English Football Premiership Season 2015-16

money sportSo Leicester F.C. have won the premiership this year (season 2015-16) and bloody well done to them to. They were 5000-1 outsiders at beginning of the season but have defied all odds to win the prize. How have they done it? I believe along with a bit of skill the telling factors were team work, hard work and a will to win.

Their players are on half the wages of the top clubs, cost a fraction of the price and at the beginning of the season wouldn’t get into any of the top six sides teams. That of course would surely now change. The manager of course has also played his part in galvanizing this team and being a cool head under pressure towards the end of the season when they could have crumbled.

For me this season has highlighted how much money has ruined the game that I use to love but now casually acknowledge. The players at the top have lost all sense of reality and believe they are gods who don’t have to work for success. The amount of money they earn is obscene and doesn’t equal to what they give back.

Where as in the past you would have paid five million pounds for a top player who was hungry to win trophies and earn his price tag now you get the opposite. For fifty million you get a player who has now “made it” and doesn’t have to put the effort in and he’s setup for life. The opposition players now joke and laugh together before/during/after the game showing no desire to beat them. Players swap shirts with each other AT HALF TIME thinking nothing of how this might look to the fans and their manager. Players of old would have slapped those players silly at half time. They wanted to win for the fans, to keep their place for the next game, to earn their next contract, etc. These days a player appears content to earn £100,000 a week and sit on the bench for half the season listening to the latest tunes…

In truth Leicester F.C. have won the league as the players at the top clubs have no hunger and are just happy to turn up, get their massive paycheck and put in a good performance every now and then to remind us of why they were once considered talented. I’ll watch a game of footy if it’s on, and I’m not doing anything else, but have no real passion for the sport now. I loved watching footy and going to games in the 80s/90s/early 00s but in the last ten years money has ruined it.


Autism Friendly Musicals – Wicked!

Wicked the Musical
There’s more work to be done to raise awareness and for more autism friendly events to be organised but I’m still grateful that we’re at a time where progress has been made. Ten years ago there would never have been such a thing but in recent years the National Autistic Society has been doing great work in conjunction with the West End to put on autism friendly performances of the latest hit musicals.

This year the N.A.S. have worked in conjunction with the Apollo Theatre and long running west end musical Wicked to put on a performance designed with autistic people in mind. The sound and lighting had been adjusted along with chill out zones setup for when it got too much for the audience members. There were plenty of volunteers on hand to greet everyone as they made their way into the theatre, get to their seats and assist with any other issues they had. There was even a room for the children to go and do some colouring before the show. Oh and the ticket prices had been vastly reduced to make it affordable to more people which was great to see in this day and age.

It was a wonderfully relaxed atmosphere with nobody staring, judging or being awkward around you. It was delightful to see my son and all the other autistic adults and children enjoying the experience and performance. There was some screeching, random clapping and various other noises coming from all parts of the auditorium during the performance but this was accepted as par for the course by all the audience and cast alike. It mattered not as everyone thoroughly enjoyed themselves getting to do something that families might not often get the opportunity to take part in.

My son is non verbal but makes a lot of sounds especially when excited. During the singing he started to flap his arms and occasionally make noise as a release. We asked him to remember to use his inside voice but it was relaxing to know if he couldn’t we wouldn’t have to consider leaving. At the interval we went for a walk and he had a good run around and dance in the main entrance area to get ready for the 2nd act. Nobody batted an eyelid they were too busy enjoying themselves and understood.

My thanks go out to everyone involved from the charity, the staff, the volunteers and of course the cast for putting on a magnificent performance and giving the audience some terrific memories that will last a long time. I’m already looking forward to seeing what musical signs up for 2017!

Talking to a brick wall…

Getting my son ready for school again today and had a lapse falling back into bad dad mode… Various changes have been previously made to the morning routine to make life easier, it now goes Breakfast > Gemiini (work) > Dressed > Teeth > iPad > Bus. This works well most days and leaves enough “faffing” time for Jake to get his toys sorted out and him out the door. Today though it didn’t quite go as smoothly but on reflection it was all my fault.

It started to go wrong when I looked at the clock and we were way ahead of schedule so I gave him a bit longer on the iPad. BIG MISTAKE. His go ended and I suddenly noticed he hadn’t got any of his toys out in their positions on the floor / table. This is a very long winded process of touching the toys/reading the books/etc. and placing them all in the exact position he needs them to be in so he’s at ease and will leave the house. Normally this task is done the night before but sometimes when he’s tired and goes to be early it doesn’t happen.

What led next was me asking nicely for him to hurry up, looking at the clock, getting more anxious, my voice getting louder, asking again, and again and finally shouting at him to hurry up as I have visions of the bus turning up and having to leave without him. This would then lead to a massive meltdown, me being late for work and nobody happy. However, as I know from past experience shouting and repeatedly asking for something to be down has absolutely zero affect on him in these situations. He has tunnel vision and is oblivious to whatever is going on in the world around him, or being said, and he is solely focused on the task at hand.

I know this and usually leave the room at this point to stop myself getting frustrated at a situation outside of my control or talking to somebody who can’t hear me. This morning I was unfair on him, it’s not his fault, it’s mine. I should have seen what he would have needed to do and not increased the go on the iPad and hurried the morning along earlier.

Luckily the bus was late and Jake had just enough time to complete the task at hand, 2o minutes later, and get on the bus. I was left feeling guilty for not seeing it from his point of view and for shouting. Six years down the line and I sometimes still forget what it’s like to live in his world…

Tui Na Massage for Autism – Verdict

After finishing our commitment to a six month trial we decided not to continue with the massage for our autistic son. Yes, there had been a slight improvement with his fine motor skills and possibly overall sensitivity but not enough that you couldn’t say would have happened naturally or with the other therapies and work done by us and the school.

Other parents reported more progress with their child in terms of physical and social interaction whilst others reported none. Towards then end of the trial Jake himself had grown tired of the daily ritual and was starting to be difficult at laying still and it became counter productive and meant that the entire evening schedule got pushed back meaning later to bed and more tired the next day.

I’m glad that we had given this treatment a go but had decided no noticeable improvements had been made and had decided to direct the time spent performing the massage on other therapies that will hopefully improve our son’s verbal communication such as the Gemiini program.

In summary I wouldn’t put other parents off trying this treatment as you can understand the logic and there aren’t any negatives but for us there were hardly any positives but then different things work for different people.

Tui Na Massage for Autism – One Month Review

My wife and I have been performing the Tui Na massage on our son for over a month now and so far it unfortunately hasn’t had much of an affect in reducing the symptoms of Autism. It has certainly reduced his sensitivity to touch around the head and feet which is a positive but there have been a few negatives which may, or may not, be attributed to other factors but it’s impossible to tell.

We had a week where Jake would get upset and cry after we had finished but had been reliably informed that this is a positive in that he was experiencing other emotions. That stopped fortunately but has now been replaced with negative behaviour that we had knocked on the head a long time ago such as refusing to do certain tasks and hitting us if he didn’t like what we were saying.  Along with this he had started to refuse the massage and the break in his previous evening routine was having a knock-on affect of him going to bed later which meant he was more tired the next day…

Again, this does seem to have calmed a little in the last few days and he is returning to the more easy going son we had before. The massage has also been made easier now as we’ve introduced sensory toys for him to play with as a distraction. His bedtime is also approaching close to what it was before as the massage has become less of a inconvenience to him in the evening and he gets enough time to wind down.

Overall I haven’t given up hope but neither am I expecting much to happen either at this stage.We’ll keep going as long as the negatives don’t become to much of a burden/impact on Jake and attempt to see out the six month trial and judge the results at the end.

Tui Na Massage – First few days

tui na headWe’ve ordered a massage table to perform the full body massage but until then we’ve been perform the facial massage and a few relaxing pressure points on his arm. So far so good as in the main Jake, our son, has let us perform the routine and seems to enjoy it and has an almost calming influence on him.

This morning I had to tickle him and distract him a few times as he wanted to get up and play with his toys but managed to get it done without too much fuss. Far too early to report any benefits but at least he’s letting us do it. The big test will come the weekend when we have to massage the top of his head and neck. This is a very sensitive area for him and could take awhile for him to accept.

If you’re interested there’s a demo video of the head massage that we’re performing every morning, it only takes five minutes so can easily be built into the morning routine before school.

Tui Na Massage – Learning our first steps

Had a really good trip to London at the weekend being taught all of the necessary techniques to perform Tui Na massage on our son to help reduce the affects of autism. More information can be found here http://www.tuinacentre.co.uk or at their facebook page https://www.facebook.com/TuinaCentre

We’ve been fortunate enough to be take part in a UK trial to see if the daily massage will improve many aspects of our son’s life including speech, attention, co-ordination, sleep, etc. Initially we have learnt the beginners 36-step routine that we can start to implement straight away. Another one-day course will be held three months and then six months into the trial to learn more advanced techniques. There was a lot to take in but with video’s and print outs to refer to we’ll get the hang of it in no time I’m sure.

I must say I’m not usually one for alternative medicines but am keeping my eyes open based on reports of previous positive results. At the very least it will relax our son and at the very best help significantly to improve his well being and communication with the world around him. Big thanks to Leonid and Sanya for their time and teachings. I’ll be making various posts to report on progress over the coming months.

If you would like to there’s also a go fund me page where they’re trying to raise funds so more families can be involved in the trial going forward http://www.gofundme.com/wedc6p3u