autisticandproud

a boy with aspergers gives some views through his eyes…

About Fionn’s Blog

My son is now 16 years old.

He has been blogging now for about 4 years.

Fionn is the 3rd of our 4 children.

He has asperger’s syndrome and he understands it as being wired differently.

This was Fionn just before his diagnosis -unable to mix, not undesrtanding social cues, confused and unable to manage in a room of his peers.Fermanagh-20130314-00186

He has learned so much about jimself and about other people since then. It was NOT easy. BUT he genuinely loves how he is and never wishes he was any different- nor for one second , do we. In the early stages of explaining the differences he noticed in himself and other children one of the phrases we used was “autistic and proud”.

He  has a great understanding of his own condition and has learned to mix well, integrate in a mainstream world, play team sports and is very aware of the differences his conditions gives him. This is Fionn now- not a bit less autistic but a LOT more capable of managing in the mainstream world. 20140530_0013_Spirit_NI_Awards

He is a fantastic ambassador for autism..in choosing the title of the blog it was obvious that it should be his phrase….”autistic and proud”.

in establishing the blog we wanted to give him the opportunity to help the world understand how it looks through his eyes…different but not less!

enjoy

HelenDSC_0080

as Fionn is still very young and is “wary” of social networking, I help him manage the blog, and all emails come through my account…

Helen

73 thoughts on “About Fionn’s Blog

  1. Hi Fionn you are an amazing young boy . I want to thank you for your blog it will help so many people me included . I have an 11 year old boy with Aspergers and I am wondering either from your mum or you what is the best way to tell him he is special . I am not sure if I should leave it up to the Doctors or would he feel better if I explained it to him as he already know’s he is different in a good way ?

    1. Hi there,
      its Helen here.
      we chatted Fionn, very casually about his difference.
      We told him,something along the lines of…. that you know you sometimes don’t see things and do things the same as other people, and it confuses you, well guess what NOW we know why. You have asperger’s syndrome – you remember all the questions that the psychologist does…well they show ways of thinking etc, .
      it isn’t that there is anything wrong- it just means you are wired differently.
      if all kids go to do jois the dots, they go 1,2,3,4,…you might go 9-10, 28-27…but eventually you get the picture finished too…its just you do it a different process.

      While we have a super paediatrician, who we see annually, we decided that since we lived with Fionn 24/7 – we and HE – are the only true experts, and its really bee how we have worked through everything.
      We listen and watch him, and then figure out imaginative ways to help.

      I think given the response on the blog this last few days, i may put up some of the examples of the contact and the input we have had with education all the way through Fionn’s years in school.
      Rather than demanding teachers go on a generalised course on Autism, we give them a detailed note on Fionn- how he is, what he finds tough, how to read him, things which may prove a problem…that worked really well – in both Fionn’s and schoolf favour, so we updated it annually.
      So will post an example here shortly and hope that is of some help..
      but i personally would tell y child- not leave it to doctors…
      Helen

      1. Hi Helen,

        This is Sophie from the Heroes of Youth Awards. I heard about Fionn and the fantastic social campaigning he has done to help others with Asperger’s Syndrome. We have a category in our awards for social media campaigner and I really think someone should nominate Fionn. We would really love to hear more about his story. Further information and the online nomination form can be found at http://www.heroesofyouth.co.uk or please feel free to email me on sophie.seaton@mgn.co.uk.

        Thanks so much for your help,
        Sophie

    2. Hi, great blog it really helped me be more confident in who I am with aspergers syndrome. Some of my other friends at school realize who I really am and they accept me for my nice personality and the talent I have for music and the performing arts, it is really fantastic. Keep telling people about the good side of AS because it will help people be more happy about themselves like I am.

  2. Hi Helen thank you so much for your reply , Scott ( my son) knows he has OCD and knows he is different but I just want him to know he has Asperger’s and the benefits of having it , I looked up some books but your Son’s blog is by far the best and with your permission I would like Scott to read through Fionn;s blog to see how amazing he is and hopefully he might also look forward to the future with Asperger’s , I am more nervous to be honest in telling him and his younger brother who constantly calls him a freak 😦 I am blessed to have stumbled on Fionns blog and I will be telling Scott he has Asperger’s soon and will show Fionn’s blog and how amazing he is ,I thank you both from the bottom of my heart Helen your a true inspiration and so is Fionn XXX

  3. Fionn really loves how he is Angie.
    I met a doctor once who while treating me, kept quizzing me about my son and his aspergers, and at one stage i thought he was really nosey and invasive…how is he, when was he diagnosed, how is he educationally…. BUT he then told me that his son, had staggered through school, bullied, confused, angry, alone…until at 16 a teacher asked why he had never been examined and evaluated.
    The man said the diagnosis was like a light being switched on, which explained so much to his son!. I think for the first time the child understood himself.
    He now has a full-time job in computer programming, and as Fionn puts it…is a real happy nerd. (a compliment in his eyes!)

    think there are very few PURE aspergers diagnosis, Fionn also has ADHD…so a lot of sensory issues and compulsive issues will maybe all make more sense?
    Please do let him read this…
    and we will keep blogging.
    The whole reason, was hoping to help people understand themselves.
    H

  4. Hi Helen after months of no contact from his “team” I recieved a letter this morning to take part in an 8 week program to help the parents , I was just wondering would this be something helpful or just the things we already do with Scott . Hope your day is going well and Fionn;s also X

  5. Hi Fionn and Helen ,
    Hope your both well , I eventually told my Son just about 5 mins ago because he was in the middle of a melt down because his whit jersey got dirty ,well his reply to me was I know ?? I asked how he knew he said he is different but not stupid , he is in a very angry mood since coming home from school but says nothing happened , he normally loves a hug but only from me but he doesnt want to hug me right now ,hope to get him on to meet you tomorrow and see how amazing you are .Thank You again you made it a lot easier for me .

  6. we BOTH loved that! such a consise way of putting it – am different not stupid…
    Please tell Scott to read the blog, and see how much of it sounds familiar?
    i think the parent’s fear the telling more than the child who has long copped onto being a bit weird in a good way 🙂
    H

  7. Just read Fionns article in the Journal. I’ve no doubt you’re very proud of him. You should also be so proud of yourselves. I’m counselling a young (15) boy who has Aspergers but his mom didn’t tell him as she wanted to protect him. It hasn’t worked out too well for him as he’s so confused and has a hard time in school. Anyways, all that to say that it seems like you’re raising a brilliant young man.

    1. Thanks Ferg.
      I think Fionn at this stage looks on understanding the strengths of his condition as gifts…and the bits he has to work at- which are mainly concerned with other people’s lack of awareness, at things he needs to work at.
      I wonder if the wee boy you are working with would read the blog?
      Fionn wanted to help other people understand the condition…
      at this stage so far so good…
      H

  8. Hi
    I just heard the interview in on the radio. really amazing. I did not know much about Aperger syndrome (I still don’t) but I met a young man last year in Exchange Dublin, a kind of alternative centre in Temple Bar that really left me amaze. Anyway what I wanted to say to you was that if the interview has spark the bug of radio on you you have a good possibility to make radio if you feel like it getting involved with one of the many community radios that are in Ireland. Several of them in Dublin. They are always looking for people to get on board. I am involved with one base in Coolock, NEARfm that has an open policy and is always open to new ideas, and different abilities are not and impediment but a bonus. You can check it on line at near.ie. But there are othercommutny radio stations that could be closer to you, in Dublin south or Blanchardstown.
    Inaki

      1. Hi Helen he is a credit to you and an amazing future Ambassador for Asperger’s .Scott has looked twice about sports and transition with school but I am starting to think an earlier diagnoses would have made it easier for him to process Asperger’s . Now his new school have already met with me concerning the best way to help Scott especially the first 2 months ,that reassured me but the ASD team are impossible to get hold of but we have managed through a crisis recently the best way we knew how to and I read the blog a lot in front of Scott so I am hoping he will accept it and be proud of Aspergers . Hope you Fionn and family are well ,thank you both again Anne X

  9. Hi there,
    my son has Asperger’s, too. What we found very helpful was the book “Freaks, geeks and Asperger syndrome” by Luke Jackson. Luke has Asperger’s himself and wrote the book when he was 13. I’m not trying to promote the book. I’m just saying that, as a mum, I found this helpful when trying to come to terms with the diagnosis. (Well, rather well before the actual, official diagnosis but after we’d heard the suggestion it might be Asperger’s. We knew even then that it was.)
    I was just thinking that it might be helpful for angelannie41 and her son.
    I heard Fionn’s interview today. You are an amazing family. Congratulations and deep respect!
    All the best, Katie

    1. Thank You Katie ,I have been busy with meetings for Scoots transition to secondary school in August and to be honest I am very annoyed by the ASD system as we seem to be on our own , I have ordered the book and will leave it out for Scott when he is ready at the moment were struggling to get him to have a prescription milk shake because he does not eat only square bars of chocolate , thank you for thinking of me its great to know were not alone and Fionn and his mother has made me change a few things for the better X

  10. Hi Helen,
    I love your blog, very insightful information here and Fionn is amazing.
    I read somewhere recently that we as a human race are evolving intellectually and the signs that we are becoming a super intelligent race are evident in people with the same wiring as Fionn. That he is ahead of the pack so to speak.

    Great blog, thanks for taking the time to do this.
    xx Helen

    1. Helen .
      he is a great example of positive thinking…
      he wanted to help others understand themselves…
      and parents and teachers understand the condition.
      He is a great fella 🙂
      Hx

  11. Thoroughly enjoying your daily blogs, have them coming into my email box everyday – I find Fionn’s insights into himself and your support,encouragement and guidance of him truly inspiring. I work in a mainstream secondary school and work with students daily as the Resource Teacher with teens with Aspergers – like Fionn I too like Temple Grandin’s way – it is fascinating reading from ‘the horse’s mouth’ as such as Fionn explains so well his reactions to various things and people and how he can tune out (that was great learning for me). Keep on the great work Fionn this is better than any Higher Diploma in Special Education
    Anne

    1. Anne,
      i wish that INSET teacher training could incrorporate this type of information – and how much better would it make things for teachers and for SEN pupils if parents and pupils gave info?
      seems so obvious….and i am an ex teacher.
      i am very proud of his determination to go public and discuss his asperger’s.
      H e did an interview in local press – and other pupils his age and older were VERY positive,
      have asked him to contribute an article for school magazine!
      please let anyone you know to read…perhaps the school SENDO?
      Helen

  12. Have been passing the word amongst colleagues and also to those I know personally with Aspergers – who in their mid twenties know 1 hundredth of what Fionn already knows – better late than never

    A

  13. Hi Helen,

    Our son was recently diagnosed with Aspergers he is 7. Just wondering at what age did you tell Fionn about his Aspergers?
    Thanks
    Karen

    1. hi Karen
      its great to have an early diagnosis!
      we probably told Fionn around that time – but i don’t know that it was a shock to him, as he was already sensing how different he was.!
      we chatted Fionn, very casually about his difference.
      We told him,something along the lines of…. that you know you sometimes don’t see things and do things the same as other people, and it confuses you, well guess what NOW we know why. You have asperger’s syndrome – you remember all the questions that the psychologist does…well they show ways of thinking etc, .
      it isn’t that there is anything wrong- it just means you are wired differently.
      if all kids go to do jois the dots, they go 1,2,3,4,…you might go 9-10, 28-27…but eventually you get the picture finished too…its just you do it a different process.

      While we have a super paediatrician, who we see annually, we decided that since we lived with Fionn 24/7 – we and HE – are the only true experts, and its really bee how we have worked through everything.
      We listen and watch him, and then figure out imaginative ways to help.

      He has a great wee blog in here, about before and after he understood his diagnosis…and it is so good to see the difference understanding yourself makes.
      We treat it as a strength and a difference…and it has worked with him.
      He talks about the PRE understanding photos like feeling lost, feeling like a jigsaw piece in the wrong box.
      But tell him yourselves…
      and guage is he shocked or relieved?

      I think given the response on the blog this last few days, i may put up some of the examples of the contact and the input we have had with education all the way through Fionn’s years in school.
      Rather than demanding teachers go on a generalised course on Autism, we give them a detailed note on Fionn- how he is, what he finds tough, how to read him, things which may prove a problem…that worked really well – in both Fionn’s and schoolf favour, so we updated it annually.
      So will post an example here shortly and hope that is of some help..
      but i personally would tell y child- not leave it to doctors…
      Helen

  14. Thank’s for your words. Thank from a Italian Autistican family. Thank from me, the mother of Antonio, a beautiful autistic son seven quars old. Have a good life.

    Chiara

  15. Hi fionn, I have been following your blog for a while now and I think you are amazing. You make me feel as though everything is going to be ok for my beautiful 4 year old boy. Thank you for your honesty
    and insight…x

    1. Claire,
      Its helen here.
      Fionns sound asleep by now.
      I just wanted to tell you that your son will be brilliant. To understand his needs so young, is such a positive thing!
      And with Fionn sharing his information helped him to understand himself so brilliantly.
      I have 4 children – 21, 19 Fionn and 11.
      Of the 4 Fionn is happiest in his own skin, because he is confident and we spend so much time I suppose discussing things.
      So please…it can be a strength!
      Plus you will always have that open relationship where he looks to you for explanation…
      Enjoy him.
      Helen x

      1. Thank u Helen, ive only just got this now! Max is doing really well, he has made so much progress in last few months and I completely agree that it’s all above figuring him out, understanding his anxieties and helping him through them. I am so proud of him…you must be so proud of Fionn too! I love his natural logic and wit….my hubby and I r still laughing at the dinner story!

  16. Hi Helen/Fionn, I’m wondering if you’d be interested in doing a Guest Post for my website Seomra Ranga (www.seomraranga.com) I can’t see an email contact for you but you can reply to me at infoATseomraranga.com

  17. Hello Helen, I’m a special needs teacher and author of ‘Colour Coding for Learners with Autism’ which is being published by Jessica Kingsley in April 2014.
    I’d really like to quote some of Fionn’s writing. Please could you email me.
    Many thanks,
    Adele

    1. THANKYOU!
      Fionn’s blog is a n honest view of his life, and how we have got to the place and stage we are at.
      He has a very positive view of his difference – and hopes to help less informed, more recently diagnosed folks, and people living with or caring for to understand that life is not always bleak.
      He is mainly a VERY happy boy!
      Welcome aboard 🙂
      Helen
      (mum)

  18. Thanks for your blog Fionn! I just found it today. The positive way you live life has been a great inspiration to me. Keep it up!

  19. My son has Asperger’s syndrome and I’ve just read some of your writings. I think your very brave

    1. Anita –
      it’s Helen – Fionn’s mum.
      Fionn was not always a confident or brave child.
      When he was diagnosed, he was a lost, incapable of mixing, lonely child when outside the house…and confused but at times happy at home.
      His first 3 years after diagnosis were focused educationally on “Fionn learns to make a friend” – which now he has learned but it TOOK THAT LONG!.
      He is very self aware, now learned social cues, and people cues, and we are hopeful and aiming towards Fionn having as independent an existence as he is able to.
      This doesn’t STOP as a mission – as Fionn grows so do the new situations he is exposed to and we work through them.
      But hopefully this reinforces to people that it IS POSSIBLE to help children to grow .
      Fionn’s confidence now is one of his strengths.
      I hope your child is managing well.
      H
      have sent you a link to a post which shows how he WAS…. a great reminder…
      https://autisticandproud.wordpress.com/2013/03/14/this-is-how-it-was-we-have-come-so-far/

  20. Hi Helen, i think Fionn’s blog is fantastic and I would love to feature him in the forthcoming issue of Ability NI Magazine – Northern Ireland’s only magazine for people with disabilities. Email me if this would something you would be interested in (laura@bebmedia.com). I look forward to hearing from you. Kind regards,
    Laura

  21. Hi Fionn, I’ve just seen you on Spirit of NI and wanted to let you know that it’s great that you are proud of who you are. I work with young people in Belfast who have Asperger’s syndrome and it will really help me more in my work now that I can read what life is like for you. I hope you don’t mind if I send my young people the link to your blog. I think it will help them to know that somebody else understands how they feel and it will maybe give them the confidence to embrace who they really are. Thank you.

    1. Karen,
      it’s Helen here- Fionn is in bed (although not very long in bed!) but will let him reply tomorrow.
      He would be DELIGHTED to help anyone grow used to aspergers… he uses its strengths when he can, and still manages to learn ways to cope in mainstream society…
      it was NOT always straightforward but the aim was and still is, to do as much as we can to help Fionn be as resilient as he can in a mainstream society.
      So the journey is all here.
      PLEASE DO share the blog address.
      He’d be very happy to help anyone
      Hx

  22. I just found you. I hope to learn more about my son. He’s almost 15 & we just realised what it is that makes him so special. e really is wonderful. 🙂

  23. This is a really great blog! My name is Tadhg, I’m a sixteen year old with Asperger’s. I write a blog called Ask a Teenage Aspie: askateenageaspie.wordpress.com

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