Posted in Emotions

It’s in the DNA… Pt 2

I said we would post as much as possible now we are both working and out of furlough, aiming to post once a week and unfortunately last week it just wasn’t possible. I would love to fib to you all and say I didn’t have time but to be honest I just didn’t have the emotional strength and need to pull myself through how I felt about the genetics results.

So first I’ve had my little pity party and it’s time to pull myself together – or at least that has been what I’ve told myself since the last post and I do feel a lot better, I needed to process and understand but unfortunately I was too quick to blame myself and wallow.

I thought I had gotten past the blame game but obviously it only takes one letter to put you right back there again, back in that pit of guilt and anger. Thankfully it didn’t take too long to crawl back out and I managed to do it naturally without having to fall back on the medication I once took for depression and anxiety. It shows how far I have grown in the last 18 months.

I know that there is nothing I could have done differently which would have stopped William having special needs.

I know also know that the additional material he has may not be the cause of his needs and delays.

It doesn’t matter that the additional material came from me, what matters is that anything more sinister has been ruled out.

I can hand on heart say that I love William more than life itself, not in spite of the challenges his needs bring but because of them. I think they make us as a family appreciate each other more. They make us look at the world in a different way and seek out understanding for other children like William.

God only give us what we can handle, its not always going to be easy but it is possible. He knew how hard we would fight for William and how much love we would have to give him. Its hard to have faith sometimes but I know my purpose is to nourish and love that little boy who I am honoured to call our son.

P.s William has his vaccinations today and tried to punch the nurse 💉🥊 but a cheeky trip to the polish bakery made it all better.

P.ss Vaccinations are also not to blame for Williams needs!

Posted in Emotions

Understanding and accepting

Before acceptance must come understanding.

People often struggle to differentiate between a child with autism and a child who is being naughty.

As a parent who suffers with anxiety it is very difficult to go to certain places and deal with other people who don’t know William like we do.

Something as simple as a journey on a bus can set me into a tailspin, a small journey can lead to an argument due to the fact other passengers look at William as see what they deem as an ablebodied 3 year old in stroller taking up a space they feel someone else needs more. Not all disabilities are visible and what give you the right to assume!

A trip to a supermarket can lead to a full meltdown due to the hustle and bustle of different people, a different environment, bright lights and loud noises. One the rare occasions he will walk, he will often end up laid on floor and go floppy because he can’t handle the stimulation and lack of familiar surroundings and comfort.
This is not a toddler having a tantrum because he can’t get sweets or doesn’t want to walk, its because he is in pain.

When we go to a restaurant, cafe or bar he will beeline for any food he can see, we will stop him before he takes it but it can lead to awkward conversations, dirty looks and whispered remarks.
This isn’t because he isn’t fed at home or because he is rude. This is because food is such a high motivator for him and that the fact it doesn’t belong to him doesn’t even register.

I shouldn’t have to apologise for my son for being himself but I find it becomes a more frequent occurrence as time goes on. I shouldn’t have to explain why he is the way he is, there should be a wider understanding of the autism spectrum leading to acceptance.

I truly believe that autism awareness and understanding should be educated in schools so that future generations don’t make the same mistakes and assumptions.
There are no definitive figures of those with autism as no record or register is kept but based on recent surveys 1 out of 100 has autism.


Think of the children in your child’s year at school, think of the children who you went to school with. I wish I had been more aware, more educated and a better person.

I want that for the future, for children like William and for parents like us who often feel we should apologise on behalf of our son when maybe, just maybe they should be apologising to us for their small mindedness.

Much love, The Buckley’s Xxx

Posted in Guest Posts

Guest Post by Nicola Reekie

Nicola reached out to us on our Facebook page to share her story, she is currently organising the first free online pathological demand avoidance summit which will take place between 3rd – 6th July 2020.
Pathological demand avoidance (PDA) is part of the autism spectrum and is used to describe those whose main characteristic is to avoid everyday demands and expectations to an extreme extent. It can also be referred to as Extreme Demand Avoidance.

according to NAS (National Autistic Society) the distinctive features of DPA profile include:

  • resists and avoids the ordinary demands of life
  • uses social strategies as part of avoidance, for example, distracting, giving excuses
  • appears sociable, but lacks some understanding
  • experiences excessive mood swings and impulsivity
  • appears comfortable in role play and pretence
  • displays obsessive behaviour that is often focused on other people.

People with this profile can appear excessively controlling and dominating, especially when they feel anxious. However, they can also be confident and engaging when they feel secure and in control. It’s important to acknowledge that these people have a hidden disability.

In Nicola’s words…

I’m sharing this as it would have made a huge difference to us as a family if any of the professionals we were in touch with knew about PDA, it would have made a huge difference to us as a family.
I’ve started to see that the more I’m sharing on social media, there’s more people I’ve started to see the more I’m sharing about this on social media there’s more people understanding that their children aren’t naughty just have different needs
.

It was a chance conversation with a friend after we had been through the most challenging time yet. During this chat she mentioned three letters to me that I’d never heard before : PDA

When my son was young getting him to do anything was a struggle. My husband and I were met with constant meltdowns and upsets. Something as simple as dressing him and taking him to nursery on time was impossible.
Everyone told me it was just toddler tantrums and he would soon grow out of it. But he didn’t. In fact, things only got worse.
He became extremely fussy about food. If two different items on his plate touched one another he wouldn’t eat them. He left anything that was the slightest bit burnt and he’d even refuse a chocolate bar if a piece of it was broken.

A simple description of PDA is:
Anxiety need to be in control and avoid other people’s demands,
this can be ordinary daily tasks such as getting dressed, eating and going out even to do their favourite activities.

They will often go to extreme lengths to avoid the demands
For example negotiating,distracting, creating an excuse, or saying something shocking
If all this fails then a meltdown.

When my son was younger he was very set in his ways and would only play with certain toys in a regimented way. On top of all this, he barely slept. Me and my husband were permanently exhausted. We looked like the walking dead.
He became extremely fussy about food. If two different items on his plate touched one another he wouldn’t eat them. He left anything that was the slightest bit burnt and he’d even refuse a chocolate bar if a piece of it was broken.
There are many other examples I could give however I want to keep this short.

As time has gone on and we have an understanding we are able to support and guide him the best we can.

Click the logo to go to the Positive PDA website and find out more, or better yet register for the summit. Educate yourselves about one of the lesser known parts of the spectrum. The summit is entirely free during its duration and has over 16 key-note speakers. I for one have registered and am excited to learn more. Thanks Nicola 😘

And if you haven’t already check out our Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/ourjourneyontothespectrum

Posted in autism and covid19, Autism In The News

EHCP Announcement

Gavin Williamson our current Secretary of State for Education has made a ‘temporary’ amendment in regards to EHCPs. In my basic understanding an EHCP is a document which outlines the needs a child has in regards to their education and the local authority must adhere to it.

This amendment in laments terms basically means that EHCPs are now pretty much null and void. It’s completely understandable that the government would do something like this to protect themselves in such unprecedented times.

Most parents will understand this amendment as it’s not reasonably possible for an EHCP to be followed to the letter when schools are closed to the majority and social distancing needs to be enforced.

As you can imagine, me being the neurotic mess I am immediately panicked… William doesn’t have his in place yet, what if we can’t get one? He can’t get into a school that will meet his needs. He will fall further and further behind… the whirlwind in my mind went on and on 🌪

I reached out to Lisa who is the SENCO for early years to find out if and how this would affect us. Luckily new applications are still being accepted which has put my mind at ease (a little) as without one we can not apply to go to our school of choice which we are almost agreed upon. 🤣

Our PCP meeting is still due to take place over email or Skype or in some other technological way 👩‍💻 which is brilliant as we can get the ball rolling despite the current situation.

My main worry is the ‘temporary’ part of this announcement. When it’s safe to leave the house and get back to what will be put new normal, will EHCPs be enforceable again? Or will there be another reason to suspend them.

I worry about what’s going to happen in the future for the children with special needs. The world is only just starting to understand ASD and I worry this will set us as parents of these children back in our fight to get out children the best possible care.

That smile though…
Makes our recent sleepless nights worth every second!

William himself has had some amazing days recently. He’s spent a lot of time in the garden and engaging with our neighbours especially when food is involved 🍲 honestly he’s like a little zombie trying to get brains 🧟‍♂️

After the good days there is always a few bad. He’s not eating like he normally does. He doesn’t want to spend time with me… which is understandable but he doesn’t even want to spend time with Rusty 🐕 which is almost unheard of.

The nights he wont sleep and cant be settled are upon us. I feel so useless on these nights and could quite often sit and cry with him… pathetic I know.

Then the (disgusting) icing on the cake… this morning he was on top form and spread poo all over his room and himself. He was literally as happy as a pig in shit. 🐖 Then comes the trauma of having to hose him down and clean poo off his face and every other surface. It was like that scene in psycho. 🔪🚿

The a$$hole club
Bonding on the few days they have something in common

Posted in Emotions

The Baby Blues?

Postpartum depression and anxiety that 11-20% of women experience is not at all the same as the more commonly experienced ‘baby blues’ 80% of women experience for a few weeks.

Judy Dippel, Author of ‘Breaking the grip of Postpartum Depression: walk towards wellness with real facts, real stories and real god.’

I make it no secret that I am not a naturally maternal person and I work really hard to ensure I am the best Mom for William; the kind of Mom he needs me to be but I wont lie it often feels like i’m trying to roller-blade up a mountain ⛸.

It took me 18 months to admit I was struggling as people often referred to some of the feelings I had as ‘the baby blues’. It took me a long time having these thoughts and feelings building up for me to tell anyone and even then it was practically forced out of me in the most inappropriate way possible… A meeting at work 😳

Let me start from the beginning about my journey through trying to conceive, pregnancy, labour and beyond…
We agreed it was time to start trying for a baby about a year before I fell pregnant. We quit smoking and tried to be healthier. I spoke to my doctor and agreed to come off my medication; I have a neurological disorder called Trigeminal Neuropathy and the medication I was on at the time was linked to birth defects so it wasn’t worth the risks.
Every month my period came like clockwork ⏰ and every month we felt great loss as if we had lost something that wasn’t even there to start with. I’m not going to sugarcoat it but I think we both blamed ourselves. Why wasn’t my eggs working? am I infertile? I know Dave felt very similar about his swimmers too. This year of trying was constantly talking about how perfect our child would be and all the things we were looking forward to.
Monday 17th June 2016; I felt pregnant but had done every month so wasn’t holding out too much hope. I didn’t even wait for Dave to get home before I peed on the stick but there it was… that extra line we had been praying for🤰🏻

Pregnancy wasn’t easy; I had several factors which placed me on the high risk list and an induction was discussed from almost day one… There flew my plans of a drug free natural birth🕊
As the weeks ticked by more and more things went wrong leading to more appointments, more medication and more worry.
I left work officially on February 3rd 2017 to take my remaining leave before my maternity kicked in on the 6th March. We nested and cleaned and prepared the house for a whole tribe of babies even though we just had the one – Both of our dads are twins (not together obviously!) so at every scan I asked them to check there wasn’t another baby hiding 👶👶
1st of March I had my final consultant appointment. They needed to induce me asap to get William or Barry as we had nicknamed him (his uncle Jim still calls him Baz 3 years later) The consultants exact words were “when would you like to have your baby?” OMG! Obviously since they had driven it in to us how important it was for him to be out asap we said as soon as possible, We were booked in for Tuesday 7th March 2017. Our baby would be here in a week. 😊

Only that wasn’t quite the case… your consultant tells you what he thinks should happen and why but he doesn’t tell you if it is possible or what kind of state the wards are in. Thanks very much Fatima Allam for building your birthing suite for future labours but for me at this point it was a massive fucking inconvenience!
The day arrives and we were told to bring our hospital bag… Our appointment was 6pm and no one came to us until nearly 7:30pm. We didn’t need our hospital bag; they wanted to try something called a Foley Bulb induction.
I wont go into the gory details but it didn’t work and we were sent home at 2am and told to come back… with our bag at 9:30am the following morning. They wanted to try the ‘Propess’ Pessary. 24 hours under close observation. Nothing happened and i’m sat on the Maple ward with other Mothers popping out their kids left right and center despite the fact I have been there longer! How fucking inconsiderate of them! Then came the tablet pessaries and the long wait for my waters to be broken. Not to mention the numerous stretch and sweeps (Dave kept calling these scratch and sniffs 🤮) It got to the point that I didn’t believe the labour ward actually existed until my 8th day of trying to be induced… My mother had visited on day 7 and like the tornado she can be (to which I am very grateful)told them exactly how badly this was as no one was telling us anything and we were both just a wreck. It was so important for them to get him here quickly but no one was rushing. I was scared something would happen to William or to me. I wrote a letter in case i wasn’t around. One to Dave and one to William; you know with the usual. Why I fell in love with Dave and what I needed from him in my absence. A bit dramatic I know but it was how I felt.

Then day 8 arrived and by 6:59pm so had William. Lots of pain, crying and a lot of help from the surgical team but he was here. By the time I was moved to a ward it was time for Dave to go home as they didn’t let dads stay back then… I was not ready for this. This tiny little bundle cried for what felt like all night and I was in a shared room. The anxiety of this crippled me. I was awake all night holding him telling him every family member I could remember and their personality traits.

The love I felt for William was instant from the moment we fell pregnant but my life was changing so much, I wasn’t me anymore or the person I thought I had been. Work had been my life since I was 17. I had worked full time and made my way up and honestly loved my job, I would stay late, arrive early and log in from home. All my friends were there or so I thought. I always remember a conversation with my sister about how people had vanished from her life when she had my niece. I wouldn’t happen to me (insert eye roll here 🙄) But she was right… I hate it when that happens. People I spent every day with for years and nights out, boozy lunches were suddenly too busy to text. I’m not going to lie it fucking hurt and I was lonely.
There was something about Williams development that just didn’t sit right. It was OK for me to think it but if anyone mentioned anything I would become defensive and justify his delays. Thinking it was one thing but admitting it is something very different. I hated being on maternity leave, I was itching to get back to work and some normality. Some adult conversation.
Then in the November I get the call… my office is closing. My job is at risk. AGAIN! It didn’t just effect me but my mum also and so many others. I didn’t want redundancy. I had just had a baby. I needed flexible hours and a steady reliable income.
We were saved! the company I work for now was bringing us in house. I felt so relieved and happy but there was just something that made me uneasy. A deep seeded worry that I couldn’t quite shake off.
I returned to work in January 2019 and felt so out of my depth doing just 3 days but it wasn’t possible to do any more because we had no childcare or the funds to send him to nursery at that point. I couldn’t remember anything and there was no refresher training or brief about what had happened in the last year. Nothing. Everyone was trying to prepare for the move and I felt lost. What was once my world was now somewhere I went where hardly anyone knew me so I had no one to talk to. No DSE equipment for my bad back as someone had taken it whilst I was on maternity and lets face it, the company was closing us down. It wasn’t going to buy me equipment for the last 2 months.

My last day at my office was emotional; it felt like the end of a massive part of my life. My mom worked in the same building so on bad days I could go and vent or cry to her but not anymore. Hell i would even miss the mold on the canteen wall, the windows that wouldn’t open and the suspicious stains on the carpet.
The new office was beautiful, so modern and clean. It was only 4 years old and made me feel proud to work in a building like that but it wasn’t home; Its crazy because there were people there in the same situation as me and I just plastered on a smile… ‘this is great’ ‘yes William is beautiful’ ‘no don’t worry i’m fine’

Fast forward a year ⏩⏩⏩
A year of denial about how I was feeling, Fake it till you make it… I was under performing in my job, I couldn’t focus on almost anything so I wasn’t functioning at anything particularly well and have so many dark thoughts running around my head… Would William be better off without me? Am I the one that has caused whatever the problem is with him? how can I do my job in 3 days? Why don’t my team respect me? Why am I so lonely? Why doesn’t my child love me? why do my colleagues seem to single me out? What if our landlord follows through with his threat to sell the house? What will we do if we end up homeless? What if they take William away from me because it’s my fault? What if something bad happens to Dave? what about Big Nanna? would William be better without me? would he?
Have you ever been taken into an office and told your shit at your job? actually no that’s not what was said but its what it felt like at the time. I was forced in a little cloakroom style office to face some things… some things I hadn’t spoken about before. And with each irrational sentence that I sobbed, I felt a tiny bit lighter. That night my boss called me at home to make sure I had told Dave how I felt and that I was going to the doctors… Yes and yes.✔✔

I didn’t know what to say to the doctor and spent a fair amount of time just sobbing and telling him I didn’t know what was wrong with me but he did… Postnatal depression and anxiety. Too far gone to see a councillor. That wasn’t what was said but he recommended drugs for a quicker effect; I knew I needed to say yes as I had to do something as soon as possible to prepare myself not only to be able to function in day to day life again but for the fight I would shortly have for William.
I ended up on anti-anxiety medication and anti-depressants and it hasn’t been an easy road as they make you feel that you’re OK when your not so when I first broached the idea of coming off them I though I was ready but was given some poor advice by another doctor and took a deep crash back to despair.

That was over a year ago now and I’ve slowly gotten to a place where it is time to start coming off the tablets. I haven’t had to take any anti-anxiety tablet in a long time. Work is work; I am in a new job that I thoroughly enjoy and I am away from aspects that had helped me spiral but it isn’t my life. It is just a small part of it; Its my little 3 day break from my real life. I go to work on a Monday (my favourite day of the week) and my last shift is on the Wednesday and then I switch off and i’m done… well at least more than I ever was previously. We have moved house to one that isn’t falling down around us and it’s more of a home to us than the other one had been in 7 years and as you are aware we have accepted and admitted that William has additional needs and delays and things have been put into place for William to help his development and I am fighting tooth and nail to ensure he gets the support he needs going forwards. I am now a ‘Momma Bear’ and can be fiercely protective about William and his needs rather than sticking my head in the sand.
I am nearly off the antidepressants all together… 1 half dose twice a week, then going down to once a week and then i’m done.

I’m not sure why I felt the need to get this down in writing. It’s not really part of our ‘Journey onto the spectrum’ but it was a big part of leading up to this point. Its a part of me.