Friday, 20 February 2015

Half Term Smiles....

I am always surprised at how fast half term comes around!

I'm not sure if things slow down for me that week or not as my weeks are pretty hectic anyway ( I have no idea how I found time to go to work!)

When I see that I have a 'day off' in my calendar, I get quite excited about that and always arrange for something nice that day - even if it's just a soak in a lovely hot bubble bath midday (this girl knows how to live, eh? ;))

This week has been a busy week too but in a very good way! :)
DS and I have been able to spend lots more time together and with him being able to tolerate a little more noise than he used to, then we've been testing his boundaries by taking him to family restaurants which he has dealt with quite well (relatively quiet ones).

Our highlight this week has been taking him to a gym! :)
There is a disability centre sort of near me which is a great resource and one that DS and I access quite a lot.
Within the centre is a huuggeeeeee gymnasium :)
The staff provide classes from all ranges but unfortunately for us, they are quite structured which DS wouldn't be able to understand or tolerate.
A while back I went along to watch a class and within 2 minutes of watching, I knew that he would struggle in it so I asked if I could hire the gym exclusively for us.

I was met with every kind of 'No/Can't be done/' there was but because I wasn't satisfied with the reasons, some of them even made no sense! I pushed and pushed, I questioned every reason they gave me and even gave them reasons why as a disability centre, they should!
I was willing to pay the staff that had to accompany us as well as the cost of the hire of the gym until they said "yes"! :) :)

So we made a date and a few weeks later we went along (which was this week)
DS broke into a big grin when he realised he was going into the gym which I can't describe how beautiful that is to see and how warm and fuzzy I go inside <3 <3 <3

As I predicted, DS went straight for the trampoline and bounced for ages wearing a big smile.
The staff were great with him! (I've emailed glowing feedback as well as my thanks!)
Even when he climbed onto the big trampoline that he wasn't supposed to go on, the staff surrounded him for safety and allowed him to bounce away which I was both pleased and impressed with!

We spent a full hour in there which went waaaaay too quickly! :(

It's days and moments like these that I know I will remember and cherish forever and when I see his beautiful little face lit up and beaming, then I know that all the fighting, the pushing and the exhaustion has all been worth it! :)

Hope your half term has gone well too.

Monday, 19 January 2015

For the love of Bread....

Well since 2015 DS has just seemed to mature and go from a little boy to a young man practically overnight!

His behaviour seems to have matured and getting him out of bed in the morning is like trying to coax a teenager out! Seriously though, its been breathtaking to see him like this :)

We love weekends, Saturdays is my fave day out of the week because Saturdays are Mummy and DS day! Yaay! :)

Every Saturday, DS and I will huddle up together in my warm huge bed.
I will have a cup of tea, DS will have fresh orange juice.
I will have my laptop and DS will have the ipad and although we are doing our own thing, we are cuddled up happy, content with me kissing his head every 5 minutes!

We will get out of bed probably mid morning then we will do something fun such as go to a play barn or a sensory room or swimming...or if a miserable day and DS doesn't want to go out then we'll play indoors and make dens, play chase, hide 'n' seek......

However this Saturday, I decided to bake some bread :)

I got on with mixing all the ingredients into dough and started to knead.

As I was doing this, I glanced towards the kitchen table and smiled at DS who was sitting eating a snack and watching me knead with interest.

Now DS has never really showed any interest in baking (other than cracking eggs) so I tend to do it when he is at school or busy playing.

DS wandered over to take a closer look at the dough, I asked him to touch it and try kneading it.
He immediately kneaded  and then pushed his half eaten rice cake into the dough! :D

I added a few sunflower seeds but DS was adamant that the whole packet of seeds should go in so they did! (well, who am I to argue with the boss!)

He helped me grease the tin and helped me put the dough into the tin (after he had made holes in it, put it back in the bowl, played with it, stretched it etc....) by this time I was laughing so hard!

He loved playing with it and helping and was so funny that we were both really enjoying it :)

I put the dough to one side and DS asked for a bowl of his own. Intrigued, I handed him one and stood back to watch what he was thinking....

He cracked the rest of the eggs, put all the sugar in as well as the whole block of butter and started to mix (even left the egg shells in there ;) ) by this time I was really laughing and he was laughing because I was! As he was mixing he was saying "put it in and mix" which I was stunned at and more stunned that he knew what to do!

After about a hour of playing, he climbed down from the worktop covered in flour, eggs, sugar and toddled off. The kitchen looked like a food fight had happened but I couldn't stop smiling at how much fun we both had had.
As I started to brush up the seeds and rest of the ingredients from the floor I decided that I am never going to bake again without him.

In theory, my bloomer bread with sunflower seeds should of been a absolute flop but it turned out extremely well and tasted delicious!

Since new year, DS is just 'wowing' us all and he loves Mummy and DS day just as much as me!
Just when I think I couldn't be any prouder of him suddenly I am!

That sensory hour just cost me some eggs, flour and sugar and some time tidying and cleaning up afterwards but it was just so worth it for the enjoyment he got from it.

Can't wait to see what this little Superstar 'wows' us with next.....

Sunday, 21 December 2014

All I want for Christmas....

I love Christmas for its magic and the lovely generous Competitions I have come across during the festive season :)

The fabulous M&Co are running a blogger competition about my wishlist for Christ mas and I felt I had to oblige! (of course)

As a parent of a child with autism, if you're anything like me then you're probably stressing over wether 'Santa' has got your little one enough or in my case too much which could possibly overwhelm him that I forget about little old me!

For a change, I thought it would be nice for me to drop some (strong) hints for what I would like! ;)

Here are a few things that I would be simply thrilled to find wrapped under the Christmas tree. (hint number 1)

1. LBD £44.50 - Every girl needs a LBD and I love the sophisication of this one! This would be perfect for a Christmas & New Year party which I tend to go a bit 'all out for' 

2. Beautiful Underwear £16.00 -  I will admit that I am a pretty underwear addict!
Like a magpie, I'm drawn to pretty bra and knicker sets and have a drawer full! 
I absolutely love this due to the neutral colour not to mention the gorgeous pearl detail! I must have these Santa!

3. Matching briefs £7

4. Duvet Set £22 -  I didn't realise that M&Co did homeware but when I spotted this festive little beauty, I was sold!
I love clean, fresh bedding and this ticks all the boxes. The fact that it is also reverse the pattern is a added bonus!

5. Pinecone Heart Wreath £7 - I love nature and decorating my home with unusual things so it comes as no surprise that this little beauty caught my eye. I love that it glistens and I would probably pretend to my friends that I crafted it up myself during a afternoon! hahaha!

My wishlist totals £96.50

Tuesday, 16 December 2014

O' Christmas Tree, O' Christmas Tree....

So the magical time of Christmas is upon us once again.

It's this time of year that my mind is always cast back to the Christmas of 1985.

I was 5 years old and Christmases were my life! I would think about Christmas even at the height of Summer and would often say to my Mum on a hot day whilst sucking on a ice lolly what I would like for Christmas! Mum would mutter something like "okay love, you'll have to see what Father Christmas brings" whilst turning the page of her magazine without looking up from it.

Christmas was lovely as a child and  I have very fond memories of my brother and me creeping down the stairs in pitch black darkness to see if 'he had been' but the Christmas of 1985 was something pretty amazing!

That Christmas I was greeted with a huge three storey Sindy house complete with furniture, car and caravan! I couldn't believe that these wonderful toys were mine! I felt like there should of been twinkling lights behind it or that I had just won the bonus prize of a gameshow that I sometimes watch on our oak effect bulky TV set! (remember we're in the 80's here!)

I was absolutely doll mad so this was heaven to me! The house was that big that I needed to stand on a chair to play with Sindy on the roof terrace and the top floor of the house. This was by far the best toy I had ever had and  gasping to my 11 year old brother how great it was, he responded with a grunt whilst he excitedly put his new Adam Ant record on his new record player followed by some 'Puss Cat, Puss Cat' lyrics blaring out of it!

That Sindy house proved to be a great investment by 'Father Christmas' as I played with it for years and years. Of course more Sindy dolls were added to collection over time followed by Barbie too (I never did get Ken as my Dad didn't think it was ethical! hahaha) until one day whilst playing I realised that I could see the roof terrace. I wasn't standing on anything and I could actually see the top of the house! That's how many years I played with it.

I think there may have been some slight concern at how long I played with dolls but nothing was ever said to me, it's just something I sensed. I remember breaking up from primary school and was going to be starting High School in the following September. Suddenly I wasn't comfortable to continue to play with them seeing as I was nearly a 'High Schooler' and plus my friends seemed to have moved on from them so the decision was made by myself to put them away.

As a parent and as someone who loves Christmas I would love to go Christmas mad at home!
However with DS, we have to play Christmas down a little as it can be way too much of a sensory overload for him.
In the early years, I struggled a little with this. As a big Christmas fan, I use to feel like I had a load of Christmas bubbles inside me wanting to burst out but I had to continually fight to keep them inside.
Of course, now that we have low key Christmas, I find it much easier and I've actually become to prefer it. (could also be an age thing!!!!)

DS has taken a very big interest in our Christmas tree this year resulting in him reluctant to leave it to go to school or bed!
Last night, DS and I camped next to the Christmas tree and within minutes his eyes were closed.....which makes me think "Oh no! What have I started"??!
Fingers crossed that I do manage to sleep in my own bed sometime during December! :):)

Wishing all my readers and families a lovely Christmas regardless of how it's celebrated!

Merry Christmas! This post is my entry into the Tots100/Little Tikes 12 Days of Christmas competition

Friday, 5 December 2014

Happy and Safe Winter Motoring....

I would say that the family car is a crucial tool within a family with one or more children with additional needs - it certainly is within mine!

I probably use the car more now than ever with DS.
As a toddler, I would pop DS in his buggy and would walk literally miles with him. I thoroughly enjoyed this, breathing in the fresh air, getting some exercise and quite often lulling DS to sleep in his buggy.

However, now that DS is far too big for a buggy and not too much of a strong walker, we rely on the car now more than ever!

You really don't need me to tell you that car safety especially travelling with little ones is paramount but did you know that a recent Mumsnet/Michelin survey revealed that 36% are not confident that they know what the legal minimum tread depth is.
Tyres and tyre safety is an often overlooked subject, but so important when you consider how much we rely on our cars, especially when we have kids and even more so for those who have kids with disabilities.

Here are some of the comments that came from the survey...

"It drives me mad when women see this as man's work. Everyone should be responsible for their own safety"

"I was once told that the tyres are the most important part of the car as they are the only thing connecting you to the road. I have always remembered this, especially with kids in the car"

and my personal favourite.....

"I like all 4 tyres to match and be the same brand" !!

Michelin Total Performance brings together an optimum mix of performance areas such as grip, long-life and fuel saving without a trade-off. Michelin tyres are the best match for the daily driving challenges that Mumsnetters face.

Now that the temperature is dropping mean that driving conditions will be more challenging, its wise to ensure all tyres are adequate for winter driving.

Its definitely going to be one of my Winter jobs to do from now on!

Disclosure: This is a collaborative post

Wednesday, 22 October 2014

The post with no title...

Well we're nearly at half term and I have to say that our start to the academic year has been horrendous! (hence why I have been a bit quiet on the blog front)

September has been a nightmare from start to finish to say the least! I'm not going to go into everything that has happened but I will tell you the main things...

DS started back at school during the first week of September.
As he was starting back with new staff, new children in his class, I knew this was going to be huge for him!
As per usual, I prepared him for the forthcoming changes as much as I could but knew that he would struggle to some extent.

So the first day, I picked up the little Superstar from school he came home and had a meltdown.
The next day was the same, the day after that and the day after that.

Bearing in the mind that before this, his last meltdown was months and months ago, I still had predicted this.
However, as the weeks went on, I expected his behaviour (and meltdown) to improve and decrease but unusually this didn't happen.
As the weeks went by, his behaviour became more intense which puzzled me.

Initially thinking that he was just struggling with the transition back to school, I arranged with school to try a phased return. Taking him to school in the morning, picking him up just after lunch with the idea to slowly increase.
School agreed to this and we did this for 1 week but still no difference.

Now remember, we know our children the best, better than anyone else in this land.
DS and I live together, we're together everyday. We play together, we eat together, we sleep together and we even bathe together! We have a strong bond, a connection, a trust and I know that no-one knows this child better than me!

Very soon, I learnt that something was wrong in school. DS may not be able to come home and say "Mummy, I'm struggling in school because they've painted the wall yellow and you know how I feel about yellow"! (for example) but his behaviour was telling me very clearly something was wrong so spoke to DS's teacher about my concerns.
DS's teacher is a lovely member of staff, she has a lovely way about her and DS is very fond of her, like I am - she made some suggestions such as the classroom was a little different now such as been re-decorated, new ceiling installed etc etc.....but no I felt that wasn't it...

During the next week, DS reluctance to go to school was very much increasing.
He was fighting whilst I was getting him dressed, to get in the car and to go into the school building. It was heartbreaking seeing him so upset looking at me pleading with his eyes until one morning I decided enough was enough! I was no longer going to 'force' DS into school whilst it was distressing for him and decided then and there that I was going to home school him as I was no longer prepared to put him through something that was obviously so distressing for him,

That week I bought a few quality education toys and card games, specifically with colours as I know DS has a interest in colours at the moment so I wanted to start with that which he enjoyed.
We also went on a nature walk to a nearby forest with a picture card of things we had to find and collect such as acorns, red leaf, orange leaf, squirrel.....once we had spotted each of them we gave a big tick next to their picture - it was good fun.
We collected some Autumn things like leaves, twigs etc and we made a autumn display in the kitchen as well as doing some leaf rubbings.

Another day we went swimming and took advantage of everywhere being nice and quiet with all the children in school it was perfect for DS.

A few days later, I accidently learnt that the classroom was still being worked on, new equipment was being replaced a few weeks after the academic year had started!
I instinctively knew that, that could very possibly be the cause of DS's anxiety and stress and arranged a meeting straight away!

That meeting must have been one of the worst meetings I have ever been in my life including meetings I have been in with my job!
The member of staff that represented the school was dreadfully unprofessional as well as very unsupportive!
I'm not going to quote what was discussed in the meeting but believe me it was dreadful! I said what I needed to say and challenged what I felt I had to challenge but I'm sure I got my point across!
It concerns me this particular member of staff's knowledge of autism seems to non-existent!
It was very clear that she just doesn't get it and sees alot of behaviours as 'naughty' or 'playing up'.
I can't even begin to express how furious I am about that and have very clearly communicated that I do not want her anywhere near my son!

I also put a complaint about her with the head who was very apologetic.

So now as we are nearing the end of October, DS is only just settling into school.
He isn't as fighting to go as much and will walk happily in but he isn't quite back to his usual self yet but I'm hoping that we're going in the right direction.

I would like to think that so called 'professionals' (though I'm going to lose that term loosely with this one!) have a good understanding of children on the autistic spectrum who work in a special school with a large in take of ASC students but no clearly not!

Very disappointed to put it politely :(

Saturday, 9 August 2014

Busy Busy Bees....

For the first time ever I feel that the first few weeks of the school holidays are whizzing by!
But then again, we've been extra super dupa busy...

I've just completed a 'Managing Behaviour' course that was covered over several weeks, part way through I realised that it was going to run into the school holidays #eeeek! which would have been a near impossibility!

There would be no way that DS would happily entertain himself whilst I knuckled down to it - oh no wayo!
So I called the tutor explaining this and asked if we could squeeze the rest of the modules into what we had left of term. It was tight but we managed it (just!) completing on the very last day that DS was at school before breaking for the holidays - phew!

Not to mention, starting a two week AIT (Auditory Integration Training) on the following Monday delivered by the lovely Tracy Alderman (please see my previous post about this)
I won't lie to you my friends, I find AIT exhausting! The hour drive there, the hour treatment itself then the hour drive back on repeat for ten whole days but it is so worth it! I simply wouldn't do it if I didn't think it was.
We completed the ten days yesterday - DS did brilliant and looked forward to going most days :)

#I got funding for AIT - please contact me for more info on this.

Another mad panic I had was employing a suitable carer for DS to help out during the holidays to give me some respite......knowing that this holiday was fast approaching, time wasn't on my side.
I was just about to advertise for this position when a small miracle happened! :)

Someone I know stepped forward and saved the day #as well as my sanity.....well what's left of it anyway
For me, any carer for DS must have experience of working with low functioning autism in a professional capacity, be on the same page as me, trustworthy, reliable and of course DS must like them which I can pick this up from his behaviour etc.
I'm not saying that's what all carers need to have, this is just my criteria and is personal to mine and DS's needs #just to be clear :)
DS's carer certainly ticks all the above boxes and with him preferring males this was a bonus!

I discovered DS preference to males a few years back when he went from a female teacher to a male teacher, the difference in how he interacted with the teacher was very noticeable! That much so that everyone commented on it. Ever since I've looked out for it with him and it's a definite, he prefers fellow males :) I've often wondered why this is but haven't so far found a definite answer.

I'm looking forward to the next few weeks going at a slower pace and no doubt DS will be happy about that too.

Hope your holidays are going okay too :)