A Glimpse into our autism: Outgrown

19 September 2018

Dear friend,

Yesterday he told me not to worry, that my son would grow out of his autism.

He went on to tell me about a friend of the family who has an autistic son who is 'much better now'.

I felt my eyes roll...

Despite what some news stories have said my son will not outgrow his autism.

Outsiders may look at our boy and remark that he has 'Got better', 'He's doing really well', 'You wouldn't know he has autism' because the outward symptoms of autism have changed as he has grown up.

My son is a person and he has developed and matured as all people do. He has also worked hard to learn coping strategies and is very good in certain situations at masking his difficulties.



According to the DSM it is impossible to "grow out" of autism.

Manifestations of the social and communication impairments and restricted/repetitive behaviors that define autism spectrum disorder are clear in the developmental period. In later life, intervention or compensation, as well as current supports, may mask these difficulties in at least some contexts. However, symptoms remain sufficient to cause current impairment in social, occupational, or other important areas of functioning.

A diagnosis of autism means only one thing: you’re autistic; having a condition you can grow out of is something entirely different.

It is important to note that Autism is a spectrum disorder that affects different people in different ways. It is very difficult to say how a person will develop over time. But autism will not go away.

My son will become a teenager with autism and an adult with autism and an elderly person with autism.

Planning for his future quite frankly is one of the scariest challenges we face. Please don't belittle that challenge by telling me he will outgrow his autism.

Yesterday he told me not to worry, that my son would grow out of his autism.

I felt my eyes roll...







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.



Photo Diary August #2

17 September 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 some of my favourite moments from the summer. 

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




  • A day trip to Efteling where we discovered that we are a family of rollercoaster lovers now. It was great fun!
  • The boys on their favourite ride the Piranha
  • I thought the boys had outgrown the fairytale forest at Efteling but they couldn't leave without visiting Long neck
  • The autipas system at Efteling was fabulous. It really took the stress out of queuing and made it a much more relaxed day for our big lad and us! 
  • Lazy Saturdays shopping in Leiden
  • A visit to Museum Volkenkunde for the World Press Photo exhibition
  • I loved watching Little Man interacting with the exhibitions in the museum, he has a thirst for learning now
  • My favourite room at the museum, the Buddha room




  • We watched the flower parade. We are lucky that it passes our front door. 
  • The theme this year was, All around the world




  • We ended August with an evening trip to the beach and were lucky to see a stunning sunset. 


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My Sunday Photo

16 September 2018

We are not makers of history, we are made by history..

Whitby Harbour 


Ten ways blogging is like having a child

12 September 2018

Dear friend,

Are you a blogger or are you thinking of writing a blog? Blogging is amazing and has opened up a whole new world to me but there's something you need to know...

I have had a revelation! After almost 4 years of blogging I have realised that actually, writing a blog is like having a child. 

Stay with me, I haven't drank too many cocktails at lunch. I can explain...





Ten ways blogging is like having a child:


1. They need feeding good stuff

Great content is key and my most popular pieces are those I have written with passion and from the heart.

2. They change your social life

The best part of blogging is getting to know some amazingly supportive blogging chums. You find your blogging tribe like you find your mummy tribe. Blogging has encouraged me to get out and about and do more with my family too.

3. You celebrate every achievement

I love reading every single comment that I receive on Spectrum Mum. It feels amazing when a fellow blogger features or shares your post. Appearing front page/blog of the day on Mumsnet or being featured in an on-line publication (plus40 bloggers or The Mighty) is a huge cause for celebration. And lets not even mention the craziness around the Mads (Blogging Awards).

4. You want them to look good

I have had several changes of theme, header and colour scheme. I have spent many hours 'messing around' with things to make my blog look how I want. Your blog is a reflection of you.




5. Some days you're just knackered...

We all have those days where we feel we don't know what we are doing. Most bloggers have a crisis of confidence when their blog reaches the terrible twos.

6. There are sleepless nights...

Bloggers brain can be like baby brain. I find ideas pop into it when I'm drifting off to sleep and I have to jot them down before they disappear then end up writing into the small hours or I check my twitter feed as I get into bed and then I can't get to sleep.

7. You focus on their growth...

Those milestones are important and as a blogger it is easy to get caught up in the Stats, League tables, Klout scores, DA etc It is thrilling to see that people all around the world have read your words.



8.  They can make you crazy...

I admit that I had an addiction to blogging. Be careful or it can begin to take over your whole life.

9.  You worry about their moral upbringing...

What is your niche? Most Bloggers will have heard of the importance of having a niche. My blog has changed direction over the last 4 years but I am happiest and most confident writing about and raising awareness of autism. You have to pick a niche that you really love and feel passionately about and write about that honestly. Be true to yourself.

10. They need praise, rewards or special treats

I am really proud of the positive comments from people in the autism community. I am so thankful that people have responded well to my tales from the scenic route of parenting. Blogging is something that I stumbled into almost 4 years ago and I am still loving the journey and learning a lot.


Would you add anything else to my list?

This is a revised post



Photo Diary August #1

10 September 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 some of my favourite moments from the summer. 


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




  • Exploring the North Yorkshire Moors
  • Finding the seated man at Castleton
  • Visiting Grosmont (the station in Harry Potter)
  • The boys paddling in the river at Lealholm just like I did as a child
  • A day at Flamingo Land where little man made his own bear and big lad discovered a love of roller coasters 
  • The tastiest fish & chips at Helmsley 
  • Helmsley Castle at sunset
  • Family fun at Stewart’s park





As an Expat I really miss the hills and rolling countryside of England. Holland is very flat. But little man reminded me that England has hills but Holland has water. Wise words indeed!

When we arrived back in Holland we hired a boat and spent the day investigating the canals. The boys enjoyed being dragged behind in their little boat. It was a gorgeous day and I loved seeing big lad so relaxed. Looking at the beautiful Leiden from a different perspective was also really special! 


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My Sunday Photo

9 September 2018

Happiness is letting go of what you think your life is supposed to look like and celebrating it for everything that it is...




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A Glimpse into our autism: Expert

5 September 2018

Dear Friend,

Yesterday I was introduced as an expert...

It shocked me.

I don't feel like an Expert.

I am just a mum...

When the big lad was diagnosed my expectations did not match the reality!

I expected that a Dr would coordinate his care and make sure he received the support and therapy he needed.

I had read that early intervention was key and I honestly expected to be directed to a team of Professionals who would immediately begin working miracles with my son.

In fact the opposite happened.

Most people told me that my son was too young and I had to search for help.

Several years later and I have dealt with around 30 different Drs, therapists, teachers etc who have contact with my son.




  • I found the right support
  • I bullied Drs. into therapy programs, despite being told my big lad was not 'bad enough' or 'old enough' 
  • I have acted as the link between professionals
  • I have coordinated appointments
  • I ensured that we weren't focusing on too much at once
  • I anticipated future needs
  • I found and then fought for the right school
  • I become the 'expert' in my son


  • I am not writing this for sympathy. Nor am I a martyr. I am not unique.

    I love my son and want to help and support him where ever I can. But do you know how difficult it is to spell out all of your child's problems in black and white, again and again?

    I can understand why some parents have chosen to opt out of therapy or how many parents have anxiety issues or how some parents have become consumed by "autism" or how many marriages fail.

    Special Needs Parents are under immense pressure!

    You have to get this right!

    It is far too easy to become focused on the what needs to be done and forget about the why and the who we are doing this for.

    As a mum, I want my focus and energy to go into loving my son.

    I want him to get the support he needs. But I want my son to have a 'normal' childhood that is not dominated by 'autism'.

    Sometimes, I don't want to be the expert, I just want to be mum.

    Yesterday I was introduced as an Expert...

    It shocked me.

    But I guess they are right because I am the expert when it comes to my son.


    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 September

    4 September 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.


    Important announcement: 


    #PointShoot is now a monthly linky and is open for longer to reflect this.
    • Open on the first Tuesday of every month
    • Open for 2 weeks
    • I will comment on and retweet all linked posts (please ensure you have your twitter handle in the sharing buttons)

    This month's featured post comes from @mummymindful



    Feel free to grab your featured blogger badge!





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    A photograph is the pause button of life.



    Link up your pictures!






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    Photo Diary July

    3 September 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 some of my favourite moments from the summer. 

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



    This week I am sharing with you some shots from our holiday in the UK.

    • Hubby celebrated his birthday. There was lots of cake as my parents bought one and we did too. Still who doesn't love cake? 
    • Little Man took a bath at uncle Dave's house! He loves a bath and we don't have one and neither do my parents (we replaced them with large walk in showers). The boys enjoyed playing monster uncle Dave.
    • Little Man found a jelly cat toy in Yarm and had to buy it. 
    • There were some lovely pub lunches, pints of fruity cider and of course fish and chips.
    • A trip to my parents wouldn't be complete without a day in Whitby. We love Whitby. We played on the 2p machines, walked along the pier (that was scary, you can see straight through between the beams) and climbed the 99 steps to discover a pirate grave but not Dracula's. 




    • It was a beautiful day to climb Roseberry Topping. 
    • We were so lucky to get to share this with my best friend and her gorgeous girls. We used to climb this every year with school. I must admit I'd forgoten quite how steep it was.
    • Big lad has spent most of the summer breaking out into Fortnite dances and I managed to catch him at the top. 
    • The views were amazing! 
    • Nic made a scrumptious picnic for us all which we shared at the top. 
    • My favourite bit was coming back the super steep way and sliding down on our bums. 


    Part 2 of our UK trip next week...

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    My Sunday Photo

    2 September 2018

    When I count my blessings, I count you twice...




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