Bethie Boo’s birthday!

Posted by Sarah on Mar 29, 2012 in Uncategorized

Well my big girl turned 13 today, I can’t believe it! I’m so proud of her. She’s had a lovely day. Her teacher took in a cake as she does for all the kids in her class and Beth took some lolly bags to share. We had parent teacher interviews this afternoon so she even got out one hour early. All the kids piled in to my bed this morning as we like to open the presents all together. Beth was suitably impressed with her Big Bang T Shirts – one says Bazinga with Sheldon’s face; clearly her favourite, one has the soft kitty rhyme. She also got a Disney encyclopaedia as opposed to her favourite Pixarpaedia, a Mr Men Book and a Big Bang A-Z of facts. She’s getting a Miss Piggy but it hasn’t arrived yet. Bill gave her some Muppet movies and Bridie gave her a guinea pig which repeats what you say. Luckily Beth hasn’t seen how funny it is swearing. Sadly I have, Paul rolled his eyes when he found me chuckling away by myself last night!

Beth’s parent teacher interview went fantastically. Her teacher told me that she’s improved so much from the start of term. She’s not yelling out half as much and she’s learning to respect others. She comes back when she goes to the toilet which she tended not to do and she now asks to go. Apparently she just used to walk out and when asked would state that she’d been to the toilet. Beth sat in a beanbag in another room while her teacher and I talked and each time we saw her with her feet up or legs a little open Miss X would say “Beth, ladylike sitting please” and Beth would adjust herself appropriately. When we discussed how Beth puts her feet up on her seat often when sitting Miss X told me that she took Beth’s chair away from her once and made her work while kneeling on the floor which stopped Beth for the rest of the day after she got her chair back. I love that they are so strict on her and I think Beth respects that she has boundaries. They have set some very realistic goals for Beth for a midyear review such as not yelling out in class 60% of the time. These are to make them obtainable for Beth so that she can be proud of herself when the time comes.

I went to see my psychologist yesterday and talked with her about Bridie. Bridie’s becoming more and more abusive to me and in the mornings I hate to wake her because she’ll be so nasty to me if she doesn’t wake naturally. I’ve been in a bit of a dilemma about seeking some sort of assessment. I don’t want to be seen as one of those parents who tries to get a diagnosis for all of her children. I know mums like that and they make me so mad. On the other hand I don’t want to do Bridie a disservice of saying that just because she’s nothing like Beth there’s nothing wrong with her. A few mums from my support group had suggested that a lot of her behaviours are fairly aspy but I kept thinking that because she behaves well at school (although the selective mutism is still there to a degree) then it must be a behavioural thing. At a HAGS (happy autism/aspergers group support – I know, ace name isn’t it!) meeting on Monday I spoke with one of our newest members and when she talked of her younger son and older daughter so much of it resonated with me that I decided that I wasn’t doing Bridie any favours by just hoping she’ll grow out of it. She’s such an anxious child and yet at the same time my most loving. All she wants is my one on one attention and if she can’t have it all hell breaks loose. Anyway I went to my psychologist and she said she can send me out a checklist / assessment form, I can fill it in and send it back to her and we can discuss it at my next session. If she sees anything specific she can then refer me to a paediatrician and we can go from there. She said my job at the moment was to accept that Bridie is that way and to not expect anything else, that way I wont get so frustrated with her and myself. It made me realise how far I have come with Beth. I have tried so many different treatments / therapies and will continue to do so if they arise and if they are non invasive. We’ve had a little improvement with each of these. Now that Beth is happy at her schooling and I see the pathways she can take there I can accept that she will most likely be as she is as an adult too. And that’s ok. She’s quirky and funny and free and she loves herself the way she is. And I reckon she’s amazing. Happy Birthday my  beautiful big girl, you’ve taught me so much about myself and the world around us and I love you to bits. Or as we say to each other, I smurf you! xxxxx


A big weekend

Posted by Sarah on Mar 27, 2012 in Uncategorized

We’ve had a pretty busy time this last week. On the weekend we went down to my Dad and Helen’s house for lunch for Dad’s birthday and Beth’s birthday which is coming up this Thursday. Beth was very happy with her dictionary that they had gotten her and sat on the stairs reading it. Of course Beth being Beth then asked where the rest of her presents were! The kids all had a spa and we had a lovely afternoon catching up with my sister and her family and my aunt and uncle.

On Sunday we had the primary school fete. It always promises to be loads of fun, with class stalls, rides and fireworks. Lots of the kids that Beth went to school with last year came along, even the ones who don’t have siblings at the school anymore. Beth was so excited and it was lovely to see that her friends were excited to see her too. She ran up to her two best buds Jessica and Erin and they threw their arms around her as she said “Oh I’ve missed you!” It’s so sad that she can’t be with her friends in high school but she wouldn’t have coped in mainstream. Also, it’s probably good for them too to not have to look after her in a high school setting. We’re taking the girls to the movies on Monday for Beth’s birthday as she said she really wanted to catch up with her old friends.

I’ll leave you with a Beth funny. At the fete I was on the dishes tent with a few of my friends. Bec’s husband Emmett was on the dishwashing duty with me and Beth came over when it was time to go. Emmett is a real sweetheart and a bit rough around the edges. Last time we saw him Beth kindly told him that his teeth were bad. This time she pointed at him and asked him if he was a hillbilly! He laughed and said that yes, he probably was. Then as he took a quick swig from his lite beer Beth turned to me and said confidently “and an alcoholic!” Luckily Emmett ‘gets’ it and doesn’t care at all. We all saw the funny side of it. Cheeky bugger!


Tuesday 18th March

Posted by Sarah on Mar 20, 2012 in Uncategorized

Things are going along well in our household. Last week was a big week for me as I did the Worlds Greatest Shave. Paul took Beth to school for me and I didn’t say why to Beth as she had been concerned that me shaving must mean that I had cancer. I was a bit apprehensive picking her up from school so I wore a hat. She asked me why straight away so I told her. I only got the number one clippers instead of going completely bald. I took my hat of to show Beth and she patted me and said that she loved it! She’s been rubbing my head ever since. I’m so glad that I did it, it’s been good for the kids to see that there are things that we do for other people even if it may not seem good for ourselves at the time. Bridie ended up loving it too after telling me that it would make me look ugly.  I actually like it and it’s soooo easy!

After telling the coordinator last week about the boy who had been hassling Beth I set out to explain to Beth why he was doing it. He had been asking Beth over and over again what her name was and she had been bothered by him doing this last year on her transition days too. It was explained to me that the boy is quite autistic and that’s what he does, asking questions over and over. He doesn’t mean it maliciously and just doesn’t know how to speak to people properly. As often happens Beth and I had our conversation in the car. I explained that the boy is, like Beth, autistic. I put a positive spin on it, explaining that while Beth has excellent social skills this boy doesn’t know how to speak with others properly. While Beth finds it easy to make friends this boy doesn’t and that’s why he does what he does. I explained that she has other strengths and other things that she does that show in her autism, these were the particular things that this boys autism brings out. Beth seemed to be happy with the explanation and she hasn’t spoken of it since.

I was a tad embarassed last week when I dropped Beth off. On Thursday we got to school, I signed Beth in and we set off around to the side where the kids all meet in the courtyard and get into their class groups. I have been taking Beth around and often sitting with her until the bell went. I’ve had the best intentions of not staying as long or even eventually getting Beth to sign herself in but I just hadn’t found the right time yet. As we went to walk past the principal he told me to just let her go in, that she’d be fine. I kissed her goodbye and he commented that I was the only parent who took their child all the way in and stayed until the bell went. It was time to give Beth some independance. I said that I knew this but that it was hard. He said that he knew and that it was hard for him to tell me but it was meant in the nicest possible way. I wentto my friend Bec’s for the day with Bree and Liz and told them about it, saying that I had even had a little cry on the way there. Bec said she understood completely, that she would have been embarassed to think that the principal had probably been wondering how long it was going to go on for then finally having to say something. Helicopter parents is the term in favour at the moment, parents who hover over their children all the time. They probably gets one every year. Where I was thinking I was helping to settle Beth in the reality is that she needs to do it for herself. It was very bittersweet, I totally ‘got it’ but it was still so hard!


Wednesday 14th March

Posted by Sarah on Mar 14, 2012 in Uncategorized

Well I’m glad to say there’s not a lot to report on. Beth seems really happy to go to school lately. I did have to laugh last week though.  One of the mums I’ve got to know has a son in the same class as Beth. She was telling me that on the day Beth had her meltdown a week before that she turned to her teacher and said “you’re fired!” The kids thought it was hilarious. Clearly she’s overheard the ads for The Apprentice on the tely.

I thought I’d pop in the picture of Beth’s Miss Piggy cushion that she made. As you can see it really does look like Miss Piggy. She insists that she drew it herself and her teacher sewed it and as far as those things are concerned Beth does tell the truth. (Lots of other things she will lie about – if she thinks it’s to her advantage.)

When I dropped Beth off at school yesterday a boy was darting around and came running up to Beth saying “What’s your name” a couple of times. Last year during Beth’s transition days she had had problems with a boy doing this. She had said then that his name was Bob. I asked Beth yesterday if it was the same boy and she said yes, that was Bob. I asked Beth’s friend Gypsy the boys name and she told me that it was John. When I went to pick Beth up last night I went in to see the coordinator that I had spoken to about the problems last year. She explained that the boy has some very autistic traits and doesn’t know how to approach people. He tends to repeat things over and over again. She said that he’s a lovely boy, just very full on. That put my mind at ease, if there was nothing malicious about him then I could explain it to Beth. The coordinator told me how lovely they think Beth is. She also said she was worried about Beth’s low muscle tone and how slow she is. I hold Beth’s hand most of the time because she is so slow that I often have to drag her. I explained that we had done swimming for eight years, horseriding for three and occupational therapy for three. I’m not sure what else to do. I’m glad that they have picked up on this though and we’re going to try and think of something that can help Beth with posture and core strengthening.



A good week

Posted by Sarah on Mar 8, 2012 in Uncategorized

Beth seems to have had an excellent week this week. She’s been happy going to school and appears to be settled. She tells me about kids that she plays with and has lunch with. Yesterday she told me that she played with a girl called Gypsy who I hadn’t heard of before. Beth’s teacher tells me that they have star charts in the classroom and Beth enjoys doing the right thing for her stars. If she keeps her voice quiet she gets a star so she’s been trying really hard at that. Even writing this makes me remember when Beth was in kindergarten. She had selective mutism and never spoke with anybody other than Paul and myself and even then only after a certain time. I remember after she started talking at school (within a week of starting medication) how excited we all were. When her prep teacher showed me a card they had for keeping quiet for Beth I had laughed and how wonderful that was. She’s never shut up since!

We had a barbeque at Beth’s school last night, a sort of ‘get to know you’ for the parents. I’ve made friends with a few of the other mums who do pickup so I hung around them most of the time. The staff did all the cooking and preparation and Beth excitedly showed Paul, Bill and Bridie around the school, pointing out things like the toilets and drinking taps. She was very cute with Bridie, holding her hand the whole time she was showing her around. Her teacher who I shall call Miss X told me that they have been playing lots of games in social skills time such as Celebrity Head and Pictionary. Beth loves to read so when they have choosing time that’s what she chooses. Her book of choice is apparently a dictionary! I’ll have to get her one for her birthday I think, Miss X says Beth loves it. She’s always asking me the meaning of words she hears on the tely and she files their meaning away in the memory bank. I usually tell her the truth but last night she asked me what the word erection meant so I did tell her I didn’t know that one!

I was so happy when we got to school this morning. A girl came running up to Beth waving and saying hi. It turns out it was the girl Beth had told me about – Gypsy. She walked with us to the courtyard where they have to line up, telling me that she was Beth’s friend and that they now sit next to each other in class. She seemed like such a nice girl. I spent the day with my friends and couldn’t wait to tell them about her. Already I’m feeling so good about Beth’s new school, she’s making friends and getting independance. I just have to get used to the driving!


A jumbled week

Posted by Sarah on Mar 4, 2012 in Uncategorized

We’ve had a fairly good week for the most part. Beth came home with a fabulous pillow that was clearly Miss Piggy. She had told me that she was making a picture but I didn’t realise it was on fabric. She had drawn a face and painted it, then the art teacher had sewn it together as a pillow. Beth was  proud of it and rightly so. She took it to Primary School on Friday when we picked up Bill and Bridie and showed a few people.

On Tuesdays the lunch order form for Wednesdays has to be handed in. They have Subway and they bring home the envelopes on Monday night for collection on Tuesday mornings. I reminded Beth that hers was in her bag when I dropped her off in the morning. When we got home on Tuesday night I found the order still in her bag. I explained to her that there are no late orders and that she would have to miss out on her Subway the next day. I made popcorn because it was her favourite and gave her several warnings that just for this week she couldn’t have a lunch order. I had also written in the school diary to her teacher to explain that Beth might be feeling a bit put out on the Wednesday.

All seemed well in the morning but when I went to pick Beth up in the afternoon I was asked to come in and see Beth’s teacher who I shall call Miss X. Beth had had a doozy of a tantrum. She had started off the day well but as the morning progressed she had started screaming in the classroom which of course distressed the other students. Kids with autism have heightened senses often and noises that can be tolerated by so called ‘normal developing’ kids can be intolerable to those on the spectrum, Beth included. Miss X explained that the children in the class like Beth but don’t like it when she does things that distress them. Miss X said that Beth thought that she could do what she wanted and had told Miss X that. Miss X said that if Beth made the wrong decision with behaviour in the classroom then the consequences would be the ones she didn’t like. If she made wise choices then she would get good consequences. She said that while Beth wasn’t in trouble she needed to understand that her actions were not appropriate and that if it happened again she would be missing recess and or lunch or even have to stay in after school to get her work done. She told Beth that she is 12 years old now, not a preppie kid and that she had to start behaving like a 12 year old.

Beth said that she had behaved well in the afternoon during computer studies and Miss X had agreed, saying that she had behaved nicely later on. However Beth hadn’t been happy that there weren’t enough chairs and had complained. Miss X made Beth list what the right response might be and Beth had said sitting on the floor, sharing a chair or asking Miss X for another chair. As Miss X said, she knows the right answers but needs to not let her annoyance get the better of her when she doesn’t get her own way. It all ended on a positive note with Miss X saying how funny herself and the class think Beth is and how well she normally does her work in the classroom. All Beth seemed to be worried about was if I was going to let her play on her Ipad when we got in the car! I think it’s fantastic that she has expectations and that if she doesn’t meet them then there will be consequences. I think that even though Beth thinks Miss X is bossy she respects that she doesn’t take any of Beth’s crap.

On Friday Paul took Beth to school as I wanted to attend our Primary School assembly. Beth had started to play up because she couldn’t take her Ipad as that would mean I wouldn’t have it when I picked her up that night. As her tantrum started to escalate I told her to stop and listen and explained that if the Ipad was in Dad’s car then Mum wouldn’t have it until Dad got home later that night. She listened and just said “OK.” All I could think was “It is getting in!”

When we went to Bev and John’s yesterday for lunch (Paul’s parents) John commented that he had told Beth not to put her feet up on a table next to where she plays on the computer. He was surprised each time he checked on her that she had listened to him. Both him and Bev have said that they’ve seen improvements in Beth each week. I think I have too.

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