Monday, 31 August 2015

Back to School....

With it being 'Back to School' next week for most of our kids, I literally cannot believe at how fast the holidays I have gone! It's just as scary that we go into September tomorrow too!

I am no way ready to send DS back to school yet, I want to plead to the education authority that we haven't had enough time with him and that we need more (time) to do more lovely things *wails into my cup of tea*

The holidays have been lovely and I have absolutely LOVED having him all to myself for the 6 weeks!

We went on holiday just a week or so ago and although that was hard work at times, it was very rewarding hard work as he just loved being there! He swam everyday and just loved the pretty little village cottage we were staying in - it made our holiday seeing him so happy :)

Remember my Summer bucket list that I wrote? Well I thought I would revisit it to see what we did and what we didn't manage to do.....

1) Head to the beach whenever Mr. Sun comes out to play! :) Take our fishing nets, bucket and spades and packed lunch.

Big tick for this one as especially on holiday, we were always going to the beach and with one of them times DS finding some muddy sand and decided to lie in it :) It was so funny - that kid is attracted to mud I swear he is! ;) ;)

2) Find a pretty and safe wild swimming spot and go for a dip!

We didn't manage to do this as there just wasn't a day that was warm enough to heat up a lake :(

3) Eat chips on the seafront with a bottle of retro style Coca-Cola

Does it count that we bought fish and chips and then took them back to the cottage to eat? *asks hopeful* No I didn't think so.....

4) Camp in the garden. We do this a lot in Summer. Pitch the tent in the garden and even cook our tea on the camping stove. The rules are to only enter the house to use the loo!

This is one that we smash every Summer! But when I went into the shed to dig out the tent, it was gone! Then I remembered, it had a rip so I had to bin it :(
But not to worry as I have secured funding just this week as it happens for a spanking brand new tent and equipment of my  choosing! Yaaay! The nice lady I spoke to said "that's so lovely dear that DS loves camping, not a problem, I will pop you a cheque in the post dear. Thank you dear, take care now dear"
I literally cannot wait to go camping shopping now! :) :)

6) Practise our bike riding skills as much as we fancy on the front of our house :)

Big tick for this one as we do this at every opportunity :) though not today as its raining heavily here in Cheshire :(

8) Explore rock pools for sealife and cool treasures

This is something we do automatically when we got the beach, its as natural as falling asleep when your tired! :)

10) Play chase and tick

DS 's fave game! Last week I had to go to a hospital to have a general anaethestic, I came home groggy that afternoon but DS still had me running around the house chasing him! :/

11)Make biscuits and decorate them - DS loves the sensory feedback of flour :)

I don't know why but we never got round to doing this, probably because we were too busy playing chase to do them! Plus I see that as a rainy day activity which we don't seem to have had too many of them here since we've been home *hooray*

13) Invite a friend over to play and create a picnic in the garden.

This has been one of my faves! We invited his best friend from his class over and they had a great play day :) DS and I drove to pick her up where she was waiting for us in her house, she jumped in the car and we drove to our house. They played in the garden, with balloons, drawing and painting - it was ace! When it was time to take her home again, DS waved her off and inside she went - we will definitely be inviting her over again even though I was so tempted to keep her! ;)

14) Make a den on a rainy day and watch DVDs from it with cool treats and drinks

As it is chucking it down here, this is one we will be doing today! I already have the blankets ready to make a den with and can I just say? I am awesome at making dens! ;) ;)

15) Fill the paddling pool up and pop in a sachet of 'Gelli Baff' which will turn the water into a blue lagoon or red, green depending on which colour you go for.
We love this and use them in the bath for a great sensory play experience

Attempted this one but for some reason DS is off his paddling pool so away it went...

16) Invite DS's favourite family and friends round for tea/BBQ

This one is to do........:)

17) Visit the Zoo.

Everytime I called the zoo to see what quiet-ish days they had, I always told "ah no, we're heaving today love" so being wise and all that, I decided to steer clear of the zoo! :/

18) Visit the Safari Park - the monkeys are our favourite animal :)

We did this as the beginning of the holidays! We chose a day to go that Peppa Pig was there so we met her :) went on rides and did the scary safari drive! The biggest baboon sat on my car and knackered my squirters! They are fixed now - oh and a party of them had a picnic on my roof!
I've had my car from new and its just 5 years old now, coming out of there it looked like it was 12 years old! But all in the name of fun eh? *stares at bashed car*

19) Have a fab time on holiday

This was a mega success and a awesome time had by all! :) :) :) :)

20) Swim in the local pool.

We do this every single week with my half boy and half fish child :) :)

21) Make daisy chains

Didn't come across any sadly...

22) Make some play-dough and use different food colouring for different colours

Again, doing this week as I deem this as a rainy day activity..

23) Do some pavement chalking - I have some cool chunky chalks that I got from a charity shop that's perfect for this

Yep - we did this and even went a step further by chalking the trampoline as the first rain washes it off! :)

24) PARENTS ONLY - Try to stay mentally sane and hide in bathroom when need a quiet cup of tea or a glass of wine! :) :)

I didn't even had to try as DS was amazing! But I know other people who find the holidays hard going! I use to find it tough too...

25) When things go wrong or not to plan, try not to get too hung up about it. I learn from it and try to move on with the attitude that tomorrow is a whole brand new day! I expect some ups and downs

So true and a mantra I still stick to!

I have started to talk to DS about school now and am showing him pictures everyday of class and teaching staff. So far its going good, he is engaged and even smiling at the pictures :)
I will talk to him today about school once I have made the den and we will go through the staff names :)

Yesterday, I took him to Clarks to get his feet measured and get some new shoes.
He coped brilliantly! He was even happy to keep his school shoes on.

All good signs I think, so in the meantime, I will keep talking to him about school as well as keeping my fingers crossed!

I hope all your super Autism Mums and Dads out there have survived the holidays and even enjoyed them!

Speak soon xx

Thursday, 27 August 2015

Autism Mums Night Off....

Last month, myself and a few of my autism Mums went to a charity ball which was the brainchild of a fellow parent carer *excited face*

Everytime me and my ladies got together, we always talked about the ball and what colour we would be wearing so none of us wore the same colour or even worse the same dress!!!!!

Just like most Mums, we dont really have the opportunity to go on many evenings out as it's not as straight forward as organising a babysitter for our children. Our children need specialised sitters with the right knowledge and training and that does not come easily or cheap!

Personally for me, I do more than okay. I have my wonderful wonderful Mum who is amazing with DS. I can leave him with her and go off with an easy mind. There's also DS's Dad, and my partner.

Some of my other Mummy friends aren't as lucky as me :(

Anyway for the night of the ball, all children were in safe hands whilst we met up and trotted off to the ball.

It was lovely to get all glammed up, drink champagne and have an enjoyable evening in the late Summer sun :)

All we did was laugh, laugh, laugh and dance which is just so awesome for the soul! :)

We made a bit of a vow that we would get together and do more stuff like this much more often which we have done already!

I'll leave you with the pics of the night which show just what an amazing time we all had.......

Thursday, 20 August 2015

Carers Centre Fun Day....

I am delighted at having been asked to write in a column for my local Carers Centre newsletter.
I didn't even have to think about and said "yes" instantly :)

The team at the local Carers Centre are a tremendous bunch! They work hard at gaining funding so carers like myself can enjoy things like relaxation nights and spa days to name a few.

Every year the centre organises a fun day for families with disabled or/and children with special or additional needs can come along with siblings, Mum and Dad and have a day of fun.

The beauty of this fun day is that everything is free! Even the lunchtime barbecue offering delicious juicy beef burgers and sausages! Drinks are free too  - Mum and Dad can grab themselves a tea/coffee anytime they need one.

You see, the peeps at the Carers Centre recognise that many families with a disabled child have some sort of financial constraints. For example, like my own situation, I came out of work as my caring role intensified so I could care for DS which meant I lost my income. My story isn't unique to me either, I know many families that had to come out of work or drastically reduce hours to fit around their caring role and that's what's so great about the team at the Carers Centre. Not only are they aware of many situations like this but they also GET it! :)

Another aspect of the fun day that I was thrilled to see when looking at the site map was a quiet chill out area.
In previous posts, I have made it no secret that DS is very sensory and it does not take a lot to overload him resulting in us desperately searching for quiet area and spaces so he can calm down and collect himself.
I am ALWAYS ALWAYS feeding this back to places we go to how they need an area like this! It's probably my top feedback point everytime!

The funday was great and in the most perfect location within Cheshire! It wasn't ram-packed full of families either, just a nice number of families so you could move around the site easily and freely and access activities.
Around lunchtime, DS was showing signs of needing that quiet chill out area, so we went off to it.
It was far away enough to be away from all the noise and families but at the same time close enough to join back in with activities of the day whenever he was ready!
He was that happy in this area that we decided to have lunch here too :)

At the end of the day, I couldn't believe that we had managed to stay for it all! Even my Mummy friends expressed how surprised they were to see DS still there happily playing as it's literally never happened before! I am convinced that the reason was because he had that quiet chill out area! :)

It was such a great day and I felt that we had really accomplished something big by him being able to stay to the end - just 'wow'!

As I have said before, I am big on giving feedback everywhere I go, both positive and developmental but the feedback I left for this day was not to change a thing for next year!

A wonderful and enjoyable day was had by us and I hope that you and your family enjoyed it too - already looking forward to next year! :)