About Me

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I am a special education teacher in England, working in a mainstream academy with a centre for children with learning difficulties. I teach a class of 7 students of secondary age with profound and multiple learning difficulties. These include autism, visual impairment and sensory integration disorder. I love love love my job. It inspires ,enthuses .and lifts me and I never intend to retire. :)

Monday, 23 August 2010

Prayer works?

I feel very uncomfortable when I hear or read the phrase "prayer works!" on a number of levels. Firstly it appears to refer to prayer as a kind of separate power from God. The power of prayer does not exist alone; its the power of God Himself who heals, creates , restores. If we pray to a pink cow would that have the power to help us? Of course not.
Is prayer a kind of list of requests for what we need and want for ourselves and our friends ? Sometimes it is, certainly , He is our father , our daddy , and what child doesn't come to their loving father and ask for things. He expects that,even wants that of us. He is the great Giver of all good things. However He is not a slot machine, we put the penny and He delivers the chocolate . Prayer is so much more than that,just as being a christian is more than believe or action :its about a relationship with God .
In prayer we come before our Lord ,as we are, no words, to know Him better. We spend time in His presence in order to change and become more like Jesus, and hopefully so we can share His love with the world.As we put our inner desires before Him He may not change our circumstances but He will change us and as we grow closer to Him He will give us the strength to deal with all life throws at us, and we'll know His love and comfort with us.
In the past year I have made many requests to God about my life. Prayers for what I want, prayers for escape from pain and bad circumstances, prayers for change.Very few of these prayers have "worked". But of course I haven't stopped praying.Because in the past year I have prayed virtually every day for at least half an hour God has been so close to me. I've known His strength, His guidance, I have listened and heard His will for me and known His peace. I pray and He answers with HIMSELF! What more priceless treasure could I have??
Because God is my Father creator, saviour, and Lord He knows better than me what is right for me , what will serve His best purpose in my life. In His presence I can learn to trust Him for the future and for all he can and will do for me and my innermost desires.When my marriage ended I prayed that God would give me my husband back and He didn't. He knew that it wouldn't be the best way for me and probably not for my husband either, and I am so glad He didn't answer that prayer. On a larger,more global scale Nelson Mandela spent 30 years in jail in South Africa. How many times must he have prayed for release, for an end to his suffering? It is my understanding however that if as a young man Mandela had led his people he would have done it in his youth and fervour and anger in a violent way, no doubt leading to no change or peace. That time in prison changed Mandela, in God's presence, to a man God could use to bring about a change for the country , south Africans and the world.

For me the question isn't does prayer work? Its do we seek Gods face or His hands? This has been His message to me for the last few weeks. Seek my face, that is God for Himself and not what He can do for you. Then as you do you can become a place of blessing for others , not in a place of blessing for yourself.

A friend of mine told me a story about how it was thought that God should be put on trial for what the Jews went through in the war and so he was: all the evidence examined , cases for and against presented , and He was found guilty. Guilty of pain death abandonment of His people. So when this shocking conclusion had been reached what do we do? Well we pray!

When Jesus was on earth and after a controversial talk people were turning away in their droves He turned to His disciples and said "do you want to leave too" and Peter said " to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life and we have believed and come to know that you are the holy one of God"
To whom shall be go indeed? I know that in my life whether prayer "works" or not I will seek Gods face. He is the only one who can make a difference, the only one to turn to, and I am happy to know that my times are in His hands.

Tuesday, 17 August 2010

Walking a mile in their shoes

I have always known that unless people have suffered from depression they don't really understand it . They may sympathise, they may have read up on it but that genuine understanding isn't there . I remember after being diagnosed with depression how much comfort I got from a friend who also had it . When I told her I wanted to dig a hole, get in and cover myself with leaves she didn't look at me as if I was mad , she said " oh yes , the need to hibernate that's normal" and when I told her I felt as if my brain was paralysed and I couldn't think or make decisions or do anything at all , that was in her experience too.

But suffering in one way doesn't seem to to help us empathise with another sort of suffering . I am certainly talking about myself here , and I suspect I am talking about us humans in general, such feeble selfish beings that we are . It wasn't until I had a divorce, that I understood the issues involved . I had always thought I was compassionate and caring to those in that situation but I hadn't realised the experience of bereavement and loss that it brought with it: lost plans , lost hopes and a lost future , as well as loss of a person who had been important enough to you to envisage sharing your life with . Again when having an emergency Cesarean and immediately afterwards , I was shocked at the strength of my trauma and distress . How many times had I felt sorry for someone, made noises of sympathy , prayed for them even, without realising what
what a truly horrid experience it was . The shock, the loss of control , the fear of what might happen . Each time I have suffered another of life's traumas I have made a mental note eg " if I know someone who this is happening to I must do such and such or say such and such.

Recently , after a horrible year of my life , it has seemed I have been ill with one thing , then another with no let up. I have spent 3 weeks of the holidays simply resting in the hope that my total exhaustion will go away . As I began to feel better I started to plan the activity of the next 3 weeks . Visiting friends , helping people, baking and cooking , planning for next term. I woke up on Monday morning raring to go and guess what ..... I had pulled a muscle in my shoulder while asleep [ yes that's right!!] and was in agony and barely able to move!

As I chuntered through the morning , moaning at God in self pity about how utterly fed up I was at never being right or healthy or able to do anything , I worked myself up into a state of misery where I felt I was a useless lump , helpless and dependant on others , no use to God or man and why why why and ended up crying for ages You can imagine it I've no doubt - not a pretty sight .lol Whilst sobbing I remembered [or was reminded ] of a lady at church who is in constant bad pain and in a wheelchair, completely dependant on her husband for most things . Also another close friend who is diagnosed with ME , often in bad pain and unable to do much without being exhausted and who cannot work or carry out an active ministry for God. It pulled me up short . I'm not saying that my very limited and temporary pain made me experience what they're going through , but in a very small way it gave me idea of what I was feeling might be like, multiplied a hundred fold .

I'm not saying whatever we suffer theres always someone worse off. Any suffering by an individual must be borne by them as best they can , without comparisons , but in future I want to use any experience of pain to turn my mind to prayer for others and my life to be one of real empathy for others in need . Also I'm praying that God will give me discernment when I meet others in need , as to what they are feeling and what they need from me that I can see with Gods eyes and feel with Gods heart .

This is sounding very depressing and miserable post , but I've saved the most wonderful bit till last. What an amazing example of love and empathy we have in our God . He didn't feel compassion for us from a distance , but in Jesus God became man . He has felt exhaustion and pain , hes been rejected and hated by those he loved, hes been unjustly accused and tortured and murdered . He understands how we feel in these and more situations . And He not only has been where we are so He can comfort us but He calls us through it to His resurrection and His purpose in us and through us will not be thwarted . !!

Ands thats a thought worth reflecting on . God bless x

Sunday, 11 July 2010

Tobacco tin or iphone ?

As a girl guide many years ago we had to carry a survival kit around in our uniform pockets, which I think practically everyone held in a tobacco tin [for ease of fit but oh so non pc now!]. I still remember what it consisted of : a 2p and a 1p for the phone [now I'm really showing my age :)], an elastic band , a needle and thread, a safety pin, a spare button,a piece of string, a plaster or 3,and something to amuse a child. The latter was left to our imagination and of course the limited size of the tobacco tin . What any 13 girl could really achieve with this collection of random items is debatable but we were regularly inspected on the contents of our tins. One guide meeting during which we were required to be out in the town, myself and 2 friends" foolishly "took our tins out and left them behind feeling they would hinder our running ability. We got a black mark from Captain when we returned as "its when we are out and about that we are most likely to need them" This was before the days of Catherine Tate and "Am I bovvvered" you understand, but I'm sure that was what our faces were reflecting.
Now, recently I was in a house with no toys and 2 very bored little girls , daughters of a friend of mine. Did I wish I had my tobacco tin? No indeed ,I have something much better, my iphone, filled chock a block with things to amuse a child . I'm sure it would have kept them amused for several hours .
Recently a friend of mine on facebook asked iphone users what they had found was the most useful app they had added and I couldn't really reply as my phone is full of silly apps that bring lots of hilarity and laughter from kids of all ages but couldn't really be described as useful. I did start looking for apps that are useful in stimulating and teaching students with complex needs so here's a brief description of what I've used so far:-
  1. soundEFX , a great sound effects app useful for bringing multisensory stories to life or encouraging sound/picture matching. Also entertains 12 year old lads for well over an hour.
  2. PyroMania ; touch the screen and firewords explode , great for cause and effect, or attending to colours and moving objects
  3. ipiper , touch the screen and explore your way up and down a bag pipe -yuk , if you can bear it
  4. bobble zoo ;this one is one of my favorites , featuring several animals and their noise and when you shake the phone their heads wobble from side to side .Such fun!
  5. smack talk. This is fantastic and defy anyone not to laugh their socks off when they first encounter it. speak to the hamster on the screen[or kitten or puppy] and they will repeat it back in a silly squeaky voice. I was delighted when one of my students really understood he was actually affecting the hamster with his sounds and became more vocal
  6. Koipond , you can ripple the water by touching it , hear the splashing sounds and if you keep your finger still in one place the fish all come and nibble it , which actually feels like a little vibration.
  7. flashlight, which is simply that, for tracking and attention work in the dark room and you can change it to colours for a slightly different experience .
  8. I have also added old booth and fat booth for my own amusement. You take a photo of someone and you can change that persons hairstyle to look from the 60s or 70s . similarly fat booth makes you look FAT, in my case like someone in a sitcom wearing a fat suit !
I have also added the"hallelujah button". You press this big yellow button and get a short burst of The Hallelujah Chorus. How very cool is that?
So leave me in a room with any young or older child who needs entertaining and I can not only play them music , I can get them laughing at the hamster , creating fireworks , pressing scream ,witch and fart sound effects. I can make them fat or unrecognisable, and if the battery doesn't die this can go on for hours .

Sunday, 14 March 2010

Saturday 9

I am doing this a day late but better late than never.As I am behind with most things in my life I am simply reverting to type. I used to worry about playing permanent catchup but now.....well I've accepted it as an inevitable part of my character.

Are you the type of person who jumps into new ventures or do you prefer baby
Hmmm difficult one.I do jump into new ventures but if things don't flow along swimmingly I can give up and then need re enthusing before I can start again.This is a flaw in my character that I am currently trying to deal with ie allowing my mind,where I get fired up and enthusiastic and full of good ideas to become united with my actions,which are a little slower in following!

Who do you think believes in you the most?
Definitely , definitely God! He always takes us and turns us into what He wants us to be if we are willing.So despite my weakness, my laziness, my faults ,and the numerous times I've let Him down, my Lord and Father believes I can change and He can use me and I can be good at anything I want .Hurrah!

When was the last time you were on a stage?
LOL when I was a teenager at school. I was in the drama group, mainly because I had a major crush on the teacher who ran it. We put on "The thwarting of Barron Bolligrew" in which I was the Secretary, a part with no words and only one appearance. Sigh! And so died my hopes for a career on the stage.

Tell us about the worst boss you every had?
Oh my goodness, there are so many to choose from. The headmaster of the first school I worked at was a dozy guy who appeared to know nothing much about teaching,or managing.For many years he was having an affair with the deputy and they would ensconce themselves in his office doing what I will leave to your imagination and sending one of the teachers out for provisions.This was before national curriculum and offsted you understand, hence he got away with it for years. My last head was a bully. She was head of a high school in a very rough area, Children came from families who neglected them, often with no breakfast and not washed ,maybe abused.There was a lot of violent and defiant behaviour.This head let the students away with murder and bullied the staff.She drove many good teachers away and created a little group of young and easily manipulated people around her as her senior management. She has moved on to terrorise another poor school.

Of all the clothes you own what do you feel most comfortable wearing and why?
Jeans jeans jeans! I like to look nice, but in a comfortable beach bum kind of way, like the clothes produced by Fatface.If I find a tshirt or jumper that I love and feel really suits me I wear it to death, until it falls of my back from over use. Currently I have a navy blue long baggy jumper that serves this purpose. I have 2 pairs of jeans that suit me best, by John Rocha,and Monsoon.

On what television show—either past or present—would you like to make to make a guest appearance, and what role would you play?
I would like to be a contestant on a humorous quiz like" have I got news for you"[on Paul Merton's team] or QI or from the past "Call my Bluff"

8. St. Patrick's Day is on Wednesday March 17th. Do you celebrate and wear green? Drink Green Beer? Ignore it?
Do you know, I have NEVER even noticed its passing before! Its really not a big thing here in the UK. I've never known anyone who talks about it either. It must be the states that makes a big thing of it cos its only since I've been on facebook and twitter and have American friends that I've heard of it.Quite why America would celebrate an Irish festival remains a mystery. Can anyone enlighten me?

If a leprechaun told you that you could have any amount of money from his pot of gold but it had to be a specified amount for a specified item, how much would you ask for and what would it be for?
Under normal circumstances it would be 1000 pounds for a new laptop as this is on its last legs. But I think it would have to be 10,000 pounds for solicitors fees which I envisage having to pay for a good few months yet.

If the NCAA Men's or Women's Final Four basketball tournament was played in your hometown arena or within easy driving distance from where you live, would you try to attend one the three games?
No way! Or any other game for that matter. I did once go to a football match with a boyfriend. Doncaster versus Scarborough and Donny won. He said I had brought them good luck as they never won ,but it didn't persuade me to help them anymore lol

Saturday, 6 March 2010

what do your bookmarks say about you?

My Mother said that you can tell a lot about someone by what's in their bookshelves, or indeed if they have any at all.I remember being very embarrassed by her on any visit to a new friend as she'd immediately peruse their shelves intently and,even worse,take one out and say "I'm borrowing this ok?" I never felt able to tell her how socially unacceptable that was!

My bookshelves have 3 main themes:God and spiritual growth;work,that is,autism and special needs; and literature that is,in turn separated into already read and waiting to be read.I tend to have one on the go from each group at a time. I'm currently reading "Landmarks" by Margaret Silf.I cannot recommend it highly enough to anyone who wants to grow in their relationship with God and become more like Him. It has brought me through a very difficult part of my life,still trusting.For work,its "the out of sync child", a fascinating insight into sensory integration disorder,which really only touches the iceberg of this enormous subject and wets my appetite for more information.I have already diagnosed myself with certain sensory integration problems, a subject I may touch on in another blog :).I am also reading Neil Gaiman,having finished Coraline, and moving straight on to Anasi Boys.

Anyway, I started thinking in this technological age of ours you could say the same thing about which websites people bookmark.Not of course as accessable as a bookshelf which may disappoint my dear Mother,but they would certainly show whats important to you,your interests,your priorities and pleasures.
Of course my bookmarks reveal the same things initially. I have a huge work folder which contains useful ideas websites [for planning my teaching],educational blogs which can be incredibly helpful,and recently ideas that would help me in lecturing mainstream teachers about ASD. For example, that notorious AutismSpeaks video as an example of what NOT to believe and the "I do not suffer with Autism statements".
I frequently visit the Northumbrian community website http://www.northumbriacommunity.org/ where I get much prayer support and friendship from the forum members.Sacred Space is a website that leads you into prayer for 10/15 minutes at work when you need a little pocket of peace and God's presence in the day's stress.http://sacredspace.ie/ In contrast a ship of fools is a half serious half hilarious website that brings Christians together to discuss thorny issues but also rate religious jokes as which is the funniest and advertises the most ridiculous christian websites and religious kitsch.http://www.ship-of-fools.com/index.html I have trouble with Christians who can't laugh at themselves.

Another main theme in my bookmarks is humour and my search for a good laugh.I currently love http://www.engrish.com/ and http://notalwaysright.com/.[basically a laugh at other peoples extreme stupidity] http://mstaken.com/blog/ has many laughable examples of celebrities making fools of themselves and it was here I discovered http://themessage-board.blogspot.com/ ,a very talented lady acting out the utter craziness of brides to be talking with each other.

The main thing in my bookmarks is the blogs I follow, which seems to get bigger on a daily basis! Many of the blogs I follow are written by parents of autistic children or teachers or people with aspergers.It helps to keep me grounded, and not lost in the theory of autism and education but aware of how it impacts daily life for them and their families.Not only that but I love making new friends and a blog can help you get to know someone far better than facebook or twitter's short updates.For a moving and funny blog about her autistic son,which is beautifully written read http://mamabegood.blogspot.com/,whilst http://asd2mom.spaces.live.com/ Elise's sons are older and her wisdom and wonderful descriptions of advocating for them is a joy to read. For plain crazy people [in the nicest possible way,of course!]read http://blog.winett.com/ and http://neuroaster.wordpress.com/

so whats in your bookmarks? Will anyone be brave enough to tell me? please do.

oh and I forgot the shopping websites!LOL One of my favorite activities.

Wednesday, 3 March 2010

Never assume anything when dealing with autism

I have been looking forward to today for a few weeks . We were taking our
two classes of students with complex needs to The Alan Shearer Centre .
Only open for 3 years it boasts three state of the art sensory rooms;
the white room, the UV room and the blue room, a huge ball pool and
sensory cave . Even without the students I wanted to go and have fun!
I , of course, thought this would be a great opportunity for them and
they would be lost in wonder at all the strange and exciting

My class has five students. Two are in wheel chairs , with limited
physical ability and profound learning difficulties. The other three
are mobile [in fact very mobile!!] and have severe autism and
additional severe learning difficulties . These last three have the
sensory integration problems that accompany autism. I have just started
researching sensory integration problems in greater depth and found it
to be a fascinating minefield of information. So many different ways of
experiencing SID and in fact within just one student differences are
evident. For example they may be sensory seeking of tactile experiences
, but very defensive towards other sensory modals

I have a pretty good understanding of the individuals within my class,
I know what motivates them , that being the very first thing I make it
my business to find out . I know the level they're .functioning at and
the variations in levels according to subjects. I know what makes them
happy and what makes them sad or angry and the ways they communicate
those feelings. Oh yes,I know what makes them tick!

Well today held a few surprises for me!
S a wonderful child , usually happy , spends much time flapping paper
before his eyes. He enjoys trips out and as long as a familiar person
is around can be kept happy.He gets excited easily and jumps up and
down squeaking with happiness and laughing uncontrollably! He does
have times when he's anxious , and during those times he needs to flap
paper even more, searching for more books , leaflets, IEPs , anything
he can find. When hes got enough, in his opinion, he sits on the floor
with them spread around him . He also has an obsession with tidying
when anxious. No, I can't call it tidying as he pokes things in little
spaces, behind cupboards and drawers and under tables to get them out
of his sight but leaving these pockets of mess for us to tidy later. De
cluttering is a better description. The more anxious he is, the more he
declutters. He has been known to try and tidy my arms behind my
back!And the number of things that end up in the bin: shoes, cups and
other useful items of daily living are put there so S can no longer see
them.S is never happier than when elbow deep in shaving foam, sand,
water or any other tactile experience Knowing how active and energetic
S is he started today's experience in the ball pool. The balls lit up
and changed colour and there was a moving projection of planets on the
wall. Despite S love of tactile experience, he took an instant dislike
to the ball pool. Grabbing two handfuls of my hair he left me in no
doubt of that fact! Soon he started looking around for paper to flap
and pulled the fire instructions of the wall, shouting in fear and
anger . This continued into the sensory cave until he settled in front
of a colour changing infinity tunnel.
Things got worse from there! We took him next to the white room [meant
to be relaxing] which had bubble tubes, colour panels and music,fibre
optics and interactive light displays and I started to see things from
S's view. The room was small, had too many people in, extremely hot and
the music was loud which was vieing for attention with the people
talking to each other. All the equipment was on at the same time as we
were told not to touch the controls and S was EXTREMELY overstimulated.
Everything, visual and auditory was screaming at him and it was too
much for his overloaded sensory system to cope with .S sat in a corner,
turned his back on everything and flapped frantically. Bless him, we
had brought S to his own personal Hell
Now J is a sensory seeker and spends most of the time seeking more and
more stimulus, of all kinds, movement, tactile, smell. His particular
form of greeting is to smell you! He loved the sensory cave full of
different textures to touch and walk on . He enjoyed throwing the balls
out of the ball pool and at us! He enjoyed the white room, sitting
happily among all the equipment. However when he'd been led to yet
enough room he put a jumper over his head and shut down. The sensory
seeker was all sensed out!
A was the student I was going to keep an eye on. He is sensory
defensive, prefers not to look at anything, prefers not to move and
hates tactile experiences especially on his hands. I was prepared to
take him outside if necessary. However, big surprise! He had a ball. He
loved everything from beginning to end . He sat in the ball pool and
smiled, he sat in the white room and smiled more , he sat on the
vibrating platform and giggled and in the swing he shouted excitedly.
So how well do I know my students? I think I made three erroneous
assumptions . Firstly, that because it sounds like an exciting place to
me I assumed it would be for my class. I failed to think about it with
their minds and the effect it may have on them. Then because a child is
a sensory seeker he can have too much stimulation . I assumed all
stimulation would be good stimulation. I also failed to recognise that
defensiveness in some sensory modals doesn't rule out extreme enjoyment
in others.
Today has been a great learning experience. Its given me ideas to use
to motivate and stimulate A towards progression. I have realised that S
needs clutter free rooms because he gets overstimulated and flaps to
block out the discomfort this brings . I can make adjustments to his
learning environment and methods to accommodate this need. I will have
only one or two pieces of interactive equipment on at any one time when
we get our own state of the sensory room.Education is always a learning
process, not only for the students but for the teachers . Most
importantly I shall endeavour to plan our trips with my" autism mind",
always considering the effect on them.more than whether it will fit the
curriculum or it seems like a good idea.

Saturday, 20 February 2010

How honest should we be?

When I was a child I lied all the time for a variety of reasons: to get out of trouble, obviously;to fit in with my peers as I was concerned I didn't belong; to make myself more interesting and a whole lot of others. As the years went by it became second nature to me until I almost stopped noticing myself doing it.
The end to this bad habit came far to late when I was 19 and on retreat. As I presented myself to God, alone in my room, and asked Him what He wanted from me He said " You've got to stop lying Elaine" Total shock! I wasn't thinking about my lying and in fact as I said I wasn't really aware of it, as it had become second nature. This was the most clear dramatic message from God I'd ever had. No audible voice but a very definite awareness in my mind .

Well obviously, If the Almighty God tells you to stop lying you make every effort to obey Him . I became and still am scrupulous in my avoidance of deceit.If as I occasionally did,I failed I felt guilty until I had put it right.

Recently I have been thinking about what honesty actually means and if its always right and good. For instance I don't tell people they're ugly, or that they're hopeless at the job they do. I don't call a spade a shit shovel as they say in Yorkshire. Gentleness and courtesy go a long way to building relationships and trust. I believe you need to earn the right to tell the whole truth in love. When I was a student it was common for members of the christian fellowship to say "In love sister ......." I you knew that what followed would not be pleasant Honesty should never be used as an excuse to have a go at someone you don't like or who irritates you.
I once lived with someone who was very difficult to live with. I had asked for prayer about this from my vicar and his wife. Now the vicar had a terrible memory and asked my flat mate weeks later if things were better at home and if we were getting on! I was furious ! If I had been honest with him there and then I may have said things I regretted and made everything worse. I waited till I'd calmed down and then went to see him. I asked him if I could trust him in future to be confidential and how he could guarantee that it wouldn't happen again. Those things needed saying but not in anger.Another example of honesty under the right conditions is when a relationship is broken through misunderstanding or hurt. How many times do we just say nothing and the rift gets bigger and bigger until there seems theres no chance of recapturing the bond that once was. Far better to sit down and explain how you're feeling without attacking, and work it out. I have done it many times and it always works . Relationships are more important than pride, being right or losing face.

A completely different aspect to honesty is openness. Not hiding behind an image, not trying to appear what you're not , being true to yourself and believing you're lovable as you are. This is something that might come with maturity as it did in my case . When young I desperately wanted to appear, cool, popular etc, a bit later I wanted to appear spiritual , intelligent and sexy lol I'm sure I failed miserably at both images and suffered stress at the immense struggle to maintain them. Now I'm just me , take it or leave it! I am loved by God and my friends so that's more than enough for me and the freedom is so refreshing!

In conclusion, honesty is a good thing IF used wisely and with discernment . What are your motives for saying things , are they loving and constructive and do they advance Gods kingdom or your own,? This sermon was to me by the way but if you found it interesting that's an added bonus.:)

Thursday, 18 February 2010

Letter to my teenage self

Dear Elaine,
There are many things that it would help you immensely to know here at the beginning of your adult life; invaluable lessons that I can give you which will save you much heartache and encourage you to be the best you can be.
Firstly, you are lucky. Your parents love you, you have great holidays with your aunt and you know God and His love for you. These are not gifts to be taken lightly. Please don't complain about your mother or your childhood and only see the negative things , you are LOVED thats worth a lot Learn to be grateful for life.
There are awful things that all of us go through during the course of life,and at the moment hurt or pain can almost make you want to die. You are a Strong person Elaine . You will find there is nothing in life that you cannot deal with with the Lords help. Not death, divorce, illness and worse . You are a fighter , and you will learn from everything,so that as you bounce back you can be thankful for all things that made you the person you are .
While I'm building you up you are also NOT ugly.You actually scubb up rather well :) Some people grow into being happy with their looks and thats you. However you have a figure to die for , I wish you could realise that while its still true.
You are a deeply compassionate person Elaine, some would say soft and a pushover. I don't think that. God gave you that compassion and the tendancy to trust people, even after being hurt over and over. Don't lose that part of you, and don't become hard. If you do you won't be the same loveable self ok
There are several things God has needed to say over and over throughout my life. If I impress on you their importance maybe it won't take so long for you to learn them. "Seek first Gods kingdom and His rightousness " This is the best way to live your life and the times you feel utterly at peace, and totally happy will be when you're doing this. Make this your goal in life and you will be blessed." remain in the vine and you will bear fruit" You cannot survive, learn and grow without spending plenty of time with God. I would go so far as to say you can't even be happy.

Now this is important Elaine.Try not to spend your life being what others want you to be . Don't hide parts of your personality to fit in with the crowd, please your partner or maintain an image. Ok you're a nutter, so BE a nutter as well as you can.Why make yourself grey or beige when you can be all the colours of the rainbow. When you are older you'll realise theres no need to be normal for people to like you.

You so desperately want people to like you don't you? You want everyone to love you and admire you. You want to be cool and popular and are so desperate you probably push others away. Let me tell you, you are never going to get everyone to love you. No one can. But it really doesn't matter! You will always have a small group of friends who love you to bits and so stuff the ones who don"t. Don't be nasty to them but don't get upset . Spent time with people who make you laugh and happy.
Lastly,I'm tempted to say you should never get married But no, I can't: cos then you wouldn't give birth to 2 beautiful charming girls , neither will you learn you can be a great mum even by yourself, or that God triumphs in adversity and nothing will thwart His plan for you.
Believe in yourself,and in Gods love and you'll be fine

Wednesday, 17 February 2010

A hairy Story

A little while ago I noticed someone on my facebook friends list who I didn't recognise. Now I know all my friends, where they came from and how I met them and have talked to all at least once so this was a little disturbing. On investigating his profile I discovered he had been to Hairmixer.com and covered his bald head with a series of different hairstyles. I DID know him, I just hadn't recognised who he was. Panic over
Of course, I just had to have a go myself and here are the results.lol

Can you spot Scary mumsie , scary Granny, and just plain Scary!

Tuesday, 16 February 2010

what would Freud say?

I am always amazed by people who say they don't dream. Every day I wake up remembering some bizarre dream I'm had , if only for a few minutes although often my dreams become a permanent memory.

Just lately I've been dreaming I was pregnant a lot. Different dreams , different people but always pregnant . Well a few days ago I had the baby ! The father was my first boyfriend from over 20 years ago and our child didn't come from inside me, but from inside a chicken which was inside another, bigger chicken. The chickens were plucked ready for cooking, no head , and I pulled the baby from inside, myself.The baby was a wooden peg with bits of wire for hair but despite this we cooed over it affectionately as if it was just what we expected!!

My dreams have often had themes, like recurring dreams but just the theme is recurring , with a different scenario for each one . For example I dreamt I was naked in public throughout my teenage years and early 20s: once in Marks and Spencer, once in front of the class I was teaching,etc That is supposed to mean there is a part of your character you are scared of people discovering . Well obviously it was dealt with as I then had a year or so of dreaming I was naked in public but really didn't give a damn. :)I also dreamt many times of living in a dictatorship system where if I didn't obey I would be punished or killed. I think I had a controlling boyfriend at the time.Another recurring theme is of being unprepared . Many times I have dreamt I'm back at university , having to take my degree again and have NO HOPE of completing the course. In real life I will be slightly anxious about something I should be prepared for

The most dramatic example of my dream and real life merging was after my first wedding. The marriage was annulled . For a long time I dreamt I was once more before the altar, in my wedding dress, about to say "I will" whilst knowing I really didn't want to. Over and over again I woke in a panic that turned into relief when I realised it wasn't real. Eventually in one dream my ex was asking me to marry him and I was about to say yes , with the familiar feeling of foreboding , when in the dream I thought "I don't have to do this,I'm in love with someone else now" So I finished with my ex in that dream and never had a similar dream again!!

There is a whole separate world in my dreams that although it doesn't exist in real life I remember and revisit in different dreams . I could even draw a map! One part has a school at the top of a big hill and several bus routes down the hill or to other places . One of those bus routes took me to a christian community and church I had visited in other dreams , and a little further to a city centre, with restaurants I had frequented in yet more different dreams

On a lighter note not all my dreams are meaningful in anyway . Check out the following bizarre and hilarious examples

In a pub with my parents , eating banana flavored rubber gloves for lunch

Some friends of mine had shrunk to a tiny size and my mission was to get them back to their proper size and in the process to protect them from their Dad who was angry with them

Taking communion in a church and the bread turned out to be sausages[ that particular one inspired the title "what would Freud say?"]

my mum was the queen of England's very close friend and had been given the keys to her car

I was feeding children into a machine on a conveyor belt and was trying not to mangle them, but sometimes thay came out as metal objects and I had to explain to their parents

So , after this glimpse into my weird and scary mind , is anyone brave enough to comment ? Perhaps a psychiatrist would like to diagnose me LOL

Til next time

Sunday, 10 January 2010

A can of worms

I mentioned in my last post that I had recently joined twitter and had found there a wonderful community of autistic people and friends and parents of autistic people [by autistic I include everyone on the autistic spectrum, which includes aspergers] All the people I have become friends with are so loving and supportive of each other and delightful people, who I feel honoured to know .
As I have read conversations and blogs by them I've come upon some words which are unfamiliar to me and researched them via google .This has led me to delve deeper into the issues of autism in a political realm , and I discovered that the autistic community basically falls into two camps : those who believe in neuro diversity and those who don't [I'm not sure what to call the other camp] Briefly and simply[remember that I've only just found these things out ] I will try to describe the main differences
Neurodiversity is believing that autism is a difference , not a diesease , not a mental illness , not a disorder but a difference . Where neurotypicals [thats us so called normal people HA!] think , learn and process sensory information in one way , those on the autistic spectrum do all those things differently ,making it difficult for them to understand us and for us to understand them .There is no cure for autism although many autistic people can learn to understand the rest of society through education and some therapies and can be independant , live alone, form relationships etc ,Many autistic people wouldn't want to be different and feel that if you took their autism away you would be taking away their essential character , that essence of who they are .Believers in neurodiversity think that autism is of genetic origon , not environmental , and research into cures in a waste of time, and money and an insult to those who are autistic ie making them feel that we wish they ed never been born . Autistic people want equal rights and equality with neurotypicals in the job market and every other section of society and feel they have been , and are being discriminated against on a regular basis . They also believe that many of the difficulties people with autism experience, in their differences, in fitting into society are caused by a lack of understanding and acceptance on societies side which could be corrected by better education and knowledge . They often have advocates who are themselves autistic as there is a strange lack of autistic people allowed to speak on the behalf of other people with autism.
The other camp [TOC :)]believe that autism is more than a difference , its huge disorder/handicap that affects those with it and their families in a devastating way.They want to find a cure and support research to this end , also research into what causes it . They believe the incidence of autism has increased dramatically in recent years and therefore this should be addressed.They also want to help children with autism and their families to cope with autism as best they can . Many different and expensive therapies , drugs and treatments have been tried and been accredited with varying degrees of success .
Now in researching these issues I discovered a strange and shocking truth- The two camps hate each other !!!!!!!. I suppose when looked at closely that's not shocking at all, after all they believe the complete opposite of each other . Also people care passionately about these issues as they are affected by them or the lives of their loved ones are . If you put any group of people together it generally leads to disagreement and argument and fallouts . Who hasn't worked in a job where bitching is rife? Unfortunately , we humans are like that . What is shocking however is that for some people , and only some , the desire to score points against the other side is greater than the desire to help those who are suffering . To some the tendency to whinge and moan about the other side takes precedence over taking action to change things .Take the current situation over Zakhquery Price , an 11 year old autistic child faced with charges of felony , due mainly to the absolute ineptness of the teachers and their inability to work with the family to help Zakh or to follow reasonable protocols . A horrible story, which makes many of us feel sick with disgust but used by some members of both camps to take a pop at the other side . FOR FUCKS SAKE PEOPLE!! What about Zakh here ? Doesn't he matter more than point scoring ?
Before I go any further I shall try and explain where I stand on the neurodiversity versus TOC issue. My beliefs have changed over years as I have learnt new facts or had new experiences , so this is where I stand now , today. I believe Autism is a difference , not an illness and I've always believed that. I believe all autistic people , wherever they are on the spectrum , should be accepted and loved for who they are . My brother, Andrew has Aspergers , he flaps his hands and mumbles several times a day[ I believe its called stimming ], he doesn't give eye contact, jumps sky high if you unexpectedly touch him and he often "finds life overwhelming"[ his words] However he is the most lovely funny kind and sensitive man you could meet . Kids love him , his students respect him for his skill at lecturing and he has a few close friends who love him .The students in my class are at the opposite end of the spectrum . Non verbal, doubly incontinent , hyperactive , extremely obsessive and often violent , they too are gorgeous , funny cheeky happy people [most of the time ] I believe there is no cure , that its genetic and the best way forward is through education . I think that we need to educate society to accept and understand by raising the autistic profile and we need to give autistic children and adults the skills to socialise and to understand the way we neurotypicals behave . They make steps towards us, we make steps towards them .Each child is different and what helps one won't do anything for someone else . Just as there is a wide range of needs on the autistic spectrum there should be a wide range of educational provision to help them . Even within one class of students I have used 3 different reading schemes , different therapies , different motivating activities . There's no one way .
So I'm a neurodiversity person then ? Well, mostly I guess I am but I am not completely sure on all issues . I'm not sure if something environmental may not play a part in developing autism in some people . Could it be a genetic predisposition which is triggered in some people by an environmental trigger . I think maybe the jury is still out on that one

If I have said anything that's not right please feel free to tell me and I'll happily discuss things with anyone . However I refuse point blank to argue , get personal or score points . We're all fighting for the kids and the autistic community so lets learn to work together . Its more important to be peaceful than to be right , its more important to take action than to be right , its more important to be reconciled and united than to be right! I intend to take action in the following ways : 1in my classroom to do all I can to improve the quality of life for the children . To help them be happy and give them skills to help them reach their potential
2to help the parents of the kids in their struggles and to help them understand why their kids are the way they are
3 in the school I work in to teach the mainstream teachers ways they can help students with aspergers to access the curriculum , and to understand them better
4on twitter and facebook to support whatever political issues arise, donate , discuss but never argue or bitch :)

Oh and it strikes me an autism advocate would be the ideal job for me . How do I get to be one ? Anyone?