I am outside and the sun is shining beautifully but I'm sitting in the shade. As much as I'd like to feel the heat of the sun on my exposed limbs my days of sunbathing have gone - doctors orders!
Like many people I love to have a tan. It has always made me feel healthier (and slimmer) somehow, and from my mid teens until my early thirties I spent many a happy hour soaking up the sun's rays.
But not any more.
I have done so much damage to my skin over the years that if I had one of those special skin X-rays done I would look about ninety! I've had all sorts of things burned, frozen or cut out and it has to stop before I get the kind of skin cancer that cannot be treated.
One of the biggest problems for people with disabilities, particularly those with a learning disability like autism is the limited opportunity for social inclusion. Here's a poem I've written about it.
Strangers are Friends Waiting To Happen
Jean Shaw ©2007
Inclusion isn't easy, there's steps we all must make
It requires co-operation, a bit of give and take
People make assumptions based on what they see
So being part of my community is hard for one like me
First you must be present, be seen around the place
So you can have a presence, become a familiar face
But in order to participate, get involved like fellow "brothers"
To interact, feel comfortable, requires the help of others
Inclusion isn't easy, I can't do it on my own
My learning disability means I can't be left alone
I need support, a network, friends and family who agree
They're there for just one reason - they want the best for me
Everyone has a right to life, do the things they like to do
Just because I have a problem doesn't mean I'm less than you
Known as Interdependence, natural help, support and aid
To someone who's disabled such a difference it has made
So if you see me out sometime don't just stare and let things end
For if you really got to know me - Who knows? – We could be friends
Inclusion isn't easy, there's steps we all must make
It requires co-operation, a bit of give and take
For more on autism visit http://www.jeanshaw.com
It is getting better though.
Until he developed autism after his MMR vaccine my son would eat anything. He was a delight to feed.
However, things changed and for years he literally lived on Hoola Hoops. They are small round potato rings with very little nutritional value what so ever.
They come in packs and are ideal for transportation as they don't crush like packets of crisps. I should know as I have often carried suitcases full of them when we have travelled. The only consolation for that is they are light!
Hoola Hoops are convenience foods and ideal to put as an extra in a lunch box. They are better than crisps because they contain less salt, colourings and flavourings than most brands and now, according to the packet, contain 55% less saturated fat than they did in 2006!
Since they were the only things my son would eat he used to take four packets to school with him every day. As desert he would have a packet of Polos. These are round mints with holes in them.
Notice the similarities? – both round with holes in them.
He would eat the same at home, so his staple diet was Hoola Hoops and Polos washed down with fruit juice, never water. We gave him various vitamins and minerals to supplement.
Not any more!
Over the years we have tried all sorts of things with him but by far the most important intervention was to de-tox him for mercury. From then on his diet improved and since we introduced an amazing probiotic he now eats sandwiches, amongst other things which make life a whole lot easier.
I am so grateful to John Montagu. (read more and watch video)
World's First Probiotic Super Food certified Organic to Food Grade Standards
Even forty years ago it was considered a dead language, only useful if you wanted to be a doctor,lawyer, or horticulturalist. However, one thing in it's favour was that it remained constant, unlike modern languages which can be somewhat fluid.
Learning Latin was like slow torture but it did give me a good understanding of other languages and even made English make sense.
Today I've forgotten most of my Latin but thankfully my English is still pretty good. That's probably why I've just been made a Platimum Ezine Articles Author.
I've even got the badge to prove it.
How about that then?
It's my own fault though. I did something I shouldn't and had a guilty conscience.
Now don't get all excited and think I'm going to reveal something really juicy or controversial. It's nothing like that.
You see my son has autism. He also has a huge collection of old videos which he rarely watches. They just take up space.
This weekend he went away for respite care and as he has just celebrated his 18th birthday I decided to get rid of some of the older ones which I considered inappropriate for his age.
Actually, I could have got rid of most of them using those criteria, but like most people with autism my son likes familiar things so the ones he's watched since a child are his favourites.
Anyway, whilst he was gone I placed some of them outside the door of a local charity shop feeling good that someone else might get enjoyment from them.
However, when I collected my son from his respite care yesterday afternoon he proudly produced two new videos. Apparently he'd found them in some charity shops.
My heart sank – not because he's brought home some more but because the two he'd just bought were different episodes of the videos I'd just given away. I realised he must have been collecting them.
My son doesn't really speak so I had no way of knowing but once the possibility hit me I knew I had to get them back.
I couldn't sleep. I tossed and turned and thought what a rotten mother I was until eventually I could stand it no longer. As dawn was breaking I left my son sleeping in the care of his elder brother and went to the shop to try and retrieve them.
I felt like some sort of thief and hoped no-one would see me but they'd gone!
Read more ...
The day started well enough. I got up early, sent my autistic son off to school and started on those oh so important tasks.
Then my dad turned up.
He had twelve runner bean plants which he wanted to put in my garden so I stopped what I was doing and went with him.
My intention was to quickly sort out some bamboo sticks for the beans to climb up and then get on with what I'd thought so vital. However, I ended up sorting out the rotorvator, hoeing the garden, pulling up stinging nettles and generally helping my dad to tidy the garden up.
He's not been in the best of health. He'll be eighty this year. He's had a hip replacement, has arthritis, angina and is just recovering from prostate cancer but remains as cheerful and active as possible.
He likes to keep busy but I didn't like the idea of him doing too much manual work on his own so I stayed to help.
And you know what? – It was brilliant!
I didn't get any of my chores done but I did get to spend several hours with my dad outside in the fresh air.
Today may not have gone as I'd planned but I couldn't have been happier.
The jobs I needed to do will still be there tomorrow but I can't guarantee my dad will.
Time is the one thing we can't replace. Use it wisely!
As you know if you've read my earlier posts I have an autistic son and he is allergic to casein. That's the protein found in dairy products.
Many people suffer from it but because dairy products make up a large proportion of most diets, people just don't want to know.
However, cows milk was only ever designed for calves and even they are weaned off it. Humans are the only mammals which continue to drink milk and what you buy in the shop isn't the same as what comes directly from the cow either.
I don't know if you are aware of it but cows actually have four stomachs. Their digestive system is much different from ours and their milk quite simply isn't designed for people.
Apart from the fact it most likely contains chemicals, growth hormones, allergenic proteins, antibiotics, bacteria, viruses, pus and blood, the casein content is considerably higher than that of human milk.
After all, a calf will grow to roughly 1000 lbs on its mother's milk but human milk is only supposed to take an infant up to about 40 lbs. It's also estimated that the casein content in cows milk is about 20 times higher than in human milk which is why we can't digest the proteins very well.
The result for many is allergic reactions and high mucous levels in our bowels and noses.
The discussion today was of the high incidence of eczema in babies and young children and the need to make doctors more aware of the possiblity of cows milk being the cause.
It seems for most, simply removing the milk was enough to reduce and often eliminate the distressing symptoms of eczema.
Just thought you might want to know.
Read my article on Cows Milk
My son snores - not all the time but when he does you do not want to be in the same room as him.
One of the nice things about autism, however, is that it can make you completely oblivious to the effect you have on other people.
Read how my son's snoring almost got him killed!
Autism is a life long disability but it is not life threatening. I therefore always knew that unless he had some terrible accident or fatal illness he would reach adulthood.
However, I never expected he would be able to celebrate it in the way he did.
Read how having a circle of friends made all the difference.
Please excuse the lack of originality in the name of this blog but I like to keep things simple.
Basically I am a mother of two boys, one of whom has autism.
In a moment of what can only be described as menopausal madness I decided I would enter the world of internet marketing and it has certainly been a revelation!
This blog may suit anyone who is remotely interested in autism, organics, health issues, what not to do with internet marketing (I'm good at that!), and just general "stuff".
I know you are all busy but if you have the time and want to drop by sometimes I'd love to see you.
Meanwhile, if you want to find out more about me please visit www.jeanshaw.com