the autistic guide to face masks

the autistic guide to face masks

It is me again, everyone’s favourite autistic blogger, jokes I have like 11 followers but who cares if I can help at least one person either autistic or a family member of someone that is autistic then I will be happy. So its the 24th Of July on the day of writing and today is the day where it is mandatory to wear a mask in shops. The horror the horror. I hate masks but not in the whole you can’t make me, it goes against my rights crap its simply because I can’t see peoples facial expressions or their lips, I focus my processing skills on seeing the way the lips move. I can’t see the lips it takes me longer to process however I have been finding ways around this and I want to come up with recommendations that may help, or may not but at least you can have a laugh. This blog usually is for autistic people, their parents, carers, friends, support service and pet donkey but today sorry to all the parents, carers, friends, support service and pet donkeys it all about the Autistics.

First things first the sensory issues of the masks I have a few ways to get around this, one don’t tense your face up try and keep your face calm and mellow, otherwise you’ll end up with cramp and you end up having a cry outside Tesco because your ears hurt.  Another tip for the sensory issue of the mask count to ten and then count ten again in your head it works really well and it keeps you distracted. It works really well or distract yourself, sing the whole of Hamilton in your head if you have to but don’t take of the mask off. What has been helping me during mask time and I don’t actively encourage it is masking. If I am focused on acting normal and not like I feel like my face is going to fall off its a good distraction and it stops the people around you feeling awkward because you want to take your face mask off drop it on the floor and stomp on it the floor. I have noticed in lockdown and with more of the mask wearing my Echolia has been a bit more pronounced and I am not sure how I feel about that. I would recommend trying to stay calm but if it is to much get a face shield rather than it being on your face its strapped to your head. I would also recommend just going with the flow and its like would you rather be in discomfort for a shopping trip or on a ventilator due to COVID-19.  Sensory seek with other senses this can be squeezing your arms or using visual stims. Its not a bad thing to have stim now and then.

Next point lets talk about processing and communication with a face mask. Haha what is this communication business in a face mask. Here are a top tips on how to deal with processing and communicating in a face mask.

  1. Use your signs if you have any even the basics it will help the person you are speaking to understand what you are asking for and will give you an extra way to communicate.
  2. Ask the person to repeat what they are saying and if you still don’t hear them look around to your friend, work colleague, parent, carer, support worker or pet donkey to see if they know what they said.
  3. Give yourself more time to process because it will take longer especially when you can’t read their lips so give yourself some time to process.
  4. Look at the peoples eyes to see the emotion on peoples face. Unfortunately I means giving eye contact but it’ll help get some social cues from peoples face.

Overall with the masks they are an necessary evil and it won’t be forever. If it gets too much remember it is okay to do whatever you need to do to keep yourself regulated. Hope you like this blog if you do like, if you have something to say comment below and if you like what you see then follow my blog.

the autistic guide to Center Parcs

the autistic guide to Center Parcs

We are seeing the end of Lockdown, Poor Baden Powell’s statue has been protected,  and the summer is in full swing. Around this time a few years I was sat in my 3 bedroom executive lodge at Whinfell forest in the lake district and everything so serious right now so here is a bit of fun.

Center Parcs is a set of holidays villages in the woods across the UK and Ireland, there are five Center Parcs in the UK; Whinfell forest in the lake district, Sherwood forest in the peak district, Longleat forest in Wiltshire, Elveden forest in Suffolk and Woburn forest in Bedfordshire. One village is in Ireland and that one is called Longford forest in County Longford. Center parcs has a range of accommodation; hotel room, 1 bed apartments, 2 bed lodges, 3 bed lodges, 4 bedroom lodges and 4 bedroom tree houses and their are different levels of comfort or luxuries that can be booked you can get standard lodges which has the kitchen, living room, bedrooms, bathroom and patio. You can get an executive lodge which includes a wine cooler, coffee maker, more space and a hydro bath. You can exclusive lodges with a hot tub this one is similar to the executive only this one has a Suana or a hot tub. Sometimes even both a Suana and a hot tub with a games room. And last but not least we have a treehouse which is the most expensive but the most luxurious apartment you get a games room with stocked up drinks, sauna, hot tub and lots of other fun things.

I have stayed in most types of lodges except a treehouse that is for next October for Ruth’s 30th birthday once I get the money together for the deposit. I have been to 4 out of the 5 villages. My favourite one is Whinfell Forest it is amazing and I love it. I have visited Center Parcs enough to give a guide to the autistic world of how to get around the fun that is Center Parcs.

First things first booking a Center Parcs break is straight forward, you make an account and book your break. Depending on your child/family member’s tolerance to noise it would be better to go further away from the village. You can book this really easily it however does cost more to be going closer to the village stuff and it costs less to be further away from village stuff. After that you have booked it you sometimes have to wait a few weeks until you can book activities and the Center Parcs account has an itinerary so you can print it off and use a timetable or you can use the blackboard which I will get into more detail later. I recommend if you are reading this as an autistic adult or teenager to do your research over stuff to do with the Center Parcs your going to. Overall the Center Parcs website will give you a lot of information with maps, information about where the local hospital is and lots of other fun things like that.

Now lets look at activities. Here are some tips and tricks to book activities in an autism friendly way. I personally would recommend pottery painting it is very relaxing and is suitable for any age except under 2s which goes without saying. I would recommend booking the earliest slot or the latest slot because that is the quietest time and it is nice and peaceful. You can paint anything; plates, cups, creatures of the forest and off course they have seasonal stuff so Halloween they’ll have like witches hats.  If your family member struggles to stay focused the take motivators like mobile phones, Ipad or sensory stuff. Nobody notices because everyone is enjoying their holiday to notice. I would recommend the leisure bowl for a bit of bowling because its fun however I would warn you all it gets loud and the lights in the room are blue so if that is a struggle then bring sunglasses. The physical activities are good for letting of steam and I find will help get rid of some pent up anxiety.

For the autistic men and women out there the places I recommend the Aqua sana spa the music is relaxing the different experiences are amazing. At Woburn forest they have a sensory room experience area where they have one cool room with water coming down from the ceiling like a fountain and a light projecting on to a white table it is amazing (picture below). Also if you are a fan of deep pressure get yourself a massage it is amazing. To be fair your first massage you’ll be nervous before hand but once your in and on the table you’ll feel better. The one doing the massage will be soothing and calm. If you do feel confident tell them that your autistic however I personally don’t but if it is something you feel needs to be said then say it. I won’t go into a lot of detail as I will be doing a separate blog based on the aqua sana spa.

What to pack; well obviously enough clothes for the length of time for when you are away, bring DVDs that are happy and you know you are going to watch and enjoy, bring sensory items for example stims if you use them, bring stuff that motivates your family/friend/yourself/pet monkey and bring food.  When I next go to Center Parcs I’ll do a whats in my bag video just to show you what I bring.

Arriving at Center Parcs; you can come in to Center Parcs after 10 however you can’t enter your accommodation until 3:00pm at Woburn, Longleat, Sherwood and Elveden and 3:30pm at Whinfell with the standard and executive lodges. You can book early access from 2pm for an extra 50 pounds. In the tree houses and the more expensive lodges you can check in to your lodge 2pm. If your family member/friend/yourself/pet monkey struggles with waiting I would recommend arriving closer to the time of your accommodation to avoid meltdowns or shutdowns. Once you get into the apartment you will see a black board and you can use this to write down the time table for the weekend/week. I was going to show you a picture of what this could look like however the picture has gone walkies and we can’t find. So I am going to use just writing like this just pretend its on a black board (this is based on my usual family Center Parcs).

wake up and breakfast (cereal or toast)

9:30am pottery painting

After that swimming in the aqua sana

free time

12:00pm lunch bacon, eggs, sausages, hash browns.

free time

18:00 Bella Italia

20:00 bowling

Something like that.

After arriving at Center Parcs getting everything from the car, the driver takes the car back to the car parks and everything is settling down form the evening. I read the Center Parcs inventory even the stuff that doesn’t concern me like how do the cots get set up. I read and read and read. I recommend doing this because it is interesting, it gives you an element of control and if you have a memory like mine you know which page has the phone numbers on. After all this the most important thing to do is enjoy your stay.  I have been to Center Parcs a load of times and because of the calming atmosphere I can say I have only had one or two meltdowns all together of the Center Parcs I have been to which is good.

Here are some tops tips for your stay!

  • Keep things calm and have less demands than usual, its a holiday for everyone so don’t stress if you have been working on something before hand and they don’t do it.
  • Bring headphones if you love music or watching stuff on your phone it helps to avoid overload.
  • Bring DVDS and enough food for your stay the shop at Center Parcs is good however can be pricey at times. I can’t tell you have many versions of greatest showman we have got just because we kept forgetting to bring DVDs. Use the shop though they have the kettle chips Bacon flavored and they are the best.
  • Book a cabana if you are a family because it is so nice and gives you all to have a break from swimming or if you have female members of your party that can’t go swimming because of pesky mother nature you have somewhere to sit and relax.
  • Have some down time don’t make the break activity heavy. Have activities but have times away from the village where you can sit in the apartment and chill. Let your family member/friend/yourself/pet monkey have time alone if they need time alone.
  • Have a great time which you will because Center Parcs is a very relaxing place with a good atmosphere.

Anyway that is the autistic guide to navigating Center Parcs. Thank you for reading this blog. If you liked it give it a like, if you have anything to say give a comment and if you want to read more of this follow my blog. Good bye for now.


The murder of Alejandro Ripley

The murder of Alejandro Ripley

I was watching true crime videos and I watched a video of Stephanie Harlowe talking about the case (I’ll link at the end) and I noticed it hadn’t been reported on as much as other cases that have blown up in the media recently. So this is me going through the facts of the case online and writing it down in a simple blog and why it is important that story gets as much attention. I mean no disrespect to anyone that I talk about in the blog.

So lets start from the beginning; Alejandro Ripley was a 9 year old autistic child who was pre-verbal. On Thursday the 21st May 2020 at night his mother Patricia Ripley rang 911 to report that two black guys had approached her and her son in the car and started to ask for drugs. She then alleged that when she said he had no drugs the men took her son, her cell phone and a tablet. First things first it is so Susan Smith like its bad, get your own cover story and blaming it on two black guys not cool Patricia not cool. Anyway the next day the body got found in a canal. The police were suspicious of Patricia as she kept giving conflicting statements about the kidnapping.

Then CCTV was discovered of Patricia Ripley walking along a canal with her son and she held his hand as they walked along she then faced him towards the water and said something to him and stroked his hair. Before pushing him into the canal and ran away. After this two people came and rescued him but didn’t see her push him. She helped towel him down and they went to another canal this one wasn’t as luck he was not rescued and he died, the autopsy showed that there was head injury but I think chances are its from the first push in a canal. Then the mum sat in her car for a bit before calling the police about the 2 imaginary black men that stole her child, cell phone and a tablet.

The police confronted Patricia with the evidence against her and she admitted to it but attempted to justify it by saying that he was going to a better place and as he grew up she was struggling with his behavior. She arrested for first degree murder with no bond. There were many different routes she could have gone in. She could have asked for help with behavior management, she could have got herself admitted for mental health issues or she could have looked online and been shown she wasn’t alone in her struggles. I think she was wrong, she was so wrong to kill her child and then blame it on the autism. Also if it was because she was at the end of her tether and she thought the only way to be free would be to kill her son. Why did she choose to drown her child, she could have found a less painful way to kill him but no she picked the scariest way to die. The worst thing about is he was pre-verbal he couldn’t ask for help, he couldn’t escape and he probably wanted the comfort from his mum the one attempting to kill him. Its so sad and I am surprised I didn’t hear about it sooner.

I will be following this case as it goes along as it will go to trial and to be honest I think she could get life in prison without possibility of parole or a long time on death row, she deserve to sit and suffer for what she did. I personally don’t believe he was killed because he was a problem with his behavior. If it was a moment of madness she would have come to her senses when she failed the first time and she wouldn’t have had the cover story she would have admitted to what happened. Also the fact it mirrors the Susan Smith case shows a lot.

It’s sad that this happened but what is sad that it isn’t as well known as the most recent stuff that has happened (George Floyd). Obviously a black man being killed by the police in America is terrible and I will not take away from that. However because of that I have seen the likes of Stephen Lawrence being mentioned. So we will hear about George Floyd everywhere and we’ll hear about a murder that happened in the early 90’s before we hear about a child being murdered by his mothers. Then some people are reporting it basing it on the fact that the mum blamed 2 black men rather than the fact that; A MOTHER MURDERED HER CHILD AND TRIED TO BLAME IT ON HIS AUTISM! All murders and killings should matter and reported on regardless of what is going on. I am not in anyway saying we shouldn’t talk about George Floyd and Stephen Lawrence or any murder ever but come on if I hadn’t have watched Stephanie’s video I wouldn’t have known this case. I got removed from a true crime podcast Facebook fan page for hate speech for having a differing opinion on protests, taking me not agreeing with the protests that are breaking lock down as me being racist and for police brutality but I am not. I was appalled with the death of George Floyd and I have ranted and raved about the death Stephen Lawrence so how does that make me a racist, it doesn’t it’s stupid. An autistic child died by the hand of their parent and it has barely been spoken about. One youtuber has spoken about it. Not even the American Autistic channel have said anything just barely noticed it. Even the Autistic channel that is in Florida didn’t mention it just did a BLM post.

Anyway I am not doing this blog to offend anyone to upset anyone. I am just effected by the case because it’s close to home. I am an autistic adult, I have worked with severely autistic children who were pre-verbal and the idea of any of them coming to harm would deeply upset me.  I just want to give Alejandro Ripley case some exposure to my readers. I believe that all cases deserve to put out there


Alejandro Ripley: 9-year-old boy pushed in canal by his own mother had signs of head trauma [Report]

The awesome Youtuber who informed me of the case. Follow her and watch her video she awesome!

Walking updates and a life update

Walking updates and a life update

Hello everyone, it seems like the world seems to have set on fire recently. Everything has gone a bit crazy. I was in self isolation due to cough and flu types symptoms and I was going a bit stir crazy. 

Here are some walking updates for this year. Easter walk was cancelled, the walk the walk night walk was cancelled, Louise Smalley Walk cancelled and because of all these cancellations and the fact we are stuck in the house we decided to deferred our Thames path challenge to the London to Brighton 2021. We decided this because Ruth has always said that she wanted to complete London to Brighton before her 30th and next year she turns 30 so we decided be nice walk to complete and train for.

Ruth and I will be doing the may anyway challenge throughout may where Ruth and I will walk a 100km over the month of the may.  Me being me I have decided to vlog and blog throughout may to have fun. There will be themes throughout May as well. Between the 1st and the 10th of may will be Isle of Wight themed, between 12th and 19th of may will be Jurassic coast theme and between the 21st and 28th will be London to Brighton themed. I have worked out what I am doing for Jurassic and London to Brighton one but still unsure of the isle of wight theme yet. Recently I have been interested into getting into public speaking and with that I have decided to work a bit more on my YouTube channel but don’t worry I won’t leave this blog to die. I’ll do both because I can get stuff out in writing I can’t get out in a video and sometimes I can do videos.

Over May I will be testing out doing both and see how it goes from there. I don’t expect anything crazy like a crazy amount over viewers but even if I get a few it would be great.

Here is my YouTube channel:

Thanks for reading and I look forward to my walking in May.

Jesus Christ Superstar Mega Review part 2!

Jesus Christ Superstar Mega Review part 2!

So its time for part two lets remind ourselves of the scores from the last blog. 2012 with a score of 101/110, followed by 1973 with 88/110 and bringing up the rear is 2000 with 58/110. We finished off with Judas betraying Jesus to the Jewish Council and Jerome Pradon butchering the amazing works of Andrew Lloyd Webber. Here is the link to part one. I will be adding up the second act together and then adding it all up together

So time for act two

The Last Supper 

In the 1973 version they were in a garden/wooded area. Jesus does the whole bread and wine thing at the last supper and then the mood changes dramatically and Jesus questions whether he’ll be remember or if his men actually care about him. His voice changes and he sounds angry but his face stays the same making him look bored with the whole situation and it’s like he is betraying you and basically sending you to die a very painful and slow death. The scenery though was amazing it actually looks like a garden. Carl Anderson acts out the line “Every time I look at you I don’t understand, why you let the things you do get so out of hand, you’d have managed better if you had a plan” you see the look on his face he is distressed and he is doubting his plan. He is reaching out to Jesus but runs when Jesus attempts to comfort him.

In the 2000 version the singing was not great. It wasn’t the worst singing. It goes the same way he does the bread and wine moments and then Jesus starts to doubt himself and punches the table. The singing is lost at times to make way for acting. During the argument between Jesus and Judas it is a lot of screaming and shouting and the singing is lost completely. Also during “Every time I look at you I don’t understand, why you let the things you do get so out of hand, you’d have managed better if you had a plan” Judas drops to the ground and starts hugging Jesus’s leg, he is heartbroken and you can see that etched all over his face. Wouldn’t be so bad if to start of with Jesus looks so confused. He runs away again when Jesus attempts to comfort him.

In the 2012 version the singing is great, the acting is great. So many emotions are scene during this scene. Jesus is so upset and you can see it. When the beat goes up you see so many emotions go across his face. Also Mary was in attendance to the last supper which makes sense for a later line in a song. Throughout the song Jesus and Judas stare at each other a lot and at times the looks they give each other are full of emotions. Subtle acting at it’s finest. Jesus tell Judas to go and he starts leave before going down to do his insults part. Jesus pushes him over in anger and goes down two steps to gives symbolize that Judas has all the power. He is so upset during “Every time I look at you I don’t understand, why you let the things you do get so out of hand, you’d have managed better if you had a plan” but he also adds an element of anger and storms off.

The winner of this song is actually hard to do because they all have their strength and weaknesses but based on talent the winner is 2012 with a 10/10, followed by 1973 with a 8/10 (would be higher if Ted Neeley would stop looking bored) and finished of with 2000 with a 6/10 (would be higher if they stopped screaming their lines).


In the 1973 version he sings this song while climbing to the top of a mountain singing about not wanting to die. He is angry and he wants to know if his death with mean anything. Its a very emotional moment. When Jesus finally accepts his fate he sinks to the ground and gets future images of the Crucifixion with the looks of pain and the wounds being the main point of the images. Jesus then questions what is the point and he questions himself about why he is scared. Then it dawns on him that he didn’t start and his fate is out of his hands. He stands up slowly and sings into the sun rise. The acting in the this song is amazing and it makes you wonder if they told him he had certain scenes to focus on singing to save your energy for acting in Gethsemane.

In the 2000 version he sings the song well but he does scream a lot during the song and it is like ouch. The singing when he is building up for the scream then gets a bit out of breath sounding. I again believe this is again a case of singing coming secondary to the acting but it’s not on. Ted Neeley managed it and he was climbing up a mountain. Glenn Carter can certainly manage it on a simple set. After he accepts his fate he does another scream note and drops to the floor. He takes a couple of breaths and then carries on singing. It’s not like this is on stage its on a film. Get him to take the take again. They make this Jesus far to emotional and affects the singing.

In the 2012 version he sings it with emotion and take note Glen carter he still manages to keep his singing ability to great level. He is emotional when he accepts his death and then that turns to anger which is brilliant to watch as a whole. He changes the line from “God, thy will is hard but you hold every card” to “God, thy will be done, Take your own son” which is the first and the only reference in the musical that Jesus is the son of god. Most of the time he is being treated as a politician, a king and a man that will lead them into battle against the Romans.

The winners are joint victory 2012 with a 10/10 and 1973 with a 10/10. 2000 you unfortunately get a 3/10 for weird directing and constant screaming.

The arrest

In the 1973 version Judas kisses Jesus on the cheek with a quick peck and then Jesus is arrested on the spot. The disciples wake up and start to attempt to the guards but Jesus puts a stop to it and accepts his arrest and for the first time tells the disciples that it is all over and Ted has given up on acting again. It was short lived with Gethsemane. He is taken to Caiaphas and the others on the Jewish council. On the walk there people approached him with invisible microphones to ask him questions about his reign. With people speculating he will escape and get free towards the end. Once he is in front of the council. He looks hurt when he they say “Judas Thank you for the victim stay a while and you’ll see it bleed”.

In the 2000 version the scene is started with Judas arriving with guards, he sings to the guards “There he is” and then he sings to himself “Their all asleep the fools”  Judas approaches Jesus slowly as you see him shaking his head begging Judas with eyes not to betray him which completely negates the point of the accepting his fate in Gethsemane and he then kisses Jesus’s cheek for far too long it looks weird and when he kisses him Jesus lifts his hands up. Judas then start crying in front of Jesus and the disciples start to wake up but Jesus isn’t being arrested yet. Judas the puts his arms up to waist height of Jesus and Jesus put his hands on either side of Judas’s head but he sees this as a time for a hug. I don’t like it’s Judas that instigates the hug “its like I know I have betrayed you there for sentencing you die painfully and slowly but I need a hug” When they get separated by the guards Judas is holding to Jesus for dear life. As he is dragged he takes a plastic knife of peter and then gets dragged away to be blinded! The crowd shine multiple torches in his eyes which I find weird. I guess its their way of showing he is struggling and disorientated but all I think is what are you doing, your meant to be crucifying him not blinding him. During the bit where “Judas Thank you for the victim stay a while and you’ll see it bleed” Jesus gets taken past Judas and they came face to face and he gives him a comforting look and taps his chest. He has just betrayed you and you have forgiven way to fast.

In the 2012 version they arrive to arrest Jesus and Judas kisses Jesus quickly on the top of the head and walks away but Jesus catches his coat and pulls him to a hug.  I like that Jesus instigated the hug. He is the one being betrayed. While he is being taken to the Jewish Councils he is interviewed with visible microphones and the chorus are dressed as journalists and they are followed around by cameras and microphones. The guards had to restrain the journalists to stop them getting to Jesus. Which can be interpreted as a look at modern day journalism doing anything for a story that they’ll interview anyone even though they are in the process of being arrested. 

The winner is 2012 with a 10/10, followed by 1973 with a 9/10 and followed by 2000 with a 6/10.

Peters denial 

In the 1973 version the singing is great and however the person that plays peter has been taking acting lessons from Ted Neeley. He thinks him raising his voice is acting and its not. The tune to this song is the same as strange thing mystifying. At the end Mary is like “its what he told us you would do, I wonder how he knew”. How does she know she wasn’t at the last super.

In the 2000 version Peter sounds good and acts good and it’s interesting for him to see his desperation increase throughout the song. He drops to the ground as his desperation gets worse. They leave him alone and Mary comes on stage. “Peter don’t you know what you have said, you’ve gone and cut him dead”. Peter gets upset and holds onto Mary as he explains why he did it. You see how upset he is how remorseful he is. It’s sad in a way that the songs getting the higher marks are ones that are sung by side characters. Again how did Mary know what was said at the last supper she wasn’t there!

In the 2012 in this version Mary was actually at the last supper so it makes sense that she knows what was said at the last supper. However this one has a bit of a violent Peter. The lady that said she saw him before got strangled, held by the throat and its weird. Then at the end of the song he smashes a bottle and points it at everyone. Mary has to remove it from him. Peter shouldn’t be that violent.

The winner is 2000 with a 10/10, followed by violent Peter with a 9/10 and bringing up the rear is 1973 with a 5/10.

Pilate and Christ

In the 1973 version Jesus is bought to Pilate and it’s on the edge of a mountain, “Who is this broken man, cluttering up my hallway” what hallway your on a mountain. Your above him on this mountain. I love this Pilate, though he is a calm and camp Pilate. He knows he has the all the power and he loves it. As he does his song he is walking down the stairs and when Jesus gives his answers, you can already see the frustration already that Jesus is not defending himself. He sends Jesus to Herod because he is from Galilee passing the buck on to Herod. The mock of Hosanna is good except for the fact Jesus shows no emotions.

In the 2000 version Pilate is dressed up as a general rather than a judge and he does too much shout singing and I am not a fan. Also he is angry all the way through which isn’t what the words he is singing are saying. The idea is its meant to be calm and then frustration after Jesus doesn’t defend himself. He sends him to Herod and Mary starts screaming which to be honest I am not sure why. The mock of Hosanna is sang well and you can see Jesus look done with it all.

In the 2012 version Pilate is dressed like he is exercising and while he sings part of the song he does press ups on the stairs. It is obvious Jesus has been bought over out of nowhere. So Pilate isn’t ready for him making the “who is this broken man, cluttering off my hallway” make sense. Also Pilate and Jesus both bounce of each other every facial expression conveys many emotions.

The winner is 2012 with a 10/10, followed by 1973 with a 9/10 and 2000 with a low 3/10

King Herod’s song 

In the 1973 version Herod is on a boat with a piano and cross dressers. It is a very camp song however when the tempo changes and the mood shifts you get an element of annoyance because he starts shouting and it chucking bread at Jesus. Also it would be better if Jesus I don’t showed a facial expression which wasn’t a piece of wood. Look at the image below can you spot the difference. No. Neither can I.

In the 2000 version Herod was played by the great late Rick Mayall and it has the same problem as Damned for all time. They are asking him to do stuff and then they push him to the floor or pull him on to a piano. It wouldn’t help though the fact that Jesus just looks bored and done all the way through this. In the first few seconds when he see’s Herod he looks like he is ready to nail himself to the cross.

In the 2012 version Herod was played by Chris Moyles and he sings it well. I like the staging of this song as it is done as a game show. “Is he lord or is he fraud, text number now to decide”. It is a good message of how Jesus is basically classed as a celebrity and how one action of a celebrity will change peoples opinion of them. Unless you work for the BBC then they’ll just cover it up. It is interesting to look at in that sense. Jesus being this highly thought of celebrity until his fall from grace.

The winner is 2012 with a 9/10 and joint last is 1973 and 2000 with a low score of 6/10.

Could we start again please

In the 1973 version the song is sang on a mountain near where they are keeping Jesus. The song is sang nicely. Peter’s acting isn’t great but he sings well. The women that play Mary acts it and sings it well. Jesus is seen in like a hallucination to be walk away from them which could be symbolic of the disciples and Mary feeling like he is abandoning them. The fact they shot this on location in good because you see the sweat the tears the desperation. Shame that Mary is the only one doing all of them things in this scene.

In the 2000 version the song is sang on the street. I assume that is the vibe they are going for. During the first verse into the song they are singing it well. However after the first verse we cut away from them and we see that Jesus is being strung up by the guards and they start to beat him up, punching him and pulling his hair while he screams. We don’t hear the screams for a change but don’t worry from Trail by Pilate until he dies all he does is scream. This version sings well and is acted well.

In the 2012 version the song is sang outside the prison that Jesus is being kept in. I have a quick nit pick but Judas is in the circle being looked after even though he has betrayed Jesus and Peter who committed the crime of denying a man three times was cut out of the circle and was being ignored until Mary approached him and gave him a hug wrapping a blanket around him. Other than this song has so much good moments in it like the singing, Mel C uses them big eyes of hers again to express so many emotions. My favorite visual of this scene is the lanterns that are put into the sky over the prison as a way to give Jesus hope.

The winner of this one is 2012 with a 10/10, followed by 1973 and 2000 with a 5/10.

Judas’s death

In the 1973 version Judas runs to council and sings his heart out. Here we see is raw emotion he is so upset that he was going to go down in history as the man that killed Jesus. He stays constantly good throughout the song even when he is about to die. The priests do the line change from “what you have done will be the saving of Israel” to “what you have done will be the saving of everyone” I am not a fan of the line change but I assume as they film in Israel they were worried about offending everyone. I love Judas in this song we so many emotions. In this version nothing has happened to Jesus yet and he’s see Jesus he’s just kneeling and standing blankly into space which is nothing new making the “My god I saw him he looked three quarters dead, he looked so bad I had to turn my head” redundant.

In the 2000 version Judas crawls across a table because he has forgotten how to simply walk around a table. The line about him looking not too great is not redundant. He screeches his words out and he sounds ridiculous. His acting is over the top as well. I don’t like the fact the budget Voldemort grabs his face it’s weird. When he gets dragged backwards on the table he looks insane. He doesn’t look upset, he looks amused and hysterical. When Judas died in this version all I was like was yes thank god for that.

In the 2012 version Judas punches Caiaphas in the face and then drops to his knees in distress. Annas grabs his hair and then pushes him so he is further onto the floor. Once the council leaves. Tim Minchin uses his eyes to express so much sorrow and anguish in the fact he is now going to be seen as the villain in the history books. In this version the lights on the stage turn red as he starts to come to the realization that he was a pawn in gods plan.

The winner is the 2012 version with a 10/10, followed by 1973 with a 9/10 and the last again is 2000 with a 4/10.

Trail before Pilate/39 lashings 

In the 1973 version Jesus stands in front of Pilate he is doing piece of wood impression, the tempo starts out slow. The council tell Pilate that they need him crucified and he needed to die. The tempo speeds up as things get more and more desperate. Pilate does a great job in this scene as a man loosing control of the situation, he starts of calm and in control and finishes out of control and he hates it. He says “So you are a king” and Jesus answers “It’s you that say I am, I look for truth and find that I get damned” this him trying to get through to Jesus. You can see the desperation. “Not a thief I a need a crime” he says this to the crowd and you can see how desperate he is. Ted Neeley decided it was time to act again and showed a lot emotions during this scene. He is a man that know he is sentenced to death and there is nothing he can do about it and he portrays that well. During 39 lashes you can see how upset Pilate is to do this but it is down with a whip. Once the lashing were done Jesus is dropped to the floor on his front and he turns around to his back to face Pilate as he looms over him and pulls Jesus into his arms begging him to speak and defend himself. Jesus tells him calmly “There is nothing in your hands all the power you have comes to you from far beyond, everything is fixed and you can’t change it”. Pilate drops him on the ground and straightens up and washes his hands in a bowl and at that point he looks at his most insane as he doesn’t want this. To start of with Ted did some speak singing but overall he sings it well. Herod being in this scene also is a bit weird the idea of him being sent to Pilate is them passing the buck.

In the 2000 version Jesus is tied up with his hands above his head. Pilate comes up from behind him to do some shout singing. He goes away from Jesus and the council tell him that they have no law to put a man to death in a fake bass. The song then starts fast and it’s appears that this Pilate feels out of control from the beginning of the song rather a slow progression into madness. The guards release Jesus so he dramatically falls to the floor and rolls down the stairs doesn’t try to catch himself just let’s himself get chucked around. I do not want to see Glen Carters physiotherapy bill. Again Pilate asks the crowds for a crime. “Talk to me Jesus Christ” Jesus stands up and stares down Pilate which seems to freak Pilate out. It’s like dude your a foot taller than him chill out. He then moves away from him and stands above him before approaching him again. He grabs his arm and hold it up “Behold this man, behold your shattered king” he chucks him on the floor again and Jesus rolls around again. During 39 lashes it is similar to the one at the regents park version where people would approached him and hit him with red paint. He gets released and he rolls away down the stairs again landing on his back. Pilate kneels next to him and pulls Jesus into this arms but this time Jesus’s warning that nothing was in his hands he stands up and he tries to drag Jesus with him. Then they all crowd around Pilate he gives up on singing then and just shouts Jesus to death.

In the 2012 Jesus is presented to Pilate. This direction is similar to the 1973 version as Pilate starts of calm and then acts his most insane at the end of the song. Jesus doesn’t get chucked around as much. This time he addresses Caiaphas when he asks to be given a crime. The 39 lashes is with a whip rather hands hit him with hitting red paint. Ben Forster does sound amazing and his acting is superb you can actually believe he is about to be sentenced to death and there is nothing anything can be done about it.  Pilate during his last bit does spit a lot as his anger is being presented.

The winner of this one is a joint one again between 2012 and 1973 with a 10/10. 2000 gets a 6/10.

Superstar/The Crucifixion

In the 1973 version Jesus appears up in heaven where he meets Judas and he questions him as the film kept flashing back to him walking to his Crucifixion. It follows the signs of the cross with him falling down twice each time getting up. Carl Anderson sings this well and the dancing in this scene in a point. I like Judas is in white and the ladies dancing are in white. During the crucifixion he acts like he is being crucified he is breathless and he speaks his lines.

In the 2000 version Judas appears as Jesus struggles to pick up the cross and carry it across a few feet. Jerome Pradone still can’t sing. During the song he keeps speaking to Jesus mouthing stuff to him lovingly and then it would go back to him singing and mocking him. At one point he is standing on the cross and its like no wonder he is struggling to carry it. They hammer the devil metaphor in too much as well Judas is wear red and the women that dancing are wearing red.  When Jesus is having the nail put through his hands Judas flinches and its like he feels Jesus’s pain. The cross is the stood up. Jesus does some screaming which is weird considering the fact he is meant to be dying. Even his last line he screams where technically he should be succumbed to suffocation. When he dies we have a problem this problem is a simple problem he’s breathing and he keeps moving his head because struggles to keep it on his chest. When the guards came up to go get him he actively taps the guys back to make sure he was there. It’s like come on.

In the 2012 version Judas comes back and I am like thank god your back, you would believe what is going on in your absence. Tim Minchin singing and acting is on point and is so noticeable. The cross in this version is a part of the set. Once he is up there and the Crucifixion starts he starts of shouting but you can see him getting weaker. When he dies the set in bought down and he is picked up of the cross but the people that were carrying him lifting him up so he was in cross formation again. He’s being carried up in the airs on the stairs but you don’t see him breathing much.

The winner of this one is again a joint tie between 2012 and 1973 with 10/10 and coming in last is 2000 is 5/10.

Out of the second act lets up; 2012 winning with 99/100, 1973 following with 81/100 and last but not least 2000 with 54/100.


2012 won with 200/210

1973 came second with 169/210

2000 came in last with 112/210.

Thank you for reading!

Jesus Christ Superstar mega review! part one

Jesus Christ Superstar mega review! part one

I know the next blog was meant to be about challenging behavior but I decided that it is time for a bit light heartedness. So lets talk about the musical that is about the last few days and the eventual death of Jesus. I have been of Jesus Christ Superstar since I was about 17/18.  Before the arena tour came out I would watch 2000’s version and 1973’s version on Youtube and would watch it side by side at different times obviously. 1973’s rock band element wouldn’t mix with 2000 scream singing. So to start off with this blog will go into spoilers so if you haven’t watched Jesus Christ Superstar or know the end of the Easter story then warning spoilers are coming. This review will include 1973, 2000 and the arena tour as I don’t fancy listen to ABC version as its full of mediocre singers except the guy that plays Judas.  Also I have already reviewed the awesomeness that is the regents park version link below.

So the background, Jesus Christ Superstar is a rock opera with music by Andrew Lloyd Webber and lyrics by Tim Rice. It originally was an album which came out in 1970 and it was put on Broadway in 1971. 1973 film is filmed in a dessert like place and has modern elements with guns and 70’s themes throughout. The 2000 film looks like it is done on a set piece and has more of the modern elements and 2012 is on an arena tour stage the stage being a set of stairs in Birmingham arena but has some great visuals which I will go in to later. A warning I am not a massive fan off 2000 but I watched it again to get a balanced look. I am most definitely am not a reviewer will be like hate it because I hate it.  I am going to go through the songs as it is a sung through musical (missing out “now we are decided” as it is only in one version) and talk about the different versions interpretation to the songs and the acting I will mark which I think which adaption did better, as it is sung through I will be stopping at the end of act one and then act two will be in another blog. Then I will add up the marks at the end of this blog for act one and then do an overall marks part two blog.


1973 had everyone arrive on a mini bus to the dessert for some reason and they then start to get ready for their parts they are going to play doing their make up and unpacking the bus at the end they prepare Jesus he is then presented to everyone and the audience, I think its not too bad but I don’t think its aged well.

In the 2000 film the camera pans around the set looking at the gravity on the wall of words like “hate” and pictures of guns. Every so often it focuses on some of the disciples being arrested by Darth Vader looking things and it is over the opening credits at the end of the piece of music Jesus doesn’t appear but we get a close up from the cross, it isn’t the best but isn’t the worst.

In the 2012 it has a lot of energy and it starts of a news channels being presented on the screen at the top of the stage of riots and then the riot is then presented on the stage and I think it mirrors the London riots. Then as the last part of the chords Jesus magically appears on the stage in the middle and they all stop rioting and look at him.

Out of the three versions I believe the one that does it better is the arena tour so the arena tour gets a 10/10. 1973 gets an 7/10 and 2000 gets 4/10.

Heaven on their mind

1973 Judas played by the late Carl Anderson sang the song on top of a mountain and was singing it as an inner battle with himself as it doesn’t show that Jesus can hear him. It is sang with really well and the emotions that Carl Anderson presents while singing this song is really well done shame he is working against Ted Neeley as Jesus who has the same blank face throughout the first part of the movie.

2000 Judas played by Jerome Pradone wow just wow his singing never catches the right notes and he does sound sometimes during the song he sound out of breath. Jesus does turn up in this song near the beginning. He does act though through the song so it makes you wonder is he giving up his singing performance to make way for his acting and he is singing to Jesus and he actively ignores his warnings while standing .

2012 Judas played by Tim Minchin the song is good and he is good acting wise showing how upset he is by the fact he feels like they are all going to die and Jesus is ignoring him and Tim Minchin does have the face of a man that conveys the emotions however I wouldn’t be fair if I didn’t bring up the auto tuning they decided to do with his voice. I rather they not do that and just keep his voice normal.

Out of the three movies the best one of Heaven on their minds was 1973 with a 10/10, 2012 with an 9/10 and 2000 with a 5/10.

Whats the buzz/strange thing mystifying 

In the 1973 version they sing it well and it is danced well some of the dance moves are based around 70’s dancing. Mary’s appearance in his version is a bit under whelming as she could be anyone really there is nothing that makes her stand out as much in the other version and the singing in this bit is really fast but it does have energy even though Ted Neeley looks really bored to be there. Its like Jesus they are your friends a bit of emotion maybe. For example when Judas gives Mary a tongue lashing Jesus is like blank face while singing angrily. Singing is amazing and it does have the energy, it would be better if Carl Anderson wasn’t acting for everyone in the scene.

In the 2000 version it’s really clunky and some bits don’t sense. Jesus in this version was played by Glenn Carter and he has a problem over acting. I also don’t know what they are trying to do with Judas they kept panning the camera to him and he’s climbing around and being grumpy. I also don’t like the fact Judas just pushed Mary over, he’s meant to be worried about her giving them a bad image. The acting in the scene though can’t be faulted all the actors are doing their bests. However I don’t like the facial expressions during Mary’s cooling down of the face, he looks turned on not tired.

In the 2012 version is good and has a lot of energy. However I am going to say it Ben Forster is a great singer and actor but he doesn’t have charisma or the stage presence to play Jesus, at times it’s like why are they even following him. At times I got more charisma from Judas than I ever got with Jesus. He looks tired during the cool down your face a bit and he also looks sad which is an interesting interpretation of him being done with the constant questions. Also the screen behind projects images off social media adding the modern aspects to it. Tim Minchin never breaks character throughout whats the buzz and it shows in every facial expression and every look.

Out of the three movies the one that did this song better was…. 2012 with it’s quirks and new interpretation giving it a 9/10,  1973 coming close second with 8/10 and unfortunately 2000 is third with 4/10.

Everything’s alright

In the 1973 version it was sang well and it is a lovely song. It is still a shame that Carl Anderson is acting for everyone in this scene again. It is obvious in this scene that Ted Neeley is putting his singing above his acting and I do get that they were probably hot in the dessert but come on a facial expression wouldn’t go a miss. No okay. That’s fine let’s give all the work to Carl Anderson. It is a sweet song though and the actress that plays Mary is a talented singer.

In the 2000 version again it had good singing but I feel like it is over acted like there is a lot of pushing and shoving and scream singing and I am not sure I like it. Its different to a high note its legit screaming at times and when Jesus is defending himself he falls to the ground and it’s like can you get up. Also when Mary is attempting sooth him he looks turned on again.

In the 2012 version the only words I can say are “I love Mel C’s eyes” they are so expressive Every time I watch this version I am like yay I love it. When Mary is attempting to comfort him and sooth him he looks tired and weary. He doesn’t look angry at Judas he looks bored and tired. Ben Forster does have a range of emotions that he can get on his face and he is great. Mel C as Mary is good because she brings a vulnerability to the character. again Tim Minchin in general as Judas does express so much emotions on his face even when the attention isn’t on his character. 

The version that wins this song is Mel C’s eye! jokes jokes but the winner has to be 2012 with 10/10, 1973 following with 8/10 and 2000 taking up the rear with a 6/10.

This Jesus must die

In the 1973 this song was sung on the scaffolding above the city. They are talented and do well in conveying their concern for Jesus getting too powerful. Caiaphas is meant to be bass but we can get through this because of the fake Bass we get 2000 makes up for the lack of bass in 1973. The one that plays Annas in his one is hilarious as his voice is super high pitched and they tap to the beat of the bars of the scaffolding.

In the 2000 version Caiaphas is in and out of singing as a bass. He is obviously not a natural bass and one of the people at the meeting was a natural bass and ended up playing Caiaphas in the 2012 arena tour. I can’t take 2000’s seriously though because Annas looking like a budget cut Voldemort and that always makes me laugh.

In 2012 Caiaphas is a played by a bass singer and omg it is so good. When I first heard it I was so excited and he is a real bass. There is also progression from this man is causing us problems to this man must die and it add a bit of depths to the characters of the Jewish council.

The winner is 2012 with a 10/10, follow by 1973 8/10 and then bring up the rear is Voldemort and fake bass with a score 4/10.


1973 had good singing and had the visual of Jesus being welcomed with palm leaves and him being happy to a part of the group of people. For the first time we see Ted Neeley show some emotions and he is happy and the energy is great. When the line “Hey JC will you die for me!” you see a million emotions go across his face and it shows. It really does show. Also having the Jewish council above them on the structure is great and shows the oppression.

2000 didn’t do a bad job with this one. Glen Carter does have stage presence and the charisma to carry it off. Its believable that people would follow him and listen to him but however I don’t like the fact Glen Carter’s Jesus doesn’t sing with the crowd. I like it when he does it in the other versions because he is trying to tell them he is the same as them and they can sing together and for themselves but no Jesus just stands above them where the Jewish council had been standing and acts just as bad the guys oppressing them. Also gets some points for not having Judas singing in this.

2012 Hosanna is good but it has the same problem it has with whats the buzz this is the fact that its hard to imagine people following Ben Forster’s Jesus. Its like is Judas paying them to act so happy with him or to follow him. The singing in this is great and the set of using the stairs and having the Jewish council above them is great.

The version that wins is 1973 with a 10/10, followed by I can’t believe I am saying this but 2000 8/10 and following up the rear is 2012 with a 6/10.

Simon Zealotes/poor Jerusalem 

1973 version cuts away from hosanna and then pans across the dessert and they are in a spot and the song starts with Simon and the crowd looking like an aerobics class which is weird but I think it is potentially just a 70s thing but the way it is done is a bit clunky and dated. The singing is great but the fact of how dated the choreography is. The poor Jerusalem is good singing but Ted Neeley forgets to act again and it’s him just singing and holding Mary’s hand. It is off putting considering the pace of Simon Zealotes.

2000 version is straight after Hosanna and its full of guns and energy. Simon in this version is so talented and he keeps up the energy and sells himself so well. At the end its like no wonder everyone wants to join him he’s amazing and screw Rome and all that jazz. Like he is very good and he the way it is acted. I love it. Me complimenting 2000’s version I know shocking but credit where credit is due. It is then spoiled a bit by Glenn Carter singing Poor Jerusalem because it is a massive case of them putting acting before singing and at the end of the day it is a musical I am not saying don’t be Ted Neeley but a bit of balance would help.

2012 version again starts straight after Hosanna and it has energy but also Simon has the same problem as Ben Forster is he has no Charisma and its hard to imagine people are believing what he is about and his motives the back screen does come in useful and projects images of Jesus being their leader. Poor Jerusalem is lovely to listen to and it is full off visuals of homeless people in the future and it is really interest to watch.

The winner of these songs are I can’t believe I am saying this is 2000 with a 9/10, followed by 2012 with a 8/10 and 1973 with a low score of 5/10.

Pilates dream

1973 version he sings on top of a mountain and looks concerned but massively upset. He seems to be speaking his guards or speaking too himself. Either way he seems worried but not overly upset and at the end of the scene he is given his crown while the chorus sings “Pilate”.

2000 version he sings it in bed and it is so weird. How are we meant to take him seriously later if we see him crying in bed. Nothing has happened yet and he seems ready to pack it all in. This interpretation is weird and it doesn’t add anything new.

2012 version he is talking as someone gets him ready for a trail that he is conducting. He doesn’t look concerned or upset he looks like he’s just talking to someone about his dream and at the end when he is ready to go he has a smirk with the person dressing him. I find it interesting and it is good.

So the winner is 2012 with a 10/10, the second is 1973 with a 8/10 and the last one is 2000 with a 3/10.

The temple/Lepers

1973 version is in a structure that looks like a market place with drugs, live stock, prostitutes and dancers. It has great visuals and it looks amazing. The difference activities going around added to the energy of the scene. When Jesus trashes the place he remembers to act and he looks angry, upset and tired, you can see he is upset and you can see how he is slowly starting to loose control of his followers and people around him. During the lepers scene they turn up slowly as only a few and then they surround him and he freaks out. In this version they changed heal yourselves to leave me alone which is bottling it a bit.

2000 version is in a part of the set and it looks part night club and part market place. This does get a bit confusing at times because why is there a TV shop in the night club next to the cages of women dancing it is very confusing. I am not a fan of Glen Carters scream singing it is really hard on the ears and at times the acting of the scene means the singing is put secondary. The lepers scene is slowed down a lot and it is so noticeable. The song is better at faster beat. This version does go back to heal yourselves which is good. The lepers themselves look like Zombies rather than ill people.

2012 is a night club and it stays constant throughout the song. The visuals, the lighting, the dancing all came together to a give an excellent performance. Ben Forster portrayal is so good, he has so many facial expressions and you see he is a man loosing control of his people and accepting the fact he is going to die soon. The lepers scenes is put back to his normal tempo and I love that. The Lepers in this scene look like ill people.

So the winner of this song is 2012 with a 9/10, followed by 1973 with a 8/10 and followed by 2000 with a 5/10.

I don’t know how to love him

In the 1973 version Mary sang it outside his tent, she is an amazing singer and she acted it really well showing her emotions and her fears of loving someone so powerful. Something that I am not a fan off and I know is probably just a bug bear but why is she belting outside his tent. It’s a bit like oi he’s not going to love you back if your singing about your love for him while he’s really tired and trying to sleep. Overall it is a good song.

In the 2000 version Mary sang it while Jesus slept with his head on her knee. She does get up though and move away from him to belt but then goes back to him to wrap him up in a blanket. The acting in the scene is very raw and very emotive you can see how worried and how heartbreaking it must be love someone so powerful. However the singing isn’t great but it is again a case of acting coming before singing.

In the 2012 version Mary sang it on her own. She is amazing. I love it Mel C has amazing eyes and she can express so much emotions from them. I love it, she is so good. She expresses her emotions, she sings well and during this song she removes her make up and her jacket to get away from the prostitute life she once had and to be a cleansed women. Not being too upset about feeling cleansed in her love for him.

The winner of this off course is 2012 with 10/10, followed by 1973 with 8/10 and bring up the rear is 2000 with a 6/10.

Damned for all times/Blood money 

In the 1973 version is interest it isn’t bad but isn’t amazing either. It starts with Judas being chased down tanks in the middle of the dessert. It is interesting symbolism, showing his inner turmoil being between two minds. Then he sings to the priests and they sing well and it is acted well. During blood money you see so many emotions going through his face and it is stunning to watch.

In the 2000 version is also interest with the talk to the priests being at the priests while he sings at them at times they aren’t paying much attention to him. In a way playing hard to get being like you must come to us and spit it out. Once he gets to the end of the song he sinks to the floor dramatically and then going into blood money Annas grabs Jesus’s hair “We want information get off the floor”. He then proceeds to push him further to the floor which is confusing.  Jerome Pradon still doesn’t hit the right notes and it makes the song sound terrible.

In the 2012 version is good, Tim Minchin can portray so many different emotions on his face. The priests were good to show that they are not evil they themselves want to save Jerusalem and Israel and it does show in the way that they act. You get the nice side of them, you get the sinister side of them and you get the desperate side of them that the other versions don’t do so well.

The winner is 2012 with a 10/10, followed by 1973 with a 8/10 and followed by 2000 with a low 4/10 just for the strange directing choices and Jerome Pradon singing.

So this is the end of part one, lets look at our scores so far is; 2012 with a score of 101/110, followed by 1973 with 88/110 and bringing up the rear is 2000 with 58/110. Join me next time for the second half of Jesus Christ Superstar mega review!

The autistic guide to COVID-19

The autistic guide to COVID-19

Since I last posted on here not a lot has happened except the world has gone crazy, universities have gone on to online learning, people panic bought toilet roll even though Covid-19 is a respiratory problem not a stomach problem and worst of the worst a lot of the walks I had planned this year are either canceled or deferred to next year (more about that in the next blog). For a lot of autistic children and adults this is an uncertain time. Everything has changed and as we all know change and autism are not the best of friends.

Here are some top tips on how to deal with this uncertain time for carers, parents, friends, autistic adult/teenager/child and of course pet donkeys.

The first one is for you parents, friend and carers. Stay calm, this is so important how are you expecting to keep your autistic person calm if your running around screaming and buying toilet roll. Keep things calm, keep things simple. Do not panic and keep going, you won’t be able to think straight if your panicking and your autistic person is having a meltdown. Leave the panicking to us okay we are doing for the rest of population.

The second one can be for all involved. Keep to a routine and it will help. Whether you are a parent with twin autistic boys, a residential setting still open or an autistic adult trying to muddle through keep to a routine, it is very important. Also with this routine have different types of sensory activities. So something active in the morning to wake up, some tactile activity like sand, fidget spinners and in the evening something more relaxing like massage balls or touch. Keep your sensory diet active and it will help you keep calm.

The third one is for parents, carers and family this is to avoid putting too many demands on your autistic. Keep instructions at one or two at a time to avoid meltdowns and crisis. At the moment arousal levels are high at the moment the last thing we need is injured parents and carers because of challenging behavior. It also it has a negative effect on the autistic person. Keep demands to one or two or if your child has PAD then less demands.

The fourth one can also be for all involved. Everyone remember to take a deep breath and relax. Go for a walk, keep your hygiene up to date and just ride it out. It will not be like this for ever and no it is not the end of the world. We will all get through this and then all this will be a crazy distant memory. To the parents, to the carers, to the autistic people and to everyone keep up the good work it won’t be like this forever!

Quick walking update; All my walks have either been postponed or I have deferred. We are still raising for charity but doing it in May next year for London to Brighton. We have a lot longer to train and we are going to get through this.

Next blog will be about challenging behavior!

the autistic guide to the arousal curve

the autistic guide to the arousal curve

Hello world I am back, back again, guess whos back, tell a friend. It has been a while since I posted on his blog. My world went a bit nuts and I was dealing with a lot of stuff. I will be using terms such as arousal curve, emotional regulation and meltdown/shutdown. So what is the arousal curve here is how I usually explain it. Imagine a jar or jug and you tip water in to the jar. You tip it in and tip it in and tip it in until the jar or jug overflows. So lets put this in a human context and I will have a point in a minute I promise.

So lets use an example of a made up autistic child we’ll call him Billy-bob. Billy-bob woke up in the morning its a school day he has the initial anxiety of not knowing what will happen at school, he goes down stairs for breakfast and finds out they have ran out of his favourite breakfast cereal this adds to his anxiety, then after this lets say that mini bus that picks him for school is late added anxiety, Billy bob gets in the taxi and there is traffic on the way to school and his peer was screaming which adds anxiety. Billy bob gets to school and stims as a way to self regulate but he is struggling to do this which stresses him out. He gets into his classroom, anxious, stressed and feeling out of control of his emotions. He gets asked to write down the date but this demand has become the tipping point/crisis period and he hits his teacher.  The teaching assistant takes him out the room and takes him to the sensory room. She gives him space until he asks for deep pressure. Soon Billy bob is calm but may hit the post meltdown blues which means he’ll be tired and therefor his teachers will put less demands on him.

This is basically the arousal curve and there a different ways to deal with the arousal curve before it hits into tipping point or crisis. Most of the time parents, teachers, teaching assistants, friends and even an autistic person will know cues and triggers to the arousal curve going up. In the arousal curve there is a danger area just before crisis where if the cues are caught quickly they won’t get to the point of challenging behaviour.  It doesn’t always come out however in physical challenging behaviour and it can also come out in shutdown.

It can also come out in hysterical laughter. I feel that one of the worst. I was doing training on a teacher training once. The morning was fine I got on with stuff, I was calm and I was like contributing to the discussions. At Lunchtime I got overloaded and thought I had regulated by locking myself in a bedroom in the residential bit and listening to music. I went into the afternoon training and it was on phonics in like signs. A video was like “if you get food stuck in your throat, it is not the end” or something along them lines. Burst out laughing and couldn’t stop laughing. I was then regulating enough to be in the danger zone only for me to find something else funny. I was also at that point where I know I should probably leave the room but I didn’t want to be rude for leaving the training then I felt rude because I couldn’t stop laugh. I ended up leaving the room eventually and having some water.

Here are some top tips to stopping that meltdown/shutdown/hysterical laughter for both parents

  1.  Give Space unless the person is in danger or unless the autistic person doesn’t enjoy space, until the autistic person tells you to approach.
  2.  Don’t speak too much I know it is sometimes it’s easier said than done but keep things to one words or sometimes no words.
  3.  No demands during any part of the process until the person is calm and then after that make it small demands.
  4.  For autistic people who are reading this here is something I do when I know I am getting into the danger zone and I know it works on other people so it might work with you drink ice cold water, the feeling of the cold water going down one its a distraction two it also relaxes the mind.
  5.  Never assume just because a person is high with laughter that it isn’t a problem because trust me the laughter is one step away from becoming tears or challenging behaviour.

I hope this gives an insight into the arousal curve and autism. The next blog will be about the winter walk and the blog after that will be me talking about challenging behaviour. So stay tuned.

Walking updates and blog update 2020

Walking updates and blog update 2020

Hello world it has been a while since I posted on this blog. Everything went a bit crazy in 2019. However I am back now and ready to take on 2020 head on.

In 2020 Ruth and I are going to be walking the winter walk which is one day 13 miles, Easter walk which is also one day is 15 miles, Walk the walk a night walk 26 miles, Louise Smalley walk 40 miles over one day and Thames path 100km Challenge which is going to done continuously as we worked out sleeping over night doesn’t work. The 100km Challenge is to raise money for McMillian the cancer charity and apparently it’s the flattest walk so who can complain really. We are going to prepare ourselves for it and make sure we are more mentally prepared than we were London to Brighton. We are going to practice night walking and we are going to practice just walking for a long time because that is something we struggled with “what do you mean its 15km to the next check point”.

With LSW they have less miles in between checkpoints and that being the challenge walk we had ever done at that we assumed that was the case with all the walks. It is unfortunately not the case. So we need to practise a lot to get into this mind frame of long walking. Also not beat myself for slowing down a little bit because that is something that I do. I’ll slow down slightly then panic then try to speed up and then end up feeling like a failure then slowing down again.

This year goal is to get fit and healthy but we are not getting bogged down by the scales if we loose weight that’s great but we aren’t focus on it. We will be eating healthily but that will be to help with the walking not to loose weight because it got to a point where we would eat something not good and literally go screw it and keep eating and it would it spiral out of control. So we are going to stop being our own worst enemies and be more balanced.

So with the walking out the way lets talk about the blog because now I am out of my funk I want to get back into my blog. I have a few ideas for my blog and I have one due out in the next few days called “the autistic guide to the arousal curve”. My blog will keep the autistic guide to stuff because I do enjoy writing that stuff and hope it does actually help people. I will also keep the updates on my progress through the year and I will start to do more reviews of movies and topical stuff is happening in the world.

Thank you for taking the time to read my blog. See you all in a few days for the next blog.

4 years of tales of the checkpoints

4 years of tales of the checkpoints

Hello everyone, my last blog was a heavy one so this one will be a fun light hearted one and a good laugh. In 2011 I started volunteering on the checkpoint for the Louise Smalley Walk. I did this up until 2015. 2016/2017 I had a year off the walk due to work. Then 2018 I was a walker. Here are some tales and woes and laughs from the checkpoints.

First year in 2011 I was 17 it was the year after I had a moment of crisis on the Louise Smalley Walk and had to finish the walk. We decided I would go with dad on his checkpoint and at this point Hannah was on checkpoint she was on mum’s checkpoint I was happy because I was checkpoint with Cathy as well. This blog post I am going to go through the years with the highlights, the low lights and things I learnt.

1st walk as a checkpoint crew, 2011 was Ladybower we were fittingly so on Checkpoint one and checkpoint five; the charity this year was Landmarks College.  We got to the checkpoint one very early in the morning and my job was making coffee’s and tea’s on checkpoint one and five so that is what I did. Checkpoint one was really windy but the view was amazing it was hard to imagine a city was over the horizon of the hill. I really enjoyed the rush of it as on checkpoint one you have everyone in large groups and they walk in and out. So after a while most people were through. We were waiting for a few walkers which came through it was noticeable that one was struggling due ankle issue but he made it through. We then packed up and went to checkpoint 5 which was a church in Eckington. We set up and made sandwiches and waited. This checkpoint I struggled with at times one of the struggles was the waiting around for people, I did have a quick nap in a chair because I wasn’t used to the early start and all the activity with it like running around trying to stop the checkpoint blowing away. Walkers are more spread out at this point and I really struggled with it to start off with. I ended chatting to Raynet and they had a dog that I played with for a bit and when people got there some were less polite than they were at checkpoint one but I understood.  We got everyone through the checkpoint, Darren went with the back runners to make sure they got to checkpoint six in time and we packed up and went back to Whitwell.

2nd walk I did was Monsal head which was 2012, checkpoint two which was Haywood CP and checkpoint six Eckington CO/OP, the charity this year was National Autistic Society. Again this checkpoint was a breakfast stop and a was on the hardest walk. My job was drinks I did a bit of cooking and checkpoint two they come in quick bursts similar to checkpoint one. We had a drop out at checkpoint two and he was picked up by a family member. At checkpoint six we had a few drop outs here and there but mainly people would rest. Eckington Coop was a good checkpoint we used the staff toilet and it wasn’t peeing in the trees. This was the cut off checkpoint you had to get to it at 7 which was stressing people out and it made a few people emotional but I cheered people up with my encouragement and light hearted humour. I struggled to be comforting if people were crying and sometimes I wanted to laugh at them. But didn’t I was supportive.

3rd Walk it was the Heritage Walk round robin which was in 2013, Checkpoint 3 Teversal Visitor Centre  and checkpoint 7 Holbeck, the charity this year was Calow hospital Children’s room. This was not a cooking checkpoint but it was a long wait around. I had up some sandwiches and we welcomed the walkers into the checkpoint we had a drop out person who we took with us to the next checkpoint. As there was so much waiting around I got warned before hand I would get bored so at that time in my life I was I was really obsessed with making pompoms out of wool. I made about 10/20 pompoms. Our gazebo went for a fly over a wall in Holbeck which about four of us managed to get it . At Holbeck a walker was hunched over and walked and got into a car and was driven away we took that as he was retiring. Something I noticed was round robin was a lot less waiting around. It was a weird one not going to lie. I really enjoyed it. It was more relaxed but at the same time I liked the first two checkpoints because you would start early and finished earlier.

4th Walk it was Millers dale which was in 2014, Checkpoint 4 Grassmoor and Checkpoint 8 Elmton, the charity this year was Just Good Friends group. This year I struggled the most for a few reasons. I had a meltdown the night before, I was going through a lot that year but I managed to get through the day without too many issues. This year was the first year without the first aid cover from St Johns on certain checkpoints. Checkpoint 4 was a pub and I had a sneaky pint with a few non driving members of the group. We got people through checkpoint 4 and moved onto checkpoint 8. We were at the bottom of the hill and we had to use the toilet at the top of the hill in a pub. This checkpoint was so long but good thing about checkpoint 8 is people most of the time walk through the checkpoint because they are so desperate to finish. This checkpoint I was struggling a little bit in my head and I noticed people could be a bit more rude and abrupt on this checkpoint I understand why its because they are tired.

5th walk it was Burton Joyce which was in 2015 back on Checkpoint 1 Oxton, checkpoint 5 Duncanwood and checkpoint 8 Creswell Crags the charity this year East Scarsdale explorers. This year I had a brand new job on the checkpoint which meant I was not much use at checkpoint because my new exciting job on the checkpoints was first aiding. I was the first aider on the checkpoint and I was so excited. Checkpoint one people most of the time come in, have a bite to eat and leave. Sometimes they walk through and sometimes they grab a bacon butty and eat it on the walk. Checkpoint 5 I did a lot blister care I also did some first aid fun stuff. A walker was sick so I was a ninja with one hand I grabbed water with the other I grabbed a chair for the person to sit down. I was used to sickness situations so it didn’t phase me. I gave a lot of encouragement to the walkers people were really struggling that year due to the heat and there was something in the air that year. After we went through checkpoint 5 dad and I went to join mum on checkpoint. The first Aiders on this checkpoint had been walking between checkpoint 8 and checkpoint 7. So I did some first aid when they weren’t around and it was weird doing first aid on people I had done first aid on earlier. Everyone went through the checkpoint and the walk was finished for another year.

quick fire things I learnt on checkpoints;

  1. Is it a checkpoint really a checkpoint if your not seeing people approach and shouting “WALKER” at the top of your voice.
  2. It’ll surprise you what small things fill you with joy on the checkpoint whether its a bit of flapjack, a call through to say the checkpoint before you has closed that means the back runners will be there within the hour.
  3. its useful having a family member on another checkpoint.
  4. That no matter how things go; the busyness, the long hours, the grumpy walkers, the rain, the sun or waiting around wondering if you will ever eat an normal meal again. It is a hundred percent worth it.

They are looking for volunteers on the checkpoint this year as it is the 25th anniversary.  the checkpoints are so worth it and it gives you a good feeling inside.