Tuesday, April 25, 2006


at last

I feel able to blog...

disabled (I chose that word carefully) by my guilt and terrible state of mind I was unable to post for the last two days.

How very interesting - blogging as a reflection of the darkness of your soul... maybe I'll muse more on that in a future blog but it does very well reflect the 'forelock tugging' Lou that Tim sometimes gently laughs at.

So there we were...

faced with the big decision - to return to the existing school or try out a new one. our weekend was wrought with angst.. I set a deadline (as I am wont to do)...

we struggled, prevaricated, cogitated and eventually...

wimped out...

can you believe it (I can hear a few gasps)...

but wait...

so we decided that the new school in exactly the same format as the old one wouldn't work.
we cant go to the Steiner school that we do like until august.
we have to get by till august.

so we decided to go with the flow and try to send him back (bear with me guys cause there is a temporarily happy ending here).

So we broke the news to laurie and he dealt with it well - understanding that we had to make it through this term and then all would be better!!!!

Laurie and I walked down to the school on Monday and went inside the building ( the psychiatrist somehow felt this was really significant). I knew it wasn't because it wasn't that hard for him to do. It's not the building that causes him pain - it's the CHILDREN.

Tuesday (today) we dutifully followed instructions and turned up to have a chat with his teacher. He was cool about that and took some photos of his flickr art and of hector to show his teacher.

Oh no ----- ambush

unprepared and without ammunition we were caught in a room for an hour with the bloody headmistress and his teacher...

for an hour we were treated to a monologue about behaviour, rules and her authority.

Laurie understood about 40% of what she said which I did find an amazing percentage because whilst it was happening I estimated 20%. God she was so tedious... The teacher didn't get a word in edgeways.

Apparently the kids all call him a girl because of his hair (well blow me down!). Of course they don't mean to be horrid. They didn't realise - ah bless!!!!

What about the 'Laurie the loser' nickname - oh well some of the children said that when Laurie didn't 'get his own way' in group work and got upset he would call himself a loser ---

as I said in my reply to their exclusion report 'it is hardly surprising that he refers to himself in this way given that he has been persistantly called this for over a year by his peers' (mummy rant mode coming on)

so I sat and let her harangue him. She made him cry (she made me cry). she made us both very very angry...

we left saying we'd come into school tomorrow at 9.00.

OK so you can kick us when we are down but don't think we will lie down forever. I feel bad that I let her do that to us today. Where is the lioness that sarah mentions?

They paid no heed to his needs. They did not acknowledge his sensory overload issues.
I mentioned that the children banged on the tables when the teacher had an important announcement. I said that laurie did not understand this and that it hurt his ears.

I told them that I had suggested to laurie that it may be intended to be like a drumroll. His teacher said that it was and he was prepared to change this. The headmistress said that it was a standard method for getting the attention of children and to focus them to hear important announcements.

I let him and all kids with sensory overload down - I didn't say ' this would have the opposite effect on children who had sound sensitivity issues'. She told the teacher she would talk to him later and it was clear she was not prepared to change this practice for one kid - particularly one who blatently defies her and doesn't recognise her authority.

by the way woman - I did mention the words autistic spectrum disorder. He is being assessed for asd you know...

Well the lioness is prowling now and so is Tim the lion.
We are not sending him back...
they, and the educational psychologist and the child psychiatric team can all take a flying leap.
we know it is not OK to send him back.
The school now know that we are appealing against the exclusion ( and she has all her guns out) - met someone who works in the school who agreed re asd but couldn't talk about it with me. How neat it would be for them if they 'bent over backwards to accomodate' laurie and then had the opportunity to exclude him again before the hearing.
so bend over mrs headmistress... if I was any good at cartoons I would do one...
we are standing together on this one. We don't quite know how we will do this yet but we know we will.
Here is picture of a lioness to prove it...
pale & interesting
and I finally did the unthinkable and am signed off on sick leave for stress for two weeks.

Friday, April 21, 2006


thanks for all your comments guys.

we've been talking about what to do. still don't know.

rang the psychiatrist this morning and asked her if she really thought it would be in Laurie's interest (re his mental health) to go back to the school rather than try a new one. she's with the others on this - they all think it would be better for him to go back. told her about the charming kids calling him names last night. She tripped out the usual - he needs to learn to deal with it - give him techniques. I sometimes wonder if they understand that you have a brain - der - we've been trying to give him techniques to handle bullies since he started school!!!

maybe I could do with some; )

my main concern is that one of the people assessing him for aspergers could advise me to take him to noisy places. What part of 'it hurts my ears doesn't she get'. I interpreted this as her either not understanding enough about the senory overload stuff, or implying that he's making it up! tim was kinder and suggested that maybe they meant to de-sensitise him. I am aware that there are some therapies that may help but in a controlled and specially built environment. I hardly think a train station or supermarket counts as that. this is making me very worried about the help we are going to get.

rang the psychologist for alternative schools - on annual leave now and he is the only person who can advise. I've asked before anyway and he always says we're at the best school. god help us.

have to ring the headmistress to arrange a time to visit the building today. tim had to go into work so we can't talk it through - but this weekend we are going to have to make a definite decision - this drifting is killing me.

a few people have suggested getting signed off with stress. having a problem with this one (ms. I can cope with anything syndrome). do have to ring work though as I'm expected back next week - just need to get to the point where I can actually talk and not just cry down the phone.

sarah just rang and made me feel better :) you all make me feel better :)

my new camera arrived at last so here are my fab sequined shoes to help raise a few smiles. they look like magic slippers - two heel clicks and....

new camera nice shoes

Thursday, April 20, 2006


not a good week...

Laurie didn't make it into school on Tuesday - no surprise there really. We handled it faily calmly and then all trotted dutifully along to the psychiatric team for our afternoon appointment. Laurie did his bit with his woman and tim and I carried on with the developmental stuff with ours. She told us there would be a meeting on Thursday (today) to speak with herself, the headmistress and school educational psychologist to arrange a 'plan' for Lauries return to the school.

For the last two days we all got up and got the school uniform on and walked to school - to try to get into the swing of things. We didn't go in the school. Today Tim couldn't come so Laurie and I set off in the car and as we approached the meeting place he got more and more stressed. By the time I'd parked up he was refusing to go and wouldn't get out of the car!!!!

After pleading, begging, shouting, and attempting bribery he still wouldn't be budged. I even got the psychiatrist into the car to try. He said some awful things about me -- I know I'm big enough to take it but when your son says he wants you to go to prison (following a comment that I'd get into trouble if he didn't go back to school) and that he hates you in front of a bloody family psychiatrist it takes some beating. At one point I almost laughed hysterically - although I was fighting back tears for most of it.

One hour later and she had gone back to the meeting and we were still sitting in the car. I eventually persuaded him to come with me so that I could try to find out what plan they had made in out absence. He sat in the waiting room while I spoke to her. I get told a few times how wonderful the headteacher is. I get told that the head teacher doesn't think he has aspergers syndrome. I get told that the plan is to start tomorrow with a visit into the building. Tomorrow is my last day of compassionate leave. Just what am I supposed to do now? She told me not to make it too nice to be at home and to make him go to noisy places so that he get's used to it. She told me not to involve him in making any choices. We wont get a diagnosis until they've seen Laurie with his peers in school - so how long is that going to take if we can't even get into the school?

When we got home two boys from Lauries class were playing outside our house. They shouted 'Laurie's a girl' three times while I was there! And we have to send him back there. We still have an option to try another school but it's a major risk at this stage.

I'm ready to throw in the towel . By that I mean give up my job, move to a smaller place and home educate myself. Lose my pension, my career and my will to fight. Maybe that's what I need to do for a while - maybe I'll feel better tomorrow

We don't know what to do...

I'd like to be on a desert island...

everybody has a palm

Monday, April 17, 2006


I've been avoiding most things this week but most of all I've been avoiding tomorrow and now it's nearly here...

Tomorrow we have to go back to school - the same school that excluded my son recently. The same school that he feels sick about going to.

And why?

because everyone agrees he has to go to school -

'the longer you leave it the worse it will get'

well I don't even think I should be sending him back. we've had a few big wobblers in the last three days as he starts to anticipate the awfulness of it all. we keep trying to encourage, cajole and outright lie!!!

why am I going to try it - I don't even know. Pressure - the threat of prosecution? A tiny spark within me that thinks it may just be OK.

The plan is that Laurie and I will go in a bit later than 9.00 and talk to his two teachers. the educational psychologist will talk to the witch headmistress after lunch about a plan for a gentle re-integreation ( a bit late as we already have to turn up at nine!!!) It could all be over by 10.00 - second exclusion, Lou loses her job, they have to sell their house and boy murders new dog in frustration.

We are due to visit the psychiatric team tomorrow too for next stage of assessment.

Can't believe Laurie went to sleep so calmly tonight. He is recalling bad dreams about school again and is very negative about going back...

It'll all come out in the wash as they say...

To top it all - bloody new camera didn't arrive yet due to easter hols... haven't finished writing book stuff, have a work email with over 100 unread emails and am knackered.

on the bright side - we had a family day out at loch lomond which cheered us all up. everyone else in the house is fast asleep. laurie found some tiny mushrooms so I did a macro with my 'old' camera. I quite like it.

umbrellas in a rainy forest
umbrellas in a rainy forest

also Laurie had his first go at photoshop on a previous photo of hector - came out really well...
he called it colourful reflection
colourful reflection

Tuesday, April 11, 2006


We have been travelling this week. Yesterday me, Laurie and hector left Glasgow at 11.00am and went by train to Chippenham in Wiltshire. We were on the train, accompanied by loads of luggage for 6 and a half hours!!! No toilet stops for the dog and he was, as ever a star…There wasn’t much room under the seats so to stop him sitting in the isle he ended up lying across mine and Lauries laps. Didn’t get any work done as planned so just slept a lot. Laurie and the dog were brilliant.

Two photos to show them both being very happy...
deep joy
deep joy
Joy wants the eternity of all things, wants deep, wants deep eternity.
Friedrich Nietzsche


A dog teaches a boy fidelity, perseverance, and to turn around three times before lying down.
Robert Benchley

In Chippenham visiting my dad and having a chance to go into the office in Bristol. The boys all had a fab day. It was strange being back at work as I feel so distanced from it all so it was a bit strange. Shows willing though and everyone was really supportive.

Introduced a few more colleagues to flickr as well.

Not much time to be on flickr or the blog due to limited and expensive access to the internet. Getting withdrawal symptoms already.

Excellent news though – I’ve splashed out and treated myself at last to an slr digital camera. Bought it on ebay on Sunday so hope it will be there when I get back. More of my life lost to flickr...

Friday, April 07, 2006


A wave of relief went through the house yesterday.

here is the entrance to our house - called main door

main door
taken by Laurie

We had our second visit with the child and family heath team. Tim and I had our own psychiatrist and Laurie had his own; )

Laurie stayed with her for the whole hour - wont tell me anything about it so left wondering... he said he just drew while he talked - said he knew it was rude but he hates looking at people when he talks to them. How many people in the neurotypical world would be able to understand that. I know there are thousands of others that do...

We did the developmental stuff so they ask you about how imaginitive he is, when he walked and talked and stuff. I went all pathetic in front of the professional (it makes Tim laugh to see me and says it's because I'm a forelock tugging kind of girl; )

At one point I was really aware that my legs were shaking and it wasn't nerves - it was adrenaline. I was just so 'wired' that someone was finally really doing something for us. i wanted to make the best of it. Anyway still haven't told them the half of it, but I did ask if they felt it was appropriate to do an assessment for ASD (Autistic Spectrum Disorder). YES YES YES - I'm not just a mother making up excuses for my 'badly behaved manipulating controling monster son'.

It is really strange to feel so happy that they have started the assessment and clearly think there is a pressing need. You might wonder why we need this...

We have to has his needs recognised. We do not have any negative feelings about an ASD/Aspergers diagnosis. We know that people on the autistic spectrum are wired differently - and have a very different take on the world - a very rich take sometimes that most people don't take the time to consider. We know that his sensory perceptions can be a major problem but they are also a great blessing. Laurie hears music differently and has been able to recognise pieces of music since he was really small and even identify which films they may have featured in... He can mimic voices and accents perfectly. His memory is so acute that he can recount dialogue after only seeing a movie once. We have never had to practice a spelling list for homework. He does the 99 times table for fun. His sense of humour is strange but wonderful.

Shame no one else seems to appreciate this...

Another fantastic thing that has happened is that the fabulous people in the flickr autistic spectrum group are offering incredible support (as are people who are reading this blog).

Huge thanks to all of you guys - so needed and appreciated.

haven't got a bunch of flowers photo but do have a beautiful lily from china for all of you...


I have met a really great family through flickr who have been through as much and so much more than us. they have a blog too linked to at the side bar but the dog is the one that blogs regularly - joker the lurcher. Laurie has been looking at their photos and I've explained that there are loads of other kids who have very well developed senses. He is most intrigued and would like to meet some.

next job - contact the glasgow autism support group....

such a long post today but guess what - another amazing thing happened. I sent an email last week in my depths of despair after the exclusion to our Member of Scottish Parliament (MSP) Gordon Jackson. I was expecting a standard letter in response but he actually rang me yesterday to offer support when needed. well done that man - you can share the lily.

So some faith in human nature restored...
Some validation of us as parents with concerns...
Some new friendships developing...

We are counting ourselves lucky today.

we are very well aware that we are only at the start of a major quest/journey. ..

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

refusings 2!

Oh well - one step forward another step back. After the success on Monday we had a bit of a day yesterday. As we started walking to meet the school educational psychologist Laurie suddenly stopped walking and refused to move. We tried everything we could to get him moving. Tim even tried picking him up (kicking and screaming) and carrying him. The world watched on as we floundered in helplessness. I was stressing about being late for the appointment (yes I know - so anal but I hate being late). We did have a huge hilarious moment where we pretended to walk on in the hope that he would follow. Then we turned round and I'm yelling down the street that we'd be late and Laurie did a slow motion walk (very six million dollar man). He is so good at miming that we both broke down in hysterical laughter at this point. Just a release I guess.

God knows what everyone thought - mad family I'm sure.

Anyway in the end I went to the meeting and poor old Tim (total hero) struggled on for another half an hour. In the end they went back home - had a chat and a cuddle. I had a long talk with the ed psychologist about getting Laurie back to school. He was amazed that we'd got such a quick appointment at the family and child heath unit. He offered to help draw up a plan to ease Laurie back in gently - so not all bad. He seemed a bit more connected to the needs of Laurie this time.

When I got back Laurie gave me a huge love and said he was sorry. He was a bit subdued and we were all fairly emotionally knackered.

One of my freinds came round to visit (to talk about a book we are co-authoring and is due really soon!!!!!!) We all went for a walk in the park with Hector afterwards who has an keen eye for the girly dogs - soon to be dealt with; ) We let him off his lead for a big run and he came straight back - big relief. He's clearly not the brightest spark in the box though as the day before he tried to leap out of our 2nd floor flat window! Tim caught him just in time and now all the windows are firmly shut.

Todays photo is called encircle the seasons (see the quote below) and represents the cycle of life - the hope of things turing around and an understanding that we will look back on this period and reflect on what we learned from it. We are already much stronger as a family unit.

Encircle the seasons

And is not time even as love is, undivided and paceless?
But if in you thought you must measure time into seasons, let each season encircle all the other seasons,
And let today embrace the past with remembrance and the future with longing.
Khalil Gibran

Monday, April 03, 2006


hector the rescue dog.

the sweetest natured dog on the planet and so what we need...


What a day...
Had our first visit to the family and child health psychiatric unit. met a nice woman called Dianne. Laurie actually spoke to her so she's started building a picture. I was so aware of all our body language (read too much of course so worried every time he chewed his fingers). I cried (surprise surprise at the moment). Laurie held it back but did get very overwhelmed talking about all his sad and angry feelings. I said sorry for crying in the car on the way back (because I don't want him blaming himself for me being sad) and he was so cool about it. he said ' that doesn't matter - I nearly cried too - it's OK to cry'.

I was so proud of him. Still worrying about her conclusions (so bizarre) that someone who has studied a bit can make desisions that affect our lives.

Anyway we went to the park with hector afterwards and let him off his lead for the first time. he loved playing with a ball and laurie laughed so much. A major success.

We are going again to see Dianne on Thursday (without L) to fill her in on more details.

Thank god someone is on the case...

This is how happy my boy is...

hector the rescue dog
hector the rescue dog

Sunday, April 02, 2006


I'm so exhausted - think we all are.

My hope for a successful visit to the hypnotherapist did not go very well as my son refused to talk. The guy was great though and we all tried to get him to relax but to no avail. He didn't even charge us and we hope to go back again.

On a brighter note we then went to pick up our new dog. He was called patch, but after much debate he has a great new name - Hector. (Stanley was pipped at the post). This means less time in front of the computer and more time in the park...

He is so sweet natured and very calm. Have'nt had chance to take photos yet.

Another bright note is that I bought a film scanner off ebay and now have the huge task of putting my old travel photos on flickr.

Here are a couple of the ones that seem to be popular.