Wednesday, May 24, 2006


back at work and on the road (well the train) so not much time to blog

this is where I'd rather be though....

taj at dawn

Sunday, May 21, 2006


Just sitting on flickr and watching thelma and louise again with the ballad of lucy jordan playing by marainne faithful

and i think..

yeah I would have shot the bastard too...

so I'll have to find an appropriate photo for today...

it's not pretty but the title is

go ahead punk - make my day
it was done for the headmistress (who most of you will already know)
but I keep it in reserve for any arsehole we may come across...

go on punk make my day

Tuesday, May 16, 2006


the home education officer came today

Laurie and I were a bit fab today. I'd written out our philosophy - child centred, informal, indpendent learning and holistic approach. In my usual anal way I'd written a bloody report!!!

It listed each subject, the resources and the related activities. Resources included tv computer games, internet, books, video etc. Activitites included things like discussions, interactive online activitites and quizzes, quiet study time, phtotography, drawing, painting, craft and digital manipulation, workbooks and practical everyday things like cooking, shopping etc.

If any potential home educator would like a copy I'd be happy to email it on request. She seemed to really like it (saved her writing anything down) and she was really great. Said her best home ed kids didn't even use books but learnt by doing using tv and computers. She was a bit surprised at him teaching himself languages and the fact that he did maths every day cause he loves it!

Laurie was a total star and said he liked it because he could set his own timetable and concentrate on work in the morning. he said it was good because once he'd finished the work for the day he could play. he said it was better than school because he got teased at playtime at school and they called him a girl.

He also said that we made a good team at home (aw bless - I didn't prompt him either!!!). He said that was because of the balance of subjects that we were all good at. He told her I spend too long on flickr (oops) but she had seen his fab mosaics and was well impressed by his artwork. He showed her some of his home ed work and pointed out that he liked symmetry in his art.

I watched him as an outsider might see him. He was like a different child than the one I saw two months ago. He appeared confident and happy. My god if only she knew where we'd been lately...

Anyway - not expecting any problems there.

Still waiting for the official response to my letter to the special needs woman. That will be interesting.

so well done laurie and mum today...

here is one of Lauries home ed photo projects called blue & red - the home ed woman really liked it and it made it to explore really quickly.
blue & red

Monday, May 15, 2006


so funny to read your comments about the clothes thing. i've added a comment - from the heart...

it can take us up to an hour to get Laurie dressed depending on the softness, length of sleeves, fluffy bits and how much cotton an item has.

Can't believe that I seriously have conversations with my 9 year old about what percentage of cotton is in his clothes; )))

so funny but can be majorly frustrating when you have to go somewhere. i try to be patient...

hey the truant officer arrived today - now that was funny

totally unexpected he arrived on the doorstep. he actually was a nice guy doing a shit job.

i told him that we'd filled in the home ed forms and had the home ed person coming tomorrow for a visit.

i told him that we'd written to the education services about our decision.

there was no hint of 'you're breaking the law' although technically we are. he was fairly cool about it - went through the motions but it was clear he totally got why we were at this point. he said the system was based on 50's ideology which was no longer relevant - we can only agree...

so I wrote a curriculum out to show the home ed person. not expecting any problems - home ed is fine as long as he get's it 150% right first time!!!!

also the Steiner school rang to arange a meeting with us all - it will be on my birthday - so taking that as a good sign. if it comes off he will be in a class of 14! felt bad having to give her the background details of him, because of that bloody exclusion....grrrr, bitch and stuff

anyway we wait in hope but he is so much happier not having to do group work - although he turning into a fairly good cook working with me - will probably be a bit arsey though if he was a chef; )

this is what he looks like when he arsey

its called houdini blues after a favourite Kristen hersh track about labels

"Oh no don't you put me in that box
you know what you can do with those locks
bet your life I'll come crawling out again
you'll have to deal with me then
you'll hear me in the wind."

houdini blues

Sunday, May 14, 2006


I've been trying out high dynamic range (hdr) photos.

this is where you take 3 (or more) of the same shot (prefereably using a tripod) at different stops and then merge them in photoshop. Supposed to be better in photomatix but I haven't got that software.

anyway just trying it out - there's two ways you can go - make it look like a painting which can be very effective or try to make it look realistic which is what I'm doing. It is meant to leave a photo more like what the eye really sees. It is interesting but I like my photo's in the old fashioned way too.

Put one into a scoring group and it's going to die because it seems that people either love it or hate it but purist photograhers will probably hate it.

very interesting though

here are a couple - one in colour and one converted to b&w. I like the b&w one best.


imaginatively titled hdr experiment
hdr experiment

update on our lives ------

well the education service are coming round to look at our curriculum for home ed on tuesday. we're are all still exhausted but having a time of brief relief with only the odd outburst from Laurie when he can't wear his perfect favourite jumper because all the others itch too much. he refuses to wear short sleeved t-shirts now and I've just had to get rid of drawers full of things he can't wear due to his exagerated sensitivities.

he has a wobbler every time he doesn't understand anything such as a new word or a concept as he feels it is a major humiliation if he doesn't already know something.

we tread delicately at the moment, but the home ed is going well

we asked what he wants to learn about and he said: astonomy, macedonian history and the seleucid empire, german, italian and spanish!!! no challenge there then; )

Friday, May 12, 2006


just to prove that I'm not always ranting in long winded outbursts.

let's just say thank god it's friday

and here is a photo of big ben which surprisingly is attracting lots of attention and nice comments on flickr.

we went to london for the day about two years ago. it was tim's brithday and I tried really really hard to be spontaneous. I booked a trip on the london eye and champagne lunch. unfortunately that didn't leave us much time to go to the aztec exhibition that he really wanted to see but he bore it well...

i'm not good at spontaneous...

big ben

Thursday, May 11, 2006


some of you who read this blog are so amazing I'm stunned.

I never even expected people to read it but to actually respond and offer huge support and really really sound advice is way more than I expected.

yes we had a bad day on monday but generally we are feeling so much more empowered. we had also felt that we need external (legal) help as we are too close. we lost the appeal - as expected and have a strange lack of emotional reaction (still too bloody knackered I think).

tim's reached a point where he needs to be off work. ironically I went back to work on tuesday (maybe a bit mad). my colleagues have been fab and really supportive. today was a bit tiring as we had an event for my elearning projects and everyone was great and said they were glad to see me back - they're probably wondering what the hell is going on.

they probably also wondered what the hell has happened to me. several more grey hairs and a general haggard look. actually coloured my hair before going to the meeting in an effort to tart myself up a bit. very half hearted effort.

what has surprised me is how tired I am. tim said it's cause I'm up till 3 on flickr every night; ))

joker - your comment about good things coming out of these things is so right - we were talking about this the other day and even this close to it all there are so many...

small list just in case anyone else is in the situation but hasn't found these yet...

family wise:
  • so much closer
  • so much stronger
  • so much more harmony
  • channeled my energy into being creative
  • have a blog which is so theraputic
  • have learned loads about my priorities (all my friends can groan and think 'about bloody time')
  • have learned so much about autism and the horrific response this gets in our society
  • have learned about the law, the education system
  • have stopped tugging my forelock ( a bit; )

and very importantly

  • have made some new friends

just as I would never change my son I would also not change what has happened. i'm not a creature of regret...

and I love learning.

i am definately going to find a lawyer. J the L if you have any suggestions great but if not I should be able to find someone. I am going to investigate the scottish legislation re educational provision with or without a diagnosis (thanks photopath) and if we don't get a diagnosis we are going to pay for a second opinion.

so funny - tim now asks every day if anyone has responded to the blog - we do really value other input - it helps to keep us sane when we have a wobbly day.

haven't got a wobbly day photo I dont' think... pause whilst she goes to flickr to check....

will work on one - but appropriate to put up some of lauries work

he took a photo of tim and hector dancing (with an amazing capture of hector's tongue- original is here and I took one of laurie and hector lying next to each other. i went to make tea and when I came back he had coloured them and made a mosaic in picassa. it's a bit psychadelic but has had a great response.

not bloody bad for a nine year old I think...

he's turning into en syn!

Monday, May 08, 2006


an apt title indeed...

cried alot today

we had our appeal hearing against the exclusion today. I had written a very articulate report but we did not present well verbally due to feeling so emotional. in retrospect I should have paid for a lawyer...

They began by attacking our son so visciously that I was left practically unable to speak. He was presented as an attention seeking boy with serious emotional troubles who deliberately behaved badly and endagered the whole school so that he could be sent home!!! At one point the lawyer did a sneaky little (false laugh) when the headteacher was talking about the noise sentitvity issue saying that sometimes it was a problem and sometimes not. I am so knotted up about this laugh - how dare he laugh at the pain my son feels. I can't help reacting even though I know to him it's a game and he wants to win. but its not a game to us.

They said that the asd issue was irrelevant as we did not have a diagnosis which pretty much chucked our case out of the window!

The panel was made up of one councillor who describes asd as a disease and said he was only interested in the facts on the day of the exclusion (such an enlightened soul). One of the panel was totally inscrutable but made eye contact with both tim and I several times during the tirade. The chair was amazing and had significant experience (it felt close) of asd and aspergers in particular.

He raised several interesting querstions about the support (or lack of it offered to Laurie). The education service lawyer said that was irrelevant to this appeal!

We suspect that we will not win the appeal. The wanky councillor said that it didn't matter if we win the appeal or not because if we get a diagnosis it will wipe the slate clean....

tim and I have spent all day thinking of all the damn things we should have said.

tim is all for getting a lawyer and really going for it - typical for him really but he is also very upset and angry.

in many ways it really doesn't matter if they overturn the exclusion but at the very least we have made the headteacher have to account for her actions. The chair asked her if they had set up any special arrangements for laurie, in particular a quiet corner. She said their classrooms were all full of stimulating things - for god's sake and they wonder why we are not going back.

The chair and the lawyer implied that we were at the wrong type of appeal and perhaps should be considering a different approach if we get a diagnosis.

I am now so scared we won't get one... but I am being paranoid. If we don't then the education authority don't have to do anything to help us.

Later I took Laurie to the after school club for his assessment. He was fine about going and knew that he was going to be observed. i told him to be himself. the minute we got there he refused to go in because a certain boy was there who regularly calls him names and picks on him.

30 minutes later the staff made the boy go into a separate area and he agreed to go in. He went and sat next to a table and got his gameboy out - fairly typical. I left and returned later. I was told that he had joined in to some extent and that the psychologist had had the chance to see him interact.

Apparently she said something along the lines of - he was very different than when he was in her office. what the **** does that mean. we wont know till 2nd June.

I am going completely mad.

For someone who has a serious issue about labels (as my friend Sarah) knows very well - here am I needing one.

And yet the label is so not the important thing. I am perfectly happy with my son as he is. In fact I am very proud of his courage and resiliance. I am amazed by his wonderful brain. tim is developing a theory about so called disorders such as dyslexia (which he himself has) and autism as being related to something we needed to to in the past (in an evolutionary sense). An interesting theory as I do feel that there is some genetic thing going on with Laurie. those superior senses would have made us very good hunters. i remember when I was pregnant and noticing my sense of smell increasing dramatically. I'm convinced that this is due to the natural need to protect my young. In fact come to think of it there was a kind of strange and dangerous smell going on today; )

I've made a set on flickr called 'autistic spectrum - a world of black and white' which aims to educate and enlighten people about it. The title refers to both the b&w high contrast photos and also the extreme literal interpretation that Laurie takes. Each photo has a little sentence about some aspect of being on the spectrum. Several people have called it educational so i am very pleased about that - I do believe educating the world is crucial in this battle.

I put some of the photos into scoring groups to make people engage with them. To be honest they often don't pay any attention to the words and totally misread the photo. most assume because of the long hair and pretty face that it's a girl... however alot see the powerful messages.

an important outcome is that these ones sometimes get enough attention to end up in explore. This is the top 500 photos (based on varying and changing criteria auch as number of views, comments and favourites) for each day. this can give a photo more exposure and so also I hope, the message.

I'm turning into an evangelist...

here is another photo from the set. a favourite of mine because it has serious attitude and that is what I need.

It's called searching for diamonds in the sulpher mine after an old favourite track by Van der Graff Generator (showing my age). It has been blogged here

it looks better very large but the format is unusual.

searching for diamonds in the sulphur mine

Sunday, May 07, 2006


it's been a while...

decisions have been made...

we will home educate Laurie till the end of June (Scottish end of term). I've just written the letter to the education service stating all the reasons that we feel the mainstream system just doesn't offer an appropriate route at the moment. enjoyed writing that one as I also got to say exactly why we wont send him back to that school...

we went through a range of options to get through the next few months (nanny - too expenisve) (au-pair - very close second choice) (fabulous next door neighbour who knows us and our son and is studying for exams).

the latter is our choice. she will cover whilst I'm away from home.

Tim is a qualified teacher so we will work up a curriculum. He is so bright that
a) he probably doesn't need a curriculum
b) he teaches himself from the internet, cd roms and the history tv programs
c) we got some practical workbooks for his age range and it takes 2 minutes for him to complete a section!!!

when we've finished those we'll aim higher.

Also planning to enrol him in a local KUMON education centre - recommended to me by a mathematician. Uses a japanese method of teaching and doesn't appear to require group work and encourages independent learning.

Yaaaaay bloody yaaaaay

tomorrow we go to the appeal meeting re the exclusion - should be very interesting. my written submission would stand on it's own but we are going in person too. will have to tart myself up a bit - looking a bit grey and haggard - I wonder why????

I am thinking of going back to work on Tuesday. Not sure I'm ready but feel that I should get on with it (especially as I know things will be OK when I'm travelling). Working may way up to that one.

We went for outr final diagnosis re the spectrum but have to wait until they've seen him with peers!!! This will happen tomorrow as I managed to get Laurie back to the after school club ( the one with the woman who understands autism but can't mention it due to pressure from the witch) the Psychiatric team informed us that they were seriously considering a diagnosis of Aspergers syndrome but just needed to confirm his interactions with his peers. Tim and I can't really see that this will make a difference. we think it will just confirm what we have been saying about his interactions.

we then have to wait to get the grand result till first week in June.

Hey Ho as JD Salinger says...

probably no one listening anymore but I've been finding it hard to focus.

have done a whole series of high contrast black and white shots on flickr which make a set called autistic spectrum. each photo illustrates and has a description of one of the things that affects our lives.

Here is one of them which has been really popular. It illustrates the food issues ( restricted diet, being seen eating) and also issues of taste - re conforming to fashion - something my boy just does not do - kudos Laurie

it's called tasteful


and the caption says 'Sometimes it's more important to be human, than to have good taste. ~Brecht