Posted in Emotions

Overcast

There is no manual for being a parent, there are help books and forums that can point you in the right direction, but what if your child has autism? Every single day is different and thing which have been successful in the past may not work out in the future.
If there was a manual for William, then I would give up everything I have for just an indication that I was doing something right.

Days like today are tough, I don’t know if it’s because I was already feeling a bit low, but the most insignificant thing tipped me over the edge… Orbeez. They are these tiny little beads that grow much bigger when in water and anyone who has used the will probably think it was the disposal that I found traumatising, but it wasn’t. We have used these on a fair few occasions and William has loved them with no incident, so much so that I had 50 thousand of the little fuckers to fill the bath with. He didn’t want to get in and lashed out at me, then he grabbed handfuls of them and threw them all over the bathroom but decided he did in fact want to get in and proceeded to fight me as I tried to remove his nappy. Once in the tub it went even further downhill as he started eating them… FUCK YOU PICA! I kept stopping him putting them in his mouth but, his other hand was ready with a fistful to shovel in and holding onto both was near on impossible. Getting him out the bath felt the same as he didn’t want to so flopped himself down and flopping about when I tried to grab a hold of him.
It felt like hours, just stopping him eating them (and failing) and trying to coax him out of the bath.

I wrapped him in a towel, and he snuggled into me, I sat there telling my four year old that I didn’t know what I was doing and that I would try to do better, that he deserves a better mom than me. It was all very dramatic even for my standards over a few non-toxic water beads. 🙄

I’m just having one of those days in which I feel like I am not good enough, these kind of days just creep up on you like a small grey cloud in the sky but before you even notice you are suddenly in a thunderstorm. That’s how my head feels today.  A little overcast and very dark ☁ but I am sure it will pass… just like the Orbeez.

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Posted in Emotions

Non-Starter

Let’s have a moment of silence for all those moms that expected this week to be something it isn’t…

Let’s think of those parents whose children are starting mainstream schools; those parents who are scared that this isn’t the right environment for their child and the parents who know it isn’t the right environment for their child but whose hands were forced.

Let’s think of the parents like myself whose children are yet to be allocated a suitable school. Whose children are getting left behind.

But let’s also celebrate the parents of all the four-year-olds out there who are happily and successfully starting their school journey. I will like their first day pictures on Facebook and comment about how adorable and grown up they look, but it’s tinged with sadness on my part.

We are back at the stage of jealousy for me, the green-eyed monster has reared its ugly head…
‘Why isn’t that my child?’
‘Why do that child’s parents get all these experiences that I once dreamed of?’
‘What did I do wrong, and they do right?’

Its stupid to think that way and usually its easy to swat away those thoughts like flies but right now its hard. I think that’s because its everywhere, social media, supermarkets, TV. There is no escape from what this week is. Its the start of the school year! Whoop de fucking whoop!

I wanted to photograph William in my street as me and H were outside my mom’s, I wanted to take photos with next doors youngest girl as she is starting secondary school, both in their slightly big but immaculate uniforms on their first days…but that isn’t happening.

I was naive and booked this week off work, I’m not so why as we were no closer to William securing a suitable setting but I guess I will still hopeful (or still had my head in the sand who knows 🤷‍♀️) I envisioned walking him to school and meeting other parents, talking about how big our kids are and how they’ve grown up so fast, how it was only yesterday when they were still in nappies and toddling around. I feel hard done to, and I know how bad that sounds as William is such a beautiful child and I wouldn’t change him for the world, but right now I feel robbed. Robbed of the firsts in which I expected. Every day with William is wonderful but as his peers are growing up and moving on, he just isn’t. We are in the same place we were 2 years ago, nursery, nappies, messy mealtimes… don’t get me wrong, I do know and fully appreciate how far he has come in those two years but this week its hard.

My week off will now be dedicated to decorating, continuing the journey of turning my house into a home, something to keep me busy and my mind occupied as we follow the same routine we have for years. I’m so grateful that William’s nursery said they would keep him as long as possible, but that journey should have naturally ended now, and it hasn’t.

So again, let’s just take a moment for those moms whose week isn’t as expected, those who instead feel angry about it, disappointed, upset. Those moms who may spend this morning crying into their coffee, writing angrily at a laptop or smiling through the heartache or in some cases all three.

All my love to all moms out there, no matter the situation you are in this week 😘 M. x

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Posted in Emotions

Panic! at the play date

I have come to realise that I’m a bit of an introvert, it sounds silly as I come on here and share so much information but in real life I shy away from people, I avoid activities and places that I am uncomfortable with, and I want to keep myself away from people who may judge me as a mother or William as a child. I am now at the point in which I don’t know if what I am doing is to protect myself or him. I want to tell you about my irrational fear of playdates…

I went on a playdate once, I mean there has been more than one over the years considering we have one every week minimum but this one is the most memorable, it much have been well over 2 years ago and I must say it was one of the most horrendous moments of my life.

William was definitely under the age of two as it wasn’t until his two-year check-up that I started to accept his potential problems.

Soft play! What kid doesn’t love soft play? My kid; that’s who!

I went with two friends from work who had both had their children around 5 months after I had William, please bear in mind that these two women, were women I felt comfortable with and had spent a lot of time with over the years, but I was dreading it, I remember being stood at the bus stop feeling so sick that I almost cancelled. I had already started noticing the stark differences between my child and children of his age and being around them and trying to sugar coat and deny Williams delays in development was exhausting and the more I had to do it, the less I was convincing myself.

Their children were beautiful but that wasn’t what bothered me, what bothered me was that they were so agile on their feet, they climbed and played independently, they communicated not only with each other but with their moms too whereas William just clung to me crying. He was barely walking independently and struggled to communicate non-verbally let alone with words.

The date didn’t end with soft play, we went for lunch. Their children played and independently ate and seemed to thoroughly enjoy themselves. William refused to eat and remained silent.

I felt like a failure, what had I done so that my child wasn’t like theirs? Was I not loving him enough? Was it because I was working and wasn’t with him all the time?

I didn’t reach out for another play date.
Was that wrong of me? I truly don’t know. I don’t actively seek out play dates with anyone, but sometimes they just happen.

We have play dates once a week with the same child and they go really well but they are often in the comfort of our home, William has familiar surroundings and can easily access his safe place. We have had a few outside the home and some have been great and others not so much, but it all depends on how William handles the situation or environment. We went into our local park once and it is truly beautiful in there, I don’t think I appreciate it enough since its on my doorstep but on this day it was busy, it was a half term of some sort and William was struggling, he wouldn’t walk and I didn’t have the stroller since we are still waiting his referral and he kept laying on the floor to the point I was peeling him off it like day old gum. Teens laughed at him and I felt myself getting more upset, William continued to shutdown… It was not a good play date, but we continue to have them, maybe it’s because I understand William more now than I did back then, I just don’t know. I don’t know why these playdates don’t bring on anxiety and sickness, but others do. Maybe it’s the unknown 🤷‍♀️

I guess I need to put myself and William out there more, but I don’t know if it is what is best, William doesn’t engage with other children at nursery so am I being unrealistic in trying to get him to engage with other children on his days off, is it fair on him? But then am I just saying that because the memory of how bad of a mother I felt back then is impacting my decisions now?

How silly is it that something so simple as meeting other parents and kids can make me feel so anxious that I am physically sick? How do I get passed this? Do I even need to?

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Posted in Events & Holidays

The Hobman Holiday

It was that time of year again, the annual family holiday. The stress, the anxiety, the tears and that’s just me whilst trying to pack our bags 🤣

It was a new beginning this year as it was a pureblood adventure, cheeky Harry potter reference there 😜 Mom and Dad, with their two kids Me and H and our two kids Kaylee and William.
each year our numbers have dwindled, my dad jokes that the holiday metaphorically kills people off… he was fearful for his life, if mom hasn’t got rid of him in over 40 years, i think he may be safe 😂 It sounds crazy but this was my favourite trip yet and we have being doing it since 2017. I climbed the ingleton waterfall walk whilst pregnant with William. If you haven’t done it, please check it out by clicking here as it is beautiful.

Just like last year William loved stream walking, last year we went slightly later in the year and he had to be fully clothed, warm and in wellies but this year I got him some aqua shoes from amazon which were amazing as it meant he could scramble over rocks in the water. Kaylee was brave and they both went in, in bare feet 😮 Nanna planned on keeping her feet dry but William had other ideas and dragged her in with him but me on the other hand was all in, as you can see my feet are full submerged… I was not wearing aqua shoes; my sketchers will never be the same!

Swimming in Ingletons outdoor pool is always a highlight for me and sadly last year it wasn’t open due to Covid but this year it had undergone a refurbishment and was open, we took full advantage and booked it privately. If you are in the area (maybe after the waterfall walk 😉) check it out, here’s the info. The pool is kept amazingly clean and has disabled changing facilities which made getting William ready and changed afterwards a dream. The staff as always were super friendly and helpful.
I worried about Williams bowel problems meaning we couldn’t swim as irs super difficult to find swim nappies in his size, I mean look at the issues we had with standard nappies 🙄 however there is website called splash about which sell specialised wetsuits without the specialised price. check it out here. William is modelling the ‘Jammer wetsuit in cobalt blue’ the website claims that this is the first and only wetsuit to provide faecal leak protection 💩 well I am not sure if that statement is true but it does work and for less than £30 you can’t go wrong! I will definitely be buying the next size up when it’s needed.
The blow up life vest was an absolute waste of £13, not including the link as I wouldn’t want anyone else to waste their money. It claims to be designed for children ages 3-6 years but was huge on William who is 4 and a half despite tightening the straps as far as they would go. I also deemed it unsafe as it kept tipping him upside down which meant he could have no independence in the water. To add insult to injury, the material was so thin that William bit through it within 15 minutes so it got abandoned in the pool bin.

I want to talk about something that happened after swimming when we went for a cream tea to celebrate H’s birthday, something that happens a lot… I would like to throw out that I do not currently have a blue parking badge for William but I have applied for one and until I receive it we are not eligible to park in disabled spaces so we don’t however it does make parking in standard size spaces a nightmare, we try to get into a mother and child space but these aren’t always available. The place we chose for our cream tea is divine but doesn’t have mother and child spaces  so we pulled into 2 spaces whilst we unloaded william, his pram and the essentials (there were numerous other spaces available) the reason we did this was to protect the cars on either side whilst we remove Wiliam from the car as it can be difficult and he often kicks the car door which can cause damage to our car and those around us. I will reiterate her that there were numerous other spaces available. A “gentleman” and I use that word ironically decided to pull up behind us and comment on our parking, baring in mind it was easy to see we were trying to remove William from the car. There was only myself, William and my Mom there at that point. Firstly the “gent” had no reason to comment as there were multiple spaces and I personally think we were doing the right thing. He also commented when he thought it was two women on their own but shit himself when my dad stepped in who was in a car travelling behind us. Comments like this are the reason I suffer with anxiety when taking William out in the car (Baring in mind that I don’t drive so rely on other people) making comments to women on their own can be intimidating and this guy blatantly wasn’t aware my dad was with us and I genuinely believe that had my dad been visible at the time of his comment that he wouldn’t have made it.
There are too many people in this world that think its ok to make judgemental comments about others without knowing the full facts, you read about it all the time in the papers. people leaving notes on cars in disabled bays because they don’t look disabled or people commenting as people with hidden disabilities use disabled toilets. Its crazy that people think this is acceptable!

William did so well with his walking whilst we were away and because the cottage was at the end of a lane in the middle of nowhere, he had the freedom to walk at his own pace and explore his surroundings, he struggles walking when he has to be controlled because of traffic or needing to be somewhere at a certain time which is why we have asked for a referral to wheelchair services to try and get funding towards his own adapted stroller, however this was sent in september last year and we are still chasing it now 🙄 Just like everything else he needs.
Picture one is so special, I know it may not look it but it genuinely brought tears to my eyes. During our walk I was tickling his neck with a piece of wheat and when I threw it away he picked another one and passed me it so I would tickle him more… he is doing so well with his object exchange.

Sleepwise wasn’t ideal whilst away, I was sharing a room with William which meant I couldn’t go to sleep until he was asleep and I have to wake up when he woke. Unfortunately on the Wednesday he didn’t go to sleep until the 3am and then on the Friday woke up at 3am so needless to say, I need a holiday to recover from my holiday haha. He found great comfort in his tablet whilst away which he sadly broke however thanks to Amazon’s no worry warranty, he has a free of charge replacement due any day now.

The holiday as a whole was hugely successful and William did so well with the changes to his routine, he loved being with all his family and as always took a huge shine to his grandad. We got a little wet going out for our evening meal which threw William a little out of sorts (third pic) however he soon came round and enjoyed his dinner.

I won a bad parent award as I had accidentally packed a small pack of nappies by mistake, thankfully I have Amazon prime and was able to get some to us, not next day as we were the middle of nowhere but within 2 days which is pretty bloody brilliant. I felt like I had gone back in time having to pay for them again… honestly I was so angry with myself and don’t know what I would have done had I not been able to get any 😥

It was really nice to have some much needed family time after a year and a half of lockdowns, isolation, shielding etc and I look forward to doing it so much more often 🥰

I have a little confession to make, I started dating… I’ve spoken on here about how I don’t know if I would ever be ready or how to introduce someone to William but it just sort of happened in the most natural way. He’s an amazing person and William immediately took to him and his daughter which is more than I could have ever asked for.

I share a lot on here about Williams journey and how I handle things (or sometimes dont), but this is private for now. It’s happening, I’m very happy, as is William and that is all that matters.

Much love 😘, M. x

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Posted in EHCP Process

The (EHC) plan that time forgot

There is still no update on the L.A finding him a suitable provision and they are well passed the 20 week timescale shown below, gratefully pinched from the Kids website 😊

28th October 2020 they confirmed all information was received.

9th December 2020 they confirmed William would be assessed for an EHCP – the last day of the timescale.

17th February 2021, they had up until this date to gather report and information. Reports were not gathered until the final two weeks of this deadline and his report from speech and language was not included despite this being his main area of need. (lets not forget that the specialized allocations were 15th February and I have been asking since the beginning of 2020 (February at the latest and kept getting told, we will start when… we will start after etc)

The draft should then have been issued at the end of this week. However, it was received 1st May 2021, almost 27 weeks after the confirmed they had received the request. I should have received my final copy and be done and dusted by that point but no, not in Hull 🙄

We are currently 41 weeks in and still no final copy despite multiple chases.

The local authority are currently over double the timeframe they should adhere to which is why we have no idea what your future education will look like. It’s a joke.

*Amendment*
On the 28th July I received a phone call from Williams new case worker, the illusive Richard day, I was beginning to feel like this man didn’t exist. The Local Authority is finally in full agreement that William needs a place within a specialised provision! we are currently unaware of where this will be but they are aiming to have a provision for April/May 2022. The overwhelming relief was amazing however due to the lies and misinformation we have been given in the past, I wont full believe it until they follow through on this.

My solicitor is submitting a complaint in regards to the timescales taken for the EHCP and we must await this document before we can decide whether we wish to proceed to a tribunal. I’m not looking for compensation (why take money from an already underfunded department?) but they need to know that what they are doing is legally and morally wrong.

I will keep you posted, M x 😘

Posted in Brief updates

Congraduations 🎓

It’s a bittersweet feeling when children of William’s age are moving on and he isn’t, on the 16th July he officially graduated from nursery, only he didn’t.

I’m looking at his little diploma now and it brings tears to my eyes thinking about it, I’m sad but I’m not sure if I am sad for William or for myself. It sad that he doesn’t get to start school with children his own age in September but then if we think about it, he isn’t like children his own age.

William doesn’t understand that he should be going to school so the more I think about it, the more I think about it the more I realise that I am sad for me, sad that I don’t have the excitement of a first day, meeting other mom’s in September, school uniforms and meeting teachers etc. I know it will come eventually but the delay just makes me feel like we are even more different from other children; i feel like its segregating us further.

On the other hand, it makes me really happy about how inclusive his nursery are and that even though he isn’t moving on, he got to graduate with his class. I am so grateful they are keeping him until the easter term; I honestly don’t know what I would have done if they had of said no.

A short and bittersweet update today, much love M 😘 x

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Posted in EHCP Process

Announcement

I have been sat on something for quite some time now but have been cautious about making it public knowledge until the right time, but I think now is that time, time to let the proverbial cat out of the bag 🐈

I have been a little Jekyll and Hyde in posts about mainstream schools, those that have been around since the beginning; since before ‘Our journey onto the Spectrum’ was a thing and it was just simply our life, will remember how adamant I was that William was would get the education he needed, the education he deserves. Somewhere over the last year, what was right for William got turned around and it because what was right for the Local Authority.

Pressure was put upon me to name mainstream schools, with phrases such as
‘by law you have to name mainstream schools for allocations…’
I can categorically state this is absolute bullshit! But when the forms came through, I felt forced to do so, I felt manipulated and bullied into making a decision that I new deep down was not correct for my child.

The crushing disappointment that came on February 15th when William was left of the consideration list for special school places almost tipped me over the edge mentally and knocked the little bit of fight out of me that I had left. I remember saying to Debs that I just couldn’t fight anymore, and she told me I was only just starting… she is usually right always right but I just felt so deflated that I wasn’t ready to admit that to myself. If we think back to that time; I kind of had a lot of other things going on in my personal life. Breakdown of marriage, adjusting to being on my own, juggling my finances and not being able to see my family due to covid. I think I was at a stage in which if the Local Authority told me to have William educated in the local dump, that I would have agreed.

Williams EHCP draft was completed on 29th April, but I didn’t get it until 6th May, I filled out my parental response form naming the mainstream school I had chosen and in which myself, the nursery and the Local Authority Senco had all liaised with shortly before.
The head teacher couldn’t confirm they could meet Williams needs without the EHCP but I was expected to name them for the final copy without this confirmation… I felt I had no choice, so I named them and was ready to post it and I am so grateful I didn’t do it straight away.

On the 7th May, I got my fight back with help from the most amazing woman, a woman who has never stopped fighting for what is right for her child. A woman who helped me kick myself up the arse and point me in the right directions about my rights. K❤ If it wasn’t for her, I wouldn’t have sought legal advice, which I have been given free of charge thanks to the specialists she pointed my in the direction to… I have since been awarded legal aid and its not even something I would have looked into if not for her.
I tip-exed out my school of choice and wrote that I specifically wanted a specialist school and named one in which I feel and have always felt would be appropriate for the education of my child, one in which can without a doubt give my child the education he needs and deserves. I sealed it and sent it straight away. ✉ Had it have been 24 hours later I would have made the biggest mistake of my life (and believe me, I have made a few… divorce impeding remember 🙄

I think friendship and support comes from the most random and unlikely places but when your children have special needs, you just see each other and think ‘I’ve got you’
There are so many people in my life that have supported us in this journey purely because they understand and  have been there themselves.

The Local Authority doesn’t tell you what you need or are entitled to, the don’t point you in the right direction for your children, they point you in the direction which is the best for them. It’s the other parents that do that, the parents that fought a little harder than we did, the parents who scraped and struggled for help and answers. They then pass that down to us.

The NHS isn’t much better, purely because the communication between departments is virtually non-existent when it come to special needs kids so not only are you fighting one entity such as the local authority but also the NHS and its procedures and policies. I am a huge fan of the NHS and the Queen has rightly awarded them with the George Cross, which is the highest award bestowed by the British government “for acts of the greatest heroism or for most conspicuous courage in circumstance of extreme danger” and the NHS truly deserve it due to all they have done to save lives not only during the Covid-19 pandemic but for the last 73 years.

I saw this a while ago and thought it summed everything up perfectly…

Other parents came into my hole to help me, and I will happily climb into the next person’s hole because that is how this works.

Anyway, I digressed a little from the point, should the Local Authority fail to provide William with an acceptable school setting which will meet all his needs, baring in mind this has to be done by the time the send me the final copy of the EHCP, then I am fully ready to take them to a tribunal. It looks like it may be a big fight 🥊 but I’m ready this time.

Let’s end this post on something amazing.
This is something I never thought I would be able to tell people, William spoke… and in true William fashion; just like all his other firsts, it was at Big Nannas 🥰

He said ‘Nanna’ in context, six times!!! Six whole times!!! and the following day did it again when going passed her street. These may be complete flukes and I don’t want to build massive hopes upon it, but it is so much more than I ever expected. I mean Mama would have been even better but beggars can’t be choosers 🤣

All my love, M xx

Posted in Autism In The News

Genevieve Hyde

Do you know this woman? If not let me introduce you…

Genevieve Hyde

This is Genevieve Hyde, she is the former head of education at Wargrave House School and Specialist College in Newton-Le-Willows.

I struggle when I think about the fact I will have to entrust William into the hands of a school for more than 6 hours a day, it genuinely gives me palpitations and strikes fear into my soul but when you make that inevitable decision of which school to entrust your child to, you pray it was the right one and that they have the utmost respect for you children and their needs. That they have nothing but the best intentions.

Genevieve did something that as a special needs parent I find unforgivable, she made fun of the children in her care. In fact, it’s unforgivable to make comments about any child but she was in a position of power and trust! I have had friends and family make comments about my child and can honestly say they have swiftly been put in their place or cut out completely… this is someone who should know much better than to be so cruel, someone who chose to work in that field, someone who should understand.

Genevieve created a WhatsApp group with members of her staff in which she not only made comments about other staff, but about pupils in her care. It was the another member of this group chat that reported her for her comments.

She also made comments referring to her pupils as ‘window licking’ my question here is that although one of her staff members reported her, did they comment in return to the messages? did they tell her it was inappropriate? or did they go along with her?

Can you imagine how the parents of this school feel knowing they placed their trust in a woman who blatantly abused it.

This woman was trusted with the care and education of children like William, children who, as the name of the school suggests require specialist care. In May 2019 she was suspended under an investigation of misconduct. She was later dismissed in which she unsuccessfully tried to appeal. Thank God! However, despite losing her job, she is still allowed to continue in the profession and seek employment within specialist education. How is this an appropriate punishment? In a few years and this isn’t in the papers, this woman may be in charge of another child’s education, I wouldn’t want it to be my child!

Were parents at her school even notified of this when it happened or have they read about it in the papers and now wondering if it was their child she was referring to?

The world can be a cruel and horrible place…

Much Love
M. xx

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Posted in Reference

BBC – The A word – Season three review

I have been putting off watching season three for quite some time now as one of the main themes for this season is Alison and Paul’s separation and subsequent divorce. As you can imagine this was hitting a little too close to home, so I had to turn it off until I was emotionally ready, but I think that time is now. So, I dug it out of my Sky planner and started again since things are no longer as raw for me although I am fully aware my review may villainise Paul, but I will do my best not to call him a c**t throughout.
I remember writing during my season two review that William’s dad and I needed to make a conscious effort to spend more time together so we didn’t end up like Paul and Alison, which is laughable now I read it back as he was already spending his time with someone else 🤣


Episode one… Oh dear god, I forgot just how much I love Christopher Eccleston as Maurice! I am sure I have said this before and will say it again many times, but when did he become the Grandad and not the leading man? Because I totally would 😍

Why is Alison blonde? It’s very off-putting… maybe it’s just that thing all of us girls do when we go through a breakup and try to have a glow-up. I’m mean I’m now a bloody red head 😂

The season kicks off in true A word tradition with Joe having a meltdown, he is seeing his dads new house for the first time, this isn’t the safe place Joe once called home. We like to think that wherever we are, is our safe place for our children but in some cases bricks and mortar mean just as much. This is hitting a little close to home. I hope I am ready to watch this 🤔 Especially as I have all this to come when William’s dad finds his own place. We do have a plan to slowly introduce William to the new environment and make it as familiar as possible which is why my spare bedroom has a mass amount of duplicated toys and furniture etc.
Joe has ran away from the new house to seek comfort in the old house, he has no boundaries or sense of ownership and doesn’t grasp the concept that it now belongs to someone else.
I chose to stay in my house after William’s dad left, some of the memories and lies that went on here hurt but this is my home, William’s home. This is his safe place. my safe place. our safe place.

Paul is angry at Maurice about the fact Joe has started to reject his headphones and music in which he usually takes comfort in, he’s saying Maurice taking Joe to the new house has caused this… obviously it’s not Paul’s fault for not being able to keep his dick in his pants 🙄
I’m grateful in a strange way that William is still very young and may not remember us as a family unit, hopefully he will just remember the way it is now. If he doesn’t remember, then he can’t be upset by it.

I think I have said this for each season’s review but I fucking love Maurice and Ralphs relationship.

Holy shitballs! Ralph has just announced he is getting married and moving out, Maurice looks like he’s about to keel over and after his collapse in a previous season, his high cholesterol and high blood pressure, this may finish him off. I do hope they don’t kill Maurice off as it would lead to such major heartbreak for Joe. Death is inevitable for all of us but the hole someone leaves when they die has a much greater impact for someone with autism.
Rusty is now 7 and I am already freaking out about if something happens to him or he passes away. How would William cope without him? He sleeps on the landing outside William’s bedroom and in a morning, William lays on his side of the baby gate next to him just stroking his fur. How do you replace that kind of love, that comfort? You can’t!

“when you’ve got a kid that’s like Joe, you get used to feeling like you’re failing’

Alison Hughes – The A Word

Amen to that 🙌🏻 Amen to those tiny moments in which you don’t feel like a failure because I can tell you this in all truthfulness; they are so rare. It makes me happy that this has been vocalised. Honestly sometimes I feel like I have a VIP membership to the shit moms club and take responsibility for loads of bad things that are outside of my control.
Some days, it’s my fault, it’s all my fault, it’s always all been my fault… but I know that’s it’s not but it doesn’t stop that guilty feeling which is why I often seek validation in my parenting from the professionals I deal with. Jane from the incontinence service telling me I was doing amazing boosted me more than she could ever have known.

“I am so ready to fight people all the time”

Alison Hughes – The A Word

I can wholeheartedly get onboard with this feeling, as a parent of a child with special needs you become so conditioned in have to fight due to flaws in the massively fucked up system, fighting for support, education, facilities, services, we have to fight for everything, and it ever gets any easier and it is hard to get out of that fighter mindset.

  • Stare at my kid – I’ll fight you!
  • Comment on why my child is in a stroller – I’ll fight you!
  • Let my child down – I’ll fight you!
  • Mess up his routine – I’ll fight you!

The list goes on and on and in soe instances a fight isn’t necessary and in some you have to fight harder than ever before. How do you learn to differentiate between the those that require a fight and those that do not?


Episode two and Rebecca is having a baby! It will be interesting to see how Joe reacts to someone taking his sisters attention from him, he is asking a lot of questions about where the baby is now? Where will it sit? Will it cry? Its almost as if he is preparing himself.

There is a beautiful montage showing Joe going to school and his relationship with his teacher, Heather. I don’t think I will ever see Julie Hesmondhalgh as anyone other than Hayley from Corrie, I half expected her to be wearing that red anorak.

I have just nicely received Williams draft EHCP (but we will discuss that in more detail soon) and it talks about describing transitions to William and its great to see it in action between Joe and Heather.

Mark had decided he isn’t autistic anymore because he has stopped banging his head and smashing up his mom’s furniture. Paul rightly explains that, that isn’t all autism is.

‘I know what autism is and it isn’t me’

Mark Berwick – The A Word


I am not ashamed to say I was crying at this point. Messy crying. Loud messy crying, well it started out silent but didn’t end that way.

They are using social stories as a communication method which again is something mentioned in Williams EHCP, so I enjoyed seeing it in practise. The story used to explain Rebecca’s pregnancy and what the baby means to Joe is really well suited to the situation, I’m guess that’s the point, but it makes me eager to start looking into these for when William reaches that level of understanding.

❤Ralph & Katie❤
Aren’t they just couple goals?

Joes’ attachment to Heather is apparently a problem, I don’t quite understand this, so I hope they elaborate more. I know first-hand about the disappointment that comes with attachments to professionals. We have seen it so many times when William forms attachments and then someone leaves or moves on in their careers that it can be catastrophic, also known as blowing William’s routine apart… Linda, Val, Sarah and even his dad. These people coming and going from his life have had massive impacts upon William routine and often cause a regression in his behaviours.


Episode three and there is a Ben? Who is Ben? Is it wise to introduce a new person to Joe? Is he new? I mean he will have seen him in the playground. I have spoken about introducing new foods but if your child doesn’t like a different brand of chicken nugget how can you knowing introduce new people? Especially if you don’t know they will stick around because after all people do always leave in one way or another.
How can we as parents know if someone has the best intentions towards us? William can’t tell me if someone is mean to him or has hurt him. How would I know? How could I trust someone? Not only with William but with myself? After everything how do you even consider letting someone into your life again? It’s a hard thought to process so I think I will put that aside for now and revisit at a much later date.

Paul is upset that Joe has done things with Ben… He needs to go and fuck himself! Their separation was his doing! He had an affair! He can’t expect Joe not to have life experiences when he isn’t there, he made his choice and he need to accept the consequences of that choice.

This episode isn’t very Joe focused, its more about how the family is handling their other relationships. You kind of forget that these needs maintaining too. Joe wants his dad late at night and Alison simply drives all those miles to take him, I don’t have that option nor that kind of relationship with William’s dad but maybe one day things will be easier.


Episode four, Paul and Bill’s worried mom Sarah just makes me feel a little queasy. Their relationship is soo forced and the lack of chemistry is laughable.

Rebecca is in an antenatal class and her sheer discomfort takes me back to when I was pregnant with William, she looks utterly lost and frightened. I remember it very well, that feeling of wondering if you are ready, will you ever be ready and then the realisation that its too late to prepare and 9 months definitely isn’t long enough. 😂

Oh no Maurice isn’t Ralphs best man! How could he pick someone else? Who is this, Josh?
Ralph has just told Maurice off for being pushy ‘You’re not my dad’ I like to say I’m good at foreshadowing so I’m presuming that his dad may make an appearance or there will be a revelation of some sort 🤷🏻‍♂️

‘It’s guilt you know; I never know where his autism ends, and my bad parenting begins.’

Alison Hughes – The A word


I feel you Alison, I really feel you. You plan everything like I do and for the same reasons. This season my heart is truly with you and I don’t think it was before, it was easy to hate you as I saw a lot of myself in you and it was a projection on how I felt as a mother and sometimes still do.

Joe is overwhelmed at the prospect of the walk his mom has organised, he’s withdrawn and trashed his room… It’s a familiar scenario for me.

Ooh I don’t like the fact Ben has jumped in to back up Alison in a disagreement with Paul about how to handle Joe. Its not really any of his business and how can he presume he knows Joe well enough to comment! Strike one Ben, Strike one! ❌

‘Why do you have to be different? Why do you always have to be different?’

Joe Hughes – The A Word

More tears… not ashamed in the slightest! How can that not make you sad? My heart breaks for Joe 💔
Rebecca has convinced him to go on the walk, he turns up in true style with a hat, his headphones and a bubble gun 🔫 he seems happy even though he was struggling with the thought of the walk, he seems truly happy and its beautiful. There are even more tears #sorrynotsorry

Rebecca is scared that her baby may be like Joe, she feels bad for it as if it means she doesn’t want Joe. I think despite the fact there are many reasons I never wanted more children, the main focus is because I am scared, what if I had another child like William? I think it solidified it for me.  What if William couldn’t cope with a sibling? I think I struggle with William sometimes so how could I handle two children let alone the possibility of two children with additional needs. I know people that do it and make it look so easy and I’m envious of them, but I guess I’m also scared for me, can I do that to my mental health? What if I have another breakdown? It was so hard coming back from that dark place; I don’t think I could make it out again? But then there is a new reasoning to my decision… do I really want two kids to two different dads? What if it didn’t work out? I never imagined my marriage would breakdown… forever doesn’t always mean forever, apparently forever means until someone else turns my head, the grass looks greener or life would be easier 🤷🏻‍♀️
Maybe I should become a spinster and then I can stop worrying about this stuff, I could collect Cats stuffed animals and refer to them as my babies, wouldn’t have to worry about introducing new people into Williams life then… a stuffed bunny never hurt anyone 🐇

I sense tension between Ben and Alison already… He wasn’t happy with the fact she said she would be coming up to bed in a minute and not straight away. Strike two Ben, Strike F***ing two!


Episode five…

‘Now I walk’ – Joe Hughes.
They just let him walk? Is this normal? Should I let William do as he pleases, when he pleases?

I called it! Ralph’s dad has just arrived and its Owen from Corrie! Poor Ralph didn’t know he was coming, and he looks confused and unimpressed. It’s been 10 years, what did Owen Doug expect?

I love Louise, she is a warrior, the true embodiment of the phrase ‘tiger mom’. If I am half as good of a mom as she is, then I am happy 🥰

🤮 Sarah and Paul… I just can’t handle it, she is so awkward and his is a c**t so slimy.

Mark has offered to take Joe to the Zoo Park? I’m guessing this is like a petting zoo. 🤷🏻‍♀️ Paul has agreed to let him, but he is freaking out, I’m not sure if he is freaking out because Mark is autistic or because he hasn’t looked after Joe before. He’s responsible enough to have a job in Pauls pub but I do understand the worry, as I’m not sure how I would feel about it if it was William he was taking out but then again I don’t really trust anyone with him. I can count on one hand the people who have looked after him away from me, not including his dad…
* Mom & Dad
* Helen
* Julie & Dave
* Leanne and family
* Danielle & Shannon

It’s a small list for a four-year-old but it took me a long time to trust anyone with him and that has nothing to do him having additional needs but more about how I felt as a mom.

Ralph’s dad is opening up to Maurice about how he felt so disconnected from his family due to Louise’s closeness with Ralph, I sort of understand this as I don’t make it easy for people to understand William the way I do. Although that being said it doesn’t justify the fact he abandoned Ralph!
It does upset me that Ralph feels like he should apologise for liking his dad. Her obviously senses the tension his dad’s presence causes and it’s really painful that he feels that it means he shouldn’t like him. I do hope Louise hasn’t badmouthed him in front of him as parents should never do that to their kids no matter how much they are hurting or the circumstances.

It’s the wedding day! Louise and Katie both look stunning 😍
Maurice has gone to collect Doug for Ralph, that’s love. That’s pure and selfless. I really do hope he gets a last minute promotion to best man #MauriceForBestMan

Ralph is so happy his dad is there; I have genuine tears in my eyes. He truly deserves happiness after everything he has been through.
Ralphs entire face lit up as he sees Katie walking down the aisle. Their vows are amazing, so lovely and very them 😊
Josh’s speech is good but I stand by my hashtag!

Paul keeps getting cockblocked by Bill which is the highlight of their relationship for me although if I have to watch Paul roll his eyes one more time, I swear to god I will jump into the TV and punch him in his throat 🤬

‘You’re not my dad. You’re better.’

Ralph Wilson – The A Word

More tears, happy tears… Team Maurice!


Episode Six is the last in this series and there are no more to watch, no more have been made but season four is expected to be released in 2022 however this is yet to be officially confirmed by the BBC.

The episode starts off with Rebecca walking instead of Joe… Is the baby about to make an appearance?
I love Maurice! He’s following her with a wheelbarrow haha 🤣 he has my dad sense of humour so if I was Louise (or even my mom for that matter) I would have murdered them.

Oh dear god, I hate Paul so much!!!
and Ben, I hate Ben too!!!

Its Ralph and Katie’s moving day, their little house is lovely. Maurice sitting down with a drink and the TV remote after all the heavy lifting is basically channelling everyone’s dad ever! And yes Mr H, that is you too 🤣

And…… he’s out of here! Strike three for Ben! ⚾ Bye-bye dick head! He’s just railroaded Alison into a corner and forced her to end thing because she isn’t in love with him yet. He been on the scene like 2 minutes!

Louise silently breaking down in Ralphs old room is devastating, it feels so real and raw that it breaks my heart 💔 she is a superb actress.

Shitting hell Ben is back, well he’s not back but he’s still in the café with Alison. He’s pushing Alison and she has been hurt too much to open herself up like that and he should have been patient with her but its too late now. He redeems himself a little bit by doing Joe’s signature goodbye… ‘Hug or Handshake’ and Alison chose handshake, good lass!

Sarah and Paul 🤢 the slow cooker analogy is quite cute but that’s probably because it was Sarah’s way of ending things. Serves you right Paul, you c**t!

‘Change can be good’

Mark Berwick – The A Word


Can it be good? And I don’t just mean for our autistic kids but for us as their parents? Change never initially proves to be good for William but he does slowly adapt, I think if I had my way, I would make sure nothing changes in our lives, but I know that’s a naïve was to expect life to be. There are changes you cannot predict that you just have to react to and hope you are doing the right thing. There are changes we bring about ourselves that can be planned and brought about with a strategy. My inner control freak needs at least three months’ notice for changes 🤣

Rebecca has gone into labour and she is on her own in the car with Joe, he isn’t handling it well and just put his headphones on and walked off! I would love to know what that kids step count is.

‘Its private, I don’t want to see her vagina’ – Joe Hughes

Not the best way to tell strangers that your sister is about to pop out a sprog 🤣

Its very unrealistic to see the full bloody family in the waiting room, I know this isn’t set during the pandemic since I put it off for so long but it just feels even more unbelievable because of the current situation.
Rebecca also has a ward to herself which is utter bullshit! 💩 I had a twin room and must have had at least 4 different cellmates roommates by the time I was discharged.

Aww Louise has finally told Maurice she loves him, even though we all knew it already. They are soo brilliant together 💑 They are engaged by the end of the episode which makes me very happy, its like watching your mom and dad get a happily ever after.


OK, so I am not sure how I feel about series three, the ending seems so final as everyone has their happiness, I do hope we get a series four. I don’t think I’ve enjoyed it as much as I did the previous two series, I am not sure if its because the primary focus was the aftermath of the divorce or because I didn’t learn as much as I had whilst watching its predecessors. Who knows? 🤷🏻‍♀️
I am looking forward to another series but it’s a long way off if ever.

If you have any recommendations of what I can review next let me know in the comments or drop me a message on the let’s talk page, I’m thinking Atypical but open to ideas 😊

Much love M xx

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Who’s who

Imagine a young boy at school being ridiculed by his peers because he doesn’t understand the thing they are being taught, they taunt him and call him Dumbo.
Imagine this child is real and he has autism.

Now imagine that child has grown up…
What kind of man do you see?

Now imagine a young girl who doesn’t sleep due to insomnia, professionals have urged her parents to have her institutionalised.
This girl also has autism.

Now imagine her grown up, now you know who the boy was is your guess more accurate? Who do you see?

If you’ve met one person with autism, you’ve met one person with autism.

Dr. Stephen Shore


Autism is not one disorder, but a spectrum of disorders. All of which share symptoms but no individual on the spectrum has the same traits as another. I used to think autism was one thing but there arte so many things in the autism spectrum which I am guessing is the point. You are classed as autistic if you have any of these disorders. PDA (Click here to read more about this), Childhood Disintegrative Disorder, Pervasive Development Disorder, Asperger’s and then just Autism itself… People who had Rett Syndrome used to be classed as Autistic but as that was discovered to be caused by a mutation it has not been declassified from the spectrum.

Lets take Susan Boyle for example. Her debut album (despite the poorly chosen hashtag #Susanalbumparty) became the best selling album of all time. She is also the third person ever to reach n°1 in the UK & US charts twice in the same year.
She has sold over 19 million albums; that makes her album platinum! She has a net worth of over 20 million. These are amazing achievements for someone who found fame on a talent show especially since she didn’t come in first place.
Susan is an amazingly talented lady who happens to have autism.

Have you heard of Satoshi Tajiri? I will forgive you if not because you are probably not a massive nerd like me.
Well Mr Tajiri created Pokemon. As a child he loved collecting bugs but as his town became more urban it proved difficult. His idea behind Pokemon was so children could experience the excitement he had when catching and collecting creatures. Pokemon has been on the go now for almost 25 years and continues to spawn games, cards and movies. Satoshi has a net worth of over 10 million and is often referred to as a genius.
Personally I feel his greatest achievement is Pokemon Go which has helped many children and adults both on and off the spectrum become more sociable and explore the world around them.
Satoshi himself also happens to have Autism.

Some of the most iconic movies of all time have been directed, produced, animated or written by this guy. This is Tim Burton.
He brings us wonderful stories about outcasts, about wanting more, overcoming obstacles and beating the bullies.
Tim worked for the institution that is Disney and was fired because his ideas were dark and in his own words his ‘animations looked like road kill’
In his vast career he has received an Emmy, a Golden globe and many other awards. He has a net worth of over 130 million but his greatest achievement is his family.
Burton also has autism.

I’m guessing you have noticed a theme here…
As frightening as your child having Autism may be it does not necessarily mean they will not be successful as adults. There are hundreds and thousands of people of there with ASD, in fact over 700,000 people in the UK have been diagnosed that’s 1 in every 100 people. Think of everyone you know or have met… it is more than likely you have met someone with Autism. Maybe that person is William? but if it’s not, This is William.

His greatest achievement to us so far is eating bread, independently walking almost 1 mile and climbing the stairs as if someone is chasing him. 🙈
We don’t know what his future holds and how far he will develop but the possibilities are endless. Sometimes its hard for us as his parents to think positively but we must remember to celebrate his achievements no matter how small they seem in comparison to other children his age.
William is extraordinary and continues to surprise us every day.