A Glimpse into our Autism: Not bad enough...

31 May 2017

Dear friend,

Yesterday I sat at the dining room table with my head in my hands. Our son needs help, he is struggling. But where do we go for help now because he is not 'bad enough' to receive specialist support any more...

He didn't come out of school with the others so I waited. After 10 minutes I went looking for him. Maybe it was his turn to clean the class, maybe he was looking for his bag/coat, maybe he wasn't feeling well... I found him, with his teacher and he was extremely distressed. It had not been a good afternoon week. But he's not bad enough for specialist support...




At home his stimming has started again. Several jumpers have frayed collars or sleeves from his chewing. He is pacing around the table whilst talking to me and repeating himself a lot. We can not find out what is wrong. But he's not bad enough...

Butterfly with coloured jigsaw pieces pattern with textHe is exhausted yet he can't fall asleep. His face appears at the door every evening. Did I have my pills? Why can't I sleep? More tears before bedtime. He is struggling. But he's not bad enough...

He is shutting down, not communicating, retreating into his computer game world. I feel like I'm losing him. But he's not bad enough...

We are on a collision course. His anxiety has now reached danger level and we tip-toe around him until one of us finally blows. But he's not bad enough...


Rebecca Burgess: Explaining autism as a spectrum

Every autistic child is entitled to the support they need but there isn't enough help available! How do you decide who is most in need? You can not grade autism on a linear scale (see Rebecca's brilliant explanation.) But he's not bad enough...

Why do we have to fight for the right kind of support for our son? Surely every autistic child is entitled to the help they need! Why should my son receive second class care? Without the specialist support he is struggling, we are struggling. But he's not bad enough...

If we are going to expect 'high functioning' autistic people to integrate in mainstream life we must ensure they are given the right support to do this so they can succeed or we are simply setting them up for failure.

Yesterday I sat at the dining room table with my head in my hands. Our son needs help, he is struggling. But where do we go for help now because he is not 'bad enough' to receive specialist support any more...



This week we have heard that NHS commissioners in south-west London are considering proposals to reduce the number of children being diagnosed with autism. I am very concerned that this is going to put increased pressure on already strained families. What will happen to the children who simply are not bad enough? Please increase support don't withdraw it!



A glimpse into autism is a series of short letters that explore how autism effects us on a day to day basis. Disclaimer:  this is our experience not all autistic people are the same.


More autism awareness posts...


#PointShoot Week #11

30 May 2017

Do you love making photos of your family? Do you like to record the everyday memories you are making? Then this could be the linky for you. Come and share your photo story posts with me. You can share your days out snaps or any fun, special, touching moments from your week. It can be one photo (including Instagram posts) or a series of shots with words or without. 


Welcome to #PointShoot Week #11

This week's featured post comes from the lovely Pat at whitecamellias.


Feel free to grab your featured blogger badge!

diaryofanimperfectmum





A photograph is the pause button of life.

We are open from Tuesday 6 a.m. until Monday 6 a.m. (so there is plenty of time to link up.)


Link up your weekend pictures!

Rules:

  • You can link up to 1 post per week! Be sure to paste the Point + Shoot badge on the post you would like to link up 
  • Comment on my post to say hi! 
  • Comment on at least 2 other links – share the love, it is what linky's are all about. 
  • It would also be great if you could share your post and the linky party (using the hashtag #PointShoot) on your social media channels to help grow the community. I will also retweet all your posts via Twitter if you mention me in your tweets! (@imperfectmumx
  • Finally, if you could please follow me on (Twitter, Facebook Instagram and Pinterest) that would be fantastic!


diaryofanimperfectmum



My Sunday Photo

28 May 2017



Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don’t matter, and those who matter don’t mind – Bernard M. Maruch

May Roundup

26 May 2017

Dear friends,

Welcome to my monthly roundup an opportunity to look back at the ordinary moments that have made our month extra special. It is so easy to take for granted people, places and things and this look back really helps me to appreciate their importance and rejoice in the everyday memories we are making together...



Finding beauty in the everyday...

  • Playing on the swings
  • Hide and seek
  • Baileys on offer
  • Bluebells in bloom
  • Me time
  • The Men jumping around our living room when Ajax won (with little man right in the middle)
  • Little man and his football team becoming league champions
  • Drinks with new friends
  • Sunshine 
  • Tickle fights
  • Scooter rides
  • Fresh strawberries - so glad they are back in season 
  • Mother's Day picnic in the park
  • Visiting the Japanese Gardens 
  • Not needing a coat
  • Pimm's
  • Beach days
  • Zoo days

On the blog...

  • Featured on#KLTR
  • Co-hosting #FamilyFun with the lovely @TammyMumUK
  • #MummyShot now has over 4300 tags Wow! Thank you 🌸
  • My most popular post this month was: We are not all on the spectrum

How to feed picky eaters

24 May 2017

Dear friend,

The little man has always been a poor eater and I have always worried about his diet. It has caused many arguments at lunch or dinner over the last few years but as a former picky eater myself I have always tried to defend him.

I have really bad memories of being forced to sit at the table until I had eaten everything on my plate and being forced to try things that to me tasted like perfume. I never wanted my son to have these negative experiences! But lately the pickiness is becoming even more of a problem with tears at the table (not just his) and arguments beginning. I am starting to dread meal times as I know what is ahead.

I take some consolation in the fact that I am not the only mum worried about their children's eating habits. Most mums of babies and toddlers have worries about their diet or how much they are eating. However, when our children become tweens we expect this to become easier, don't we? So how can I prevent the mealtime battles in my home?



1. Don't force children to eat
If your child isn't hungry, don't force a meal or snack. This will just start a power struggle over food and your child might come to associate mealtime with anxiety.

2. Serve small portions
Don't overload plates, serve smaller portions and encourage children to ask for more.

3. Have a routine
Schedule meal and snack times and only allow water between. Don't allow your child to fill up on juice, milk or snacks throughout the day as this might decrease their appetite at meal times.


Photo courtesy of small talking

4. Gradually introduce new foods
Your child might need repeated exposure to a new food before he or she takes the first bite. Serve new foods along with your child's favorite foods.

5. Be creative
Serve broccoli and other veggies with a favorite dip or sauce. Cut foods into various shapes with cookie cutters. Add finely chopped broccoli or green peppers to spaghetti sauce.

6. Involve your child
When shopping get your child to pick out the fruits, vegetables and other healthy foods. At home, encourage your child to help you rinse veggies, stir batter or set the table.

7. Set a good example
If you eat a variety of healthy foods, your child is more likely to follow suit.

8. Minimize distractions
Turn off the television and other electronic gadgets during meals to help your child focus on eating.

9. Make one meal
Preparing a separate meal for your child after he or she rejects the original meal might promote picky eating. Encourage your child to stay at the table for the designated mealtime — even if he or she doesn't eat.





10. Be patient


Bad habits won't change overnight but by making small changes can help promote a better, more healthy eating habit.

There are definitely some things that we need to work on. Although we have a routine and try our best to involve our little man in selecting and making food he has very little interest. We do minimize distractions too but our portion sizes are probably too large and we also make separate meals specifically for him. There is definitely room for improvement especially in relation to snacking. I really like the idea of serving new foods alongside your child's favourite ones.

I also read that if you have concerns you should look at the big picture and that making a diary of your child's food intake could help as they may be eating more that you realise. Our little man is quite small for his age but he is growing well according to the Dr. I hope that these changes will help to make our mealtimes more peaceful. I'll keep you informed!


Do you have a tween who is a picky eater? Can you share some tips in the comments?

#PointShoot Week 10

23 May 2017

Do you love making photos of your family? Do you like to record the everyday memories you are making? Then this could be the linky for you. Come and share your photo story posts with me. You can share your days out snaps or any fun, special, touching moments from your week. It can be one photo (including Instagram posts) or a series of shots with words or without. 


Welcome to #PointShoot Week #10

This week's featured post comes from Bridie by the sea. I loved the perspective on this beautiful shot.

Feel free to grab your featured blogger badge!

diaryofanimperfectmum





A photograph is the pause button of life.

We are open from Tuesday 6 a.m. until Monday 6 a.m. (so there is plenty of time to link up.)


Link up your weekend pictures!

Rules:

  • You can link up to 1 post per week! Be sure to paste the Point + Shoot badge on the post you would like to link up 
  • Comment on my post to say hi! 
  • Comment on at least 2 other links – share the love, it is what linky's are all about. 
  • It would also be great if you could share your post and the linky party (using the hashtag #PointShoot) on your social media channels to help grow the community. I will also retweet all your posts via Twitter if you mention me in your tweets! (@imperfectmumx
  • Finally, if you could please follow me on (Twitter, Facebook Instagram and Pinterest) that would be fantastic!


diaryofanimperfectmum



Fathers day gifts made easy

22 May 2017

Dear friend,

I don't know about you but I always find it a struggle to get suitable Father's day gifts. I never know what to buy for my own Father or for Imperfect dad from the boys. What do you buy? I always want to find something a bit different but I usually end up going for the usual gifts of toiletries or a nice bottle of something. But this year I was determined to find something different and then I was contacted by Tom from Uncommon goods and was bowled over with the concept behind the company. 

Founded in 1999 and headquartered in Brooklyn, New York, UncommonGoods is a privately-owned retailer that endeavors to feature unique jewelry, designer décor, tabletop items, and handcrafted gifts created in harmony with the environment without harm to animals or people. They make it their mission to support and provide a platform for artists and designers; in fact, half of what they sell is made by hand. At the core of the company is a great respect for the integrity of the creative individual and the belief that it is our responsibility to use our business to impact the world in a positive way.



When I started to look on the site I was amazed by the quality and diversity of the gifts on offer. Thank you for solving my Father's Day dilemma! I am going to share with you a few of my favourite gifts for Fathers on their special day. Here are my:

Top gifts for Dad



1. Beeropoly beer game:  Perfect for parties or just to start the weekend right, Beeropoly invites players to quaff their way through a series of beer challenges- from a rhyming competition to demonstrating their best dance moves. Players take turns rolling the dice (included) and moving their bottle cap pieces around the handmade pine wood board. They complete the beer challenges along the way. The last man or woman standing must drink the Community Cup. Cheers!




Price in euros 34.69.

I think my husband would like this and I love the look of the board too.


2. Personalised Family Print: Mary and Shelly Klein's personalized artwork. Choose skin tones, hair, and clothing color to create a lovely lineup, then customize with your family name and the year you were established as a quirky clan. Framed print.


Price in Euros 74.33- 123.89

I'd love this more than hubby I think but I also think this is a lovely present for a grandparent. I could just see this on my parents wall at home.


3. Whiskey and Rum making Kit: You don't need to work in a distillery to age and season your favorite spirits like a pro. Fashioned in timeless style, this handsome barrel is more than just an eye-catching centerpiece: like its big siblings found in professional distilleries, it can actually age your spirits to peak flavor. Take mixology into your own hands and create your own signature Highland malt scotch whiskey, spiced rum, or full-bodied Kentucky bourbon.


Price in Euros 74.33


The perfect gift for the men in my life as both my dad and hubby are huge Whiskey fans and they would love this.


4. Record Clock:  Rock around the clock with artist Jeff Davis handmade timepiece. Keeping the tradition of vinyl LPs alive, Davis was inspired by the iconic appeal of long lost album covers, record logos and vinyl's glossy texture, when designing these musical keepsakes. Choose from a  Rock, Jazz, Soul or 80s album to keep you on beat and on time!



Price in Euros: 37.66

This would be a great birthday gift too. My Dad would love this!



5. Whiskey wedge:
  Enjoy your favorite spirits perfectly chilled--but not watered down--by filling the silicone mold with water and freezing to form a diagonally bisected glass. Great for whiskey and design enthusiasts alike.


Price in euros: 17.79

Hubby would be proud to hold this stylish glass. Beautiful design and practical too.

6. Grandparent and Grandchild letter book set: Take a moment and keep in touch with this keepsake letter book. Brimming with personal prompts, this set of 40 cards is to be sent and shared between grandparents and their grandchildren. Once completed, stow the letters in the secret pockets of the book so you can look back, remember your bond, and pass it down from generation to generation. 



Price in Euros 39.64


Artist Whitney Scott Biggs's mother died suddenly from cancer while Biggs was going through her mother's desk, she discovered scribbled lists, notes, and handwritten tidbits that became her treasured keepsakes. With her friends Sabra Miller and Janice Maples, she created these letter journals as a way for generations to connect and remember each other. What an amazing idea!


Seriously you have to check out the uncommon goods site it is well organised, easy to navigate and beautifully put together. If you are looking for a special gift such as a gift for graduation or personalised presents for kids then look no further. The variety and quality of gifts available here is excellent.



This is a sponsored post but all thoughts and opinions are my own.

My Sunday Photo

21 May 2017


Whenever you are creating beauty around you, you are restoring your own soul - Alice Walker.

Point Shoot: Park life

19 May 2017

Dear friend,

Welcome to my Photo series #PointShoot. I love capturing the ordinary moments and special times with my camera, looking at our life through a lens gives me a clearer focus.

This week's Point Shoot is Park life. We have been coming to this park since my big lad was a baby as an international baby group was held here every Wednesday. This group and one other was a life line for me at a very very difficult time. I was a new mum, in a new country, with a husband working away 4 days a week. I felt very alone. This group meant I got out of the house and talked to other people and actually made friends.

I love coming here and it is amazing to see how much my big lad has progressed from the toddler who was frightened to pick his feet off the floor and negotiate stairs to the boy traversing the tightrope bridge. Amazing!


Now I'll let my photos do the talking...






Do just once what others say you can't do, and you will never pay attention to their limitations again -  James Cook


Why we are raising bilingual kids.

17 May 2017

Dear friend,


I have been living in Holland for over 10 years and I still find speaking Dutch a challenge in certain situations but according to Carder's definition (2007) I am bilingual.  I have...


The ability to use two (or more) languages in certain contexts and for certain purposes.
My children are more equal bilinguals, speaking Dutch and English well and reading well in both languages too. I feel proud when I hear them flipping between languages and speaking just as fluently with Dutch or English friends and family. But last weekend someone challenged my thinking... He questioned why I was raising my kids to be bilingual and even went as far to tell me they would have problems in the future. Was he right? I don't think so!



1) We get to share our language. 

When my kids were born I did not have a choice of language I only spoke English. I read lots of books about bilingualism and Hubby and I discussed how we wanted to raise our kids and we opted for the one parent one language approach.

2) We get to share our culture. 

I do this through my language: the rhymes, poems, songs and stories from my own childhood. These things help to form our cultural identity and make us who we are.

I think that to feel at home in your host country you should learn the language (7 reasons to speak dutch) but I never really anticipated how strongly I would want to "hang onto" my own language and culture, to remain true to myself. It is difficult to find a balance between fitting in and remaining you!



3) Our kids can speak with everyone in their family.

I believe it is very important that children have a strong bond with their family and I must admit that I did not want to be their translator every trip home.

4) English is a high value language.

Learning and speaking English in Holland will be of benefit to my kids in the future. I am lucky that my language is highly valued (they will learn English at school) some migrants are still being encouraged to drop their home language in favour of the host country language (especially if their children have any kind of special need).

5) It is easier to learn language at a younger age, preferable from birth.

Note that I didn't say easy, kids are not little sponges, they need to work hard at learning any language. But learning from a young age is certainly easier and being bilingual is just part of who we are.

6) The research tells us that bilingualism is good.

In all honesty, as a professional (I read the books on bilingualism) I knew it had benefits and I never agonised over or doubted any of our choices. We did think about our long term future and we made choices based on what mattered to us, not based on data. But if being bilingual can make my kids smarter, fight off Alzheimer's or improve memory then fantastic!

7) Being bilingual can improve communication and widen social circles.

We ignored the "experts" advice to raise our son as a monolingual, we knew he could learn 'despite' his autism. In fact, I believe being bilingual has improved his communication as he has two vocabulary banks so two frames of reference to help him understand his world. It has also exposed him to more people and different experiences.

You can never understand one language until you understand at least two. - Geoffrey Willans


I am immensely proud of my bilingual family. We can borrow from two amazing cultures and have lots of fun with our languages. My boys are open to new experiences and different ideas therefore they have a wide view of the world. But essentially we are just being us...




#PointShoot week #9

16 May 2017

Do you love making photos of your family? Do you like to record the everyday memories you are making? Then this could be the linky for you. Come and share your photo story posts with me. You can share your days out snaps or any fun, special, touching moments from your week. It can be one photo (including Instagram posts) or a series of shots with words or without. 


Welcome to #PointShoot Week #9

This week's featured post comes from Four Acorns with this beautiful shot  in Kilmacurragh Botanic Garden.



Feel free to grab your featured blogger badge!

diaryofanimperfectmum





A photograph is the pause button of life.

We are open from Tuesday 6 a.m. until Monday 6 a.m. (so there is plenty of time to link up.)


Link up your weekend pictures!

Rules:

  • You can link up to 1 post per week! Be sure to paste the Point + Shoot badge on the post you would like to link up 
  • Comment on my post to say hi! 
  • Comment on at least 2 other links – share the love, it is what linky's are all about. 
  • It would also be great if you could share your post and the linky party (using the hashtag #PointShoot) on your social media channels to help grow the community. I will also retweet all your posts via Twitter if you mention me in your tweets! (@imperfectmumx
  • Finally, if you could please follow me on (Twitter, Facebook Instagram and Pinterest) that would be fantastic!


diaryofanimperfectmum






Book Corner: Zog

15 May 2017

My book corner choice this month is: Zog by Julia Donaldson.
Illustrations by the amazing Axel Scheffler.

We are massive Julia Donaldson fans and have many of her books. I had no idea that she had written so many (60) and that she started off writing songs for Children's television. Her first book a Squash and a Squeeze was originally a song.

What a good idea! said Zog. Then up and off he flew.


My Sunday Photo

14 May 2017



Success is a series of small wins! 

Point Shoot: Saying I do

12 May 2017

Dear friend,

Welcome to my new Photo series Point Shoot. I love capturing the ordinary moments and special times with my camera, looking at our life through a lens gives me a clearer focus.

This week's Point Shoot is Saying I do. My niece got married. It was a lovely day spent with our dutch family. Relaxed and fun. The boys were very well behaved and loved the disco and getting to stay up until very very late!

Now I'll let my photos do the talking...








Happy Days!

An ode to Anxiety

11 May 2017


Dear Anxiety,

I wish you'd leave...
I wish you'd stop...

I hoped, with every fibre of my being
That you'd never come back!

But you have...

You sit heavy on my chest
Making every breath shallower…

You hide in my brain
Making me fussy, forgetful, unfocused…

You sap all my energy
Ruining my peaceful sleep…

Your filter alters my clear view
To a grainy, dark picture…

Every small setback
you are there, whispering...

Told you so! Stupid!
Idiot! Fool for trying...

The fear takes over
Threatening to cripple me.




Nobody sees, nobody knows!
Because you are my secret...

I fight every day
To keep you hidden from view...

The smile on my face
Showing a different story

The laughter from my lips
Telling everyone I'm fine

The can do attitude
Hiding the feelings of panic...

Taking the lead to show
I'm in control.

Plausible excuses are made
To avoid good friends.

Nobody knows the truth,
I'm keeping up the act.

But look in my eyes
See the panic.

Listen to my voice
Hear the waver.

Feel me jump
At the unexpected.

Running from what's inside
My head is exhausting!

It's time to talk...

I need to thrive
Not just survive!


Catie x



In March 2017, the Mental Health Foundation, conducted a survey to understand the prevalence of self-reported mental health problems in the population.


Key findings
  • Only 13% of people report living with high levels of good mental health.
  • More than 4 in 10 people say they have experienced depression
  • Over a quarter of people say they have experienced panic attacks.
  • Nearly two-thirds of people say that they have experienced a mental health problem. 
Read more...

Too often, people feel afraid to admit that they are struggling with their mental health. This fear of prejudice and judgement stops people from getting help and can destroy families and end lives... - Heads Together

A significantly high number of special needs parents suffer from depression or anxiety or both but as the parent of a child with autism I was offered very little emotional support. Parents quite simply feel dumped on diagnosis.

Something needs to change! Raising any child is challenging but raising a child with additional issues can be exhausting. Many SEN parents feel immense pressure to become the expert on their child's condition and then feel a failure if when they struggle. Quite frankly we were left to sink or swim...



I strongly believe that psychological support should be offered to all parents of newly diagnosed children.


Let's open the dialogue about mental health and help break the stigma! 






Guide to support and services here...

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