Saturday, 27 September 2014

Has Autism or Is Autistic?

Does Ryan have Autism, or is Ryan Autistic? That is the question.  Having Autism suggests an illness, something that can be medicated or even cured. Having Autism indicates an illness or condition that has occurred during Ryan’s life or something he has caught.

A friend has depression. She wasn’t born with it. It is something that has occurred and she takes medication to help manage her condition.  Dadi Skilts has Type 1 Diabetes. He wasn’t born with it; it is a condition that developed when he was 30 and he takes medication to manage his condition.

Now I would not say my friend is depressive, but I would say Dadi Skilts is diabetic and I would say and do say Ryan is Autistic.  I absolutely believe Ryan was born Autistic, it is not something that developed after he was born, which is why I choose to say Ryan is Autistic.  It is part of him, part of his ‘make-up’, part of who he is just as his brown hair or blue eyes, or being right or left handed. 

The reason I say Dadi Skilts is Diabetic is because it has changed his make-up. It can’t be cured; it is now part of who he is. Those that have type 2 diabetes are different though because it can generally be cured with very careful management of diet and/or tablets.

Another question: Does one suffer from autism? Ryan finds life exceptionally difficult to cope with, he has certainly suffered from discrimination, bullying and abuse; but don’t we all suffer at some point in our lives?  I have Hypermobility syndrome. I have suffered and do suffer greatly from pain, injury and the abuse, bullying and disbelief that it is even a real problem/condition.  My friend I am sure would agree that she suffers from her depression. It can be truly debilitating and she has suffered dreadfully from stigma and ignorance of the condition.

From Ryan: Either sentence would work for me. It doesn’t bother me at all which either one is used to describe me. Do I suffer though? No. It is not a suffering. I don’t generally tell people about my Autism, because they don’t need to know, but if they want to know I will tell them. I didn’t know my friend was Jewish until we took him to McDonalds and he said he couldn’t eat pork. 

Saturday, 20 September 2014

Cashing in on Autism

The aim of our blog from Ryan & I has always been to offer an insight into living with Aspergers and to help just 1 person on their own journey by offering support, guidance and advice. I have been, not quite bombarded, but certainly encouraged strongly to place adverts within my blog to make money from people reading our story and it got me thinking. Should we cash in on Autism?

Now I will be the first to admit that money is tight. It always is and I am sure every single person reading my blog will relate, however setting up our blog was never intended as a way to make some extra cash, however much I sometimes may be tempted.  We want to share our story and pay it forward. I am a big believer in karma.

However I am certainly not against money making ideas especially those that fundraise for charities. The National Autistic Society’s excellent marketing idea of jumping on the Loom Band’wagon’ is genius and I have happily ordered my fundraising pack to make some bracelets in NAS colours to ‘cash in’ and raise much needed funds for an extremely worthy cause.

I have also purchased items from websites that raise awareness of Autism by buying necklaces of the awareness ribbon and tshirts. This money does go into the pocket of the person running the online shop but this not a bad thing in my opinion as they are helping to raise awareness of the differbility. 

I do feel sometimes though that we (I include myself) can focus too much on the AUTISM and momentarily forget about the wider picture. I am guilty of obsessing over the diagnosis the ‘label’, but it does annoy me sometimes when this is not put into context. It also annoys me when the Autism is used as an excuse or is cashed in on to get sympathy or used as a way to get something.

I fully understand how difficult it is for a child with Autism that has sensory issues or finds it difficult to understand situations such as queuing in a shop, school canteen or a line at a fairground ride. Is it fair then that Autistic children can go straight to the front of the queue to save on the anxiety of waiting? Would it not be fairer to teach that child the lesson of needing to wait and explaining why? There is more work involved in this approach and in the short term more anxiety but long term all children can learn the important life lessons, can’t they?

A quick Google search on Autism just returned over 70 million hits, no wonder people are confused.  12 years ago when I began my journey there wasn’t this myriad of information available. I was literally left alone to flounder and only by shear bloody determination on my own part have I managed over the years to find snippets of help and information. I am in the process of setting up a website to try and collate all these years of research and discovery into one easily accessible place, but am I just adding to the already possibly overloaded cache of material available? 

The aim of this post is supposed to be thought provoking and goading with the questions and statements to open up a discussion. The more these subjects are openly discussed and talked about the more taboos/myths/misconceptions/ignorance we can eradicate and more positive awareness is created. Do you agree? 

Saturday, 13 September 2014

Blog Name

With our new logo now chosen by the lovely Ryan and during the running of our competition it got me thinking about the name of our blog and why we called it such an obscure name that has nothing obvious to do with Autism at first glance. I don’t need to give you three guesses on who chose the name. I can’t remember the exact date that Ryan first mentioned Pandas and Bellybuttons to me, but about 12 to 18 months ago he woke up one morning and said to me “Hey mum, did you know there is a Panda in my Bellybutton.” I laughed and said that would make a great title for a book and he told me about a dream he had where there was a Panda living in his Bellybutton.  

He had said before that he wanted to write a book about his Autism so I suggested he use that title and the rest is a wonderful history of 41 posts to date and almost 2000 views from across the globe. I have dabbled with a couple of blogs previously but this has become a true labour of love. I have always been one to wear my heart on my sleeve, the complete opposite of Ryan, hence me doing most of the story telling. I love the name of our blog, I know it doesn’t conjure up Autism as a first thought but it certainly reflects Ryan’s beautiful different perspective on life.

To me the name signifies how special Pandas are, how rare and protected they are. A conservation reliant and endangered species just like my beautiful boy.  The bellybutton is also significant to life itself the umbilical cord that connects mother to baby.  Philosophical I know but what-ever the name means to each individual it is here to stay.  

This was the entry we had for our logo competition that came 2nd.

Monday, 8 September 2014

Bellybutton logo

Congratulations to the winner of our logo competition. Ryan had quite a job chosing his favourite one. I really liked several but kept my options to myself. I must say though I am really chuffed with the one that Ryan has picked.

It will be used on our new website (when I get round to finalising the layout and content). I will also use it on social media and as my avatar on apps etc.

I think it would make quite a cool tattoo as well. What do you think? Should I?

Saturday, 30 August 2014


It can be difficult to motivate Ryan to do tasks that he is uninterested in or doesn’t see the purpose of. Sometimes he can be motivated with a reward such as computer time or ‘down time’.

Although his verbal responses are very good he finds writing very difficult and needs a lot of time to finish work as the process of thinking about what he wants to write, sending the correct message from brain, down arm to hand and then formulating correct letter pattern with pen gets very muddled and confusing.  It can also take Ryan some time to respond to a question or statement which can come across as though he is ignoring you, or daydreaming, when in fact he is taking time to process what has been said/asked of him and to formulate a response.

Ryan has quite a sense of humour but doesn’t always respond as you might expect. Things he says, does or writes which we don’t generally find amusing he might or vice versa (see previous post on neologisms).  He can use humour at inappropriate times or out of context which can cause confusion or unintended upset.

He also has some sensitivity to noise, lights and smells. He may try to cover his eyes or ears as an indication to this stress.  Once you get to know him there are indications to his building stress levels and he best removed for a time out or allowed to work in a quite area before the situation becomes unmanageable as Ryan still doesn’t always recognise the signs himself.
When he does become increasingly frustrated and/or angry he can shout out, be confrontational or swear.  

All of this has become much more manageable as Ryan has settled into secondary school life and has excellent support, however it is still a rumble to be aware of and which came to light, not unsurprisingly at exam time during his first year in secondary school, year 7.

He has not had to sit exams before and it was an exceptionally stressful time for him. Fortunately he (along with several other children) were given the opportunity to sit their exams in a quite class room where there were experienced staff to read and scribe (depending on need). The pupils in this class were also permitted 25% extra time due to the differing needs they had.
Unfortunately the stress was still too much and he wrote some inappropriate answers and even completely ignored sections, some of which were the big mark questions where he was required to write more detailed answers.

I am not going to worry too much at this stage in his education and put it down to a learning curve where I need to better prepare him and try to arrange with his school if in future he may be able to use a scribe for sections of the exam.  
We have another couple of years before the exams become really formal external GCSE based. 2 years of ‘training’, preparing, practice and hopefully more maturing.

All that said we have received his first full, end of year report and it completely blew us away. Okay his exams result were not as high scoring as we had expected or hoped and know that he is capable of, but his effort and attainment grades were excellent. He got: 3 As, 5 Bs & 5 Cs.

How could anyone possibly be upset with that. We are so proud and it just goes to show, exams are not everything. So much focus is put on to them, by the education system and governments but some children just will not shine or show their capability through this particular medium. Remember the whole picture, the whole package. Specks of talent could lay anywhere, anyplace. Find it, nurture it.

Saturday, 23 August 2014

Family Building Club – Lego

One of Ryan’s other passions in his life has been his LEGO and as mentioned in the Martial Arts post he much prefers clubs/activities where he can express himself in his own way as opposed to confines of direct instruction. 

One such club was the lottery funded Family Building Club in Swansea that unfortunately no longer runs, but at which we had some lovely times and great memories.

The Family Building Club Project was a fun activity based on Lego building. Each day there was a different project for you to work on together. Past projects included an adventure playground, an airport and a wildlife park.

You could stay as long as you like. It was a great, cheap way to fill in a morning or afternoon.
The Family Building Club ran during school holidays and some Saturdays at different locations in Swansea.

The club was aimed at children aged 3-11 (or a little older) and all children must be accompanied by an adult ie. parent, carer or guardian. 

Ryan's lego can be seen here.

Saturday, 16 August 2014


My interest in Autism, and in particular, Asperger's Syndrome started many years ago, when a parent of a karate student, told me her son had been diagnosed with Asperger’s.  My initial reaction was ignorance and following that class I read as much as I could on Asperger’s.  My interest grew and I now teach many children with Asperger’s and other ASDs.

Martial arts are a popular sport, more commonly known in the industry as arts.  There are many martial arts including the arts of taekwondo, karate, tai chi and kung fu to name a few.  These disciplines and others, are further split into a variety of styles.  ‘Taekwondo has proven to be another great intervention for many kids with Asperger’s Syndrome (Willey, 2003).

Martial art training is very consistent and regular classes are likely to be similar in content, satisfying the child with Asperger’s need for routine and predictability.  There is a ranking system of belts a child can achieved and techniques become more difficult with each belt.  Basic training is always practised however, even when the student achieves the highest grades.  This can be repetitive and can be a bore to many children, but to the child with Asperger’s, this repetition can be comforting.  Luke Jackson (author of Freaks, Geeks and Asperger’s Syndrome, 2002) agrees ‘the fact that it is so structured and predictable makes it the perfect form of exercise for anyone on the autistic spectrum’.

The structure of a lesson is usually similar in that there is always a warm up of about 10-15 minutes, the basics, maybe some group work, possibly some sparring, and a short cool down or discussion session. There are variations to this, but for instructors experienced in teaching students with ASDs, if a major change is planned, students are told in advance.  For example, if a different hall is to be used, students on the spectrum are invited to visit the hall and become familiar in advance of the class.

I found that over the years of teaching children with Asperger’s, when the class is due to learn new concepts or moves, it is most effective to pair them up with empathetic higher graded peers so that the student can be taught on a one-to-one basis, and then join the main class when he or she feels more confident. Watching other children execute the moves may also be an effective way to learn.  This is relatively easy in martial arts as most of the work is taught in sections, eg, blocks or kicks, and then repeated over and over until the students are competent.  With these basic moves, the child with Asperger’s feels comfortable because there is little need for any physical contact or interaction.

For a child with Asperger’s, who often experiences ‘lax joints, immature grasp, slowed pace of movements and problems with manual dexterity’ (Kirby 2002, cited in Groft and Black 2003), a martial art such as karate or taekwondo can be very beneficial.  The kicking skills of these arts, and others besides, are an excellent way to develop balance, co-ordination and flexibility in all children.  Groups of movements known as ‘kata’ or ‘forms’; and the various stances needed, develop strength, and also the ability to move the body in diverse ways.  It can also help with the left versus right issue many children have.

There are some who may express concern about a child with an ASD practising martial arts.  The tantrums which can occur during times of tiredness, frustration or anger could mean that the child will strike out with taught moves.  While it is true many techniques can be dangerous, these would take many years to perfect with specific knowledge, and more dangerous techniques are never taught to children, with autism, or otherwise.  All children who are taught martial arts are constantly reminded that if the arts are misused or abused, the child will be withdrawn from training and there may be serious legal ramifications.  In my experience, students with Asperger’s, love their classes, and would try hard not to put their training in jeopardy.   I teach my students, more so for those on the spectrum, simple breathing exercises which they can use wherever they happen to be, if they feel tension or anger coming on. 

My amazing sister drew my attention to this website and I think it is an excellent article, but I would like to add my own experience of Ryan trying Martial Arts. He obviously likes routine but does not cope well in an environment where he is told what to do and how to do it. He is much more of a free spirit, so he has never coped with any of the clubs we have tried so far. Swimming lessons, beavers, martial arts, even football club.

School is a major battle for him to cope with; constantly being told what and how to do things, so adding more pressures on him outside of school simply don’t work for him. We go swimming regularly just me and him or a couple of friends where he can just do his own thing.

His photography is another prime example. He is extremely reluctant to have any formal lessons or join a club because he wants to do it in his own way. I am however working on an idea with a friend to create a children’s photography club for any child but particularly those with additional/different needs where they can simply come and have fun with photos rather than direct instruction and enjoy learning new social skills in a relaxed and fun environment.   

Watch this space for more details if we can get it arranged during September. 

Give praise, time to talk and listen. Build esteem

Saturday, 9 August 2014

Liability Insurance

Exclusive Personal Liability Insurance Scheme for people caring for persons with Autistic Spectrum Disorder (ASD).

Are you a parent or guardian of a person with ASD? Or do you care for a person with ASD?

If so, would you be protected by insurance in the event of a member of the public holding you responsible for bodily injury or damage to their property caused by a person with ASD in your care?

In today’s climate, the possibility of being sued for negligence is increasing, with legal costs, expenses and awards continuing to escalate.

The National Autistic Society (NAS) offer cover designed especially for their members, this low-cost scheme helps protect you if a member of the public holds you responsible for bodily injury or damage to property caused by a person with autism in your care.

Annual cover costs just £26 per family/insured carer and offers up to £1 million in cover, protecting an unlimited number of carers if named on the policy. More than one individual with autism can be named on the policy, making it perfect for families.
You may find that your household contents insurance provides this cover. Where this is not the case, you may be interested in this cover.

Having a diagnosis of ASC doesn’t not excuse you or your child from damage to another person or their property. Autistic meltdowns are scary and can be very dangerous. You are still responsible for your child’s disability or differbility. Make sure you are covered. 

Saturday, 2 August 2014

Twenty Dollars

A well known speaker started off his seminar by holding up a $20 bill. In the room of 200, he asked. "Who would like this $20 bill?"

Hands started going up. He said, "I am going to give this $20 to one of you - but first, let me do this."

He proceeded to crumple the 20 dollar note up. He then asked. "Who still wants it?" Still the hands were up in the air.

"Well," he replied, "what if I do this?" He dropped it on the
ground and started to grind it into the floor with his shoe. He picked it up, now crumpled and dirty. "Now, who still wants it?"

Still the hands went into the air.

"My friends, you have all learned a very valuable lesson. No
matter what I did to the money, you still wanted it because it did not decrease in value. It was still worth $20.

Many times in our lives, we are dropped, crumpled, and ground into the dirt by the decisions we make and the circumstances that come our way. We feel as though we are worthless; but no matter what happened or what will happen, you will never lose your value.

Dirty or clean, crumpled or finely creased, you are still
priceless to those who love you. The worth of our lives comes, not in what we do or who we know, but by ...WHO WE ARE.

You are special - don't ever forget it."
Raising a child with additional needs will always be a challenge but just remember; the struggle you are in today is developing the strength you need for tomorrow.
You are special and your child is special that is why you were chosen for such a great privilege. Few can take on such a responsibility.
We are going to take a special ride, together all the way side, by side. It doesn’t matter what you have heard. We could mean the whole wide world. 

Saturday, 19 July 2014


Photograblog for

By Ryan

I like photos. Well the detail and how realistic you can get them. Instead of going out and looking at them yourself you can easily just find them, but doing photography you do that yourself.

In a good picture I look for detail and how good it looks, which comes under detail actually, lighting, depth, what’s in the background, what’s the main focus of the picture that type of stuff.

Western Australia

Possibly my autism has helped me to see the detail in making a good photograph. I looked at it a bit more. I can see deeper into the picture. I get the meaning of it. I can see why somebody took it either for the beauty of it or just for fun maybe.

Just for fun

With my photography I am not having to interact with people or do the social thing that I find difficult. It’s a project I can do by myself in my own time.  My photos don’t involve people. I prefer wildlife and landscape photography instead.

I don’t take photos of animals even though I like them because well finding the animals is actually the problem not actually taking the picture of them. You've got to go out and find the animal you are wanting to take the photo of, which could take a long time, especially since most insects and other bug type creatures are quite sensitive and they don’t like to be around things that are significantly larger than them and they generally move off if you come too close.

I don’t take pictures of buildings either because you could easily make that anywhere. It’s man made so you can just make it and make it and make it, but with nature it’s always changing, it will never really be the same and I want to capture that moment. That is sort of what a picture is. Well taking a picture is just taking a moment of time and keeping there.

I have only been taking photos for about a year since I got my Galaxy Note phone.  I have looked at a lot of photos in my time on Google images (other search engines are available) but I kept on thinking to myself could I make that picture better or could I just take that picture, do I have the skills to do it? So I started trying photography and I was okay at it, I was pretty good. I developed my skills.  I haven’t taken classes I have just self taught photography. You know it’s not that hard you sort of pick up on the skills.

Depending on what’s in the photo depends on the quality of the photo.  Taking a good photo depends on the field of depth, how far can you see, how much detail do you get out of the photo?  Lighting is quite important a dark photo you can’t really see anything but with a light photo you can see lots of things it just makes the photo look better in general. You don’t want too much sun. Too much then it goes a bit out of focus so you can’t really see as much. You need like an average between dark and light.  

Shadows do help because you don’t get as much flare from the sun like lens flare when it is shining too brightly, like when you flash a torch and you look in to it and can see a lot of the torch even though it’s just a tiny little surface area. Those can be quite annoying in some photos but it does make it a bit more realistic but I don’t prefer them in my photos.

Lens flare.
These are my favourite photos, to see my others on Pinterest click here.

Saturday, 12 July 2014

Asperger Syndrome

All Cats Have Asperger Syndrome

Book Worms

In my previous post ‘Everybody is Different’ I mentioned a really good book of the same name that I have.  I am quite a book worm and one of those people that enjoys learning and expanding my own knowledge so when I discovered Ryan was Autistic I set about learning as much as I could about the subject so that I could better support him over the years.  

Everybody is Different, Autism Awareness

List of Recommended Reading

What follows now is a list of the books I have read and some I haven’t but are on my wish list.  There is a myriad of books out there and this is a relatively short list as a lot of my reading material comes from websites but I have really enjoyed these so wanted to share them on our blog with our readers and followers.

  • Make School Make Sense
  • The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night Time
  • Help your Child Succeed at School
  • All Cats Have Aspergers
  • Asperger Syndrome and Difficult Moments
  • Asperger Syndrome and Adolescence
  • Asperger Syndrome, the Universe and Everything
  • Social Stories
  • Incredible 5 point Scale

On my wish list

The Asperger Adventure Series
        Blue Bottle Mystery
        Of Mice and Aliens
        Lisa & the Lacemaker

If any of you have read these three then I would be very interested in book reports please in the comments section.

I would have to say that my two most favourite authors on the subject of Aspergers and Autism would have to be Brenda Myles and Dr Temple Grandin. I would seriously recommend anything and all they have contributed to.

All Cats Have Asperger Syndrome

Ryan has kindly made a video of himself reading you All Cats have Asperger Syndrome. Enjoy . 

Further Reading

A recommended list of further reading can also be found here:

Saturday, 5 July 2014

Everybody is Different

Since starting this blog I have wanted to talk about my eldest son Owen, but have not known how to go about starting a post about him. As a big believer in fate the perfect catalyst presented itself to me earlier this week and delivered me the perfect post.  

Before I present that post I just want to give a bit of background to a tale of two boys.  Two boys that do NOT get along.  We all know siblings fight but our house on occasion has been utterly heartbreaking with the level of dislike and resentment that Owen has for his Autistic brother.

Soon after Ryan’s diagnosis I purchased a book titled ‘Everybody is Different. A book for young people who have brothers or sisters with Autism’ by Fiona Bleach. I brought this book for Owen in an attempt for him to better understand the difficulties that Ryan faces.  It is an excellent book and very well written, Owen did read it all with me, but overall it has not helped him to accept Ryan’s differbility. He resents too much the disruption it has caused all of us over the years.

On Tuesday July 1st I received the following email forwarded to me by my father in law from his partner. My father in law had sent her a link to our blog as she had not yet seen it. This is what she sent to him in reply:

My heart bleeds for Sarah, Duncan, and my darling Ryan, what a tragedy for the family, it puts so much pressure on daily living,

I must say Duncan is a wonderful father, he is so calm and loving to his boys. Poor Sarah, finds dealing with Ryan's medical problems very stressful, as all mothers do.

Ryan is a very lucky lad having such wonderful parents, (unfortunately Ryan doesn't realise how lucky he is) because I know other families in this situation (the husband just walks away from it), leaving a single mother to cope with all this stress.

You should be so proud of your son, he is one on a million, coping with his own health issues, then all this traumatic stress on top of it wish we could do something to help.

Now this truly touched me as I am sure you will understand and it took me a while to process and formulate a suitable response a copy of which now follows that I believe perfectly sums up exactly what I wanted to say about Owen all along.

Thank you for sharing your emails with me it is truly comforting to know we have support from literally all around the globe.  There is honestly no need to feel sorry or heart-broken for us.  We know no different and have it relatively easy compared to some. 

The one person I do feel for however, is Owen. He has missed out on so much because we have had to focus our attention on Ryan. I know that he resents Ryan's Autism and struggles more than any of us to make sense or understand it. He has had to witness meltdowns and be laughed at in school because his brother is a 'freak'. Yes that word has been used many times along with regular occurrences of 'Retard' which has to be one of the most hateful, spiteful and down-right narrow-minded of all bullying words possible. 

I know that Owen doesn't believe us when we tell him how proud we are of him. His academic achievements continue to astound us and he has been passionately playing football at a serious level since he was four years old. Owen has been playing for 11 years now and shows dedication and commitment beyond anything we could have ever dreamed of. He is loving, caring, well mannered and doesn't believe in any form of discrimination, racism, homophobia etc at all, and has in fact been involved in confrontations in school where he has intervened and stood up for people facing these criticisms. 

I suppose, partly, he doesn't believe us because words can't really describe how proud we are of him.

Both of my sons are completely amazing in their own completely unique ways. What more could I really and truly ask for?

Fair isn't everyone getting the same.

Sunday, 29 June 2014


“While little is known about the interaction of ASC and aging, it is generally accepted that adults with ASC 1) tend to be fairly poor self reporters when it comes to health issues, and 2) as a group tend to be fairly sedentary. As such, concerns related to the long term health and wellness of adults with ASC should be at the forefront of any discussion of appropriate services.
–The Current State of Services for Adults with Autism,
prepared by Peter F. Gerhardt, Ed.D., Organization for Autism Research

I have two sons so can only really talk about puberty from a boys perspective in the sense of its effect on Ryan while also dealing with Autism and vice versa how his Autism has affected his dealing with puberty.

Puberty is a confusing time for any individual but for Ryan with speech and language difficulties the confusion can be more profound. He is not necessarily able to understand what is being said to him about the changes that he is experiencing, nor can he clearly verbalise his confusion, questions or how he is feeling to me, for me to be able to support him through the changes. 

Fortunately we have a very good school nurse who is very approachable and really understands how difficult this subject is for any child. She kindly gave me copies of the same materials/leaflets she has used with the children so the work I then did/am doing with Ryan, reinforces what he has been told already.

We have used the 'About you personal wellbeing schools programme'.

I started the conversation with him, there is simply no point in being remotely embarrassed about this subject, every single person goes through it and your child, regardless of their abilities or understanding is going to need your support. You need to know your facts so research if you are not sure (see the useful contacts page for further links) and be assertive (even if you are nervous). 

One day as he was showering - now that is a whole other story; Boys generally don't care much for personal hygiene but Ryan has even less clue or 'careness'; anyway I digress. I noticed he was changing.  I also knew he had already had a talk in year 6 at school so simply said to him "So Ryan I can see you have started puberty, are you able to tell me if you feel any different or do you have any questions?"

Now although Ryan’s understanding and communication skills have improved beyond belief, since he was first diagnosed, it is still NOT cool to talk about 'hairy winkies' in front of your mum. I wasn't put off though and reiterated what he was likely to be feeling and what other changes he could expect. 

As I have talked about previously I keep a diary of things that happen, need to remember or simply need to get off my chest. What follows now is a diary extract of an incident that I have put down to puberty.
Monday 3.2.14 (Ryan is 12) – Well what the **** just happened? Came up to bed at 9pm went in to wish Ryan good night to find him playing on his phone, as I opened the door to his room, he scrambled to drop his phone and pick up his pencil and attempt to look like he was doing his homework that he had told me he had done at 7pm. I shouted at him (rookie mistake) about his obsession with his phone and xbox. What ensued was a full blown meltdown that I haven’t seen for almost 2 years. He has smashed some of his room and told me he hates me. I have obviously walked away and tagged teamed Dadi Skilts who is now attempting to calm Ryan.  I am at an absolute loss, didn’t see this coming at all and have no idea how best to deal with it now. 
I was sat writing this and could hear Duncan talking to Ryan. It was heartbreaking to hear how hard Ryan is finding life at the moment (hormones & puberty I think).  I simply went into his room to find Dadi Skilts on the edge of the bed with Ryan, knees pulled up/legs bent with his head on his knees, crying gently. I just sat down next to him and hugged him (this was a massive risk as Ryan dislikes being touched and the very few hugs I have ever had have been initiated by him). It worked though I didn’t speak just sat there and he eventually stopped crying and even hugged me back.  We started to talk a little bit about nothing in particular and then he said he was tired, so I put him into bed. 

A very good article from a fellow blogger on puberty here