I love this poem written by my 14 year old daughter, Ashlyn. If you’ve followed my blog over the years, you will know that I sometimes write about Ashlyn’s journey with Asperger’s. However, you’ve never heard Ashlyn’s own voice, and I think it’s a rather beautiful one.
Ashlyn is my very first Guest Blogger–thanks for that Ash! Continue reading
Child of mine, lost
in worlds not of my making.
Would that I could
steal into those worlds with you,
Caper through valleys,
chasing dragons and dreams. Continue reading
Since April is Autism Awareness month, I’m sharing a little of my daughter Ashlyn’s story.
On the day the headmaster walked the sixty-odd paces from his office to the pre-school, the first warning bells should have gone off in our heads. It wasn’t a route he walked all that often in his busy schedule, but that morning he set out to discover why the piercing screams he had been hearing for the last forty-five minutes weren’t stopping. The relentless little screamer turned out to be our four year old daughter Ashlyn and—although this may have been one of the first—it certainly was not the last of the meltdowns she would have at school. Continue reading
As parents, we need to ensure that we focus on our own emotional wellbeing, even as we help our children through their struggles. This is the case for every parent of course, but it is that much more difficult to get right if your child has an illness or special need. The emotional strain that the disability or disease places on the entire family—particularly the primary care-giver—means that caring for your own emotional wellbeing becomes an even greater priority. Continue reading
At the beginning of each school year I am always faced with the decision of how much to share with the new group of teachers regarding my daughter’s Asperger’s Syndrome. This question crops up any time we start a new after-school activity too. On the one hand, teachers need to understand the reason behind some of the behaviours they may encounter, but on the other I don’t want them to start treating Ashlyn as ‘different’ or lowering their expectations of what she can achieve. Continue reading
Boys are four times more likely than girls to have Asperger’s Syndrome, the current statistics tell us. But are the stats correct? More and more experts in the field are questioning this ratio and arguing that girls may be going undiagnosed because they are better at camouflaging their social difficulties. It follows that, because their condition goes unrecognised, girls are not gaining access to the understanding and support they need. Continue reading
Recently I had a discussion with a mom whose six-year old son is struggling emotionally and socially. An educational psychologist who has done play therapy with her son claims it is not an Autism Spectrum Disorder, but the mom says: “I really see so many of the Asperger’s traits in him. I know it might just be a label, but somehow it makes me feel better to have an “explanation” as to the way he acts, which is so different compared to my eldest and my neighbour’s kids.” Continue reading
It doesn’t seem quite right that a 41-year-old mom should know everything about a children’s book series called Ranger’s Apprentice, but I do. I know every title in this 11-part series by John Flanagan. I can recite character lists, the names of all the horses ever ridden by a Ranger (a kind of a medieval spy) and could probably even label a map of the nations surrounding Araluen, the setting of the books. I also know that there is a companion series called Brotherband Chronicles (Bravo Mr Flanagan!) Continue reading
Last week I heard a 12 year old boy called Richard give a talk about his own experience of having Aspergers. I was at a two-day conference organised by Autism South Africa, where there was the usual line-up of speakers with long lists of letters behind their names. Yet—amongst all these highly educated and well-spoken adults—this courageous young boy’s talk stands out for me. Continue reading