Wednesday, 25 September 2013

Fun at the Fun Fair

When Daddy told me that the fun fair was in the town and suggested he takes DS, I looked at him as if he had just fell from the sky right before my eyes!
"Er........sorry say that again" I asked
I felt like sitting Daddy down and gently explain that fun fairs are:
1) Very Noisy
2) Contain lots of over-excited kids (see point 1)
3) Contain lots of squealing kids on rides (see point 1 again)
4) Have lots of people and crowds always produce lots of 'point1'
5) Have lots of flashy lights
6) Are you mad for even suggesting this??

However Daddy made a valid point. He said we are presuming that DS won't be able to tolerate it because of previous experiences but look at what he does tolerate because he enjoys it so much.

He was right.

DS loves swimming. A few times we have been happily swimming away in a nice quiet pool when all of a sudden lots and lots of families, groups etc have comes charging into the pool. They have been shouting and generally loud. I've thought "uh-ho" this is going to be too much for DS but surprisingly he has been okay about it. He still hasn't liked it by no means but because he has been doing a activity he thoroughly enjoys and loves he has been able to tolerate the noise for a period of time.

So I agreed to Daddy's suggestion on three conditions:
1) I have to come as this is going to be a two man job!
2) We have a back up plan if it all goes pear shaped and
3) We get out of there pronto as soon as we can see a hint of distress!

All were agreed and the back up plan was escaping to a quiet and pretty park a short walk from the fair which was familiar to DS.

So off we went. Pulling up in the carpark the music was very loud which DS wasn't happy about but still we got out of the car and proceed to the fair to give it a go.

We both held a hand of DS and slowly and gently guided him around the fair. He was smiling so we decided to try him on a gentle ride which he was okay to go on

He sat beautifully and after getting use to the motion of the ride he started to enjoy it.
As that went smoothly we tried another ride, the mini waltzer
Again enjoyed and was taken by the lights on this ride.
This turned out to be a lovely family experience as DS has never been able to tolerate anything like this before.

Not wanting to push it any further as we seemed to have done well, I suggested that we now went to the quiet sanctuary of the park.
DS played happily on the slides and swing before heading back home whilst Daddy and I talked about how amazing DS is which we always seem to do.

Nothing should surprise me again with this little boy!

Tuesday, 17 September 2013

Giving a little something back....

As I'm sure most of you that read this will know that parenting a toddler has its tough times. There's the fact that your toddler is very mobile therefore is into everything and zooming around the place like Billy Zoom!
From poking their tiny fingers up the dogs nose to trying to get behind the telly to play with the wires......I understand where the saying 'eyes in the back of your head' came from!

So yep its agreed, toddlers are hard work! Having a toddler with additional needs is extra hard work!

I won't lie to you my friends but daily life with toddler DS was tough with a capital 'T'. I had all the usual toddler stuff as mentioned but I also had behaviours that I was unable to identify. This was pre-diagnosis. His 'odd' behaviour was a bit baffling to me. I quickly learnt that things like hoovering, mowing the lawn or putting the food processor on caused DS to cry, scream hysterically and attempt to trash the house!
The tantrums he would have when we walked into a busy supermarket were unbearable, they would be that bad that I thought he was going to burst out of the straps of his pushchair!

Of course, I can now easily identify the reasons for these things but at the time when I knew nothing of autism or sensory overloads I thought that DS was 'playing up' for me.
I don't think I will ever forgive myself for thinking this of him and mostly for not understanding him during this short time.

My confidence as a parent was seriously dented - I must not be doing a good enough job if my child is constantly throwing tantrums, I became more isolated in the house, I could go on and one seemed to understand or have experienced any of this with their children.

The day DS was diagnosed, Daddy and I walked out of the paediatrician's office and we made a pact together there and then, that priority number 1 would be to ensure that DS would be happy. He would receive encouragement to do a task or activity but no pressure. Happiness would be the key and together we agreed that we would do whatever it took to ensure that.
Three years on from that day I think Daddy and I have successfully kept a smile on our little boy's face as people always comment to us how happy he is.

So on the back of this I have volunteered with my local Carers Centre for a pilot scheme called 'Circle of Friends'.
Circle of Friends sounds fantastic, carers are identified that may need some support so maybe their confidence has taken a little bit of a knock, they have become isolated at home, maybe lack friend or family emotional support. They are buddied up with a volunteer who have some things in common to take them out for a coffee, lunch, accompany them to appointments or support groups etc. My only request was to be buddied up with a carer of autism as obviously I have the most experience and knowledge on this. I expect that I will be able to identify with most of her/his emotions as I would of experienced them myself firsthand, therefore I'm hoping that I will be a good support even if that they have to tell me to shut up and stop talking every so often! *P.S ooops...Im such a chatterbox*
*p.p.s..Im sure you hadn't already noticed that, had you? ;)*

I'm just waiting to hear the date for my induction for this but if I can help another struggling parent just like me then I imagine that job satisfaction does not come much better than that xx

Friday, 6 September 2013

Normal Routine Resumed....

Look at these smiling happy faces

Have you guessed it yet?
Yes that's right, we are both Mums and smiling as our kids have gone back to school! *only kidding!......kind of*

DS is very typically autism, he doesn't like change and can struggle to adapt to it so after getting use to being off school for 7 weeks I was very thoughtful about how I was going to approach the fact that the school holidays were coming to the end.

Knowing that DS was not just only going to return to school, he was going to return to a new classroom including a brand new teacher and some children in his class he probably didn't really know so this was huuggeee! Therefore it was really important that I prepared him, kept his anxiety as low level as I could and most of all I had to get this right for his sake! *pressure! pressure!*

I think its very fair to say that I know DS better than anyone including any professional in the land! I've always trusted what I call my 'motherly gut instinct' with him and have spoken up and disagreed with professionals if I've thought what they were proposing wasn't right for him. So many parents feel they can't or shouldn't do that with someone who is a 'expert' in a particular field but I feel that as you are the parent you are your child's 'expert' in them! You spend 24/7 with them, you play with them, you communicate with him (verbal or not) you know them inside out, you are their voice and the best advocate they will ever have so if you don't agree with something relating to them then its your job to speak up and say what you think is best for them as all children are different and what may be right for one will not necessarily be right for another but hey that's another post altogether!

So yes as I know DS extremely well shall we say! I knew that its best not to start talking about school too soon, maybe a day or two before would be good.

I did attempt to get a picture of his new classroom and teacher but that didn't quite come off *shucks* so instead I very casually and happily mentioned that it was time for school in two more sleeps, DS took this in and concentrated on processing this information.
The next day I mentioned it again in the morning, gave him some time to process it and in the afternoon I started talking about school in more detail. I talked about what to expect, his teacher's name etc - it all seem to be going well.

The night before school, I reminded him again that in the morning was school. I then laid out his uniform for him to see as a more visual sign.

The next morning I got him dressed for school which he let me *hurdle No 1* and happily jumped into his school transport *hurdle No2* and went off which was fab! My prep for him seemed to be spot on! *punches the air with glee*

To be honest I expected a meltdown from him that evening and not any normal run of the mill meltdown, I expected a major house shaking meltdown where the cat runs for her life (I would sometimes go with her if I could!) because he would have endured so much change in one big whammy and possibly too much of a overload for him but to my surprise no. There was no meltdown at all just a very tired little boy.