Monday, 29 July 2013

Something had to give....

A few weeks back I made a very important decision that I had been considering for a long time.

I decided to apply for a career break from my job.

Since the back end of last year, my caring role has become pretty intense.

DS is becoming increasingly challenging, major meltdowns were becoming much more frequent and to me his behaviour was coming close to danger point. Something had to give.

My working hours fit around the school day so after seeing him off to school I would drive to work and as soon as finished my shift DS would arrive home so it would be a case of work finished and straight into DS with no respite in between and I was struggling.

As a result of this building up, everything else seem to suffer - friendships, relationships to name a few but as us Mums do, we limp on and try to hold everything together the best we can.

I knew that I needed to work on DS behaviour by implementing strategies to encourage positive behaviour, I know this takes times and lots of energy and effort and I know I need support to help me to achieve this.

I also knew that deep down, work would have to go on the back burner for a while.

So eventually I applied for and was granted a 12 month career break whilst I took the rest of my holidays and I have to say that some behaviours DS was displaying have now disappeared! I see him to school and by the time he comes home I'm ready to tackle anything he throws at me!

I feel much more in control and I'm putting all that I have into working with him, it will be a long road but one I'm ready for. We will get there no matter how long it takes but I need to do this without any other distractions.

I've looked into a desensitization programme and am in the process of trying to get us booked on one as this would resolve a lot of his challenging behaviour. The programme would work on noises that DS is very sensitive to resulting in him lashing out. Its a 12 month programme and very expensive if paid privately, although some children's charities will subsidise this cost.

Since finishing work, I'm definitely less stressed which he seems to be picking up on as happy Mums means happy kids and that's exactly what I want the little superstar to be!

It goes without saying that DS is and will always be my absolute number one priority, his happiness and wellbeing means everything to me and I'm prepared to sacrifice practically anything for him so if that's means not having as much spare cash around then so be it because some things are much more important to me than financial gain.

Saturday, 27 July 2013

Schools Out....

Its come around again and this one is the biggy!

Oh yes its the School Summer Holiday! *eeek!*
And at 3.10pm, when you see this very sight... know that the holidays have begun!.....*gulp*

We find school holidays tough!
DS is out of his normal routine so he can get often get anxious causing bouts of him being angry, frustrated and upset.
Due to DS sensory issues, we are very limited as to where we can go during the holidays as places such as the Zoo, theme parks, beach etc gets very busy during these weeks so taking him anywhere is bound to cause sensory overload. Crowds and all the noise are just to much for DS to process and tolerate so this creates a massive meltdown, its tough for the little guy.

However, I had planned a few days in Spain with him. The part of Spain we were going is very quiet, away from the hustle and bustle of the tourist areas, a bit out in the sticks really with pretty much our own pool.

DS loved it! He dealt with the flight very well as he always does and enjoyed hearing his splashes in the pool as the only sound - he even said a new word "pool"! (if that doesn't deserve a new toy washing machine then there is no justice in this world!!)

The holiday in the sun was a huge success!

Then on day 2, something amazingly special happened!

Out of nowehere, DS put his face in the water and lifted it out again. I handed him a towel to dry his face which he did, then put his face in the water again, repeating this pattern.

Then on day 3, he was swimming under water! Chuffed to bits with his little self isn't the words! He did it all day which is great for him but scary for me! I was forever scooping him up out of the water because I felt he had been under for too long!
His behaviour was much better than anticpated although we did have several wobbly moments but overall a very good break.

This week Ive got our very first real camping trip planned so as usual, I will start preparing him for it a few days before showing pictures of camping and telling camping stories so he knows what to expect.

Only 6 more weeks to go! Ha!

Have a good weekend!

Sunday, 21 July 2013

Saturday night at the movies....

In 2011 a genius idea was piloted.

It was identified that although people with autism enjoyed going to the cinema, there tend to be some sensory issues that they experienced that probably does not fit in with the usual cinema rules. Several examples of this is that some people with autism find it hard to sit down for the length of a film and would need to stand up to walk around for a while before returning to their seat or squeal/scream and flap with excitement. I've known many times of parents and carers leaving as little as 15 minuites into the film due to tuts and general noises of dispproval from fellow cinema goers *sigh with sad face*
This sort of behaviour tends not to bode well with the majority of neuro-typical people in the cinema so on the back of this, Autism Friendly Screenings were born! Hooray!

Dimensions are the genius's behind this and currently 150 cinemas across the country participate in autism friendly screenings. *I salute them*

So the difference with the autism friendly are:

*the lights are on low
*the volume is turned down (great for noise sensitive people like DS)
*there are no trailers so we go straight onto the film - yay!
*We can take our own food and drink

and the beauty one is:

*you can move around as freely as you like!  - this is a important one for DS as he thoroughly enjoys the cinema experience , he cannot sit in the same seat for the duration of a film. After a while he will get up, walk around then sit on the floor of the aisle with his drink watching the film.

The autism friendlys are shown once a month - always a Sunday and the next one is today!

I'm packing our rucksack with spare clothes, drinks and snacks as we speak!

P.S I have signed up to Dimensions alerts so I always get a email reminding me of the next autism friendly screening at my local cinema, as lets face it - autism Mums have enough going on in our heads to remember absolutely everything!

Enjoy the rest of your weekend!

Wednesday, 10 July 2013

A Lovely after school surprise....

I would imagine that if you asked a neuro-typical child what is their favourite place, I would expect the answer to be something along the lines of Disneyworld, Lapland or Willy Wonka's Chocolate Factory (okay, okay that last one is my answer!).
If you asked DS that very same question, his answer would be a laundrette!

I had some dry cleaning to drop off at my local laundrette and as always I take DS with me because he loves the place so much.

Whenever there is laundrette scene on Eastenders, DS immediately stops what he is doing and stares at the TV - I don't think he even blinks!
Dot Branning is a icon in our house! I can just imagine a few years from now, whilst boys his age are putting girl bands posters on their bedroom walls, DS will be putting one up of Dot putting on a service wash!

Anyway after collecting DS from school we went straight to the laundrette. He was all excited when I told him where we were going.
We pulled up and in a flash DS had released his seat belt (I hated it when he recently discovered how to do this and more worryingly how pleased he looked about it) and was running into the laundrette.

The owners know us erm..pretty well now and are brilliant with DS.
He danced and jumped whilst looking into all the machines
He even his own little way
They say he is their future Saturday boy and what a fine looking Saturday boy he will be too!

This wouldn't look too bad on a bedroom wall...............would it??

Tuesday, 9 July 2013

A Successful Day Out....

Blimey! Are you enjoying this weather?
I've found the heat during some days too intense but I'm not going to complain as I would rather this than rain any day!

Well with the weather being glorious as it is, we decided to spend the day at a very beautiful national park. We have taken DS there before and he loves it with it's Clearwater stream.

Daddy and I realised that the park would be very crowded so as always we planned to arrive very early when few people are there and leave when it starts picking up to avoid random children being attacked by DS when they scream, shout and squeal (as kids do!)
Without minutes, DS was stripped to the buff and paddling in the stream with the biggest smile on his face, as we were pretty much the only people around we let him.
Playing in the water was his favourite bit surrounded by silence - no traffic noise, no shouting, no dogs barking, no babies crying - all perfect for DS.

DS wanted to explore the other side of the stream but wasn't brave enough to paddle over so he requested a lift up from Daddy by putting his arms up to him.
We managed to spend about 2 hours there before the coach loads and people carriers full of visitors started to arrive so we began to pack up and make a move.
On the way home we came across a country pub with a huge bouncy castle and play area but the best bit we noticed was that no other children was playing on it - Yes! we chanted together which made me giggle that we were thinking exactly the same thing!

We swung in and relaxed in the beer garden with ice colds drinks relaxed that no children were going to be hurt whilst DS played blissfully.
As the day was going swimmingly well we decided that we would try taking DS to a family pub for lunch. He sat beautifully and ate his chocolate fudge cake (the only thing on the menu he would eat) whilst playing with Daddy's iphone. It was a really relaxed experience which a few short years ago would of been very different.

I'm chuffed to bits as it's been a while since we had a successful day like this with no meltdowns happening in between which left me grinning like the Cheshire Cat for the rest of the evening.

A great weekend in more ways than one!

Tuesday, 2 July 2013

Just what the doctor ordered....

Well I've been and am now back from what I can only describe as a very lovely lovely lovely and relaxing weekend.

I literally did nothing and it was bliss.

As I mentioned in my previous post,caring for a child with additional needs is hard work. I've been a tad stressed, knackered, run down and running on empty for a while now so when I arrived at the beautiful apartment in Spain (courtesy of a lovely couple who are friends of mine and I can't thank them enough!) I slept and slept some more
I slept on the beach whilst tanning my tootsies..
Ate good food..
and naughty food!...

Sampled the local Sangria..
and the local wines....well it would be rude not to!..
The weekend was bliss and did what I hoped it would do which was to relax me and up my coping threshold - definitely mission accomplished!

So after 2 nights away I was starting to really miss DS and was so looking forward to seeing him. I knew DS was doing fine as Daddy and I was in touch re text messages he was keeping me well informed on how DS was during the day, he would text when he was asleep and the things he was up to.
Before I left, I made Daddy and Nanny promise me that if DS was too distressed then they had to inform me and I would make my way back home - they promised they would but I really shouldn't of worried as they both reassured me that DS was fine although in his own little way he did ask where I was the morning I left, Daddy explained in simple terms and DS seemed satisfied with his answer.

This was all looking like it could be a success!

As arranged, Daddy was picking us up from the airport and I asked him to bring DS with him as I couldn't wait to see him a moment longer than I had to, when I walked out of the airport terminal there was no sign of them until a few mins later I spotted the car and could see my gorgeous DS in the back! I jumped in the back with him showered him with lots of kisses, he gave me a beautiful big smile to welcome me and then fell asleep snuggled into me on the way home - the perfect ending to a perfect weekend.

How very very lucky am I......