A Glimpse into our autism: Love

30 May 2018

Dear friend,

Yesterday I felt the overwhelming depth of his love.

Possibly one of the cruelest misconceptions surrounding autism is that autistic children don't show love.

Anybody who knows my son knows that statement to be untrue.

When cancer cruelly took his beloved Opa (Dutch: grandpa) away, the depth of his love was palpable.

It was evident in the quaver in his voice, the leaning of his body into mine, his pacing of the floor, the gentle rumble of repeated words under his breathe and his dewy eyed look of panic and confusion.

His grief wasn't loud or angry, it was thoughtful and considered.

He needed time to process...



His love wasn't selfish, instead he worried about the feelings of others. He absorbed their grief like an emotional sponge.

I don't know if I can handle it if everyone is upset. It hurts too much.

He wasn't sure how to react but he wanted to be there, to support others, to stand together. To do what felt right...

Love is such a powerful emotion yet also the most difficult to define.

Love has many faces.

Poets, novelists, artists strive to capture the true meaning of love.

Autistic people are no different!

My son may not demonstrate his love in a conventional way but to imply that he doesn't feel it is grossly unfair.

Yesterday I felt the overwhelming depth of his love.

Possibly one of the cruelest misconceptions surrounding autism is that autistic children don't show love.

Anybody who knows my son knows that statement to be untrue.


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




#PointShoot Week #57

29 May 2018

Do you love making photos of your family? Do you like to record the everyday memories you are making? Then #PointShoot could be the linky for you. Come and share your photo story posts with me. 

You can share days out snaps or a fun, special, or touching moment from your week. It can be one photo (including Instagram posts) or a series of shots with words or without.


This week's featured post comes from Lisa Pomerantzer



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A photograph is the pause button of life.

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

Please remember to follow the Linky rules and comment on the required number of posts. Thanks! 


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Week in Photos #32

28 May 2018

Dear Friend,

I love capturing the ordinary moments and special times with my camera, looking at our life through a lens gives me a clearer focus. Here I take a look back at our Instagram feed and share some of my favourite moments from the week. 



Life doesn't have to be perfect to be wonderful...


 Now over to my photo diary... Happy days!








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My Sunday Photo

27 May 2018

Spring: A lovely reminder of how beautiful change really can be...

Regular followers will recognise this as my favourite street in Leiden. I was waiting for Spring to arrive to finally capture this beautiful tree lined street with colour and I was very happy to see the flag flying and find the bikes. Such a typical Dutch scene. 



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One Moment in Time with Mummy Thomas' Blog

25 May 2018

Dear Friend,


Welcome to one moment in time, a guest posts series, where bloggers share the stories behind special or significant photographs. I am very happy to play host to the lovely Kerry from Mummy Thomas' Blog. Kerry writes passionately and honestly about all things mental health and parenting. Thank you so much for joining me!



I'm going a little off topic here. I usually write about my birth experience and my mental illness. However I strongly believe my depression started the day I found out my pap was dying. He was my closest family member, a best friend and I loved him dearly.

One of my fondest memories of him is when we went off on our adventures to his hometown in Ireland when I was younger to visit his family. When I went round to his house he would have a bag of toffee's on his table beside his chair. I always had one and lost many teeth because of it. Until my adult teeth came through of course.

I used to go to a cafe in town and bring him back a cake. We would have a cuppa and a catch up. Sometimes we went to the bingo. It was a laugh.

As a little girl I would go and sit on his lap and watch crazy western films. I would help him decorate his tree most years and spend Christmas day at his house. He would have a glass of sherry and put an old record on to have a boogie. I miss those days.

It's hard to say but I watched him deteriorate over the years and become more ill over time. It was heart breaking. He slowly became a stranger to me. He wasn't my bright funny outgoing pap that I always knew. He became quite fragile and restless.

He was still my pap in my mind.

When my mum told me that he had cancer I was distraught. I was in denial. I said 'he will be fine they will treat him.'

'Won't they?'

Once I realised it was only a matter of time I watched him slowly get worse and become bed bound. He was forgetting things and sometimes thought I was my mum. She cared for him everyday until his last. She was up there morning and night and I thank her for having the courage to be there for him everyday. She truly is an inspirational women and a wonderful mother. She's the sort of women who always puts everyone else first.

I had a phone call at work to come home quickly because the doctor didn't think he would make it to the end of the day. I have never rushed home so quick in my life. I arrived at his house and there was this strange man laying in my pap’s bed. It really didn't look like him. He was pale and fragile. He was hardly breathing, lying there helplessly.

I will always remember my pap the way he was.

A strong-willed, proud man, who was the most caring loving person I knew.

He passed away that day. I read a poem at his funeral, it was very hard and one of the worst days of my life.

I became very low.



Before my pap became ill we were trying for a baby. We had some news during his illness that we couldn't conceive naturally and that we would have to have IVF. Months after my pap passed away I was due to go and start the procedure. It didn't feel right going ahead after everything that had happened. We had failed fertility attempts and my mum said I should stop being silly and try. So we did and we fell with our little girl.

I still believe to this day that he went up to heaven, had a word and we were blessed with our little girl. Now some of you may think I'm crazy for saying that but we had our scan date through the post and it was booked on my pap's birthday. I have never cried so much. I felt almost like it was a message from him saying everything will be ok.

When I sort counselling after my birth experience I spoke about my pap and said to her that I had this huge guilt feeling because of trying so soon after he passed. I think that stayed with me. I told her I struggled to come to terms with his loss. She felt my depression started there and carried on through my pregnancy. It really was one thing after another. I will say that the past three years have been hell. But I am remaining positive, well trying to.

His favourite bird was a robin. I have had this little robin visit my back door ever since he passed. It comes and sits at the back door and just stares at me. I always wave and it just sits there. I have a bird food table in the garden with food in so it can't be after food.

Maybe I'm being an idiot and you will all think I'm being silly.

But I generally think its him checking on me.

Even if I am being silly it's a great thought to have.

I love you Pap




Do you have a special photograph and story you would like to share? Then I would love to hear from you!




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8 reasons why I quit facebook

23 May 2018

Dear friend,

I recently quit facebook. I first threatened to leave in December 2014 when I wrote a post about Forgetting how to communicate
This week, I saw myself from another perspective and I didn’t like it! My child asked me a question and I answered him from behind my phone; I didn’t put it down/switch it off/move it to the side, I kept reading, I made no eye contact. Is my obsession with social media affecting my ability to communicate? 
For a long time I did reduce my usage but it had crept back up again. At the start of 2018 I realised that I had lost my motivation that I felt disconnected from the people around me and from myself.  I was spending too much time in my virtual world and not enough in the real one. But the final straw for me was when the Facebook privacy scandal hit the headlines. 

It may seem odd, a blogger, quitting social media when it plays such a large  huge part in blog promotion or even a bit hypocritical of someone who shares so much on-line but here are my 8 reasons why I quit facebook...

1. Facebook is a time waster.

I sit down with a cup of coffee and begin to scroll through facebook and before I know it half an hour has passed, easily. I would rather spend that time practicing self care; listening to music, reading, having a walk. doing something that will benefit my well being or better still with my family. 




2. Facebook is boring.

I am fed up of seeing the same things; the same memes, videos and adverts, liked and shared. I believe that social media displays our lack of imagination as practically the same photo/experience is repeated on our news feeds; the first day at school photos, the I am proud of their parents evening report statements, the look at us on a night out/eating/holiday that are the staple of most news feeds. 

3. Facebook damages your communication skills.

Facebook makes me a lazy friend. Through social media I am able to interact with my friends. However, It has also made me a lazy friend (I should be having more real interactions). It has allowed me to continue superficial friendships. And I admit, I am still guilty of answering my boys from behind a phone at times!

4. Facebook isn't real communication.

The obsession with checking our news feed can not be classed as real communication. I love it when people comment on my photos/statements but I would also argue that many of these comments are artificial communications and often completed out of boredom, rather than interest, a need to communicate to avoid our loneliness.

5. Facebook isn't real friendship.

Look at the number of friends you have on Facebook. How many of them are really good friends? Or how many of the friend requests you get are real people or your actual acquaintances? 



6. Facebook can make you depressed.

Gwenn Schurgin O’Keeffe, MD, and Kathleen Clarke-Pearson MD, with the American Academy of Pediatrics coined the phrase, Facebook depression: symptoms of sadness and anxiety connected with Facebook use. Depression and anxiety often occurs if teenagers fail to receive the contact and acceptance they crave from peers on Facebook. I think this can be extended beyond teenagers to vulnerable people.

7. Privacy

Facebook said it now thinks up to 87 million people, may have had their data improperly shared by Cambridge Analytica.  And many more probably had their public information scraped by outside companies. This scares me!

8. Ownership

Most bloggers I know have a facebook page. Facebook provides an instant audience and a page can quickly gain a following. But the price for access to that network is ownership. What you post on Facebook isn’t yours. With constantly changing algorithms, a free Facebook page for your business may in time cost you because posts that aren’t “boosted” accomplish little.


How do you feel about facebook?





I was careful to leave a final message to notify my followers that I would no longer be posting to facebook with a link to subscribe to the blog if they wished. 

I did consider how leaving facebook would affect my blog Stats and it has meant a drop in my TOTS 100 rating. It has had no impact on my viewing figures (although I am not very good at analysing my blog statistics and did not have a huge facebook following). 



#PointShoot Week #56

22 May 2018

Do you love making photos of your family? Do you like to record the everyday memories you are making? Then #PointShoot could be the linky for you. Come and share your photo story posts with me. 

You can share days out snaps or a fun, special, or touching moment from your week. It can be one photo (including Instagram posts) or a series of shots with words or without.

This week's featured post comes from Tracey at Oh Pretty City




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A photograph is the pause button of life.

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


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Week in Photos #31

21 May 2018

Dear Friend,

I love capturing the ordinary moments and special times with my camera, looking at our life through a lens gives me a clearer focus. Here I take a look back at our Instagram feed and share some of my favourite moments from the week. 


This week has been all about getting back to normal. We are back at school/work and busy busy busy. It has been good to have the routine return.

We have also had some special moments this week. The boys had Sports day, we celebrated the Royal wedding with a high tea and we have had 2 BBQs (hurray for the sun). On Sunday we visited the Japanese gardens. (Prepare for the flower spam on Instagram this week.)

 Now over to my photo diary... Happy days!







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My Sunday Photo

20 May 2018

At the end of the day your feet should be dirty, your hair should be messy and your eyes should be sparkling...

Picture taken at Katwijk Beach



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Why I applaud parents for boycotting SATs

18 May 2018

Dear friend,

I am a teacher... Cut me in half and you'd find teacher written through me (like a stick of rock). It isn't a job to me, it's a profession, a calling. It is something I love doing. I love working with kids...

I consider myself privileged to have taught in the region of 1000 amazing children. I feel the buzz when my pupils learn something new, when they crack something they have been struggling to learn...  Yes teaching is my job but also my passion!



I had freedom in teaching for the first couple of years and worked with an absolutely brilliant teacher. We worked hard to put together interesting topics for our kids and taught a broad curriculum. We knew our pupils really well!

Teaching frameworks were introduced - the literacy and numeracy hours. We became a group of Stepford wives following the routine, sticking rigidly to the timings marked by a kitchen clock on our desk. (Oh wait - we weren't allowed to have a desk anymore!)

It wasn't enough to impose what we were to teach and how. We were then told how to evaluate this learning.

What better way to judge than a test?

Teachers could no longer be trusted to give an accurate assessment of their pupil's learning. We had to be open and transparent and not only would kids be tested but the results would be put out there for all parents to see.

The teaching world shifted with the introduction of SATs and league tables. We were forced to look at our kids in a different way. They were given a mark, graded and highlighted in a list and branded a success or a failure...



I admire those parents who chose to keep their children away from school in protest over the SATs.


Why do I object to the SATs?


  • The results don’t tell good teachers anything new!

I know my kids, I know which ones find 2 step problems in maths hard, who struggles with time and spelling. I don't need a test to tell me that and neither do the kids.

  • Not all exams are well written or organised

The only surprises I've had are the ones where brilliant kids have underachieved because of badly written questions or where a child has got lucky with multiple choice questions (oh yes this did happen - I watched them blindly ticking anything!)

There have been incidents of exams appearing on line and leaked to press and children in tears because of papers that are way too difficult!

  • The tests hold little weight at secondary school

Pupils sit new assessments in Year 7. SATs data from primary school is absorbed into other data at secondary level and teachers generate their own predictions based on their testing.

  • Stress!
Primary school children in England are some of the most tested in the world.

Good teachers go out of their way to make the whole testing experience as stress free and painless as possible but most kids still get very stressed...then underperform... I strongly believe that Primary school children are too young to be tested.

The report, on mental health and wellbeing by the cross-party Education and Health Select Committees pointed to evidence to suggest that academic pressure and the narrowing of the curriculum were having a negative impact on youth mental health.


  • Narrowing of the curriculum

In a report on primary assessment (may 2017) a cross party committee of MPs found that pupils are being taught a narrower curriculum. Schools are neglecting arts and humanities subjects by focusing too heavily on maths and English to ensure pupils pass the SATs.
    ...using Sats results as part of a school’s accountability measures is creating a “high-stakes” system of testing which is damaging teaching and learning in primary schools. - Commons education committee.

  • Love of learning and creativity

I have heard and read several accounts from parents concerned that their child/children are feeling unhappy at school, feeling under pressure, not wanting to go to school. I have heard accounts of parents driving past the school during the weekend and kids announcing, I hate that place or thank god I don't have to go there today! How sad!

Any successful learner has a growth mindset. They have not been taught that learning is about failure and success, but know instead that learning is about progression on a personal journey.

Teach with your heart not to a test or you risk having disengaged pupils and demoralised teachers...



  • You can not apply business principles to people!

It doesn't follow that if we pump the same information in the same way into each child they will all turn out the same results. If you are a parent that will be apparent with your own kids - just look at them. You brought them up in the same house, in the same way, with the same values - are they the same?

You can not treat children like products, or schools like businesses...

People are unique. That is the brilliance of being human, we are unique. We should be celebrating uniqueness and individuality. Encouraging creative thinking. The different thinkers are the ones who change the world, the inventors the scientists the explorers.

  •  SATs do not improve pupils’ learning or raise standards
There is no evidence that the end of Key Stage tests have led to individual pupils reaching higher levels of attainment than they would have done if the tests had not been introduced (Cambridge Primary Review).



What do you think? Let me know in the comments.




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A Glimpse into our autism: Lies

16 May 2018


Dear friend,


Yesterday he told a lie...

Autistc children don't lie.

I have read this numerous times, writers stating that this is a clear sign of autism.

Autistic children do not have theory of mind so can not lie.

Well somebody obviously forgot to tell the big lad.

Up until the age of 8, things were very simple.
  • Did you wash your hands? 
  • No. 

  • Did you hit your brother? 
  • Yes. 

  • Who ate the last cookie? 
  • Me. 

The world was black and white with no shades, tints or hues of grey, only honesty and mostly brutal honesty at that; you smell, look at that fat lady, that cake is horrible, it stinks in here, Dutch food is better than English food etc

When we tried to explain that his comments seemed rude sometimes, the response was: Why? I am only telling the truth, that is what I think.

Then he told a lie...



Most parents would feel shocked and perhaps a little disappointed that their child lied to them but I didn't. Instead I felt relieved, as I recognised this as a significant step forward in the big lad's cognitive development.

Yes, my son lied!

Most of the lies are purely avoidance techniques e.g. Yes, I did wash my hands, brush my teeth, feed the dog, it hasn't developed beyond this and there is one saving grace. He is really, really bad at lying!

When he lies he can't help but laugh and his eyes become as wide as saucers, head tilted slightly to the side. After a few seconds he has crumbled.

Yesterday he told a lie...
Some Autistic Children do tell lies!


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

#PointShoot week #55

15 May 2018

Do you love making photos of your family? Do you like to record the everyday memories you are making? Then #PointShoot could be the linky for you. Come and share your photo story posts with me. 

You can share days out snaps or a fun, special, or touching moment from your week. It can be one photo (including Instagram posts) or a series of shots with words or without.


This week's featured post comes from Life at Number Eleven.



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A photograph is the pause button of life.

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


Link up your pictures!







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Week in Photos #30

14 May 2018

Dear Friend,

I love capturing the ordinary moments and special times with my camera, looking at our life through a lens gives me a clearer focus. Here I take a look back at our Instagram feed and share some of my favourite moments from the week. 

Happy Monday everyone. It's time for another week in photos.

This was week 2 of our holiday and we have made the most of the break by staying in our PJs until late and relaxing in the sunshine in the garden. We even got the paddling pool out! We also had a fun filled afternoon at the park.

We had a packed weekend. On Saturday we went to visit my brother-in-law in Oostvoorne. We visited the seal sanctuary and went out for dinner together. Sunday was Mother's Day in Holland and I got spoiled by my lovely boys, my favourite present was a heart shaped candle holder made by Little Man.

 Now over to my photo diary... Happy days!


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My Sunday Photo

13 May 2018

Keep your face to the sunshine and you can not see a shadow...

Photo taken in Leiden.


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The Sunshine Blogger Award

11 May 2018

Dear Friends,

I am buzzing here as blogging has lead me to get to know some truly amazing people and one of the most inspiring and funny bloggers I know nominated little old me for The Sunshine Blogger award.  Lisa Pomerantzster you are a complete star! To receive the equivalent of a blogging Oscar makes me feel like I should be wearing a ball gown instead of my dressing gown. My lovely friend, I am honoured and I thank you!

Now, the point of this lovely award is to get to know a little bit more about bloggers. So here we go... 



My questions posed by the lovely Lisa:


Q1. Do you have a favorite thing, person, dare I say, ‘muse,’ to inspire your writing?
Oh that's easy. My son. This blog is a testament to him, he inspires me every single day to be a better person.

Q2. Why did you start your blog?
I started my blog because my head felt so full of words, sentences and stories that it felt like it was going to burst. I needed a space to breathe out.

Q3. Who is your hero (alive or dead, or even animated) and why?
My grandad was my hero. He was incredibly strong and was a man of very few words but when he did speak people listened. With him I always felt safe and loved. 
I am always drawn to quotes by the amazing Maya Angelou. I really admire the work she did for human rights.

Q4. What drives you meshuggeneh (nuts)?
I really can't stand judgemental people. I get mad when I feel like anyone is judging my choices as a parent or when anyone is being unkind to others. I can not stand injustice of any kind.

Q5. What were you like as a kid?
Fiercely independent and creative!

Q6. Where is your happy place?
The beach, I absolutely love walking barefoot in the sand. I call it my therapy.



Q7. When it comes to gifts, would you prefer to give or receive?
Give, especially when it comes to my family. 
I prefer the gifts made by my children than expensive treats. Although a spa day is always appreciated!

Q8. What’s your very favorite song?
Oh now this is really really difficult as I love music and there are many many songs I could choose. But if forced I would have to choose Stevie Wonder, For Once in My Life. It was the song hubby and I walked down the aisle to after we were married.

Q9. How would you describe that song to someone who cannot hear?
The best day of your live packed into 3 1/2 minutes of pure joy.

Q10. What would your pet say about you, assuming of course, that you have a pet, and it can talk?
Nova, would say, I am my mummy's baby and that means I can get away with almost anything naughty that I do. She is good at sharing food and giving cuddles but gets cross when I bark and jump in the window.

Q11. Any regrets?
I wish I had realised earlier that the best thing you can be in life is yourself. When I was younger I didn't always have the confidence to just be me and followed the crowd too much.

The rules:

  • Thank the person who nominated you for the Sunshine Award and link back to their blog while
  • Answer the questions the person who nominated you provided
  • Nominate other bloggers and give them 11 questions
  • Notify your nominees via social media and/or blogger love, the comment section of their blog
  • List the ‘rules’ and proudly display the Sunshine Award logo in your post

My nominees are: 


My Questions are:


Q1: What piece of advice would you give to a new blogger?
Q2: What is the best mistake you have ever made?
Q3: What is your motivation?
Q4: If you could change anything about yourself would you? And if yes, what would you change?
Q5: Tell me one fact about yourself that not many people know.
Q6: What do you do when you have free time?
Q7: If you could live anywhere, where would you live?
Q8: Who is your celebrity crush? 
Q9: What does your perfect day look like?
Q10: What is your comfort food?
Q11: What was your favourite childhood toy?




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