DS1’s battles with everyday life continue. While he is generally in a good place at the moment, his old friend anxiety is always bubbling just under the surface. Often manifesting itself in weird and wonderful ways. His latest sensory-seeking habit on the way to school, for example, is to prick his fingers on a holly bush. I mean, what’s that all about? My cup runneth away We’ve started a new campaign to re-engage him with

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“It’s not my fault we’re in this situation,” indignated DS1. (I know ‘indignated’ isn’t a word, but I think it should be where DS1 is concerned.) Well, whose fault is it then? I didn’t bother asking him, I knew the answer: mine. We’d been having our weekly battle about having a shower. He wouldn’t have one. And here we were, sat on his bed, well past his bedtime, with him unwashed and still in his

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“Where’s.” Headbutt.“My.” Headbutt.“Acgh.” Headbutt. “Where’s your what?” I asked. “Where’s.” Headbutt.“My.” Headbutt.“Acgh.” Headbutt. “No, sorry, I don’t know what you’re saying,” I replied. “Where’s.” Headbutt.“My.” Headbutt.“Acgh.” Headbutt. “Nope. Maybe you could write it down for me or draw it?” I should point out, at this stage, that they weren’t full-on Glasgow kisses, more taps to my forehead. I should probably also point out that he hasn’t grown two feet (in height, not two extra trotters)

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“I can’t wear those anymore,” said DS1, in response to me asking him to put his trainers on. “Oh. Are they too small?” “No.” “Are they uncomfortable?” “No.” “Why can’t you wear them, then?” “Because they were covered in quicksand.” “But they are all clean and dry now.” “Yes.” “So why can’t you wear them?” “You know why.” Perhaps, I should explain about the ‘quicksand’. We are extending our patio area and the bottom of

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“Remember you’ve got science club after school,” I said to DS1’s back as he hurried off into the playground with his customary ignorance of the pleasantries of saying “goodbye”. “I’m not going,” he shouted over his shoulder. What? We’d had this discussion the previous evening: the fact that he’d asked to do science club; the fact that I wouldn’t have forked out some hard-earned and signed him up for it if he didn’t want to

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In recent weeks DS1’s anxiety has been on red alert. While the underlying reason is as yet unclear, it has manifested itself in several behavioural formats. But the upshot of it is, everyone (and by this I mean me) is ruining his life. By way of example, we were having a heated debate about how it was advisable to have a shower after playing football, because, as a result, your body sweats and becomes dirty.

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Ten-pin bowling – what could possible go wrong? We have been many times before and DS1 has always had a great time. So, what better way to celebrate the start of half-term than a game of bowling with his mate Henry, Henry’s little sister Bridget and their mum Polly. Bowling over, the kids would be dispatched to the arcade area with a few pound coins in their pockets, while Polly and I enjoyed a well-earned

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“My foot hurts,” DS1 complained. He’d mentioned it the night before, but there was no sign of physical damage, and he couldn’t remember doing anything to hurt it. And it was certainly a rubbish excuse if he was looking for a day off. But hurt it did, he insisted. So much so that – as he exaggeratedly limped to school at a pace that meant by the time we got there we’d have to turnaround

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Following a sleepover at his friend Joanne’s house, DS1 became somewhat fractious the next day. But, before I get into that, here’s a couple of highlights from the preceding day’s events. To the suggestion that he slept in the loft room, he replied quite vociferously (hence the capital letters): “I’M NOT SLEEPING IN THE LOFT. SERIOUSLY, DON’T BE RIDICULOUS!” He did. Once the two of them had ‘settled’ down for the night, a voluble command

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“Come on, time to go,” I called up the stairs. Nothing. “Come on, we’re leaving now.” Nothing. I resigned myself to climbing the stairs to investigate. I found him lurking in Joanne’s room. As I entered, he scuttled away and hid under her desk. After a one-sided conversation on what the problem might be, I eventually managed to coax him out from his hiding place. I nudged him in the direction of the stairs and

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As the snow plopped down on the way from school, DS1 and his little gang were in their element. Walking along, mouths open to catch the snow soon degenerated into scraping it off the cars and, for one young man in particular, this meant putting said scraped snow into his mouth and crunching down on the already icy substance. Even setting off a car alarm failed to deter them. The inevitable snowball fight ended with

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I turned to check on what DS1 was up to, only to see him chasing two girls across the field while videoing them on his phone. A bit like stealing from a multi-storey car park, this was (at first sight) wrong on so many levels. Thankfully, it wasn’t as bad as it seemed; in fact it was a major positive. We’d come to watch the football team he has started training with play a game.

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So far, so good, as far as going back to school is concerned. Indeed, the last day of the holidays – usually one for acting like a hermit – saw DS1 reminding me that we were supposed to be getting his feet measured. “I thought we were going to get my feet measured,” he reminded me, mid-morning. “Yes. Do you want to go now?” “Yes,” he replied, unexpectedly. Half an hour later he was the proud

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The time has come. DS1 is now the proud owner of a mobile phone. His elevation into the technological age has come a bit earlier than we’d planned – but his friend Andreas is moving overseas and they want to be able to keep in touch. So, apprehensively (certainly on my part), the wife handed over her old phone and set him up with Skype as well as granting him access to Spotify among other

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There seems to be a new landscape at home. I don’t know – you go away for a couple of weeks and everything changes. For one, the wife has tidied up the house – it is no longer DS1’d. Things are where they should be; the sofa, for instance, isn’t in the middle of the lounge with an assortment of musical instruments stashed behind it – backstage, apparently. For two, the boy is charming, articulate,

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“He has finished his sentences and his times table practice,” read a text from the wife. “The bad news is his sentence for guarantee: ‘There is no guarantee that Dad is sober’.” Now, this was fairly accurate, seeing as I was at the football – and a good use of the word, it has to be said. That night (a Sunday), though, he woke me up at 3am to tell me he had been sick.

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“Oh god, you still have magic sperm coming out of your mouth,” said DS1 to the wife. Now this may be a difficult sentence to swallow, especially coming from a nine-year-old. Can I get any more innuendo in here? While you return your bottom jaw to its correct position, allow me to explain. We went to see Fantastic Beasts: the Crimes of Grindelwald, last weekend – in 3D don’t you know. All clear, now? No?

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“It’s all your fault and I never want to speak to you again,” DS1 wailed. “Oh, it’s my fault that you stubbed your toe, is it?” I queried. “But I wasn’t even in the same room as you.” It was all too apparent that DS1’s equilibrium was still not quite level; a fact that was confirmed later by the discovery of a lump of cucumber floating in the downstairs toilet. I had thought it strange

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“My brain is wasted on this idiot,” said DS1, as I failed to grasp what he was talking about. I’m clearly not in his intellectual league anymore – if I ever was. It’s hard living with a genius, you know – just ask the wife. Last weekend, we went to see Grannie. Something we hadn’t done for a fair few months – the boy being somewhat reluctant to venture beyond the front door. “It’s non-negotiable,” said

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Potter is back. I’ve left the boy casting spells at the TV while he watches the seventh Harry Potter film, as he nears the end of his back-to-back film-watching marathon. What started as an innocent “Shall we watch a film” on a wet Friday during half-term, which saw us select the first episode in the Potter franchise for the want of anything better, has turned into a rekindling of his obsession with the school of

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“I wish I wasn’t so clever,” said DS1 on the way home from school. “Why’s that?” I asked, intrigued. “Then I wouldn’t have to do this boring research for the NHS.” You may recall that towards the end of the last school year, DS1 finally received a visit from an occupational therapist. The idea being she would identify his needs from an OT point of view and create a programme for the school and us

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DS1 is still under the illusion that he is a genius. A remarkable achievement considering that he is burdened with, in his eyes, intellectually challenged parents. “Two idiots make a genius,” he has become very fond of informing us. While we’re on the subject of his genius, I recently asked him to shut the door on his way out of my study. “No,” he replied nonchalantly. “Geniuses like me are too posh to do that.”

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“The TV has broken,” pinged a text from the wife. “What? How?” I replied, flustered – I can’t deal with this now I’m watching football, I restrained myself from replying. “Dunno, half the screen has gone black, like it’s got a crack in it. But it’s still smooth to the touch.” Followed by: “He doesn’t think he touched it with anything, but he can’t be sure.” Ah, now we were getting to the crux of

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“ is wearing Chelsea shorts, a Russian hat and one sock. I have no idea why,” pinged a text from the wife. Now, I don’t think this is anything autism related – and it bears no relation to the rest of this post – but it’s definitely worth relating. We never did find out the reasoning. Over the last couple of weeks, DS1 has gone from showing the first signs of new-school-year wobble to transforming

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Typically, we had arranged to go camping with friends on what turned out to be the wettest weekend of the summer. No matter, keep calm and carry on. A cliché, but never truer a mantra. All I need to do now is adhere to the advice. DS1 likes camping, and the fact we were going with his best mate, Henry, was an added bonus. What could go wrong? Yes, we were on a campsite, with

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With DS1 out of the lounge, the wife, on a tidying spree, took the opportunity to put the cushions on the sofa back how they should be (the boy had rearranged them a couple of days previously to make some sort of den from where to watch TV. And there was me thinking that was what a sofa in its original format was ideal for. The newly built den-style sofa, though, was a ‘safe haven’,

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“No issues whatsoever,” WhatsApped Grannie (other messaging services are available). “He didn’t use a towel or flush the loo, but I can live with that.” Not a bad return for four days apart from his mum and dad, thrown into the ‘lion’s den’ of living away from home. Indeed, as Grannie added: “The worst part of the last few days was abandoning in Marks & Spencer to do some man shopping – I needed a

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“Do you want Grannie to make you a cake for your birthday this year?” the wife asked DS1. Grannie is a cake-maker extraordinaire, but she doesn’t relish the opportunity to make the boy’s birthday cake. She operates under the fear that if it doesn’t quite meet his expectations of whatever design he has requested, the proverbial shit could hit the fan. It never has, but the pressure must be horrendous. The other reason the wife

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The Saturday before DS1’s birthday was a touch fraught. He was anxious about something – getting agitated about the tiniest, seemingly (to us) insignificant thing. He was flitting around, unable to keep still. Preparing teamsheets and recording the score was more important than the actual games of football we were playing. Various items were randomly moved about the house, turning up where least expected – a lone football boot tied to a door handle, for

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“, where’s my USB stick?” “I dunno.” “Well, it was on my desk and it’s not there now.” This wasn’t the first time it had gone missing, so I knew who the likely culprit was. “Are you sure you don’t know anything about it?” “Maybe.” “OK. I’m not cross, I just need to know where it is.” “I dunno.” “So, you’ve hidden it but you can’t remember where?” “Yes.” “Well, can you have a think

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“Do you want an ice cream?” I asked as he came out of school. Every Friday, during the summer term, the PTA sets up a table from which to sell ice creams to the kids. DS1’s mate Henry was also eyeing the contents of the cool boxes. His dad handed him a quid and told him to get DS1 one as well. DS1 stood rooted to the spot. Henry beckoned him over, but he was

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“Knock, knock,” said DS1. “Who’s there?” “Gene.” “Gene who?” “Genius.” DS1 is currently under the impression that he is a genius. He’s not – very bright maybe, but not a genius. “Mum, have you got a picture of a genius?” “No.” “Well get out your phone and take a picture of me then.” The poor, misguided soul. To emphasise his point, when I pick him up from school he runs over to me, points and

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Over the past few weeks DS1 has been finding it harder and harder to settle at night, often complaining that he “can’t sleep”. Although, if he hasn’t fallen asleep within 30 seconds he gets out of bed to inform of us of this fact. “Well, you’re not going to fall asleep if you are sitting on the top of the stairs complaining that you can’t sleep are you?” I’ve said more than once. The reason

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It’s been wall-to-wall football over the last couple of weeks. When DS1’s not watching it, he’s out in the garden kicking a ball around. He’s now up to World Cup 2058 in his re-enactments (can you re-enact something that hasn’t happened yet?) He has got emotionally involved with the event, feeling the highs and lows of the various teams – though, strangely he is remaining calm, almost unmoved, when England play. I think he is

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“We had the best English lesson ever,” said DS1, as he greeted me when I picked him up from school. “Oh, yes, what did you do?” “We watched The Crown.” Oh, that was surprising. I was under the impression that this Netflix production was a tad too risqué for the likes of an eight-year-old. They’d watched episode 2, which was about the accession of Queen Elizabeth II. “There was a sad bit,” he told me.

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“Dad, you’ve got a big willy,” said DS1. What a boost for my ego. For a moment I basked in the glory – not morning glory, I assure you. And I was fully clothed at the time, your honour. “It’s not appropriate to say that,” I cautioned him. “You’ve got a big bum.” “While that may be true, again, it’s not appropriate to say that to people.” “You’ve got a big willy.” He hasn’t quite

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Finally, DS1 has gone back to school wearing new shoes. The ‘finally’ refers to the getting of new shoes, not the going back to school… then again. For the past two months (possibly longer) it had been plainly obvious that his school shoes were too small for him, but he refused to acknowledge the fact. He claimed they fitted him perfectly, even though his trainers and football boots, which were a size bigger, were deemed

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It took four days but it finally came out. Being at a music festival and needing a number two is, for the least squeamish among us, a test of the human spirit, but for someone who doesn’t like dirt (except, bizarrely, on himself or in his bedroom) it is a major challenge. It’s amazing to me that he is happy to dive around on wet grass and cover himself in mud, but he cannot bring

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DS1’s continuing discombobulation at home was becoming cause for concern, with recent events prompting me to contact his teacher and the school Senco for a chat. That day, he’d refused to go to judo, hiding his kit and getting dressed in his uniform, adamant, that although he still wanted to do judo, he wasn’t going. Explain that one. His downing of tools with regard homework was ongoing and, from talking to other parents, it was

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“We had a little incident at lunchtime,” DS1’s teacher told me, after catching me in the playground after school. “He punched Andreas in the face.” Gulp. She gave me a look that suggested it wasn’t quite as bad as it sounded, but I needed convincing. “The got things under control and took him to the Head,” she continued. “I walked past him while he was sat outside office and asked him why he was sitting

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DS1 is a bit off-kilter at the moment. There’s no obvious reason why and he’s not forthcoming when asked. “I’m fine”, “There’s nothing wrong” or “Be quiet” are his staple answers. The latter coming when clearly there is something troubling him right that second. Door slamming is a current favourite pastime. Not just once, but repeatedly opening and forcibly shutting the same door until he gets a reaction. The wall around the doorframe in my

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“Dad, can we play football?” “Sure, but I won't be able to save many because, remember, I hurt my arm when I fell down the stairs yesterday.” (I’d missed my footing trying to avoid a Match Attax card that was lurking on the top step.) “Yes, I know.” “Oh, you know do you? Only you didn't come and see if I was OK.” “Erm, well… I had better things to do,” he informed me, “…

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“Dad, I'm making a Man U Dream Team and I can't think who to put as defenders. I’ve got Ferdinand but I need three more.” “Most people normally say ‘hello’ first, especially when someone has just walked through the door after being away for nine days,” I replied. He smiled and handed me his team sheet. A Chelsea Dream Team as well as Liverpool and Barcelona ones already lay on the floor of my study

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The floor of DS1’s bedroom is awash with pieces of paper – drawings, song lyrics, made-up family trees – he’s kneeling on the carpet frantically moving them around, engrossed in whatever game he is playing. He has been ensconced in his room for the best part of three days now, only leaving it to go to the toilet. “Shall we go out?” I ask, feeling trapped in the house. “No way! N. O. W. A.

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As we enter the theatre for the event of the year – Horrible Histories live on stage, DS1 becomes agitated, dithering over the best place to sit (I’ve never been to a Ryanair version of a theatre before). Eventually we take our seats, DS1 seemingly happy with our vantage point. He sits hunched up in his chair. Any attempt to speak to him is met with a “shut up” and a flick of his hand.

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Just before the Easter break we had our end of term catch up with DS1’s teacher to go through how he was progressing against the targets set in his IEP, which forms part of the overall EHCP. Which is as easy as ABC. One of the ‘outcomes’ the school is working on is helping DS1 to ‘manage his emotions’. The ‘small step target’ is for him to identify two emotions – worried and upset –

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As we come out of school, the wheel of DS1’s scooter gets caught in a drain and he hits the ground with a thump. Before I can check if he is alright he is up and swinging a roundhouse punch at me, which luckily I manage to deflect. “Hey, what was that for?” I ask. “Serves you right.” “So it was my fault that your scooter got stuck in a drain and you fell off?”

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“He’s not a Plantagenet – look at his clothes,” came the cry from upstairs. The tone of his voice suggesting he was a tad frustrated with his grandparents’ inability to identify British monarchs. The wife and I were sat downstairs in hysterics, as the octogenarians floundered in the face of DS1’s superior knowledge. The fact the pictures of various kings and queens were on thumbnail-sized magnets meaning their failing eyesight didn’t really assist them in

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As far as school is concerned, the Romans are done with and it’s onto the Vikings and Saxons. The advent of his new class topic saw DS1 go on a school trip to an open-air museum-type place where they got to partake in a number of activities that they might have encountered had they been around some 1,200 years or so ago. The children were requested to go wearing old clothes. A requirement that proved

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There’s nothing like a bit of a winter break, timed perfectly to get out of the UK when the Beast from the East hit. Only we went to Lille, where it was snowing and absolutely freezing. Still, it was a few days break for the wife and I from the little terror at home; the joy of looking after him fell to his Grannie. She came up to stay at our house so it didn’t

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I’m Proudy McProud Face on a proud day. I have just got back from the Year 4 Roman Assembly, in which DS1 had to deliver three lines. And he only went and did it – spoke out loud in front of the whole school and a load of parents. He has never uttered a word on such an occasion before – even when he was supposed to. He brought his words home last week to

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“I need you to come straight out of school quickly today because we’ve got the dentist,” I informed DS1 as we walked to school. “Oh, that’s the third boring thing we’ve had to do after school in a row.” That wasn’t the response I was expecting. “Three boring things?” I enquired. “Yes, first we had to go to the bank, then yesterday I had my haircut and now we’ve got to go to the dentist.”

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I recently experienced three miracles in one day – two in consecutive sentences. “I think I’ll do something calm and relaxing like listen to a CD,” said DS1, not long after we had got home from school. This was brilliant. He had recognised the need to take some time out to get his head straight and he had found his own solution. He went upstairs to his room, from where I heard him declare: “But

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My name is Phil and I’m a grumpy, shouting depressive. It’s been four weeks since my last meltdown. Today, I’m holding my head high. We are at the end of January and I haven’t lost my rag with DS1 once this year (well, apart from the other Sunday – and with good reason – but I wrote the first draft of this before then). Maybe it’s because he is in a relatively good place at

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The boy’s teacher rang me during school hours (not that she rings me out of school hours – that would be weird). That’s never a good thing. “I just wanted to let you know about an incident that happened today,” she said. I braced myself. “We were in PE, acting out some Roman battle scenes, when decided to punch one of the girls in the stomach. He then wrapped his arms around her neck. It

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DS1 handed me a piece of paper headed ‘Dad’ and which was split into two columns. The left one he’d labelled ‘Good’ and the right one ‘Bad’ – it was a list of my pros and cons, as he saw them. I read it with a sense of trepidation. The things about me that he apparently finds positive include: Fat tummy (for jumping on) Dumb smile Sort of spiky hair Tiny boobs, so I can’t

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This term DS1’s class is studying the Romans. He’s already obsessed. We spent last weekend scouring Netflix for anything gladiator related and discovered two very bizarre films. One had Ross Kemp voicing the main protagonist. Somehow Ross’s dulcet East End tones didn’t quite conjure up images of ancient Rome. But the absolute corker was a truly dreadful Italian film with subtitles and hysterically bad fight scene choreography. It was the type of movie that was

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“It’s Chrriiissstmaaass,” shouted Noddy Holder on, arguably the best festive record ever, Merry Christmas Everybody (Fairytale of New York by The Pogues and Kirsty MacColl excepted). I wish it wasn’t. As I alluded to last time out, the build-up to the big day can send autistic kids spiralling out of control, and our boy is no exception. The mess in the house has reached Armageddon-like proportions. No sooner is it cleared away then it reappears

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You may have noticed that Christmas is coming. For many, it will be the dreadful music that shops suddenly feel the need to inflict you with that indicates that ’tis the season to be jolly, for others it will be the infamous, but tiresome, John Lewis ad. For us, it is the deteriorating behaviour of an autistic child – or, as his teacher noted recently: “There has been some silliness”. Whether all of his ‘silliness’

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When he 'greets' me as I pick him up from school, he seems a bit subdued. Maybe he's just tired; it is Friday after all. Or maybe it's because it was Children in Need day, so things would have been a bit chaotic in class – either that or he's annoyed with me because I didn't sort out anything spotty for him to wear (administrative error). As we come out of the gate he just

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Last week we had to say goodbye to our faithful friend of the last 14 years, our black Labrador, Ferdie, or to give him his pedigree name, as DS1 now insists on calling him, Abbot Ferdinand of Anna. DS1 had never really shown much interest in the dog. I always got the impression that, to him, he was an inconvenient moving object that often got in his way, left dog hair all over the place

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Last weekend, given that we didn’t really do anything, was (almost) a pleasure. After the traumas of the preceding week, a quiet weekend at home to re-centre was certainly in order. Admittedly getting him to do his homework was out of the question. To avoid his outright refusal to do it, we try not to say, “Come on, let’s do your homework”, because this is invariably met with a simple, “No”. We have adopted a

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It’s meltdown season. It’s come later this year, must be down to that global warming. They are not all full on, though – more daily wobbles. Having said that, his teaching assistant (TA) accosted me after school and handed me a form that said he had been involved in an incident that had resulted in him hurting his head. Under ‘Other relevant notes’, it stated: “ headbutted another child.” “Oh.” Well, what else can you

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He’s been on edge all day. I’m not entirely sure why. Maybe it’s because it’s half term and it’s a culmination of him having held it together at school for six weeks and, now, being in the comfort of home, the pressure valve has been released. The steam is coming out, but it’s yet to boil. I have a feeling I know what it’s really about, though, but he denies it when I ask. “Noooooo!”

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I wasn’t sure what to write about this week, so I invited DS1’s friend Andreas around for his tea – and it didn’t disappoint. In the main, they played well together, DS1 didn’t seem to be too controlling and they were, by the sounds of it, having fun. It suddenly went quiet, though. Now, although you long for these moments of peace, a nagging fear always leaps into my head: ‘What the hell is he

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Carrying on from where I left off last time, it’s fair to say this period of homework appeasement has worked. Well, when I say worked, I mean we haven’t had any arguments about homework. He still won’t do it. That was until the wife discovered a foolproof method of motivation. For a while I have been meaning to write a blog about how DS1 doesn’t respond to rewards for doing something (likewise with consequences for

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The other week we had a meeting about another acronym. We met with DS1’s Senco to discuss his IEP – Individual Education Plan. This is basically the action plan the school is putting in place for the term, to start meeting the requirements that came out of the EHCP. During the course of this meeting I encountered another acronym – SPAG. Brilliant, I thought he must be learning cookery. Spag bol is my signature dish,

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I had real difficulty getting into the upstairs bathroom the other day. There was a trail of clothing on the floor, some skeleton wristbands dotted about and a couple of black plastic strips (that appeared to have been cut off the strip curtain – like off of the ’70s – in his playroom) stretching across the room, tied onto the tap at one end and the light chord at the other. “What’s going on here?”

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DS1 came flying down the stairs and thrust a piece of paper into his mum’s hands. “I’ve made a list of my top ten things,” he said. It read: Dad (obviously) James (his monkey) Harry Potter stuff Watching the Harry Potter films Scooting Mum (sixth on the list – oops) Gold things (not sure what happened to yellow) Playing football Eating choclate (sic) frogs Making Thief of Death play (the current stage play he was

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The first week back at school seems to have gone remarkably well. A couple of times I’ve had to double check that I’ve picked up the right child. The first day back, DS1 headed in, smiling and chatty, his hair full of product. Remember the trauma of the haircut not so long ago? The marvel that is Lisa has been back and he happily sat down and had his haircut without complaint – even chatting

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Somehow, on his EHCP, one of DS1’s strengths is listed as: “He loves walking.” This statement comes from the fact, that at the time of the meeting, he had started walking the South Downs Way with his mum. He certainly enjoys the outdoors and loves running around the countryside – once he’s there. The trick is to get him out of the house in the first place and convince him that he does indeed have

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A couple of weeks ago, the draft EHC Plan popped through the letterbox. The boy has been approved for funding to have additional support in school, and a dossier of his needs, required outcomes and how they are going to be achieved have been collated. We had 15 days to respond and advise of any changes we wanted. Being the organised people we are, we sat up late with a bottle of wine on the

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Last week was DS1’s eighth birthday. Birthdays are a big deal, like they are for any kid. Although they can be a touch traumatic – a sign we should have recognised when he was just two. We took him to a kid’s festival. All the greats were there: Rastamouse miming live; a giant Peppa Pig – he was scared sh*tless of her; and Bob the Builder – he burst into tears and begged to be

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I’ve wanted to write a feel-good blog for a while but each time I try I reach an impasse – there's just not the same entertainment value in it. But a recent trip up to Suffolk to see some old friends proved to be the catalyst I was looking for – and, more importantly, a real step forward for the boy. Our annual pilgrimage to the East Anglian coast means that DS1 is familiar with

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There was a knock on the front door. A flash of blonde hair rushed past me, up the stairs and into his room. I opened the door. “Hi, I’m Lisa,” said the visitor. “The hairdresser.” I welcomed her in. “He’s run upstairs,” I said. “That’s OK,” she replied. Lisa was used to this. She has kids with autism herself and specialises in cutting the hair of the likes of DS1. I went upstairs to find

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It’s about time we had a new acronym. Last week, I met an Ehco. No, not the talkative electronic device that Amazon is pimping (I know the spelling is different, but the pronunciation is the same), but a woman from the special educational needs team at the local borough council (unfortunately, her name wasn’t Alexa). To give her her full title, she is an EHCP Co-ordinator. Her job is to assess – or rather to

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The other day we were doing some quizzes on a Harry Potter website. The format was multiple-choice, but when DS1 didn’t know the answer he steadfastly refused to guess. “You do it,” he said, hiding his face with his hands, not wanting to see the outcome. “Why don’t you want to guess?” I asked. He didn’t answer. “Is it because you’re scared of getting it wrong?” “Yes.” A couple of questions later, he went into meltdown

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A miracle occurred the other day. We were over the park playing football, sweating like pigs in the boiling sun. “Be good to have a shower after this won’t it,” I said. “OK.” I nearly fainted on the spot. “What?” I managed to not exclaim out loud. Did my ears deceive me? Had he just agreed to have a shower? The last time he had one of those was in 2015. Washing is not DS1’s

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Yesterday, I found myself gripping DS1 firmly by the shoulders, shouting at him, six inches from his face, about the fact he’d refused to eat a piece of toast but he wanted me to make him another one. The frustration was boiling over. Fortunately, I was able to pull myself back from the brink, apologise and move on. “It’s a piece of toast,” I thought to myself, “what’s the point”. It’s not always that easy.

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Last week DS1 had a school trip to a woodland area a few miles from where we live, known as The Look Out. He really didn’t want to go. When he was younger, we used to go there quite a bit: there are miles of trails to run around, an adventure playground, hands-on science exhibits and ice cream. It doesn’t get any better. But for more than a year now, he has refused to go

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