Posted by Sarah on Oct 31, 2011 in Uncategorized

We had an appointment at a gynocologist this morning for Beth. She’s on a stronger pill now to help as she was getting her period every three weeks on the weak pill. Basically we were told to come back in three months to see how it is working as she hasn’t been on it long enough to see if it is working properly. Thanks for that, here’s my $200! One suggestion made was for Beth to just take the main pills all the time, therefore not getting her period at all. I said that as she is coping with it well I didn’t want to do this as unfortunately periods are a part of life. I guess I don’t know what I was expecting. Beth needn’t have even been there as she didn’t talk and we talked about her the whole time which I generally don’t like to do. I think I wanted to see if adolescence and depression had any link and if hormones might have anything to do with how Beth’s been feeling lately. Apparently there is no link to depression and periods, a statement which I don’t agree with. Anyway, we’re supposed to go back early next year. It gives me the shits when we go to places like that because as Beth is on a health care card but I can’t use it for medical things. I’ve never been to a specialist, doctor or paediatrician where I have been able to use it. It’s good for prescriptions and that’s about it. It’s ridiculous, it’s a bloody HEALTH  care card after all!

Beth did her standard joke again. The one that goes “What’s your favourite colour, your favourite number, your favourite animal and your favourite part of the body.” The gyno was a bit weird about the part of the body, saying “Well I can’t really tell you my real favourite so I’ll say a hand.” Gynocologist humour perhaps? Anyway, at the end she did what the last two professionals have done (optician and trainee speech therapist), she explained why the joke didn’t make sense. The answer was a red poodle with five hands. She commented that that would be silly because you don’t get red poodles. I didn’t like to point out that they don’t have five hands either. I don’t see what the harm is in just laughing and saying “Good joke Beth.” Especially if I’m paying you $200!

I had a bit of good news today. My friend Trudy (the one with the trampoline) has a daughter Hayley who is five. She’s been at a special development school where she’s been put with such high needs children that she’s not been learning anything. The school told Trudy that she was aiming too high for Hayley, that she was expecting too much. Trudy brought her to one of our HAGS (Happy Autism/Aspergers Group Support) meetings and she is such a bright spark, reeling off spelling word after spelling word. Trudy has pushed and pushed and got nowhere with her school, teaching her most things at home. She got Hayley reassessed this month and her new IQ assessment means that she now has a mild intellectual disability instead of a moderate one. She’s also gotten her into a new school for next year so things are looking up. Hip hip hooray for Mummy Power, it works wonders. Well done Trudy, it just shows how if you fight for what is right you can win in the end. xxx


Graduation speeches

Posted by Sarah on Oct 29, 2011 in Uncategorized

We had the grade six graduation speeches at Beth’s primary school on Wednesday night. Beth had decided to do hers on the leadbeater possum. We had practiced this several times and she had done well. Beth is good at speaking to a crowd as usually her voice is loud and clear. She doesn’t say um or ah either, she just reads things through.

On Wednesday night Beth had an issue with going into the multi purpose room where they were doing the speeches. It’s where they have assembly so I’m not sure if she was worried about the noise or if it echos as it is like a large hall. She tried to run out with her fingers in her ears so I talked with her and told her that Paul would take her to Safeway afterwards to buy a magazine if she behaved and did her speech. This helped and in she went with her friends, still with her fingers in.

The lady running the speeches course that the kids had done is nicknamed “The Welsh Dragon” as she’s known to be rather grumpy with them. She seems like a nice lady who is quite proud of her reputation, her heart’s in the right place and she clearly enjoys what she does. She obviously makes allowances for Beth to a certain extent as Beth often wont be in the classroom or acts defensively when made to do something that she doesn’t want to do. To set the scene I’ll describe the seating for you. The grade six teacher was sitting with the Welsh Dragon in the middle of the wall at the back of the room at a table, facing the audience. Seated diagonally from each were the grade six students. They were in two rows on either side and were also facing the audience. When the children did their speeches they stood at a podium which was in between the rows of students and in front of the teacher’s table.

Beth was the first long speech. There were what is called table talk discussions and introductions for probably 20 minutes and then it was Beth’s turn. Well, welcome to the World of Beth! She started off speaking in an accent and continually fluctuated in and out of this accent throughout the whole speech. She decided to put actions in as she spoke, probably to add a bit of drama. For example when she spoke of where the possums sleep she put her hands together and on her shoulder with her head leaning on it, like you do with little kids when you are speaking about sleeping. Or when the sentence was “We have to stop these trees from being logged” she put out her hand flat and yelled ‘STOP’ then mimicked chopping her arm. Once upon a time I would have been mortified but I’ve come to accept her and actually love her theatrics, as I’ve said before, we could all use a little bit of Beth. If it had just been this I would have absolutely loved the performance but unfortunately not long into it Beth must have had an itchy bum. She pulled her pants half way down to scratch and left them there! I was hoping that one of the other kids or the Welsh Dragon herself would say something but they were all too busy avoiding their eyes! And her poor teacher, he didn’t know which way to look. Anyway, she got through the performance and did several bows at the end saying “Thankyou, thankyou” so clearly it didn’t bother her. Bree and our principal told me later that they didn’t see the pants down at all as they were at the back so that was something.

While all the other speeches were happening Beth ate paper, picked her nose and basically looked bored stiff. She also decided to invent a new way of clapping where she clapped really quickly low down, raising her hands up and up (still clapping), then doing one great big clap at the top right in the air. Bree said it looked like she could see the claps and was trying to catch them. Afterwards Bree asked excitedly to Beth what the claps looked like but Beth looked at her like she was from another planet! If she could see them she certainly wasn’t going to share it with anybody else. I don’t think she could have been much more autistic if she tried and she was fabulous. Well, except for the pulling the pants down bit …..


Staying awake

Posted by Sarah on Oct 26, 2011 in Uncategorized

We’ve had a fairly quiet week. I was worried earlier in the week as Sunday night Beth was a nightmare. She has been sleeping in with me as the double bunk we bought for her and our youngest – Bridie – didn’t suit Beth. As she jumps about sometimes she kept banging her head on the top bunk and we don’t have anywhere now to put another bed. On Sunday night Beth didn’t go to sleep until 12.30am!

One of the problems I have with Beth sleeping with me is that I fall asleep before her. Beth has a fascination with me when I’m asleep, I don’t know if it’s because I snore or because I’m still but she keeps doing things like touching my face. I’m not sure if she’s checking to see if I’m still alive or because I snore so loud that she’s trying to wake me up. Either way it’s bloody annoying! On Sunday night I’d had enough. I woke with a start to Beth pinching my lips. I had fallen asleep with the tv on and Beth was still watching something. I grabbed the remote from her hand and switched it off, yelling at her that she shouldn’t be watching it so late anyway and that I was fed up with her touching my face all the time.

Beth has got in to the habit of speaking her thoughts out aloud. She was clearly still wide awake at this stage, it was only 11.30pm after all. Well, she wasn’t happy at all that I had turned the tv off. As I was drifting off to sleep I could hear her saying things like “Good, she’s nearly asleep, I’ll get the remote back and turn the tv back on when she is.” This went on to the point that I gave her three warnings that if she didn’t shut up about the remote, she couldn’t play or watch any electronic things the following night. She just couldn’t help herself though and she ended up being banned. Finally she leapt out of bed and I yelled “What are you doing now?” Her reply was that she was just getting a drink of water, as if it’s the most natural thing in the world at midnight. Of course I was beside myself at that stage and let her have it. Finally she went back to bed. As I realised she was drifting off I heard her say “I wish my Mum wasn’t so bossy.”I said under my breath “I wish Beth wouldn’t be so naughty.”

On Monday morning I told them at school about our bad night, worried that maybe it was the medication. Luckily on Monday night Beth actually went to sleep at about 9.30pm. Before falling asleep Beth said to me “We made a deal didn’t we? I wished for you not to be bossy and you wished for me not to be naughty!” She was so cute!

Another funny little thing we’ve picked up is from the Smurf movie. You know when you see some kids movies and there is adult humour in there? The word Smurf was inserted into lots of the sentences. If they were angry they’d say “Oh for Smurf’s sake!” One of the lines we say to each other as we go to sleep now. Beth will say “I Smurf you Mum”  instead of her usual “I love you Mum.” Then she’ll have a little grin. She drives me crazy but I love her so much.


A fairly good week

Posted by Sarah on Oct 20, 2011 in Uncategorized

We’ve had a fairly normal week, a bit hectic with some great times and some shitty ones thrown in! Last Thursday Beth had come out of school and exclaimed “Mum, you’re alive!” As she was fairly flippant about it I just laughed and said that yes indeed I was. She has said this before earlier in the year and I didn’t think much of it. The next morning though her aide came to talk to me and told me that Beth had in fact had a big meltdown the day before, saying that I had been shot in the guts, that they had to get a box for me and to be careful of my legs. The aide was wondering if perhaps the medication was giving Beth hallucinations. I said that no, I didn’t think so as we had had no incidents during the school holidays at all. I also mentioned that she had originally said this while on her other medication. We both agreed that the main thing is that Beth feels happy, safe and comfortable at school for her final term. The aide talked about having a roster system with all the kids in the class having to play with Beth and to encourage her to join in. Most of the kids in the class have been with her since prep so are good with her anyway and I thought that sounded like an excellent idea. The aide also suggested that I send makings for lunches and Beth could make them herself at school which I can report she has loved.

On Saturday I went to a talk with some of my friends from our support group HAGS (Happy Autism/Aspergers Group Support). It was a talk about adolescence and teenagers with autism and aspergers. Lots of it I had heard before but it was interesting. Once again it showed me the differences between aspergers and autism. It was interesting as it talked about the increase when kids his puberty of depression, anxiety and their own and others mortality. I was so glad that school had already discussed depression with me as if I had seen the talk first I would have been devastated as I would have had the realisation then and there. It was particularly interesting to hear about the mortality issue just after her having a meltdown about me dying. They also spoke about the anxiety causing tourettes – something which Beth seems to have developed a bit of. Luckily this should settle down once the hormones kick in properly.

We had Sensational Kids on Wednesday but Rod wasn’t available to see this week for Speech Therapy so we saw Whiskas (not her real name) – the Occupational Therapist. They had a good session and I spoke with Whiskas at the end about Beth’s worry about me dying. I had spoken with our Principal about the talk on Saturday also and said to both of them that I wondered if the fact that my mum died when I was 13 may have something to do with it. We all agreed that  may be contributing to it and I said that I would have a talk with Beth. On the way home we chatted about my mum with me saying that if she had gotten sick today (she died of cancer), she probably would have lived as medicine is so much more advanced 30 years on. Beth was happy to chat about mum which surprised me and commented that she wished that she had the chance to meet her. It was a nice talk and I reitereated that I was well and that I wasn’t going to leave Beth any time soon.

We stopped in at Knox on the way home. Beth cracks me up! We were in KMart and a song came on from JRock – the performance that Beth was in earlier in the year. She started doing the dances and singing at the top of her voice. It’s nice to see that more and more people seem to be understanding about Beth without me having to explain, there were smiles all around. Of course there were the starers too but as far as I’m concerned they can get stuffed! We can all use a bit of Beth!

The big excitement is that I found the most beautiful graduation dress for Beth. It’s a minty green with pink and blue embroidered flowers. It’s floor length and just stunning. We went into a wedding dress shop and I told the woman that we didn’t want to pay more than $100 but there wasn’t much other than dresses far too old for her. I kept looking at this fairy princess dress but it was $200, reduced from $700. I thought “bugger it, let’s just see if it fits” and we took it in to the changeroom. Well, it was like the glass slipper, it fit perfectly! It looks so beautiful too! I’ve been secretly showing it to all of Beth’s teachers from over the years and all are in agreeance at how lovely it is. I think there’ll be a few tears that night! I’m so excited, I want Beth to be a standout on the night for her beauty and she certainly will be! I wont put up pictures until the night, I don’t want to spoil the surprise!


School’s back

Posted by Sarah on Oct 12, 2011 in Uncategorized

I must apologize for not writing for over a week. The second week of the school holidays made me go a little crazy and I was rather flat and negative and didn’t want to use the blog as a way to vent about how crappy I was feeling. I found the school holidays to be particularly challenging this time around. I’m not sure why, the kids were all pretty good. The block of land that we were buying from Paul’s parents has finally been settled so I can look forward to our new house being built now. I think it has dragged on for so long – 3 – 4 years now – that I was feeling like it was never going to happen. Add that to feeling a bit yucky in myself, being tired and Paul working really long hours at work and I guess it’s no wonder.

Anyway, it’s a new term and I’ve had a  break this week so I’m feeling a bit better in myself. I’ve had a chance to do some decluttering which always makes me feel better mentally too. It’s so hard to keep the house even tidy during school holidays isn’t it? We had a pretty good last week. Monday we went to Catriona and Jose’s house. They’re the friends that we went to Inverloch with a couple of holidays ago. Beth has a bit of a crush on Jose and he’s oblivious to it. As they don’t even go to the same school it’s harmless and we don’t mind if Beth thinks that he’s her boyfriend. She blows kisses to him when we leave and calls him ‘my little buttercup’ when she speaks of him! When we’re there however Jose and Bill go off and play boys games and Beth watches dvds. Bec came along with her kids as well as another friend who has a son with aspergers. Considering that there were four kids there on the spectrum (including Jose) it was an excellent day.

We took Beth’s friend Jessica to see the Smurfs at the movies. Paul had Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday off so he came along with us. The girls had a lovely time, Beth doesn’t have many playdates but when she does she really enjoys them.

Wednesday we had Sensational Kids and I took Bill and Bridie with me this time. I’m not sure if Beth enjoyed it or not, she seemed a bit put out, maybe at the idea of sharing Rod the Speech Therapist? We did play acting again with Bridie going from being the selective mute that she often chooses to almost flirting with Rod and not shutting up. I can’t figure that kid out! Beth had her session with Whiskas (not her real name) – the Occupational Therapist – to herself but got distressed when I took the other kids to McDonalds, I think she thought she’s miss out but we drove through when we left Sensational Kids so she didn’t.

Thursday I had made appointments at the optometrists for Beth and Bill. Beth went fine, in fact her concentration seemed better than the last test two years ago. She tried to tell the optometrist a joke but as an aspie himself (in several people’s opinions) he kept mucking it up. I had told him that it was a joke made up of four questions. When Beth asked him her questions though he kept not answering properly. For example when asked what his favourite colour was he said he didn’t have one but ‘as an answer seems to be required for the sake of the joke I’ll say green.’ This was the case with most of the questions. I think it pissed me off more than Beth though, she still did what she does as if he had answered normally. I can’t see the harm in playing along with things but clearly not everybody likes to do this.

Friday we went to Bec’s house for the day. I always have an Aah moment when I get to her house. The kids go off and do their own things and I get to relax with one of my best buds and just chill out. It was just what I needed. I had burst into tears on the phone to Bec the day before, just feeling overwhelmed with life. Just sitting chatting made me feel so much better.

We had a quietish weekend, Paul went sailing on Saturday and we had lunch at Grandma and Grandpas on Sunday.

I’ll go now and try to sort a bit more of my house out. Have a good week everybody xxx


Half way through

Posted by Sarah on Oct 2, 2011 in Uncategorized

It’s the middle Sunday of the school holidays. Daylight savings starts today and I’m still up at the new time of 8am – been up for an hour too! I wish I could sleep in but it’s just not in me.

We’ve had a quiet school holidays. We visited one of my HAGS (Happy Autism Group Support) mums Trudy and her little girl Hayley on Wednesday to check out their trampoline. Beth is the size of a full grown adult now and the trampoline that she used to bounce on is way too small for her. As she likes to fling herself on to her back she’s hit her head a couple of times and now wont go on it hardly at all. We’ve still got one on the old fashioned rectangle trampolines so I wanted to check out the big round ones. Trudy told me that had a 14 foot one so we went around there to give Beth a bounce. It was huge! We’ll have to measure up the back yard at the block where we’re building as we’re getting a pool too and we have to allow for the width of the pool and the obligatory pool fence. Still, as it’s the only exercise Beth tends to do I’d love to get her one. Also, I know she wont grow out of it, she’ll use it well in to her adulthood. We may just have to come down a size. Trudy was pleased with Hayley as she’s not used to kids playing with her toys, she coped really well. It’s lovely when there’s improvements that you don’t realise, it shows how the hard work and perseverance of the parents does pay off in the end.

Beth’s been a bit of a bugger now that she’s loving Sesame Street again. On Wednesday the whole show was about Oscar and a made up disease called Mineitis. Everybody on Sesame Street had Mineitis and the only way to get rid of it was to get Oscar to share with them all. That meant that Beth kept taking things like my jewellery box and telling me that she had Mineitis. I found myself having to threaten to ban her from morning television the next day to stop her from doing it. Luckily she did stop herself. I’ve been watching Sesame Street with Beth as she’s still got her fingers in her ears when Oscar comes on but his elephant hasn’t been on this week. I keep reassuring her that she’s not scared of elephants anymore but want to see how she’ll react if it’s on. It’s so nice to see her get over something that’s been a fear for so long.

We went to Bec’s house on Friday, a friend who had kids the same age as my younger two. Beth loves going there and makes herself at home, watching dvds and videos for the most part. It’s lovely to go to a house where they ‘get’ Beth, Bec’s middle son Will has autism too and is Bill’s friend. Beth showed her sweet side with Bec’s youngest Angus who’s just turned one. She read to him and kept patting him on the head, it was very cute!

I’ll leave you with a Beth funny. I was watching one of the Narnia movies in my bed with Bill and Bridie. I could hear Beth in the loungeroom asking a question when there was nobody in there. When nobody answered her she said “I’ll take that as a yes then!” Clearly she gets her sarcasm from me!

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