The Helpful Stranger

I was over the moon today to see someone had posted on Facebook looking for a young lady who had helped her with her autistic son in our local Asda.  The little boy was really upset and grabbed onto on a passing stranger, the stranger then offered to stay with the mother and son to make the shopping trip easier for them.  Since the incident the little boy has been asking to see her again.  Given that our autistic children sometimes have trouble forming relationships its lovely to hear.

Take a bow Calli Tully the helpful stranger.

I’m a great believer in paying it forward, if you can help someone do it!  Calli has experience with autistic little ones so was unfazed and happy to help.  It’s so lovely as a mother of a child mid meltdown to see someone who gets it and is willing to help – it helps zone out the calls for a good smack, straight to his room, spend a day with me i’ll straighten him out.  I’ve heard them all from judgemental dickheads who assume that shitty parenting is to blame.

I have friends who have asked me what they should do if they see someone struggling with a child.  Most of my friends and family can spot a meltdown now.   Big question is – is it seen as interfering?  For me no it isn’t.  I appreciate any help I can get when Reilly is in full flow.  My bags are often in a discarded trolley or dropped on a floor somewhere usually complete with phone and money.  Sometimes just having someone to talk to while you attempt to calm the situation is good, move your focus even if it’s just for a minute.

This is my list of things I would find helpful:

  1. Don’t judge!  If my child is kicking off, making noises, jumping, biting things or behaving in a manner which you think is odd don’t look at me like i’m a parenting failure.  Sometimes these behaviours are the child self regulating and coping with the environment in their own way.
  2. Let me in!  If you are at a checkout and i’m behind you PLEASE let me go first.  Time is everything and every second counts.
  3. Come with me! Walk with me to the car/bus stop.  An extra pair of hands is invaluable if you’ve got a meltdown and a runner.  It’s near impossible to juggle the lot.  5 minutes out your own day could make a world of difference.  Offer a lift if its needed and you can.
  4. Defend!  Hear someone making comments ask them not to be so rude it adds to the pressure to calm the situation when others are standing over you all self righteous (yes it does happen).  I can guarantee walking a mile in my shoes will leave them in need of a weeks holiday, a spa day and a new pair of shoes to boot. (Not so important for me as I have mastered the art of the death stare sometimes accompanied with words that end with off).
  5. If I look like i’m going to cry offer a shoulder. I’m at breaking point and it’s best to haul ass and get the hell out of there by any means necessary.

I appreciate not all parents will feel the same as me but if you see me and Reilly and i’m struggling don’t be shy.  Even just the nod of knowing, that look that says ah bless you both can be enough to muster a bit more resilience and move on.




Go Reilly!

Well after dreading the week off with Reilly its been an absolute breeze! I’ve seen such an improvement with him this week.  We’ve hardly crossed the doors as he has hidden my shoes every morning.  I’ve spent most days ‘super parenting’ cough cough talking to Reilly and practising taking turns, this is not one of his fortés and i’m already super.

They are focussing on 4 makaton signs at school and i’ve used the same ones with him. Hi, bye, more and help.  Today he independently did the sign for help and made a ‘h’ sound.  He was missing the final piece of his jigsaw.  Over the moon.


He has escaped twice in the nude this week but not got past next doors drive, luckily. Just like a little feral child who has just legged it out of the amazon after 5 years raised by animals.

Today was a major breakthrough though when my hairdresser came to our house to cut mine and Ellis’s hair.  Last time he got that angry/frustrated/scared not sure which that I had to leave my house and drive to Chloe’s.  He spent over an hour trying to get his battery operated Thomas trains stuck in his curls while screaming like a banshee.  This was at the sight of scissors.  Reilly handled it like a boss stealing all 3 of Chloe’s combs and getting them stuck in his own tatty barnet. No crying. no meltdowns he was brilliant.   Just so you know Ellis says I look like a 50 year old Katy Perry with my new do.  I’ll take that.

He is currently sat eating pizza, in a cap! this never happens! He is loving a Margherita pizza hallelujah something different to chicken nuggets and he has something on his head!  Who is this new child?

I am sat typing waiting for the shouts from Shane upstairs when he sees the new sharpie drawings all over our wardrobes and mirror.  Today i’m doing an Elsa and i’m letting that shit go.  Choose your battles – a sharpie pen isn’t it.

In other news we had our first parent’s session for Alphabetically Autistic this week and it was great! Can’t wait for the next one on Tuesday.