Raising little Westies, and life as parent of a special needs son

Tag Archives: friends

Autism. Aspergers. You tell me the difference?

It’s been coming for some time now. DSM-IV is to be replaced, by DSM-V.

Along with the deprecation of the term “retarded” as a description of intellectual capability, so to will “Aspergers” be deprecated, to become simply a superfluous means of describing a person on the Autism spectrum. For those lining up to paediatricians to have children either born already or yet to be born, seen and assessed, labelled for the convenience of the education system, this represents a simplification of a complicated ecology of service providers.

However, for those who have grown up over the last forty or so years, and the parents of those who are recently diagnosed… being Aspergian is as important (or more important?) than being male or female, asian, african-american, indigenous or white, athiest, christian or wiccan.

Far be it from me to have too much opinion here, because my own experience is as a parent having a son be diagnosed in an inconsistent manner, clearly told “well for want of a distinct diagnosis lets use PDD-NOS – it’s vague enough to cover anything.” That made way for “Classic Autism” which seemed quite appropriate at the time, however, some of the descriptors for Classic Autism are tied to very specific moments in the persons life.

Lately, Aspergers seems to have become a highly visible description for a set of behaviours and preferences. I wonder, if this description loses official status and predominance… how many people would line up to be diagnosed on the Autism spectrum as an adult?

Are you effected by this change? Do you feel strongly about it? I’d be overjoyed to hear your opinion.


You want a WHOLE WEEK?

Oops. I have missed a day, it seems, so I am playing catch-up.

My week… for my own sanity, I will start on a Sunday afternoon. Which seems to me about the time my new week commences!

Sunday PM

Gather all my clean laundry, pack my bag, pack the car, have dinner, say goodnight to the kids, have a bath and a shave, say goodnight to my wife and go to bed. That generally fills in about four hours quite thoroughly!


Wake at 4 am. Eat without waking anyone if I can manage it. Tuck all the kids back into bed, and give them a last cuddle and kiss before I hit the road for the week. Go back upstairs, brush teeth, get dressed, kiss my wife and jump in the car.

Drive half way or so to Canberra, stop for a coffee, then drive the rest of the way to be at work before 8:30.

Have lunch with Alan, then return to work till 5 or 6pm.

Go to my “home away from home” and unload the car for the week, before having dinner and spending some time online. Generally, be in bed… just before midnight, for usually a 20-hour Monday. Life’s grand!


Be up, showered, eat, and on my way to work… sometime before 8:00 am, but often before 6:40am.

Get to the office, have a coffee, and start work. Work consists of hassling people about what software does, or does not, work with Windows 7, and why they should be using software that is easier to make work. It’s quite repetitive, and my colleagues and I seem to keep having groundhog day moments every week or so.

Knock off work sometime before 6:30 pm, before heading “home” for dinner. Hopefully, catch up with Bec online and be in bed before 11 pm.

Wednesday and Thursday: Often, much like Tuesday. It’s normal for me to eat out at least one of these nights, often with Alan, sometimes with the Aunty I live with while I’m in Canberra.


Get up before 6:30 am, have breakfast, pack my bags and car, head to work hoping to be there by 7:00 am.

Work on Friday inevitably ends up being “chase up some absolutely critical things that won’t actually change the world if they aren’t done before Monday, but it’s essential you get it done TODAY.”

Hopefully, I’ve already worked 40 hours by the time I arrive at work on Friday. So by lunch-time, I can jump in the car, grab some lunch and hit the road for Sydney. I often have to work till 3 or 4 pm, though.

On the way home, I almost always check in at a roadhouse for a coffee and to break the trip. Hopefully I am home by 8pm, in time for dinner with the kids, and in bed by 10pm.


The least structured day of my week. Hopefully I get to sleep in, while Bec goes to a regular meeting – assuming the kids stay quiet. I will catch up with some of the things I can’t do around the home while I’m away, and hopefully get the kids involved. Ideally we will get out of the house on bikes, for a walk, to some organised sport, or for a swim.¬† Bec will usually cook something pretty wonderful on Saturday night, and Magpie will often cook sausages for lunch. It’s just “his thing“!


Sunday morning I will again attempt to sleep in. Something will need to be caught up on that wasn’t finished the day before. Before I know it, it will be lunch time, and I’m back on the whirlwind for another week.

Inspired by Wonderfully Wired

Apparently an op shopping fan, well according to her tweets.

Restaurant review: Silver Spur, Penrith

In the spirit of Alan at his blog “With Sauce On That” I thought I should write up a review of tonights meal at Silver Spur Steakhouse.

Unlike Alan, it’s a bit difficult for me to ask all diners of their opinon of the meal, as one of my fellow diners remains effectively non-verbal. However, I noticed that he certainly tucked into everything which came his way with healthy abandon and certainly enjoyed the facilities immensely¬† – as he does each and every time we return to this venue!

However I am getting ahead of myself and I should commence at the beginning, which is usually a good place to start.

My wife rang and made a booking for 8. This seems to be quite a late start for a family with children as young as ours and indeed we ended up being the last party to leave… not all our fault, but anyway… We arrived promptly at 8, and amazingly, we were seated immediately. This in fact is a first! We have always had to wait at the bar. So possibly in future our bookings may have to be later in the evening, to avoid having to wait o be seated.

This is most certainly a family friendly steakhouse. The menu features a very glossy seperate childrens section full of the specials, there is a childrens entertainment area which generally has a dedicated staff member “wrangling kids” and painting faces, along with a kids movie pit (small scale home theatre style setup) and a few Playstation machines set up. If you come here for a quiet date you have the wrong place. So the menu is about as you would expect.

We ordered garlic prawns, along with crumbed mushrooms as an entree. They came together, with our bread, which was a great start. No pictures of the starters sorry… Oops!

A pretty reasonable steak from Silver Spur Steakhouse, Penrith

The mains were a slightly different story. I ordered steak, Bec ordered “slow cooked lamb shanks” and we ordered a couple of kids meals for the boys (which were… kids meals, hardly worth writing about nor photographing). The mains turned up. Our side order of vegetables, did not. Well after we had started on the mains, we were asked how things were going… and we asked about our side… *oops* red faces time.

Shanks Melting off the bone!

They were bought out to us and we were told they would be complimentary. Hmm, I

would prefer to pay for what I order – because I had recieved it when I wanted it!

The kids got their desert, and somehow in there somewhere, Bec and I ended up getting comped for coffee and brandy at the end, too. Good coffee. But the brandy was in a liquer glass? Hmmm.

Saving the best to last? The coffee was quite good!

Overall score? Well, it’s a kid-friendly steakhouse.
It certainly IS kid friendly. The STEAK was quite good, and the service friendly if poorly coordinated. The prices are OK – you don’t come here for the cheapest price around, but you don’t get ripped off for “sausage on a bun” to feed the kidlets, either.
On that wonderful basis, I score Silver Spurs Steakhouse 7 out of 8.
Just don’t come on a night when the Panthers are playing at home.

Hello? It’s supposed to be SPRING

There are crazy things going on with the weather.

On the SNOW.
In the NSW Blue Mountains, in SPRING.
Pic thanks to ABC (Australia) News website.

At least unlike some I was coming from the South, and was able to avoid the road closures with only a slight detour.
If you’re travelling, or if you’re home and it’s rough, stay safe.

Short, hectic, none-too-pleasant week

Some weeks, it’s really lucky they are as short as they are, so we can hit the timer and start afresh.

This week has been very full of activity. I drove up the coast and back last weekend. Had a weekday at home, quite unusual for me. Became embroiled in some online shenanigans, which I will go into no further detail. Work has been action packed.

At least it’s almost Friday.

Tonight, that’s it, I’m done. I truly hope to have more meaningful dialogue tomorrow!

I am however very much looking forward to a “regular” weekend, which I feel like I have not had for about six weeks now.

Best of both worlds

Tomorrow, two wonderful things happen for the Westie family: Our kids return to school (alathough, there is some sort of industrial disruption going on… ), and thanks to the quirks of my own work arrangement, I stay home thanks to a public holiday.

My youngest son, who has Autism, will be over the moon to be back in his routine school setting. His school holidays have been quite limited in their routine: he spent the first week at home, then a weekend in the car, followed by a week with his grandparents, before finally returning home today. The change from home to his grandparents provided some stressful moments for not just himself, but it seems his brother, sister, and both grandparents. His brother, Magpie, seems to have handled the stress the least successfully of everyone.

And tomorrow, they are back to school. We are aiming this term to get Magpie into some form of assessment, and there are a range of diagnoses which would be unsurprising to either Bec, myself, or his teachers.

The flipside is the wonderful public holiday in the Australian Capital Territory, “Family & Community Day“. It’s a new one on me, having only ever worked in New South Wales before (which does not celebrate anything similar to this day). Even though my family will be either at work or at school, I will be staying home, and will make the most of my opportunity to have an extra night with Bec and the kids. In the spirit of the day, I hope you have some extra connection to your family or local community tomorrow.

Celebration time!

As my birthday approached, I considered that it was about a year since I had left my previous “permanent” role.

Which just happened to mean that it was about time that a previous colleague should be expecting their first child to wander along into this chaos we call a world. So I reached out with an email to a person I have had no reason to communicate with for some six months or so – since gaining my current role.

Indeed, she is now a first-time mother, with a newborn son who, as it turns out, had to deal with a few challenges in his first few weeks of life outside his mothers body. That is now all behind him. In my friends words, she has had a crash-course in parenting. My response was only that “all children are a crash-course in parenting,” and I truly believe that to be the case. We all give our children 100% of what we can offer them, and we all pray and wish that we could do some more.

Puppies: 2012

Today, my wife was fantastically clever enough to rehome the last of seven puppies.

We all know, puppies are cute.

Cute, but destructive.

Especially when their mum is a pure working breed, and their dad is half malamute.

The pups were born on my daughters birthday, July 1. So they are now ten weeks old. Which means, “too old to stay hanging around with mum” in dog-years.

Sure, the puppies were having a ball.

My kids were having a ball.

Even random visitors were having a pretty good time.

Some chickens were not having such a great time, though.

Our back yard, stopped having a great time a few weeks ago.

And I have been planning to have a weekend away this coming weekend for quite a few weeks now.

So in closing.

Pups are great. Especially, when they all find new homes.

Big four. Oh!

Today, was the milestone day. Four, OH!

Thanks to Alan at Instagram for the night on the town. Well, dinner, with the lovely company of himself and Fanfan.

My lighthearted celebration captured by Alan

Unfortunately, that wine glass is nowhere near as large as it looks.

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