Posted in autism and covid19, Emotions

There is an App for that…

Is it just me or is being a mom lonely? Is being a mom to a child with special needs even more lonely? Is being a single mom lonely? Or are we all just lonely and on our own different journeys?

At the time I wrote this post (or the scribbles that eventually become a post) in my trusty little blue notebook, I think it may have been the beginning of last year and then I’ve wrote some recently because some of it as usual makes no sense but at one point, I wrote a little list about things that occupy my mind when I can’t sleep which aren’t really valid now.

  • When did someone last hug me?
  • When did William last see so and so? Will he remember them?
  • When can I go somewhere without a lateral flow and PPE?
  • Will I ever need to get fully dressed for work again? (Jokes… I’m on camera 🎥)

I have the answers to all these now but obviously when I wrote them, the tear splashes on the page indicate how upset I was. Especially since number one was about hugs 🤣 and I am notoriously not a hugger. The 2m rule was a huge bonus for me!

 I’m not sure if its Covid and its many strands and the scare mongering that comes with it, but I seem to have become a little very reclusive despite restrictions being lifted. I find reasons not to do things or subconsciously put obstacles in the way.

Covid genuinely frightens me, I was first in line for the vaccines and the subsequent booster. ‘Yes please, inject me with that 5g tracker’ 🤣 each to their own and no judgement for those that have chosen not to but personally I believe that if you haven’t lost someone in the pandemic then you maybe don’t understand its devastating effects and that you are lucky, if in fact anyone can be lucky in such uncertain times. I question if this uncertainty will ever end, if covid will ever fully go away or we can just live with it, but my internal pessimist doesn’t think it will. This is our new normal and not to misquote Shane Meadows but This is England 22! 🏴󠁧󠁢󠁥󠁮󠁧󠁿

Every keeps talking about not been able to hide away forever and not been able to live with restrictions but I seem to be quite content being locked away in my home but I don’t think that’s a good thing, it’s a bit like I have Stockholm syndrome but to myself 🤪 Don’t get me wrong, I leave the house and see people and do social things but not like I used to, maybe its because I work from home and socialisation takes much more effort now, whereas before it was as simple as walking across the road from work and having a cheeky pint and a carvery. Maybe its because I’m a single co-parent now so I can’t just do things at the drop of a hat, it must fit in with work and William’s visitation with his dad and can require military preparation whether it is with or without William.

Everything can so easily be done over the phone or a computer now, what’s happening in the world? You can find out on your phone. What boxset should I binge watch now? Ask Google or check the Netflix rankings. Missing friends or family? Video calls via Facebook or WhatsApp. Need to work from home? There’s Microsoft Teams or Zoom for that. Doctors’ appointments? There’s an app for that (which is much quicker at giving appointments than my actual doctor) Meetings for William? All done remotely. Except for seeing Big Nanna, I would walk through a plague of Zombies for that! 🧟‍♀️

I’m not saying I never leave the house as I obviously do but its so easy not to. Everything is online now, I even met my boyfriend L on Tinder, highly recommended. Him (most the time 🤣) not the actual app, the app is like a meat market but more for fish, catfish that is… it passed some time during lockdown before restrictions were lifted and it was entertaining even though I lost all faith in humanity, some people seemed normal and then BAM! Flat earthers, criminal records, married men, women pretending to be men, couples looking for a third??? And that’s only a small fraction of the people I spoke to. What the actual fuck! I was on the verge of giving in when L messaged me. He seemed so normal, but my replies were terrible as I was expecting him to be a mental case or to try and convert me to scientology or something, how we formed a relationship, I will never know 🤷‍♀️ I think I would give the app about a 2.5 out of 10 but that’s purely down to L💕 don’t even get me started on POF or the mommy friends site peanut 🙄

I guess I bring on some of the loneliness myself, whether its social anxiety, pandemic panic or just laziness. Let’s face it I have explained previously about some of my anxieties around playdates and the like. I love my own company and I very rarely argue with myself 🤣

I was never really a visitor; I prefer people to come to me but then also freak out about people coming in my house and finding things to judge me on.

This is probably the worst analogy ever, but Covid is a little like those adverts you used to see on late night Channel 4 before Eurotrash aired… the ones about sexually transmitted disease.
You’ve slept with Anna, she has slept with John, Jamie, Jack and Steve, therefore you have slept with them too. You kind of have to think that like when it comes to contact with people who’ve had Covid… If I’m seeing so and so for a coffee then I must think about who that person has seen before me and where they have been and so on, its never ending and exhausting 🥱 having your mind working that hard when it already feels maxed out navigating day to day life is simply not possible.

I’m not really sure what the point to this little rant was, I’m lonely, I’m not lonely, there’s an app for everything and Covid is the new STI 🤷🏼‍♀️

Much love 😘 M. x

Get new rants delivered directly to your inbox.

Please remember to check us out, and follow us on our social media pages 🙂

Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/ourjourneyontothespectrum
Instagram – https://www.instagram.com/ourjourneyontothespectrum/
Twitter – https://twitter.com/OurJOTS

Posted in Appointments, Autism Assessment

Triage

Its not a word you would usually come across in day to day life.
When I think of it I used to be reminded of the scene in Pearl Harbour in which the nurses have to mark the wounded men with lipstick.

For us triage is part one of a much bigger process, a process that has consumed our lives and will continue to do so until William receives a diagnosis.
William’s triage appointment was today… As you can understand due to the current pandemic this appointment is not face to face but instead was done over the phone.

I’m not going to lie to you and tell you I slept well (or even at all) last night waiting for this call, the crazy irrational thoughts kept me awake…
‘what if they decide he doesn’t need to be on the waiting list and we have to start afresh in a different sector’
‘what if they say he is the way he is because we are shit parents’

What if I don’t say the right things?’

I know it’s irrational and crazy and so does Dave or at least that’s what he told me at daft o’clock this morning when I was still awake trying to ask Dr Google what they will be asking us.
Not that it helped any way as we couldn’t find a list of questions anywhere ❓❓❓Not very helpful for ridiculously anxious people like me who like to be prepared for everything.
This notebook (which I just had to find and get ready at for 4am to be prepared for a 10am call) has been with me to every appointment. The writing is messy and blurred from tears. Anybody but me would find it indecipherable but I take great comfort in knowing I have it and can refer to it when needed. It is like a comfort blanket and knowing I look over it to see what meetings we have had, what questions we have asked and what answers we have and have not received makes me feel like I am a better parent than I am.

The call came in literally as the clock ticked over to 10am, I was mid wee 😳 Appointments are never on time so I was sure this one would be the same. The woman was called Emma Gibson and she gave off good vibes if that makes sense. Pleasant to speak to, not too clinical and had a friendly tone to her voice.

So I made notes (shocking) in my little book about each question asked so that anyone reading this waiting for their triage appointment can have a rough guideline to take the anxiety off a little. Each lead to other questions so this will not be a comprehensive list.

  • When did you first notice something was wrong?
    Holy shit she went straight in there with the bullet to the head! 😔🔫
    As many of you will know already it took a long time for us to openly admit something was wrong with our child and it wasn’t until William was after 2 that we started writing about him publicly on Facebook to share our journey. It wasn’t that we were ashamed, we were frightened, not only thing things William would struggle with but of the stigma that comes with having a learning disability.
  • Who is in your household?
  • Is Dave Williams dad?
    I had to kick Dave to make sure he didn’t pull his usual not funny trick of saying ‘as far as I’m aware’ or ‘Yes or the milkman’s’ Honestly these jokes are almost as old as the one were he says he’s shagging my sister 🙄
  • Do you both work? Who’s the main breadwinner? What does he do for a living?
    Insert idle chit chat here about how the current pandemic is effecting him at work.
  • Has there been any history of trauma or domestic violence that may have impacted William?
    I had just kick Dave but that doesn’t count… No of course not 😇
  • Is there a history of autism in our family?
  • Is there a history of mental health issues?
    I explained about my lengthy battle with postnatal depression and anxiety and the medication I had been on and for how long. I’m not ashamed of it, in fact i’m proud. Although it took me a long time to seek help, I eventually did and came out the other side. Some people don’t.
  • What other agencies are involved with William?
    We then discussed things his paediatrician had put forward; blood testing and genetics testing and our next appointment.
    We discussed Lisa who liaises with the nursery in regards to his education.
  • Are social services involved?
    Eh? No!
  • What was my pregnancy like?
    We discussed how high risk it was, the lengthy induction, having an assisted labour, gestational diabetes, being in hospital longer than expected.
  • Is William on any medication?
  • Did you bond with William?
    Yes. No. Maybe? He didn’t really bond with me? He’s indifferent.
  • What was he like in meeting his milestones?
    Insert big head joke here and not sitting up until 10 months.
  • What were his first words? 🤐
  • What does him playing look like?
  • Does he make eye contact? If he does can he maintain it or is it fleeting?
  • Does he respond to his own name?
  • Does he indicate his emotions or pain with facial expressions? Let me tell you something… Justin Bonomo and Erik Seidel are amateurs compared to William when it comes to having a good poker face. I’ve let me nerd slip out again there. Justin and Erik are two of the most famous poker players in the world.
  • How does he behave with other kids at nursery?
  • Are there any children outside of nursery that he engages with?
  • What kind of support does he receive at nursery?
  • Am I OK to contact the nursery?
  • Does William recognise other peoples emotions?
  • What are Williams meltdowns like?
    Like a tornado ripping through my living room.
    Like stepping into the ring with Conor Mcgregor.
    Like trying to hold onto an oiled up contortionist.
  • What sensory issues does William suffer with?
  • What are the main indicators he is about to have a meltdown?
  • What are his eating habits like other than during meltdowns?
  • Does he show any signs of anxiety?
  • What is his sleep pattern like?
  • Are there any things he cant do in regards to his motor skills?
    Jump. Hop. Point. Wave. Clap.
  • What is he like with danger? or strangers?
    No sense of danger or recognition between familiar adults and strangers.
    That was it!
    Interrogation over.

She was happy that William had been referred to the right place and he will remain on the waiting list 🎉🎉🎉
Relief swept over me. Tears ran down my face.

What happens next?

A letter confirming this will be sent to all parties involved.
A team of specialised autism nurses will be on hand during our wait to answer any questions we may have.

The wait is currently between 2 and 2 and a half years. We will not be contacted until William is at the top of the list.
To put things into number which you know I enjoy, there are over 900 people in front of him in Hull alone. In order to them to bring their waiting time down they must assess a minimum of 8 people per week and I know a company called Healios have stepped in to alleviate some of the pressure but they can’t carry out all the assessments as they conduct theirs via video link and not all of those waiting would benefit from such an assessment.
The actual assessment is called ADOS (Autism Diagnostic Observation Schedule) and it is currently the standardised diagnostic tool for diagnosing ASD.
The ADOS process involves observations under controlled circumstances that other professionals are able to replicate.
Only trained professionals can administer the ADOS diagnostic screening, but it eliminates some of the differences of opinion otherwise possible when two different experts provide a diagnosis without following the same consensus in regards to what they should be looking for. Using the one set of clear guideline minimises the margin for misdiagnosis and errors.

When it is Williams turn for his assessment he will already be finishing his first term of his second year at school 📚 That is if they continue seeing people at their current rate.


November/December 2022 – What a brilliant Christmas gift that will be for us that year 🎄🎁