Two Front Teeth!

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He has two front teeth! I have known him three and a half years and he has never had front teeth and now he does! One is a bit longer than the other, but, if anyone can pull it off, Sonny can. He looks brilliant.

I took Sonny to soft play today (the classic) and had a blast.

We kept on having water breaks every 10 minutes. Soft play basically consists of me chasing Sonny pretending I am going to eat him. Oh and then when I do catch him I smell his feet. And he finds it absolutely hilarious and gets me to do the same smelly feet joke about 15 times in a row.

He spent a long time lying down putting his hands in my eyes/up my nose/ round my mouth.

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After soft play we found some escalators and spent about half an hour on those. Sonny loves repeating things over and over again, and still seems to get the same enjoyment from the 100th time as he did the first.

Not so much for me. So I started to pretend I was scared of heights and every time we were going up he had to help me. He did the first time, then found it was way more hilarious to try and push me over the side.

Walking home he kept saying, ‘racing…on your marks, get set, GO!’ He won every time.

Anyway we laughed loads. And looked at our teeth a lot.

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You are SO able!

IMG_4886Haven’t seen Sonny in weeks.
MISS HIM LIKE MAD.

So here are some random ramblings…
Occasionally, Sonny has a meltdown when we are out, only when something is really bad, (like its really crowded, or the pool is shut etc) but when it does happen, and he is crying and screaming and hitting, that is when I really see Sonny’s autism. In every day life when we are mincing around a museum or cutting about a soft play centre, I just see a little boy.

An able, clever, considerate and hilarious little boy. I know he has autism and ADHD and I realise that it is a disability, but first and foremost he is a child. All I see when I am with him is his ability to do new things I couldn’t have imagined he would ever do when I first met him.

He has shown me he can say my name, he can say he is hungry, he can share food, he can show empathy and express love, he has a wicked sense of humour and likes to be tickled. When I met him three years ago he would barely look at me.

I guess it is about what you choose to see in someone. I could choose to see that he can’t yet tie his shoe laces or explain to me why he will try to put a daddy long legs in his mouth but not a piece of apple.

What I am trying to say (very incoherently) is sometimes it seems to me that it is what we choose to see in someone that can define them. If I defined Sonny by all the things he can’t do, it would be that view, that would be disabling him, not his autism.

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If someone defined me by everything that I couldn’t do, or that I have done wrong, then I would be friendless, jobless and homeless probs.

I promise I will never define you by what you cannot do.
I promise I’ll never disable you.
Oh and I promise I’ll never stop loving you!

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Flap Away My Son!

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‘Stimming’ is a term used to describe self-stimulatory behaviours.

Basically it is a repetitive behaviour that feels good.

Children with autism stim in a variety of different ways. It may be rocking, spinning, shaking their head, flapping their hands, repeating a sound or word etc.

For Sonny, he flaps his hands on his head, his leg, my head, my leg, a random chair, a pineapple, anything that is in reach. He loves it. Can’t get enough of it. Click here to see it (quite bad quality though!)

He sometimes stims when he really likes something (watching something on his iPad) but mostly when he is distressed (when I ask him to put his shoes on his own). So I kind of see it as him expressing emotions he can’t articulate through words- loads of happiness and excitement or loads of frustration and anger. It helps him when he is trying to manage his feelings of anxiety, fear or when there is too much sensory input (too hot, too light etc).

Some people think that stimming should be eliminated or modified. I am not those people. I believe that if it doesn’t hurt anyone else or himself he should flap, flap and keep on flapping. If it makes him feel good then I say crack on. Why should he adapt and change who he is just because it might seem a bit odd or different? When we are mincing around London and he flaps he does gets some funny looks (which we both completely ignore) but I never tell him to stop. I did once try and do it with him when he was half way through an intense flapping session just to see what he did. He stopped and looked at me quite disapprovingly, walked away from the crazy lady who looks after him and continued.

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We all have different ways of calming ourselves down to some degree, sometimes without realising we are doing it. People who bite their nails, pace up and down, shake their leg, tap a pencil etc, they are all repetitive behaviours that in some way are calming or soothing. Most of us stim, autistic or not, it is just that some are more accepted by society I guess.

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My stim? I play with my hair all the time. Well, not when I play ping pong. But a lot of the time.

Cheap Fun Is Good Fun

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Sonny is a man of simple pleasures.

I have noticed he finds happiness in the smallest or strangest of things.

Recently, he has been asking to go into supermarkets. (Click here to see) When we go in he makes a bee line for the DVD section. We can spend a good 20 minutes in there. He walks up and down the aisles reallllyyyy slowly. Maybe one will take his fancy. He will pick it up, look at it for about a minute and then put it on the floor. And carry on in the same manner. Eventually he chooses something fairly inappropriate (he loves a film rated 15 apparently) and gives it to me. I usually have to employ some distraction tactics to move him on without getting upset he hasn’t managed to take Prometheus home. We then mince on over to the fruit and veg section, where we talk about the colour of grapes, bananas, apples etc.

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Last Sunday we ended up spending about half an hour sitting in a park getting very involved with a pack of balloons (click here) I had in my bag, along with various toys from Macdonald’s happy meals, bubble wrap, hand sanitizer, random bits of fluff, you know, the usual stuff a girl in her mid twenties carries with her. He said all the colours (confused between pink and red, but whatevs) and then tried to blow up all 4 balloons at the same time.

Every time I see Sonny I have some activity or outing planned, like a city farm/soft play etc, but sometimes he likes staring at DVDs. Sometimes he likes watching the taps run in the toilets. Sometimes he likes lying on the floor with his head in his hands.

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If At First You Don’t Succeed…

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It took about a year and half to get Sonny to say, ‘I want help please,’ using hand signs and words. He has become good at it now, but often uses it as a get clause when he can’t be bothered. Clever.

So you can imagine my surprise in a soft play centre the other day, when I was at the top of the slide and Sonny was trying really hard to climb up it (he had socks on). He tried and tried for about 10 minutes. He wasn’t really getting angry when he failed, just kept trying different ways until he eventually made it to the top. I felt a little bit mean videoing him from the top and not helping him out (Here’s the vid.)

Anything he does independently is a massive deal (he opened a crisp packet on his own the other day and I nearly passed out with excitement.) We have devised a sort of victory dance (it involves a sequence of very enthusiastic high fives, jumping, and shrill screaming) to celebrate anything he does on his own, which he seems to like!

I don’t want him to grow up thinking he can’t do something, just because he didn’t try, or because someone else did it for him.

I learnt how to ride a bike at the ripe old age of 19. I made a vague attempt when I was younger but couldn’t commit to the process. I gave up fairly quickly (never have been good with failure) and ever since just accepted the fact that I simply couldn’t do it. The only reason I can ride a bike now (only just, corners are an issue) is because I had some strong-willed friends at University.

Sonny needs more support than neuro-typical children obviously, but I want him to be able to ask for help in some situations, where he needs it, but I also want him to learn that when he puts his mind to something he can achieve it.

Who doesn’t love a trier, anyway?

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