Monday, 27 March 2017

Raising awareness of autism

It's National Autism Awareness Week this week. So I am going to be popping up in lots of places to raise awareness by mentioning different aspects of autism and Asperger's Syndrome, I will blog more than once on here but there is one big event I will be doing this Saturday.

I am going to be holding a raising awareness event at Sydenham Community Library, SE London, this Saturday 1 April (no it's not a joke) from 10.30 am - 12nn. I will be handing out hand-made leaflets about autism, answering questions about Asperger's (to the best of my experience and knowledge) and selling my book 'Billy and the Sparkling Socks'. If you can come and say hello, or even better, ask me a question, please do so, esp if you are autistic or know someone who is.

Let's celebrate National Autism Awareness Week. #WAAW2017

Sunday, 19 March 2017

ASD and why children can have meltdowns


If you see another child in your class or playground crying, shouting, screaming or maybe on the ground, then they could be having a meltdown. This is not a tantrum, to get attention. This is usually because something has either upset them or have had a sensory overload. It could be because they have been bullied by another child. Or it could be because there is too much noise, too many people around them, too many smells, or in all too much stimulation around them for them to cope with.

If the child is being picked on, then please tell the teacher. Bullying in any way is not OK and should be dealt with.

So, what to do if you do see a child like this? Here are my ideas:

1. Tell a teacher or assistant you can see in the playground

2. Give the child space

3. Don't ask the child if they are OK.

4. Try to get other children not to interfere and tease

5. Does the child like something such as a toy? If so, maybe you can suggest to the teacher they take it to the child.

Please note that I am not an expert and don't have a degree. I am just going by experience and what I have read by experts.

Friday, 10 March 2017

Autism spectrum disorder and school bells

Welcome to a new series about why children (and adults) behave in certain ways at school and at home. The first post is about behaving when there is a loud noise at school ie school bells ringing.

There might be a child who either cringes or puts their hands over their ears or screams and cries when the school bells rings out. This is because the noise of the bell sounds too loud for their head and ears. It is known as sensory overload. The noise hurts their head and ears.

The same can be said for screeching noises such as fingers and rubbers over a board. The high-pitched sound is too painful for them to bear. (I hate sounds such as these as they make my teeth go on edge).

Here are a few tips.

If you do know of children who act like this, may be you can warn them beforehand when the bell is due to go. Like the main character in my current children's book, Qessa, her friend and teacher points to their ears as a warning. So they can put their hands over their ears ready.

Another idea is to have headphones, which can dull the highness of the bell ringing. Qessa's teacher gifted her a set to wear.

Friday, 3 March 2017

Promotion - Thinking outside the box

You never know where you can promote your book and if it will be successful, but yesterday was for me, I hope. This was thinking out of the box, as they say. I had to go and see my GP about a few things to do with my kidneys, which aren't fully functioning. I knew that she had children but don't know how old they are. I took one of my Billy cards with me. When I had finished talking about my health, I said I had one last thing to talk about, which wasn't really medical. I took out the card and told her what I was writing and why. I also told her about the library event on 1 April about raising awareness of Asperger's. She wrote a note on the back of the card. She said that she would try to get to the library but if not, would see about buying the book for her children. My GP is so nice. I can talk to her about things and be comfortable with it. So, a successful promotion of Billy for me. We shall see if she does come to the event. Will let you know.

So, what has been the most outside the box have you done?

Saturday, 25 February 2017

Me, Asperger's and textures


As well as being sensitive to loud and constant noises, I am now sensitive to textures, esp clothes. I can't wear clothes made from lace, wool, angora or mohair, as they irritate my skin. I also hate thick seams in tops as they also bother my skin, esp on my neck or front. I also hate labels in the neck of tops and pants as again they all scratch and irritate my skin. I now try to remember to cut them out before wearing them. Another thing I hate in tops, and I find them in dressing gowns mainly, are the loops on the neck to hang the clothing with. They tickle me, and I end up scratching my neck, causing red marks to appear.

I am not the only one in my family to feel like this. My mum does too. Do I get this from her? Or her from me?

So, what textures do you hate and why? Let me know.

Thursday, 16 February 2017

Using a blog to raise awareness

I thought I might write a post about why and how I use this blog. Part of this blog is about posting on living with Asperger's Syndrome and how it affects me now as an adult and when I was a child. I started posting about this because I feel, and still do, that not a lot of people know what Asperger's is and how it affects others. Even I don't know the full extent of how it really affects me and I have it.

So, I am going to keep posting on here about different aspects of Asperger's; from sensory overload, to communication, from childhood to adulthood.

I will possibly be blogging more about this the end of March, which is National Autism Awareness Week, including promoting a library event I have planned for that time.

So, if you want to know more about Asperger's, and esp how it affects me, then keep reading.

Saturday, 11 February 2017

Me, Asperger's and noisy games


Adults and children with Asperger's Syndrome often have challenges with senses, especially noise. When I was little there were a few games that I hated because they made loud and sudden noises.

I hated jack-in-the-box. Even though I knew the jack would pop out after winding it up, the suddenness of it and the noise it always made, caused me to jump. I would refuse to wind it up.

There are three other games that come to mind.

Operation: The buzz when you touch the side of the holes always made me jump. Knowing it would go would make me nervous, so I'd end up making it buzz.

Buckaroo: This made a loud noise when you put too many items on the donkey and it bucked up, making a noise.

Ker Plunk: It was the noise of all the marbles falling down if you took out the wrong stick. The idea of the games is to put in all the sticks in the holes, then pour in the marbles. You would have to take a stick out at a time, careful not to cause a marble to fall down the gaps. That makes the noise.

So, are there any games that you don't like or don't like playing because of the noise? Let me know.

My top tip for children is: if there is a game you don't want to play because it affects your senses, then tell your family. Don't be afraid to let them know.