Why I hate buffet restaurants

23 March 2017

Dear friend,

Lately we've had a rush of family birthdays to contend with. Everyone is born in February or March (or so it seems). In Holland birthdays are a massive affair. Even if you don't want to celebrate the relatives will still appear at your door expecting coffee and cake and to sit in a circle chatting together whilst you run around like a headless chicken. Every year it becomes a massive bone of contention!

This year some of the family have foregone the circle party at home for a buffet style restaurant. I thought this might improve matters but oh no I was totally and completely wrong!!

  1. The food isn't that good - it's warm not hot. I worry about the freshness of the food! The good  stuff disappears in 2 minutes. The whisper goes around there are prawns and... I missed them whilst taking child 2 to the loo. All that's left is a manky looking specimen I wouldn't give to the dog. 
  2. Greed - I always seem to end up getting sat next to great uncle Charles who makes the largest food pyramid he can on his tiny plate and drops half of it down my back as he stumbles to his chair. Hubby inevitably embarrasses me by making so many trips to the buffet he wears a path in the carpet. "One more chocolate eclair whilst I'm going to the buffet?" Oh go on. Who can resist? Not me. I spend my afternoon lying on the couch with a full tummy feeling sick.

Explaining autism as a spectrum

22 March 2017

Dear friend,

I wish I had a euro for every time someone has responded to the statement,
I have a son with autism 
with the question but he's not that bad/but he's high functioning/but he's clever?

Maybe people just want you to feel better but I think this is also because it is really difficult to explain what an autistic spectrum is. One of the most frustratingannoyingdifficult, infuriating things about having a child with autism is trying to explain what that means. I've even written about how tongue tied I get when people ask me what autism is?

We tend to hear about and see on TV and in the press the extremes of autism and this leads to people having quite stereotypical views of what it is, something that I regularly write about on this blog. But people also appear to misunderstand what a spectrum actually means.

I came across the following cartoon from Rebecca Burgess and it explains the autistic spectrum brilliantly.

I hear alot of people misinterpreting or misusing the term ‘autism spectrum’. So for Autism Acceptance week, I decided to make a comic to help explain the term and how it affects things. 
Rebecca Burgess. 

I love this brilliantly creative explanation! In our experience most problems/issues are caused by misunderstanding. People assume my son is 'not that bad' because he has learned how to behave in certain situations or they do not see all the support or hard work that has gone into helping him to cope but when things get too much and he reacts they are shocked and then are forced to reassess their judgement of him (or of us as parents) this can be extremely frustrating for him and us!

Thank you so much Rebecca for creating this brilliant cartoon. I am sure it will help more people to understand the meaning of the autistic spectrum.

How can you help?  Get the message out there.  Share.

Book Corner: Scaredy Boo

20 March 2017

My book corner choice this month is: Scaredy Boo by Claire Freedman and Russell Julian

Do you have a child who sometimes gets scared at bedtime? If you do then this book is for you!

It is the tale of Scaredy Boo, a monster who lives under the bed. But this monster is scared of everything, even you! Whilst all the monsters came out to play on a night Scaredy Boo was too afraid to join in, until one night Spike the monster appeared and invited him to play. Scaredy Boo with the help of Spike faces his fears and soon ends up having fun with all his new monster friends.

The book comes from Claire Freedman the author of the brilliant Dinosaurs love underpants and Aliens love underpants. 

Parenting from a Special Perspective: Rainbow Dust

13 March 2017

Ever wondered what it is really like to parent from a special perspective? Parent to a Special Needs Child? Where do you turn for help? What challenges do you face? What has surprised you? What have you learned? Every month I will be featuring one of my brilliant fellow SEND bloggers and sharing their reflections on raising a child with special needs.

Welcome Jenni. Jenni is full time mum & carer to 4 kids – 2 with additional needs. She is profoundly deaf herself so has her own challenges. Jenni blogs to help her sort out whatever is going on in her head!! Something I can really relate to! Thank you for taking part in the series.

1. When did you first realise your child has something wrong?
When he was 11wks old and on a routine visit to the Health Visitor. I expressed some concerns on how floppy he was and by the end of the appointment HV & GP had made an urgent referral to hospital and our journey started in trying to get a diagnosis.

With my second child I was told that she had failed her newborn screening so we were referred for more testing and as the weeks went on I began to realise that maybe the test was right that she had a hearing loss.

Why sticker charts don't work for behaviour

8 March 2017

Dear friend,

Warning this post may be slightly ranty but I am going to say it loud and clear. In my opinion sticker charts do not work! I have been a teacher for over 20 years and I can honestly say I have not had one occasion where behaviour was improved in the long term by using a sticker chart. So why are we still using them? Why are parents and teachers advised to give kids a sticker chart to help improve their behaviour?

Don't get me wrong I love stickers. I have a drawer full of them at home and school. I regularly give them out. The trouble is when I give one out, I want to give one to everyone (and very often do) as I see a sticker as a reward for trying your best not for who is best.  I've also used them during potty training and they worked fabulously with my sticker obsessed not yet verbal, autistic toddler.  I am not anti stickers as you can see...

Photography @My_Dutch_Angle

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