It's been the week of attending an interview for college. Mr T will end his time at his present setting where he has been really settled for three years now. So now it's time for a move and a big change.
I say interview but really it was just a chat for us to sit down and discuss Mr T's needs and whether the college could meet them to be able to support him. It was very thourough and I was impressed how they went into every detail really. This gave me as a parent reassurance that it was going to be the right place for him.
I think even on the initial visit before we decided it was a great place, it's like any other big decision, sometimes you just know when it feels right. I was a bit nervous on interview day, probably more so than Mr T. He needs a lot of support through this process. I don't know about you as parents but there is finding a balance of supporting and not answering for them too much.
I have always been conscience of this recently. I mean when he was younger it was easier but now Mr T is an adult, I want to let him speak up for himself but these things make you realise sometimes it is very hard for him. It's a situation where it brings home the reality of his autism and how vulnerable he is with his difficulties in communicating.
We got through though with amazing support from the college and he now has a place on a Pathway to Independence course. This course is very different from the one he is on at the moment as it will involve more practical life skills and no academic work. Mr T is happy and it's a move forward to starting in September.
Overall I felt really pleased with the process, how the college representative conducted the interview and we feel it is going to be the right course. If you are in a similar situation, don't worry it is always difficult talking through your child or your youngs persons needs. Some find it harder than others, some find it really easy but it gets the correct support in the end and that's what we all want.
Thank so much for reading today, I will be back tomorrow for Pass the Remote Sunday for for now.....
It was quite nice that our meeting at the National Autistic Society Derby Branch this month coincided with Autism Awareness Week. What a lovely meeting which did include some AGM business but that was soon sorted and we all decided to continue as we were for another year....woo hoo!!
It was so good to sit down, relax and have a chat. We were supposed to discuss places to visit as the school holidays are approaching but we ended up discussing our own autism. There were people in the room already diagnosed and some thinking of a diagnosis and it was fun to discover more about each other.
We talked about words we liked and some we disliked, certain routines and the diagnosis process itself. I think even though a couple of us came into the meeting a bit frazzled, tired and just generally stressed, we all left quite relaxed and chilled, a complete contrast. That was support working right there and it was so clear to see it worked.
What great evening and may they continue too, a lot coming up with speakers and workshops to give people that help they may need and lots of useful information.
Thank you for reading today, come back tomorrow for some natter about the telly on Pass the Remote Sunday but for now......
We are zooming in to yet another month and coming up to another of our meetings with the National Autistic Society Derby Branch so if you are in the area on Tuesday 2nd April at 7pm then please do come along to The Farmhouse Mackworth and join us.
Tea and coffee will be provided by the lovely staff at the venue or drinks are also available from the bar. We will have our annual AGM business to take care of at the beginning of the meeting but this won't take long. We will then be discussing our topic for this month which is 'ideas of friendly places to visit'. This is usually a great topic to share ideas on as the holidays are fast approaching and everyone tends to be on the look out for opportunities to get out and about.
So you would be very welcome to pop along if you are in the local area. The Farmhouse is situated at 60 Ashbourne Rd, Mackworth, Derby DE22 4LY. If you would also like to be kept up to date with any information regarding the Derby and District branch of the NAS there is a Facebook page here:
Thank you for reading today, please join me again tomorrow for Pass the Remote Sunday but for now.....
It's that time of the year coming up when we can all take part in raising awareness about autism and maybe do a little fundraising too. Not that we shouldn't be doing that all year round but this week, between the 1st and 7th April the National Autistic Society have set up some events for everyone to enter into.
You can sign up for a free pack which will give you lots of information and which also includes a spectrum cake recipe from Jane Asher, a quiz from The Chase's Anne Hegerty and a fun wildlife sweepstake poster from NAS ambassador Chris Packham.
Sign up soon for the Spectrum Night Walks which are taking place on the 6th April in London, Cardiff, Belfast, Manchester and Glasgow. A fun way to raise money but the last chance to sign up is on Monday 25th March so dust off those walking shoes quickly.
You can push yourself to the Virtual Challenge - 7K for 700K where you could cycle, run, or swim 7K for the 700,000 autistic people in the UK. This can take place anywhere you want all you need to do is book on the NAS website to enable you to receive support, information and the all important medal at the end of your challenge. You could even have your own medal awarding ceremony to finish off.
If you work in school then sign up for a free schools pack The primary resources include the Trummies - six colourful characters celebrating difference and diversity and the secondary resources feature Niall Aslam from Love Island who is autistic. When you sign up you can be entered into a prize draw for a school visit from Anne Hegerty so get raising all your trivia and become quizzing experts in preparation, just in case.
Phew, what a lot to do....for all the information about Autism Awareness Week just go to the National Autistic Society Website here at:
Thank for reading today and hope you can get involved in some way. I will be back tomorrow for Pass the Remote Sunday but for now......
We had a lovely NAS branch meeting in Derby this week where we had a discussion about sensory differences and how they can affect autistic people. It is a subject that pops up quite a bit and people are always after a few ways of how to deal with sensory differences especially when it comes to autism.
Of course we are all aware of our senses and if most people are asked how many senses we have we normally answer with commonly known five which are sight, smell, taste, hearing and touch. Some will say there are a lot more than this but when we discuss it around autism we tend to stick to the five we know and then two more being vestibular (balance) and proprioception (body awareness).
It was just so nice to sit in a group and discuss how all these sensory differences can play a part in our lives and those of our children. We chatted about each individual experiences and how they certain sensory needs can affect education and then how to cope with the changes at home, sometimes very different. It is also making other people aware of these differences enabling people to support autistic people in every situation.
We chatted and chatted and before we knew it it was the end of the session so that just shows how we can become engrossed in this subject. I think people went away with some new information and how to cope with certain situations. Sensory differences and the way we process these differences can be tough and quite demanding especially when it affects behaviour in a big way. It was so reassuring to share our stories and give support to those who maybe were struggling a bit.
There is quite a bit of information regarding sensory differences on the main NAS website here www.autism.org.uk/about/behaviour/sensory-world.aspx so do take a look and if there is a branch near you then maybe they have a support group too where you can go along and have a chat just like we did this week.
Thank you for reading today. I will be back tomorrow for Pass the remote Sunday but for now......
Oh the DVLA sent people's hearts and minds into a bit of a flutter in the past month didn't they? Nothing like a bit of confusion to make people feel uneasy and worried.
In February the DVLA gave out information in regard to autism stating that people must disclose their autistic diagnosis if they were driving. To add to this they said that anyone who failed to disclose their condition would face a fine up to £1000. Now this kind of stands with medical conditions. In general, if you do fail to inform the DVLA of any medical condition and you are involved in an accident then you can face a fine of £1000.
With regard to autism they have now updated their information and you now only have to inform them if you think your diagnosis of autism affects your ability to drive safely. They do say that they will contact people who have sent disclosures in to see whether their condition does affect their driving, if not those disclosures will be destroyed.
I can see why this may have worried so many people as they would have thought that they would be driving illegally or just been annoyed that their policies should change suddenly regarding autistic people. If you have a diagnosis and have passed your driving test then you have been assessed already on your ability to drive and if you are preparing yourself to drive then the present driving test does give access to those people with autism and sensory needs so you can get support there.
If you need to know more about driving then here is a link to the National Autistic Society website which gives you all the up to date information regarding licences, learning to drive, tests, fitness rules and the blue badge scheme.
I hope that just clarifies a little about the situation after so many stories and rumours were flying around. Please do contact the NAS or the DVLA if you are still worried, there are contact details in that link to be able to get more information and support if you should need it.
Thank you for reading today. I will be back tomorrow for Pass the Remote Sunday but for now.......
I might have mentioned transport before but it is a subject that does crop up now and again regarding autism and other disabilities too. There have been a lot of cuts made by local authorities regarding home to school transport which can makes things difficult with an application.
I can see where the LA's are coming from as it is expensive to provide taxis for our kids going to and from school but it is a great means of support. Help regarding travel can come in other ways too, there is travel training available which helps support a young person gaining independence to travel, discounted travel cards and fuel allowances which probably works out a cheaper option for most councils.
It should be about every individual and how their needs can be met but that's not also the case. There seems to be a drop off in support as our children get older. I know there is sometimes less transport support for post sixteen's going to college and even more so post eighteen's too. Yes the chances of some people gaining their confidence and independence to travel alone is something that can eventually happen as our kids get older but not always.
If you need any information regarding home to school travel you can get in touch with SENTAS - Special Educational Needs Transport Advocacy Service. They are a non profit organisation set up to provide parents and young people with information, advice and advocacy around issues regarding home to school and college transport. They have a website here:
sentas.co.uk which has so much useful information on it and and option to contact them too if you should need to.
It can be a very frustrating time trying to figure out not only everything that goes with school and our young people moving to college. Their education is a lot to deal with when it comes to SEN even before thinking how our young ones are going to get there and back from their schools or colleges but there is help out there if you need it so do get in touch with SENTAS if you are struggling.
I hope that helps and if I have mentioned this before I do apologise for repeating it but it is quite important that needs are met and I do know some people have a lot of problems in this area so it is good to just review it again.
Thank you so much for reading today. I will be back tomorrow with Pass the remote Sunday but for now.....
I saw this information about Spectrum Live on the National Autistic Society and thought it may help if you are facing diagnosis, maybe you are just going through the process or you are still waiting for an assessment.
If you go along to the NAS Facebook page and give it a like you can join in on a live discussion about diagnosis. It takes place Wednesday 13th March at 7pm. I think this is a great way to grab all the information you need and answer all those questions that are going around in your head.
They will be covering the different routes you can access for a diagnosis, what an assessment should look like and you can also join a campaign to help reduce the waiting time in which people have to wait for their autism diagnosis.
You will be able to submit your own questions too so I will leave you with a link to the National Autistic Society website with all the information about the event, how to access it and how to submit a question in advance.
Please think about taking part as even thinking about going for a diagnosis came seem a bit daunting, the wait can be frustrating so you may get some welcomed support from others here. They will be talking to autistic people and families on what it means to get a diagnosis so you will get information from people themselves in a similar situation to you or who can give you an insight to what will happen further into the process.
Just think of it as a little support group taking place in your own home, technology nowadays, it's amazing eh? So here is the link......
Thank you for taking the time to read my post today, please join me again tomorrow for some telly talk on Pass the Remote Sunday but for now I hope this helps and you all take care now.
A few weeks ago I caught sight of a tweet which was in fact a survey to find out what autistic people would think if their neurotypical parents referred to themselves as autism mum/dad/parent. Well this intrigued me as I had actually referred to myself being an 'autism mum' on a couple of my social media profiles. I know......oh heck I'm having to confess here but bear with me as I would like to explain why.
I don't really consider myself to be a neurotypical parent to start with so I suppose one reason for autism mum is that I am choosing to self identify as autistic without a diagnosis. That's probably another debate for another day but that suits me. The other reason is that of course my boys are a huge part of my life, I love them more than life itself. I am a single parent and Autism has been a massive part of our lives but I also help to support other families too as a volunteer with the National Autistic Society Derby and District Branch.
So you can see my life is full of Autism and I love it, I never mean to centre myself in it at all but act as a buffer for those who need me. I've never referred to myself as a buffer before but I do remember when Mr T received is diagnosis, for some parents this can come as a bit of a surprise sometimes and leave families a little lost at first. The thing is though when we do hold support groups, everyone in the room whether it be parents, carers, autistic people or those working in the health sector and education, they all feel passionate about wanting the best for their young people or for themselves.
So for me being an 'autism mum' meant that I was a mum first and my world revolved a lot around autism in a good positive way so I wanted to put that out as a beacon for everyone to be able to connect too. I have read all the comments though relating to the twitter survey and found it so enlightening. I had no idea it may not have been a good way to identify oneself and can see it would be slightly wrong coming from a neurotypical person but I have still since taken the decision to change my profiles in light of this and would totally respect the way in which this would make other people feel.
I do hope that explains a little why I did give myself the name of 'autism mum' and I hope it all makes sense. I have probably totally over thought it as I tend to over think all sorts of things but I just found it very interesting. This is what I do love about social media, we can have a healthy debate and give views and opinions, sometimes we just need to make people aware of what they don't know. Every day is a school day is what I say to myself, we are constantly learning, even as a middle aged woman like myself.
Thank you for reading today, please join me again tomorrow for Pass the Remote but for now you all take care.
I'm really proud of Mr T this week for making a decision by himself and choosing whether to take part in an activity. It is difficult for autistic people to contemplate whether to choose an activity as they involve a lot of social interaction which can be exhausting. I know for myself I find some events a big challenge but then end up feeling happy that I gave it a go.
I work myself up to some events thinking it's going to be worse than it really is even to the point of high anxiety but then it never seems as bad and I end up wondering what I worried about so much. It's the fear of the unknown, sounds like a tense scary movie eh? No really in some cases I have to visualise the whole event from planning the route to get there (in detail), making sure there is somewhere to park if needed, I will result to the bus or a taxi if it's all a bit too much and then I like to know the layout of a venue too so that I know exactly what's what. OMG if it's somewhere I haven't been before then that's a major issue. I have been known to give a place a trial run before the real thing.
Oh bless Mr T and his venture into an activity if that's what his mum goes through. He hasn't really been big on going to any after school clubs or activities and although I have encouraged, I've never made him go anywhere because as you can see I know how hard it is. Mr T announced he was going to go and try a choir session held at college on a lunchtime so I thought this would be great for him. He had sourced it out or been asked and decided yes, he was going to give it a go.
I went to pick him up after the session and asked him how it went and he didn't think it suited him, he said 'just pick me up at the normal time next week'. I quizzed a little to see what the problem was, not too much as he doesn't always want to talk about things but I did get to the problem. The choir was for the whole school to take part rather than a small choir from the part of the school where he was studying for Post 16's. This meant he would have to interact in a mainstream environment which I don't think he felt completely comfortable with and found it a little overwhelming.
That's ok though, the fact is he made a decision he was going to try it and found out for himself whether it suited him or not. Maybe there will be a chance to join something else in the future but it's a start. I suppose this post continues from last week with the decisions that we make but again we have to try. Fair play to Mr T, for now we will carry on singing our heart out in the car to The Beatles and for him a choir is on hold but hey our choir of two is fabulous for now and very funny.
It's only funny because I get the lyrics wrong sometimes......yikes I bet John Lennon is tutting at me from above and if Mr McCartney is reading this (yeah right) then I do apologise but just so you know, I did bring my son up with a great taste in music and he gets all the lyrics right!!
Thank you so much for reading today, please come back for more tomorrow when it's time for Pass the Remote but for now.....
Every Saturday I will be talking about Autism and will review any useful information which may have been highlighted at any support groups in the week.