What independence means for Isaac
A Dad's Perspective
by fajle
11M ago
Isaac can talk (and talk and talk and talk) for himself. His non-stop, boom-boom delivery conversely grounds him. When his voice levels are up, he’s actually levelling out. Odd yet oddly not in the land of Isaac. As the words spitfire, he barely remembers to gasp for breath; like a news reader chasing an autocue that’s run away with itself. A chunk of his chat may be commentary on minutiae or much needed repetition; and my blurry eyed mornings are ambushed with angst-fuelled need for confirmations of the day’s proceedings (appeased by a daily morale boosting, any-changes-made and fantastic ema ..read more
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Social media, social skills and so much more
A Dad's Perspective
by fajle
1y ago
“Meeting new friends in new locations is not necessary. I interact with train enthusiasts on the internet. Every day I accomplish this mission. Thanks so much for the kind offer, I can’t tell you how much it means, but no thanks.” Disputed Isaac, courteously but with conviction. Misreading a suggestion aimed at Tabitha – not him – about treading her toe in a drama group. A brief hushed silence followed, like the dimming lights moment at a grand theatre (when Isaac’s anxiety levels raise, we allow chitter chatter to lower, so he can control the release valve on necessary thoughts). “Not every h ..read more
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My Unlearning of Isaac
A Dad's Perspective
by fajle
1y ago
Time was, life with Isaac felt like having the scary multi-shaped components of a gigantic IKEA flatpack kitchen that I needed to construct. Scrolls of instructions and thousands of widgets laid out, baffling piece by baffling piece. Me headshakingly not knowing where to begin. As we built our lives together, it was less about things slotting into place and more about an open approach. Instruction manuals, fitting in, following conventions were futile. Instead, grasping the up-against-each-other pros and cons of autism, ADHD and dyspraxia has involved a fluid learning curve – that gets refined ..read more
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Isaac and Tabitha: Beautifully different
A Dad's Perspective
by matt.davis@redbrickroad.com
1y ago
Chalk and cheese children are as typical as the centuries old idiom is truism. And of course, having dissimilar siblings many say is desirable. Brother and sister not sitting side by side personality wise doesn’t mean they rough and tumble like opposite stands of a feverish football stadium. I’m broadly grateful for the diversity Isaac and Tabitha bring to family life. And candid too about the challenges and rewards. Treating my children according to their traits can call for kid glove handling; but their mutual grasping of their wildly contrasting strengths and needs, stops things going nucle ..read more
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Surviving the summer blues
A Dad's Perspective
by matt.davis@redbrickroad.com
1y ago
“It’s a totally cloudy day, thank you, thank you!!” boomed Isaac, reborn in the middle of the road, arms aloft, awakened by the angels of the gloomy skies. Preaching, wailing positivity, religious, joyful, altered.   “I’m so happy in this moment. At last, I can help my mental health and so forth. With this large cloud that I can see everywhere, I’d like to assume it’s a day for rain today too. The information on your app, dad, is not always correct but at 11am light rain may appear. Regardless of whether this is a fact or not, I will be wearing my hood.” Whether the heavens open or n ..read more
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Isaac’s social life
A Dad's Perspective
by matt.davis@redbrickroad.com
1y ago
It’s essentially a set of feelings – relief, fear, bewilderment, hope – that douse my memory of Isaac’s diagnosis, such is the power of emotion to burn with an everlasting flame. But there’s also a set of words that, ten years on, retain their own particular flicker. Long after the paediatrician’s discussions about observations, plans and milestones morphed, moved on and wiggled this way and that, the specific theme of one sentence, “Not displaying the innate and intuitive social skills to play with peer group” is something that has hung unreconstructed around my head; haunting me less and les ..read more
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Isaac’s Bar Mitzvah: There’s no right way to have a rite of passage
A Dad's Perspective
by matt.davis@redbrickroad.com
1y ago
If there’s a top ten of Jewish terms that evoke an image in the minds of many, it’s not unfeasible to imagine Bar Mitzvah Boy (the teen who comes of age) as tracking highly – snapping at the heels of the synagogues and the skullcaps. Indeed, Anglo-Jewry’s greatest TV writer, Jack Rosenthal, penned the glorious Bar Mitzvah Boy which had a popularity that transcended all pockets of the UK. It may have flickered onto our crudely coloured screens over 40 years ago, but there’s a timelessness to it. Modern Jewish life may look different on the outside, but it’s pretty similar on the inside, with fa ..read more
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Like father, like son?
A Dad's Perspective
by matt.davis@redbrickroad.com
1y ago
That timeless parental trigger of “I remember being that age…” has, in terms of Isaac, always been a steer-clear rather than a go-to. I get its usefulness as a gateway to taking your child on a relatable and well-rounded journey; when to push, when to pull back. What a nifty – internal – nudge for all those give-it-a-whirls and stick-it-outs, the duck-for-nows and in-at-the-deep-ends. Memories, conscious or subconscious, are playing a role in persuading my 7 year old neurotypical daughter, Tabitha, to try new friend meet ups, music lessons, summer camps, drama groups, any number of peer group ..read more
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Isaac in lockdown
A Dad's Perspective
by matt.davis@redbrickroad.com
1y ago
Hunkering down on our bit of rubble as the coronavirus earthquake erupted, I might have predicted a regular picking up the pieces of Isaac and putting him back together again. Grimmer ground dog days than for the rest of us surely hung in the air for him. The autistic un-friendly features of a lockdown are too long to list, its tentacles too many – from plans and routines fallen into ruin, to social distancing splatting itself on an already ruptured spatial awareness, to the abstract yet anxiety inducing nature of a virus itself. Like so many, Isaac has often been caught in the coronavirus cro ..read more
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Time to follow Isaac’s lead
A Dad's Perspective
by matt.davis@redbrickroad.com
1y ago
I believe I’m excelling as a member of Isaac’s exclusive (he’s the founder) 05:54 club; sure, it’s a tough time of day, but it’s getting less of tough call. Membership for me is mandatory anyway. On the actual dot of 05:54 irrespective of when he went to bed and devoid of outer body, tangible alarm clock, Isaac buzzes and bursts into action. Not a semblance of slumber – his final wink of sleep like the final and forced rotation of a wind-up toy. Then: Wide-eyed, right out of his bed and my-bedside-bound for his school uniform and iPad immaculately laid out the night before like a soldier’s fat ..read more
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