Interview With a Pokemon Master Aged 7 3/4

The Boy granted me an interview in return for some Jaffa cakes. What can I say? He’s cheap. So without further a do.. here it is. Enjoy! 🙂

Question: What do you like to do the most?

Answer: You know! Playing Pokemon Moon! Duh!

Question: What is your favourite food?

Answer:. Chocolate digestives. You know that! *tuts*

Question: Who is your favourite person in ALL the world?

Answer: Mum, you know that too. It’s you. *theatrically rolls eyeballs*

Question: Universe?

Answer: Still you.

Question: What is your favourite TV show?

Answer: Pokemon Sun & Moon series.

Question: What’s your favourite book?

Answer: Diary of a Wimpy Kid Double Down cos at the first page Greg says “Hope you creeps are enjoying yourselves”. It’s really funny. *laughs hysterically*

Question:. What do you want to be when you’re older?

Answer: *throws his hands up in the air* Pokemon Master, of course!

Question: What things don’t you like?

*deep intake of breath* Vegetables cus they make my mind go pop, spotty bread, brown chips, black sausages, nuts, lime, black lollipops and Pokemon killing me.

Question: What do you like to wear?

Answer: Pokemon trainer clothes.

Mummy: Which are?

The Boy: Er, shorts and a top with no sleeves, backpack, cap and LOTS of Pokeballs.

Question: Mummy or Pokemon?

*looks shifty* Pokemon. Sorry Mum.

Question: What’s your favourite colour?

Answer: Yellow. YOU KNOW THAT!!

Question: Favourite animal?

Answer: Chicken? Don’t really have one so I’ll say chicken.

Mummy: What about owls?

The Boy: OOH YESSSS, OWLS! *starts hooting*

Question: What’s your favourite place?

Answer: Home. Ya gotta love home. *American accent*

Question: What is your greatest talent?

Answer: Singing and making Mummy laugh.

Question: What do you wish for?

Answer: To be a professional Pokemon trainer.

Question: What makes you nervous?

The Boy: “Shall I tell you what makes me nervous?”

Me: “Please do”

The Boy: “People cutting my hair”.

Question: What makes you smile?

Answer: When Mummy smiles (and my Pokemon)

Question: What age do you want to be?

Answer: Seven. Because I am seven. Actually, I want to be twelve so I can look cool because most people start their Pokemon journey at 11 years old?

*Mummy’s face goes screen-saver*

So there you have it, folks. As you can see, there is a Pokemon obsession going on and I intend to repeat the interrogation interview every year to see how his likes and dislikes change. Crafty, huh?

Many thanks to The Boy for being a TOTALLY AWESOME Pokemon Master and most magnificent interviewee.

Spectrum Sunday

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The Boy, The Playground and Me

I’ve never been one for playgrounds..

Too crowded. Too noisy. A sensory nightmare.

The squeak of bare legs being forced down a hot metal slide on a summer’s day still makes me shudder as if there’s a hairy-arsed tarantula about to pounce on my face..

When The Boy was younger he hated playgrounds with passion. The first time we put him on a swing he like TOTALLY screamed the place down. Sure, children having tantrums are common place in parks but I’m talking TOTALLY LOSING HIS SHIT meltdowns where people stare at you because it MUST be down to bad parenting, no?

Er, no.

Playgrounds are a danger area for us because of the stimulus. Even now (aged seven) ten minutes is all he can handle before he starts to go into meltdown. Although the stimulus affects him, he likes the playground now. He is a sociable child but the problem is that he is too sociable and doesn’t understand the rules as is the case with autism. It doesn’t matter how young or old the other children are because they are all equal in his eyes and this causes problems..

For instance, on one occasion The Boy ran up to five teenage boys who were hogging the roundabout. He jumped on there with them as if he’d known them all his life. I hesitated to see how they would react to this little interloper but The Boy’s idea of play involves lots of incoherent shouting so it wasn’t long before the teens started nudging each other and laughing, the twats, though to be fair, they were just acting the way that most teenage boys act, it’s just that I’d have given anything for just one of them to show my son some compassion..

The Boy laughed back but had no idea that they were laughing at him. This took place in a matter of seconds but I’d seen enough but as I made my way to him the teens got up and just left him spinning on his own, not that it bothered him. As usual, he was oblivious as to what had taken place..

The thing is that he stands out.

His autism is IN YOUR FACE, autism.

We let him go into playgrounds whenever possible as long as he’s not showing signs of overwhelm before he goes in. We know that he’ll get over-excited pretty quickly so he’s given a ten minute countdown and those minutes seem like hours, believe me. All this on top of my own sensory issues makes it a stressful experience..

The last time he went into a playground was a few months ago. It was the adventure type playground and he homed in on a big rope type roundabout that could take about ten children at a time. My heart sank because I knew what was coming. I have a fluffy sensory toy which I keep in my pocket to calm myself and I stroked it so fast, I practically rendered it bald!

The Boy scrambled on with no qualms whatsoever. Aside my anxiety, I had to marvel at his inability to be apprehensive in certain situations. So, there was a little girl stood next to him and he shouted away to her. He was totally animated but she just stared at him open-mouthed and then asked to be let off. Once again, my son had been rejected only it was me who felt the pain, not him.

OH and I exchanged ‘the look’.

When we’d entered the playground, it was noisy with children screaming and parents chatting. It literally took five minutes for the atmosphere to change. One by one the kids on the roundabout fell silent as they stared at the little boy who excitedly screamed out incoherent babble to nobody in particular..

Then the parents stared at him and started looking around to see who he belonged to.

Er, that’ll be us, folks.

We knew he wasn’t going to make ten minutes as he was seconds away from meltdown and I wasn’t far behind having one of my own, so we grabbed him and left.

I didn’t look behind me because I didn’t want to see the judgmental looks on the faces of people who haven’t got a clue about our lives or his. I’ve seen those looks too many times and each time it hurts. I physically and emotionally hurt for my son..

So, I slammed the gate shut and pulled him close, mentally effing at the lot of them for not seeing my beautiful boy as I see him.

The blessing is that he is unaware of the way people stare. I was aware from the age of five so I’m glad he’s been spared for as long as he has but the day will come when he does notice and being different and knowing you’re different is hard. You’re forever having to work at appearing ‘normal’ and I pray that my son remains oblivious of people’s intolerance and ignorance for as long as is possible.

Those five minutes in the playground are still bothering me, obviously because I’m writing about it months later. It’s in my head now, logged with all the other ‘incidents’ and it makes me sad that some people show more compassion for their cars than they do human beings, especially vulnerable ones who could really do with their support..

Here’s a thought..

How about people stop staring and start supporting these kids?

Why shouldn’t my son express himself in the way that is natural to him? He’s not hurting anybody. It’s not an aggressive reaction. What people see is happiness minus the filters. To me, it’s beautiful. He is beautiful. It isn’t him that needs to change, it’s society.

“How would your life be different if…You stopped making negative judgmental assumptions about people you encounter? Let today be the day…You look for the good in everyone you meet and respect their journey.”~ Steve Maraboli ~ Life, the Truth and Being Free

Creative Commons Image Via Pixabay

 

Spectrum Sunday

 

Autism and The Boy – Four Years On

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It’s hard to believe that it’s almost four years since The Boy was diagnosed as autistic. The time has flown by and it’s been quite the journey so far..

The Boy’s problems were obvious from the age of two but the childcare ‘professionals’ where we lived were oblivious to the fact that he was still crawling LONG after all the children his age (and younger) had started to walk. His inability to cope with the slightest change and his meltdowns also gave them no cause for concern despite me voicing my concerns..

We moved from Cheshire to Lancashire just before his third birthday. We hadn’t had anywhere specific in mind except that it had to be commutable for OH’s work. We drove through many places but only one stood out and I still have the piece of paper where I treble underlined the name of the town with a side note. “HERE!”.

‘Here’ is an old Victorian mill town with bags of character nestled at the foot of the Pennines. It’s quaint but it rains a lot. Oh well, can’t have it all eh?

We’d only lived here for a few months when came time to look for nurseries. I looked at three in total, two of which were rated highly by Ofsted. They were clean and bright with new toys but they didn’t feel right to me. The third one was in need of a lick of paint and the toys were well loved but it felt right as soon as I walked in. The manager (L) was cradling a child on her lap and several others were hanging off her arms. All the children looked happy and I could tell that L was more about the children than the business. That sold it for me and he started that September.

Within two weeks, L took me to one side and said there was a problem. We’d made no mention of The Boy’s issues because we needed to see if they were picked up without our influence. She used the word ‘autism’ because she had experience with autistic children so she asked if we’d agree to the child psychiatrist seeing him. It was such a relief to know that it wasn’t just us being overly dramatic.

The child psychiatrist assessed him in the nursery over a few sessions and referred him for a multi disciplinary assessment in the local hospital. He was assessed over a twelve month period and by the time he started school a statement already was in place. He was diagnosed with Autism and Sensory Processing Disorder aged four.

We had a choice of three schools but only one had a good reputation with special needs. If there was ever any doubt that we’d chosen correctly it disappeared the day the headmaster lay down on the playground floor (in his suit) next to my son who was starting to go into meltdown. How many headteachers do you know who would do that?

Our journey of assessment to diagnosis was smooth though I know this isn’t the case for so many parents. The Boy was assigned a special teaching assistant who worked with him for 3 hours at first then all day when it became obvious that he required full support.

There have been occasions where we have been called to school either to calm him down or take him home. This is also at our request. When your child displays such severe challenging behaviour in a mainstream school the headteacher has to tread a fine line between meeting that child’s needs and maintaining the safety of the other children and the staff. The good thing is that none of these episodes have come and gone without a meeting taking place to see what can be improved on. The staff are always using new techniques and strategies to help him and anybody involved with him, including playtime staff, are educated about challenging behaviour and how to deal with it. We work as a team and the relationship between us and the school is brilliant and we know that he’s loved there.

The Boy has worked with his one to one for almost four years now and they have a special bond. Also, she totally puts up with his shit and does it with a smile. For him she a familiar face who not only guides him but comforts him. She knows him as we know him and she comes to see him during the long summer holiday so that he doesn’t go too long without seeing her. She doesn’t have to do that. It’s not part of her job but I know that The Boy isn’t just a job to her and so when I see him rush up to her and hug her as tightly as he does me, I know he is exactly where he is meant to be.

The other week we had to go in and calm him down as he’d trashed the classroom. There was toilet roll all over the place, upturned chairs and tables at funny angles and me laddo was refusing to come out of the toilet. When I went into him he was stood on the toilet seat growling which is always a bad sign when he becomes non verbal. The school have been told to contact us in these situations if he won’t respond to them because he will respond to us, me in particular. It took 45 minutes to get through to him but we got there in the end..

The difficult part of my son’s autism is that he often loses control and can become disruptive but they never give up on him.

The Boy has gone through a few different obsessions over the years..numbers, Lego, owls, Ninjago, Minecraft and his latest..Pokemon. Anybody who has autistic children (or is autistic themselves) will understand obsession and the need for it in order to cope with a world which overwhelms. The school understand this and accommodate his needs incorporating those obsessions into as much of his school work as is possible to get him to engage.

The Boy will be 8 this year. He is one of the youngest in his class  and the differences are becoming more and more marked as I knew the would. He’s always stood out but there is much that autistic children can get away with in those first few years of school that they can’t as they head towards puberty. Hormones turn children into little shits and autism doesn’t exclude children from said shittery. It’s just a different kind of shit.

Aside some blips and attitudes from a few narrow minded parents at school, he has been a happy little boy who enjoys life and certainly brightens up the lives of others. My late friend may not have fully understood his autism but she accepted and loved him for who he is. If only every parent at the school was like her life would be so much easier.

As he gets older I become more wary. Not of him. Never of him.. but how the world will perceive him. Perhaps this is because I was constantly on the receiving end of bullying as a child and teenager but the point is that I know how cruel children can be especially to those who are different from themselves. The thought I cling to is that a big difference between The Boy and myself is that more things go over his head whereas someone only has to look at me in a certain way and I feel as if I’ve been GBH’d. In fact, one of the MANY things that I love about him how he is happy to be himself and be unaffected by how people see him and long may that continue..

All in all it’s been a positive four years despite my concerns for the future. In a perfect world people would embrace him as the unique individual he is but the most important thing is that he doesn’t try to hide who he is in order to fit a mould that was never designed for him.

For anybody who differs from the ‘norm’ – this quote is for you.

I’m not weird, my reality is just different from yours.

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Spectrum Sunday