Pictures

We haven’t don’t this for a while. Draw a picture in the ice forming on the outside of the window. Then turn the room light on and see what it looks like on the pavement. Makes us smile anyway.

It’s a tradition. Something we repeat. We do it every night we get the opportunity.

That’s a theme in our Aspergers household. Repetition.

The same foods on the same night. Week after week. Things like cheese have to be the usual brand and flavour.

Wearing the same type of clothes.

Buying the same toothpaste and the same toothbrushes. The same soap. Even things like the same toilet paper.

Watching a select group of movies and tv shows, time after time.

The same morning and nighttime bed rituals.

The same subjects we talk about most nights.

Having the same objects in the same places in the house.

The same fun animal story we tell every night. We have done this since he was a toddler. EVERY SINGLE DAY. I dread to think how many episodes we have told.

Playing the same games on the console. Just a couple of games. Microsoft might as well hardwire them into our box.

When we could get outside, walking the same walks and the same routes. Driving the same routes on the way to places. Even if that means more driving time. If we vary then we need to double back and drive the usual route as soon as we can. Going to sit in the same seats in the same cinema. Going to the same shops. Going to the same fast food joints and buying exactly the same order. Going to the zoo and visiting the animals in the same set order.

Repetition provides Hawklad with security and comfort. It provides stability for him to build bridges between his world and the big mad world. Variations can and will send him into a the realms of anxiety. At school any change to the set timetable will throw him and severely effect his performance. So it is just how things are in our little family.

So if ice forms tonight, I wonder what picture will appear on the pavement?

Go again.

Schooling often feels like a river. Sometimes it’s beautiful, sometimes frustrating and if you follow it then it takes you were the river wants to take you, not where you might want to get to.

I was talking to Hawklad yesterday about school and homeschooling. It’s his call what happens going forward. He will be doing school at home until Christmas. Then it’s time to make another call. Currently he just can’t see himself returning to the classroom in January but he’s not yet ready to call time on school. So it looks like we will start 2021 still in home at school mode.

If that’s the case then it’s time to start making some adjustments to the teaching delivery. Starting with French. The time the school allocates to learning things like perfect and imperfect tenses is just currently a waste of effort for Hawklad. So that time will be spent on using an online language learning app. Probably Rosetta Stone. I’d rather him pick up a few words that he might be able to use in the future than to parrot learn stuff just for one exam in two years time.

Time

I could wax lyrically about that wonderful Pink Floyd song, Time. All about how TIME can fritter away from people without them realising until it is too late.

I could talk about Dr Who. Mentioning that the first ever female Dr is also the first Yorkshire Time Lord.

But not today. We are talking about telling the time.

Hawklad has always struggled to read a clock or watch. It’s not for the want of trying. Different types of watches and clocks. Different styles. Nothing seemed to work. Analog time has just proved impossible to him. It’s taken years but he can very slowly read a digital 12 hour display. Not very accurately. He has to look at the display for many seconds before it seems to register. Even then it may need some further explanation.

It’s not just telling the time, it’s the concept of passing time. He struggles to get his head round what 20 minutes, or an hour or 3 hours actually means in practice. He was doing an assessment paper at home. I noticed that he had been on the first question for 30 minutes. When I told him that there was another 14 questions to do in the remaining time he couldn’t believe that he had spent that long on one question. To him it was just a couple of minutes. This kind of thing happens so very often.

Whether this is to do with Aspergers, or number dyslexia or just one of those things – we will never probably establish that. Just got to work round it. Find ways for Hawklad to cope with time.

Because he struggles to tell the time and then can’t comprehend how much time has passed, this stresses him out. Give him a time to work to and he starts to panic. As a result we often use something like a movie as our measure of time.

It’s bedtime at the end of this movie.

We need to get ready when this show finishes.

It will be 45 minutes when the game ends.

That’s why the TV is often on in the background. Not for entertainment, but as a timer. Where this leaves him with his pending exams and his adult life, who knows. But here’s the thing, he’s great at sticking to plans and following a series of steps in his head. If he could just get his head round time then he would be brilliant at project management.

It’s 40 minutes until he needs to start looking at his homework. Today that’s the end of Jumanji. Jumanji the Clock.

Decimal places

A lovely start to the day. Looks are deceiving. Over my shoulder was a mass of grey YUK rapidly heading towards us. And now…

Wet, cold, grey and just grisly.

Another thing which is grisly here is DECIMAL POINTS.

Hawklad is dyslexic. That’s both letters and NUMBERS. 4,6,7 and 9’s can be difficult for him. Somedays they are fine others not so good. This is so frustrating as he is really good at Maths.

Something which is never fine are those pesky DECIMAL POINTS. He just can’t process them. He can do really complex calculations yet struggles to do the simplest additions if you introduce DECIMALS. When it comes to schooling it’s just keeping those fingers crossed that DECIMALS just don’t appear. They can mess up Maths, Science, Geography and Computing lessons.

His Maths Assessment Scores fluctuate according to those pesky dots. His last score was 60% as there was a large section on rounding up decimals and standard notation. He did another paper yesterday. This time only one decimal appeared. From what I can see he got that question wrong but was perfect on the other 16 questions. That paper as a final in 2 and a half years time would be so cool for him.

Black Friday

Dad what on earth have you bought…”

Tibetan Singing Bowl Set — Easy to Play with Cushion & New Dual-End striker for Holistic Healing, Calming & Mindfulness ~ Antique Design

It’s a Tibetan Singing Bowl.

Why…..”

It was really cheap in a Black Friday sale.

Ok Dad but why….”

It offers a multi sensory path to enhanced meditation and spiritual enlightenment.

You’ve just read that from the label.”

Yep you busted me. It does sound good.

So does an 100 inch TV and that would be much more useful. ”

Yes but the TV would not be less than £10. So tomorrow you might catch me sat outside creating some beautiful vibrations and hypnotic, haunting moods.

Can I throw a bucket of water over you.”

What’s it feel like to have a really cool and hip Dad.

I wouldn’t know. I can talk about having a muppet as a parent.”

Ok, do you think I should just use it as an ornament.

“Yes Dad but that still doesn’t change the fact that you are a monumental muppet.”

No I guess it doesn’t, especially when you see what I’ve bought next…..

Back to normal

Do you ever have those moments in time that are just a little too busy. When lots of random events decide to bloom at exactly the same time. When life goes kinda mad. Well I’ve just had another one of those career defining epochs.

I was happily trying to cook tea. Pan boiling nicely. Grill turned on. Looking through the window at the washing gently drying on the outside clothes horse. Everything under control. Even time for a little air guitar listening to Kiss and then …..

For some reason the TV Speaker Bar kicked into life and decided to join in with the kitchen speaker and blast out Kiss. And I mean blast out. Deafening. It does have a mind of its own, definitely when it comes to Bluetooth. So I rushed to turn it off but couldn’t find the remote control (it doesn’t have any useful buttons on the speaker, apparently that is progress). Then a shout from the toilet…

Dad the toilet is blocked and flooding.

So I ditched trying to turn the music down and headed towards the toilet. The phone rang.

Can I phone you back, bit of a crisis here (having to shout above the music),

Running towards the toilet and the front doorbell rang.

Can you leave the parcel there ….. Apparently not and I had to sign for it. Definitely getting an evil look for listening to that type of music so loud.

Heading towards the toilet when the smoke alarm goes off. Run to the kitchen to find the grill was arc welding the once tasty food options. Turn off grill and throw the food embers outside. Then throw the smoke alarm out as well. That’s now happily screeching away on the lawn.

Head towards the toilet and the cat knocks the school iPad off the table. I try to catch it but fail. Check the damage. Screen looks slightly cracked.

Dad the toilet is flooded and I’m busting. Hawklad shouting over Kiss.

Head towards the kitchen sink to find the plunger only to find the pan was now boiling over and the top of the electric cooker is like a boating lake. Turn the pan off.

Dad I’m busting. The words almost lost amongst the dialled to 11 metal music.

Plunger now in hand. Front doorbell rings again. Can our postman leave a parcel for next door with me. Apparently he likes Kiss and went to see them 20 years ago.

Dad the cat is drinking the toilet water and I’m seriously busting.

Ten minutes later the toilet is working. Son isn’t busting anymore. Kiss is playing at less than 150 decibels. Soup has now replaced the wrecked food. I’ve got no idea who phoned. The smoke alarm is getting a free wash on the front lawn in a passing rain storm. As is the once almost dry washing.

Back to normal again.

Eat chocolate

I received a lovely present today in the post. The government support package for Hawklad will expire soon. So I need to reapply. Helpfully they have sent the 50 page application form to complete. I can’t submit the old paperwork and need to have more recent assessments and evidence. That’s a nightmare at the best of times but during a pandemic!!!!!!!

Only thing for it….. A bar of dark chocolate, a decaf coffee and listen to some angry music. Today’s choice, the latest from Roger Waters. That’s one seriously cheesed off artist recording those songs. That fits as that’s the music I would make today. Normal people are forced to jump through hoop after hoop for their kids yet friends of the Government are awarded multi million pound contracts without any due process. Roger Waters would certainly get the irony.

Well I then made a start. Book an appointment for a new assessment from a Paediatrician. On the waiting list. That’s currently a one year wait and growing. It’s a start…. Where’s the next chocolate bar.

But here’s the really scary thing. Our Son is fortunate as he has had some support. We somehow battled through the intentionally difficult minefield to get that. So many are either unsuccessful or are just missed. That’s the children, adult support is almost none existent. Discarded by our society that has its priorities so badly skewed. What’s the answer. Certainly to keep fighting. Most definitely to eat chocolate.

Short movies

Dad can we switch this movie off. I’m feeling very uncomfortable with this.”

Son loves Marvel movies but for some reason he just can’t handle Spider-Man Homecoming. It’s just that one movie. The other Spider-Man movies he really enjoys. Certain movies just throw him. It starts off with him fidgeting then he is not able to look at the screen. Then he starts to pacing about. Finally he has to leave the room until it’s switched. Last night a few minutes later he was happily watching a Wolverine movie.

I remember the first film he did this with. We had gone to see Hotel Transylvania at the cinema. Within 15 minutes we had left. We ended up watching another movie and he enjoyed it.

So some movies just get to him. The last Joker movie is another we switched off quickly yet he loves all the other Batman films, even the much darker ones.

It’s so unpredictable. Just can’t anticipate these movie meltdowns. The problem movies don’t have a common theme. Last year a nondescript Disney Christmas movie set him off. At Easter the Pixar movie UP caused another meltdown. It’s not that they are scary. They are not more sensory than other ones. Not louder and not more violent. It’s not about death. We have never been able to pin the reason down.

But at least he knows that as soon as he gets the feeling that a movie is wrong then he can just switch it off. No questions will be asked and we will find another one to watch.

Dad it’s like you and your football team.

He is so right. These days watching them play is deeply unsettling and often requires me to look the other way….

Hide behind the sofa.

Another grey and damp morning. Now where did I put that brilliant and always helpful Parenting Guide again…..

I had an email from school. One of those emails that immediately sent me scurrying for safety behind the sofa.

It’s a legal requirement for school to deliver sexual health education in Year 9. The education will be across a number of lessons. It will cover Relationships, Puberty, Sexual Transmitted Diseases, contraception and other sexual health issues.

As Hawklad is not in school, the teacher will send me the lesson materials and I was asked if ‘The parents would be ok delivering the material to your son…..”. Well that will be me then.

As I see it I have basically four options

Say No

Continue to hide behind the sofa

Deliver the material

OR just show him an episode of South Park.

Jim Morrison

Definitely been one of those mornings. One of those French mornings…..

It’s taken us 8 weeks to work out that class has been accessing a learning resource that we didn’t know about. So two months later Hawklad finds himself behind. I guess it was one of those things that was discussed in class but not passed on. Deep joy.

I can officially say that this subject has become a disaster.

Anyway I think the time it would take to catch up would be better spent on other activities. Maybe even playing with a non school sanctioned language app. Let’s see if we can find one that works for him. That would be a start. At least it would start to give him the basic skills and bugger the school tests in this subject.

I must admit that this so mirrors my time at school. I so struggled to learn French. Just wouldn’t stick. In the end sitting my final French exam was a bit of a Hail Mary Pass. Not much hope.

But strange things can happen.

Half the exam was the expected shambles. A series of random guesses really. Then the final question accounting for 40% of the marks. Read a long French newspaper article and answer questions in English. I should have had zero chance. But unbelievably the article was about Jim Morrison and The Doors. OMG I know every answer without reading the text.

Two months later I received my certificate in French. I had scraped a PASS. Must have got a perfect score on the final question and winged 10 marks from my other guesses. Yes I owe my French Qualification to Rock Music.