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“who is a close friend?”

When i was in P7, i think i was 11, i started getting friendly with a group who maybe weren’t the best for me to be friends with.

That is not a rude thing to say. But because i am different, I need to be safe and to be within a safe group of people. I am similar to all aspies in that we are easily hurt and easily led. We are not born understanding all about people. We are born without much knowledge about people or social situations.

We have spent a lot of time sort of learning what makes a decent person, and seeing who would be different kinds of friends and people. So we got a huge page and put on it all the different types of relationships i have to manage. THEN decided what qualities i would need in a best friend… and then tried to fit the right people into the right group in my head.

  • close friends.
  • friends that you are not close with but manage with.
  • people you should avoid.
  • people who you don’t like for some reason but have to exist with.
  • two-faced people.
  • bullies.

It’s so difficult because some people might seem to be in one category and are really in another. I have a few friends who have been friends all my life- they are “safe” and i know i could trust them.

You have to spend time looking at and learning about people before you can really see which kind a person is.

Social networking “friends” are even more complicated because you may think they are lovely and they seem nice but then you really do not know anything about the “real” person. Also Social media is not always “nice” place –

  • there is always people snapping at each other
  • there is always people competing with each other
  • laughing at people or saying hurtful things
  • it can make you try to do things that wouldn’t socially do to look cool.
  • you can snap-chat and think it’s only for a few seconds but if someone screen shots it it would end up anywhere.
  • sometimes people write stuff that they mightn’t mean, but cos it’s on social media they think it is funny. If that is on my page i have to learn a way to stop it i guess.
  • I think the best way to use it is to imagine “if mum and dad saw it” and that’s what i do. And mum and dad are on my page, and i don’t mind cos it keeps me safer.

The best way for me every so often to think of “who is a close friend?” is to try like i did like i did with mum and Lorna (my old classroom assistant and other mother ) to write a list of what i NEED from a friend, and to categorise them accordingly.

As an i NEED a friend to be:

  • trustworthy and
  • someone who is safe,
  • someone who would watch out for me
  • someone who would stand up for me if i needed help
  • a friend will TELL me if someone is doing something behind my back an making a joke of me
  • someone who would TELL me if i was doing something wrong
  • someone who likes me how i AM …weird, funny, hyper, different and Fionn

People i am safer avoiding are:

  • easily led people would not keep me safe.
  • people who think there is a “way to be” and if you are not like them you are not right being the way you are.
  • people who are sneaky.
  • people who try to get you to say bad things about a friend.
  • people who gossip about others will gossip about me when i walk away
  • people putting pressure on me to do something i don’t want to do – my real friends wouldn’t do that.

I hope that as a friend:

  • i look out for people who need help or are lonely
  • i am quiet first cos i am “learning about the group by listening” – you get to see what they are like
  • i hope i a kind person – people are generally kind back.
  • when someone shows an “unpleasant” side i just remember it…and be aware of it.
  • i would hate for someone to think i wasn’t nice.
  • i get on really well with a lot of people.
  • my own class and me built up really good connections and am going to miss them a lot in September when the classes in the year group gets reshuffled but hopefully now that we know each other we will stay friends.

i think i will ALWAYS be a bit wary on social media. Maybe it’s a different category of friend. Who you might think are nice but you don’t know them or their families. So it is a much more risky way of making friends. So unless you would be happy with your mum and dad seeing it, you DO NOT DO IT or send it or receive it.

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this is ME before i had ANY friends.

it took me years to learn “how to make friends”….GENUINELY! it was only a few at the start and then i managed to get close to everyone else… and then it was time to break the group up- end of primary school!

it was the same here in year 8 – it took me a while to get used to everything and everyone hut in the end i was happy with who i was with and who i was….and NOW they are time to shuffle the classes.

i think i am lucky to have so many friends who are girls too. And i want to keep it that way – i don’t want to have to pick one or two and lose others, or offend or hurt anybody..i am just doing the same thing as all the other times. I want to keep friends and be happy. And keep learning about people. And every so often, STOP and look at my friend categories again!

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by fionn

teenaged

moody me.

I am 14 now, actually almost 15 so i am getting older i suppose.

I am not generally a moody person

my main mood would be happy, I’d say. Like last year when i had to say what i thought about school , i said i loved it.

I love my family too.

but sometimes i get grumpy. I do not like being grumpy because it makes me feel annoyed, and it makes me not concentrate as much in school cos the “being annoyed” is in my head.

When i am grumpy at home i just lock myself away in music – go and play with my phone, and put on headphones. But that doesn’t really make it go away. It kind of makes it a really bad atmosphere in the house, it makes me feel my mind is full- i can’t think straight about other things. It is not easy when i am like this to get me to talk. THAT isn’t helpful to me either! I won’t open up so we can discuss it. The pressure STAYS in my head. So maybe its a different type of melt down – except i am keeping it n the inside? stress

This weekend was a MOODY one. I was in terrible form. I wanted to go somewhere, that i knew that i really shouldn’t have been, and that mam and dad wouldn’t allow, and i got still got really grumpy about it.

All of my friends have different amounts of freedom. Some go to discos. Some have total freedom on Playstation and all that stuff. Some hang out outside in gangs i suppose.

i don’t feel like i am under peer pressure in a bad way at ALL, like being bullied.

BUT there is always a wee bit of peer pressure in EVERYONE who wants their friends to like them..

  • So you do things like being conscious that  you don’t want to be left out.
  • So you buy clothes that everyone else buys,
  • you try to watch same TV shows for conversations.
  • you get annoyed when your parents seem to be different in the rules

i know when i first had aspergers and didn’t find socialising easy, i never thought i would have so many friends never mind being the cause of MOODS! Football and Pantomime in fact actually all after school extracurricular stuff helps you to make social friends.

BUT when people ask you to somewhere and you KNOW the answer from your parents will probably be no, it is annoying.

When you are really angry, you have waited too long without talking properly about something.That was THIS WEEKEND!

I know my parents make choices and rules to protect us- all of us. I know it only matters to my parents about ME and my brother…not what other parents do. And i GET that. It is not as a punishment it is as they try to do what is best for me and my safety

I do know i’m at an age where these things seem like a big deal i suppose, but mum and i were chatting and i would HATE to do anything that would make it awkward for me with my friends . I would hate to hurt anyone’s feelings. I am really LUCKY to have so many friends so i think i would rather not be under pressure so I am not going to push things any faster than i feel like.

I am relaxed with people that i do not want to change that at all.

if my friends care about ME properly – not just if i can go to such a disco, or party, then they won’t mind me just sticking to what is okay for now. They will respect my choices. And i hope they do. If they don’t allow me to be myself, then they aren’t great friends anyhow!

I am lucky that my teachers and my parents NOTICE when i am uncomfortable, cos my aspergers makes emotions difficult for me, and sometimes they can be overpowering without much reason. They both knew it. And finally today we had a good long chat. And i feel i am just ME.

i don’t HAVE to go anywhere.

i don’t have to be anything except comfortable as ME.

so far people LIKE that!

so i can stop trying to impress!

NOW that we have chatted about stuff, and written it down, i feel a bit better…BETTER!.

i am lucky to have my friends!!

teenagedFionn

 

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“feeling like a piece of a jigsaw in the wrong box” – 10 reasons we BLOG!

This is Helen – Fionn’s Mam.

I decided to repost a blog which Fionn and my husband and I worked on a while ago.

I (mainly me – but with mu husbands support all the way) encouraged Fionn to set up this blog. NEVER for any reason other than to help other people benefit from what we encountered and learned through Fionn and his aspergers, AND his great ability to communicate that with us.

I initially spent years, since his needs were queried first, “studying” autism

  • theoretically – i read volumes
  • i study Fionn constantly!
  • i have spent years looking at inadequacies in service provision – or maybe inequities…
  • we have tried strategies with Fionn which worked and which didn’t
  • admitting failure is the key to learning…we have to just keep looking!
  • i know how many parents have to PUSH against doors to see childs needs met
  • i KNOW that ASD is for life – but is not always a limiting condition – although i fully respect it is a spectrum
  • if you do not LOOK…(and my instinct was to type PUSH) for your child’s needs to be addressed, then nobody will.
  • i am NOT an expert on AUTISM  – nor do i pretend to be, BUT i am an expert on my child
  • YOU are the experts on your CHILDREN… 

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why Fionn started blogging.

when he “felt like a piece of a jigsaw puzzle in the wrong box”.
we realised that other people had the problem, but maybe could not explain it as clearly as he could.

It links very closely with Adam Harris – as many times before – on being aspergian.

Adam Harris says living with Asperger’s syndrome is like living on a planet “not built for him.” A planet built on rules and customs that are hard for him to decipher and that force him to work hard just to cope.

Adam posted this video online yesterday and it reminded me of VERY similar reasons on Fionn’s blog – but from a younger perspective.  Adam Harris on aspergers So i thought would be no harm to REBLOG.

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10 Reasons Fionn says he Blogs.

so what is the purpose of the Blog?

Fionn gets the first say on this…..he says:

  1. to help other people understand and live with their asperger’s.
  2. To find that Asperger’s is not s disability – it is just a difference.
  3.  It might help parents to recognise asperger’s in their child.
  4. It might help other kids to understand and be aware of the feelings of someone with Asperger’s.
  5. It might help people realise that we are all different.
  6. Sometimes i try to tell teachers what things work for me, and what things don’t – and maybe give them ideas for ways to help.
  7. to tell things that helped me so that other aspies might want to try them – like talling people you have Asperger’s
  8. to understand who i was…and know that it wasn’t always me  who was in charge, it was the asperger’s part of me.
  9. To help me think out things so i can figure out who i want to be.
  10. i really LOVE blogging and it feels really good when you think you might have helped someone feel better

from Fionn:)

now for the parents views…laughfornoreason

  1. Fionn has always been involved in discussion and decisions taken about his Asperger’s. He is very self-aware – and can compartmentalise himself into things his asperger’s would do, but things he should do – if his end target is to live an integrated independent life. then that information is what we want to share with you.
  2. Fionn in his early years presented as a text book  lost, confused, misplaced child – who I cried about. I had to accept how difficult it was for Fionn, before we could make any decisions on what  to do to help him as best we knew how.
  3. we have had to battle our way trough the “system” – initially having been diagnosed as unlikely to have asperger’s but becoming more committed as we fought to do our best for him. We still have to keep in touch with all people involved in his care.
  4. An Asperger’s child has so many strange quirks – the loveable bits that make them unique..like the need to pick crisps out of their teeth, if a feeling feels wrong, they pick it out, if a smell is too powerful, they can’t enter a room, standing at a football match screaming as the cheers start….We need to quiz and be detectives..WHY? WHAT? we need to figure out these things in our child…initially that is or was for us, like pulling teeth – as Fionn had no more clue than we did, but now, we are at a stage where we can often have Fionn come wxplaining something to us. There is NO TEXTBOOK for this
  5. We have had some inspiring help from professionals, only too keen to support, and we have had some unhelpful and in fact dismissive professionals – we have been told so many versions of phrases i am sure you will recognise:
      1. “Fionn has something special to offer”. 
      2. “I don’t see much wrong with him”
      3. “sure all the class are in the same boat”
      4. ” there are worse than him!”
      5. “he may be a child who can never learn tables”-at aged 5
      6. “Fionn is a fantastic example of what Aspergers can be”
      7. you’d be afraid he might let you down”….
  6. We have to say in favour of your child, that you CAN NOT expect the “system” – either health or education to make your child their central aim…but YOU CAN!
      1. You are the expert on this child 
      2. you watch him 24/7
      3. what makes him stressed?
      4. what fascinates him?
      5. how can you HELP him do spellings?
      6. maths? puzzles? jigsaws?
      7. what are his organisational skills like?
      8. how does he relate to other children of same age?
      9. how HAPPY is he? is he Worried? Is he angry/frustrated?
      10. what helps when he is wound up? to melt-down point?
  7. At the start of each school year it is VERY helpful for the teacher to know information which is specific to your child…in bullet points (they don’t need to read a book!)
      1. his special interests – they may add doctor who characters for him
      2. his sensory problems
      3. his physical signs of stress – twitching mouth, raised shoulder, biting clothes..
      4. his DE-stress things – reading, drawing, quiet room, music, work off steam
      5. his learning problems – :
        1. can he fill a blank page?
        2. is it easier if he has paragraph headings?
        3. can he learn tables? one-to-one?
        4. is he a visual learner…does using props help?
        5. is a larger sheet with less information on it easier for him to work from, than a cluttered squashed page? 
      6. his social problems- does he make friends? has he a particularly close friend? does he need help mixing? can he take tuens?
      7. emotionally- is he age appropriate? does he want hugs everyehrer? will he be laughed at for any of his habits?
  8. The aim of the blog is NOT to promote Fionn as the way to raise an Asperger’s child. There is no book deal in sight. We have just decided to share what experiences we have gone through – prediagnosis, during diagnosis, post diagnosis.
  9. We have led the care with Fionn – and continue to do this. Fionn is OUR child, and like any of our children, he is OUR responsibility. We look for the ways we can make changes. We haven’t had a rule book . We have worked by trial and error. We have used CBT – instinctively..ok tell me what proof you have that it might happen….so….. the worst case scenario is??? etc etc. 
  10. We are still learning. We cause melt downs, we get lots wrong, this is like an evolution. Every year the information we give to school and specialists updates, as he grows, his ability to process changes…his interests change…but our aim remains the same. 

we want Fionn to have as independent and happy a life as he can have.

we will work as hard as we can, to help him.

it is very much his aim too.

We will continue to share our story until people stop finding it helpful.

PLEASE keep letting us know what you think? – It matters to us all!

helen x

50 important facts about having mild autism by Captain Quirk

helenhamill:

It is Helen here.
David liked one of Fionn’s blogs, i then popped over to see THIS :”50 facts about having mild autism” .
i genuinely LAUGHED a few times.
I called Fionn over to read it, and in typical Fionn style he said “i have stuff to do. But i will read it sometime! ” and a throwback as he left the room was “could you skim to the good ones?”…so that attention span makes 51 David…
but this was VERY familiar :)
great blog.
H

Originally posted on David Snape and Friends:

Here’s a copy of the link where captain quirk did the post

Asperger Syndrome: 50 important facts about having mild autism | Autistic, Not Weird

http://autisticnotweird.com/2015/04/09/asperger-syndrome-50-facts-about-having-mild-autism/

On April 2nd this year, World Autism Awareness Day, I decided tooffer a little insight to some of my Facebook friends. Their responses were actually what inspired me to start this blog in the first place.

I hope this helps people who are curious.

1)The rest of you are weird.Weare completely normal.

2)You definitely know a few autistic people. Maybe you don’t know it, but you do. Maybe they don’t know it either. We’re 1% of the general population, which is higher than it sounds.

3)Autistic people aren’t always similar to one another, for exactly the same reason that non-autistic people aren’t either.

4)81% of us aren’t in full-time employment. Personally I’ve spent less than two years of…

View original 1,911 more words

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me and our dogs.

For a boy who was brought up in a family with a fair fee dogs over the years, I dislike them very much!DSC_0005

in the evenings in our house my brother and me, and my parents watch TV together. i FREAK if the dogs come onto my sofa. i keep asking “please, someone take him away”. i don’t think anyone understands that i MEAN that as much as I do. I am completely overwhelmed by the dogs being close to me.
I don’t like them for a lot of reasons,like:

  • As you know I don’t like saliva, so ergo, I hate it when dogs try to lick you!
  • I don’t like the way dogs can bite you, as they have very sharp teeth, and they’re very big!
  • Some dogs are big, like VERY big! Scary big, near the same size as me!
  • My cousins have a dog and he’s huge, and once he pinned my brother to the ground! (I laughed at the time, but looking back, if that was me I’d be in shock!)
  • They smell quite bad sometimes, and smells get to me.
  • I hate the way they growl, as it makes you think they’ll attack you or something!
  • I hate the barks! They’re so loud and endless!

So as you can see, I am not a big fan of dogs!

i really know this is weird cos i do love the dogs but at a distance for me. I know i would be really sad if one of them ied, cos that happened before and it was awful. So i am not being cruel or unfeeling.Just being me.

Is this an aspie thing or a me thing? I’d say it’s probably more of a me thing! :)


IMG-20110713-00003 by fionn

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Canandians read my blog?

Mum said that yesterday there was a spike in viewers

Usually people look when i write something new.

But i didn’t do anything for last few weeks cos i have been busy

So when she checked the visitors they were mostly from CANADA

It feels kinda weird to think people in a place like another country are interested in my blog but then i remembered that one of them got translated into a magazine it was really weird looking!translatedblog

http://wp.me/p2JMPx-ey

There were lots of teachers.cos they went on from EDUBLOGS.finalist_best_student_blog-29f0yf6

i won an award in edublogs before.

A Lady, who is a teacher, must have got my blog from when it won the Student Edublog award last y year. Her blog is teaching her pupils to read blogs by children and comment on them

i hope they learn something they didn’t know before about autism on mine.

http://dsurber.edublogs.org/about/

so they are using my blog as one of the examples to look at and evaluate.

so i hope it helps

gran

gran and me. memories.

Yesterday was the day my gran died a year ago.

last year i wrote a blog about me and her.

my gran died this week. she had alzheimers.

The night before the actual date, i sent mam a text and said “can you send me any old pictures of me and gran together”  – i just wanted to have them to look at. Mam could hardly find any, and I went to dad cos he keeps all the old pictures on his computer. I was was with dad looking through old photos for one of me and her.
But we couldn’t find any.

i felt weird and quite annoyed. I had wanted the pictures to maybe have on my phone, or maybe to put on on instagram to say how i miss her.
I was quite annoyed. I felt like a bad grandson in a way. I thought it felt like i didn’t spend any time with her. There were LOTS of photos of her with other people in the family, just NOT with me. That made me emotious too – weird that i wouldn’t be in any.

It made me wonder had i not loved my gran. Or did gran not love me or anything? then my sensible thought was was obviously that she had loved me and I know i did love her.
Mum  realised i was upset so we chatted about it.

She explained to me that the lack of pictures was probably for 2 reasons.

  1.  Alzheimers made gran seem confused. I knew she was my gran BUT it didn’t always feel like it for some reason.  She seemed to change and got worse and worse. She used to forget our names. My aspergers found the changing personality  sort of difficult…and it felt like I was ‘avoiding’ her because I didn’t quite know what to do, because of her condition and all.
    But I totally still loved gran but she was different. And i found that hard.
    I never really had a chance to get to know her when she changed, because of this, so therefore I wasn’t always comfortable going for hugs and stuff like that. but i loved her and i love gramps and he was always there and very good to her and too me
  2. Gran knew she had Alzheimer. So she was always nervous. She always stayed with gramps. So there are lots of pictures of her with gramps. He made her feel comfortable and safe. She smiled with him. She was also really comfortable with my mam and my aunty Sheely, so there are LOTS of pictures of them with her. But she grew really uncomfortable of getting photos taken.

I did love her obviously. But I just found it difficult to always understand her when she was changing.

So mum was saying that it was a mixture of my shyness and her being nervous…that for different reasons we were both avoiding photographs.

BUT we had gran in our house LOADS. so we have so many memories:

  • she always got me ice cream.
  • when we went to the house she sent us for coke.
  • if she was here when i had a lie in, she’d nibble at my cereal – only the dry bits. Which is kinda weird cos i only eat dry cereal. So maybe i got that from her?
  • she was a really nice lady.
  • she was funny. She had a sense of humour – about bits like i got…rude words and cheeky jokes…sort of similar to me sort of.
  • she was musical. I remember her being in the choir.
  • she was always giggling and generally happy i think.
  • when she was younger she could play the accordion. when she was unwell mum used to play tunes to her and she’d smile and sing along.
  • she was happy with her life apart from the Alzheimers.
  • she crossed her legs and jigged her foot.
  • Christmas dinners and dinners like big family ones must have been confusing for her but she always had a smile on.

So like mum was saying there are reasons that there aren’t many photos of me and gran on our own together, BUT i have so many really nice memories of gran. And in them even though she was confused she felt HAPPY and SAFE. I think my gramps must have made her feel safe and happy.

I feel better knowing she was always happy. :)

And there will be pictures of gran on certain big occasions n the family, maybe i am not in the picture, BUT i still was there and i have the memory.

Fionn
(Sent from my iPad)