The dentist has always been a great source of terror for many and this includes Dylan. We are so lucky to have a lovely dentist, she is kind and patient but the whole process terrifies Dylan, giving him an angry looking anxiety rash that creeps up from his chest, up his collar and around his neck.

He hates having his mouth invaded, he is so hypersensitive that teeth brushing has always been a very active and heavily involved area of care to ensure Dylan keeps well and cavity free.

We attend the dentist every 6 months and despite Dylan being compliant and coming in the room he will not sit in the dentist chair. He will watch Josh and Grace have their teeth checked and concentrates so hard on keeping his anxiety in check until his turn with the dentist is over and we can leave to the safety of the car home.

Dylan’s teeth are always checked with him sitting on a small fold up stool in the corner of the room. The dentist examines his teeth briefly as he will only half open his mouth for a few seconds at a time. She would kneel in front of him, with no seat herself and no light to see in his mouth. For years she could never see his back molars and relied on us to assure her that we persevered with his brushing and there have been no problems that we have noticed.

Over time with her patience and encouragement finally this month Dylan had his teeth check sitting in the dentist chair.

We offer him the oppotunity to sit in the dentist chair every appointment but Dylan usually point blank declines and grabs harder onto the seat of his trusty stool. This time he got up and sat with the dentist. I wouldn’t say he did it happily but he did it and he let her have a good look around. Good news is that everything looks fine; no cavities and no more baby teeth to come out.

Well done Dylan!


College Days

Since April Dylan started his once a week placement at a supported group within the local college and to say he enjoys it is an understatement.

The day he attends he starts with breakfast club and then will go for a swim. He stays for lunch and finishes up with some choosing time and math practice in the afternoon. He gets the bus to the swimming centre and buys himself lunch or a treat if he’s taking a packed lunch. He is in a class with 5 other young people with varying needs. Thankfully he no longer seems afraid of his peers like he was at school, he seems relaxed and appears to be enjoying himself.

He seems to be managing the transition really well.


Talking with teens

Kevin-and-PerryTeenager can be notoriously difficult, the hormones surging through their veins can result in temper tantrums, grunting responses, and generally poor communication. However the teenage years are proving a source of development for Dylan. Due the dissatisfaction with decisions being made and general lack of patience around the whole family is resulting in making great strides with his communication.

Quite often when I haven’t understood Dylans verbal approximations (or I am simply stupid and not able to mind read when he is thinking about something) I may  gently suggest to him that he get his iPad so I can understand. ‘No!’ is often the response I receive. This is not because Dylan objects to using the iPad but more of the fact that it has been left in a different room and he simply can’t be arsed to go and get it. ‘Shall I get it Dylan?’ ‘Yah bea’ he will grumble and happily use it once it is brought to him. If the Ipad is more accessible he will try to vocalise to us a couple of times as we guess his statement until he rolls his eyes, ‘Ipad’ he says he says before punching the words onto the device so that we can finally understand what he’s saying. We are all relieved to finally understand as he seems to be getting more and more exasperated with us as time goes on.

Increasingly so Dylan has discovered the function of the word ‘No’. I hear it a lot, over and over again. If he doesn’t agree with us or doesn’t wish to follow a request then the answer will often be a loud ‘No’ over and over again. Simple examples of our unreasonable requests which would warren this type of response would be ‘

Dylan its time for you to have a bath,’ ‘NO NO NO NO….’

‘Dylan go brush your teeth’, ‘NO NO NO NO….’

‘Dylan we are at the shops, shall we get out of the car now?’ ‘NO NO NO NO NO….’

You get the gist of it

This communication has been developing more and more over the last few months which as a family we find secretly delightful (we daren’t show our joy at his communication Dylan incase we anger him more).

The most public display of this behaviour occurred last weekend whilst visiting grandparent. When we visit other people’s houses Dylan often spends time in the kitchen raiding the cupboards and whilst this is an activity that amuses Dylan it’s not always appropriate. So this time when he verbally whispered ‘cracker’ to suggest that he would like to go to the kitchen and eat all of Nannys savoury items in her cupboards the answer from us was a delicate whisper back, ‘Not today, you could have some next time maybe?’

With eyes filled with fury he pulls his iPad out without making a sound and punches onto the screen, turns the volume up as loud as he can and with a long glare at us he presses the speech bar.

‘No. No. No. No. No. No. NO. NO. NO. NO. NO. NO. NO. NO! NO! NO! NO! NO! NO! NO!’

The family chatter within the room dies down and all eyes are on Dylan. He’s so consumed with his irritation at the result of the cracker conversation so that he simply doesn’t care, he breaks our eye contact, glances around the room at everyone and presses the speech bar again.

‘No. No. No. No. No. No. NO. NO. NO. NO. NO. NO. NO. NO! NO! NO! NO! NO! NO! NO!’

Absolutely shameless, I love it. Part of me expected him to strop out in a huff but I realised that only he didn’t as he probably couldn’t be bothered to.

Excellent. We have a teenager! 🙂



April is Autism Awareness Month: Day 1 – Queues

Autism Awareness from 2017

With a hop, skip and a jump

April is Autism awareness month. For anyone who doesn’t have their head in the clouds and is already AWARE of autism let’s spread that gesture to ACCEPTANCE and UNDERSTANDING.

I can’t speak for all people with autism just because I know one and I’m not going to claim to be able to. Just like I can’t speak for all women or parents just because I am one.

But I *do* know Dylan and if I can increase the worlds understanding of Dylan and his autism using everyday examples then hopefully we can all create a society that has insight and understanding for him and others like him.

Day 1: Queues.

Dylan can appear rude because he often doesn’t understand or adhere to social rules such as queuing. To Dylan if he wants to buy something in a shop and sees a cashier at the till then he wants to…

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Efforts to include

It’s Easter Sunday and Dylan’s had a good day with a family lunch and after dinner games. Everyone enjoyed the spelling, maths and celebrity guessing games whilst Dylan requested sitting away and watching his favourite programme on the telly. After a while he came and sat back at the table with us so we showed him how to select the correct amount of cards to be placed on the board for each of us to take our turn on the game.

Now I know that Dylan couldn’t give a hoot about how many constanants or vowels we need to play but with support he enjoyed sharing the game with us and seemed happy to have a role within it.

Little efforts were made to promote inclusion; it doesn’t take much.


A win for Dylan!

An overall funny week culminating in a win for Dylan!

He’s been playing badminton for the last 6 months. He started off not even knowing how to hold the racket or able to coordinate hitting the shuttlecock as a serve let alone hitting back a return. But surely over time he has got into the swing of the warm up (which must seem pointlessly running around the perimeter of the courts until he is asked to stop and handed a racket.) He has learnt how to handle the racket and the shuttlecock. He loves the return of the passes and sees it a a pleasant return the shittlecock game rather than a game that he should be striving to win.

Ultimately the sessions end with a light game of which scores are recorded on an app on a phone to try and demonstrate to Dylan when a pass concludes with a point and who ultimately gets the point. Winning is a difficult concept to understand and the scoring or scrutinising elements of the game resulting in the point simple delays Dylan from getting back into the game.

Until this week he’s always lost, happy just to play the game but there no hiding from it; every week, he gets his butt kicked.

Then there was this.

Following a week of ‘No!’ and of disagreements, Dylan plainly telling me ‘No’ when I suggest he uses his IPad so I can understand. He bellowed ‘nuts’ at me throughout a 40 minute car journey to speech therapy as he wanted to divert to the shops before his session. He has well and truly skidded into his teens this week with grunts, disagreements and good old ignoring of us.

It’s been tough but reassuringly typical and I like to think that it’s this fire in his belly that’s got him a win at his beloved badminton.

Go Dylan!