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Ann Hickman

SEND writer and autism parent

I'm Ann and aim to I share how our autistic and neurotypical family interacts and interprets the world in our own wonderful way. "Rainbows are too beautiful," said Anthony. "I just can't look at them." This summarises so much about our lives. I started my career in PR and marketing then turned my hand to teaching my profession shortly after having our first child. Since then I've morphed into a full time mum, part time college teacher and special educational needs and autism writer. I also blog at at www.rainbowsaretoobeautiful.com, where I note positive thoughts, ideas and experiences of life with my autistic and neurotypical kids and our greater family. Our children also have diagnoses of ADHD, hypermobility, SPD, dyspraxia, anxiety and sleep issues. I hope I raise awareness, promote understanding, discuss important issues and possibly most importantly offer support.

What Does A New Series Of 'The A Word' Mean To Us?

As a family with two autistic boys, I can't get enough of autism inspired TV. There's always plenty of opinion about these programmes - it doesn't show enough about autism, it's the nice side of autism or even it's too difficult to watch.
07/11/2017 13:13 GMT

To The Mother Dragging Her Son Through Liverpool - I Get It

An autistic meltdown is not like a tantrum. It does not stop because we say 'come on' or 'get up' or 'you won't get TV at home'. I've been here. Both our older children are autistic. My middle child, David, is non-verbal and is the most likely to have a meltdown.
30/10/2017 14:44 GMT

What Does The CBeebies New Show 'Pablo' Mean To My Autistic Son?

Pablo is about education. And while helping David learn, Pablo, is hopefully educating many more and creating an early understanding about what life may be like for some children. Children who may be in your kids class, or in the playground, or just like in Pablo's first appearance, at a wedding.
19/10/2017 16:11 BST

You Don't Need To Shield Your Kids From My Autistic Children

You see, I've already seen the look when people are afraid of us. I've seen the wide birth with the eyes of horror. I've seen parents pull their kids away from our family. Not when anything serious has been happening, just when David has maybe been squealing or jumping about. Or when Anthony has been skipping a bit erratically.
16/10/2017 12:52 BST

Top Five Third Child Parenting Admissions

I was suddenly reminded of some of the things I'd never have done with our first child Anthony, that Jane, our third, has either well and truly got away or just had to put up with. Some of which maybe even makes me question my parenting.
08/09/2017 13:24 BST

30 Hours Of Free Childcare - Unless You Have A Child Like Mine

<img alt="everybody banner" src="http://i.huffpost.com/gen/5399116/original.jpg" width="300" height="35" /> But in the three years between Anthony accessing his 15 hours of free childcare and it being David's turn, local budgets had been cut for special educational needs in early years and the number of children needing this support had increased significantly. The council simply didn't have enough money to offer 15 hours of extra support to kids with special needs so they could get help during their 15 hours in pre-school.
18/08/2017 14:38 BST

Parents With Autistic Kids Need The Right Support, Not To Be Mistaken For Bad Parents

<img alt="everybody banner" src="http://i.huffpost.com/gen/5399116/original.jpg" width="300" height="35" /> What my kids needed, and other autistic kids need now, is an understanding of them and the right support for their parents. Because with this right support, Anthony barely ends up in A&E, his brother can have his nails cut and maybe, one day, both boys will be able to go to the hairdresser together.
04/08/2017 14:16 BST

An Apology To The Customers Annoyed By My Autistic Kids

<img alt="everybody banner" src="http://i.huffpost.com/gen/5399116/original.jpg" width="300" height="35" /> I remember walking into a restaurant and looking for 'that family'.  You know the one.  The one with the loud children that looks like it would have disturbed my dining experience. And then I've asked to be sat away from them please.   I look into the same restaurant today and still ask to be seated away from all the other diners... but now it's because I am 'that family'. 
25/07/2017 15:42 BST