Today was THE DAY!!! well almost… William’s referral to the ASD panel will be put through by his Speech and Language therapist. We need to sign our consent on the 10th February when she goes to observe him at nursery and then it’s done. Then we wait for the confirmation letter and the countdown begins ⏱
Today, like most important days didn’t start well. Anxiety at peak and the woman from speech and language hasn’t turned up and it was almost 30 minutes passed our home visit time.
Just like my last Tesco order she had gone to our old address 🤣 She called and was super apologetic but her paper file hadn’t been updated but she was on her way. So Sally (writing her name so I remember it in the future) arrived and jumped in straight away, As soon as she sat down William went to her and grabbed her hands to play ’round and round the garden’ which was a positive sign as he doesn’t often take to new people in that way especially when he’s been poorly. Sunday morning wake up call was to a gunky case of conjunctivitis and a bust lip? Not sure how that happened but he didn’t wake us up when it did.
She asked a lot of the same questions as the Neurodevelopmental Paediatrician did but had a warm way about her that made them less judgemental and abrupt. In between questions she was playing with William as he wouldn’t leave her alone.
This wasn’t the type of appointment in which someone walks in and goes ‘right then Mr & Mrs Buckley, William will definitely start talking soon!’ This was the beginning of a very long process. There is no magic wand to wave to poof things into happening or to speed up William’s development and we’re ok with that as long as things are moving in the right direction and that he is happy.
Sally is sending us on a course ran by 2 speech and language specialists who will help up know how to appropriately encourage William to make more eye contact. She mentioned that usually his SEN worker would go along but believes Val has already had it based on the work she has done with William so far however will send her too if needed. There is a few month waiting list for this so it’s another letter we will be waiting to hit the doormat but we are good with that as we know its coming. she will the check back in with us to see what the next steps are in developing his communication whether it’s BSL, Makaton on the Pecs system. The goal isn’t necessary to get William to start speaking but to enable him to communicate with us in a way he is comfortable with with which make things easier for us all in the long run.
Don’t get me wrong I would kill to have William call me ‘Mummy’ or tell me he loves me but he already does that in his own ways. Like on the rare occasion when he’s tired and comes to cuddle me and moves my hand so I know he wants me to stroke his hair.
hours minutes seconds
It’s Officially The Day
William has several appointments and assessments in the pipeline including an evaluation by IPass who are going to assess him movement to rule out any physical disabilities. The next TAF meeting is in February so hopefully this will get the ball rolling further in regards to his education and an EHCP plan.
Big progress with Williams fine motor skills and his hand eye coordination and it’s all happened in such a short time. He has now done the following for the first times…
* slotted a disc into a small hole * used a fork to scoop, stab and feed * built a lego tower with me * scribbled independently on his whiteboard ➡ Future Picasso according to his Nanna
Today was THE day! Everyone said it was… everyone said it was THE appointment to get him on the ASD Panel waiting list. We were referred to the neurodevelopmental paediatrician because she would be the one to put him on that list… I should have known better, why would this be THE day. A miserable cold day in January when none of the previous ‘THE day’ appointments had been the actual day.
Yesterday we had a tiny step for babykind but a massive leap for William👨🏻🚀 He has been using a fork! 🍴 He had actually been scooping and stabbing his own food and successfully getting it in his mouth. This amazing coordination is a huge achievement for him. He hasn’t reenacted this at home yet but he has a small toy that involves putting a disc into a slot and he has also master that. His current favourite game is putting the disc in and passing me it to fire out for him to do it all again… so basically I spend a good portion of my evenings playing fetch with my toddler 😏 His other favourite pastime is holding me hostage in his room and forcing me to play round and round the garden until I can escape but we are currently on game number 1,00000003 and he still laughs before I even touch his hand which means I will keep going.
His bedtime routine hasn’t improved although our morning one has. His Nanna bought him some adorable all in ones to sleep in which means we don’t have to fully disinfect his room every morning. Don’t get me wrong he still tries to take his pants off at every opportunity… he is just like his dad in that way 😜
He isn’t lashing out as much as he has done in the past but his routine is now settled again so i am hoping it stays that way if he encounters changes. He does need his nails cutting soon so if any of you see me with a bloody face then you can probably guess why.
Today didn’t start particularly well, both David and William had to get up much earlier than usual and neither of them handled it well. I basically hand to turn into Gny. Sgt. Hartman to get them sorted and out of the house! I’m not exactly pleasant when i’m stressed.
Traffic was horrendous and we stayed in the same spot on holderness road for 15 minutes and then to cap it off when we get on our second bus we ended up miles away because the shitting ‘movit’ app crashed. THEN google maps told us to go in the wrong direction! Needless to say both me and Dave were very stressed and took it out on each other. He shouted at me, I shouted at him and then we didn’t speak…
Arriving late is never the impression I want to give so I was very on edge when we finally arrived. The paediatrician whose name I can’t remember didn’t come across well, I don’t know if its because I was on edge but she was very condescending and told Dave off for fidgeting because it was distracting her.
She tipped out some toys for William to play with and grilled us about family history and when William reached his milestones. I couldn’t remember when he first smiled and I felt like a terrible mum. I remembered he was 10 months when he first sat up and 21 months when he was walking independently but I could not for the life of me remember when he first smiled. I remember the feeling and the fact I cried when he first looked at me and smiled but not when. She asked about our family histories and if any one had any history of ASD and there is one person in each side of the family. Both boys and both in Williams generation. Both on our Fathers sides.
How is his medical history, how many times has he been in hospital? How many times has he had antibiotics? What caused his massive allergic reaction? what are his bowel movements like? apparently sluggish bowels are often found in children with autism. Does he have any birthmarks? What was he like as a baby? Was I on medication when pregnant? Other than GD did I have any issues? Did I breastfeed? How was the labour? Well it was fucking hard! it was definitely no walk in the park.
Then she asked about his sleep patterns and we explained how well he slept really well until he turned two. How is his diet? well… when we can get him to eat he will eat anything and everything, even stuff he wont touch with his hands will go into his mouth. His poops often come out gift wrapped due to the amount of paper he eats. Its not worth risking a finger to get it out of his mouth. 👆🏻
Where do I work? What do I do? Where does Dave work? what does his job entail? How many hours do we work? Who lives in our house? How does William interact with the pets? How is his recognition with people? This one is always a touchy subject as he doesn’t really behave differently towards anyone. I explained we could have walked out that room and left him with her and he wouldn’t be any different. On occasion he will show immediate delight when he sees his Big Nanna or my dad but that is it. She explained how it is fairly common for children with autism to fail to bond with people and parents will often struggle due to their feelings not been returned… well this really hit home and I started crying. I love William with every ounce of my being but it is disheartening actually more like devastating when he doesn’t care for me in the same way. If I am holding him when he is upset he will reach for hs dad and when his dad is holding him and i got to kiss him he will pull away from away. How will he know I love him if he rarely lets me show it. When we are alone and i’m the only option he will come and snuggle with me but that isn’t because I am his Mum, it’s because I am there.
She listened to his heartbeat and all was fine, took his weight and height and she also flexed his joints, checked out his hands, feet and his birthmark. Is his skin dry? No… I had forgotten about his chicken skin. I always forget about it because to me it is normal as I had it. Basically chicken skin is a condition called Keratosis Pilaris, it’s basically a build up of keratin in the hair follicles that causes small bumps on the skin. It is hereditary as a few of the women in my family have had it so to us it’s just the norm.
She asked us to strip him off and get him to walk the length of the corridor outside. He did it gingerly, the same way he walks anywhere. She asked us to try and get him to run but he doesn’t run. He never has… we tried to make it a game but he didn’t run just waddled a bit faster. A bit like my version of running 😂 She did speak with us about his walking abilities and how hard things will get when he no longer fits in a stroller and where to look for help. Obviously this wasn’t what we wanted to hear as we hadn’t even thought about the fact he may not get better with his walking so it was a bit of a blow.
She agreed he has a severe developmental delay and the 9-11 months bracket he was put in before was correct. That is 2 whole years behind where he should be. He will be 3 in March which seems crazy as I feel like it was only yesterday we brought him home from the hospital. Although she also agrees that he has severe autism she will not be the one to put him on the ASD waiting list. She wants the speech and language therapist to it. What the actual fuck!!! So let’s just recap who we now know wont, haven’t or cant do it… * Ourselves * The Nursery * His Key Worker * His GP * His Health Visitor * The woman from the Early Years Team * The Paediatrician from A&E * The Community Nursing Team * The Neurodevelopmental Paediatrician They all agree that it is highly likely he is on the spectrum but nothing has actually been done with that knowledge. If the S&L therapist doesn’t do it then I do know who will and just in case anyone spotted me crying hysterically in the middle of anlaby road this is why. The waiting list according to other parents waiting time for first contact is currently 867 days. That is 2 years, 4 months and 15 days. 28 and a half months. 124 weeks. 20,808 hours. 1,248,480 minutes or 74,908,800 seconds. I can’t imagine this wait getting any smaller and the longer it takes to get us on it, the longer it takes to guarantee William the support he needs.
Once again one referral has lead to another and she wants to refer William for blood tests to rule out any underlying issue as autism can often be the symptom of something much bigger. She is also requesting genetic testing. A genetic test can not diagnose autism or detect it early but there are 100 genes that have clear links to autism but no one mutated gene can cause it. For example there is a clear link between children missing the chromosome called 16p11.2 and autism however one 1 in 4 of those missing this have autism. This test can give us a reason as to why him? and I know it’s selfish but I think as parents we need to know its not our fault and that we haven’t caused it somehow.
So no answers were given today and today was not THE day we get on the waiting list. We are back in three months and hopefully will feel like more parts of our journey have been completed.
On a separate note we received a message from the nursery today about an exciting new room they are creating. A sensory room! Children with needs like William’s will be able to spend their time in a special environment tailored to them. William’s Key worker Val will be based in there permanently and as William needs 100% support so will he. I am so pleased with this development. They are a fantastic nursery and i’m very lucky we chose them to care for William.
I started writing this at 7pm and it is currently 1:15 in the morning. William has been throwing up since about 8pm. Terrified me the first time as I thought he was choking on it. He only ever been sick like this once before and it was over a year go. Currently I have a pile of sick covered clothes, cushions and blankets (both mine and his) that need to go in the wash, his pram and travel cot (I didn’t want him in his room alone if he was sick again) sat drying next to the radiator and William asleep on the sofa behind me with a temperature and a towel… Just in case.
Its been a tough few months recently, William seems to have regressed in his behaviours and seems to be lashing out at me more than usual. Not his dad just me… what did I do? He purposely scratched my face when he was frustrated which I’m not going to lie hurt like a motherfucker! the valuable lesson I have taken from this is to make sure I keep his nails short however cutting them is an awful and thankless task. Imagine if an octopus had claws on each tentacle and you had to avoid 7 of them whilst pinning the other one down, that’s what its like cutting his nails. Except that the octopus is screaming and biting to get away from you.
We have had a full on meltdown because I wouldn’t let him eat ‘another’ packet of Parma Violets. He went to find more and threw them all over the floor before throwing himself down too and refusing to get up… I tried to lift him but he’s very smart and makes himself go all floppy! considering developmentally he is less than a year old he does show some terrible two’s traits which we were told is a good sign (insert eye roll here 🙄)
His sleep is very disturbed now. From the moment we brought him home from the hospital he slept for 7pm until gone 10am and we had to wake him up not the other way round. People called us lucky. I don’t feel lucky anymore. He goes to his room at about 7 to 7.30pm and precedes to destroy his bedroom for a good hour or more. Draws opened and emptied, everything he can physically reach ends up on the floor and in pieces. Juice everywhere and if we are very ‘lucky’ he will often smear the contents of his nappy around the room. Three times in a week we’ve had to hose the boy down in the shower and disinfect his room and carpets ready for the next day… we go through a lot of sheets and a lot of wash powder. The washing machine is always on.
Speaking of hosing the boy down, its a 2 man job to bathe him. It sounds awful but it takes one of us to hold him down and the other to clean him. He needs to be held because he starts having a meltdown and can fall and hurt himself. To put it into context some days I feel that bathing a feral cat would be much easier and less painful for all three of us.
He has gotten to a stage now where he doesn’t want to be wearing pants… he will squirm and kick out when trying to put either a nappy or trousers on him and when they’re on he will walk round in circles trying to pull them off until he has succeeded. This was cute the first few times but once he peed all over my Nans DVD player it wasn’t! I thought about braces for him but he cant handle restrictive items so I’m not sure if that is the way forward? I suppose it is just going to be trial and error.
His follow up appointment at the eye hospital has come through to double check his vision. That’s in likes a week time, I am praying they don’t need to use the drops again as he couldn’t handle the disorientation last time and was a nightmare with his saucer like pupils 👀
His return to nursery after the holidays went just as expected. He clung to Dave for dear life despite often not wanting to come home. He has become accustomed to his non-routine over the Christmas break and didn’t want to be away from us. Dave had to spend an hour at nursery trying to calm him down.
I think the support available now from other parents in similar situations is amazing and one of the main reasons I started this blog. There are groups to arrange to meet up or if like me you are antisocial there are just groups to read other experiences and ask advice and support of those who have already been there. There isn’t enough support professionally which can leave people feeling alone and isolated, don’t get me wrong the nursery and Williams health visitor have been amazing but there doesn’t seem to be anyone else at this point in time which is daunting. It feels like it is one person referring to another to another and so on. It feels like they’re passing the book so to speak. I know this isn’t necessarily the case but so many people need to be involved before something happens that it feels like a never-ending circle.
We have an appointment a week for the next three weeks so hopefully we will take a step forward soon. Even if it’s just a baby step 👣
Christmas is a hard time for kids like William, kids who can’t take on board change and who become overwhelmed easily. His weeks are usually as structured as we can get them to prevent meltdowns or what I like to call ‘hunger strikes’ he ends up so upset and out of sorts he won’t eat anything and anyone that has witnessed William with a Sunday dinner knows this is a big thing for him to refuse. His nursery will give him second helpings of all his meals to stop him taking other peoples… I think I should be embarrassed of this, but he definitely takes after me 🤣
Dad takes him to nursery
Dad takes him to nursery
One on one time with dad and then grandad
One on one time with Mummy
Out and about with Mummy
Free for all or a trip with Danielle
Visit Big Nan
William hasn’t been to nursery since 23rd December and isn’t due back until the 6th January. I hope returning won’t set him off as much as not going has as he is only just calming down.
Christmas eve was fine. We went to spend time with Harry so they could hopefully wear each other out and William was almost well behaved except the usual, eating paper, throwing food on the floor and trying to destroy all Harrys toys but on the night he slept like an angel. 👼🏻
Christmas day was a completely different scenario. As we go to my parents it means he needs to get up much earlier than usual which never goes down well, especially as on a Wednesday he usually gets a lie in.
He didn’t want any breakfast or chocolate… yes, I’m a bad mom by trying to bribe him to eat and I’m not ashamed but even that couldn’t tempt him.He opened a few gifts and wasn’t interested after the paper was gone and then decided he had had enough and didn’t want to open any more. Didn’t want to get dressed. Didn’t want to leave the house. Needless to say, we were late to my parents. ⏰
I guess we didn’t help the situation and our living room was a massive sensory overload. I didn’t even think about how he would react. I just thought about how as a kid I was always absolutely buzzed to see all my new toys at once and couldn’t wait to start tearing things open or playing with them. William was absolutely spoilt and not just by us; there was outdoor equipment, a wooden kitchen, a train table, a bubble tube and so much more! That little feeling of pride burned inside me. We did this. We shopped around and bought bits all year. We have well and truly outdone ourselves with Christmas this year! But that’s was the problem. It was more for me than William, next year will be different as I know I was selfish by giving him too much. That wasn’t for him. That was to make me feel better. Next year I will do my best to ensure Christmas is focused on what my child wants and not what I think any child wants as there is a big difference.
Boxing day was a blur and we went to see William’s Great Nan in her nursing home. William didn’t eat all day and wasn’t interested in his Great Nan. It can be heart-breaking as I know Dave would love to see William cuddle his G.Nan and acknowledge her but he just isn’t wired that way.
By the 28th he was eating properly (also classed as ravenously) and seemed to have settled. He has slept so well for the first time since Christmas eve and he must have been running on fumes and frustration since then. I literally thank god that he is getting back to himself but then panic sets in as I don’t want him used to this kind of routine as it isn’t a routine at all.
And now we are on to today, New years day 2020! The family are all together except Dave who must work, and William is his usual happy self. He’s laughing, playing and cuddly. He eats his dinner (and mine) two desserts and then some. 🍽🍽🍰 and now we are at home and he is fast sleep.
Our new years resolutions as a family
Be open and honest about William and his progress (we started this one early)
Continue to be proactive in fighting for Williams referrals and needs
Spend more time as a family
Come off my medication
I have been on antidepressants for over 18 months and I finally feel in a place where I am ready to come off them. I understand and accept my child, I am happily married to man who would walk over broken glass for us, I have a new job that makes me happy to go to work and I have a wonderful support network. I had almost all these things before however there were so many changes in my life I couldn’t handle it.
This last year or even decade hasn’t been easy for us as a family but 2020 is going to be our year. We started our journey in 2019 and are fully prepared to stay on the ride.