Diary of a Mum/Carer/Would be Entrepreneur aged 59 and three quarters.

This chapter of my life began when I was aged 57 and three-quarters, and I have probably aged 20 years since then. It has been a journey indeed, with ups and downs, but I have met so many lovely people along the way, and it is for that reason that I carry on. When I receive feedback from a parent whose morning routine has totally changed because their child is no longer going to school in clothing that makes them uncomfortable, it makes all of the hard work worth it

I have some exciting news: We have just started carrying sensory slogan T-shirts. If your children play Fortnite or do that strange dance that they do (I thought flossing was something you do before bed), we have what they want in funny and apt designs. We realise that when you buy one child something, you must also buy their sibling(s) something as well, so we’ve included non-sensory sibling T-shirts. The sibling shirts are Fruit of the Loom brand, and are half the price as they don’t require extra sewing-down of seams or special sensory fabric.

My daughter requested a shirt with the slogan: “I am autistic, what is your problem.” (She hasn’t worn it outside yet.) If there is something special that you want—providing that it is legal and does not contain any swear words—we can help! For the child with a name like mine, who can never find a cup, key ring, purse, or even a comb with their uncommon name on it (I know there are lots of us out there): now you can!

I haven’t blogged in a while as we have been so busy, so don’t leave it too late or you may be disappointed. We went to the National Autism Show in London where our products were very popular, and we sold out of our tieless laces. (Don’t worry, we ordered more as soon as we got home.)

With schools starting back, we have been especially busy with the shirts. If your child is playing up getting dressed for school in the morning, it could be due to their clothing. Many children do not know how to verbalise this, especially when entering “big school,” where many will have to wear shirts with those uncomfortable collars for the first time. Our shirts look just like any other; in fact, one passerby at the show commented that they looked just like any other. The whole point is that we do not want our children to look different. Our trousers are the same, except that they are elasticated all around, have the label in the pocket, etc. I have some customers who are near our premises in Belfast and often when they come in for school shirts, once their child has felt our sensory T-shirts, the parents are not getting out without making a purchase.

We are, of course, always striving to expand our range, and for that reason we are now looking at underwear. I was asked about underwear so many times at the show that I feel it must be next. We already stock T-shirts that are all-in-one suits with poppers at the bottom for those who have older children with more complex needs, and PGs that zip up the back.

I am getting excited about the next lot of prototypes being manufactured, which will be lovely for the coming winter months. Our T-shirts will change with the seasons, and we are now thinking about Halloween and the dreaded C-word (Christmas).

Well, now for the mummy bit. I am sure that many of you mothers will empathise with the same guilt that I feel. Kirsty is 17 now, and she is out four days a week, between her three days studying with a few other children and her placement on Thursdays at Cats Protection League. She is still very vulnerable and not like other teens her age. We are glad about that, as she hates clothes and makeup and is not into music or anything else that most 17-year-olds are (boys). I dread when she does reach that stage—and I know she will, it just takes her a while to catch up. Her dad will be padlocking her bedroom door if she tries to go out in anything that doesn’t cover her up completely. He is trying to get her to learn to drive, which I think is mad, as you cannot ask her to fetch two things from anywhere or she forgets one. I don’t know what the answer to this is. I would let her build me a house before I let her drive, as she should have some experience by now, given the amount of time she spends on Minecraft. The guilt bit is because I have been very busy, and sometimes when we get home I suggest a carryout from Chinese. John, my husband, does most of the cooking; the only thing I make for dinner is reservations. I happen to have the only child in the world who will say, “We haven’t had vegetables for two nights.” Kirsty loves her food, but she has expensive tastes in that she loves lobster, and if we are out for a meal she must have the steak (and very rare). You can see now why I must work so hard.

Please check out our new products www.spectrasensoryclothing.co.uk

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