About Me

My name is Leigh Merryday, and I am a married teacher, school media specialist, and mother of two young children.  My daughter, Bronwyn, is six and has ADHD. My son, Callum, is four and is autistic.  He is currently in an ESE Pre-K class and receives speech, occupational, behavioral, and physical therapy.

This is not my family’s first journey into the world of autism and “otherness”.  We have relatives on the spectrum as well as those with ADHD, giftedness, mental illness, etc..  Suffice it to say, between being a teacher and having family experience with the spectrum, the Jaws theme played loud and clear in my head at the first little glimpses of flapping and stimming in my son.

We don’t yet know what the severity of Callum’s autism will be.  He is just beginning to use some words.  And he is quite a friendly and affectionate little guy.  Now we are doing what we are supposed to do (therapies, consultations, research) and have dabbled in others (biomedical,  listening programs) while waiting to see in what direction he will go.  He is severely speech delayed, but – at only four and showing positive signs of communicative intent, we are hopeful he will acquire language.

We are very fortunate that Callum’s autism and sensory integration issues are not depriving him of happiness.  He is a cherished and happy little soul who brings smiles to everyone he knows.   However, Callum’s journey has just begun.  We’ve seen enough in our family to know that the tough stuff is yet to come.  And, now that things are starting to become more of a challenge, I find myself needing to reach out toward other ASD families and individuals.  This blog is my attempt to do just that — as well as take the burden off my non-ASD friends and loved ones!

Thank you for your interest and for allowing me an opportunity to share our story with you.  I hope you will stop back by again.

Contact info:

Email – flappinessis@gmail.com

Facebook – Flappiness Is

Twitter – FlappinessIs

80 thoughts on “About Me

  1. You never know what the future holds. My daughter, Shannon. is 11 and still non-verbal (She can say hi, bye and sometimes up and no) but that’s about it. A year ago she started whereto write and she uses sign language. Between the two she can say bathroom, eat, drink, drive, music, taco, ice cream. of course, most of her colors, candy, cookie, sleep and many more. She can also type on the computer and write where she wants to go. I have a much happier child now that she has some form of communication. I love your articles. Keep the faith, you never know what’s in store next.

    • Thanks for your kind comments and encouragement, Alisa! That is one thing autistic children do best – keep the rest of us guessing. I’m so glad that Shannon is beginning to be able to communicate her wants. Has she been able to try using an iPad yet? It sounds like she might be one of those who would really connect with one. Our little guy is just beginning to interact with them, but I’ve been blown away by reports of how older non-verbal autistic children and adults have been using them. If you haven’t watched the segment that 60 Minutes did on autism and iPads, check it out: http://www.cbsnews.com/video/watch/?id=7385686n Amazing! Thanks again for visiting. Please stop back by again. :)

      • Shannon’s school just purchased an ipad 2 for her. I’m going in next week for training on it. We have a dynavox that we use at home but it’s very heavy to carry around. I know she will do well on it because she is already taking my phone and trying to call her aide Michelle and she tries to call her favorite playplace. She answers my phone but doesn’t say anything Hysterical. Got to get Shannon off to school. Write again soon. Alisa

  2. My sister works with special needs children, and after hearing her stories and experiences working with children with Autism, you’re journey has sparked a personal emotion in me. Thank you for sharing, I look forward to reading more posts!

      • I have just come across your article today. My son who is four year old is autistic and it has been an emotional journey for me. He is still non- verbal and still wears nappy. He has just been refused a statement of educational needs and am trying to make an appeal. Thanks for your write up

  3. I love your comment about the Jaws theme. As a teacher my self it so describes the moment that the thought my son was autistic came to my mind. Ive really enjoyed reading your blog. Keep up the great work! Also if you have not checked out A4CWSN, please come visit. There is a facebook page and a web page. Its a great community of special needs parents teacher and therapist. They also do alot of video app reviews and such for the ipad.

  4. Good luck toy you. My son is now ten and high functioning. When he was 2, I didn’t know that I should be concerned about him not talking. The flood gates opened, however, when he was three and he started talking in complete sentences. Good luck on your journey. Love the title of your page!

    • Oh, how I hope for the same thing for my boy. He is giving good signs though. He consistently takes us by the hand and gestures to what he wants. He says “please” and a few other words. The speech therapists have said they think he will talk. Your story gives me hope.

      And thanks about the title. It was crazy how long it took to come up with something that wasn’t used already!

      • Leigh it’s totally possible for that to happen. So don’t be without hope. My son Chip has Aspergers and at 2-2.5 we were really concerned about how little words he had. All of a sudden at 3 he started talking in paragraphs. I wish I knew what triggered it, if I did I would share with you. However it was like a switch just flipped. It was the same with the potty training. I started potty training him at 2 .. he didn’t potty train until 4.5. At the time I kept suspecting something was up, but none of the Drs. I talked to seemed to take me seriously. We didn’t finally get a diagnosis until a few days before he turned 9. It was such a relief to know that I wasn’t imagining things.

  5. Wow- I just read your post about an apology from your child’s former teacher. Very moving and soooooooooo true! I am also a former teacher, and a mother of an autistic child. You just so don’t really get it unless you live with it, and it is so different when it is your own child. My son is almost 7 and the joy of my life. A challenging joy, yet a joy! He was diagnosed as PDD at 16 months old and classic autism at age 4. He is non verbal for the most part, but we use PECS cards, schedules, routines, and encourage talking to communicate. It does get easier as they get older.
    Thanks for your humbling insight and openess that I wish more people had. Jill

  6. Great blog. If you don’t know who Carly Fleishman is by now, please look her up (she has a FB page). She is a non-verbal teen with autism and she is AMAZING!!!!

  7. Thank you for your apology. I wish (but I also dont wish) that all teachers and administrators could have our perspectives.

  8. I have three kids in special ed; the impact is
    much deeper than many know. It is profound and very consuming. It effects areas of life
    that most folks who think they know me are not aware of. Often I feel burned by the system but I am like a thunderbird, rising from the ashes. I wish you the best.

  9. I decided to leave you a little comment here, so in years time I can remember what date it was when I found your blog. Like my wonderful friend Fi has said above I too have fallen in love with how you write. Believe me that is one massive comment coming from a Dyslexic Aspie. I can’t read many blogs my dyslexia switches me off to most. I see this as a gift because when I have pushed through it very often I go into shutdown because i cannot process what I have read.
    Your writing and who you are is positive in my mind, my dyslexic filter is loving you too.
    Love and hugs friend.
    Lisa. xx :)

  10. Amen to the Former Teacher! We currently homeschool our 5 year old who has Trisomy 21. It just seemed easier to do it ourselves than to try to make sure the public school system was doing it correctly. EVERY teacher in the world should read your blog! I have shared your Apology blog on my facebook. I am a true fan. I just started a blog yesterday http://www.trisomy21overcomers.wordpress.com. I would love to hear your feedback on it.

  11. Wow. Your apology blog was so great, I forwarded it to my kids teachers. I have twins, both are special needs. Something in your intro struck me, your two cousins with ASD and now your son. Have they all been tested for Fragile X Syndrome? I have cousins that had an Autism dx for years, then when I got my son genetic testing and it came back Fragile X, they were tested as well and it was Fragile X, not just ASD. I look forward to following your blog. Thanks again!

  12. Hello, can you please email me the “apology from a former teacher” as I can’t seem to access it anymore. I had a friend tag me on FB now it will not download. Says error… Thank you so much, jodi

  13. I really enjoy your blog as well. My 4 -year-old son was diagnosed with PDD-NOS about a year and a half ago. He could only say a few words at 2 as well, but he is now talking in somewhat clear sentences and is in a regular Pre-K class with special education, occupational therapy, and speech therapy regularly. The ups and downs, like you said, can be so trying. But you learn to find the joy in the little achievements, even when you’ve had no sleep and your child is having a 2-hour meltdown over not getting to wear his favorite shirt for the third day in a row. It’s great to hear from other mothers who are going through the same thing I am!

    • I’m hoping to be able to say the same thing about our boy in a year and half. Glad to hear he is doing so well.

      And, yes, talking to others does help. I wish I’d connected to the online ASD community a year ago!

  14. I am a mother of a child with aspergers. He is now 14 and is a freshman in high school. We were on the roller coaster more often during his younger years. I was lucky enough to be a stay at home mom during that time. I now work as a one on one assistant with a child with aspergers. I love what I what I do, I feel that if I can’t be there every step of the way with my child I can at least be the advocate for another child. We still have to make appts. with teachers as my child changes schools. We recently had a problem with the social worker wanted to drop his weekly minutes to only meeting with him once a month. We luckily got that straightened out but it was another small battle that we had to go through to be an advocate for our son.
    I love my son dearly and I want the best for him so I continue to work with him at home on certain everyday things and so does my husband. Our son is a blessing and sometimes other’s can’t see that. I hope someday his peers and others will see what a wonderful person he is and not the weird things he may do or say.

    I was so impressed with one of your posts I just had to let you know that I think you will do a great job with whatever comes your way.

  15. Hi Leigh,
    my son is 4yrs 6 mts and was diagonise with delayed all round development .some drs say its mild autism and some say its ADHD.
    He has been going to behaviou,occupational and speech therapist since last 7 mts or so and we quite a good difference in his behaviour.
    Slowly he is getting potty trained as well.Now he knows he has do to use potty when taken there although he doesnt express him self,so v take him every 2hrs for urinating and it is working fine.
    He is also having Dmd .DUCHENNE MUSCULAR DYSTROPHY. I dont want to speak abt this much as it really painful and hurting for us.u can google it to know more.
    Since last 3 mts he has been on idebenone for his DMD but i think its helping him with improving his cognition and compliance aswel.only after idebenone he is on the path of potty training.
    What do u mean by neurotypical.Is your daughter normal?
    All the best.
    Ambrish kapadia (mumbai india)

  16. I stumbled upon your blog by happenstance because you had a featured post. I greatly enjoyed your 11 lessons, and I think that some of them apply to all of us. Especially the one about casual acquaintances stepping up when you thought your close friends or family would have. I’m so glad that you have decided to get your child into therapies as soon as you noticed symptoms. I work for a state agency that provides Medicaid services to children with austism spectrum diagnoses. Early provision of therapy is very important.

    I’m glad you are able to be open about your experiences. I know that your blog is helping people understand your experience.

    I encourage every parent to advocate like HECK for your child, especially with insurance and governmental benefits. You know your kid better than anyone else. Trust your instincts. And stick by them. It gets hard, and they might call you crazy. But, keep pushing.

  17. My brother has Asperger’s and I have a cousin with Autism, and I just wanted to let you know that your blog is very inspiring and “Letter To My NT (Neurotypical) Child” got me teary-eyed.

  18. Leigh, I just found your blog yesterday. A friend shared your latest post on Facebook and I was immediately drawn to your blog. I am still reading all of your postings, but what I have read is great. My son is 6 and has Asperger’s. It’s nice to be able to read what another mom is going through, a mom who understands. Thank you for sharing!

  19. My son just turned 4 in October. He was diagnosed about 2 yrs ago although I knew when he was around 12-18 months he needed to be tested for Autism. I was forced to wait by his father who said “Oh he’s fine, he will grow out of it, he’s just a little behind and it will be more traumatizing to him having him tested” Well I finally told him “I’m his mom, I’m having him tested.” Sure enough he is on the high functioning end of the spectrum. His dad refuses to speak about my son’s Autism, gets mad and changes the subject anytime I mention the word or even challenges my son has overcome. He didn’t speak more than a dozen words a year ago, now he has a very extensive vocabulary and it continues to grow. I have him in school, he receives speech therapy at school. Social situations are tricky for us, I am not afraid to leave my cart in the store if he is having too rough of a time with the outing and to try again another time. Going to the dr is, well it is a nightmare to be blunt and honest. I cannot even begin to describe the difficult time we have every time we go.
    I left his dad in May, it was not a good situation and I have seen a tremendous amount of positive change in my son since then. We live 3 hrs away from my family, which is ok since they tell me there is nothing wrong with him, it’s just bad parenting. My brother’s wife is an early childhood educator and she has them all believing her. I do have a few family members who believe me and understand and sympathize with me. My aunt has a now adult son who has both Asperger’s and mental retardation. The way I look at my life is like this, I can only have one child so God gave me a special one who makes sure I don’t take life too seriously and reminds me to take time to embrace the little things, they truly do mean the most. I wouldn’t change a second of my life, even on the hardest of days. I am so glad to have found your blog, it’s refreshing to know there are people who understand that we are great parents, our children are our worlds.

  20. hi my name ius stef i have autism an no if i have a child i could have one on the asd as disbilty run in the family .it took me along time to get were i am the coumputer been my best friend for expressing myselkf im flunt in sign an speak but still sometimes stuggle more with compertion to much talking to me make my brain spin in circles .it like a forgin langue .

  21. As the mother of a 23yr old son with Autism I thank God for people like you who try to help other people understand just a little of the trials we have to go through everyday.
    We are in the situation at the moment that because of my sons age the borough we live in will not fund his college education..therefore he has been at home since June…no contact from anyone (apart from family) We feel that he has been cast aside and on the scrapheap at the grand old age of 23….Laws need to be changed………

  22. Fantastic blog, Leigh. My six year old daughter is autistic. At age three, I think she had maybe ten words. We used a lot of sign language to communicate. Now at age six, we can have conversations with her. I am so thankful. I still struggle with feelings of sadness, frustration and resentment over the autism. But I love my beautiful girl.

    Hey, my degree was also in school media and technology, although I ended up teaching 2nd grade for ten years before becoming a SAHM. I also keep a blog, but it is more family oriented. I’m honest about the autism in a lot of posts, but that is not the focus.

    Thanks for being so open about our world. I’ll keep reading.

    Colleen :)

  23. Thank you so much for sharing.
    My four year old nephew is autistic, the whole family is working together to help him express himself. We hope to hear him speak one day. Your blog is a breath of fresh air. Unfortunately, my nephew’s family do not understand English but I will be sending some translated versions of your adventures to my Belgian cousins. Thank you!

  24. Hi Leigh – I really, really love your blog! I an somewhat new to the world of blogging. My son is 9 1/2 and has moderate autism: extremely limited verbally, some aggression, no play or social skills. The journey has not been an easy one, but support from so many friends, family, and bloggers is what keeps me afloat. I’m a 5th/6th grade literature teacher and being a working mom with a special needs child is definitely a tremendous challenge.
    Best of everything to you and yours in the New Year and thank you for sharing your life and thoughts with all of us!

  25. Hello Leigh,
    I just came across your blog this morning, thanks for sharing your experience! My son is almost 4 years old, we live in Brazil. He has a rare chromo disorder, and language is such a big issue for him..Vini is severely speech delayed..he is also in the autism spectrum, actually he’s been in and out of it…weird huh? The thing is all these doctors..some say he is, some say he isn’t.. you know, I’m a strong woman, brave and all, but I am sooo sick of this “your son is, or of course your son isn’t..” I feel like when I’m on the right track with his therapies, something goes wrong and I have to change it all again.. he is so not benefiting from any of this.. Vini has had a very slow progress with verbal communication. He says mom, but not always, only when he really feels like it,,,he shows very little interest for imitation, mimic what other people say. It’s like he’s all set with his non-verbal communication ways..he grabs whatever he wants so the other person can open and give it to him, he’ll take the person by the hand leading to what he wants..things like that..
    The funny thing is..he has a sharp comprehension of things.. he hears well, he does pay attention to some types of stimuli..What I’m trying to say is ..it’s like everything, all the information enters his brain just fine, he understands everything, but the outlet is almost completely blocked. Like he can’t express himself with words. He uses long single vowels like aaaaaa, uuuuu…iiiiii and combines some consonants ..like baa..diiii that is all.. mostly is aaaaa..
    Maybe it’s too soon for me to define his behavior..but from what I read..his austim spectrum is playing a strong role in his language delay..Do you think that children will just bloom suddenly from a condition of not communicating verbally to start saying things like they were all stored in their mind throughout all the years of speech therapy and stimulation?
    I don’t know, I just wish I was on the right so I could get him and myself started on sign language or some kind of efficient speech program..
    Enough about my case, I really want to thank you for sharing your story, I wish all the best to you and to your family, and a very happy New Year! xox
    Love from Fernie and Vini xox

  26. To be honest, I have been around only a very few special needs children in my time. I must say that I find myself amazed by the patience and fortitude that you must have each day. Not 35 years ago, a special needs child would have simply been shut away in an institution or asylum, hidden from society. Today, parents and teachers bring them into the light as if to say “stop hiding from what you don’t understand” – not to the children but to the masses.

    I have read a few of your posts and you are a brilliant mind to encounter. One thing that far too many people, especially doctors, look over is this. As a parent, you are the researcher, the caretaker, the body guard and the PR executive of your own child. Doctors dismiss parents as easily as a mechanic dismisses the concerns of a cute young girl. Because they hold a degree, the professionals often think that the “uneducated parents” know nothing.

    Keep writing, keep telling your story and your children’s story to all who will listen. As a mother you are a behavioral scientist, a therapist and an anthropologist. Use the skills you have acquired and honed over time to help others. And if the professionals won’t listen, the masses will. If you haven’t already, perhaps you should considering writing a biography of your life and what you have learned as a special needs parent. This blog is important, and book would help those without access to computers.

    Looking over the innumerable comments that you have, it is clear that your blog gives other parents, families and friends of special needs children the hope and connection that they need and search for every day. Be well and don’t ever stop writing.

    • Your kind and generous comments are most humbling. Thank you. So far, we have been blessed to have a wonderful pediatrician who really listens. She wasn’t overly concerned about Callum in the beginning, but she did immediately grab the autism screening questions (the MCHAT) and determine that he had just missed enough to warrant an evaluation by a developmental pediatrician. She, though clearly not necessarily in agreement with our decision to go to a DAN doctor, listened and was respectful enough to inquire what supplements he was taking and decided that she couldn’t find anything harmful about it. (Callum is no longer seeing a DAN doctor. This is not to negate the positive results other parents have had, but we made the personal decision to stop with biomedical.) She has ordered up every therapy he has needed, even without formal diagnosis. Our experience has been very good. I know, unfortunately, that some parents are not as fortunate and have to fight to get their children the attention they need.

      I’m truly blown away by the response to this blog. It has been a most extraordinary experience to have so many people read and respond to my thoughts. I find myself both enormously flattered and perpetually insecure as a result of it! I plan to keep writing, but worry each day that I’ll have nothing else to say. But, the more I write, the more the words flow. I have always enjoyed writing, but I envisioned myself a fiction writer. A future fiction writer who has never previously been able to come up with a story. lol Still, there is something about having an audience that forces you to put your fingers to the keyboard. I highly recommend blogging for anyone who has put off the dream of writing. It is both therapeutic and disconcerting at the same time, but, on the whole, worth it.

      Thank you so much for your thoughtful reply. I hope to see you here again. :)
      Leigh

  27. I absolutely loved reading the “Dear Shopper” . I am a single mom of 4, with 2 special needs kids. Let everyone out there know there is hope…my now 15 year old was diagnosed finally at age 6. It was 4 1/2 years of testing, doctors, and utter stress. He now is super high functioning, but yet still has his “hair trigger moments”. I have found that when I am out in doctors offices, malls, restaurants, wherever…that I stand up for and “hold hands” as you could say with anyone who is in one of these moments. I find the best satisfaction in letting my eloquent 15 year old ask someone if they are truly that ignorant. It usually makes a few people giggle as he explains what he has gone through and how hard it is for him to understand things as “typical” folk do. I have even had the pleasure of meeting Jesse Saperstein (a very interesting young man who wrote “life with Aspergers in 20 and 1/2 chapters”). I marvel at the unique qualities these children have, and treasure every aquard moment. Remember to Love unconditionally and pay it forward (as my son will tell you), and yes that is the Aspie Adhd diagnosed one!

    I wish for much happiness on your journey, and hope for the best for your children. It is surely not easy, but well worth every minute.

  28. I think I may be hooked on your blogs…a link to your Dear Shopper was posted on my FB page by a friend and co-worker. My 7yr old has a Classic Autism diagnosis, he was diagnosed at age 4 with PDD-NOS and we were told that was where he would probably stay as he got older. Then low and behold through lots of therapies and his first yr of Kindergarten he made tons of progress and we decided to have him retested. Talk about a heart breaker…we (his parents & his pediatrician) fully excepted to get an Aspergers diagnosis and were devastated to get the diagnosis of Severe Autism & Moderate Mental Retardation. My heart broke for my son when we recieved these 2 diagnosis. We are now seeing Drs that specialize in Autism about 2 hrs away from our home and are hoping to get to the bottom of everything…it is great to read about things that have worked for others and to know that although I feel like I am alone truly I am not. My son continues to thrive and I couldn’t be more proud of him.

  29. I am so amazed by your wisdom and ability to write about your experiences and feelings. My 27 year old daughter was diagnosed with pdd-nos about 23 years ago.
    When she was your son’s age, I was so overcome with shock, anger, and tears that there is no way I could step up and communicate so coherently with myself or anyone. You are wonderful! I am sending you a virtual hug. welcome to our community of incredibly fabulous kids and parents.

  30. What a great blog! I don’t have any experience with autism, but I’ve been a nanny for my neighbor for four years now and they have a 6 year old girl with Down’s Syndrome and a NT 4 year old boy. I love them like they were my own. The hardest part was watching the younger (NT) son surpass his sister, around age 2. Sometimes the difference can be so striking, and seeing her in her class picture for kindergarden, just a peanut next to her classmates, it is hard. But then I remember her deep capacity to love, and to care. She loves to be a helper, she loves to talk about my day, and she loves to cuddle and love. I know that special needs children have a definite role in our lives, and that is to teach us patience (infinite, saintlike patience) love and joy. And her brother is much more consciencous than any other preschooler I have ever met. He knows intuitively when she needs help, and is always there to lend a hand without a fuss and without a complaint.

  31. You do a great job with this blog Leigh. Don’t feel bad about your openness on here because the more parents are honest and talk about “how it is” to raise an Autistic child, the more awareness is raised. The fact that your blog has gone viral show the depth of need for this open approach. I just looked through the comments and know I’m not the only one who feels this way.

  32. Dear Friend Whom I Haven’t Seen Much of Lately brought me to tears. I have 2 boys on the spectrum one 6 and the other 2. My 2 year old was officially diagnosised this summer. I can relate to everything you said. I look forward to reading your other posts. I find I have more to say to the behavioral staff in my home then I do to my “friends”. I am lucky in the scheme of autism. Both my boys are verbal and can be affectionate, but the level of functioning depends on the situation and day.

  33. Is nice to read another parent on wordpress. My 5 children are all on the Autism spectrum, they have a diagnosis of Facs Syndrome and 2 of my children have Cerebral Palsy. I wouldnt change them or have them any other way. Everyday is a struggle and hard but they are my babies and make me the person I am, nice to connect with you

    Emma – xxxxxxx
    Emma4oacs.wordpress.com

  34. Thank you so much for sharing. “Flappinessls” caught my attention and I want it to know if that was the flapping of the hands that our kids do? Our son is 9 and high-functioning with huge comprehension difficulties.

    He flaps when says something that he is excited about or when he’s nervous. He’s got a great memory for the things he likes but not so much for school despite having a dedicated aide and making honor roll (surprise! right?). He’s also great at using dialogue from cartoons or DVDs and using them in the context of a conversation.

    With all that said, thank you again for sharing and we are “flapping cousins”…. LOL!

    Blessed Regards,

    • troy – I am music teacher in en elementary school that has an autism program, and one of our boys also “is great at using dialogue from cartoons or DVD’s in the context of a conversation.” Sometimes we don’t see the connection immediately to what has just happened or was said in the room, but usually there is one!

  35. Found your blog today. My boy is now 10 and very recently his diagnosis has been upgraded to include ADHD. If you are remotely interested, a friend published a small piece of writing I did about our journey, on her blog, http://ritaevelynyanez.wordpress.com/2011/09/02/the-light-at-the-end-of-the-tunnel-is-not-always-an-oncoming-train-by-author-rachel-crones/#more-175
    Keep up the good works, we have come a long way, and every ounce of effort is worth it! – Rachel Cornes

  36. Our Mick age 3 flaps and spins especially when happy or excited. He is starting on the road to develop and he has introduced me to a whole way of life I never knew about.

  37. You are Wonderful! I`ve 2 boys, the youngest is 4yrs and currently being assessed for Aspergers. We`re in Scotland, and it takes ages here to get assessed/assistance. If I had a fraction of your strength, resilience and `hey, what the hell!` attitude life would be sweet!

  38. just found your blog while looking for all thing Autism on the internet. You sounded so much like me (4yr old girl NT) and my 2 1/2 yr old boy who is going through the diagnosis at the moment. I am very lucky that I live in Western Australia and the support you get here is really amazing. Like you I also have a parent (my mum) who is just amazing with both my kids. She is over every day to help me with dinner, bath and bed time and I get bout 30mins to take the dog for a run and have me time. I also loved your blog about things that you were not going to do as a parent and it is all just soo familiar. I too now take our 2 iPads everywhere with us and sometimes the tv is just heaven sent for a break to have a cuppa during the day. I look forward to reading more and knowing there is someone else out there that is so similar to me now. Narelle x

  39. Well I have Aspergers Syndrome so I can understand why your kid does alot of the things he does. I used to stimm myself, I would spin around in a circle on the spot any time I was stressed, mostly I used to do it on the playground cause I would always fail when trying to make friends. With potty training I was late being potty trained as I did not like the idea of using something that felt different, nappies for me were always underwear and that was were I was supposed to go when I needed to. I always saw the toilet as a cup that was “born broken” so I always stayed away from i because I felt sorry for it. This went on till I was around 9 and I first saw a different shaped toilet did not “scream” when you used it. It was only than that I realized that the toilet was a peace of furniture and was not alive at all. Shortly after that my mum figured out a way to make the toilet seat feel like a nappy, by lining a booster seat with nappies that she had stuck on it. after that I was trained within 3 weeks. Another thing relating to Potty training and Autism is that some children with autism (as was the case with me to some extent) are just comfortable wearing nappies and not using the Toilet. This is more a case of being comfortable with the familiarity and routine of the nappy, rather than the scariness of the toilet and the not knowing of what is, what it does, what is it’s purpose, what does it do when i am not there, what will it do to my poo, what will it do to my wee, what is the routine these are all questions that your son will be asking himself, find a way to explain these things to him. Repetition is a key tool for teaching children (and adults) with autism As for the not talking, it may be that he might think he is not allowed to talk, not supposed to talk or he might have very sensitive hearing and talking might actually be painful for him. Some children with autism have sensory issues which can result in hyper sensitivity this can lead to being able to hear frequencies that so called “normal” (there is no such thing as normal) people would not be able to hear. An example of this is wireless broadband, I am a total computer geek yet I use Ethernet cable for my internet because I can hear the wireless signals. It is like a high pitch wine and I have lived with it all my life, and some times it hurts specifically if the internet is being used to download or upload a lot of music or video, text and picture is not so bad but a DVD file would drive me up the wall. Which brings me on to the reason why I would never use a DVD disk, I can hear the frequencies that CD’s, DVD’s and Blue Ray disks produce when spinning in a disk drive. Not as high pitch as wireless broadband but more like someone scratching a pane of glass. Things like Burglar Alarms, Central Locking Key fobs, the Microwave, Car Horns and the Door Bell all cause pain to the ear because of the frequencies they produce. The way I cope with this is by wearing head phones all the time with music on very low volume (almost no volume) I generally listen to dance music as I like it, but it also has multiple frequencies in it and if you put to identical frequencies together they cancel each other out. So if I have Sandstorm on in the town center it sounds like it is out of tune because the town center is a wireless hotspot but at least it does not hurt, if it I had not figured this out I would never have been able to go clubbing. Any other problems that you are at a loss to solve let me know, I spent 6 months researching Aspergers Syndrome and ASD’s after I got my Diagnosis at Age 18. I am not afraid to say it but I know more about Aspergers and ASD than my mum.

    Question Do you live in America or the UK if you live in America does your spell checker recognize the word Aspergers ?

    • I’m in the U.S. It depends on what spell checker. I think they are starting to get better about it. And, I’m pleased to say, that he is beginning to talk. :)

      • Thats good, now that he has started talking he should pick it up quite quickly. You should be able to communicate with him directly via spoken word to find out why he still prefers nappies over the toilet, or at least explain to him the purpose of the toilet and how to use it.

  40. The syndrome is named after the Austrian pediatrician Hans Asperger who, in 1944, studied and described children in his practice who lacked nonverbal communication skills, demonstrated limited empathy with their peers, and were physically clumsy.’*-;

    My current blog
    <http://www.picturesofherpes.co

  41. Hi Leigh,

    Psychology Today magazine is hosting a free webcast tomorrow, called “Love and Autism,” that you might find especially interesting. An expert panel will discuss the unique challenges faced by the families of children with autism, which fits in perfectly with what you blog about: http://shop.pesi.com/product/10246/
    (Enter the promo code “PSYCHTODAY” for free access and please feel free to forward the link to others)

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