1

The end of Chapter 3

Earlier this week I found out that i have finally passed my Legal Practice Course; an LPC is the vocational stage of training to be a solicitor that must be taken after completing a law degree and before practicing. This means that after 8 years of being a law student, I am done. I was trying to describe to my friends how happy I was to receive the news and I couldn’t find words.

If you are a regular reader, you know that this was part of my life plan. I moved away from home, I’ve been studying since 2008 and working alongside my studies to set down the cornerstones of the life Christos will have to join eventually. This last month has been a tough one. My nan was in hospital for 3 weeks. My nan, or my 75137_10150101622680030_3087748_nyiayia, is a 2-time cancer survivor, she’s worked since she was 14 and she raised us all with such love. She loves a good sing-along, a western cowboy film, she knows how to throw a good party, she loves a good beer with her lunch and a whiskey on special occasions. She looks amazing; i know I’m biased but look at her! She always takes care of herself even though she worked 16-hour days, she never said no to a customer or an ill aunt, she was never too tired to run around after her grandchildren and I’m so proud of her – I used to borrow my yiaya’s jewelry and shoes, that’s how cool my yiayia is. She’s one tough cookie. I love my yiayia, she makes the best food, the best tea, toast and jam, she makes the best cakes (she owned a confectionery), she cries every time we speak and she rubs my feet even though hers are way more tired. I love my yiayia the most though because of how she treats Christo. I talk a lot about how our family felt after the diagnosis but my nan and granddad were right there with us. They went through all the emotions, all the ups and downs. They picked us up from school, babysat, they took Christo to speech therapy, to the oxygen chamber appointments, they watched the Lion King a thousand times, they picked up after  a tantrum, they always had a stash of calming treats, they stopped singing because he doesn’t like it and they never gave up on him. She has been a support to us and to Christo for as long as he has been with us. She knows his language, his schedule and how to bribe him for kisses and hugs. Christo knows he has to respect her, he knows which buttons to push and he knows that every time he says ‘yiayia’ she is ready to give him the world. I love the way they love him because it looks like the way i love him. It’s my only consolation, knowing he is loved that much every day I am not there.

By completing the course, I’ve ticked off a big box on my preparation list for our future. It’s something I have been working on for years, it’s the one thing I’ve worked so hard on, it’s what i will base the rest of my life on. And it’s done, it’s just there now waiting to be built on – waiting for me.

The end of the LPC is the end of the first big chapter in my life. 2 years of 4000 words every 10 days, 17 exams, sleepless nights, lots of wine, and lots of tears and it’s over. I breathe a sigh of relief before I move on, i take a moment to leave this behind and digest what it all means. In my head, everything i did was a step closer to the end game – the LPC was about 150,000 steps. I can look at my brother now with confidence, with certainty that we are going to be okay. I like to think that if he knew he would be proud, I like to think that deep down he knows. I can look back to when I left him to study in Lancaster and not be struck down by guilt; because after 8 years i did what i left him for. I think of all the birthdays i missed, all the tantrums, all the times he needed me and even though i can never go back and be there, it wasn’t all in vain.

Stay tuned for Chapter 4 of Life with the Pereras.

Advertisements
0

University of Kent: Imagining Autism

Imagining Autism is a research project conducted at the University of Kent using a range of environments and stimuli and evaluating their encounters with such various interactions (ie lighting, sound, physical action and puppetry).

Sensory Integration Therapy: 

It has been found that people with Autism  have sensory difficulties. I know I’ve used this before but here’s a bit more about it. Again, not all autistic people have this difficulty because (say it with me) no two people on the spectrum are the same.

This sensitivity can be either over- or under-responsive to sensory stimuli or the ability to integrate the senses. It can cause extreme reactions (tantrums, hitting, banging of hands, legs, head) or it can be completely tuned out. So, for example, a sound is perceived differently by people affected by autism, it can be extremely disruptive to them and cause them to act out – because their sensors are overloaded. Another example is taste. Like I’ve said before, it is/used to be a ritual trying to get Chris to try food. He tries it, smells it, stares at it before finally deciding to eat it or throw it as far away as possible. These can also be examples of under-responsive behaviour. Where they don’t react to sounds or noise, which is also the direct cause for parents testing their ability to hear first before anything else. There’s are people on the spectrum that have no appetite for food. If it is not presented to them they wont ask for it, taste isn’t one of the senses that are developed and therefore any food is mundane. When taste is hypo its referred to as ‘pica’ and could also mean that they eat anything – soil, grass, play-dough – because it makes no difference.

SI therapy is similar to the Kent project in that it assesses the persons sensory capacity and it looks for ways to enhance or control it. In this case they looked at a series of sensory environments like outer space, under the sea and the Arctic through drama and performance based activities.

There’s no such thing as a lack of information on Autism. There is a general ‘meh’ attitude towards it though and I’m proud to be working for an institution that dedicates resources to such research.