Raising little Westies, and life as parent of a special needs son
Normal scheduled services will resume…. Well, soon.
For tonight, you get this snapshot.
Look back two posts ago. A year has passed.
Goals were set. In stone ways those goals have been met.
The Westies don’t live in Western Sydney any more. We now live in Canberra, having moved from one city to the other on Magpies 10th birthday.
Three kids, in two new schools.
One has made the transition not only between States, but from primary school to high school. So far, so well.
One son has moved from one mainstream class to another. It seems ?
***. the only thing that has changed, is that he has to use Skype, or a Hangout, to talk to his friends in Sydney now instead of talking to them in the playground. He is into the school seemingly as though he has been there since Kindergarten. Except his stress is through the roof…
The youngest is in a Learning Support Unit – Autism. It is the first year of operation for the unit, and so far, it’s very telling. It seems though to be working ok.
I have gone from contacting to consulting. It seems very similar so far. I’m wondering if it will be long lasting or if I will return to contracting shortly?
Again goals are being set, this time the span is two years. By the time Magpie starts high school, we are aiming to be living in a newer, larger home. Again, without selling any properties.
Since my redundancy in 2011, I have bought two more houses than I owned in 2010. My goal is to continue buying at least one property every two years… Eight properties by the time I turn 50…. Eight properties by the time my Autistic son is considering what happens after high school.
To achieve such ambitions will need a set of sacrifices to be considered, and either accepted or discarded. Discarding to many will demands a reassessment of the goal.
So far the goals seem worthwhile. Let’s see what Christmas 2014 had in store for us.
One of those posts where there is no sense “liking” it.
Autism is hard, parenting is hard, and parenting alongside a partner who is also struggling to cope is extremely hard. If any of us only ever keep looking at how far there is left to go rather than how far we’ve come, we will be forever overwhelmed.
Reaching out is the right thing to do. What would it take for a parent to be able to actually have “time off” though?
My return to Canberra was a little abrupt. Well, sure, it was a long time coming, but then it was “so, you start tomorrow, OK?”
This is a very interesting way to live a life, especially with one confirmed Autistic and one suspected “quirky” child. Or maybe that’s two quirky children? Or something. News for another blog, really.
I’m rambling… There was a theme here, somewhere!
Oh yeah. Progress. We are making it.
The plan for this year is all about being prepared, and aiming for improvement.
With my job taking me away from home again, I get to look at BTB Fan with the eyes of both an insider, and a frequent visitor. I’m noticing more and more, that he is picking up means if expressing his personality, and his thoughts or wishes. His teachers report continued progress in academia, however this can be difficult to observe outside of school – until he says or does something I hadn’t expected based on him having to have read or calculated something far more complex than I expect of him. Teachers of Autistics should ensure communication in three directions: to the Autistic child, the parents of the child, and to school management.
So the idea then is to stop having such low expectations. He can achieve more than I give him credit for. Parents of Autistics should provide opportunity to their children, then encourage those children to tackle that opportunity head on.
On the family front, I have been investigating the local property market. This is a little difficult given my absence from the scene five days a week, and the fact that buying and selling is better suited to people far more extroverted than myself. I have finally made some inroads though and have decided: it does not have to be ideal, it has to be sufficient. With that in mind, I have a busy weekend coming in six days time.
This one, blames the guy in uniform. Universal Soldier.
Why is it I love listening to these in the car?
It came to my attention today that there is currently a very confronting autocomple search phrase waiting on Google for anyone who commences a search with
A range of possible solutions to this were discussed on the Facebook wall of a Page I follow but the only one that makes sense to me is to provide an alternative result to current search terms.
This is somewhat complicated by the fact that the Autism community don’t tend to refer to themselves as Autistics, but as people with Autism or sometimes Autistics – I’ve never seen it in plural from anyone who actually identifies themselves as a part of the community.
But, it seems, Autistics should.
Autistics should own the plural format “Autistics”.
Autistics should be valued, the way John Elder Robison is valued.
Autistics should be supported in the school system, the way my son is.
Autistics should strive to succeed with whatever strength they have, like Temple Grandin did, with single minded attention on the few topics which mattered to her.
But mostly, Autistics should not have to defend themselves against ignorance and bigotry.
My mum called me the other day and told me that she had bought a device, but she didn’t know how to use it. So, she said she would send it to me.
That device was a BlackBerry PlayBook, and I’m using it to write this blog post tonight.
Overall though, it is very limited in how useful it can be compared to other, more common tablets on the market. For example, the app store is very limited and it can be hard to find the right app for the task at hand.
I am very disappointed in the Twitter, Facebook and email apps, given the intended market for the tablet. The Web browser, though, is quite reasonable – responding well on most websites, and doing a great job rendering Flash based websites.
Overall, though, I think that I will be handing this over to my kids to use for a combination of Web browsing and media player – because the limited range in the app store will stop them turning it into a glorified games tablet.
Have you used a BlackBerry PlayBook?
Tell me what you think about it. What do you love about it, what would you change?
Quick blog post on Westiefit about my (lack of?) progress since January 14.
Some goals have been set, and some tools are in place.
I managed to find my wife an exercise bike, make myself feel like I was about to become a cripple, and take up swimming.
What have I achieved?
I have, for the first time ever, set myself up to run more than 5km. I did this in a way that was not sustainable.
I worked myself up to swimming freestyle for over 1km, which is a first ever for me.
I have returned to work (in Canberra), where I have joined Golds Gym – even though it is not quite open yet – as a foundation member. My coming fitness goals, will be achieved both in and out of the gym – with in-gym work, a program to follow at home, and some attention to food. No doubt, as has happened with me in the past, the harder that my alcohol consumption makes my fitness work at the…
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Listened to the Hilltop Hoods discography on the way home from Canberra after work on Friday. This one struck a chord.
My first full working week of the year. It can’t finish soon enough!
In typical style I’ve been back in Canberra over a week, and they are still trying to get me “onboarded.” I’m really looking forward to being able to really get stuck into some real work.
Even more annoying than my own work, though, has been my efforts to deal with Sydney based real-estate agents. So it seems I will have a slightly stressful weekend lined up if I intend to secure an investment this financial year.
I’ve been taking a few moments to review what I’ve written in the past, to think about, what I should be writing about both in the future – and right now. Because of course, right now will bridge what I have written about in the past, with what I want to write about in the future.
Of course, I will continue to write for myself. And hope that some of you out there will find value in what I am writing.
I’m not sure how normal this is, but it would really appear I must have a whole bunch of drop-in-once “followers” because my follower to like ratio is really quite terrible. I passed both 1000 likes in total, and 100 followers, within the last ten days. Over on other social media, I am back onto Twitter more than I have been for a while. While I’m not adding my own photos, I’m certainly active following other users on Instagram, and I’m making an effort to remember to use Facebook not as myself but as my page.
But, if I’m not sure why I’m online… is it still about Autism, or not? … then there remains somewhat of a problem.
If I’m here to be a consumer. That’s fine.
I think, though, for better or worse, there will be some politics flying around this space for the coming few months.
Local to my current home, and my intended home, and more broad election theme coverage (such as the National Disability Insurance Scheme, should any candidates or party mouthpiece bother to mention such a thing). Role on September, so I can return to normal scheduling!