Friday, 29 April 2016


Am writing this in blog format as it's a bit of a longer one as not been online.

After Monday's exam and opticians event Tuesday came along and was, luckily, fairly uneventful.  However, by Tuesday night, Callum was really tired and beginning to stress about the work placement as he's finding it quite boring.  Not entirely their fault as he wasn't supposed to be working there.

He made sure he had an early night, but was still stressy and tired by Wednesday morning saying that he'd had an erratic night's sleep.  But he went in.  Back home at lunchtime, he announced that he was having an assessment that afternoon at 1pm!  Oh great!  He took a bit longer for lunch, but went back within plenty of time even though he wasn't a happy bunny.

Turns out assessment went ok, but it has highlighted a few criteria that he needs to achieve, a couple on the written side and a fair few on the work side, but then that's going to be hard if they can't find him the stuff to do.  They did say that once he's completed the NVQ, and they are saying that he needs at least another 2 assessments done so at least 8 more weeks, that he could do a volunteer placement at another, more local to us, school as a kind of 'gofer'.  Shame he can't do that as his work placement as it appears that there would be a lot more for him to do.  The job could lead to an apprenticeship and maybe a job, so I think he has expressed an initial interest.

He was totally shattered Wednesday night though and he wasn't sure he could face going in again on the Thursday just to do filing, especially as we had the PIP assessment on Friday (today) and he was beginning to worry about that also.  So we came to an agreement that he would set his alarm for 9am (the time he was due in) and if he work up before he would go in and if not, he would, at least, be able to ring them and tell him that he wasn't going in (he wanted to do it, even though I offered to call them for him).

Thursday came and he didn't wake up until 8.50am so far too late to go in and he still wasn't feeling great anyway.  He called and let them know and went back to bed, which is unusual for him as once he's up, he's up.  He didn't wake until nearly 11am so obviously needed the sleep.  Spent the day having a chill out and reading over PIP form in prep for today.

Today we made it to PIP assessment a little early.  Callum a little stressed as we had to get a bus and, of course, we didn't know where we were going exactly, although roughly, and we didn't know the person we were going to see.  The assessment itself wasn't as bad as I imagined and the lady that took it did seem to have a reasonable understanding of Autism, which was a start.  She asks the questions and took time to explain when it was obvious that Callum didn't quite understand what she meant.  Callum answered as best he could, although no eye contact and fingers fiddling all the time and I filled in details where necessary.  Hopefully we got across the issues he faces.

Just missed a bus, so walked back to High St (approx 20mins) and checked into opticians to order his new glasses as we discovered he didn't have a spare pair at home.  Thought we, especially he, deserved a Subway so we had lunch and watched the world go by.  Gave him, and me, time to relax a little before coming home.

Both glad this week is over to be honest, but can definitely see the relief in Callum.  He now has a free weekend until Tuesday apart from an hour's free running tomorrow.

Tuesday, 3 March 2015


Oh dear!  Had a horrendous day yesterday.  Callum had a huge meltdown.  Hasn’t had one like that since school.  Was crying, hitting himself, screaming, swearing and generally getting so upset it was horrible.  Why I hear you ask?

Went for our interview with Tuition Academy after he spent the allotted time on a Sunday to do his test paper (1hr 45mins);  met up with Simon, the guy I’d spoken to on the phone and hadn’t been too impressed with, and we sat down to discuss possibilities for Callum.

The man is an idiot!  He has no concept of ASD; telling Callum that he had to find coping mechanisms to handle classroom situations otherwise he wouldn’t get anywhere.  He doesn’t agree with any other form of education apart from school and the curriculum, so had no concept of home education and even slagged off adult education saying that Callum wouldn’t want to be a class full of 75 year olds who were treating the whole thing as a ‘bit of a laugh’ and not getting anywhere!  I remained as calm as I could for Callum’s sake as I liked the idea of him having a class that we could then work on at home for the week in between, but it got worse. 

He went on to tell Callum that he ‘should’ be doing at least 10 hours a week of maths and another 10 hours a week on English without everything else he should be doing.  I pointed out that an hour in class is equivalent to approx. 20-25mins one to one, but he wouldn’t have it saying that that was ridiculous.  He then went on to say that if he was in Grammar school he may have the option to have some one to one, but he would never get it in a comprehensive situation and would have to cope with doing more work as there would be too many distractions!  So they don’t get distractions in Grammar then do they?

He told Callum that he had to get exams to go to college after Callum had gently said that that is what he was aiming for and then went on to say that he was leaving it a little late!  Bastard!

He was rude, abrupt, didn’t understand anything other than mainstream and was basically calling all the kids he already had going there idiots as he said that, after briefly looking at the test paper Callum had done, Callum would probably know more than most of the kids there, but may know a lot less on other parts!  Backward compliment I suppose, but not really the attitude I’m looking for to teach my child.  He wasn’t encouraging, gave Callum no credit for what he had already achieved and was commanding towards Callum.

He was rude to me, saying that I couldn’t possibly have success with him as I wasn’t a teacher and that home education couldn’t work.  I pointed out that we also have college entrants and university successes which he decided to gloss over and forget.

He then went on to say that Callum should start in a lower group next week with the aim of doing GCSE work next September onwards, but that he would expect him to be ‘putting much more effort into his work than he does now’.

So, he obviously has no concept of ASD or Asperger as you cannot under any circumstances land something like that onto an ASD/Aspi child without far more warning and a period of transition.

He then told me to inform him of my decision within the next 24/48 hours as to what we wanted to do and that he would examine the test paper and send me the result that evening.

I’ve checked my email and still no result has been emailed to me and as to whether we are going to take him up on his offer……he can get stuffed.

Callum came home deflated, upset, angry with himself that he can’t cope with stuff and is stupid, hit himself around the head and crying saying that he’s missing opportunities because he’s an idiot!!  I felt like all the hard work we’d done over the past 8 years had dissolved in that moment and I could see that if we had decided to go along he wouldn’t have coped at all and we’d have been back to screaming, hitting, punching, etc as he would have tried to hold it together during lessons and then had to let it out when he was ‘released’.

I’m furious as the attitude of the man, I will not be sending Callum there and I seriously wouldn’t recommend the place to anyone with children who have ‘issues’.  I can’t speak for the teachers themselves as we didn’t meet any of them.

It took Callum over an hour to calm down and he was subdued for a while afterwards.  He even apologised to me later on in the evening for his behaviour at which point I told him that his behaviour was to be expected after having to deal with such an ignorant man.

Tuesday, 3 September 2013


Today started off with a very sleepy Callum and then a very long discussion on his game.  Funny how when he's talking about something he's interested, he's suddenly very alert!  However, my brain ended up exploding!

He's decided to build a new Roblox game and he's decided to log it as a project for home ed.  Started with layout on paint yesterday with information on weapon prices, sizes, zombie waves, regeneration, points earned, main boss level, etc. He's then going to write the script to make the game, hopefully remembering to print it off; have screen shots of the game, instuctions on how to play and any tweaks/changes he's had to make.  Now I'm fine with all that; in fact I think it's a great idea.  He's even given himself a deadline to work to.  However, whilst he was trying to explain it all to me he went a little bit too in depth and I totally lost track.  It was a bit like the Brian Cox explanation on measuring light where I was "yes, understand", "yup, still get it", "yup, blimey I'm doing well" and then "No, my brain has just exploded!".  All I can say is that I'm glad he gets it, because I can't help with any of it.  Must admit, I'm quite impressed with the whole thing so far as he's even going on about how to advertise it on the site and get the game up the rankings.

After my brain had recovered and I'd laid in a hot bath for a while, he then attacked percentages, decimals and fractions in a workbook that he wants to finish.  Now I'm ok with maths, but I have to admit that converting decimals to fractions and vice versa isn't my strong point.  I can do percentages to fractions, but the other way round makes my head spin so I envisioned another brain explosion, but, nope, Callum, amazingly got it and even taught me how to do it.  Love this home ed thing!  Now I'm the pupil! Haha

After lunch we headed off to first trampoline lesson of the 'term'.  Well, there was us thinking Kim might ease him in gently, but no!  He started off running him through all the basic jumps right up to front somersaults, then ran through some combinations including: seat drop -> front drop -> back drop, front drop -> half twist -> back drop and then back drop -> half twist -> back drop; at which point Callum's head went dizzy!  He finally finished with practicing both routines he's learnt including the somersault.  For a half an hour lesson I don't think he stopped bouncing, twisting or spinning for more than 4 mins!  Phew!

The rest of the day was errands; library, bank, haircuts and a bit of shopping then home.  He's spent a bit more time on his Roblox game and is now upstairs on the XBox!

I don't think easing in this week is exactly what happened today, but hey ho!

Thursday, 13 June 2013


Why fourteen seems so much older than thirteen, I do not know, but it does.  Anyway, he had a fab birthday.  No home ed or course, but....well, it was his birthday!!

He was up earlier than normal, no surprise there, 8.30am instead of 10.30am.  Hmmm, perhaps birthdays should be every day.

Presents from us and his aunt/uncle opened and cards placed on mantlepiece.  2 Nerf guns, science book, T-shirt and Family Guy DVDs.

First present to open

Another NERF gun (he loves them)

Second NERF - he asked for them

Ooooo experiments

Slightly scary

 Big sis turned up with a few more presents in a bag, so 2 XBox games, some mosaic kits, 2 'make your own straw' kits and a penguin bag.  Plus in the post, £15!

Lots of playing with new guns (one is interchangable, so all previously owned Nerfs were brought down!), then a play on the XBox with big sis.

Dad home with last present from us; small 6L fridge for his bedroom.  Sausages and burgers for dinner; he wanted a barbeque, but weather wasn't good, so had to cook indoors instead, then birthday cake!

Being an Aspi, I may have a bit of trouble getting him to eat the 'controller' and the 'game' as he doesn't like eating shaped things.  Why make him one then, I hear you ask?  Well, he wanted a cake and, after having looked at cakes I'd made in the past for him, he wanted a shaped one and this just about sums him up perfectly.  Favourite game with a red shiny controller just like his.  He did let me cut the main cake at least, although he didn't have a piece yesterday as too full of sausages.  But at least big sis, Terri, and her dad could have some and so could we.  We did have candles but my camera died just as he was blowing them out and am relying on daughter to upload her photos later.

XBox cake

Anyway, he had a fab day.  Cya

Thursday, 9 May 2013


Hi folks!

Yes I know, its been a while.  But I haven't been slacking off too much, just been concentrating on daily updates on the related Facebook page.  It's often easier, as I'm normally on there in the evenings anyway, to do a quick little update there than log in and write something a bit more substantial.

So what's been happening in Callum's world?  Well, Digipen course is going well apart from some pretty big techno problems, but I've already ranted about those on my Is It Me blog, so I'm not going to go into it again here.  Callum is really enjoying the course and I have no problems getting him to do the homework.  In fact he ends up by going further into the course than he should as he's finding it interesting and perfect for what he wants to do, so I think programming is the way to go.

On top of that, the Kestral Award is starting to take shape.  We found some previous work that fits in with the criteria so we've put that in and we've done one more item on the Do It list.

We'd already made a bird box, so I found the work and took extra pics of finished object and put that in and we've bought some pond plants to go into our wildlife ponds that we have.  Basically they are the old corner bath we had and a tin bath that we found in the garden.  We've buried the corner bath and the tin bath will have stones and bricks around it so that anything can climb up should it wish to.  They have both been full of water for about a year and the corner bath is looking really green and murky, however we discovered water skaters on it this year and an underwater beetle, so were pretty impressed.  One of the tasks in the award is to help create a wildlife pond, so we went out and bought some oxygenating plants, a water lily and a couple of shallow water plants and Callum planted them up and positioned them in the pond; me taking photos.  We now need to get some plants around the pond, create the bog garden and surround the tin bath with stones once in permanent position.  As the Kestral Award doesn't have a time limit, we can take our time, but hopefully it will all be up and running and planted by the end of July.

The tin bath with rocks and now a Waterlily

One of our pond skaters in the very murky water

The other award we want to do is from the British Science Association.  They run a scheme similar to the Arts Award we did a few years ago.  We are going to start at Bronze just to get some practice in with regard to what type of work they expect before moving up to the Silver and Gold awards which have UCAS points attached.  At the moment we are awaiting a delivery from Amazon with regard to some rockets as Callum wants to do Transport!!  One of the sections he's chosen has experiments on model rockets and trajectories, speed and energy.  Looking forward to starting it, but might need to go somewhere a little more spacious to carry out the tests.

One another note, I'm back to having to remind Callum to wash his face, clean his teeth and shower!  He was doing extremely well, but its all gone out the window again.  Not sure if that is just him being a typical teenage boy or whether it's his Asperger or both, but it is a bit annoying after having got him into a routine with it all.  Oh well two steps forward, one step back I suppose.

Oh and he's still doing trampolining!  Somersaults now achieved on a regular basis.  Concentrating on technique and starting backward somersaults at the moment.  Eeeeek!!!

Anyway, stuff to do this morning, so hopefully back another day.

Monday, 22 April 2013


Back up to Albany Park for Digipen today; lesson two.  Teacher not really improved on being able to keep us all up and running at the same speed and, once again, Callum had to help out a fellow student!  Actually I helped out a fellow student as well today, go me! Haha.  Went over the homework we should have all done; surprise, surprise, Callum was the only one who'd managed to complete it all, so we went over what he had already done, but then added some music.  Callum didn't mind as we learnt another way of doing something he'd done already and it also meant he could play a bit more and investigate further.

The journey this week was as straightforward as it should have been with no delays, but if does look like we'll have to catch the 5.45pm train home which stops at Strood (but at least is direct)!!!  If we then wait at Strood for a connection back to Gillingham, we won't get home until 7pm!!!  We leave home at 2.10pm to get there for 4pm.  The lesson is only supposed to be an hour (although so far it's been more like 1 hour and 20mins), so that's 4 hours travelling for a one hour lesson.  Blimey we're dedicated. haha.  As of next week we're hoping to get a lift from dad from Strood which will save us about 20mins journey and a 15min wait on a cold Strood station.

Not everyone there this week either, so not sure if people have already dropped out.  Some people are still having difficulty getting the programme to run so they are going to have to talk in the week to try and sort it as it will soon get to the stage where they are too far behind.  Luckily the issues we had in the first week I managed to solve and, so far, everything is running fine.

We also got the manual this week and I can imagine Callum going beyond the required homework just to see what's next.  Had a quick flip through myself and after feeling chuffed with myself for being able to help out, I can't see that lasting as it looks way beyond me in a few sessions.  Think I might start taking my knitting, haha.

Anyway, cya

PS:  Took a flask of tea with me today to drink on the way home and stupidly ended up kicking the thing and smashing it!  Boo hoo, no tea for me again until I got home.  Waaaaaah!

Tuesday, 16 April 2013


Well, yesterday was the start of a new section of work.  We're attempting 2 award schemes and a Digipen course which is a game programming course (see link below for some more info).  We're doing this as I'd like a bit more structure and I'd also like Callum to begin having something to show for his work instead of just lots and lots of paper.  Exams may prove difficult for Callum due to the Asperger, so am looking at alternative routes and ways of getting certificates.

Yesterday was the first of the Digipen 'lessons'.  And after much hrumphing, moaning, worrying, "be glad when today is over"ing, Callum actually really enjoyed the lesson.  It was a fairly basic one I admit (even I followed it and I'm useless at tech).  He even helped out a fellow student who'd arrived late and got him up to speed really quickly.  The boy's mum (I will learn names eventually) even said that Callum should be teaching as he'd explained it well; the teacher having confused her.

So good points:  He enjoyed it.  He wants to go again!!!  He helped out someone else willingly and obviously engaged in conversation with someone new.  Journey there and back was easy and cost was reasonable.  And there is no online lessons planned unless we feel it necessary later which is brilliant as trying to pin us down to being online at a certain time/date could prove difficult.  AND she reckons we'll be finished in 8 weeks instead of 12, but obviously that depends on how much we get done at home and whether people have problems.  So Callum and me very happy!

Bad points:  Teacher is a bit disjointed in her teaching (confused me and a couple of others and didn't cope very well when people ended up on different levels to where she was expecting us to be, but hopefully that will improve).  Journey was very long due to long waits between connections and delays of trains due to signalling probs so we left the house at 2.10pm and got home at 7.15pm just to do a 1 hour lesson (admittedly we did stay a bit longer than 1 hour as we had a problem).  That problem was that our programme which we'd downloaded pre lesson wouldn't run and so Callum couldn't check that his work had worked, if you see what I mean.  Have hopefully sorted that out this morning, but can't check until he gets up!

It's trampolining and social time today, but he's planning on doing the homework tomorrow at his sister's.  Here's hoping the thing will actually work this time.