Following The Minion

 

 

 

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When I was about 11 I randomly decided I wanted to stop holding my Mum’s hand. I was, of course, a sassy independent woman of the world. There was no way my Ma was going to cramp my style. I remember her being absolutely devastated.

Well karma has slapped me in the face. Sonny apparently found his independence far earlier than I ever managed to. He didn’t want to hold my hand. If I am totally honest its been happening for a while but I’ve basically been in denial about it. But he made sure it wasn’t going to happen. We went to Regent’s Park and he kept shaking my hand off (oh the rejection) so while we were there and it was safe I decided I would just trust him to walk on his own, ‘Sonny you can walk on your own if you are sensible’ etc. He has the tendency to run away. Totally without warning. Just bolts it. He’s rapid.

So obviously I was ready to sprint after him at any given moment. But he was SO GOOD. He stayed walking by my side the whole time, never ran off (ok once, but to be fair there was a pigeon that was very tempting, and as soon as I told him to come back he did.)

And on the way to Regent’s Park he said, ‘I want animals please’ (Here’s the video of me finally understanding what he was trying to say!) He recognised the bus route and remembered that there was a zoo there. As he asked so nicely we went to the zoo after. Obviously went to see the penguins first.

He also said, ‘Finding Nemo’ when we were in the aquarium and there was a fish that looked like Dory. SO CLEVER!

And then on the way home on the bus he asked to sit on my lap and gave me lots of cuddles. Even though he is growing up so fast and getting really independent (which is SO GREAT) I cant help but feel a little bit sad that he wont be a little boy forever!

LOVE HIM

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The Unknown Potential

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I haven’t seen Sonny in a month (due to me going on holiday and then him being ill) which is the longest time I haven’t seen him for in about 2 years. Not seeing him for that long made me realise that he is such a big part of my life!

Every time I walked past a McDonalds, every time I saw the 82 bus, every time I took a shameless selfie on public transport, I had to hold back the sobs because I was reminded of how much I miss him. I was broken hearted basically.

The reunion wasn’t has I had hoped. I pretty much rugby tackled him to the floor and he told me to, ‘go away.’ He did smile though and then was very affectionate all day, so I didn’t let that get me down too much!

His speech is coming on so much! He said, ‘its rain’ (click here) and his rendition of the alphabet is really coming along! (here). He is saying other words though that I have no idea what he means by. I keep trying to get him to point or show me but he just gets frustrated.

We had a bit of a domestic while we were out (at a fair in Highgate). He took his shoe off, and then refused to put it back on. I know he can do it on his own, so we spent a good 20 minutes arguing.

Sonny often shocks me with what he knows and what he can do, but then sometimes doesn’t do the things I know he can do. Which confuses me. If someone had told me a few years ago he would be saying the alphabet or counting to 10 I wouldn’t have believed them. Yet I have seen him get dressed on his own countless times before and he sometimes won’t do it on his own.

That is why I love what I do: there is so much unknown with Sonny, what he thinks, what he feels, how much he understands. Every time he does something new its more hope for what he will become. I

I wonder what he will be like in the future. Will he be able to talk? I hope so! Will he be able to cross a road on his own? I have no idea. Will he have a job? Not a scooby.

Will he be happy?

I’ll try my damned hardest to make sure of it.

Oh and I won the shoe argument. He eventually got it on by himself!

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Double Trouble.

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Have I ever mentioned that Sonny has a twin?

Danny is on the left, and he also has autism. Yep. When they hold hands it’s like my brain can’t handle the cuteness level and I need to look away because otherwise my head will explode.

Their Dad and I took them both swimming on Sunday.

 Sonny spent most of the time underwater, but they both absolutely loved playing with their Dad (he is much better at throwing them in the water. I need to get to the gym!)

It is so lovely to see how happy they are when they are with their Dad in the pool, and it is so lovely to see parents who are so involved and accepting of their children.

Sonny and Danny’s parents always seem positive and happy and loving with their sons. Having two obviously means there can be a lot of challenging behaviour at home, but they take it in their stride. I haven’t once heard them complain about Sonny or Danny’s autism, and how it effects their lives. I know it must be difficult for them, but their love for their sons means they don’t dwell on the hard times, they just focus on the positives. They love them both unconditionally for who they are and try to understand and help as much as they can, without trying to ‘fix’ them or change them.

I look up to them both, and I admire their strength to be so accepting and loving, despite the struggles they face.

Basically they are both ace.

 

Sonny Knows The Alphabet!

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Sonny had one of his best days ever today! I think because we hadn’t seen each other for two weeks he was looking forward to going out more than usual!

He gave me loads of hugs and kisses all day, and even when I said, ‘Sonny we are just going to pop into the shop to get some water before we get on the train’ which usually would stress him out, he was so casual and calm about it, and helped me give the money to the man at the till.

Sonny played a game in the soft play centre, getting the balls from the ball pit up to the top of the slide, then watching the balls go down the slide and then repeating this process about 20 times. (A woman who worked there told him off for moving all the balls, but I spoke to her and said as he isn’t bothering anyone, and getting a huge amount of joy from his game, would it be ok if he carried on?! She was fine about it once she found out he has autism.) It was really funny watching him trying to climb up ladders with his hands full!

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Then he surprised me by showing me he could say the alphabet! (Click here to see.) Well, he needs a bit more practice, but it is a good start! My favourite bit is when he says ‘W’. He just bowled over to the alphabet puzzle and said it without being prompted or asked to…I was so chuffed that I had my phone on me to video it because I asked him to do it again afterwards and he straight up refused.

Anyway, I was really proud of him today. he played really nicely with the other children in the soft play centre too,  and considering it was really noisy and busy he did well not to get stressed.

YES SONNY.

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Miss You Son!

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I didn’t get to see Sonny last weekend, as he was ill! (But according to his mum, he was asking for me on Sunday, which pretty much broke my heart.)

But not seeing him has made me realise just how much he means to me. I miss him so much!

Whenever I tell people what I do, one of the things they say is, ‘oh that must be really hard, what a selfless job!’ It is hard, as most jobs are, but it is definitely not selfless.

I get so much out of seeing Sonny, and when I don’t see him (like this last weekend) I really feel like I have missed out. If anything, I have a selfish need to see him. He makes me laugh like no other, he teaches me like no other, and we get to do cool stuff and mince around London together.

I think its fair to say I am attached to that small little man of little words, and I think its fair to say he is attached to me. To have a trusting relationship with another is so important to growth and development for children, especially those with developmental difficulties, like Sonny. But I suppose in terms of working with children, it can be bad for the child to get too attached, because they can come to depend too much on the adult. And what if that adult doesn’t work with them anymore? In a school setting I agree with this, as it can really affect a child’s development if that attachment is disrupted or broken. But with Sonny, I kind of feel like he is a younger brother I get to see every weekend.

And I imagine I will be in his life forever now (If his parents allow it!) Well, or until he’s had enough of me, (which I hope will never happen!)

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Clever Little Man!

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He reminded me today not to underestimate him.

It was proven today that he is in fact a genius.

We were on the bus (number 82, standard) on our way to the London Aquarium. When the bus got to a stop near Regent’s Park he said, ‘animals!’ and put his bag on and went to get off the bus, and said, ‘we did it!’

It took me a while to clock on, because if I am honest I only had the vaguest of ideas where we were (which unfortunately is the state I spend most of my time in.) I got out my trusty City Mapper App on my phone and then it became apparent. We got off at the same bus stop a few weeks ago when we last went to the zoo.

This is ridiculously clever. Firstly to remember that we were there before is something in itself, and he remembered just from looking out of the window. But also to make the association between that bus stop and the zoo was NEXT LEVEL.

Anyway, we then engaged in a very confusing conversation about how we were going to see animals today but not at the zoo. (The concept of ‘same but different’ is the hardest thing to explain!) So he got a bit upset but managed to calm himself down with his breathing and saying, ‘caaaalm,’ and that seemed to do the trick!

I am pretty much constantly in a state of mild confusion as to where I am in relation to everything else in the world. But Sonny is insanely good at remembering places that he has been to before. He also has a very good sense of direction. This is especially impressive to me, as memory/direction/general geography are definitely my weaknesses. Clever Sonny!

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Sonny loved the aquarium and watching the fish. He kept on flapping on the glass though which scared them all away! (Click here to see) I had to drag him away at the end because otherwise we would have stayed there all day!

He passed out again on the tube. Sign of a good day!

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He Didn’t Do That On Purpose…!

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Last week, Sonny fell asleep on the way to the funfair. This did not bode well. However, when we got there it was pretty clear it was going to be a good day. I mean, I was pretty excited. Nothing gets me going more than a good bouncy castle and some candy floss. (Bouncy castle was hard to manage. I completely face-planted and consequently emptied the entire contents of my bag onto the floor. Serves me right though, I was trying to show off.)

I also got the pleasure of watching Sonny get put inside a life size inflatable ball that was floating on water. Effectively a massive hamster wheel. Twice. It was great. (Click here to see).

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I had a minor incident involving a parent on the huge inflatable slide. Sonny was climbing up the side ladder, but was struggling, and kept falling down. He thought this was hilarious. But then, other children came up behind him, so he was accidently barged one child as he fell. The child got upset at this and so I said, ‘Sonny come down now, it’s a bit too busy there.’ And was just about to explain to him what had happened and speak to the upset child.

Then the child’s mother came next to me and said, to her child, but very loudly, ‘Get down from there away from that mean boy, the one in the white hoodie, he’s doing it on purpose, he’s laughing so come away from him now.’

INSTANT RAGE descended upon me. I turned around and said as politely as I could manage, ‘he has autism and ADHD, he is NOT doing it on purpose.’ She flummoxed and said, ‘oh I didn’t know…’ and then Sonny had come down so I took him off to get his shoes on, while I tried to control myself

Afterwards I felt bad, because it must have looked like Sonny did barge the other child on purpose because he was laughing. But he didn’t understand what he had done wrong. And she genuinely didn’t know he has autism, and how could she have? He doesn’t wear a sign saying, I have autism so excuse any anti-social behaviour. I would never use his autism as an excuse anyway, and I feel like situations such as this one is a good way of learning about empathy and how to engage with other children in an appropriate way.

So if I hadn’t of been so angry, and if she hadn’t of said the word, ‘mean’ I would have explained to Sonny and gone over to the other child and asked Sonny to say, ‘sorry’ but meanwhile talking about it being an accident etc. And Sonny would have learned something and I could have spoken to the mother about autism and it would have been a good experience for all. But because I was so enraged by the whole saga I had to leave, to avoid getting upset and saying something offensive!

So I was both annoyed at the lady for making me angry and annoyed at myself for getting angry. Grr.

The thought of someone saying Sonny (or any child in fact, with or without autism) was ‘mean’ really got to me. All the different ways in which Sonny shows his kindness and affection is unconventional but is no less than any child without autism. I know she wasn’t aware he had autism, but that just really upset me!

Lesson learned- people will misunderstand. It’s my job not to take it personally when they do, but to use those moments as ways of engaging others in conversations about autism. So I’ll take a leaf out of Sonny’s book. I’ll be stronger.

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He fell asleep on the way back too. He didn’t even wake up for my duet of a Spice Girls Medley with this guy on the tube.