Friday, 30 March 2018

ASD and common co-morbidity

I was born with a ventricular septal defect (hole in the heart or congenital heart disease). It wasn't until I was diagnosed with Asperger's in 2011 and read the report that I discovered that this is a common co-morbidity with ASD. Who knew?

So how does it affect me? I am slow, physically, than others. I get a stitch in my side and breathless when I either walk fast, go up a hill or run.

At school I hated PE because I'd be one of the last people to be chosen for teams; probably because I was slower. I hated the gym sessions in primary school. I couldn't do handstands because the blood would rush to my head and I'd go dizzy. In secondary school I remember when we had a sports day at a nearby stadium. Most of the school walked there but I had to get the bus with a few others in my class. We got off at the wrong stop and were late for the start.

When I was little I was told that the hole would decrease in size when I got older but over the last couple of years, I've been told that it has done the opposite and stretched. I still get breathless going too fast or up hill. Sometimes when I walk fast I can hear my heart beat louder, as it's worked hard.

So, that is my common co-morbidity with ASD. Do you have one, too? How does it affect you?

I have loosely based Book 3 of my Rainbow School series ' Susie and the Jiggling Jumper' on me. Susie has a heart condition which makes her slower than her classmates and her little sister, so she has to overcome this with her ASD.

Susie's advice with coping with the anxiety of a heart condition is: 'Don't worry about this. Do things at your own pace and don't feel pressured into doing something that you know you can't do.'

Wednesday, 28 March 2018

Autism and hobbies and interests

Here is a rough guide how parents and teachers and other guardians can help children with autism use their special interests.

Subjects: Art, science, music, craft, maths
Skills: Drawing, creating, writing, making, numbers
Knowledge: Birds, pictures, tunes, plants, patterns

Encourage the child to work on related activities to do with their interest. Eg if it is music, they can draw instruments, write their own tunes, write a guide, photograph things. Go to places of interest and learn about music. Join groups of same interest. Play the music instruments.

All these can help the child to socialise and not be alone all the time. They can also learn more and get educated. It could later on become a career.

So, what about me? Well, I liked writing stories at school. English, as it was known then, was my favourite lesson despite being bullied. And look what I do know – I am an author writing for adults and children.

This is a brief guide to a full book I have planned to write about hobbies and interests for children with autism, as part of the Rainbow School guide series and 'Learn about autism'.

Monday, 26 March 2018

National Autism Awareness Week - What I am up to

It is National Autism Awareness Week this week, so I will be raising awareness of Asperger's/autism and what it means for the person with it. I things planned this week to do this. Here is what I will be up to.

I shall blog during the week about living with autism as a child and as an adult. Children with autism grow up to be adults with autism, it just doesn't disappear.

On Thursday 29th I will be at Sydenham Community Library from 10.30am to 12nn raising awareness of it. I will be selling my Rainbow School books and leaflets about Asperger's and autism. The library will have on display other books about Asperger's and autism, as well as posters promoting my event.

I will be tweeting a lot about Asperger's and autism using relevant hashtags.

So, watch out for my posts on FB and my tweets.

Tuesday, 20 March 2018

How I plot my books

How do you plot your novels? Above is how I plotted my latest Rainbow School book. I know that some writers use Scrivener, but I prefer pen and paper and to have the sheets in front of me. I can't write straight onto a computer as I get brain freeze, and I want to have the plot in front of me as I write the book. Above you will see I have written brief chapter summaries. That is how I work. But this book is different to the others in the series. I knew whose story each book would tell, but this one I wasn't sure as it features all the characters who appear in the school show. I thought it might be Billy, to show how he has improved but thought, he has already told his story (Billy and the Sparkling Socks). Then I began writing it last month at the weekend writing retreat and a new character came along - Erin. I had a girl in mind some time ago. She wasn't at school before due to illness and was back now. As soon as I started writing about her, I knew this would be her story. She experiences the magic via Alistair and dancing with him; she is a keen dancer like him. Once I have written the first draft, I will have to go back and add in more detail about Erin's background and her home life. More work for me, but am loving writing these books.

So, how do you plot? On your pc or on paper?