Once again, I’m happy to be involved in R.J. Scott’s autism awareness blog hop. This year’s topic is childhood toys. Here’s a fact about autism.
Everyone is a bit autistic = myth. While everyone might recognise some autistic traits or behaviours in people they know, to be diagnosed with autism, a person must consistently display behaviours across all the different areas of the condition. Just having a fondness for routines, a good memory or being shy doesn’t make a person 'a bit autistic'.
I grew up in the late 1960s through the 1970s in a time before computers existed. We didn’t play with anything that made a noise except the odd beep. I loved board games like Scrabble, Cluedo, Monopoly and Mousetrap. I still own examples of all of these except Mousetrap. Probably my favourite toy was Spirograph where you used shapes and coloured pens to make pretty patterns. I was never one for dolls, but I loved my teddies. One toy my brother and I didn’t get was Lego, but when I was older and went babysitting, it was a joy to play with the blocks the children had. I think I loved making things more than they did. I look at what can be built with Lego today with some envy. I’d have loved Star Wars models made of blocks.
When given the topic of toys to write about, I did some research. Children with autism find dealing with sensory overload problematic, be it sound or vision. Modern day games can be overwhelming with the noise and flashing images. The National Autistic Society describes the issue.
Sometimes an autistic person may behave in a way that you wouldn't immediately link to sensory sensitivities. A person who struggles to deal with everyday sensory information can experience sensory overload, or information overload. Too much information can cause stress, anxiety, and possibly physical pain. This can result in withdrawal, challenging behaviour or meltdown.
The NAS also suggests a list of toys, games and books parents with children on the autistic spectrum have found popular with younger children. You can find this list here https://www.autism.org.uk/about/family-life/toys-books-play.aspx
Examples include bubble machines, colouring, jigsaws, Lego, train sets, board books and games that can be played with others like Connect Four, Snap and Chess. As a child these were all things I did and loved, and the list may help you think of what to buy.
The Autism blog master post can be found here
Two for the Road
My latest book is an age gap mm romance set in Lancashire. Here’s the blurb.
Sometimes you need to listen to your heart, not your head.
As a teenager, Dylan Hargreaves fell in lust with a man who had been his father’s childhood friend. On his return from university, Dylan is surprised to discover Riley Ormerod is now back living in their small Lancashire village. All Dylan needs to do now is find a way to bring himself and Riley together.
Giving a lift to Dylan Hargreaves is the price Riley is willing to pay to recover his friendship with Dylan’s father. After living in London for twenty years, Riley came home a year ago to escape heartbreak and take care of his dying father. Here, no one knows his secrets.
With Dylan determined to discover more about Riley, and Riley finding himself drawn to this intriguing young man, can they find what they need in each other? And if they do, will they be able to overcome Riley’s doubts and the attempts of others to tear them apart?
GIVEAWAY – I’ll gift an e-copy of Two for the Road to someone chosen who comments on their favourite childhood toy below.
There are so many very worthwhile charities in desperate need of money it is almost impossible to pick one over the other, so, I decided to highlight RJ’s chosen charity, Lindengate. This is a mental health charity that works with autistic children and can be found here: https://mydonate.bt.com/charities/lindengate