Finding good support providers for autistic children

Finding good support providers for autistic children

Something I’ve come to learn is, finding good support providers for autistic children. Is a bit like looking for the golden egg/fleece, or Poseidon’s Trident. Or whatever other mythical object you might want to find. We have been fairly lucky that Jack goes to a really good place for overnight respite, every other week. Finding a good service provider for weekly daytime respite, has proven a lot more difficult. We have gone through a few in our time, for a variety of different reasons.

The first provider we had ceased to exist due to lack of funding, so we moved to another one. Not long after the same thing happened again. The next one we had for a couple of years before cancelling only recently. They were okay, with 2 workers taking Jack out for 3 hours a week, which he really enjoyed. The trouble was, the turnover in staff was ridiculously high, which caused problems. As Jack would get upset when people would leave.

The staff also weren’t given any real training, and far too many times we were let down by people not turning up. Or cancelling at the last minute, which caused major problems. Telling an autistic child that their plan for the day has been changed at the last second, or 30 minutes after he was supposed to have gone out, which happened a few times. With no real explanation as to why to give him, is a recipe for disaster.

Searching for a new provider

With this in mind we have been searching for a new provider, for a while nothing was coming up. Then we were recommended a place, that sounded so perfect for Jack. A provider that could give Jack the 2 to 1 support he needs. They have their own centre, where Jack can go and do all sorts of activities. He can also mix with other autistic kids of his own age if he wants to, and he really wants to. He finds new people difficult and it will take time. They can also take him out into the community, and the big one is the service continues into adulthood. This is unheard of, I’ve never certainly never heard anything like this before. So we desperate to try and get Jack on their books.

We had the issue over needing funding increased to allow Jack to have 6 hours a week, to make it worthwhile. We got the funding in place, for him to go over the summer holidays. He went for the first time this Thursday.

Jack’s first visit

Jack is always anxious about going to a new place, even somewhere he is looking forward to going to. So we put all the ground work in, to make him as comfortable as possible. The people who were going to be looking after him, came to meet him. They showed him photos of where he would be going, and talked to him about what he likes, and what he wanted to do.

On the day, Jack’s support workers came to pick him up, and he was so excited he shot straight out of the door. I had to call him back, as he forgot his bag. It was a good sign that he was so happy to be going! He was really happy when he came home, and even brought home some homemade pizza for us to eat. And he had all our favourite toppings, Pepperoni for Mum and Lily, and vegetation for me. Which shows he was putting thought into what we liked as he did them, which is nice.

Finding good support providers for autistic children

He talked all about what he had been doing, and how he met lots of new people. He said he can’t wait to go back next week, and even asked why he can’t go everyday. In the evening we did have a meltdown, which would have come from all the sensory input, throughout the day. He was fine again afterwards, it’s just one of those things. Jack will always have meltdowns. Hopefully when he fully settles into the routine of going there, he will be able to stay calmer.

Overall though, finding good support providers for autistic children, is no easy task. We are really pleased with the one we have found, especially as it’s not something that will suddenly stop when he turns 18. Which is what happens with his current overnight respite. We are a few years away from that yet, but it soon comes round.

If you want any advice about service providers, please feel free to ask. As always, thank you for reading.

Dad Does Autism

Managing  Depression

Managing Depression

Today I want to talk to you all about managing depression. For those of you that don’t already know, I am diagnosed with “long term” depression. Basically meaning it’s is something I have been battling with for probably about 18 years now. I have learnt ways to manage it better, but it is always there. It’s an illness that I don’t see ever going away, maybe I’m wrong and it will. But I don’t see hoping for it too suddenly go away as helpful, I have to deal with the here and now. So managing depression is what I have to do.

I said I’ve had depression for 18 years, I came to that conclusion with a counsellor. After finally going to see a doctor 4 years ago, as for the previous 14 years my depression was hidden from the world. I hid it well. Looking back, there were definitely signs that people could have seen. Some ways that I acted at times, but when people did ask if I was alright. I was quick to say of course and put on a happy face.

Tell people you are struggling

That’s the reason I’m writing this post. Like a lot of men out there, I just don’t like talking about how I’m feeling. I think we should all know by now, that’s not a good things. If you are struggling, be it depression, stress, anxiety or anything your worried about. Finding someone to talk to is the best thing you can do. It’s a hell of a lot easier telling other people to do that, than doing it yourself though.

This is where I take a deep breath, and tell you I am really struggling at the moment. I’ve not used this platform for this before, and I’m not even sure how I feel about it. Or even if I will end up posting it. I’ve just picked up my phone and started typing, to get out of my own head for a bit. This isn’t a planned post, and I have no idea where it is going…

What depression means to me today

To this day, I still don’t talk about my depression a lot, and I still mostly hide it away. There are a few reasons for this. Probably at least once every day, even during the good times, a suicidal thought will appear. I don’t want to be telling people everyday, what’s going on in my head. I’d worry them to death. But I feel like I’ve got a pretty good handle on things, I’ve learnt to recognise when there’s a real problem forming, and I have strategies in place for “surviving depression”.

I use words like survive and battle, because to me that is what it feels like. My depression doesn’t come from a specific event or some trauma, for whatever reason it is just part of who I am. People have asked me in the past what depression is like, and to be honest I’ve always given a vague answer. Saying things I’ve heard other people say, rather than what it’s like for me. Things like being in permanent low mood, which isn’t true for me. Even at my lowest points, if I forced myself to do something I liked, I could be happy for an hour or 2.

Natalie was the first one to realise that, me acting in a hyperactive silly manner. Was a sure sign I was struggling, and that was my attempt at managing depression. It usually lead to making everyone around me getting angry, and was massively self destructive. I’m working on not letting things get that far, before talking to people. Managing depression for me is a constant work in progress, there is no super cute. There is no, I do this and then everything is better. But I have things in place that I would like to share with you now, I’m no doctor or expert, but this is what helps me.

My 5 tips for managing depression

  1. If you haven’t already, go see your doctor
  2. Build a support Network
  3. Try to improve your lifestyle
  4. Learn to manage negative thoughts
  5. Create a wellness toolbox

Point one is the obvious starting point, you need to seek help and any possible medication or counselling you might need. I take anti depressants, and have been through counselling and Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) all of which helped me get to where I am today.

Building a support network is the big one, when it comes to managing depression. You can not do it all on your own. You need the help of supportive people, whether that be your spouse, parents or friends. Or a support group, or even people you’ve met on social media, whoever you feel comfortable confiding in. Having someone to talk to, is probably the biggest thing that will stop you doing something stupid. I have my people now, and it is the most important thing in my life.

Improving your lifestyle is an obvious, eat better, sleep betters exercise regularly, and it’s likely you will feel better. It’s easier said, than done of course, but keep trying.

Learn to manage negative thoughts

Managing depression

This is going to be my favourite bit! I often read things about “stopping” negative thoughts, and that can “eliminate” your depression. Maybe that works for some people, I don’t know. I wish I could just stop the thoughts in my head that tell me I’m worthless, that I’m failing, that I should just look myself. I really do. Whilst I can’t do that, I can manage them, and that’s what CBT taught me. Not magic ways to stop everything, but how to manage them. So I can function somewhat normally.

Knowing the signs that I’m starting to slip, and I need to talk to someone in that support network. Before it’s got to a point that it’s too late, and I’ve shut myself away. Being proactive, and making sure I make time for self care, and doing things I enjoy. For me personally the science behind depression I learnt through CBT, was a comfort. One of my major frustrations was I didn’t see a reason for being depressed. I couldn’t say this event happened, and that’s why I’m depressed. Learning that it is an illness, and all I can do is manage it helped me come to terms with depression and move forward.

Finally, create a wellness tool box. Which is basically just making a list of the things that make you happy, then having it on hand when you are feeling down. So you can quickly look at it, and choose something of off the list to do. In an attempt to make yourself feel better. This feels like it’s been a long post, so I’ll leave it there and talk more about the wellness tool box another time. It deserves its own post to be looked at in more detail.

I’d just like to say, that I am okay. I don’t know what this post is like, and I don’t much fancy reading it back. But I feel better for emptying my thoughts like this, if I do decide to post this, as always, thank you for reading.

Dad Does Autism

Cardboard box Dog House

Cardboard box Dog House

Today I finally get to show of some of Jack’s creativity, which doesn’t involve technology. He has made a cardboard box dog house, for his stuffed dog Jasper. I’m really pleased to finally have something to show from Jack, as there’s a lot more stuff from Lily on here at the moment. As she is always busy making things, whereas Jack has to be in the right mood for it.

When Jack makes something, it can’t just be your average “normal” thing. This dog house comes with pizza walls and floor. The reason being his 3 stuffed dogs he has with him at all times. Known as the Snuggly’s, that you can read more about in this post by clicking here. They don’t eat dog food, they eat pizza. So Jack wanted to make sure Jasper always has plenty of pizza to eat. A very caring thought! I wouldn’t mind a permanent supply of pizza myself.

Cardboard box dog house

Making the dog house

This is a really simple thing to make, Jack just used a old cardboard box. Then for the pizza, paper plates and red and yellow crepe paper. Cut pizza slices out and stick to the walls. He also did a lovely drawing of Jasper, which you can see inside the dog house. Then he made a sign for the top of the dog house that says “Jaspizza”.

Dog house sign

Can you see the Jasper drawing? Purposely placed in that last photo by Jack, to show how cheeky Jasper is. This is a fun little glimpse into the mind creative mind of Jack, that I just wanted to share with you all. As well as this cardboard box dog house, Jack has been working on lots of Pokemon stuff, that will be coming in a post very soon. As always, thank you for reading.

Dad Does Autism

Simple Rocky Road Recipe

Simple Rocky Road Recipe

The latest trip into the kitchen, sees myself and Lily making this simple rocky road recipe. This is number 7 of our attempts to make the recipes from the top 20 easy bakes for kids list, that we came up with. I’ve eaten plenty of rocky road in my time, but this would be my first time making it.

One thing that stuck out to me, as I was looking online for a recipe to follow. Is just how many slight variations there are to a Rocky Road recipe. In the end I picked one, and made my own slight variation. This is quite similar to the chocolate digestive fridge cake, that we have already made. The main difference is that you want to break the biscuit into much bigger chunks this time, and we are adding more ingredients.

Ingredients

  • 200g milk chocolate
  • 100g dark chocolate
  • 250g butter
  • 200g digestive biscuits
  • 2 table spoons Golden Syrup
  • 75g mini marshmallows (for mixture)
  • 25g mini marshmallows (for decoration)
  • 25g raisins
Ingredients
ingredients (minus the butter that I missed out)

Method

  • Great a baking tin.
  • Melt the chocolate in a heat proof bowl over a pan of boiling water. When the chocolate has melted add the butter and golden syrup. Stir regularly until its all melted and combined.
  • Mix the biscuits, raisins and the 75g of marshmallows in a bowl and pour in the chocolate mixture. Stir until the biscuits and marshmallows are evenly coated.
  • Pour the mixture into a tin and refrigerate. After 15 minutes remove from the fridge and top with the remaining marshmallows. Then return to the fridge.
  • Once the chocolate has set, remove from the fridge and cut into pieces.
Simple Rocky Road recipe

And there it is, another easy one that require no baking. Our simple Rocky Road recipe. It was a team effort this one, as we wanted to get them made quickly, so they would be ready for a picnic in the garden. It went quite well for a first attempt, I thought the chocolate mixture was a bit too runny, and was worried it wouldn’t turn out right. But they look okay and they tasted nice, and that’s a win in my book. After a couple of easy ones, we might have to do some real baking next time! As always, thanks for reading.

Dad Does Autism

Lily’s homemade cards

Lily’s homemade cards

Today I just want to share something with you that Lily did as a surprise for me. She made me a card. Lily loves making homemade cards, and there doesn’t need to be an occasion. She will just make one for people, she does it all the time for us at home. Her friends at school and other family members. She just loves being creative, and sharing it with people.

Regular readers will know that Lily loves to get creative with arts and crafts. You will also know that I like to bang on about it continuously, like any proud father should. As a young autistic girl, she is finding so much of life really difficult at the moment. When she sits down with some paper, card or whatever else, and is just allowed to be creative. It is such a beautiful thing to see, and makes me so happy.

Lily’s card

Homemade cards
Lily’s card

So there’s Lily’s card, and I can’t even express how much that I love it. A little picture of Lily she printed out, on top of a ladder made out of ice lolly sticks and matchsticks. I love how she found a photo of her reaching up, and it’s then positioned towards a moon. Then in the speech bubble it says, “love you to the moon and back”. It is just so cute, and it melts my heart. Then you have Lily’s creativity coming out with the night sky. So many colours going on, and then some stars stuck on. I think it’s incredible, but I’m obviously biased, so what do you think?

Homemade cards are always great for birthday’s Christmas, and whatever else you celebrate. But you are probably expecting a card of some sort already. To get one for no particular reason, other than the person giving it to you wanted to make something for you. Is really cool, and something I’d recommended doing, either yourself or something to get your kids to do.

If you’d like to see some more of Lily’s creations, click here to go to Lily’s Art Gallery. Her little gallery is slowly growing, and there’s quite a few cool things in there now. As always thank you to reading.

Dad Does Autism

Simple chocolate digestive fridge cake

Simple chocolate digestive fridge cake

Next up on the bakes we are trying from out top 20 easy bakes for kids post is, the simple chocolate digestive fridge cake. This one is not strictly baking, all you need are 4 ingredients and a fridge. A bowl and a spoon, plus a way to melt some chocolate and you are good to go.

Ingredients

  • 200g chocolate (any you like, we used Galaxy)
  • 225g Digestive biscuits (crushed)
  • 125g butter
  • 2 tablespoons of Golden Syrup
Ingredients

Method

Melt the butter and golden syrup in a pan. Add the crushed digestive biscuits and mix. Break the chocolate up and add to the pan. Mix as the chocolate melts. Once it is all mixed together, add to a lined cake tin and put in the fridge.

Completed mixture
Mixture before going in fridge

After an hour or 2 the mixture should be set, and ready to take out of the fridge. Take the cake out of the tin, and cut into squares/rectangles.

simple chocolate digestive fridge cake
the finished cakes

This is one of my absolute favourite treats, these ones tasted so good. Then considering how easy they are to make, for me nothing beats them. Simple chocolate digestive fridge cake, easy to make and taste great. If you’ve never tried this before, you need to give them a go. They probably aren’t good for the calorie count, but as an occasional treat, they are lovely!

If you haven’t checked out our top 20 bakes for kids post, you can do so by clicking this link. There is a wide variety on there, and this one if possibly my favourite. It certainly is that we’ve made so far, but I’m looking forward to making the cherry Bakewell cupcakes. Let us know what your favourite is, or even any other baking ideas we could try. As always, thank you for reading.

Dad Does Autism

Why you should frame your child’s art

Why you should frame your child’s art

If this isn’t your first time to this blog, there’s a good chance you will know, that my daughter loves art. Today I want to talk about, why you should frame your child’s art. I believe if your child has done a nice piece of art, and they are really proud of it. It should be put on display, in pride of place. You can put drawings or painting on the fridge using fridge magnets.

Something we did with Lily a while back was put one of her paintings in a frame. Then put it on display in the living room. She was so happy and proud to see her painting on display like that. It is a really simple thing to do, and you can get a simple plain a4 frame for relatively little money.

The benefits for the child

You get a nice centre piece, perhaps for the fire place or a windowsill. But what I really want to talk about is the benefits for the child. This relatively simple gesture, not only shows them you are proud and happy with their work. It shows them support, and for someone like Lily who really enjoys art. It encourages her to do more, and to do it with confidence.

As an autistic girl who has really struggled in her first year at junior school, Lily’s confidence and self esteem has taken a massive hit. She is working 2 years behind her expected level for her age, and gets really frustrated, and at times calls herself stupid. Finding ways to boost her confidence and self esteem, have been really important.

Lily did a lovely painting of a flowers in small pot/vase, and we decided it was time for another frame. We have a small back window in the living room, which is where we put the painting.

Why you should frame your child’s art

You always want to let your children know that you are proud of them, and do what you can too boost their confidence. That is why you should frame your child’s art, it is the gift that keeps on giving. Their painting will be on show as a constant visual reminder of your pride and support, and keep giving them little boosts of confidence. Then when visitors come around, it’s their for them to see, and bound to draw some compliments. Giving them another boost.

Give it a try

If you have children I strongly recommend doing this, especially if they enjoy art. Even if they aren’t particularly arty, even something like colouring in a printed picture. Is perfectly good enough, after all this isn’t about how great the picture is. It’s about making the child feel good about themself.

If you enjoyed seeing Lily’s painting, you can see lots more of her arts and crafts by clicking this link. That takes you to Lily’s Art Gallery. As always, thank you for reading.

Dad Does Autism

Autism and coping with special occasions

Autism and coping with special occasions

We had a busy weekend, the birthdays come thick and fast this time of year in our family. So I thought this was a good time to talk about autism and coping with special occasions. I’ll talk about the weekend we’ve had, and then talk about strategies at the end. They are very much the double edged sword in our house. Both Jack and Lily enjoy celebrating birthdays, Christmas etc.. but the change in routine, the excitement, family gatherings can often become too much for both of them.

But, they both expectations of what happens on birthdays and Christmas, so when we tried to not to as much to help with their sensory input and routine. That upset them. So it’s a very fine line we tread, between keeping them happy and celebrating special occasions, but not over stimulating them.

This weekend

This weekend was a busy one, there was a barbecue at my brothers house. For my brother and dads birthday’s, with a few family members there. Jack was happy as he had 2 dogs to play with, and Lily had her cousin to play with. It probably helped that due to what’s happening in the world right now, there was only a small number there. But Jack coped really well, his anxiety which would normally be through the roof, was manageable.

The dogs certainly helped, especially as they chased each other and were continuously play fighting, which Jack found hilarious. He was chatty, fairly calm and even watched us playing cricket. He didn’t want to play, but would happily fetch the ball. So he sort of was.

As for Lily, she loves playing with her cousin and she spent the entire time by his side. Playing football, cricket, with the dogs and generally getting up to mischief. Which was lovely to see. He is a couple of years younger than Lily, which puts them at a very similar level developmentally.

Lily is both girly and tomboyish, she’s happy playing either the typically boy or girl games. She seems to get on better with boys than girls though, as most of the close friends she has created have been boys. At school and even at nursery before that.

Mum’s Birthday

Autism and coping with special occasions

Saturday was nice, and then it rolled into Sunday which was Mum’s birthday. When it comes to autism and coping with special occasions, 2 days in a row is a very big ask. We also had the issue of the birthday routine. When it’s one of our birthdays, we always go out for a meal. Eating out isn’t always easy with Jack, as he finds overwhelming, the sensory input and his anxiety can trigger meltdowns.

We have learned ways of trying to manage it for him, and last year he was coping really well and really enjoying going out for meals. Of course this year we haven’t been anywhere, and it’s certainly a worry that we might be back to square one. When we eventually do go out for a meal again.

Mum’s birthday was more of a struggle

After Saturday, and Jack had stayed at his overnight respite on Friday, Jack was pretty tired on Sunday. Just like the rest of us, tiredness makes Jack less tolerant. We had prepared him, and Lily that we would t be going out, and that we would order in pizza instead. Which they both seemed happy with. We also planned to go for a walk around, a local nature reserve.

We were later than planned going to the nature reserve. Natalie has fibromyalgia, and Saturday has also taken its toll on her. She needed time to rest and for medication to work before we could go. With all of this by the time we got there, Jack was very anxious and on edge. The nature reserve has several ponds, the first one where the car park is tends to be very busy. Especially on a Sunday.

Once you get past that it thins out and you don’t see too many people. Jack was very argumentative as we walked around the first pond, a sure sign he’s struggling with his anxiety. Once we got past that bit, he calmed down other than getting annoyed with flies.


Nature reserve den

The fairy garden

Lily was really excited to see the reserves fairy garden. Which is a “designated area”, that’s been turned into a fairy garden, where you can add your own creations to it. It’s pretty cool, and not something you’d expect to see in a place like this. It’s not an official thing, just something someone started around a tree.

I know there have been some issues with vandals in the past, but it’s always been in good shape when we’ve been there. It also means it looks different every time we go. Which is pretty amazing. Now as well as adding something to this garden, we have plans to make our own at home. Which Lily is very excited about.

Fairy garden

It turns out the nature reserve is bigger than I realised, despite having been there a number of times. As we found some different paths and several ponds I’d never seen before, where it was even quieter. This was great for Jack, who was much happier. We did end up getting a bit lost, and Jack found the way back for us. Using the map on the PokemonGo app, to find the way back to the pokestop at the car park. Something Jack was extremely proud of!

Pizza to finish the day

We finished the day off by visiting Natalie’s parents, and ordering some pizza in. After a busy weekend, the kids were ready to scoff down some pizza. All 3 of Natalie, Jack and Lily find it difficult to go to Natalie’s parents house. Natalie’s sister who had severe disabilities passed away last year. She lived at home with 24 hour care from carers, meaning the house was always busy (often chaotic) and noisy. Jack never liked going because of those reasons, and often wouldn’t go for visits and stay at home with me.

Now it is a big house that feels empty, and Jack finds that just as difficult. Just as we all do, the quietness serves as a constant reminder of a loved one who is no longer there. His gran also had an accident, knocking a cupboard with her wheelchair, which saw a teapot fall and hit her on her shoulder. Jack was very quiet during the visit, and at times argumentative. When we got home and Jack went to bed, he burst into tears.

This was actually a great thing. You may have heard the MYTH, that autistic people don’t feel empathy or love. The truth is of course they do, but like Jack they can find showing different emotions difficult. Or they show in a different way than what is considered “normal”. Jack letting his emotions out like that is a positive thing.

The strategies for autism and coping with special occasions

When it comes to autism and coping with special occasions, you have to think ahead. You have to strategies, you have to plan everything out and you have to try and establish routines. All of our birthdays in the house follow the same routine, depending on whether it’s a school day or not. Breakfast, presents (or school), chill out time, meal at a family place. Birthdays are not the time to try somewhere new. There is already enough going on in the autistic child’s mind, that it would likely be a recipe for disaster.

Start reminding the child weeks in advance that the occasion is coming up, if it’s someone else’s birthday. Make sure they see all the presents they will be giving before hand. Plan early and tell them what you will be doing on the day. The more prepared they are the better. Now every autistic person is different, some may be able to tolerate any change, some might not be able to cope with any at all. You are best placed to judge that.

We have had lots of very eventful and stressful birthdays with Jack. It would have been easier to just do very little for birthdays, but Jack wanted to celebrate them, he wants to go out and do things. So we put in the hard work to figure out how to make it work, and it was doing. Like i said before though, I just hope the current pandemic doesn’t put us back to square one.

The last and most important point I’d like to make is, don’t put pressure on them, and yourself to make everything “perfect”. It probably isn’t going to be. There will likely be anxiety spikes or meltdowns. You might have to walkaway from something that was planned, because they just can’t cope with it. That is okay, make adjustments and just find a way for everyone to enjoy themselves and be happy. At the end of the day that’s what is important. So, that’s my post about autism and coping with special occasions, I hope there’s some useful bits in there for people. Also that it gives a little insight into what birthdays are like for families like ours. This was a good weekend and Jack and Lily cooed really well on the whole.

Then of course there’s Christmas, but that needs a post all of its own, as that can be really….interesting. As always thank you for reading.

Dad Does Autism

Top 20 easy bakes for kids

Top 20 easy bakes for kids

Here is our list of, top 20 easy bakes for kids. As I mentioned previously, myself, Jack and Lily have been enjoying the time we’ve spent in the kitchen baking. And that we planned to compile this list, which we have finally agreed on. After much debate…my choice of lemon drizzle cake wasn’t allowed on the list. I’m still sulking…

So far we have made 5 of the 20, and have posts on the website. The plan is to work through all 20, so the list will then link to the blog post of out attempt at making it. So here is out list.

Top 20 easy bakes for kids

That’s our complete list of the top 20 easy bakes for kids. We’ve enjoyed making the ones we’ve done so far, and wait to get on with making the remaining ones on the list. Which ones are your favourite? Which ones are you most looking forward to us making? For me personally, as we are from Derbyshire, I can’t wait to have a go at the Cherry Bakewell Cupcakes.

As always thanks for your support and thank you for reading.

Dad Does Autism

Interview with an Autistic Child

Interview with an Autistic Child

One of the things I find most difficult to try and explain to people, is what it is like trying to hold a conversation with my son Jack. That’s where the inspiration for, interview with an autistic child came from. Nothing I could ever write, could capture Jack’s personality and his “autism” as this has. Me talking will be in bold, and inside Jack’s answers there will be comments from me, these will appear in brackets and italic, to be easily distinguished. I apologise if it gets a bit confusing, but that is kind of the point of this hah.

I explained to Jack what we were doing, and what it was for before we stared. He was very happy to do it, indicated by the huge grin on his face. Jack loves showing off, and as with most kids these days it seems. He wants to be famous online, YouTube, TikTok etc. So jumps at any chance to be part of this blog. So let’s get on with the interview.

Interview with an autistic child
Jack training to be a ninja

What is your name?

You know.

Yeah, but what is it?

Jack. That’s a dumb question you know.

How old are you?

You know.

I know, but the people reading don’t. So you need to tell them (-pause-)how old are you?

I told you, you dummy.

No you didn’t.

What? You know, come on.

Yes, but you need to answer the question for the readers.

(At this point Jack is giving me a funny look, so I whisper to him 12 and he nods his head and we move on.)

Who do you live with?

You know, dumbass. (You might have noticed there’s a trend to Jacks answers.)

I know. But you need to answer for the people reading, remember? Because they don’t know.

Guess who’s over you’re head?

(At this point Jack has put one of his favourite teddy’s on my head, and wants me to guess which one it is. If you aren’t aware of the snuggly’s you can read about them by clicking here. A little panda has been added to the gang, so we went through this 4 times before I repeated the question.)

You know dummy. You say them I will nod.

Mummy (Jack nods), Daddy (Jack nods), Lily (Jack nods), anyone else? Biscuit. (Result! An independent answer!! Biscuit is our pet guinea pig.) And you know who else? Who? The Snuggly’s (You can never forget the Snuggly’s.)

Do you like going to school?

Yes. (That’s all Jack had to say about that.)

Do you have friends at school?

(Jack nods his head.)

What are their names?

(We have to wait for a minute, as Jack wants me to watch something that happens in PokeMon, that is on the TV.)
Jimmy, Alfie, Bonnie, Jack, Dawid, Jacob.

What are your favourite things?

(Jack points at the TV for Pokemon.) Minecraft, SCP’s don’t forget about that.

Anything else?

That’s all I can think of.

What about dogs?

Yes. (Jack nods his head and makes dog noises).

What do you want to do when you grow up?

I don’t know. I’m already a Pokemon trainer, I want to become a Pokemon master.

Thoughts on the interview

That is the interview with an autistic child brought to you by myself and Jack. Some of the key things, that I believe it shows far better than I could ever try and explain are. Just a simple question, isn’t so simple. If Jack knows you already know the answer, he just doesn’t see why he needs to tell you.

Staying focused is a difficulty, the TV was a distraction, but it would have been worse without it. The TV in the background actually helps Jack to focus. Without it, he would have been up and out of his seat within a minute.

Jack’s understanding is limited, and he needs a lot of prompting to help him give answers. He wants you to answer for him, why exactly i’m not sure. Perhaps it’s to do with anxiety. But as he proved a couple of times, he can give answers independently sometimes.

One of the big things comes in the last question, and is something I will do in more detail in a future post. Jack can’t differentiate between reality and fiction, to him Pokemon are real. He is a Pokémon trainer, and he wants to travel the world catching Pokémon.

I hope this gave a little insight into how Jack works, and also how we work with him. 7 fairly simple questions that took a lot more effort to get through than what would be perceived as “normal”. I think that sums up well, what life is like for autistic people and those that care for them. Thank you for reading.

Dad Does Autism