I'm not the female version of Hugh Jackman in The Greatest Showman ....... if I was, I'd be looking in the mirror alllllllll day!
A two groom wedding on a Sunny May Bank Holiday weekend.
My first Autism blog proved to be quite popular and the messages of support I received were a bit of a kick up the backside, encouraging me to carry on with blogging.
You see I was never that kid who kept a diary. So, typing into a big blank page on a computer screen and getting no immediate response is quiet odd to me. I'm that girl who likes a visual response, figures that I'm a photographer hey!
One of the messages I received through Facebook said:
"I wish I had the balls to do what you have done."
That got me thinking ........ what would a parent of a autistic superstar want people to know?
So I posed this question to my Facebook friends and these are the responses I got. Maybe you agree, maybe you don't. Perhaps this makes you think about what it's like for that harassed looking parent on the playground. Either way open dialogue is what is needed.
1. Our kids are not naughty and we don't need advice on how to be better parents. We just want acceptance and understanding for hidden disabilities. Wendy Harrogate.
2. We have to fight everyday for our kids. Fight for them to be accepted, fight for them to not be labelled as bad , fight for all the extra help they need, fight to make the world understand our beautiful children with this hidden disability and fight for ourselves as parents to keep swimming forward even on the hardest days to prove to our kids they may be different but isn't that a good thing? The world would be a very boring place if not! Julie Ralph.
3. Be open-minded and patient. They are fascinating kids that can do incredible things with the right support around them. They are not going to fit in a box, and who wants to fit in a box anyway! Im a very lucky mum 💙 xx Roxy Long.
4. Our kids are not naughty, they have to deal with their own battles daily, no matter how old they are, even at 17 you’re always told “he/she should know better than to behave like a brat." Jemma Payne.
5. Everyone is facing a battle and some are more hidden than others. Sometimes just keeping your opinions to yourself, being kind & teaching your kids to be kind could make a huge difference to someones day. We (parents of ASD superstars) live on a permanent plain of anxiety, trying to forward guess and anticipate the needs of our kids. Sometimes dealing with all the extra un-neccesary sh*t is the bit that breaks us. Claire Meldrum.
6. Accepting nothing but the best for your child is the hardest part of parenting for all but more so for those whose kids fall within the spectrum. Expect nothing but greatness from them for it is there! Celebrate those moments and accept that labelled children are as capable of aspiring as those without. To all aim for the stars and if you only make the moon ... what an achievement. Mandy Lord-Newcombe.
7. I worry what will happen to my child if I die. Anon.
8. No, they are not all like Rainman. Anon.
9. Too many to list, I'd be on my soapbox forever! Michelle Beard ;)
10. Acceptance isn't much of an issue for us here. People seem to have come a long way here but still much more to do. The biggest thing we find is, especially with older generations, Is the idea that if your child is not doing something that you want them to do, if they're not responding the way that you want them to, or if they're not eating dinner today but they ate yesterday is getting people to understand that disciplining the child is not going to change that. When they have sensory issues and things like that it doesn't matter what you do it's not gonna change it so it's learning to not only accept them but learning to adjust to them learning to compromise and to find a way of working with them on a level that they will work with you. It can be really hard sometimes for adults to give children that respect. Adults often just assume that there the adult you're the child so your to do whatever they say. So I think that I think that's been the biggest issue for us, is getting people to understand that sometimes you have to change your way of thinking and you have to change the way that you approach them and not the other way around. Serenity Lane Beard, USA.
Thanks for sticking with me and reading my second blog during Autism Awareness Week.
Some of you may know already that our eldest daughter is Autistic. I wanted to share a blog post with you that's from the heart during Autism Awareness Week.
Our eldest daughter has always marched to the beat of her own drum. A brilliant sense of humour, kind & loving, she has a strong sense of justice, adores books, science, baking and riding her bike. She is also Autistic! You see she doesn't "have" Autism, it's not like a virus or a bad cold that will one day go away. She is Autistic and it's something that is intrinsic to her. As she grows up I want her to be ok with this.
Part of her being ok with it will be down to everybody else too. Kindness, acceptance and a smile!! In order to get to that point us as parents of Autistic children need to be their advocate though. So I'm chucking myself out of my comfort zone with this blog post.
I've known since she was 3 that she was Autistic. People didn't listen, you see I was just a Mum, a Mum who was seeing things that others couldn't. I often got told "well she's not like the Autistic boy I taught, she doesn't line things up" and "she doesn't have meltdowns in class."
You see everything you read says "Autistic girls aren't like Autistic boys" ....... now that's a phrase that bugs the sh*t out of me. Girls and boys are dissimilar anyway let alone chucking Autism in to the mix too so why say it. Evidently though we still compare Autistic girls to the Autistic boys when it comes to diagnosis. My eye roll couldn't get any more pronounced ....... sorry Mum!
So this my friends is what Autism looks like to us.
“If you’ve met one person with autism, you’ve met one person with autism,” Dr. Stephen Shore
You see our super star has awesome powers, yes that's right I call them awesome powers. Here are just some, some of which you will identify with I'm sure.
She has this incredible sense of smell and could happily sit smelling something gorgeous for ages. The smell of baking, freshly washed clothes, flowers, anything from Smiggle and perfume all make our girl happy.
She has this super sense of touch. Certain clothes feel really good and the texture gets compared to silk.
She can make the most incredible amount of enjoyment from food that pleases her senses.
She can take a subject and learn every tiny little detail about it.
She is inquisitive about everything.
Now the flip side to this is the bit that maybe you can't identify with.
She doesn't cope with change very well, conversations can be tricky as she doesn't read social queues and will talk over adults. Kids can really confuse her with their behaviour, high levels of anxiety, loud noises scare her and she is often happiest with a hood up over her ears. If something smells bad then she won't go in to a room. That same sense of wonder about the softness of the fabric or the beautiful scent can lead to repetitive behaviour. The same people who make the lovely soft clothes also go and insist on sewing the most gigantic scratchiest labels known to man inside them!
She gets very, very tired. Why? Because Autistic girls mimic to fit in with their peers. Imagine how tired you would be pretending to be something you are not for the whole day.
So this is what Autism in girls looks like to us. It's inquisitive, frustrating, eye opening but most of all it's opened up a world to me that I never knew existed. I smile often, not because I'm laughing at her but because I'm looking at the world through her eyes.
I'm going to leave you with this question. She asked it me when she was 4 ...... yes, 4 years of age. When you look at the world through Autistic eyes you see a whole lot of puzzling things!
"Mummy, why is the Queens husband a Prince and not a King?"
Let me know what you think.
I love a good product or something that makes life easier so thought I’d post something different for you. Also the last few weeks have been quite tough, doing something with my girls has been just the tonic I needed.
Naturally images are HUGELY important to me and because it's my job I have failsafes put in place to keep all your gorgeous images ..... erm .......... safe.
Glamping in Gibside. A blog post from a busy, slightly crazy family who love the great outdoors.
It's a pretty good question isn't it really? Why do photographers charge more for a wedding then a party or family gathering?
Ellie and Matt first got in contact with me back in July last year. They found me via a friend and we met up to discuss their plans.
Autumn, pre Christmas mini shoots.
I've photographed marquee weddings, registry office weddings, stately home weddings and weddings based in hotels. I've seen couples arrive together throwing superstition and tradition to the wind, doing it in their own unique way.
Moat House, Acton Trussell wedding with elegant touches.
A brief blog post with some tips to help all of you teachers and teaching assistants with iPad photography and online reporting.
The WiRE Conference 2017. Amazing speakers, an attentive audience and a lot of hugs.
Cute bunny rabbits and cats .... say no more. Grab yourselves a drink and take a look at my recent blog post.
Working out of their lovely little office opposite the Vernon Arms (perfect for a quick pint of Pedigree and a G&T after work!) they are well known locally for the work they do that is supported by The Princes Countryside Fund and for their four legged companions who accompany them to work. In particular Spike!
We have all the raw ingredients and with a little faith maybe it can be yet another up and coming, cool market town.
The Easter holidays are fast approaching, here are some local ideas for you and the kids this Easter.
I'm a Mum. It's a title that I love and one I wouldn't change for the world but along the way I felt a little bit like I stopped being Claire. Do you feel the same?