Tag Archives: autism awareness

Happy Christmas and New Year!

Firstly I’d like to apologise for the silence, this blog post is months later than I anticipated!   However, there is a reason for that. The LEGO adventure may be put on hold for Canadian reasons. My advanced riding trainer mentioned that she wanted to go and was let down by a friend so I suggested that maybe we could do it with her instead.   It will certainly make it a new adventure for Sofia and I having thus far only travelled together, and I think that she is now ready to experience another person on her journey. For my part, it would make the ride more enjoyable sharing the journey with an adult.  Nothing is booked yet so I can’t say that we are committed at this point, but fingers crossed it will work out well.

 

Last time I wrote we were just heading off on a proper holiday, a much needed one, on a cruise.  I had booked it the year before knowing that whatever the outcomes of this year, that we would both be in desperate need of space from each other and personal time to relax.  It was exactly the same boat that I took Sofia on 4 years ago where she first started to realise that the probability of not liking new things was really quite low and she started to open up to accepting new experiences.  This naturally lead to our adventure across Africa.

 

Interestingly Sofia only remembered specific spaces on the boat where she spent the most time previously, but she doesn’t remember herself and felt no sense of being a different person, older, more confident.   For me though it was very different. Sofia was completely self sufficient on this trip and much more able to cope with certain situations like busy noisy spaces, conversations and going with the flow on days we stepped off the boat.  She was also much more able to socially interact with the other children on the boat, and especially liked to hang out with the younger children which I think is wonderful sign that she is feeling comfortable practising her social skills in an age range she can cope with.  She also socialised with her peer group, however, there were issues, and as always learning experiences!

 

All in all, it really was a wonderful trip, a well earnt pat on the back for ourselves for what we have achieved this year.

 

That biggest achievement being Sofia getting a placement at a school that actually meets her needs.   And wow! Over the course of this term, the difference it is making is enormous. The first significant thing to notice was that she she was finally starting to experience social situations.   Before now, they have just been overwhelming, she would be in state of defensive survival and have no space to reflect and learn. Now she actually has that space and the support to notice and learn from those experiences, but I suppose even more importantly the right peer group with which to have these experiences.  And this is another major difference for her. She is now surrounded only by children who are like her, and a big enough group that she actually gets to choose who she is friends with – the confidence change in her as a result of this was dramatic and happened a few weeks ago. She has gone from be painfully desperate to connect with someone, anyone, to feeling confident that she has some social value and can actually participate in making a choice about who she wants to be friends with or not.  Well done Sofia! I am so proud her her. The icing on the cake being her first school play at the end of term. She got the part she wanted, the wicked witch in the Wizard of Oz, and she absolutely nailed it!

 

With Sofia now exploring pastures new, it has left me at a loose end.  The purpose of my life has moved on, and so I have started the journey of rediscovering my identity and a new purpose in life.  Things were going well until I had a friend to stay for a couple of months, and to my shock and horror, I watched what focus I had crumble to dust.  My adopted parents were finally right – I am completely feeble minded! And I don’t say that in a derogatory way to myself though my parents certainly meant it that way.

 

I recognised that it was not normal to loose focus like that, and not an expression of depression.  Indeed, I would say that my general outlook and mood has been good all things considered.  So with this in mind I decided to turn to my trusty friend Google, and the first thing that popped up when searching problems with focus was ADHD, so I took a test on line and I registered as moderate to severe.  It was a big shift in perspective for me even though I have to say I was aware of this on some level. And I know I knew, if not implicitly, because when I looked up strategies, they mapped exactly to the strategies I was employing from the beginning of term to move forward with this big change in my life of Sofia going to bording school.  

 

To be clear, I’ve not used the term ‘feeble’ minded about people with ADHD to sanction derogatory perspectives toward those who struggle, though people who don’t understand (or don’t want to understand) are likely to view those with ADHD in that way, but more in understanding of how fragile mental focus is with ADHD and how much support it needs through strategies and in particular a strategy of protecting focus achieved from any distracting influences.  What is also true however, is that when that focused is achieved with purpose and meaning it is powerful enough to move mountains and can most certainly be an attribute to the success of our adventure across Africa.

 

Whilst there has been this really good silver lining to my collapse in focus, it is has set me back, and I hoped that by this time I would have a wonderfully clear perspective about the future with my personal goals and most importantly what direction I wanted to go in with Adventure with Autism.  Instead, as I write this, I really don’t have a clue and it will take time to negotiate with my brain and reclaim the ground lost in garnering clarity.

 

Will I seek official diagnosis for ADHD?  No. As with Autism (I register on the border line of Aspergers and Autism on tests), the boat sailed long ago, and any supportive benefit I might have received from diagnosis is past.  I am old enough and ugly enough, and have enough experience of myself, to learn how to manage these aspects of myself and not let them define me but rather find ways that they can serve me and the outcomes I seek.  

 

Yes it is harder as an undiagnosed adult, firstly just discovering these aspects of self is difficult because we tell ourselves so many stories to avoid dealing with reality, especially one that we don’t want to know about or might mean we have to take responsibility for self, but once the reality is there, the support provided by early intervention has to be learnt through trial and error in a way no one else can do for you and the impact of that time has real consequences in the way it doesn’t for a child – for me it is time lost overall, and the double effort now required to get back onto the wagon so to speak.   It is so much better to know what you are dealing with though, without a shadow of a doubt.

 

So what does 2019 hold for us?  Well, in the first instance, both Sofia and I have our own lives to get on with and to continue on our own personal learning curves.  Motorbike travel will happen, and as soon as something is definite, I will let you know. What I would really like to achieve though in the next 6 months, is a clear direction with Adventure with Autism.  All options are on the table at the moment, from closing it down completely and allowing both Sofia and I to find completely independent directions in life, to becoming 100% committed to fundraising and pursuing other projects that don’t involve Sofia until she is ready to come back to it, if she wants to.  If you have any thoughts on what you would like to see happen in this regard, please leave a comment below.

 

Now if you are still reading well done!   This has been a long post! Thank you so much for taking the time to find out where we are and what we are doing.   I hope you have a wonderful Christmas season and a fantastic 2019 with much love from both Sofia and myself.

 

October Update & The LEGO Adventure 2019

The most common two questions I am asked at the moment is, How is Sofia doing in her new school?  and How am I doing with this big change?

With the first, Sofia is settling in really well.   I have to say that all the travelling she has done, has made the transition really easy for her in that she has the confidence to adapt to her new environment and make the best of it.  That is not so say that she is not confronting many challenges, but she seems to be happy to embrace the challenges and for the first time in a school environment, has the opportunity and space to process and recognise those challenges and learn something from them.  It is a huge step for her and I have to say that she is making me enormously proud.

For my part, it has been a surreal experience.  So reconnect to myself, to remember who I was and what my goals were in life and re-evaluate them in the context of today is quite a journey, and one that I feel can’t be rushed.   The conclusions I have drawn are that I will ride the motorbike for my own pleasure and will no doubt seek my own adventures where I can, but I may or may not publish them as part of Adventure with Autism, I don’t have a feel for it yet.  I will however be organising a ride from Lands End to John O’groats (the LEGO Adventure) next Summer for Sofia, which will no doubt take us via Wales and Ireland.

Adventure with Autism in the mean time will remain relatively quiet, as it seems to do during the winter months.   We are just about to leave for a proper holiday (for a change!) tomorrow on a cruise, and it will be an opportunity to recap the last four years since the last time Sofia took a cruise which started off this big travel adventure for her.  I’m not entirely sure how I’m going to film/record it, but we will be going through all the photos I have and reminiscing.  Hopefully catching as many of Sofia’s memories before she forgets them.   The results of this effort will no doubt leak into social media over the winter months so watch this space!

We travel and publish our travel experience on Social Media to help raise awareness for Autism, please could you help us continue this effort by making a small donation – Thank you:  https://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/charity-web/charity/finalCharityHomepage.action?charityId=1005498

 

 

A Different Kind of Adventure: Hiking up a Storm!

I’m not shy to push the envelope with Sofia to help her move forward in life, to learn through actual experiences and to gain confidence for more.   One of the aspects of this is related to physical activity.

Getting Sofia to be physically active has been extremely difficult.  In Africa it was wonderful to see her come out of her shell a little in this regard.  When we were preparing to leave she started trying to tie her own shoe laces, by the time we were in Greece she started using a knife and fork correctly, and by the time we were in Sudan, she was starting to take little risks related to climbing which continued to expand for the rest of the trip.

In Europe too, a little of this returned when confronted with bunk bed ladders, where out right refusal didn’t happen (as is normally the case) but this time a brave ‘I’m going to try, please help me’.  Try she did and succeeded much to her delight and she had tried enough times that she by the end of the trip she was starting to feel confident.

So when she started home schooling I decided I would try to make walking more of thing for her.  Short walks in nature when the weather approved so that she would not feel any resistance.  She enjoyed this, or rather she wasn’t objecting to go out for one, so I started thinking bigger and wondering if it wouldn’t be a good idea to do a proper hike with wild camping, the works.

Long story short this came to fruition this last week.   Inspired by a group of Facebook of women who are getting out there climbing, cycling, hiking, biking, or what ever adventure big or small (Adventure Queens), I finally put a plan together.

39km around the Wiltshire country side, with the sell factor being the crop circles.   Sofia loved this idea!

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To be fair, I was pretty sure, considering our state of fitness, that we would likely not manage the full trip, and that some pain may be experienced and that Sofia may at some point, fall out of love with the idea completely.  But as with all the travel we have done, the whole point is being out there and having no choice but to deal with her issues be they internal or external and she will never learn how to deal with them if not presented with them experientially.

And so we set off on a lovely sunny Thursday afternoon in middle England.  Our first stop and where we would leave the car, Martinsell Hill.  This hill directly overlooking a crop circle that only appeared last week.   Sadly, however, the farmer had cut the pattern out, but rather than dampen our spirits it gave us momentum to see the others at Hackpen Hill about 15km away and the site of the White Horse.

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It wasn’t long we were off the country lane and into fields and small woodlands.  Now it is worth mentioning at this point that in Sofia’s recent assessments dyspraxia and hyper mobility were flagged, and in part I would not have done this hike if I didn’t have these as a source on knowledge for monitoring Sofia.  But likewise, it made this type of challenge more important because in truth I have never challenged her in this way as I wasn’t sure what the situation was and it is through challenge that the mind starts to focus and find out what it is made of.  She was also wearing a back pack of about 4 or 5kg to promote this need to focus.

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The walking for an average person was very easy, maybe a bit lumpy in places, but generally very good walking.  For Sofia on the other hand little lumps and bumps and tufts of grass are a challenge.  She had to really concentrate and look where she was going and with some weight on her back it was important.  EVERYTHING about this experience was new to her.  Yes she has walked down paths and over rocky terrain to get to a place not far and never carrying a weight and always reluctantly so, but never for the sake of the body being primary transport over a long distance. She was doing very well.

There were a number of stiles we had to climb over and she demonstrated well how much her confidence in that area had improved by clambering over them with a degree of alacrity (back pack included) that wasn’t matching her confidence in walking.   We also made a number or rest stops in beautiful places drinking our water and enjoying the scenery before moving on again.

Finally after clambering about the country side for several hours, we arrived in a small village walked into the first pub we saw and collapsed with cold drinks and our pork pie and fig role dinner.  I’ve never liked Pepsi, but this day a cold pint of it was like liquid gold!

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At this point there really wasn’t too much left in us, so I made a target on the map of where we would start looking for a place to put down our bivy bags and we headed off around 6pm hoping that it really wouldn’t be too long before we could rest up. It ended up being a 2 hour slog up hill before we stopped.  But we managed it and it was a perfect location.  A small piece of lawn behind a hedge next to a single horse race track that wasn’t seeing much use.  In fact we were on a big horse racing stable/stud farm.  On another day, if we were exploring the world of horses, this would have been fun and interesting, today however, we didn’t care much other than having a decent place to sleep for the night.

Sofia had done really well on her first day.  I was really proud of her.  Whilst tired, her body seemed to be generally coping, however, she did say her ankles were sore, so I made a note to give her more attention the next day about walking properly.

We were up early the next morning, and took it slowly watching the sun rise before packing up and heading off about 8am.  We hadn’t seen any horses, and as we walked through the main training area, our hearts sank even lower, as still no horses.  So much evidence of them but not a single horse in sight.  It was only as we were coming to the end of the gallops that suddenly we heard the sound of cantering hooves!

What a joy!  Sofia loved it.  We sat for a moment as they turned and started to walk down the track to start the gallop again.   We were told to move before they galloped up again as we were a distraction for the horses so we moved higher up and out-of-the-way with a good vantage point.

Sofia may be doing some horse therapy at her new school so it was really lovely to see her showing an interest and asking questions about the different sports and what they were like.  I think it is now a case of watching this space and see if she develops this.

We developed more of a rhythm as we went, it was hot, so often I was walking ahead and then waiting for Sofia to catch up.  Most of the byways were very over grown, and like the day before, we didn’t see a soul!  it was wonderful, but tough going for Sofia who was nervous of pricks and stings and not being able to see the path clearly to place her feet.  Progress was slow and by the time we were on the Ridgeway trail that took us up Hackpen Hill, we were both pretty exhausted.

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Yay! we made it!                                                                                                                                                                                                    (you will note that she is wearing her favourite t-shirt from the Ulysses Club of Zimbabwe! it still looks great after constant use these last 2 years!  contact Salty if you would like one  🙂

In the end we only walked as far as a clear view of one of the circles (and to be honest it looked like the other had been harvested) where we collapse looking over it finishing our water and hitting the pork pies and oranges to find our strength to make it to Avebury.   I was by now starting to feel pain in my shoulder muscles, feet, calves and the tops of my thighs.  Thankfully Sofia was only feeling it in her feet.  But either way, I decided that we should get to Avebury and call a taxi back to the car.  Sofia was really tired, and whilst she was happy to see the circle, it wasn’t the degree of happy she might otherwise have had if she hadn’t been walking for 4 hours already that morning.

By the time we got up and started walking the storm clouds were gathering.   It seemed as if the universe wanted to make sure that I didn’t change my mind and heading home.  But we still needed to get to Avebury.  We were in the middle of nowhere, and Sofia was ready to give up.  I tried to teach her how to march as a way to focus her brain to get through to the end, but she didn’t want to listen only argue and complain that I wasn’t listening to her and it seemed better to leave her to it and a walked ahead as showers of rain started to pass over us.  Perhaps not the most sensible idea as she slowed down even more which I hadn’t thought possible.  We didn’t join forces again until the out skirts of Avebury where I sat waiting for her for about 45mins and I hadn’t been walking fast.

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I had stopped to watch her a few times from a distance and to make sure she was ok, and she seemed to be taking 3 steps and then stopping to look at something before taking another 3 steps.   The main thing though is that she made it, and she did it on her own for all intense and purposes, something that she is now proud of.

We (more me really) staggered into the first pub we saw.  I got some cold drinks and then set to task to find a taxi to come and pick us up in the middle of no where and take us to the middle of nowhere, but being Friday the 13th, it took over 30mins to find one available, and many thanks to the lads behind the bar who helped in this mission.  Once the cab booked, the heavens opened in happy agreement, the thunder clapped and the lightning flashed in joy, and the possibility of me ever being braver than my body could handle was washed away with it!

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When we got home, Sofia jumped in the shower and came out refreshed and all her ‘pains’ gone.  I on the other hand will be hobbling to days as the lactic acid clears from my calf muscles and shoulder muscles!

This is the second time she has had this lesson that she may be overstating her condition.  Whilst I appreciate that in her world what she is experiencing is a life and death event, I think it is important that she realises the reality that she isn’t even close and proportionalises her response and I do remind her of Peter and the Wolf when this becomes apparent in the hope that gentle repetition will help her to over come it.  I think it is in part about fear and not knowing her own body, I’m not unsympathetic, but she does need to get past it.    The last time was when she screamed like her leg was broken when in reality not so much as a bruise had appeared the following day.   It is something the school she is going to can work on.  I’m so happy she has a placement there!

 

We travel and I publish our travel experience on Social Media to help raise awareness for Autism, please could you help us continue this effort by making a small donation – Thank you:  https://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/charity-web/charity/finalCharityHomepage.action?charityId=1005498

 

 

 

 

Schools, Sunshine and Scotland

The tension and pressure of the court hearing for Sofia’s school placement reached its pitch on the 25th June where the hearing turned into a non-event.  The Local Authority really hadn’t prepared a case and by the time they had realised that there was a case to answer, it was too late for them and eventually they conceded that Sofia would start at the school of our choice in September but as yet have not conceeded that she needs a residential placement and we are now waiting for the judge’s decision (yes still!)

All the time the sun has roared above since our return from Dubai and as the weeks have ticked by my feet became increasingly itchy and it seems mine weren’t the only ones.  Sofia, who has been generally negative about biking this year, was only to happy to jump on the bike and head up to Scotland with only a few days notice.

If only it was to be so easy.

The only thing that the bike really needed was a new battery.  I had no idea there was such a thing as a dud battery, but now I do.  So at the last-minute I was phoning around to find a new one, and racing off to get it, praying is wasn’t another dud.  This put a kink in our plans time wise and time had suddenly become important on this trip the day before setting off.  Leaving on the Saturday, we had to be back by the following Sunday so Sofia could spend time at her new school on Monday to help her mentally prepare becoming a student there (the transition).

We set off on Saturday half a day late and stopped by Mick the mechanic on our way north for a chain check and the leaky fork seal to be fixed and then pushed on for another couple of hours, stopping the night in a field just next to the Peak District.  Wonderful to think we would be driving through in the morning, this trip was looking good already and I was glad for our minor delay.

Until the next morning, when I discover the adaptor for the bike to charge the phone wasn’t working.  So the morning was instead spent finding a garage, and waiting for the phone (which was now only 2% charged) to give us enough charge to find our next stop.   We didn’t hit the road until midday, by which point there was only one thing left to do, ride directly to our destination for the night, counsins’ who live in the Boarders of Scotland.

It had been a long time since I last saw them and it was lovely to reconnect and catch up and Sofia got to make a new friend (a cousin 3 times removed perhaps?  I’m still not 100% on the nomenclature of cousins, but effectively my cousin’s, wife’s niece) who had exactly the same interests as Sofia it was no nice to see her hitting it off with someone so well, it really doesn’t happen often, certainly not to that degree!

We spent some time pouring over maps and it became clear that a full trip may not be possible in the time frame.  What I was certain of was that I didn’t want to race around anymore and already it was starting to feel that way with the big push up to Scotland that day seeing nothing along the way.

So we set off Monday with a carefree attitude of what will be will be, but to start heading south again on Wednesday, and to meet up with a group of lady adventurers on the Saturday camping in the Yorshire Dales.  This Monday night though, we were meeting up with Salla.

We met Salla last year at a bike meet in Estonia.  She was part of a Finnish contingent who we hung out with.  She was now touring the UK and had stayed with us several weeks before on her way to Ireland.  Now we were going to meet up in Scotland for a night of wild camping before parting ways once more.

It was such a lovely day of driving.  No rush, no big decisions, just wonderful weather, wonderful roads and wonderful scenery.   We met with Salla, and as happens with the universe is agreeing with your actions, we found the perfect wild camping spot next to a river in about 10 minutes!  Finding wild camping spots are usually a lot more challenging.  After setting up camp Salla and Sofia went for a wild swim in the lovely warm water of the river whilst I went through the discovery of realising that my wonderful Optimus cooking stove was not going to work and the spare part I needed wasn’t in the spare parts pack!    Why was this important?  Haggis of course!

Yes, I decided that we should cook a Scottish bonanza that night and had bought a small haggis earlier in the day.

Thankfully Salla had her kit and in the late evening sunshine we watched eagerly as the pot steamed wanting to see the results.  I was warned by the butcher that the bag would pop if it was too hot for too long, but simmering is a subjective measurement we discovered, and sure enough the bag had popped!   we were too hungry to care, and most of the haggis still in its bag seemed fine.  We woofed it down.  Not the best haggis I’ve had, but glad we gave it a go, and glad Sofia tried some too.

Tuesday morning, the sun high in the sky once more, we headed North to see how far we would get.  Inverness it would seem.   I had run out of chain oil and needed to get some as well as getting the chain tightened (again! – we riding heavy it seems :D)  Whilst this was taking place the phone, the centre of navigation and communication, was dropped, never to rise again.

I can’t tell you the pain I went through to reach a decision!   There we were, in Scotland and the sun was shining!  But the bottom line was, despite a group of guys who were also on a riding visit tempting me with news of the amazing roads they had been riding, I would not enjoy Scotland if I tried to stay without automated navigation, not with a deadline to be home by Sunday night.

So that afternoon we headed south again.  It was hard going when it was hot, but as the air cooled in the late evening, with no traffic and the Northumberland NP for scenery, I have to say it was not a wasted day at all.  We stopped in Newcastle for the night and the following day we were home by late afternoon.  It was almost like we had woken up from a dream.  Such good memories in such a short space of time so far away.

I’m already planning a return trip at the end of July early August – hopefully the weather will be with us again!

 

We travel and I publish our travel experience on Social Media to help raise awareness for Autism, please could you help us continue this effort by making a small donation – Thank you:  https://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/charity-web/charity/finalCharityHomepage.action?charityId=1005498

 

 

 

 

Sofia The Pillion: Europe 2017

Sofia, as with Africa, exceeded expectations with regards to her ability to cope with the travelling, this time on the not so comfortable pillion seat of a solo motorcycle.   I am enormously proud of her ability to accept the challenge and to see it through and she was perhaps even more determined than I was to get to Nordkapp and Gibraltar than I was and it was wonderful to see her sense of accomplishment when both these goals were achieved.

The biggest achievement for me though, was to see her actively involved in the process of travelling and sharing the experience of achieving these goals.   For the first time she was actually aware that there was someone else in her world sharing the same experience as her, and more than that communicated that in a normal way by grabbing me around the shoulders for the picture in Nordkapp which had been a particularly challenging day to get there.

It was also wonderful to reaffirm the value that this type of travel has for her as in the space of 2 months she went from a stressed child overly concerned about her social situation with her peer group, to a confident relaxed child who didn’t need so much social validation and instead was feeling in control of her social environment.

All this said however, it wasn’t the easiest of trips for her either.   The extreme weather conditions aside, she had me to deal with and I don’t take any prisoners!   Sofia is my child, I don’t see her as autistic, I see her in terms of her potential to be independent as an adult and I strive to help her to that end.   After the enormous success of Africa, and a year in high school, these two months were a good opportunity to assess where she was in terms of achieving this and this has led me to the conclusion that school process may not be to her best advantage.

For Sofia the school environment is very intense by virtue of seeing the same people almost every day for most of the year.   Because she is not getting enough down time to process the experiences she is having, she is not learning and developing from them (as I know she can and saw from the Africa trip) she is moving into ‘just cope’ mode and she no longer has the mental or emotional space to do anything else.

Sofia is now at an age where interests are now explored, art, science or sport being the 3 main categories that a child might fit into.  With Sofia it is art and drawing has always featured in her life as one of her strategies to cope with life.  She loves it, and she loves the praise that she receives from it.   However, her skill of drawing hasn’t developed much in the last 3 years.   There was a burst in Africa where she started to develop and use the skill to create Youtube videos, but that soon fell by the way side on our return to the UK and her return to school.

In recognition of this, one of the goals I set for her on this trip was to draw real things she could see (all her drawing is cartoon drawing so it was an opportunity to explore something different).  She really struggled with this though and in the end only did about 3 drawings.  I think if we had travelled for longer, after another month she would have started to do more, but 2 months was simply not long enough for her to relax and accept the risk of failure as a necessary part of the road to success.  She is so desperate to establish a positive identity with the world she doesn’t want any failure at all for fear it will reflect badly on her, so all her attention is focused on the facade of success not actually achieving it.

An other example of this is swimming – it is a huge achievement for her that she can now float in water and can doggy paddle.   So in her mind she is now a champion swimmer and she wants you to think she is a champion swimmer with no further exploration in the skill of swimming.   Whilst her achievement in swimming is fantastic, she is neither a champion swimmer, nor has she fully explored her own potential in swimming.  So on this trip  I did not allow her to believe that she had achieved the pinnacle of achievement when she clearly had only reached base camp and needed to accept the challenge that she could in fact do more and take that journey.

One of things that makes it hard for her to take the journey is her inability to choose what she focuses on because her focus is so intense.   So this next school year I have now got her into a routine of mediation, exercise and interest endeavours out side of her normal coping patterns (she still has her coping patterns but the time she spends on them being reduced).   I am hoping that by her improving her mental and physical coordination and organising a specific time for exploring her artistic interest, that her general ability to focus and achieve is improved and the overwhelm of the social environment diminished.   After a year of this, I will do a rain check and see where she is at before committing to any further plans.   What I do know is that for my own sanity, it would be better for her to stay in school, but if that means that it will compromise her ability to be an independent adult with a skill to support herself, then I will  have to another way for her to get there.

There is another goal, however, that she has now put on the table which is not affected by any of this.  She wants to ride a motorbike and when I suggested that she could ride her own bike around the world she became really excited by the idea.   So over the next 6 years, slowly but surely, she is going to become a biker.  Whether she is good enough to ride around the world, for me, is not important, being able to get on the bike and go somewhere independently would be an amazing achievement in itself and no doubt as she passes each milestone on this journey I will be celebrating it here – first things first though, she needs to learn to ride a bicycle!

For my part the Africa with Autism book is now making solid progress as project ”Sofia Around the World” starts to look like not only an autistic mountain to climb, but a financial one as well!

A big thank you for all the donations received to help us on The Crooked Foot Adventure, with a particular thank you to our benefactor who has supported us since the beginning of our big adventures and without whom none of this would have been possible.  Thank you!

If you would like to make a donation and help us to continue to raise awareness for autism please visit the following link: 

http://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/charity-web/charity/finalCharityHomepage.action?charityId=1005498