Words of Wisdom

You’re only given a spark of madness. You mustn’t lose it” – Robin Williams

For all autistic people it mustn’t any longer be about what we can’t do, it’s got to be about what we can do” – Chris Packham

You’re an interesting species. An interesting mix. You’re capable of such beautiful dreams, and such horrible nightmares. You feel so lost, so cut off, so alone, only you’re not. See, in all our searching, the only thing we’ve found that makes the emptiness bearable, is each other” – Carl Sagan

“When we meet real tragedy in life, we can react in two ways – either by losing hope and falling into self-destructive habits, or by using the challenge to find our inner strength” – Dalai Lama

“It takes a village to raise a child. It takes a child with autism to raise the consciousness of the village” – Elaine Hall

It’s so much darker when a light goes out than it would have been if it had never shone” – John Steinbeck

Grief is like the ocean; it comes on waves ebbing and flowing. Sometimes the water is calm, and sometimes it is overwhelming. All we can do is learn to swim“- Vicki Harrison

You are allowed to feel messed up and inside out. It doesn’t mean you’re defective – it just means you’re human.” – David Mitchell

We’re out of our comfort zones with depression. I certainly was and whenever I have bad days now I speak to someone to get it off my chest. I have no shame telling that and that’s why I’m here today” – Ricky Hatton

Once you choose hope, anything is possible.Christopher Reeve

I didn’t succeed despite my dyslexia, but because of it. It wasn’t my deficit, but my advantage. Although there are neurological trade-offs that require that I work creatively/smarter in reading, writing and speaking. I would never wish to be any other way than my awesome self” – Scott Sonnon (World Champion in Martial Arts)

There is a time to live, a time to die, a time to laugh, and at no time are the three of them very far apart” – Spike Milligan

Life is too short to do the things you don’t love doing” – Bruce Dickinson

“When you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change” – Wayne Dyer

A dog is the only thing on earth that loves you more than he loves himself.” – Josh Billings

Cats are smarter than dogs. You can’t get eight cats to pull a sled through snow” – Jeff Valdez

The inner machinations of my mind are an enigma” – Patrick from Spongebob

“Bums to big” – Our son on why the Dodo couldn’t fly. Probably explains why I can’t fly as well.

Human Nature

Listening to David Bowie on the car stereo while driving into the local city. One hour earlier a conversation with the school convinces me that the they are not going to do any work on his Dyslexia. So it’s a hastily arranged meeting with the university to find out what testing and support they can offer. ‘Heroes’ blasts out from the speakers. Then I drive past a house. Not any old house, it’s a house that the two of us looked at 18 years ago. Suddenly I’m taken back to a different world. One which is full of dreams and hopes. Hopes of starting a family, maybe 3 kids. Dreams of spending a life together with the my sole mate. The most honest, calming, reassuring person I had ever met. Someone whose intrinsic goodness was the perfect anchor for my turbulent life. A world which was both exciting and happy.

Then suddenly I’m back in the real world. A chap who looks at least 90 swings his motorised wheelchair off the path and into the road. I brake as does the bus on the other side of the road. As the old chap drives serenely across the road he majestically flicks a v-sign to me and a middle finger to the bus. And with one surprisingly quick flick of the hand my underlying faith in human nature is restored…

Red sky

Red sky at night, fisherman’s delight. Red sky in the morning, fisherman’s warning. Does it work with parents rather than fishermen? Is it a warning of things to come for parents?

Over the years we have worked on trying to have an organised, completely mapped out morning. Aspergers and disruption don’t mix well with him. One thing out of schedule and it completely throws our son. It usually messes up his whole day. This morning was running perfectly, everything going to plan. He made it outside and waited for the school bus. We are lucky the school bus drives past our house then does a u-turn down the road. This allows our son the time to calmly walk from our house to the bus stop and catch the bus.

Red sky in morning, parents warning. Today the bus for some reason decided to arrive from the other direction, so it didn’t need to do a u-turn. Complete panic as our son had to sprint to catch the bus. May seem like a minor change but to someone with Aspergers ….. massive. As the bus drove slowly by, I could see our son clearly upset. Nothing I can do except let school know. I suspect they won’t check on him. It’s times like this that I hate being a parent. I feel completely helpless, that nagging thought – surely I should be doing something else to help him.

But sometimes things happen which are out of your control and you just have to let them play out. Just hope that he is ok.

I think that I might try something different today. I might pick him up from school. It’s another change to schedule but hopefully a positive one this time. Take him to the woods to search for some Horse Chestnut Tree seeds. He loves playing “conkers” with the seeds. Maybe it will show him that some unplanned changes can be good. Let’s hope anyway.

It feels like a zoo

This house is increasingly become a zoo. Two mad cats, bonkers puppy and a hyper active mole. Added to this we have:

  • Farm cows – now best friends with puppy
  • Various garden birds
  • A family of Starlings who live in the roof
  • Two squirrels who bury their nuts in our lawn
  • A badger who digs up the rest of the garden, probably pinching the Squirrels nuts
  • What feels like the worlds population of snails
  • Wasp Nest in the attic (found this week)

Well another creature has joined the party now. More on this soon, but first…

Yesterday started quite well and I was in an ok mood when I finally sat down to do some work. But a few minutes later, mood change, one song, one of my partners favourite songs on the radio. Tears and complete feeling of what has been lost. I couldn’t concentrate on work so decided to do a clothes wash. Then drink some very strong coffee. Still feeling sad.

When the wash finished it was time for the tumble dryer currently living in the garage. I took the wet washing into the garage but the phone rang. I put the washing on the floor to answer the call. After an hour of continued sadness I remembered the discarded washing. Went back into the garage and picked up the washing. A reptilian face appeared from the pile of wet clothes. I of course took this crisis like a hero. Screamed, dropped the clothing and ran. ‘Oh my god it’s a snake’ and it could be a big one.

After a few minutes I calmed down a bit. Don’t be daft, this is Yorkshire in autumn, I must have just imagined it. Carefully I went back into the garage. As I moved closer, definite movement in the clothes. Another scream and legged it again. I am petrified of snakes.

In all the panic I had lost track of time. The front door opened and in walked our son from school. He looked on rather dubiously as I told him about the man eating snake in the garage. He convinced me to face up to my fears and confront the beast. Together we carefully went back into the garage. The washing moved again and I legged it again – completely forgetting my son. I ran back into the garage with the nearest weapon I could find, the floor brush. In the garage I found our son laughing his head off.

“Dad you complete muppet. Have a look at your killer snake”

Ok the monster snake in fact did look a lot like a frog, a rather small one at that. So now we have another member of the zoo. This new member has been named “Viper the Frog” by our thoroughly understanding son. Is there no end to my shame.

But thank you Mr Viper, you made me forget all about the sadness, at least for a few hours anyway.

Things get far worse

Another meeting with school and again more promises from them. I hope this time things start to move forward. But I do worry that they don’t have a plan, maybe they don’t really get the implications of an Aspergers and Dyslexia diagnosis. Again my heart goes out to our son. When the teacher said that he had made quite a few new friends, our son replied:

“If you include the kids who are forced to sit next to me in the classes, then yes I have made friends. If you include kids who want to talk to me then the answer is no”

I really don’t know what else I can say to him. I can’t think of any further advice I can offer him at the moment. All I can do is try to take his mind off things for a while. One sure fire ‘take your mind off bad stuff’ area is OUR PETS. He particularly loved this new pet incident.

Clearly the pet crime situation is worse than first feared. The pets are the one thing guaranteed to bring a smile back to our son’s face. Maybe my primary job is to just make him happy. Following on from the recent pants incident there is evidence of pet collusion. After unloading a clothes wash I dropped a sock. Within a nanosecond the pup had grabbed it and was belting round the house. By the time I had caught up with him, no sock could be found. I searched everywhere but absolutely no sign. Then I saw the girl cat slowly walking into the garden carrying the sock. She calmly dropped the sock onto one of our molehills, before strolling back in.

So clearly the girl cat and puppy are in collusion. But is the mole part of this crime gang or was this just a poor attempt to frame him. My son thinks it’s a framing job. But more importantly is made our son smile again.

Pants

Son was at school and I was trying to get some work done at my desk. When the world changed for us, I couldn’t fit my career around the new single parenting regime. So the career was kicked into touch. I was lucky, I managed to find a new job which was a better fit for the new world. Not great money but it just about pays the bills and allows me to be with my son.

Anyway this morning I was trying to catch up with work when the postman knocked at the door. As he handed me a parcel he casually pointed out that “it looks like there are a pair underpants is in the middle of your lawn”. I wonder how many times he’s said that during his rounds this morning. Unfortunately the postman was correct.

In my defence the ‘pants on the grass’ incident is unlikely to be due to my rock and roll lifestyle. More likely the finger of blame should be pointed at one of our four legged friends. It’s not the first time a pair of my pants has got out into the village. Who can forget the time a young mad puppy ran down the street carrying a pair of my pants. He was only stopped and my pants retrieved, when he found a tree in front of the church which was too enticing to ignore.

So this time the pup was the prime suspect. However he seemed preoccupied with his new two pals. So maybe not guilty.

So the next suspect is the boy cat. He has had a record of pinching socks and relocating next doors plants to our garden. However he was happily snuggled up in a sock draw and had been there for some time. So maybe not guilty.

Then we come to the girl cat. She was awake but as soon as I came into the room, she covered her face. Was that to hide her shame. Guilty?

Another Brick in the ….

So completes another grisly school day. School still not putting any learning support in. The school approach feels a bit like:

He is on the autistic spectrum and he is dyslexic.

He is struggling a bit with our set programme.

We won’t consider alternative approaches.

Let’s find what seem to be the most inappropriate teaching approaches to use with a dyslexic/aspergers child and let’s see what happens when we build them into his school day.

Clearly he is low attainment as he is struggling to read text and his handwriting is quite poor.

But it’s ok because he is really well behaved so he is fine going through the motions in bottom set and he’s not the lowest attaining pupil in the class. Maybe he will make a friend or two during these five years.

I really think Pink Floyd got it right with Another Brick in the Wall.

We dust ourselves down and go again tomorrow. Should be a good one as our son has to do a spelling test. Not sure I would do to well with words like “connotations” and “assimilation “. That will really help his self esteem – not.

One thought keeps nagging away at me. I’m not prepared to let this continue for another 5 years. But what to do? Keep plugging away with this school. Try our luck with another school. Or maybe just maybe home educate.

Confused

I’m a bit confused. A bunch of these flowers have suddenly decided to grow in the middle of our lawn. We certainly didn’t plant them. It must have been the birds or our mole. It could be the boy cat. The girl cat brings back dead little animals while the boy cat for some reason brings back plants he has pulled up (normally from next doors once perfect garden). It’s another lawn mowing obstacle to steer round.

My blog is also confused. When I first started this blog I’m not sure what I was trying to achieve. My head was all over the place. I had this vague hope that it might help others, probably by learning from my mistakes. But I’m not sure if the real reason was me desperately trying to find a way to fix myself. Maybe it was just an excuse for me to show some of my out of focus photos.

The blog is seriously confused and I apologise for that. It started off wittering on about bereavement, then brought in single parenting. Then it moved into the Aspergers and Dyslexia. Now it’s becoming a bit of a pet love in.

Maybe the mess of my blog is a reflection of the true state of play for me . The guide books seem to either cover bereavement or parenting or autism/Aspergers or Dyslexia or ADHD or Depression or Pets. They seem to deal with things in isolation. Unfortunately in my case (and probably in many other cases), many issues are all mixed up and intertwined. You can’t consider one in isolation. That’s why the various help guides I’ve acquired are stored away in the loft along with my cookbooks and dog obedience training manuals. Maybe in isolation they might work but in my messy/confused world they seem too simplistic or idealistic.

Those pets again

Some days you come back home and you need a lift. Often the hoped for lift turns out to be bills in the post, a power cut or a delightfully full cat litter. But occasionally you get that needed lift. Today was such a day and again it was the pets. Just a bit cute together.

Another trip to the crematorium

My son’s last grandparent passed away a couple of weeks ago. Almost exactly two years since his mum died. Six weeks before his mums death his other granny had passed away. So much death for someone so young.

The service was at the same place his mum was cremated. I was really concerned about how he would cope. He actually did ok. Well on the outside he was ok. On the inside I’m sure he was completely not ok. He was really quiet and distant for much of the day. Then on the way home he became more talkative. He didn’t want to talk about the service, he wanted to think about other things. He spent the next four hours talking about top 3 lists. He frequently compiles these, it seems like it’s a place he can visit which is safe and which he can fully control.

Top 3 Dinosaurs

  1. Spinosaurus
  2. Velociraptor
  3. T-Rex

Top 3 Wrestlers

  1. Kane
  2. A J Styles
  3. Edge

Top 3 Bands/Stars

  1. David Bowie
  2. Alter Bridge
  3. Kiss

Top 3 Living Creatures

  1. Peregrin Falcon
  2. Polar Bear
  3. Wolves

Top 3 fears

  1. Giraffes
  2. Cows
  3. Crowds

Top 3 funny shows

  1. Simpsons
  2. Horrible Histories
  3. Gravity Falls

And the lists went on and on. With each passing list his mood continued to lift. Then he said it’s about time my dad featured on one of the lists. For a few nano seconds I pictured myself competing for top spot with the likes of George Clooney or Dwayne Johnson. But clearly from my son’s cheeky smile, I was looking at the wrong end of the gene pool.

Top 3 Idiots

  1. Homer Simpson
  2. Dad
  3. Patrick (from Spongebob)

Not sure how to take the last list. I suppose at least I’m behind Homer, but really, in front of Patrick.