An Angry Mother of a Special Needs Child

Hello all,

As much as I want to talk about my books and publishing, I can’t. Not today. I didn’t want to make a big deal of this post, but I feel the need to, because I might not be able to make a difference, but at least I can voice my feelings about it.

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Yesterday, I went grocery shopping with my nine year old son, Nicholas, who is autistic. Nicholas is one of those child who has ‘invisible’ special needs/disability. Not everyone would know he is autistic. He loves grocery shopping, and is usually well-behaved and well-mannered (believe it or not). The only few times he would act up is when he gets too excited and he would like to walk quickly, talk fast and sing loudly. So yesterday, we were at the meat aisle where it was freezing cold. It was so cold that Nicholas thought it would be fun to see if he could exhale the cold air out of his mouth. He then turned to a lady next to him and exhaled the air in front of her. The lady turned her attention to him and immediately looked shocked. I told Nicholas to stop what he was doing. The lady turned her attention to me. She looked angry, and then she said, “Your son is rude.”

Every mother of a special needs child will know that we would protect our child no matter what the situation is. I began to feel angry.

“I do apologize,” I said as calmly as possible.

“What a rude child. He is so rude.”

OK, that was it. I didn’t hold back.

“Excuse me, my son did not mean what he did. And besides, he’s autistic, which is why he’s curious about his surroundings.”

“I don’t care what the hell he is. He is rude. Your son is rude.”

At this point, the lady was beyond angry like Nicholas had done something much worse. I wasn’t having it. I’d already apologized, even though I didn’t feel like I should have in the first place.

“Alright, calm down lady,” I snapped back angrily.

I took my son’s hand and the both of us walked off with my head held up high. I knew there was no point in getting into an argument with the lady. As we walked away, she continued to shout back, “Your son is rude.”

Bloody hell, enough already.

Sadly, my son understood what the lady said, because he became sad and quiet after that. But I told him that it wasn’t his fault and that there will be people like the lady who he will come across in life. As for me, I promised him I will always be there to fight back for him.

So my point in writing this post? I understand not everyone will understand those with special needs/disability. But please bear in mind that they are also human, and we just have to try to understand them. It’s also unnecessary to be rude. If they do things that might upset us, just walk away. Harsh words would just hurt them as they might understand but wouldn’t know how to defend themselves. It is sad for me to see how many supporters there are for the special needs/disabled during the Paralympics. Then when the event is over, it’s back to ‘normal’ where the special needs/disabled are divided. Special needs/disability should be supported and understood as an every day life. And it’s important to remember that not all special needs/disability are visible.

Thank you for reading.

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Photo credit – Autism Awareness

Happy Anniversary/Paralympics

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It has been 4 years since I started this blog, and back then, it was the London 2012 Paralympics. I can still remember my very first post about the event. I had no idea the kind of support I would receive considering it was only my first post. As I am writing this post, I am watching the Rio 2016 Paralympics live. All the amazing feelings I had felt during the London 2012 Paralympics came rushing back to me. You see, I am a huge supporter of Autism, because my beautiful boy is autistic, and he can do many amazing things. He is a brilliant swimmer. In school, he was amongst a very few who was selected for a swimming competition. He is still young for the competition, but because he is that brilliant, he was selected. You can imagine what a proud momma I am. He is also creative. He loves designing all sorts of designs using the computer and ipad. The designs are all from scratch. I have even decided to make him a published author by publishing all of his designs, and all the royalties will go to him. The publishing company will not keep a single penny. I do have plans for him to join Team GB Paralympics swim team when he is older, but the decision is really down to him.

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(Photo credit – Autism Awareness)

I always feel emotional watching the Paralympics, because I feel proud of those athletes. No matter what kind of special needs/disability they have, they still seem to live life to the fullest. To me, they are true heroes. They prove that anyone can do anything. Nothing is impossible. I know there are many people who supports the Paralympics. Unfortunately, my boy has experienced discrimination in the past. But I have been there to stand up for him. I immediately become an aggressive mother when that happens. Can you blame me? I hope people out there will support those with special needs/disability not just during the Paralympics season, but also after that. We have to remember that these amazing human beings are just like everyone else.

I wish those participating in the Paralympics the very best of luck, and don’t forget to have fun.

On my mind – a personal post on autism

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(Photo credit – Autism Awareness)

Every year, around this time in the UK, it is the season for charity and special needs awareness, such as breast cancer and Children In Need. So for this post, I would like to take the opportunity to share my thoughts and experiences with autism, a cause I strongly support.

As mentioned before, I like to make this blog personal. Whatever is on my mind, I write. Don’t care about spellings or grammars. I have never written such a personal post before, but I’m about to. Please bear in mind that I do not mean to offend anyone (if) with this post, nor cause any problem. It is all about my personal reflection and experience with autism. I don’t expect some to understand or agree with me. After all, not everyone would understand autism. Lately, I have been thinking a lot about my son and autism. I love my son, and when it comes to him and autism, I wouldn’t change him for the world. I know the past is the past, but sometimes I cannot help but look back at some of the experiences.

One afternoon, I was taking my son home from school. We were catching the tube (train in London for those who don’t know the term). While waiting for the train, my son was sitting down on one of those ‘waiting seats’. Another young boy went straight up to him, up close, face close, like 2 inches apart, and asked my son,

“Why don’t you have front teeth?”

My son didn’t look at him. He started to slowly spit. Mind you, he wasn’t spitting directly in the boy’s face. It was like he was spitting slow bubbles if that makes sense. And by the way, my son doesn’t spit directly AT PEOPLE (not defending my son on this matter. It’s the truth). The reason why he was spitting was because the boy was up close in his face. My son doesn’t like that. It makes him uncomfortable, especially if he’s a total stranger. Meanwhile, the boy’s mother looked at me and rolled her eyes. I told her politely,

“Sorry, please mind my son.”

She smugged and said rudely,

“Huh, well, spitting is just disgusting.” (Her exact words)

I said angrily, and yet calmly,

“Actually, he’s autistic. And the spitting is part of his condition.”

She immediately became shock. She said,

“Oh, ok.”

I said again,

“I apologise for the spitting, but he’s autistic, OK?”

She said,

“Ok.”

She looked nervously around her and ignored me.

 

I know sometimes with autism, and some other disabilities, people can’t tell if one actually has a disability. The mother had the right to be angry, I’m sure. Spitting is unhygienic and disgusting. But she could have just ‘asked’ if my son could stop spitting rather then give me the attitude.

Another experience…..

Those with autism can have eccentric behaviours. That goes for my son. He especially likes to run or sing when he’s really happy. We used to live with our landlord. She knew about my son being autistic and said she was fine with it. One morning, she barged into the kitchen and asked loudly and rudely,

“WHO THE HELL SLAMMED THE DOOR?”

I was confused. It wasn’t me, nor my son. I said,

“I don’t know. Not me.” (It was the truth. No idea who slammed what door)

“You know what. You should control that child of yours. He makes so much noise in the morning. Learn to shut him up.” (Her exact words)

I immediately became angry.

“NO, I cannot shut my son up because he is autistic. He makes those noises because he is happy to go to school.”

“I don’t care what he is. Stop making excuses and start taking responsibility.”

Hmmmm, what responsibility??????? The fight ended with her storming out the kitchen and not listening to what else I had to say.

 

Another time my son and I were in a takeaway chicken shop. We were in line. My son started making noises because he was getting impatient. A group of teenagers sitting nearby started making fun of him. I turned to them and said in a normal tone of voice,

“My son is making those noises because he is autistic.”

They ignored me and laughed. I said no more, although I wanted to punch them all in the faces.

 

My son has even been called a retard or asked,

“When are you going to learn? You don’t know anything. Speak!”

I know parents from my son’s school who pushes their special needs children, who are older looking, in children push chairs. They get ‘funny’ looks when they are out in the public. But it’s ok for grown ups to push another grown up in a push chair, because we would automatically assume they are disabled.

During the Paralympics, especially during the London 2012, many say how inspirational those paralympians were. Many say it’s inspirational because we get to see those with needs, not just those with physical needs, do incredible sports. And amongst the cheering crowds, we see support. No one in the crowd would make fun of the paralympians. No one would shout out ‘RETARD’ to them or make fun if they made funny noises for no reason. No one would look at them differently. Instead, we saw them as heroes and inspirational figures. But outside of the Paralympics, it seems ok to make fun of those who make the same funny noises, or to be looked at differently if someone awkward looking was in a push chair.

I am writing this post to share my thoughts and experiences. I am not looking to start a debate or an argument. I am not saying I am in the right. All I am asking is, for those who don’t understand autism and special needs, then please be patient and understanding. If you see a child, or someone, spitting or behaving differently from others, don’t immediately assume the worse, because sometimes, they are the way they are and not because they want to be naughty or want to cause a scene.

I am so proud to say that my autistic son is already in training to one day represent Team Great Britain swimming in the Paralympics, maybe Japan 2020.

Never judge.

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(Photo credit – Facebook (Autism and other ramblings)

 

 

 

 

The Reason I Jump

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I’ve just finished reading a non-fiction book called ‘The Reason I Jump’ by a young, teenage, Japanese author, Naoki Higashida, who is autistic. As far as my understanding goes, the book was written when the author was thirteen years old. The book is about the author’s life with autism.

Those of you who don’t know or understand autism, here’s a brief explanation. Autism is a lifelong developmental disability. Those with autism will usually find it hard to communicate and relate with others. It can also affect how they see the world. They can be sensitive to sounds, touch, tastes, smells, colours and lights. Autism itself is broad. Each autistic individual is different. Some severe, some not. Some can grow up and live independently, whereas some would need long-term caring support.

I have an almost-six-year-old boy with autism, and having read the book really gave me a much better understanding of my son’s certain behaviours. Not that I don’t understand about autism. I do. What I mean by understanding my son’s behaviour is, for instance, after reading the book, I have a better understanding as to why sometimes he would flap his hands repeatedly, especially when he’s out in the sun, or when he repeats what I’m saying, or showing lack of emotional expressions and not speak. Naoki would explain the real reasons behind many of the different and awkward behaviours, expressions, and emotions by those with autism. I could totally relate to the book. It was as if Naoki was writing about my son. It changed the way I look at autism. It also changed the way I look at life and the way I am living it, because like Naoki mentioned, those with autism tends to see the real beauty of the world. They see the beauty of life and living, something many of us don’t see or take notice. There were some parts in the book that made me sad and almost cried, like the part where those with autism always feel isolated, and that they are usually referred to as ‘retards’ and not ‘normal’ people. Never once in my life did I think of my son as a retard. Naoki even mentioned a few times in the book about encouraging us not to give up on those with autism. Instead, he wants us to be patient and understanding. He even wants us to know that majority of those with autism understands people and the world around them, even though it might not seem like it. When I first found out that my son was autistic at the age of three, I was scared. But at the same time, I was willing to fight for him. And with the many help, advise, and support from doctors, playgroups, and parents and friends with autistic children, I managed to pull through and learn/understand about autism one day at a time. Today, I couldn’t be a prouder mother to an autistic child.

Naoki really proves that it doesn’t matter if you are autistic or have a disability or not. No one is not ‘normal’. We are humans. We are all the same. We shouldn’t judge an individual just because he/she might behave differently from others. Look at Naoki. He is an author, and ‘The Reason I Jump’ is a No1 Best Seller. And don’t forget, he’s autistic.

Halloween cupcakes

Happy Halloween!!!

Today, my son and I were at the Dagenham Heathway Centre in East London, making Halloween cupcakes with other children and their parents. Below are some of the fun/monstrous/gruesome cupcakes that were made.

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Meet the brother and sister cupcake monsters made by a girl called Catrina/Katrina (sorry for the spelling sweetie).  cup4

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And these are my monstrous dual.hallo1

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*The Dagenham Heathway Centre is a welcoming place where parents with children, particularly those with additional needs, come together. The centre provides a variety of fun activities, especially during the school holidays. It is also a place where parents meet regular, have coffee, lunch, cook, laugh, sing, zumba, joke with one another, and most importantly, to arise anything that concerns them and their children.

I am a proud mother to a beautiful autistic child, and I would take him to the Heathway Centre almost every Saturday for his playgroup. It didn’t take me long to fit in with the Heathway family. In fact, after meeting the family for one afternoon, I was already fitting in. And by then, almost everybody knew my name. That is how accepting, welcoming, and humble the centre is.

Books at Trinity School, Dagenham, UK

I am very pleased to announce that this morning, a number of copies of ‘A Chinese Christmas Carol’ were presented to Trinity School in Dagenham, East London. Trinity School is one of London’s best and well-known special needs school where a number of the students participated in the Opening Ceremony of the Paralympic Games London 2012. The books will be displayed in the school’s library. It is such a privilege and an honour. So thank you, Trinity School.