Archive for April, 2012

A Pint Of Milk And A Few Hours Sleep, Please!

falling asleepIt’s early morning as I type this blog post and I’m up even before the birds, but yet again I can’t sleep.

I want to and need to, but can’t.

Still I’m not as bad this morning as I was a few days ago when I went to Tesco’s at 3.30 a.m. to do some food shopping!

Unfortunately, sleep, or rather lack of sleep has been a recurring problem with me for some time, but I’m not alone.

According to the BBC news yesterday morning, one in three of us suffer from lack of sleep, and it’s affecting our lives.

 

The long term consequences of not getting enough quality sleep not only creates health problems, but also our lifestyle. It’s hard to work and live life to the full when you’re worn out, and the recommendations to help promote a good night’s rest were

  •  gentle exercise
  • keeping to a bedtime routine
  • using lavendar
  • switching off the tv and computer an hour before bedtime
  • taking a warm bath
  • breathing deeply
  • having a milky drink

Of course my situation hasn’t been helped because I’ve just returned from a holiday in Canada. It was lovely, but as I live in UK, there is a time difference, and apparently for every hour it takes one day to recover.

That means I should be back to normal after a week, although that still means I won’t be sleeping as much as I know I should.

I honestly don’t know how airline staff cope with the constant jetlag, and I’m surprised there aren’t more accidents or irritable flight attendants.

Whilst I was in Canada, I listened to Captain Chesley Burnett Sullenberger III talk about the day he and his crew landed his plane full of passengers safely on the Hudson River in January 2009. Thankfully, he was very alert as he’d only just taken off, but it might have been a different story if the flight had been a long haul one and they were at the latter end – at least that’s my observation from what it says about pilots on an infogram I read recently.

Apparently, pilots drop off an average of 22 times during the last 30 minutes of a 4+ hour flight if they don’t nap.

Hmm …no wonder I can’t sleep!

Autism Awareness – What Do You Know About The Disability?

autism awareness
April is Autism Awareness Month, and 2nd April is not only World Autism Awareness Day but also my son’s birthday.

He has autism.

Jodi is now 23 years old and has just moved into supported living with two other lads of a similar age.  One has Downs Syndrome and the other unspecified learning difficulties.

 

It’s a move I never thought would be possible, especially as when he was first diagnosed with the condition, the “experts” told me I’d most likely end up putting my son in a home (read “institution”) by the time he was a teenager because I’d never be able to look after him.

Wrong!

With the right help, advice, support and dedication, a lot can be done to help a person with autism become the best they can be.

However, the range of problems for people on the autistic spectrum is huge and it’s certainly true if you know ONE person with autism, you KNOW one person with autism.

No two are the same!

If you want an easy to understand insight into the disability, I highly recommend you read my first book – I’m Not Naughty – I’m Autistic – Jodi’s Journey 

It will make you laugh and cry and is my son’s true story.  Admittedly, I wrote it 12 years ago, but the problems faced by people with autism and those who love and care for them are still the same.

The book is incredibly easy to read and will give you a very good overview of what it’s like to live with the disability.

Believe me – it’s not easy!

Anyway, today, as I said is my son’s birthday and this afternoon he had a bit of a party at his house.  All the guests enjoyed food prepared by the three lads and tonight they are off to the circus.

I know how lucky he is.

Most people with autism, especially higher functioning autists lead very sad, lonely and miserable lives.  Totally misunderstood, people can be very cruel to those who are considered “different”.

Hopefully, the Autism Awareness month will help people get over their fear and ignorance about autism, but the sad reality is more people are becoming aware of the issue anyway.

When my son was diagnosed with the disability, autism was very rare.  Statistically it affected more boys than girls and that hasn’t changed over the years, BUT whereas in 1990 the likelihood of your child getting some form of autism was about 1 : 2500, now as many as 1 : 100 children are on the autistic spectrum.

That’s scary, because  autism doesn’t just affect the individual.  Its tentacles are far reaching and very destructive to families and loved ones.

Also, as autism is a disability, not a disease, life expectancy for anyone with the condition is normal, which means our autistic children will eventually become autistic adults, all needing some sort of support.

Usually, that’s provided by parents , but if the laws of nature are anything to go by, children generally outlive their parents, so who’s going to look after them?

It’s not something I like to dwell on.

Anyway, as I said a lot can be done to help people with autism and if they ever discover what actually causes it, one day there may just be a ” cure”.

Until then though, we just have to be as open minded as we can and try to support everyone affected by the disability.

Here is a video  by a young girl who explains a bit about how autism has affected her life, but remember what I said earlier, if you know one person with autism, you only know one person with autism.

They are ALL different, so you might like to check this video out as well.  It’s also about a girl with autism and made me cry – http://www.wimp.com/autisticgirl

Look and learn!

Take care.

Jean