Richard and Jaco: A Life With Autism

I watched BBC One’s Richard and Jaco: Life With Autism last night.

As a parent, I am able to identify with Welsh actor Richard Mylan’s fears for his son’s future.

As an autistic person, I understand Jaco’s world.

My son will be eight this year but does not have the ability to mask his autism as I have been able to do. Like Jaco, his autism is obvious. He wandered in while I was watching it and saw Jaco wearing his headphones. He said “Look mummy, that little boy looks like me!”

Richard impressed me with his desire to understand his son’s world even though it’s impossible for people to truly understand what they don’t experience themselves. However, Jaco is a lucky little boy to have Richard as a dad and the love he has for his son is a beautiful thing to see.

You get a view of what life can be like with an autistic child like Jaco. He reminds me so much of my own little boy, as in,visibly uncomfortable with environmental stimuli but happy in his world.

In order for him to learn more about Jaco’s future, Richard went to meet various people on the spectrum. First he met Alex Lowry who is a motivational speaker and trainer on autism. An animated man, he is obviously passionate about what he does.

Although Jaco started secondary school and was happy, Richard was interested in finding out about special schools. In one such school he met two teenagers who had been tasked with the job of showing him around. One boy told of the bullying he’d endured in mainstream school culminating in a broken arm and the other told of being ‘kicked out’ of school for being ‘naughty’. Both struggled in mainstream but both spoke highly of the special place where they are understood and most importantly, happy.

Then there was Edward who is severely autistic and in residential care. He is a young man who is happy in his own world and who has a great support network. He, like every other autistic person, does not know what ‘normal’ feels like. All we know is our normal. Ed has an amazing memory and can tell you what day your birthday was on when you were born in a matter of seconds. He is a fascinating person.

Ed’s mother by her own admission has taken a leap of faith in allowing him to live independently but said, “You have to let your kids go don’t you? You have to let them grow up and be independent”.

Bottom line is yes, we do.

The person who struck me the most was the young man who Richard visited in his workplace. This man was literally living his dream of doing admin. Yes, admin! The job that so many people loathe. Yet, he was happier than a pig in muck sorting through all the letters and stuff. What’s more, he is a valued member of the team and according to his boss, contributes to the happy and relaxed atmosphere of the office. What choked me up was when he said to Richard, “If I didn’t have autism, I wouldn’t be as special.”

Richard said “So you see it as a positive thing?”

With eyes that twinkled (and bloody good eye contact thank you very much) the young man replied, “Yes. autism is a very special thing and whoever has it should be proud of it”.

I am proud of who I am and I want my son to be proud of who he is too.

The Boy and I have the same problems but we react very differently. I am an autistic person raising an autistic child and I know how important these next few years will be for him. I can’t sit back and do nothing because he will be a teenager before I know it. I have to prepare my son for a life without me and I have to do it now. I can’t guarantee that his secondary school experience will be as positive as his primary one but I will be watching closely and if he’s unhappy, I will have NO problem in placing him in a special school, especially after seeing how happy those lads were.

My passion comes not only from being his mum but also my years of suffering in mainstream. I know, without a doubt, that I would have been happy in a special school tailored to my needs. With the confusion and crowds removed, I would have thrived instead of having just about survived. However, my time has long since gone. It’s my son’s time now..

I want him to have a relationship. To be able, not only to work, but to be appreciated for his contribution to society. Ultimately, I want him to be able to live independently of us. Don’t get me wrong, I dread the day coming when he no longer needs me but that’s also the day I’m aiming for. It’s what every parent aims for. Sadly, some people are too severely affected for total independence to be an option.

More than anything else in this world, I want him to be happy and to embrace his differences, not hide them as I have done.

We, as parents, do the best we can for our children. We give them the tools they need to survive and they take what they’ve learned out into the world. With autism, the work starts earlier. It has to. Richard Mylan knows that. I know that. Most autism parents will understand that. Another thing that unites us all is the fear of not being here for our special children so we do the very best we can while we are still around.

Thanks to Richard and Jaco for a glimpse into your lives and for helping to spread awareness.

Richard and Jaco: A Life With Autism is on BBC iplayer for one more week. Well worth a watch, folks.

Spectrum Sunday

Good Wife meets Shit Wife

 

I came across this article while I was sat on a cafe bog in rural Cumbria.

Don’t get me wrong, I like my vintage nostalgia but women as second class doormats is best left where it is in my opinion..

It occurred to me just how much times have changed so I thought I would compare housewives sixty two years apart. For this purpose I have created Shit Wife..

Have dinner ready. Plan ahead, even the night before, to have a delicious meal ready on time for his return.

Shit Wife is impressed with Mary Berry’s baking skills but hasn’t yet managed to create the perfect bake. Or even a mediocre bake. In fact, she’s crap at baking. However, Bezzer’s books look fablus on her bookshelf.

Prepare yourself. Touch up your make up.

Shit Wife looks like Alice Cooper by tea-time and is about as fresh looking as week old roadkill. Depending on the season (and availability of leggings) she may also have cactus legs.

Put a ribbon in your hair and be fresh looking.

The last time Shit Wife wore ribbons, David Beckham was a sperm.

He has just been with a lot of work-weary people!

Shit Wife has had the day from HELL. She’s been e-mailing the council about the bins AGAIN, the lurcher’s dinner has done an encore all over the kitchen floor and one of the other Mums has been giving her the evils on the school yard.

Clear away the clutter. Make one last trip through the main part of the house before your husband arrives.

Shit Wife gets busy with the hoover about 30 minutes before Hubs gets in. She has perfected the art of looking knackered when it fact she’s been binge watching Desperate Housewives all afternoon.

Prepare the children. Take a few minutes to wash the children’s hands and faces (if they are small) comb their hair and, if necessary, change their clothes. They are little treasures and he would like to see them playing the part.

Shit Wife hasn’t the time (or inclination) for such shit.

Minimise all noise. At the time of his arrival, eliminate all noise of the washer, dryer or vacuum. Try to encourage the children to be quiet.

Shit Wife has no problem getting them to be quiet as they’ve lost the ability to speak thanks to modern technology. They now communicate via text.

Can u giv meeee sum £ pleaseeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee?

Or

Wot?

Be happy to see him

Shit Wife imagines Hubs is Sean Bean

Greet him with a warm smile and show sincerity in your desire to please him.

Shit Wife imagine Hubs is Sean Bean, NAKED.

Don’t greet him with complaints and problems

Shit Wife unloads her crap unto Hubs’ before his coat’s off.

Don’t complain if he’s late home for dinner or even stays out all night. Count this as minor compared to what he may have gone through that day.

*Author of blog starts to choke*

Shit Wife flings Hubs’ tea in the bin when he staggers in late and pissed. If she’s on her period (or menopausal) she’ll launch the plate at him as well. Lucky for him her aim is always off. So far, she’s trashed three dinner sets and half a dozen mugs. However, Hubs’ is now highly competent at plastering. If he stays out all night he will come home to find she’s changed the locks, his clothes are in bin-bags on the pavement and ‘DIE BASTARD’ has been weed-killer-ed into the front lawn. He should count this as minor compared to what she’ll do when she gets her hands on him.

Arrange his pillow

Shit Wife regularly ponders the consequences of smothering Hubs to death with his ESPECIALLY when he’s snorting like a pig and drooling all over her new Argos duvet set. She bides her time for when the menopause finally robs her of her sanity and she can get away with manslaughter on the grounds of diminished responsibility.

Offer to take off his shoes.

Shit Wife knows Hubs’ feet smell like cheesy cat vomit and under NO circumstances (including life threatening) would she EVER touch them.

Speak in a low, soothing and pleasant voice.

Shit Wife’s voice can reach well over 90 decibels when sufficiently riled, like when Hubs turns Emmerdale off to watch some crap about building sheds on Channel Bore.

Remember, he is master of the house.

Only in his dreams..

You have no right to question him.

Shit Wife will give him an interrogation Roz Huntley would be proud of. He WILL be questioned, at length, until he breaks.

A good wife always knows her place.

A good husband knows when to back away slowly.

Disclaimer. Note, Shit Wife is based loosely on me (not telling you which bits) and a few women I know with some creative license thrown in.

P.S all wives are not shit.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Up Yours! (My Colonoscopy)

Shopping List

  • 24 pack of EXTRA SOFT bog roll
  • LARGE tub of Sudocrem
  • Five packs of soothing bum wipes
  • Lemonade (to disguise taste of laxative)
  • Aromatherapy candle (to disguise smell of poo)
  • Plastic bed sheet (just in case)
  • Extra undies (just in case)

48 hours Before Colonoscopy

Ate like a pig.

24 hours Before Colonoscopy

7am. Woke up.

7.02 am – 9am. Had 19 cups of tea and an egg on toast.

9 am onwards. No milk in drinks. No food. Can only eat clear jellies, Bovril, clear soups and boiled sweets. *weeps*

12.30pm. FOOKING STARVING!!!

12.35 pm. Lemon jelly for dinner (which didn’t touch the sides)

12.45. Heard OH opening a packet of crisps and wanted to end his life.

12.55. Saw picture of somebody’s chips on Instagram and started to cry.

1pm. Banned myself from Instagram.

1.30. Had a Bovril.

3.30. Felt faint with hunger.

4.30. Had bowl of clear soup and another Bovril.

5pm LAXATIVE OF DOOM TIME!!

Smells like cleaning fluid but doesn’t actually taste that bad..

5.22. One glass down, seven to go..

5.55. Two glasses down, six to go..

6.14. Three glasses down, five to go..

6.45 Four glasses down, four to go,

6.46 Had some stirrings in the bowel region..

6.50 THE WORLD FELL OUT OF MY ARSE!!!

7pm – 8pm FIFTEEN trips to the loo.

ROUND TWO OF LAXATIVE OF DOOM

8.23 Five glasses down, three to go..

8.55  Six glasses down, two to go..

9.23 Seven glasses down, one to go

9.53 Done

29 trips to the loo in total!

My bum hole after 29 trips to the loo

The Colonoscopy

I made myself a promise that I would write an honest, but humourous, account of my colonoscopy so here goes..

I arrived at the hospital at 8.45 am armed with my Kindle ready for a long wait but it didn’t happen because I was called in fairly quickly, so I was winning already.

First job was to put one of THOSE flattering gowns..

I’m used to the flasher gowns having had enough Gynae procedures done in my time. This time, though, I also got a pair of ‘dignity pants’ which have a kinky slit at the back. Now I always struggle with this part so I had the nurse repeat the instructions THREE times so I didn’t make an arse of myself, literally..

Next was the ‘to sedate or not to sedate’ question due to my recent adverse reactions to local anesthesia. A cannula was put in anyway so I could change my mind if needs be, though the consultant did do his best to reassure me that there is no connection between sedative and anesthetic and he’d rarely seen a reaction to one.

As it was my anxiety kicked in BIG TIME, so they took one look at my shaking lunatic self and persuaded me that sedation was the way to go.

So away with the fairies I went.

I’d already made my mind up that I wasn’t going to watch my own insides on the screen, so while the consultant was up to his tricks with his rubber glove I shut my eyes and slurred away to anybody who was listening.

I felt some discomfort when the camera was going round the bends of my colon, but they just whacked more sedative in me and ten minutes later the consultant peered over at me and said, ‘That’s it,  we’re all finished and you’re fine!’.

YAY!

I spent 45 minutes in recovery farting myself DELIRIOUS, while I had some tea and toast, which I was so grateful of as my mouth felt dry as a camels arse after not being able to drink for almost 12 hours..

Then it was back on with the clothes and I was on my way home.

I’ve dreaded this thing for months and had stupidly terrified myself by reading horror stories on the internet, but the thing is that thousands of Colonoscopies are performed every year without a problem,  it’s just that people don’t tend to write about positive experiences.

The prep wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be and I downed the lot no problem. The sprinting back and forth to the bog was more inconvenient than anything else and the procedure itself was uncomfortable for a few seconds, but that was it. I’ve had trickier shits that have hurt me more than the colonoscopy did and I’m not scared to have another one done that’s for sure.

The best thing is that I got the ALL CLEAR and that’s a HUGE weight off my mind. There are no nasties lurking in my bowels, aside my Farmer Giles and they are more annoying than nasty.

I urge you NOT to be embarrassed to go to your GP if you have bum problems. If anything is out of the ordinary, just go. Bowel changes, blood, weight loss etc. go tell your GP, because people are literally dying of embarrassment.

Me? Over the past few months I have had more fingers up my bum, (including my own), than Sooty and I’ve even strolled into my GP’s carrying a tube of MY OWN POO! While I was waiting for the sedative to wear off in the recovery room, I let rip some of my best farts EVER and I’m just gutted OH wasn’t there to hear them, he’d have been SO proud!

Go get seen.

Bottoms up!