Autism Blog Hop + Giveaway

I’m honoured and eager to take part again in this year’s blog hop for Autism Month, lovingly initiated by RJ Scott. 30 authors will be featuring a fact each day – which you may or may not know already – and sharing their own thoughts on the topic.

And there are GIVEAWAYS too! Mine is below. Please visit other posts this month, all links are hosted HERE.

Today’s fact: Around 700,000 people in the UK are on the autism spectrum.

Wow. That’s a lot of people. At this time, we’re bombarded with statistics / percentages / numbers, and it’s easy for that to feel impersonal. But many of us already know people on the autistic spectrum, even in our own limited lives. We’re all in this together.

This year’s theme is FOOD. Food has always been connected with behaviour, physical and emotional. I was a picky child – I like to say nowadays, a “selective” adult! – but let’s face it, I’ve always had a perfectly good choice of food, and the opportunity to change my mind about my likes and dislikes.
Below, this is what I looked like most of my toddler life, apparently >>

But for individuals with autism spectrum disorder (ASD), food can genuinely challenge their coping skills. For instance, many children and adults on the spectrum are extremely sensitive to not just flavour, but also the colour, smell and texture of foods. Many also have strong preferences for a narrow selection of foods. Some even feel compelled to have certain foods in the same place on the plate or to use the same plate at each meal.

On top of this, many individuals with autism have difficulty describing what they like or dislike about certain foods. So it can be difficult to determine what it is about a certain food that’s so important – or upsetting – to them. And that increases the risk of meltdowns.

Research also tells us that many individuals with autism tend to have strong preferences for carbohydrates and processed foods, while rejecting fruits and vegetables. This, too, may reflect an aversion to strong tastes and textures. Unfortunately, it can lead to nutritional deficiencies and excessive weight gain, especially if exercise is limited.

The need for sameness that is common in ASD may also make it difficult to introduce new foods in a daily diet. Put it all together, and meals can become emotionally loaded for everyone in the family. This is expecially difficult when it’s a child you’re trying to offer meals to.

READ ON for more about coping strategies for a child at mealtimes, and the GIVEAWAY! Continue reading

Autism Blog Hop + Giveaway

I’m honoured and eager to take part again in this year’s blog hop for Autism Month, lovingly initiated by RJ Scott. Around 50 authors will be featuring a fact each day – which you may or may not know already – and sharing their own thoughts on the theme of childhood toys.

Please visit other posts this month, all links are hosted HERE.

And there are GIVEAWAYS too! For mine, comment on this post – or where it appears on my Facebook – and on Wed 10 April I’ll choose a winner for a FREE download of any of my ebooks.

Update 11 April: Congratulations to the winner Jennifer Shannon! Continue reading

Autism Blog Hop + Giveaway

I’m honoured and eager to take part again in this year’s blog hop for Autism Month, lovingly initiated by RJ Scott. 30 authors will be featuring a fact each day – which you may or may not know already – and sharing their own thoughts on the topic.

And there are GIVEAWAYS too! Mine is below. Please visit other posts this month, all links are hosted HERE.

Today’s fact: 34% of children on the autism spectrum say that the worst thing about being at school is being picked on.

Today’s fact is distressing. Not only the fact that children are picked on at school – because so many of us are and were, for all variety of reasons: as a mother, it always breaks my heart –  but because so many instances of bullying are because of ignorance. Autism takes many different guises, and appears more or less obviously, according to the individual. We would hope that everyone treats a fellow human, child or adult, with respect and a tolerance for their own unique behaviour.

It doesn’t always happen! But any way we can help promote and ease the awareness of autism, by formal or informal education, will help to familiarise and reassure people dealing with it.

The BBC is featuring the stories from many people diagnosed later in life HERE. Five times as many males as females are diagnosed, and this is a small selection of interviews with women. It’s often harder to diagnose in females, and these stories are fascinating, heart-wrenching, and heartening to read.


**My Giveaway**

Please comment on this post, or on my Facebook where it’ll be copied, and I’ll enter your name for a £10/$15 Amazon voucher. I’ll draw the name on SUNDAY April 8.

Autism Awareness

I’m pleased to be taking part in a blog tour for Autism Awareness, the master post is HERE at RJ Scott’s blog. Find all the links to many other fun, informative, intriguing, caring and thoughtful posts on the topic. Please read, enjoy, and learn.

Sesame Street's Julia to make Sesame Place debut

I’ve been reading this week about the Sesame Street initiative to bring in a character with autism, Julia – “See amazing in all children”.

“We felt that creating a character who was autistic would allow children to identify her but equally important, it would allow us to model for all children the differences and commonalities of a child with autism. It was an opportunity to help explain autism and to help increase awareness and understanding.”

Sesame Workshop said it consulted with more than 250 organisations and experts over a five-year period, ahead of unveiling the character. The puppet is handled by a mother of a child with autism, and Sesame Workshop also backs up the character launch with a website with plenty of resources on the subject for children and adults.

Both my Sons had friends in their school class who had autism of some degree. I suspect many people would admit they can identify someone with it, even if they never knew before what to call the condition. I’ve always believed the route to integration of any individual or group into society is one of respect, understanding and familiarity. Without going too deeply into the Sesame Street plans, I applaud wholeheartedly the intention to include all kinds of people in a much-loved, high-profile children’s series.

Because all people should be included in life, right?

Many need help to grasp all life’s opportunities, to communicate with a complex and confusing world, and to express themselves without harsh and unfair judgement – because their Amazing is not the same as another person’s Amazing. And for them and their loved ones, that deserves as much respect and acceptance as any other path.

So many of us spend a lot of life trying to fit in, to toe the line, to be the norm. When really, shouldn’t we be celebrating the wonder of uniqueness?!

Feel free to join me as I take that as my aim in daily life – See amazing in all! 😀