Recommended Reading

Blachman, D.R. and Hinshaw, S. (2002) 'Patterns of friendship among girls with and without Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder.' Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology 30, 625-640. Cumine,V., Leach, J. and Stevenson, G. (1998) Asperger Syndrome A Practical Guide for Teachers. London David Fulton Publishers. Cumine,V., Leach, J. and Stevenson, G. (2000) Autism in the Early Years A Practical Guide. London David Fulton Publishers. Dowty, T. and Cowlishaw, K. (2001) Home Educating Our Autistic...

Does my child have ADHD

The diagnosis of AD HD in itself is a contested issue. Many paediatricians feel it is over-diagnosed and is a modern-day label for children with behavioural problems. On the other hand, there are also paediatricians who believe that the disorder is actually under-diagnosed and far more children would benefit from early diagnosis and intervention. Whilst no two children are the same, whether or not they have AD HD, children or indeed adults with AD HD all have a core set of symptoms These three...

Large families

If you are one of these people who, like me, automatically answers when someone shouts Mum regardless of where you are or who is with you, if you have to count your children when you are out, or you go through a few names before you hit on the right one then undoubtedly you have mayhem in your house too As parents ofmore than one child, the difficulties we face and the fun we have will differ from those with only one or maybe even two children, and the presence of any shade of adolescence,...

Language difficulties and siblings

I thought I would include a typical conversation merely as an example of how language difficulties, both receptive and expressive, affect the whole of our household. I am sure those of you with high functioning children can relate to how bizarre these conversations can seem to the outsider. I am sure those of you with children of any colour of the autistic spectrum will sit and smile (or groan ) as you remember similar conversations occurring in your own family. Whilst these conversations can...

Autism nightmares

It is crucial that all parents and professionals recognize that autistic children think differently, feel differently and react differently to typically developing children. It is imperative that we teach their siblings this and that we are confident that others understand just how impor tant safety issues are - particularly for autistic children who often react differently to pain or cannot tell us they are in distress. Eighteen months ago Ben seemed to be locked into his own silent world,...

Autism and Asperger Syndrome

The National Autistic Society website. Tony Attwood's homepage with lots of information about all aspects of Asperger Syndrome. http www.autism-society.org Autism Society of America (ASA). Online Asperger Syndrome Support (OASIS) (American site). http www.autismsociety.on.ca Autism Society Ontario. A site with Winnie the Pooh backdrops, loads of links, PECS pictures and lots of educational stuff. http www.autism.org stories.html A website all about Social Stories. Luke's website with details of...

Home education websites

Http www.he-special.org.uk Home education link for the UK. http www.education-otherwise.org Another home education link. US National Home Education Network (NHEN). Other useful websites Disney World information for disabled travellers. Financial help for UK families caring for children with disabilities (means tested). Advice and information on bullying for parents, teachers and children. www.tapestrylifecentre.com Link to Tapestry Life Centre. Independent assessments by Lisa Blakemore-Brown,...

PECS Picture Exchange Communication System

PECS is a picture exchange communication system whereby the child learns to use pictures in order to initiate communication. Developed within the Delaware Autistic Programme over ten years ago, it is widely used throughout the world. Two adults are needed in order to initiate PECS. Motivators are used such as a dummy, food or favourite toy (Ben was not on the GF CF diet then so toast was a great motivator for him). The motivator is shown to the child by one adult and when the child reaches for...

Language and the ADHD child

All things need to be spelled out clearly to any child, but a child on the autistic spectrum needs things spelling out to them more than most. In a way they are like foreigners. (Jackson 2002) Luke wrote this in his book Freaks, Geeks and Asperger Syndrome and while he wrote the book primarily about Asperger Syndrome, he does live with Joe and is aware of his needs too. As he says, the need to speak clearly and precisely is important for all of our colourful kids. Much misunderstanding and...

Dyspraxia

Over the years, dyspraxia has been given several names. Clumsy child syndrome, developmental coordination disorder, minimal cerebral dysfunction .call it what you will, dyspraxia is a very real problem to many people, children and adults alike. Dyspraxia or developmental coordination disorder is likely to affect many people with autism. It is debatable as to whether dyspraxia is an autistic spectrum disorder in itself or whether it is a co-morbid condition that accompanies another spectrum...

Siblings of children with ADHD

If someone's belongings go missing in our house Joe gets the blame. If food has disappeared Joe gets the blame. If something is broken in our house.Joe gets the blame When the all too familiar screech of Joe reverberates throughout the house, it also serves another purpose.it gives Joe the attention he craves. All of you parents with children with AD HD know there is nothing they like more than attention - whether it is positive or negative, any attention will do Most of the time it is probably...

Treasured memories

Memories are the most treasured gifts we can give our children. When they leave home, their memories go with them. Most families have special events and family gatherings which they can look back on and talk about, smile about and even cringe over in years to come. When children in the family have a special need, particularly one as unpredictable as autism, then there seem to be far more of these occasions to remember - all of them with hilarity (and maybe some embarrassment ). Whilst trips...

Sleeping sickness

There is nothing more guaranteed to make the future seem bleak and life feel pretty unbearable than lack of sleep. Sleep deprivation is not something to be taken lightly. I know far too well exactly how it feels to crawl into bed after spending four hours trying to get one of the children to sleep, only to have another of them wake up. Unfortunately I am in the exhausting position of struggling to get Joe and Ben to sleep for hours, only to have a host of noisy teenagers descend upon the house,...

Anxieties of Asperger Syndrome

Unfortunately the world is fraught with danger for any child. It is a sad fact but we have to teach our children far more than basic safety issues such as safety in the home and road safety. From a very early age both at home and at school, children are taught to say no to strangers, what to do if someone touches them in an unwanted manner.it seems that all sorts of sinister dangers lurk around the corner. For any child these are hard messages to grasp but for a child with Asperger Syndrome...

Sense of self

One area that is particularly problematic for Ben and I am sure many other autistic children, is his sense of self. For many years, I, Portage (the pre-school home education service) and anyone else working with Ben, spent a great deal of time and effort attempting to teach him that he was Ben. When I realized that Ben was not deaf, I very much wanted him to turn to his name or to know that he was the Ben that I was talking to and talking about. Every single day without any exception at all for...

Diet and biological intervention

The Feingold diet for the USA and worldwide. http www.autismmedical.com Allergy-induced autism website with useful links and forum. The website of the Autism Research Unit containing the Sunderland Protocol A logical sequencing of biomedical interventions. The Autistic Research Institute in San Diego. Information about recent research into autism. Organizers of DAN (Defeat Autism Now) conferences.

Multicoloured Mayhem

Parenting the Many Shades of Adolescents and Children with Autism, Asperger Syndrome and AD HI) Freaks, Geeks and Asperger Syndrome A User Guide to Adolescence A User Guide to the GF CF Diet for Autism, Asperger Syndrome and AD HD Foreword by Marilyn Le Breton ISBN 1 84310 055 X Asperger's Syndrome A Guide for Parents and Professionals Tony Attwood Foreword by Lorna Wing ISBN 1 85302 249 9 Living with the Ups, the Downs and Things in Between Edited by Liane Holliday Willey Foreword by Luke...

Siblings of children with autism and AS

Do any of you feel like you are a piece of elastic, being pulled one way and then the other and in danger of snapping I often do. Trying to divide your time, affection and money equally between each sibling is no easy task and try as you might, as parents, to keep things 'fair'. Some things in life just aren't If by some astounding phenomenon, parents manage to create balance and harmony and all family members consider that they are being treated fairly (if so then I truly believe in miracles...

DSMIV Diagnostic criteria for Attention DeficitHyperactivity Disorder

Inattention 6 (or more) of the following symptoms of inattention have persisted for at least 6 months to a degree that is maladaptive and inconsistent with developmental level (a) often fails to give close attention to details or makes careless mistakes in schoolwork, work, or other activities (b) often has difficulty sustaining attention in tasks or play activities (c) often does not seem to listen when spoken to directly (d) often does not follow through on instructions and fails to finish...

Dangers of dyspraxia

Many of you parents reading this will have dyspraxic children, even if dyspraxia is an 'added extra' amidst other shades of autism. You will know all too well how many cups of coffee have been knocked over by your child, how many plates have been smashed and how many bumps and bruises you have nursed over the years. I am no different. Parents or carers ofchildren with dyspraxia should be given automatic passes to the emergency room at the local hospital Here's a quick example of how dyspraxia...

Medication

The Ritalin debate is as controversial in the field of AD HD as the MMR vaccination is in the field of autism. There are few subjects within AD HD more likely to create a heated debate than medication and whether or not we as parents should 'drug' our children. From reports of stunted growth, smaller brains, the likelihood of drug addiction in later life, even death, Ritalin and the use ofmedication for AD HD children has had some bad publicity. The vast majority of people who have AD HD use...

Gluten and caseinfree diet Opiod excess theory

Whilst I love my boys and their differences dearly, I would give the world to ensure they are healthy and happy. For them, that meant eradicating their bowel problems. Many children on the autistic spectrum have bowel problems - not all, but many. Indeed there seems to be a growing number of autistic children who have a combination of autism, food intolerances and bowel disorders. As I have already written in Joe's story, Joe had horrendous and seemingly inexplicable diarrhoea. Luke had always...

A tribute to Emma Jane

I would like to say a big thank you to my lovely, brave friend Sam, who has given me permission to write about what happened to Emma-Jane in the hope that it will make everyone who works with, and cares for, an autistic child be that extra bit vigilant in their watch over him or her. I sit and write this section whilst choking back tears. It is not easy to write but it is important that as many people as possible are made aware of what can happen to our very special children, and just how...

Meet theJdkfoons

Ladies and gentlemen - let me introduce to you the Jacksons. Full of fun and laughter, trials and tribulations, chaos and catastrophes - we could never be described as dull. There is one word which sums up the Jackson household perfectly and that is 'chaotic'. Parenting in itself is no easy task, but when you have adolescents, pre-adolescents and many shades of the autistic spectrum all under one roof, then life can certainly be .colourful I have seven children, all very special, all very much...

Holidays Coping with Change

Disney World diaries 185 A change is as good as a rest 200 Travel tips 201 Disney advice 203 Autism nightmares 205 A tribute to Emma-Jane 207 AD HD hazards 211 Anxieties of Asperger Syndrome 213 Dangers of dyspraxia 217 Safety suggestions 220 12. The Parents' Survival Guide 223 A time for everything 225 Count your blessings 226 Maintaining your own identity 227 Sleeping sickness 228 Survival skills 232 13. A Conclusion to the Chaos 237 Appendix Diagnostic Criteria With apologies to those of you...