Thursday, 6 September 2012

So Astound Me!

Annual Father's Day photo last Sunday


Sometimes my son with Asperger's astounds me. Just when I think he is oblivious to the plight of others around him, he will do something so totally lovely as to surprise me completely.

For example, last weekend we had friends over playing on the trampoline. Our neighbour's 9 year old daughter, Maddy, somehow came off the trampoline through the mesh where the door is. She injured her arm. She cried every time she moved it. Fearing a break, I was quick to splint it to a wooden spatula and then put an ice pack onto it.

I sent Duncan over the road to fetch her mum whilst I phoned her up to explain what had happened. Then I watched as Duncan gently put his hand on Maddy's elbow and walk her back home with her mum. A few minutes later he returned and asked me if I could help him retract the stand on her bicycle. Then he wheeled it back across the road for her.

Maybe 5 mins later he asked my husband if he could have two sausage sandwiches to take over so that Maddy and her older brother would have something to eat as they headed off to hospital's Accident and Emergency. It was a 5 hour wait to find that nothing was fractured. We were all relieved.

The next morning, before school, Duncan asked me if he could pop over and see how she was doing.

It melted my heart. 
Bookweek Character Parade - you can see that my boys love the villains


This week he played violin in his first public performance. It was with the Beginner Strings group during supper at the school's Performing Arts Evening. He was so enthusiastic and it has re-invigorated his interest in the violin. He was going to finish at the end of the year but has now decided to continue tuition so that he can play in next year's Performing Arts Evening. 


He has just written his third article for the student newspaper.This one featured the LEGO Tower Bridge that he constructed last holidays from 4000 pieces. He earned the bridge by doing all of his homework for a Social Skills Program that ran for all of Term 2. His article also included facts about the real Tower Bridge in London.


His mainstream Christian school support teacher is such a gem and works with Duncan mostly on construction projects. He gets time out of the stress of the noisy classroom to  work  with a friend. She informed me that latest project will be the Parthenon to be displayed in the High School History room.

Little Brother

Tristan has been doing so well at school this year but this week the wheels have fallen off the cart and he has been having mini-meltdowns over the smallest of things (dropped pencil, someone taking the handball, being bumped). Usually these things would just emit a 'squark' as his teacher likes to call the noise he makes. But with all the rehearsals (with costumes) at school and at the venue, for the Performing Arts Evening, it has been too much disruption to the routine. He does not do well when there is constant transition.

He's been learning to recite poetry. For the Eistedfod his Stage learned 'Hist! Hark!' and 'Forgiven' (Alexander Beetle). Then the past 2 weeks in class he's had to present a poem for News and so we've learned 'The Zax' and 'Too Many Dave's' by Dr Suess (from the Sneetches and Other Stories). 

But the Deputy Principal (whose son also has atypical autism) praised him for his ability to hold it together last week with a playground kerfuffle. I have to say I think, with such a busy term full of rehearsals, Eistedfods, Book Week Parade, Art Night etc., he has done exceptionally well to last 8 weeks! So in conjunction with his teacher, I am giving Tristan a Mental Health Day off tomorrow from school. He will be in LEGO construction heaven. I can only hope that he and little sister will get along.

Little Sister

Fran has a lovely friend at Preschool on Mondays and Tuesdays. They rave about each other.  But at Pre-Kindy (attached to the Christian school) on Wednesdays and Thursdays it is a different matter. She has major Pre-Kindy anxiety. Every week there are tears and stories about no one liking her, wanting to be her friend and being mean to her. I can tell you that it is becoming a major issue for us all. 

Yesterday I had a word with one of the teachers and today with the Director about the difficulties I had getting her to separate from me at drop off plus the negative comments. There is some concern that she lacks social skills that are necessary for entering into games already established with other students. Where have I heard that before? Now my third child needs social skills help! It probably does not help that she has two older brothers who ignore her most of the time and lack the very same skills. Sheesh! 

Anyway it will continue to be an issue until I can do some work on 'friendship' and 'what it means to be a friend' and 'what to do if a 'friend' does not want to play with you'. I think a social story might be in order for her. It never ends but I guess it is time I turned to her needs after years of looking out for the boys' needs.
Fran dressed up Tristan's bed pal 'Froggy Green-legs'. He was not impressed!


  1. You are such a wonderful mum Fiona - and it sounds like you have a lot to be proud of! Love the photos of your gorgeous children!

    Hope that Miss Fran settles soon - the social side is hard isn't it!

  2. From your writing, I somehow just know you'll be fine and I can only echo Kristy - gorgeous children and tons to be proud of. Tons. x

  3. You have lovely children Fi. It was so nice to read a bit about them. Like Kristy said, you are a wonderful mum.

  4. You should really be proud of them I know how hard it can get working and dealing with children like that. I guess you can only take things one day at a time and see how things go.
    The Younger Giant has aspergers too and he is a real challenge, we thought he would improve with age, but he's still the same as he was. We've been trying various different techniques with him to help. =D

    1. Well I can so relate to you then. Duncan does not know the term Asperger's but today on the way to a social BBQ with the soccer team he said to me that he feels uncomfortable with lots of people and would prefer to stay home. I said to him I understand it is hard for him...and that he is a bit like grandpa like that. Is your young giant in school yet?

  5. Lovely to see what all your tribe are up to. I love it when children surprise you by doing something unexpected. Children without special needs are challenging enough, so I think you're all doing brilliantly. I'm sure you'll find your daughter will be fitting in very soon, girls do seem to handle the social side of things very differently to boys and it sounds like the teacher is on the ball!

  6. It's me again! I feel your pain with your daughter. Girls are so different! I'm sure you know that spectrum disorders occur in boys much more often than girls (my friend Barb calls Asperger's Syndrome "extreme male disorder"). Still, I have experience with Aspie girls. My sister-in-law is a geologist who spent her entire childhood "with her nose in a book". She is a superstar at a major oil company who specializes in a particular kind of oil reservoir and when she isn't actually working them, she is teaching others in the company about them! My daughter-in-law is without question an Aspie, even though she never got a diagnosis. She has a very limited tolerance for being in groups of people. She has a BA and an MA in Slavic Linguistics, which she obtained at the same time as my son, her husband. She is also a computer geek and works as a specialty IT person at a major research university here in the states. She really doesn't have any female friends, and never has. There is one exception, an ex-girlfriend of my son, her husband! I believe her antipathy towards other young women is a result of her Aspie-ness, as she just isn't your typical gal. She is scary smart---a really good fit for my scary smart older son. I would probably be diagnosed PDD-NOS if I had been born these days, as I didn't start to talk until I was well over 3 yo. Besides, I have had many of the social issues of a spectrum person. So I'm here to say: maybe your daughter has some autism issues going on. Girls are so much better at social communication than boys and as a result, they are less frequently diagnosed. But I say, love all your autistic children, fight for what they need especially when they are small and are learning, and you will be rewarded! Good luck and hang in there!


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