Thursday, May 28, 2009

No help from the A Team

After many years of trying to persuade the relevant people to please consider the evidence we were putting before them in terms of his behaviours and obvious anxieties, we've finally got a diagnosis of autism/Asperger's for Buster. He's nearly twenty!

What does this mean for him? Well, very little now. He's living in a small home which is probably as good as any institution's going to be. Probably nothing will change there because the behaviours which have now been given a name were already there and are for the most part (I think/hope!) responded to appropriately.

But how much help might've been available in his early years? The local authority has a dedicated ASD team - maybe they all do.

How lovely to have been able to ask for advice on different issues.

How great to have been able to join a support group.

How wonderful to have been able to use a name for Buster's condition rather than people around thinking he was just miscellaneously strange.

How great it would've been to be able to explain better to Sweetie the reasons for his rages, the fact that he couldn't control his responses, the way his mind might be working. How different might their relationship have been?

Sounds like I think life would've been hunkydory if we'd only known! Not really tho' - life's not easy with any child with disabilities, and many with autism are farther along the spectrum than Buster. But with a bit more knowledge and support we could've done a better job so this morning I just felt like indulging in a few 'if only's.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Give that girl a scrunchie

My mother was a master of over-statement. It's probably a trait many mothers share, little realising that their tales of chewing gum sticking to ribs and eventually causing some kind of catastrophic blockage, or people getting untold terrible diseases due to walking about with bare midriffs, or some disaster befalling anyone who was foolish enough to sit with their back to the fire - what is it with fires and backs? - are too fantastically over-egged to really register. You knew someone who got double pneumonia from unaired sheets? Yeah, right!

Anyway, this all came to mind this week when I read about the little girl who nearly killed herself through chewing on her hair. Like a cat licking her fur, she'd managed to create the hugest hair ball which was in danger of strangulating her vital organs. Six hours of surgery later and she's out of danger, but this is definitely one for the grandchildren: 'Stop chewing your hair! Don't you know you can kill yourself like that?' Nah, they'd never believe it.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Dog washing machines. Wrong on so many levels.

I'm probably more of a cat person than a dog person, altho' I like dogs and was as captivated as anyone by the pair of labrador puppies sharing our evening in the pub recently.

So, this caught my attention this week - you may have seen it. Reactions seem to vary from: 'a great idea' through: 'can I put my kid in one?' to: 'get the RSPCA onto him'. Personally I don''t think I'd like being shut in a metal tub and having soapy water thrown over me, even if it was followed by a balmy breeze electronically wafting me dry.

Actually, you could just stop that sentence at not liking to be shut in a metal tub. Who would?

Saturday, May 9, 2009


I am such a goody goody when it comes to copyright. It's not just the fines if you're found out, it's the embarrassment and the fact it's just plain wrong to steal someone's work. No wonder so few writers can make a living from writing. Anyway, like I say, I'm a goody goody.

But...I'll come clean. My Weekly - possibly last week's now, I'm not sure - has an article about writer Lorraine Jenkin setting off for South America, which would be brilliant for my literacy students. Interesting, nice photos, etc. Except, of course, it's much too hard for them to read, so I need to abridge it. Savagely. And, being the polite person I am, I'd like to know that's okay. But can I find a contact for this lady? No, I can't. Can I find a dept at My Weekly that seems remotely interested in copyright? No I can't.

Not sure why I'm worrying seeing as my writing has no single sentence in common with the original and there's no copyright in ideas, but I'd like to take the mag in and say: this is about this lady, shall we read our version? without even a smidgeon of doubt about the legality of it. Why does that have to be so hard to organise?

Monday, May 4, 2009

Sometimes you reach a fork in the road...

Well, that was an unintentionally prophetic statement about 'going it alone' a couple of posts back. Yesterday there were big changes on the writing group front resulting in me leaving the email group I've been a member of for several years. 'This wasn't just any email writing group, this was...' etc - you get the picture. Sometimes things just come to the end of the road tho' and a quick break is less painful than a resentment-filled, more protracted one.

Loads of nice things and warm support to look back on - I'd never have been published at all, I'm sure, without this group of women behind me. And some of us remain firm friends with intentions to keep on supporting and keep on writing. A win-win, I hope, for everybody.