Tuesday, 27 July 2010


There is no more school.

My teacher, Joanna, said there will be no school for lots of weeks and then I will have a new teacher, Zoe. I like Zoe.

But I do NOT like it when there is no school. No school means no circle time, no drink-and-snack time, no work-station time, no play-time, no music therapy, no sensory room, no assembly, no Sue helping me eat my dinner.

I like home too, but there is Lily-Rose crying and it hurts my ears and I want to hit her, and that makes Mummy do the cross voice. Luca’s voice is loud and shouty and that hurts me too. (I don’t hit Luca, because then he shouts even louder!)

So, today is a home day.

Mummy says “Zac, would you like to go to Asda?”. Most of the time I like Asda because there is fruit and chocolate and bread, but sometimes it is too noisy and too bright. I do want to go, so I say “would you like to go to Asda”.

Mummy says “Zac, do you want to go on your legs, or in your purple chair?” I think about the noises and the lights and all the colours and it makes my head feel funny, and I know I will feel safer in my chair, so I say “in your purple chair”.

In Asda my carer, Moby, pushes me in my purple chair, and I bang my squashy book and look at all the fruit. Mummy pushes Lily-Rose in the trolley and I try to kick her whenever she gets near. I grab the nectarines and peaches, and try to bite them through the stringy stuff, but Mummy puts them in the trolley and says they are for later. When is later?

Moby takes me to get the bread and I grab a loaf and bite through the plastic. Moby says “Oh, Zac!” and puts the loaf in the trolley before I manage to get some in my mouth.

Suddenly, I look up at the ceiling and see how high up it is, and all the lights are so bright and start buzzing in my head. The ceiling looks like it is going to fall down on me and I scream. My hands start to shake and I grab on to Mummy. She tries to cuddle me and says “It’s alright, Mummy’s here” over and over in the singing voice, but it doesn’t work and I kick out. I KNOW that ceiling is going to come crashing down any second. I know there is a word beginning with “sssss” that will tell Mummy how I am feeling and I think really hard. Then I remember… “I’M SCARED!” I shout as loud as I can. “I’M SCARED!

I hear Mummy tell Moby that we’d better go now, and we go over to the tills. It is even worse there – the ceiling is even higher. “DO YOU WANT TO GET DOWN! DO YOU WANT TO GET DOWN!!” I scream. I want to get out of my purple chair and lie down on the floor where I know I won’t fall and I can close my eyes to shut those lights and that ceiling out.

Moby takes Lily-Rose’s trolley to the till and Mummy wheels me to the window and says “Shall I take you to the car, Zac?”.GET DOWN GET DOWN GET DOWN!!!”, I scream, and Mummy gets me out of my purple chair. I run to the wall and drop to the floor.


“Come on, Zac, we need to get to the car now”, says Mummy. She tries to lift me.
I will not move.
“Come on, Zac, stand up! You’ll feel better in the car.”
I scream and do not move.
I know that if I move, the ceiling will fall on me.
Even if I get back in my purple chair.
Even if Mummy is cuddling me.

Mummy and Moby spend a long time trying to make me stand up and get back in my chair. I scream and kick. I wish they would just go away. I just want to lie here and be quiet. I wish everyone would just LEAVE ME ALONE.

In the end, Mummy holds my arms and Moby holds my legs and they pick me up and put me back in my purple chair. I scream and kick and try to wriggle free, but it’s too late. Quickly Mummy wheels me back to the car, and once I am strapped in my seat I do feel better.

I just want to go home now.

Poor Zac. This is Sensory Processing Disorder at its absolute worst. Noises, lights and, at the moment, high ceilings are a real problem for Zac, and really adversely affect his vestibular sense (to do with balance). This meltdown at Asda was one of the worse attacks of SPD that he’s had for a long time and it was hard enough trying to deal with Zac, let alone the stares and comments of those around us - I’m still trying to develop a thick skin, even after all these years with Zac! For the rest of the school holidays it will be online supermarket shopping only!

(By the way, in the picture Zac is wearing a bib. This is because he is constantly chewing his clothes at the moment (another side-effect of SPD), and we would rather he made holes in the bibs than in his clothes - he's already ruined ALL his school uniform t-shirts!)

WHITE text is me, "speaking" as Zac
GREEN text is direct quotes from Zac
GREY text is background commentary or explanation


  1. Poor Zac! My mummy and daddy took me to the Newcomen Centre at Guys Hospital in London yesterday. This lady said I have Autism with Severe Learning Disabilities. She was a Dr. but a very nice one. I had to be assessed in the garden because new places make me feel trapped and I don't know what might happen... It's scary!! Mummy and daddy always talk ne through things but I still think I know what might happen.

    Mummy said you and I and other people with Autism are very special and it is really sad when we get scared!!

  2. Hello,
    I have just found your blog, and plan to spend more time reading it. I have twin sons with autism -- about the same severity as Zac, I'd guess. I noticed you have a special needs stroller for him, and I'm curious about it. Here in the states, I don't sense an understanding of the need for a stroller for a child with autism. Frankly, I can't go much of anywhere with my twins alone, and I wonder if an over-sized stroller would help.
    Do you find that it's a common solution in the UK?
    Thank you in advance,

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