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Christmas and the Autism Spectrum

With just a few days left until Christmas 2012 is upon us, many families will be either completely prepared for the big event whilst others won’t even have given it or a thought. Then there are those who don’t dare think about it because for them Christmas is a nightmare and they wish it would all go away.

Christmas is a big occasion where pressure builds on all of us to appear happy, care free and generous to a fault. In these hard times of austerity, many families have to cut back drastically on the festivities. For families living with autism spectrum conditions Christmas can be one of the most difficult times of the year.


How to explain autism to your grandparents using a kaleidoscope!

‘Life is like an ever-shifting kaleidoscope – a slight change, and all patterns-alter’

Sharon Salzberg

How would you explain Autism to your grandparents? That was a question that I was asked just the other day.  It may be possible if you look at it and explain it in a different way! Let’s talk in pictures.


JeliJuniors 4-11yrs


It’s the big step up to school and no one is more excited yet worried than poor mum. No one knows their jelijunior better than mum and the transition to school can harbour fears as well as hopes. Within the UK generally the line between mainstream and special schools falls when a child has an IQ test.

The systems are slowly changing and different criteria are now being tried. For this article we will concentrate on ‘mainstream education’. What if your jelijunior has hated Pre School and that was only 3 mornings a week! And they are still is glued to your right leg. How will they cope with a full day away from mum, new noises, smells and uniform? Will the teachers understand them? What happens if…….?



Pocket Money

Do you have a jelibean who is draining all your resources and leaving you with nothing more than an empty bank account? Or maybe your jelibean is completely oblivious and doesn’t yet realise money exists?
Most jelibeans are fascinated with objects, gadgets and collecting the latest card collection plus albums to go with it. Sadly many of these gadgets and cards get lost or abandoned when something more interesting comes along. But try telling the bank manager that.Stack money
Many parents operate on a supply on demand system, their children get what they want as and when they can. So what are we teaching our jelijuniors/seniors and teens? That money isn’t an issue for them to deal with? I wish someone had taught me the value and meaning of money earlier.
I was surprised when it was suggested I handed over pocket money every week – but on the proviso that it was earned. At first I didn’t think I could afford to do that, however now it saves me a FORTUNE!
Jelibeans by enlarge have no money management skills. It is either that they stash it away or watch everyone else pick up the tab OR it burns a hole in their pockets and just evaporates. So let’s teach them the value of money from an early age. It’s funny how the designer deodorant you have been buying for ages suddenly gets substituted with an economy brand – when they have to pay for it themselves!



JeliTots and JeliToddlers on the move! 1-4yrs


So its official, your jelibaby has become a jelitot! They are on the move at last – so why do I sense many of you groaning 

Progressing to the heady heights of jelitot what can you expect? Be prepared you may need a drink or a two handy! Jelitots have a habit of turning into jelihorrors if you are not careful 

The life of one year old can be very high maintenance. Your baby is on the move and probably babbling or trying to chatter. Maybe they are already talking in sentences that leave you gasping or perhaps even ‘mum’ is a struggle? Communication is 80% non verbal, an amazing statistic that until fairly recently I was unaware of. Most communication comes from the unspoken word. Sadly that further complicates life for a jelitot who finds reading faces and body language very difficult. Toddler

Is your jelitot clapping their hands and joining in with nursery rhymes? Perhaps they only appear to like ONE in particular and enjoy hearing it repetitively? Do they copy the actions in rhymes such as ‘pat a cake’ or ‘round and round the garden’? Do they respond to their own name? Perhaps they hate being sung to and refuse to join in or show interest, perhaps they respond by crying and becoming quite distressed.