I Actually WANT to write…finally!

Today I had an hours extra sleep because I felt too tired when my alarm when off. I didn’t have breakfast until midday. But all of a sudden I was just listening to a podcast and playing a game on my Ipad when I thought I actually want to write something.

This is the first time I have had this feeling for as long as I can remember.

I haven’t written anything on here in way too long but there has been, what feels like, a lot going on for me.

I have been job searching, I have been having tests to find out what is causing me to be ill and, of course, I have been ill for about three months now. However, I feel like I am getting to the end of this stage and moving into the next.

Let’s talk about my illness first.

After accidently eating something containing Lactose a few months ago I bought some apples and was eating one a day but I wasn’t getting better, I was still having attacks. I stopped eating the apples and the attacks stopped but other symptoms lingered. After many a night of being in pain with my belly and being very fatigued I called the Drs. I have ended up having to have blood tests, send a couple of samples off and see a gastroenterologist. But I finally may now what’s causing these issues.

One of my samples showed that I have an irritable bowel disease, most likely some form of colitis. I am just waiting on a final appointment, where I just need a small procedure done and then should get my official diagnosis, and then I can start on treatment. The best news from all of this? Getting the correct treatment will mean that I will be able to eat what I want without any more attacks. That’s right, folks, I will be able to eat anything containing lactose, I’ll be able to have cheese, I could eat a proper curry for the first time in my life!

This is huge and could completely change my life.

The blood tests also showed that I am severely deficient in Vitamin D so I have been prescribed super strong tablets for 20 days and then I have to take a particular type of other-the-counter vitamin D for the whole of winter. The tablets I am on are so strong that I have already noticed the difference. I am not nearly as fatigued as I have been and I have started getting urges to do things.

And that’s why today I actually felt like I wanted to write. Ok so on the other hand I was meant to go to the shops today but I didn’t feel up to it but that’s because my body has other female-specific things happening that is preventing me from being able to go out today.

A big indication that these tablets are working is because I went to the shops the other morning and I came home and didn’t crash. I got the shopping put away and then I did some filming and editing for my YouTube videos.

All of this is giving me some startling revelations as well. When I have been employed but have felt exhausted over the winter it might not actually be because I am overwhelmed from being exhausted, it actually might have been because of fatigue caused by a vitamin deficiency. This is going to help create a massive change in my future. So what if I have to take a vitamin a day over winter when it means not feeling rubbish every single day and not feeling like I am fighting through sludge whenever I am trying to do anything.

So let’s get to the job section of this lovely ramble.

I have been getting fantastic support through Reed to help me get back into employment. My work coach helped me write up an up-to-date CV, helped me choose jobs to apply for and also reinforces that I don’t need to just apply for jobs willy-nilly but to be pickier and to only apply for things that I know I would be capable of doing.

This brings me round to yesterday and I actually had a job interview.

I am trying to not get my hopes up too much because I actually would love to do the job and think it would be perfect for me. It’s working in a very large charity shop in the fashion department and the majority of the job will be working in the back (not on a shop floor) sorting through donations, quality control etc and typically working on my own. That would be great for me and I also think I could contribute to the store in this role.

So that’s it, a whole round up of what’s been happening with me recently, why I haven’t been writing and why I am writing today. Don’t forget if you want to keep up with what I am doing you can subscribe to my YouTube channel for weekly videos – https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCUVDox_MJVMPOmYxqbaSdGg/

I Didn’t Realise I Disappeared

I think the title says it all. I haven’t written anything for the past three weeks and I hadn’t realised that it had happened (or not happened in this case).

I can only remember so much at any one time and I have had a lot to remember recently and that meant some things were forgotten along the way.

I was referred by the job centre to a place called Reed. Reed are a company that help get people back into employment. I don’t know if they solely work with people with disabilities but that is the impression that I am getting. This means that I have to be there once a week and, so far, my appointments are on Fridays. An appointment seems like only a small thing but one like this ends up taking up my whole day. Because of how long it takes to get to the appointment on public transport I usually get ready 2 hours before the appointment time, walk to the us stop, 50 minute bus journey and then walk to the appointment. Then the appointment takes 1 hour, walk back to the bus stop, 50 minute journey back to my town, walk back home. All in all this takes around 5 hours out of the day and using that much energy in one go (plus the added bonus of all the sensory input) I am useless for the rest of the day and it takes me the next day to recover.

I have been doing bonus videos on my Youtube channel which means writing a script, filming, editing and uploading 3 videos a week for the past few weeks. Each video takes a days worth of work to do.

Just those two activities have been taking up 5 days of the week (including recovery time) so then I have been using the extra 2 days to try and recover. But I have had a couple of other things to do in the past couple of weeks. I had a day with my two best girlfriends, my family came to visit one day and my partner and I took the kids to Yorkshire Wildlife Park for the day. As well as the drama of having internet troubles a couple of weeks ago and then losing my gas supply due to a faulty meter a few days ago.

This past weekend all of this ended up getting a bit too much for my energy levels to take and I spent last Saturday in bed recovering without even getting round to doing that days video. I had to skip it entirely to give myself a chance to rest and to take a bit of the pressure off myself. It wasn’t helped by my last appointment with Reed being cancelled at last minute (well, within 20 minutes of the appointment time and after I had already travelled for it).

Today (I am writing this on Tuesday) I am trying to use an opportunity to get things done. I am sitting around waiting for someone to come and do a house inspection but they could be here any time between 9am and 5:30pm. It’s now around 11am and I have been up since 5:30am finishing off some tidying. I figured while I wait I would catch up with anything I could and so I have finally gotten the opportunity to write something while I sit in an uncomfortable chair in the kitchen waiting for the knock on the door.
I have also managed to get part of my vlog edited for tomorrow (still needs a bit more filming to be done for that), had breakfast and made a large drink for the day so that I can keep myself as hydrated as possible.

A big complication to my energy levels has been a persistent illness problem that I need to get to the DR about. After finding out the hard way that I can no longer eat apples or grapes I have been suffering with a bout of gastro issues that don’t seem to be going away and I would like to finally know if there is some underlying condition that I could possibly get treatment for. It would also be nice to have something done before the symptoms become worse again.

As soon as this inspection is done I imagine the rest of my day will be spent getting a shower and then getting back into bed.

Autism Representation in the Media

With the release of Love on the Spectrum on Netflix recently I wanted to take a look at the representation of autistic people in the media.

I haven’t watched the full series of Love on the Spectrum yet, in fact I have only watched one episode so far, but I do plan on watching the rest of it soon. Overall I found it a positive experience, despite some cringy moments that I don’t think they really needed to keep in the final edit, so I will watch it to the end and hope it continues in the positive way it is trying to show autistic people. It does help to break down some stereotypes by showing a variety of people including showing how we can have a brilliant sense of humour and be empathetic.

If you really look at the representation in other tv shows, films, books etc it does leave a little bit to be desired. A lot of characters that other autistic people relate to are never talked about being autistic in their show/film/whatever, most of the time it’s down to the actor or writer of the show to talk about how they feel the character is autistic in an interview. I would like more writers, directors and producers to have some courage and actually have the character say the words ‘yeah I am autistic, so what’ instead of tip-toeing around the issue. I identify a lot with the character of Dr Spencer Reid in Criminal Minds but there is only a small mention in one episode by a murderer about him being autistic. It is almost taken as fact that he is but yet it is never confirmed within the series (although I am only upto series 7 so maybe it’s mentioned later and I am jumping the gun). I have never seen Big Bang Theory so I don’t know if the same treatment is given to the Sheldon Cooper character. I’ll get round to watching it at some point.

My access to shows are currently limited to Netflix and Disney+ so I know I don’t have access to some autistic characters that I might be able to relate to more but what springs to mind is The A Word, Atypical and Sesame Street as being the forefront of autistic representation in the media at present.

And this is what it troubling.

The main representation of a female autistic character is Sesame Street, while being a brilliant kids show with some great lessons for children we need more female autistic adults in the media, we need more autistic POC in the media, we need more representation that isn’t a white male from a financial well-off family. To me that doesn’t show how an autistic person deals with real life issues. A large portion of American autistics don’t have the luxury of affording therapy to help with being autistic as it is quite expensive.

While there is obviously an influx of more autistic characters started to appear in the media we need to show the whole spectrum of our spectrum.

Adult With Autism: I’m I’ll and I could have prevented it

I didn’t manage to post last week as I was feeling terrible but that’s a whole different kind of illness than what this post is about.


I know that my being ill this week has been my fault, hopefully accepting this fact will mean I actually start doing something about it. But, forever being the I’ll do it tomorrow woman that I am, I haven’t convinced myself so far.

This week has been a bit of hell with illness.

The main thing was getting Chinese take away a few nights ago and eating one of the chicken balls my boyfriend had ordered. Of course I’m lactose intolerant and batter has milk in it so why I thought I wouldn’t be affected is beyond me. Even though there are things I have been able to eat without incident in the past I also know that more and more things are now causing me full blown intolerant attacks. I’ll spare you the details on what these attacks are like, if you have had one then you’ll know, but it does cause crippling pain. The doubled over, can’t even put one foot in front of the other pain.

Usually, when these attacks happen, I’m fine (if a bit tender and weak) the next day. This time has been different and I’m still suffering days later.

The night of the lactose-gate (as I am now going to chose to call it) I spent sleeping sitting up on the sofa as I felt like I was going to vomit whenever I laid down.

This is where the second it’s my fault I’m I’ll comes in.

The next day my boyfriend and I had planned to get out to the shops for a bit. There were things that were needed but it was extremely essential to go and I should have postponed and rested. Instead I decided to go. And I exhausted myself. I walked around far too much while my body was trying to recover and have ended up not only prolonging the illness effects but also causing pain to my legs and feet. An added sensory irritation I could do without.

That night came about and I was so exhausted I fell asleep about 9pm, a rarity for me and one I knew would bring it’s own set of consequences. I woke up at 3am and managed to get an hours nap at around 6am. My boyfriend had slept on the sofa as I, apparently, had managed to hog the whole king size bed my 5foot tiny body and he didn’t want to disturb me (yes, I know how lucky I am to have this man).

I spent the next day attempting to rest and recover. I still couldn’t eat much (not like me) and my food had to be as bland as possible. And then I started getting painful cramps again as I was attempting to get settled in bed. This time I hadn’t had anything that could have caused it and it wasn’t painful enough to be coming from anything I had eaten, I think it was just from tiredness or over exerting myself. So another night was spent on the sofa sleeping sitting up (this was last night as I am writing).

And I know some of this could have been prevented. I know that a lot of the stomach issues I suffer with can be prevented and yet I can’t seem to motivate myself to do anything about it.

I spend the majority of my day getting everything done from the comfort of my bed.

I’m extremely inactive.

I don’t drink enough.

I barely eat fruit and veg.

And these four things are contributing or causing a lot of the problems I’m having. I know this and I tell myself I’m going to improve on it and I never do.

But this time I’m determined to make a change, one small step at a time. I’ve told my boyfriend that on his days off he has to make me leave the house and just walk around with me for at least 20 minutes. On the days I don’t go out for a walk I have gotten some small exercises from the internet to do just to move about a bit more. And these exercises really are small. They’re called 5 in 5 and you pick five different exercises to do and do each one for a minute. Very simple but it’s a start to just get my body used to exercising.

The only thing I can do about drinking more is try it but this is the part I could do with some hints and tricks to help me. I’ve gotten some reusable straws so I can lazy drink and not even have to pick anything up but I also need to find cheap, decent tasting drinks to mass consume.

Fruit and veg? Well that one can just stay as a future goal for now.

Adult With Autism: Sleep Problems

I have had problems with sleeping my whole life, it’s something that is one of the few constants in my life and I’m pretty sure it’s something that is going to always be a part of my life. I have gotten used to it and the persistent state of tiredness. Mix that with (currently undiagnosed) ADHD and you have a recipe for disaster.

Well, not disaster as that would mean actually having the energy to create something diastrous!

My current phase of sleep is that I am not tired at night (or my mind is refusing to admit I am like some 5 year old fighting against bedtime) so I don’t get to sleep until around midnight. Then I wake up anywhere between 5am and 7:30am. 7:30am is when my alarm is set so I at least know I am not going to oversleep. Then I spend all of my day feeling exhausted, not getting much done, not being able to concentrate on anything etc. Seriously, I nearly poured half a bag of sugar into my cup of tea instead of filling up the sugar pot a couple of days ago and then I got myself comfy and ready to attempt some writing, went to drink my tea but it wasn’t there and I had actually left it in the kitchen. These little incidents happen nearly daily for me now.

And the problem with me actually getting to sleep is something I have struggled with all my life. I appear t be the only person I know, although I don’t know a lot of people, that has to concentrate to get to sleep. I envy those people that can just shut there eyes and drift off, the people who are asleep within a minute of closing their eyes. My boyfriend is one of these people and, during moments of sleep-deprived jealousy, I have often felt like flicking his nose or something to wake him up. If I can’t sleep then you should keep me company! (I joke, I would never do that, he needs his beauty sleep).

My method for getting to sleep is something that has evolved over the years from an exercise I remember my mum helping me with (I’ll have to ring her and clarify when she taught me this as it is a distant memory). I have to close my eyes and concentrate on blocking out any background noise so that I am forcing myself to hear nothing. Then I needed to think about something that made me happy. It’s a more detailed, slight variation, of counting sheep. Instead of the counting, which would make me more awake, it’s remembering something happy and going over the details of the happy memory. At the time, as a young child, all I thought of was birthdays. I have always enjoyed birthdays because I got cake, would see all my favourite people, and do what I wanted practically all day and then be exhausted at the end of it and be able to sleep. So thinking about a day that would exhaust me also made me feel exhausted and I would be able to get to sleep. Somewhere along the line the memory disappeared and I end up picturing a black background and the word ‘birthdays’ instead. I have to concentrate on this to be able to get to sleep, without doing so I can not sleep at all.

Then we move onto when I am actually asleep. My mind doesn’t shut off like a lot of peoples do. This means when I am sleeping it is still firing away as though I am half awake, resulting in bizarre dreams and, even worse, terrifying nightmares. Some nights I am lucky and I don’t have either of these but that’s less nights than when I actually do have them. Sleeping doesn’t provide me with the amount of rest I need meaning I usually need to sleep more than 8 hours to be able to get anything done in a day and I am tired constantly. I can’t actually remember the last time I didn’t feel tired.

At this point in my life I haven’t found a viable solution. One previous visit to a GP had them contact the sleep centre and I was sent some very strong tablets. I never tried them as I needed to take a week off work and have someone with me for as much as possible as the side effects when first starting them could be quite severe and I wasn’t able to do that at the time. No other solutions have ever been given to me despite my many conversations with various Drs, counselors etc. I have looked into the possibility of taking melatonin and I actually meant to mention that to the Dr last time I spoke but, in a wonderful storyline plot twist, I forget because I was tired!

For the moment I enjoy the days I am in so much pain that I need to take co-codamol as they are so strong they make me fall asleep without having to try or the nights when my anxiety is high so that I can take one of my anxiety meds and that helps me fall asleep. I hope t have some update in the future that will include a breakthrough moment and I will have this sleeping malarky cracked.

 

This weeks One Awesome Autistic YouTube videos:

An update vlog as thinks are starting to happen in my life: https://youtu.be/ryuaznZ-59U

Previous weeks videos:

Getting to know me vlog, I answer 10 questions: https://youtu.be/RViPjlVohsY

All about Echolalia: https://youtu.be/IYtsJz55lhs

Adult With Autism: Obsessions

I don’t know if it is a personality trait that I am just destined to be an obsessive person but it is something I have to work on quite a lot of the time.

Sometimes my obsessions are unhealthy like obsessing over money so I’ll live off 14p noodles and cheap sandwiches to try and scrap every penny together and I’ll constantly check my bank account. For this reason I barely look at my bank account and I rarely splurge on anything.

Luckily some obsessions can be a little more positive, such as a special interest. I have delved back into the true crime world and I have ended up listening to the Murder Squad  podcast, which asks people to get involved in the cases they are talking about.

I can see this being a slippery slope for me.

After spending two hours looking at the Doe Network website to try and help identify possible victims of a serial killer I realised I was back in obsessive mode and turned my computer off before two hours turned into an all-nighter. Instead I am trying to stay within my special interest in a healthier way. I used a gift card to buy a couple of books I wanted and I am all caught up on the podcast, meaning that it’s now only part of my life one day a week instead of 10 or more hours a day every day.
It took a long time for me to realise how obsessive I can become over things and it’s a continue struggle to put things to the side and concentrate on other things before it consumes me.

This is just a short and sweet one from me this week as I’m struggling with illness and can’t think straight but I still wanted to get something written so that I stick to schedule.

Im glad that there seems to be light at the end of the tunnel with quarantine. I’m looking forward to being able to visit family after not seeing them for nearly 6 months.

Adult With Autism: Lack of routine and how it is affecting me

The title of this piece is pretty self-explanatory and, if you follow my blog, you will notice that I usually post one blog every Friday. Today is Saturday. Last week the blog went out on Saturday.

I haven’t had anything to keep me in any form of routine since I came out of employment. There’s nothing to differentiate any day from the next for me, even watching weekly released shows on Netflix aren’t helping because I have no way of knowing it’s the next episode unless I go on Netflix (which I’m not currently doing regularly as I am watching Amazon Prime shows).

And this lack of routine means my forgetfullness has become more pronounced. I have to keep reminding myself multiple times a day what day it is and what needs to be done today. I don’t have many tasks during the week that are tied into a particular day. Bin goes out on a Thursday night (binmen come really early so it’s not plausable to put it out on a Friday morning), YouTube needs to be published on a Wednesday and Saturday, and then the blog goes out on Fridays. And yet I still manage to forget to get some of these things done on time!

I find it easier to stick to getting the YouTube work done and I think that is because it requires more work put into it and it reminds me that I need to do more stuff. If I have forgotten to write any scripts but I need to film a video then I can usually get it all done within a day. I’ll have a look at my ideas list and pick something I want to talk about, do an hour of research, write the script and then film and I am all done.

Maybe because I don’t need to put as much research into the blog posts that I forget them easier, who knows. I have found that I am becoming more complacent with my routine as well and I think it is because I have gotten too used to it and it has become too easy and boring so I am going to start changing up my routine a little bit more. If I change when I write the blog to a Monday (but schedule it for a Friday still) then it’s not as big a deal if I forget or I’m not feeling well and can’t type.

I have managed to get the vlog for Wednesday filmed already today, making me ahead of my current schedule, that’ll give me chance to look at my schedule over this weekend.

I have spoken to someone at the job centre in a routine catch-up phone appointment and they’re going to help me get into working at home and they’re recommending that I don’t go back into a workplace for the foreseeable future. Hopefully that will give me some more routine to help separate the days more.

This weeks YouTube videos:

Is Penelope Garcia autistic? – https://youtu.be/6TZmPonH0bs

The Everything Went Wrong Vlog – https://youtu.be/cY_Dy86u_Z4

Adult With Autism: Mandatory Face Masks on Transport

On June 15th it became mandatory to wear face masks on public transport but it isn’t mandatory to wear masks anywhere else, only suggested we should.

Now what does this mean for the Autistic community? Especially for those who become extremely distressed with something covering part of their face.

At first the announcement said that children and disabled people were exempt but there was no clarification on what would be classed as an exempt disability. Immediately I saw people panicking in Autism groups online on what this would actually mean for them. I am one of those people. If I cover my mouth and nose I can’t breath and get extremely distressed so I haven’t been wearing a face mask this whole time. Instead I have limited the amount of time spent outside the house, especially in areas where there are other people. I have been washing my hands all the time as well. But being stuck inside the house most days and only seeing the same products in the same few available shops is starting to have a serious detrimental effect on my mental, and physical, health.

By the time of the announcement I hadn’t been on public transport since the beginning of March and I was really itching to go somewhere different. I know that doesn’t exactly qualify as essential travel but we’re not limited to essential travel now that non-essential shops are open. But should I be going out if I can’t wear a face mask?

Yes, yes I should. I am taking all the same precautions as I was before. I have not shown a single sign of having Corona and the chance of actually getting it is extremely low for me. But what should I do about the whole mask thing?

For starters there are print-out exempt cards doing the rounds of various social media platforms that can be shown when using transport. If you are exempt from using a face mask then no transport staff member has the right to challenge you about it or demand any form of proof.

I contacted the Department of Transport and received a reply from them that confirmed that you only have to tell transport staff you’re exempt, you don’t need anything to show it if you can’t get hold of an exempt card, you don’t need to provide proof and you have every right to use transport without being challenged, harassed or denied entry to transport.

I finally managed to get out the house recently and I went on a bus to a local town. This was a great way for me to be able to find out first hand what the experience would be like for an autistic adult trying to use an exempt card. The bus I got on to get to where I needed to go was the most uncomfortable for me. The bus driver simple said ‘mask’ to me (which I only knew because he gestured when he spoke and I guessed what word he said because I actually couldn’t hear him because of his own face mask. When I can’t hear I also can lip read at times but couldn’t do that in this case either.) so I showed him my exempt card. My card simply says ‘I am autistic and exempt from wearing a face mask. Thank you.’ and yet he scrutinised it and eventually let me on. An old couple got on the bus a minute later and, despite sitting a few seats in front of me, decided to spend the majority of the bus ride turning round and staring at me. Luckily on the bus ride back home the driver simply let me on and I wasn’t glared at by anyone.

So, if you can’t wear a mask for any reason you can use an exempt card to use public transport or you can simply tell them you’re exempt. And you have as much right as anyone else to go out if you need, or want, to.

I’m going to start linking the weeks YouTube videos at the bottom of each blog post as well so it’s easier for you guys to find the things I have been upto during the week.

Saturday video on stimming – https://youtu.be/vtGBqJEBpcg

Wednesday vlog: Day in My Life – https://youtu.be/xXUaCq7w2Kk

Adult With Autism: Writers block and Potential Self-Employment

I would like to be able to say I have been working hard this week but I can’t. This week I have been ill with a bout of headaches, ones that got so bad I had to take ridiculously strong co-codamol tablets to take away the pain. The knock on effect was that it has given me writers block. My mind is a fog that I can’t seem to see through at the moment.

And writers block is a bit rubbish when you have a weekly blog you need to write plus scripts for your YouTube videos. Luckily I have a script I had already done a couple of weeks ago and filmed then to tide me over for a few days. I had to skip my weekly vlog as I didn’t have the energy left to edit it and get it online (plus I couldn’t see straight by this point).

And so I have had a week where I feel like I don’t have much to contribute to the online world but I have been having some ideas about my life floating around in my head.

I keep constantly thinking about my financial and employment status and how I can (and need to) improve it. My ultimate goal is to have a mortgage within the next ten years and I have moments that sway between this being an impossible goal to feeling like it is achievable if I stay on task. Currently I am unemployed and on disability benefits as it is deemed that my ASD, and the anxiety and depression it has been causing, is too bad for me to be able to work. I hope this won’t be the case forever, mainly because there is no chance of me getting a mortgage on benefits and I would need some form of steady income. A full time job appears to be out of the question as I end up back were I have no quality of life anymore and I will just end up in the same position I am in now.

And this brings me to thinking about self-employment. If I earn enough by being self-employed I could still get a mortgage but I can make the hours work for me and could even work from home if it was the right kind of job. But what self-employed job could I do?

I would have liked to have trained to be a dog groomer but a) there’s already established dog groomers in my area, and, b) I would need to invest money I couldn’t afford to lose if it didn’t work out.
There’s a potential for me to buy stuff online to sell on for profit and I have a couple of places to be able to bulk buy things at low cost that wouldn’t require as much money being sunk into it so I wouldn’t be risking as much if it didn’t work (even then I could probably still make my money back in the long run). This does require a lot of work being put into it and the profit made, if successful, wouldn’t be particularly high for the amount of energy required. It’s definitely one to stick a pin in for now.

I also thought it could be interesting to work as an extra on film and tv. It’s not regular work (but that’s fine because then I wouldn’t be burnt out too easily from it) and it’s something I could do around another potential job for a little extra cash.

My dream job would, obviously, be to write for a living. I have ideas, I have some projects started, but I don’t know we’re to go with it. I don’t know the first step into being able to turn what is in my head into a viable income.

I do have some things I do for extra little bits of cash and vouchers but that’s just to help pay the bills or save up for Christmas but, at the moment at least, I’m only keeping my head above water with my finances because I’m having to use my savings to pay for my food (benefits don’t cover all my outgoings and even if I didn’t have to pay for a cat as well it still wouldn’t cover my rent and bills).

I haven’t made a decision on what I want to do yet but I have some more time to think about it while quarantine carries on. There are some other issues going on that make the situation more complicated, including losing confidence in myself and my abilities.

For now, I’ll continue to ponder and maybe try to get some kind of project finished and try and see if I can find that first step to something.

What Do We Actually Know About The Myka Stauffer Adoption Controversy?

I am coming into this whole story as someone who had not previously heard of Myka Stauffer before the story of her ‘rehoming’ (what a horrible term) her adoptive son after three years because she couldn’t handle his disabilities.

But what do we actually know about this whole story? There are a lot of opinions and various news articles quoting each other  floating around but there doesn’t seem to be many facts.

On May 26th Myka and James Stauffer released a video on their YouTube channel after their adoptive son, Huxley, hadn’t been seen in their videos for about 5 months and their fans had been asking where he was. The tearful video is very vague on the details but they hint that Huxleys needs were a lot more than they expected and that he had started to become violent towards their 4 biological children. They claim that they worked with medical professionals to try and help Huxley as much as possible but that a mutual decision had to be made to give Huxley to another family who are in a better position to give him everything he needs.

What has been reported, based on their previous videos and social media posts, is that the Stauffers crowd funded for the money to adopt Huxley and that they purposely wanted a disabled child from another country (Huxley is from China). It was also reported that they were warned about the extent of Huxleys disabilities (including Autism and brain damage) before going ahead with the adoption but seemed to not care and would e able to handle it. This is information that is doing the rounds in news articles and I don’t have anything to prove if this is true or not.

They filmed Huxley over the course of three years and those videos would have earned revenue for the family. I have taken a look at the viewing figures for the Stauffers YouTube channel and the channel alone would be earning a pretty penny. However, with 700k subscribers, they were also earning money from sponsorships and likely from Affiliate Marketing. Considering they have four children and it appears that Myka doesn’t have a regular job I think it is safe to assume the figure would be more in the thousands than the hundreds.

In some news articles it was reported that Huxley was also suffering with Reactive Attachment Disorder (RAD), which can be seen with some adoptive children due to feelings of abandonment. However, this doesn’t seem to have come from any reliable (or named) sources as of yet and a lot of the signs of RAD are overlap considerably with the signs of ASD (which it seems Huxley was diagnosed with). As Huxley is a non-verbal child it might not have been very clear if RAD could easily be diagnosed. Also, children suffering with RAD can turn their behaviour around with relevant help and support from the household and medical professionals.

In the video the Stauffers talked about how they worked with medical professionals and Huxley to find the perfect family for him and that that family had been found. Buzzfeed news quoted the Delaware County Sheriff’s Office in saying that they were investigating the situation but that Huxley wasn’t lost and they also quoted the Stauffers lawyers in saying that he had been placed with a family with the help of relevant medical professionals. So it does seem that he has been adopted by another family but that it has been done privately rather than with the help of an agency. Private adoptions still have to abide by the same laws as adoptions via agencies so the adoption is legitimate.

I don’t think the video that the Stauffers released has done them any favours as this video has been the cause of all the backlash. They come across as selfish and uncaring, everything in it is me, I and we and very little about Huxley. It is edited to appear to cut off Myka crying but we only ever see one tear roll down her face. I don’t know about you but my face doesn’t look that pristine when I am, or have been, crying regardless of how much make-up is caked on it. We can see her hands clearly and there’s no tissue. For some reason that was a big red flag for me. If you cry you get snotty, you need a tissue. There’s no puffy eyes, no blotchy make-up from were tears have been rubbed away. Whether she was genuine with her upset or not these things just make Myka come across as fake and cold. Even her husband, James, talks about how hard Myka tried to get Huxley the help he needs but doesn’t say we as though he wasn’t there for any of it and had no part in the previous three years of Huxleys life. No wonder the poor boy had issues if there was a detached ‘dad’ in the household. They also were so cut up about the decision to give up Huxley they went on a lovely holiday to Bali not long afterwards. This doesn’t come across as the kind of behaviour of someone distraught by the decision they have had to make.

Also, the video was released reactively rather than pre-emptive. If they had gotten ahead of this, regardless of their pleas for privacy (you can’t put your whole life online and then preach about privacy) it would have seemed more genuine. Instead they waited until their fans were pleading to know what had happened to Huxley before they released anything. Even the videos of Huxley weren’t actually taken off their YouTube channel until the backlash from the general public. They were still making money from these videos even though Huxley had not been in the household for at least a month at this point. This did not do them any favours in the court of public opinion.

The video has raised a lot more questions than answers, such as why wasn’t Huxley placed into  specialised school or someone brought into the household to help rather than giving him up? Why did it take three years to work out that your family was not the best fit for Huxley? Surely, this would have been something that would have been known about a lot earlier. If Huxleys behaviour was so demanding and you couldn’t handle it why did they go on to have more biological children? If this had been one of your own biological children would you have given up on them so easily?

If what Myka Stauffer claims is true and they made the decision to give up Huxley to another family was due to the advice of medical professionals then you can’t really blame them for going along with what they are being told is the right thing to do. I don’t feel like that is the issue with this whole controversy. The problem seems to be that they refer to Huxley more like he is an animal by saying things like how he has been ‘rehomed’. Another big problem is that it seems like the whole facade the Stauffers seem to have built in their videos, their online life rather than reality, has been exposed. They’re not perfect people and they’re not the perfect family like they like to portray themselves as and they appear to be more upset about that than losing a child. They’ve also been exposed as a family who have adopted a child purely for money and tried to continue to make money off of after they had given up all rights to Huxley.

Have the Stauffers gone about this whole situation the right way? Absolutely not.

Has the video they released help them in any way? No, it’s probably do more damage to them than good.

Is Huxley now in the right place? I hope so. I’m glad that Huxley is no longer in the Stauffer household as that would not have been the right place for him in the long run.

Myka Stauffer has since started to be dropped by her sponsors as they want to distance themselves from this negative press but they still have 700k subscribers on their YouTube. 700k people think that this kind of behaviour is ok, what does that say about those people? and the current ‘influencer’ culture we have at the moment?