so much (there are some other actions of course..). So I won’t think that..(although a quasi-free dress day without the obligatory donation would help in an otherwise uniformed school, too..) I just think it’s a bit vague and does not go very deep. Who would be FOR bullies anyway?
There has been no ‘autism awareness day’ (acceptance/month, whatever) in the school so far, and I have been explicitly told talking about autism might lead to bullying (..?) which basically only made me start this blog in September last year.
So April is coming around and so far I don’t know what is planned, I don’t know what to think again, is it really just about donning a bit of blue and say “Autism!” for one day? What is your take on ‘awareness days’ vs actual action, information, education?
Are you doing something in April ?

(Fun fact: our school uniform is already blue!)

Preparation

_babyprepWe are having an “adventure day” tomorrow. Well, actually, we are just going into the city. Lately, we have made good progress on the acceptable drink when out, but it’s still true that I think carefully about what I put in my bag, where we are going (and where we can make breaks) when we go for a longer outing. It’s important to have adventures though. See new things, get in new situations. Learn to prepare, to say when it’s too much and also to cope when we cannot immediately change it.  Or when Mum took the wrong kind of drink.
(“red juice” is apple-blackcurrant. still his favourite.)

nb: I made a new FAQ page and changed the header.. – check it out? 😉 

the trouble with swearing…

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Our year continues with more trouble in school. Nemo still has daily support (the new aide is kind and calm) and they have now been willing to trial a few preventive solutions I have put to them (quiet lunches, respite days),  but his current reflex to swear and get angry (at least that’s what it looks like) in situations of stress, is taking a bit of a toll on the ‘support team’. On me too, to be quite honest, but since things are rather chill at home in terms of expectations and environment, I simply do not have the Rumpelstielzchen experience on a daily basis, and there is only so much I can do when he is in school. Needless to say, that we do NOT swear like sailors at home, we do not condone it at all and I understand the school has to draw a line…But I still believe that the use of swearwords in moments of distress does not prove he is making the conscious choice to be ‘naughty’ or whatever?! Will be really thankful for any input…

Breathe deeply and count to 10…?

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To say that Nemo has had a bit of a rocky start into the new school year, is probably putting it mildly. . Today, I had a meeting with his brand new ‘case manager’. I am hoping for a fresh start, he likes her… I also think that I made it quite clear she has to jump in on it and get him out of the spiral of stress situations and disciplinary measures in the school. I am not totally contesting them (there was swearing, running off and kicking things.. and people) But just telling him to count to ten and breath when things are getting too much…just not good enough!

i’ll have to get back to this blog..

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Ah.. it’s really not only parenting (although we are at the moment dealing with another suspension from school…). I haven’t been overly well lately (in.my.head. mostly) and although I have some comix prepared, didn’t really feel like posting. Or like anything, really, once I was done getting through the day. I have to remind myself how much I enjoy making the comics though, and also the feedback I get from you guys.

On parenting.

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This is really just a side note on parenting in general. We are currently in the longest holidays if the year, it’s hot (remember, Australia),and I have limited budget for outings and stuff.
6 intense weeks, not every day is bliss… Why lie about it..?
I mean “autism parent” or not, apart from all the bliss, this parenting gig can be hard work, frustrating and incredibly frustrating… It’s all part of it. 🙂
That’s also why it’s so great!

Historical figures with autism

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I am never sure what to think of those statements or thesis where divers great figures of history are post mortem diagnosed with autism, or any other condition only known and researched during the last century. I am sure you have seen these and other examples, too. I mean, I believe that there was autism all throughout history, and I am not saying that some descriptions by other people of the time do not sound like at least autistic traits in some of the personalities. But without knowing their exact circumstances and what else could have caused similar behaviours, a post mortem diagnosis can only be speculation. Yes, I guess it feels good to point out these people (..all men?) as examples how greatness has been achieved in spite of – or was it because of – their autism, but although my son has a clear preference for science, at the moment, our main goal is really a happy life of acceptance and fulfilment rather than putting the pressure of outstanding achievement  or talent (in whatever) on my son.

Repeat after me: We are ALL different.

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As I said before, I do not believe in this one “autism community”. It’s ok for me, though, there are different groups. What is not ok is that debates escalate online in flaming wars and attacks get way too personal for me to want to be involved in any discussions or ask even questions to understand what is actually going on?! I understand partly how anger and trauma can make people get more than just ‘passionate’ over whatever is discussed, but there should be no “enemies” in this debate – no one ‘in the trenches’. We are not fighting a war, are we!? We are living life with autism, all of us, in all our differences. Different lives.

Link to one parent blog from New Zealand on the subject (a blog I really recommend), another opinion from another parent here (US, a bigger blog, I believe). Also here an Update of the comment policies on “The Thinking Person’s Guide to Autism” following some escalated comment threads on their facebook page.
I am really happy to know that I have autistic adults reading and liking my comics and words here and I am glad to say I read some excellent, down to earth and thoughtful Australian (ASD) parenting blogs too, on a regular basis (blogroll soon) So Peace, people, FFS! It’s kinda important. Happy New Year, also.

A little postcard from Australia!

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Hello Everyone!
A bit paralysed by a heatwave that is hitting Queensland right now (the ‘White Christmases’ of my childhood really quite a distant dream…) I wish everybody a good holiday season. Whatever you celebrate, and how, and with who and most importantly where – all our best wishes for you and those that you love!
We will leave the ‘reflections on the year that was’ and ‘good resolutions for 2014’ to the news channels and social media outlets I think, but I do want to let you know that I feel really HONOURED that so many people are following my blog (80+ via wordpress! yee-haa!) , have commented (you know who you are !) and have shared posts (yesss!!) ! It’s a great encouragement and makes doing the comics even more fun!
Like almost everything in my life, this blog had a bit of a rocky start (bitstrips suddenly exploding via their apps and my computer being somewhat ‘unwell’ lately) but your reactions make me think that I am onto something and I really feel like I have made a few new friends!
So thank you for that, and keep in touch ! =)

The puzzle piece – symbol for Autism ?

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I have really changed my mind about the puzzle piece since I first saw it in the context of Autism.  I have read a few posts by autistic adults that clearly reject the symbolism. Read Autisticook’s post HERE, or other voices  here, or here, for example.
But even without any association with the ‘big blue puzzle’ organisation, so many parents are embracing the symbol : It is present on most autism websites or blogs You can buy themed autism jewellery everywhere. And have you seen how many parents are getting puzzle piece tattoos with names of their autistic kids ? (i think this one is unrelated though….)
It may be too late to throw it overboard for this generation, but if opinions of the autistic bloggers are anything to go by, our children may grow up resenting that we allowed to stick a symbol on them that reflects our NT view of deficiency, of mystery and problem to solve with regards to autism. The fact that others rather see diversity, uniqueness and the rainbow colours of the autism spectrum just makes it more obvious how ambiguous and puzzling (!) the graphic actually is.
So, I don’t know… Are there other graphics around that are more straightforward and positive ? Should we create one ? Or does it even matter? Do other conditions have a universal symbol like this, that goes beyond the colour of a ribbon or the graphic of one organisation? I would love to hear what you think!