11 March 2019

Dear friend,

We sat in the airport assistance waiting area surrounded by people. It was a busy day but our big lad calmly played on his mobile phone. There were a lot of people needing assistance, a child flying alone, several elderly passengers, wheelchair users and someone with a visual impairment.

A lady sat next to us and struck up a conversation. The usual questions, It’s busy today isn’t it? What time do you fly? Where are you going to? Then she asked; What’s wrong with him?

I saw my son shrink into his chair.

I calmly answered, we are having assistance today as he is autistic and finds the crowds in the airport overwhelming. Then I turned my attention to my son who was now really agitated and wanted to leave.

This is not the first time that a member of the public has questioned our entitlement to help. My boy is tall, healthy and very handsome. You can not see his autism.

People have stared at and tuted at us as we have been lead to the front of a line. One snooty woman actually said to her husband, we are privilege members so we go before them. A member of staff asked us, why are you in this line? And we are not alone. I have read accounts on social media of people being abused for parking in disabled spaces or using disabled toilets because they don't look disabled.

Encouraging children to read

4 March 2019

Dear friends,

One of the most frequently asked questions by parents is how to support their child's reading at home. Parents can lack confidence when it comes to sharing books with their children. Yet reading to your child regularly is one of the most important things you can do. Here are my tips to teach your child to read at home.

Encouraging children to read

Make books visible
From being babies my boys have had books. Board books in the toy box, books that attached to their prams, bath books etc they have also had book shelves in their rooms since they were tiny. Books have always been on hand for when we had 5 minutes spare. Buy books for birthdays and other special occasions.

Prepare for reading
Ideally find a quiet place but you can read anywhere, on the train, in a cafe, in the park. Turn off the TV and your telephone so there aren't any distractions.

Focus on talk

Talk about the pictures as well as the story. Make connections for your child like, Do you remember when we went to a museum/the zoo. 

Repeat favourite stories
Don't be afraid to repeat favourite stories again and again. Repetition helps young children understand and remember language.

Photography @My_Dutch_Angle

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