A-Z Of Autism - A is For....

As promised here is the first in a fortnightly posting of the A to Z of Autism, as a Mum of 3 children on the spectrum, I found it hard to find real information when my littles were diagnosed. The internet is a raft of scary info, some not always correct or just set up to scare you. I wrote on a blog a few years ago and the A-Z of autism posts were extremely popular. So now that blog has long gone I decided it was time to reprise the series and start again. It worth me pointing out I am not a doctor or health professional, this is just me as a Mum telling you some of the things I have experienced. So let's go, some posts may be short as there won't be many words!! 


Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is a condition that affects social interaction, communication, interests and behaviour. In children with ASD, the symptoms are present before three years of age, although a diagnosis can sometimes be made after the age of three. I have 2 children diagnosed with classic autism.


Asperger syndrome is a form of autism, which is a lifelong disability that affects how a person makes sense of the world, processes information and relates to other people. Autism is often described as a 'spectrum disorder' because the condition affects people in many different ways and to varying degrees. I have 1 child with a diagnosis of Asperger's.


This can come hand in hand for some people with autism, 1 of my boys suffers particularly badly with anxiety and it's all-consuming for him and affects all aspects of his life. We try to keep a handle on his anxiety by watching for his triggers. The last thing we need is an anxiety attack as these lead to massive meltdowns. Anxiety can affect an autistic person physically and psychologically, the main triggers for anxiety for us is sensory processing, school expectations and social interactions. We try to limit these as much as possible to prevent an anxiety attack, but life is unavoidable and we cant always prevent it.


I have always been careful to encourage my children to partake in the real world. I am mindful to not push them too much to do things they find uncomfortable. I did this as I didn't want them to refuse to go outside in the real world. Several people of the spectrum develop agoraphobia as the idea of going outside is too much for them to bear, so staying inside where they feel safe is the better option. I learnt very quickly about this after my firstborn was diagnosed. If he didn't like a situation, for example, the supermarket I just wouldn't take him again as I didn't want to distress him. This made doing everyday tasks very difficult. So for my other children, I slowly introduced more things that made them uncomfortable in small doses, the results are that they are happy to go to most places now.


I have a lot of experience with aggression from my 3 and this can be triggered by all kinds of things. Frustration, temper tantrums, anger, upset the list is endless. This is obviously something we try to avoid but sometimes sits inevitable that the pot will boil over. The boys tend to be shouters if they are angry/aggressive, they are very rarely hands-on and push or shove or break things if they are angry. My daughter, on the other hand, is a whirlwind, she will hit, bite, spit, scream at the top of her lungs and break anything she can get her hands on, She has been know to turn her room upside down when in a rage and she's still only 12. As I said we try to avoid these incidents. we live in a mostly autistic household so we run things with military precision for ease.


Some people presume when someone has autism they lack ability, this is seldom true. My tribe have bags of ability in all different areas of their life. Their ability astounds me, Miss S has an amazing memory and can recall things I have no recollection of! This does have a downside though LOL, never tell her something that you aren't going to follow through on!! Mr L has a fantastic ability for drawing, although he doesn't share it with the world.

Do you have any experiment with autism? Do you have any A's to add into the mix? If you like to look of this series make sure you give us a follow on social media to keep up to date with our new posts. The next post will be up in 2 weeks and will be obviously B is For.....

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The A-Z of Autism

a to z of autism
When my first child was diagnosed with autism 13 years ago the first thing I did was searched the internet for answers. I wanted to know what kind of life he would have, how autism would affect him, would he be happy, the internet is a varied place and I found little of use. Way back when I wrote over on my old blog I wrote a series called The A-Z Of Autism, each month was a letter of the alphabet and a list of words associated with that letter, for example, A is for Anxiety, I then gave a brief description of how that word meant to us as an autism family. 

It was 5 years ago when I wrote the last so I am sure there will be plenty of new words! There is a new letter each fortnight, so the entire alphabet will take a year to complete. I hope it will become a useful resource for newly diagnosed looking for answers, parents who have been diagnosed for a while and looking for familiarity, a resource for all. 

So before we begin lets starts with what is autism? If you google it will tell you: Autism is a complex, lifelong developmental disability that appears during childhood. It impacts social skills, communication skills and emotional skills. 

Children with autism often present with restricted, rigid and even obsessive behaviours. These can be surrounding their activities or interests. You may find they have an obsessive attachment to a specific object, these can be unusual also, such as a teaspoon as one of my 3 became attached too. They may also have repetitive body movements such as hand flapping, rocking or kicking. The important thing to remember is this list is not exhaustive, and if you have met one person with autism, you have met just one person with autism, as they are all so wonderfully different. In our house, we have 1 adult and 3 children on the spectrum and they all have their own unique quirks!

For us we noticed early on with L that he was different, he hated to be tickled, was a serious child yet also wise beyond his years! He started nursery at 18 months and it became obvious he was different, the diagnosis process was started and he got his diagnosis aged 3. Our 2nd to be diagnosed was Pops, she was developing well and was way ahead of her milestones. Just after her 1st birthday, it appeared someone shut a switch off and she went backwards overnight, she stopped speaking, walking and sleeping! I recognised some traits similar to her brother and informed my health visitor. She brushed me off and told me I was being neurotic and looking for something that wasn't there. She refused to refer us as she was only 2. I ended up taking Pops along to one of L's CAHM's appointments, L's Doctor immediately saw what I did and Pops was diagnosed within 5 months. For Dj he struggled all the way through primary, my advice is to get the help aligned while they are young if you can. Both L and Pops were diagnosed before school, once in school, it all comes about money and paperwork. Dj never settled in school, found friendships difficult, had little attention span and ended up being presumed to have ADHD. We went through the CAHM's process and he was diagnosed with Aspergers when he was 9.

I suppose my above ramble is a little off-piste in regards to the A-Z of autism, but it helps a little with our story. I suppose what I want to say is you know YOUR child and if you think something is wrong go with it.

Every 2nd Monday I will post an A-Z of Autism post and hopefully it will help you understand a little about the wonderful world of autism.
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