Why Autism And School Ain’t As Good As It Used To Be

Photo by Sharon McCutcheon from Pexels

Having autism myself, which was undiagnosed at the time of my school years, puts me in a greater position to understand my 15 year old son Sam who was also diagnosed with Autism two years ago.

This is the shortened version of the torture we went through during this time as a family. 

Only because I have the knowledge of being a school refuser myself, was I able to understand why Sam was refusing to go to school. 

Sam is highly intelligent. He received the one of highest Sats results in the country at the age of 10, and loved the attention that this intelligence brought him. 

Unfortunately with Sams high intelligence also comes high anxiety. 

Anxiety, if not spotted early and dealt with  effectively, leads straight to school refusal in sam’s case and many other children just like him on the spectrum. 

So how have schools changed to include children who are on the spectrum, or meet the needs of a highly anxious child with ASD ?

Some mainstream schools now have what is known as a hub for AEN students. Those with additional educational needs. 

These usually comprise of children with all different varieties of needs.

Sams learning difficulty is not because he finds the work difficult, it is because of the environment in which he is expected to do it in. 

Although these ‘hubs’ now exist in some schools, children are still expected to just ‘fit in’ with mainstream life. 

Having autism for Sam means that he can’t fit in. The energy Sam needs to try and fit into the school ‘box’ exhausts him, and he can only manage it for so long until cracks begin to appear, and school refusal begins again. 

Sam has been refusing school for around a month now. After government cuts forced him into sharing school transport, meant changing his driver with whom he had built a rapport with over the previous year, who he had gained a lot of trust in, and who had shared his triumphs in getting in to school the previous term.

An accident involving the new taxi driver who left the children to fend for themselves after the accident, and failed to inform anybody about it, all left Sam with whiplash, and a huge rise in his anxiety levels, which has in turn spiralled into school refusal once again. 

Schools are still as ill equipped in dealing with Autism today, as they were 40 years ago. 

There have been no changes in the way that people with Autism are still expected to somehow ‘fit In’ with an outdated education system.

People with Autism now have a name for their differences, and are not labelled as ‘maladjusted’ as I was back in the eighties. Much has been learned about Autism over the last few years, but nothing has been changed fundamentally to the mainstream education system It is still as rigid as it always was. Fit in or else.

Sam seems to be paving the way for himself. He tailor made his own curriculum, and up until a few months ago was doing an amazing job of keeping it all together. 

Unfortunately juggling too many balls in a mainstream secondary school setting has been too much for him to cope with. 

The education system in the UK needs a complete overhaul. 

We are creating anxious and depressed young adults who will be our future generation. 

School anxiety has become a huge problem in the uk, with thousands upon thousands of children, too ill to go to school because of it. 

Instead of treating our children with anti- anxiety medication, the government need take a look at the real problem, instead of just treating the side effects. 

The way things are going we are heading into a generation of un-educated, anxious and isolated individuals, who will have problems well into their adult lives because of it. 

If like me you are fighting to get your child an education suitable for their needs, don’t stop. Don’t give up ,we have to pave the way for future generations of children on the spectrum. Autism isn’t going away, its here to stay.

We all deserve a better future going forward.

Love Betty 

How To Blog Whilst Walking The Fine Line Between Sanity & Insanity

moonlight through the trees

The view from karensjointatthetopofthegarden.com

Many of you may wonder why my website address has the name Karen in it. 

Many moons ago I was once known as Karen. After a huge mental health crisis which almost took my life, a new name change came about. 

I was no longer Barren Karen, and I morphed overnight into Blogging Betty. 

Unfortunately before the morph took place, our website had already been established. 

Changing the name of a domain etc is just not worth the hassle, so in loving memory of our dearly departed Karen, the name will stay. 

As most of you are aware I have severe mental illnesses, and spend a lot of time healing my fractured mind, by doing any kind of therapy that I can think of.

baking therapy…one of my many therapies. galaxy chocolate chunk cookies with ice cold milk for dunking.

I am currently sitting in the joint at the top of the garden doing some of my other therapies.

I’ve got one hand on my MacBook and the other one is smoking a reefer. 

It’s dark and cold outside, but it’s so quiet, comfy and peaceful up here. I now have electricity and heat, which is a welcome bonus now that its way below zero, and the middle of December. The only sound I can hear is the odd hoot from a Tawny owl looking for his supper.

taken in my garden last week, the unique ice crystals on fallen leaves

I am sitting here meditating, trying to get out of my own way, so that I can blog tonight. 

I love Blogging. 

Yes I found it late in life, but better late than never, as my old grandad used to say. 

Unfortunately because I found it later in life, and because my mental health issues get in the way, I often find myself wondering if I will ever become a top blogger. 

I’ve been blogging now for around 6 months. In that 6 months I have learned a lot. Not only about blogging, but about myself. 

Being on so many different journeys at once is amazing. 

A journey of self discovery,  a spiritual journey, healing from trauma, self acceptance journey, and my blogging journey all take up most of my time. 

Being an Autistic single parent at the ripe old age of 50, to a 15 year old son who also has Autism with severe Anxiety, and Tourette’s Syndrome, takes up a fair bit of my time too. 

Does this mean I don’t have the time to be a top Blogger ? 

How much time do you need to spend on your blog to be a top Blogger ? 

Since I started blogging I have been following a few top bloggers, but finally found my soul mate in Ryan Biddulph. 

He doesn’t know we’re soul mates, but I do and that’s all that counts. 

Apart from the fact he’s a very handsome chap, he gives out fantastic advice, and if I had more hours in the day I’m sure I would be a top earning blogger just like him by now. 

So as I sit here wondering where I can find the extra hours to follow Ryan Biddulph’s advice, I realise that I am already doing it. Because those of us who walk that fine line between sanity and insanity are juggling so many balls at once, the fact that every time they even publish a blog it’s a huge achievement. 

doesn’t mention that it helps with blogging, but ill try anything… my new daily multivitamin for over 50’s not sure whether to laugh or cry…

Little steps on this journey we call life. 

keep on keeping on… ‘All Bloggers Rock’ love Betty x

Breaking News ‘Blogging Betty Found Safe and Well

Blogging Betty has been found safe and well,  in amongst the tangled life of Betty’s bunch.

She seems to be suffering from amnesia, and has no idea of her wherabouts for the entire month that she has been missing.

‘It’s all a blur,’ says blogging Betty, who looks well enough sitting in the joint at the top of the garden. 

“One minute I was blogging away, making friends and building up my blog following, when bam I woke up, and weeks have passed. 

Nothing has been done, karensjointatthetopofthegarden.com remains dormant. I love that the house seems much tidier and festive now,than before I left.

And there’s lots of home made food lying around. 

Everybody looks happy..

I only wish that someone had remembered to press publish on my blogs. It’s not much to ask for” she added.

A spokesperson for Betty’s Bunch said ‘we’re just pleased that Blogging Betty is home. She’s a bit grumpy about the fact we forgot about her blogs, but other than that she seems fine”. 

“It looks like the clean house won’t last now that Blogging Betty is back, she hates cleaning with a passion. She feels that she has much more important things to do in life than clean” said one member of the Bunch, who didn’t wish to be named for fear of repercussion. 

“Blogging Betty’s idea of cleaning is to leave the vacuum plugged in indefinitely, so that if anybody visits she can say ‘oh you’ve just caught me about to vacuum’ (It’s the thought that counts.) Or she’ll hope that the fairies will do it at some point or another. 

Blogging Betty is so passionate about writing, that nothing else gets done around the house, explain Betty’s Bunch.

We help out as much as we can, but  she doesn’t accept help very easily, we’re working on it. 

Blogging Betty is said to be resuming duties with immediate effect, and is now again the leader of the pack. 

we made a welcome home painting …

Blogging Betty would like to thank everybody for their patience whilst she has been missing in action. She thanks the Bunch for holding the fort whilst she was gone, and for baking enough food to feed an army.

She remains optimistic that her memory will return, and her blogging journey will continue on as before. “There’s a lot of work to catch up on, but i’m sure things will only get better”. ‘Don’t ever give up on finding yourself again, it’s always worth it.”

She and the Bunch would like some time to come to terms with the fact that their Triberr is broken. Time to rebuild the foundations that went into creating Triberr from scratch. Betty is sure that the knowledge is in her somewhere, it just may take some time to find it.

Life Really Does Begin At 50

I turned the grand old age of 50 in March this year. Thats half a century that I have been me.

The age of 50 didn’t get off to a very good start, and like most ages I have been, this one seemed no different. 

Same old shite, just a new year to deal with it. 

Little did I know what was to come. 

After burying trauma for over 40 years, the lid finally blew off. 

Spectacularly.

as if by magic, Maggie the springer spaniel gifted me the perfect image for this blog…

The shit finally hit the fan, and everybody ended up covered in it.

The Narcissistic parents were covered in it, the abusive family members got covered in it, and even the people who were never meant to get covered in it, also got covered in it. 

the culprit…

Because the nasty shit that had been poisoning me for over 40 years was back in its rightful place, with its owners, I am now as free as a bird. I am no longer carrying around a huge amount of poisoned shit, which leaves me free to live the life that I should have always had. 

A life free from the shit that abuse, guilt, and trauma can leave on a person indefinitely, especially if they aren’t aware that they are carrying it. 

Thankfully my eyes finally opened at the age of 50 and 3/4, after a near brush with death, ‘better late than never’ as my old grandad used to say.

My life truly has begun at the age of 50. I am so excited by my next path on this journey that we call life. 

You Can lead a Dog To Water but You Can’t Make it Drink

There’s an old saying that goes ‘You Can Lead a Horse to Water but you can’t make it drink.’

This has rang true throughout my week, so today I put it to the test. 

I don’t have a horse but I do have a dog. I led my dog to the water but I could not for the life of me, make her drink it

Yesterday my teenage son was feeling unwell, Sam hates feeling unwell, but will not take medication of any kind. 

Sam has Autism, he believes that nothing works so what is the point. 

so I decide to try a new tactic, and ran a bath full of healing essential oils, for his nausea and headache. 

I tell him the bath will help him feel better. Sam doesn’t want a bath though, even if it means that getting into it might make him feel better, he still won’t do it. 

‘You can lead a Sam to healing water, but you can’t make him get in it.’

My final thought on the subject came today when I finally came out, after 40 years, as being a child sex abuse survivor to my family. 

Nobody wants to believe it, denial is rife, you can lead the people to the truth, but you can’t make them believe it.  

Be your own truth, people don’t always see what is staring them in the face.

You are not responsible for what other people believe. 

It’s Been A Funny Old Day With Corned Beef And Cannabis

Today has been a funny old day.

Isn’t it strange how one small event can set off a chain reaction, and change the whole course of your day. 

Today I decided to bake a pie, I love baking, and recently even started enjoying eating it too. 

So I take the corned beef out of the cupboard and immediately my mind turns to ‘why the hell does corned beef still come in the most dangerous contraption known to mankind?’

We are heading into the year 2020, cars can drive themselves, living on another planet now seems feasible, so why in gods name does corned beef still arrive packaged like this ? 

It is the only tinned food that I have come across that requires risking life and limb, just by opening it. 

If the key is missing, you may as-well throw the damn thing out, rather than trying to use a tin opener. Tin openers do not work with corned beef tins, this is why they provide the key. No key =no corned beef.

Luckily this week my keys were all intact, and I only sliced my finger once on the jagged edges doing so. 

Then I thought ‘I wonder if people even know the dangers of corned beef tins ?’ and should I tell them?

You can’t really blog about corned beef tins can you ? 

This was the moment that my thoughts turned into another blog. 

A recipe blog, so I then began taking pictures of each step of my pie making, on the off chance that somebody might actually want to know how to make a corned beef and potato pie.

So here it is 2 tins of corned beef (check the key and watch your fingers). 

About 6 large potatoes cooked til soft.

Half an onion finely diced and boiled. 

Give it a good mash, pretend it’s the person who invented corned beef tins.

Rough puff pastry, bought or homemade either is good. 

This is when things took another strange turn. I always decorate my pies. I began to think of what decor my pie would have today, when the old nursery rhyme ‘Sing a song of sixpence’ came into my head.

Whilst I’m internally singing along “4 and 20 blackbirds baked in a pie,When the pie was opened the birds began to sing, wasn’t that a dainty dish to put before the king”

Suddenly My brain went Ting and there was my 420 wake and Bake gratitude pie, and my blog became something different again.

I gave up on sharing my recipe,  all you need to do next is stick it in the oven for 35 minutes and the pie cooks itself. 

Upon gathering my thoughts at the end of the day, I find the 5 things that I am most grateful for in my life today. 

My gratitude for being able to live another day on this earth, and the 4 cannabis joints that have helped me to enjoy it. 

Although there is no cannabis in my pie,  there is enough of it in me to save the day. 

A slice of gratitude pie for corned beef, cannabis and happiness..

You can have your pie and eat it. 

Not A Book Nor A Blog, A NABNAB, The Next Chapter.

 

Today I decided to write neither a book nor a blog. 

But what should the title be ? It’s not going to be a book, because I have a personality that won’t allow it. It’s not going to be a blog because Blogging Betty has buggered off somewhere, so what is it ? 

Until a better name for it comes along, a NABNAB is what it is.

A NABNAB

The Next Chapter

Once upon a time long long ago, before you and I even existed,  lived a tiny ball of energy called Betty. 

Betty was a happy little ball of energy, living peacefully side by side with the Trillions of other little balls of energy that existed, before time as we knew it began. 

One day Betty was called upon to choose her path, she was so excited.

Betty knew she was special, just like every other little ball of energy, but she knew she was much stronger than some, so she chose the path of most resistance. 

One day Betty’s and all of the other little balls of energy’s lives changed forever, when a huge bang scattered the energy balls far and wide, to all corners of the globe.

 All of the little energy balls now had a new purpose, in sustaining human life forms.

Energy ball Betty bounced through many many different life forms for millions of years, as energy cannot die, it must always continue on.

Although energy cannot die, it can however become seriously depleted. 

And after millions of years of bouncing, Betty became much less bouncy and her energy was seriously depleted.

Most humans had started believing that it was they who were in charge, and even talk of energy balls were rare. 

Because of what was happening in the world, and because of the human host she had, Betty Awoke one day to find her energy had almost completely gone. She was lost in a dark place and couldn’t find her way out. 

It was then, in the darkest night of the soul, that she was shown the truth. Her truth, who she truly was, and what her final purpose in this life was. 

She remembers being placed into a newborn infant, who’s energy was not strong enough to sustain life, an infant who would face so many life challenges from birth that It would need a special kind of energy to survive the traumas that it would endure in its lifetime. 

All energy has memory, Betty has many millions of memories stored away deep inside.

Once Betty’s host became aware about how important Betty actually was, Betty began running on full power again. Much to the delight of her host. 

Betty is once again a happy little ball of energy., as good as new. All she needed was a bit of TLC, a chance to recharge, daily energy checks and a full MOT.

It suddenly dawned on Betty, that humans were failing to remember how important their energy was, and that the answers to all of their questions lie within themselves.

All energy knows exactly where it should be, positive energy attracts more positive energy, and negative energy attracts more negative energy.

Those energies whose lights were being dimmed by their interaction with negative energies, were failing to remember who they were. They began to yearn for home, even though they were home, a feeling that something wasn’t quite right with the world, then dis-ease crept in.

Betty knew it was her destiny to light up the world, so she decided to use her host as a tool, to share her knowledge, and help to heal a world full of dis-ease.

Unfortunately Betty’s host has severe mental health illnesses, so she doesn’t always get the chance to shine brightly in a world full of darkness.

Now that Betty is back on form, who knows where life will now take her host. 

Why Anger Isn’t Always A Bad Thing.

 

Most of us have gotten angry at some point in our lives. 

Anger is an normal emotion.

Many people believe that anger is a negative emotion, and try to avoid feeling this way. Most people don’t  particularly like feeling angry. It’s uncomfortable, they would rather feel happy instead. 

But what if you couldn’t feel happy ? What if happiness seemed unattainable ? What if you felt that death was the only way out ?

Anger is the emotion that the fight or flight response can produce, when a real threat to life has been recognised.

Anger then becomes a positive response , activating different neurons in an effort to preserve life. 

Anger has helped me to survive. It has kept me alive in a world that has tried its very best to kill me. 

Am I angry ? Damn right I am. 

I have every reason to be. 

Fighting back.. not dead yet !!

Angry Betty has spoken.

Is your anger keeping you alive ? Or are you keeping it alive ? 

Does it have a positive effect for you ? I’d love to hear your thoughts. 

P.S feeling angry doesn’t make you an angry person. 

Is Takiwatanga A Disability ?

Takiwatanga is the Mauri word for Autism. 

The English translation is ‘In My Own Space And Time’

For me this sums up my Autism, I am in my own space and time. 

I like being Autistic, I’ve had plenty of practice at it, what with me being a silver surfer and all that. 

Over the years I have found that Autism only becomes a disability for me when it comes into contact with a society that doesn’t understand it. 

My Autism is not a disability to me it is who I am. It becomes a disability when society wants me to be just like them. 

Being Autistic becomes difficult only when we are requested to do something that people think we should be able to do, just because everybody else can do it. 

So is Autism the disability ? or is it society that disables it ?

What are your thoughts ?

Autism is different for everyone, these are all my own opinions and thoughts. 

Your Autism may be completely different to mine, but we all share a common trait, we are all different to the ‘norm’. 

But we are all unique in the ‘how different from the norm we are’ department. 

Seeing the world through a different lens can be difficult, some people need more help than others, to be able to make sense of a world that sometimes makes no sense. 

one of my art therapy drawings.

Learning to embrace your differences, and use them to your advantage can take a lot of time, and requires much more effort than simply being.

Being born with Autism, is like being given a different set of instructions to follow, than those born without it.

Social norms can be learned, but not without considerable effort and energy on the learners part. Those born without Autism do not need to use considerable energy to attain these social norms. They have the correct set of instructions from birth.

The amount of energy used in trying to ‘fit in’ with society can sometimes become impossible to maintain. This leads to becoming overwhelmed, and the meltdowns begin.

Take society out of the equation, I am happy, not disabled, just me Betty.

Add a dose of society and I can easily become disabled Betty.


Is Blogging Autism and Friendship Connected ?

Being a newbie blogger, I am slowly getting used to the idea that Blogging is meant for social people. 

I am not a social people.

I am not Anti-social, but I do find it very difficult making and keeping friends. 

This is not because I’m an unfriendly person, merely because I do not have the social skills required in maintaining friendships.

I have had ‘friends’ but because of my Autism, and the energy required to maintain friendships, I find it extremely difficult, and even more so as I am getting older.

In ‘real life’ I have 1 friend. Hi Lynda.

I recently fell in love with blogging, and wanted to be the best that I could be at it. 

Here comes the crunch, to become a successful blogger you have to befriend other bloggers. 

And there lies the problem. I love reading and finding out how other people tick. I find people fascinating. I will read their blogs and advice and think to myself, wow that was a good read, or I didn’t know that. I retain information easily, and always absorb what has been written.

Then something else will come into my mind, and boom, Im now on a completely different thought path, and promptly forget to like the article, or comment on it. 

Not because I don’t like, or have nothing to say, simply because I have a memory like a sieve.

So for all of the hundreds of bloggers who’s blogs I read and love .. I love your work, I do have lots I would like to say to you all, but my Autism makes this difficult.

All of my blogging friends are important to me, they have taken the time to read what I have to say. 

Time is one of the most precious commodities, and if you have given yours to me freely, then you truly are a friend. 

To all of my readers, and fellow bloggers, I appreciate your friendship, keep on keeping on.

love Betty x