This week is the Learning Curve’s first birthday so I thought it was about time I introduced myself properly and why I am bombarding the world with articles in and around autism, PDA and education in this anonymous blog.
Firstly the reason it is anonymous is my 12 year old son. I write my blog with his blessing but I don’t feel he is old enough to determine what may or may not be detrimental or embarrassing to him when he is an adult so I hide my identity to protect his. In all honesty it is probably one of the worst kept secrets ever and I would never make a spy!
My son is my only surviving child as my first child died of SIDS 27 years ago this year. In a sense the loss of my first child has made me appreciate, value and wish to fully understand my second son who is autistic (PDA profile, diagnosed as ASD) even more than I otherwise would.
How I became a home educator
Due to anxiety my son really struggled with school, he wanted to go but despite showing great determination to make it work for him and me fighting so hard to secure him an EHCP the right support was not forth coming swiftly enough and so he is now home educated and has been for over two years, something neither of us would ever of chosen at the start but both now love.
I have 6 siblings, 3 of which I was brought up with. My 5 brothers still all alive and well but my sister died last year after a long battle with cancer. 2 of my siblings have been diagnosed as autistic, one is seeking diagnoses, dyslexia and dyspraxia also run through our family, all in all we are a very neurodiverse lot! I am dyslexic and was as a child selectively mute but I am not diagnosed as or believe I am autistic, which meant I was very much the odd one out in our household.
Jobs, I’ve had a few..
Then I left school I wanted to work with horses and went to college with this end but soon found out that wasn’t all it was cracked up to be. I went on to build a career in the care sector and over the years I have worked with people with a mental health diagnoses, dementia, Down’s syndrome and Autistic adults initially in residential settings and later in supported living assisting in whatever way they needed to live full lives the way they chose to live them.
I went on to work with children, was a TA in a secondary school and ran special education groups on a city farm as well as being a team leader in a respite centre. All in all I worked in a support role, in one way or another, for around 20 years and found it enormously satisfying. I studied with open university and did various second jobs too during that time and was always on the go.
A few adventures too!
I kept horses for many years, travelled widely, love camping and dance. I moved around quite a bit and have lived in Ireland, Holland, London and Brighton, to name but a few, before settling in the South West of England.
These days things are a lot quieter. I live in a little cottage in Devon, near the sea. The photo of the beach huts was one I took on a walk a few miles along the coast. To relax I bake and grow plants (mainly in pots as only have limited outside space), walk our wonderful dog and root around markets and junk shops. Life has slowed down enormously since having my son but I have no regrets, he is the absolute love of my life.
How I fell into business (and out again)
After he was born it also became increasingly difficult to cope with the demands of my career whilst raising a child who had multiple allergies and health issues as a baby and toddler so after a stint working for Homestart I started selling retro homewares online so I could work from home mostly, only doing the odd fair or market for a bit of promotion. I did a short business course and eventually got my own shop which was great fun but when school broke down for my son I sold the business and no longer work, I am a single mum but my son sees his dad regularly.
What possessed me to write a blog?
I have always enjoyed and after writing a couple of articles for Parentkind (to give myself a bit of an interest as much as anything) and getting some positive responses, I spoke to my son and decided I would write a blog to, in his words, ‘stop other kids going through what he did’. We both hoped that by getting the PDA profile better understood and exposing the faults of the education system we could change the world, well maybe we would try anyway.
The blog has evolved however to also promote and defend the right to home education (which saved my son following the trauma of school) and to include more general autistic rights issues because I see the struggles and frustrations of my brothers and other autistic adults in a world that just doesn’t understand them on the whole.
That’s all there is to tell really
So that is me. Thank you for reading and I hope it answers any questions you might of had about where my ideas are coming from. If not feel free to comment or message me, I am always happy to hear from readers of the blog.
NB Due to my dyslexia you may find the odd misspelt or misplaced word in my blog posts and please feel free to let me know so I can correct it, I won’t be offended but it does irk me when I see some of the more academic types laughing about or righting off blog posts because of spelling or grammar errors. In my opinion just because someone is dyslexic or, for whatever reason, did not get the best education does not mean they have nothing worthwhile to say.
PDA stands for Pathological Demand Avoidance and is a little known or understood presentation of autism to find out more follow this link to the PDA Society’s website. The PDA Society – What is PDA?