Posted in Brief updates

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 Brief updates

Let’s have a catch up

I have a little notebook that comes with me to all of williams meetings, I use this same notebook to jot down ideas of posts if something has happened or if I am feeling in a sharing mood. Quite often these ideas and thoughts don’t come into fruition so I thought I would put together a little catch up post of all the things I have yet to fill you in on.

So here is a little summary of what is to be included in this piece.
* William’s birthday
* School allocations
* Nappy service
* Impaction
* Big Nan

Williams 4th Birthday!

How is my little 8.8lbs baby now a four year old?! I swear to god I have just blinked and missed a few years. I’m sure I am not the only parent who feels this way but it seems like time has flown by. I can’t be really surprised as we are dealing with school allocations and that doesn’t happen until they reach this age but holy shit he is now 4!!!

I got some funny looks and questions when people asked me how we would be celebrating his birthday. As many people know William struggles should his routine change drastically so my plan for his birthday was to ignore it… not completely but to protect the main structure of his routine. He woke up the morning of his birthday like any other Monday. His dad came to do the nursery run and the house remained as normal. No sign of birthday regalia at all.
He ate his breakfast and went to nursery in his amazing birthday T Shirt (one of many 🥰) made by his Auntie Debs.
We sent a Curly Caterpillar cake from Tesco for him and his friends to share in the sunshine room. No one tell M&S! #FREECUTHBERT 🐛
Whilst he was at nursery his dad (yes we are still coparenting) and I set up the living room with his gifts, card and balloons for him to come home to. I even cooked him his favorite tea which was a full roast dinner with all the trimmings! We had decided to celebrate after nursery so the change to his routine wouldn’t throw out his full day and cause his potential upset at nursery and although people thought it was mean, we found it actually worked really well for William and is something we will look at doing going forward. He came home, explored the living room, picked his favourite new toys and then ate his dinner. It was lovely to see him so calm.

Presents this year were amazing as our friends and family understand suitability and what William classes as high interest. I think the most amazing surprise was a handmade busy board from his uncle Jim. William immediate fell in love with all the fiddly bits and it has sat in the living room ever since for him to play with.
Every year I usually make William a cake but this year I purchased a premade ‘Hey Duggee’ cake and as you can see he was quite happy with it and ate too many pieces to count 🍰🍰🍰🍰 although I made sure his dad and I got at least one piece each.
We had a few nice doorstep visits from friends and family which really made the day special as we hadn’t seen them in such a long time. #covidsucks

School Allocations

I have written a lot about allocations in other posts and on our social media pages but I just wanted to include a little summary of what has happened so far…

  • February 15th – William was not considered for a special school place but may be considered during the moderation for his EHCP (highly unlikely)
  • March 2nd – Moderating should have taken place but didn’t 🙄
  • March 15th – Moderation went a head and no special school place given.
  • April 16th – Mainstream allocations released.

William did not get into his first choice of mainstream school… because why would he. They like to make things as hard as possible after all!

I now have to follow the appeal process which is due in on 21st May. This shouldn’t matter as I should be able to name our chosen school on his EHCP but the SENCO advised we should go ahead with appeal to cover all our bases. This doesn’t fill me with confidence when the system has let us down so many times already 😥

The Nappy Service

As I have mentioned previously the nappy service is available for children who have reached the age of four which meant that when William needed them they were unavailable to him until he turned 4. We were incredibly lucky because the amazing Essity stepped in and provided us with nappies until the service could be applied for. This saved us hundreds of pounds and lot of stress and we are so grateful for their help in what felt like a time we were forgotten about and fell into one of the many gaps in the system.

On Williams birthday his health visitor put the referral across and we now have the service in place, first delivery pending. The only issue I encountered once we were referred to this service was that we had been sent a certain nappy which was a type the service also use, ideally i wanted to remain on these as I knew the sizing and the fact they could hold up to Williams movements etc but apparently its a bit of a postcode lottery and because we are not in the East Riding we are not eligible for that brand 🙄 I’m not even sure why that matters but aparently it does.

The lady that called me was brilliant, she understood I was working and may have to dip in and out of the call. She went through many questions with me and it was actually a pleasure to speak to her but what really made things better for me about how I was feeling as a parent was this message…

I needed this and it made me cry 😭

Impaction

Warning this is about poo! 💩

One thing that came to light recently as a follow on from the nappy service call was that William may have an impaction in his bowels, we are unsure if this is just nature or if it is due to the many things he eats which are not food. I mean it was only the other day his dad had to pull carpet fibres out of his bum 🤢 I’m so glad that was on one of his dads days 🤣

They believe his problems going to toilet are not just because of a lazy bowel but because there is an impaction which hasn’t cleared and everything else is adding to it or coming around it.

We have been given additional Movicol and Laxido to try and help it clear but, if it doesn’t i’m not sure what will happen next other than the fact we have to go back to the doctors to check what our options are.

I am trying not to google or freak out but this is me after all so check back in shortly and I may be weeping at my desk!

Return of The Big Nanna

184 days… 184 long days!
297 days in total… almost a quarter of Williams life without his Big Nanna.

I don’t know how soulmates work, I thought I did but their bond proves me wrong completely; she is 91 and he is 4 and they just light each other up. Big nan is suddenly young again and William is suddenly capable of interacting on a much higher level, he sees her and I mean really sees her. He finds comfort in his Big nanna just like I did in her when I was a child. To him, she is home, safety, love and lots of snacks.

Family 🥰

She has had her vaccines and as lockdown is lifting, things can slowly get back to normal and our normal is seeing Big nanna every Sunday for snacks and snuggles.

I should be back on top of posting now so I will hopefully be back to post more regularly going forward.
As always please remember to subscribe down below.
Much Love M. x

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Posted in Appointments

Moderating in time

Today was the day in which I should have had an update about Williams EHCP, I should have been able to figure out what the next steps are going to be for Williams education and find out if that slim chance of a special school allocation was within our grasp.

However today was not that day. No days are the days they should be and I an beginning to learn this… I need to prepare myself for these things as they happen all the time and yet continue to knock me for six. As parents we shouldn’t be continuously let down by those who are supposed to support our children and adhere to timescales laid out by themselves.

The EHCP has not gone to the moderators… Still! This is because the medical report needed and the Speech and language report have still not been received. These should have been submitted by 15th of February and its now 4th March 🙄😡

So now we are back in the waiting game… Next week or the one after. Who even knows?!

Posted in autism and covid19, Emotions

Am I overreacting?

I want to talk about why we now own these two DVDs

I used to love DVDs, movies are a big passion of mine and had over two thousand DVDs not including TV box sets or Christmas films. About two years ago we realised like many other people that they were just gathering dust because we had become more reliant on streaming services which made me a little sad as I had been collecting them since I was about thirteen and finally decided to get rid of my VHS. When I met Dave he too shared my passion for movies and our collection just grew. I remember the last DVD I bought was for Dave for Christmas 2014 and it was The Guardians of The Galaxy. We gave almost every single DVD away, Big Nan got first dibs of the chick flicks, I kept the Disney classic in a DVD folder and the rest went to our close friends.

We don’t even own a DVD player but yet yesterday Dave bought these two DVDs 😕

Yesterday was Williams 6 month eye check at the Eye Hospital and as I was working and only one parent is allowed to attend due to Covid-19 restrictions Dave went on his own… I’m getting better at trusting anyone other than myself to ask the right questions now… sometimes. They always struggle to do his eye check as he isn’t fully cooperative, They have told us at the last two checks that everything seems fine but they can’t be 100% sure because he won’t let them check as thoroughly as they would like. Because of this we keep going back, waiting for the day they will discharge us as a patient. William didn’t get to see his Auntie H either as she was super busy.

As a treat afterwards for being a good boy Dave took William into the town centre to get him a treat for his dinner. This usually results in copious amounts of cheese straws and sausage rolls from Cooplands. The boy is an absolute savory fiend.

Anyone that knows Dave knows that he loves his Playstation. Not as much as he love William or Rusty but I think it’s on par with me 😂😂😂 so he popped into CEX in Prospect Centre to look at some games. This is somewhere that when at the height of my DVD addiction I used to frequent on my lunch break when I worked in the offices above. 💿 The staff have always been pleasant, helpful and friendly.
William is a sneaky bugger when he wants to be, we’ve been in shops when he has grabbed something random off the shelves because it caught his eye and I’ve nearly left with it or when he has started trying to eat a wrapped chocolate bar and ‘ve had to pay for it knowing full well he doesn’t like turkish delight (It’s a good job I do… keep up the bright wrappers Frys 😉)

Dave got shouted at by a woman in CEX.
I will repeat that… shouted at by a woman in CEX.
That’s CEX the most relaxed shop in the world.
‘You’re not allowed to touch!’
‘He can’t touch that!’
‘Covid!’
Now I’m not sure if I am overreacting here but William sits in what is in my opinion clearly a disability stroller. There is a hidden disability lanyard hanging from one handle and a large disc on the other. I’m really angry that they chose to address this by shouting and for anyone but Dave, this could have caused upset or major embarrassment, I speak from experience when I say that on some days life as a special needs parent is one comment, look or cough away from a breakdown. She at this point had no idea if he was planning on purchasing the items or not.
I understand that in the current climate you have to be so careful but these DVDs are wrapped in plastic and could easily be wiped down, We carry antibacterial wipes in our change bag and could have wiped them down ourselves.
I’m also not saying that because William has additional needs that he doesn’t need to follow the rules but there should be at least some modicum of understanding. or a better way of going about it.
Dave bought the DVDs and basically told the woman that was his intention all along despite not knowing William had hold of them as a way of saying fuck you. Mr however I think I would have shamed her, told her loudly all about Williams needs and difficulties and made her feel like an idiot, offered to wipe them down or to buy them if that wasn’t feasible. She could have gone about it in a much better way; she could have walked over and explained to Dave who would have apologised and explained but she didn’t… she chose to berate Dave across the shop floor.
I’m not sure if i’m being oversensitive but I do feel in the year 2020 people should be more understanding before jumping to conclusions. William wasn’t running amok in the store he was confined to his stroller clearly displaying he had additional needs.
If you aren’t allowed to touch the DVDs or Games how are you supposed to read the back to ensure they are suitable? They’ve all been wrapped in the clear plastic, for what reason?

My current writing situation 🥰

On a positive note…
Last night William had just had a bum change (not the positive bit 🤮) and he reached his arms out to me like he wanted to be carried and when I reached down he placed his arm around my neck and put his head on my shoulder. He wanted to give me a cuddle 🥰 He has never actively cuddled before. He will climb up next to you and snuggle in but he initiated a cuddle for the first time. 🥲 I cried and ruined the moment because he then pinched my glasses and ran away laughing but it was so worth it!

Posted in Appointments

Hello

Its a Monday and when I was office based it used to be my favourite day of the week but not anymore, today feel like the most Monday-ist Monday ever! In the words of that Geldof prick and school shooter Brenda Spencer… ‘I don’t like Mondays.’

Today me got to meet our new health visitor; Louise. we all know how much we rated Sarah so she does have a lot to live up to. Louise has been the health visitor for our area for 15 years which is a long time for a health visitor to remain in the profession.

She turned up in full PPE as you would expect in todays current climate, Mask, goggles, gloves and full length plastic apron. Brilliant first impression… the neighbours must think we either stink or are getting fumigated 🦨🤣

She introduced herself and immediately jumped into questions about William, I must say the sceptic in me immediately though she hadn’t read his notes but she was also referring to him and wanted a thorough picture for herself of his capabilities and behaviours.

She confirmed she will be attending next Mondays meeting about his EHCP just like Sarah used to despite not receiving the official invitation.

Before I could even ask her about the Nappy Service she told me she had looked into our request and there was no leeway with him being under four, again this impressed me that she had looked into things that we had hit brick walls with without having to be asked. This one was on my little things I had written down during the months I was unable to speak with Sarah.

She has decided to put us through to a sleep specialist to help us hopefully get William to sleep easier and keep him asleep, this will involve lots of assessments and advice before potentially leading to medication such as melatonin.
Melatonin will help most kids fall to sleep but not all… The problem is some parents believe it will help a child who is procrastinating going to bed, stop a child waking up early or having nightmares but that isn’t the case. Melatonin is usually a natural hormone that our brains release in order to help us fall to sleep. Melatonin supplements are available easily online but they are NOT regulated and may do more harm than good. If you are considering Melatonin please ensure you speak to a professional before buying something that you cant be 100% sure of what’s in it. There are concerns that because melatonin is a hormone that it may effect your child’s development when they hit puberty and it is something we will need to consider deeply if we reach that stage.

I asked her to refer us to Wheelchair services so we can get a specialised buggy but she wasn’t sure if she was able to do so. she said she would be in touch about it and… within 2 hours of her leaving our house she was on the phone advising us of who we need to speak to as only two organisations can make that referral, Occupational health and Physiotherapy but William doesn’t need any of these 😕 Its not that he can’t walk. Far from it. Its when he does walk he will drop to the floor in a floppy state no matter where he is including roads, its the fact he has no danger awareness and a buggy at times he goes floppy or has a meltdown would prevent him from getting hurt. I’ve lost count of the amount of time Dave has had to stop cars because or child is laid in the street. 🚗 we have spoken to our G.P surgery and have a telephone consultation booked next week for the doctor to decide if its appropriate for him to refer us 🙄

I’m not sure if we mentioned the questionnaires that are sent out prior to a child’s development check up but they have always been brutal to us. They focus on what children should be doing for their age group and as we are all aware William isn’t at his age group so it was a lot of negatives for us. These are called the Ages & stages questionnaires and unless I am mistaken are to identify children who may have developmental disabilities.
He will now be assessed based on the Nelson scale which focuses on the age he is at for each area rather than where he should be for his actual age. I think this will be much easier to help us understand the next steps in his development. We see little improvements and new achievements but we find that the standard ages and stages just doesn’t celebrate or include those and will continue to score zeros despite developing slowly at his own pace.

On the plus she has weighed and measured him and he is in the 25th percentile which is where he has been all along. This made me feel so much better about his eating habits as I do worry he may be underweight but apparently he is perfectly healthy… which is always good to hear.

I think because Sarah was all we had know for 4 years we held her on a pedestal and it was unfair to presume Louise would be inferior to her. She has already made a brilliant first impression but I guess I’m just skeptical due to the amount of agencies who have failed to uphold their promises but Louise seems really promising and honest and I guess that’s all we can ask for. She will only be with us until William starts school in a years time in which the school support will take over… if we get in but thats a whole other worry for another day.

As always, much love from The Buckley’s 😘 xxx

Posted in Emotions

Shame!

I want to talk about shame and I don’t mean the shame I have spoken about previously in which we blamed ourselves or where we weren’t willing to admit anything was wrong. The kind of shame I want to talk about today is the type others try to inflict upon you for the decisions you make.

And in what I can only describe as in true Cersei Lannister style I am not sorry!

When you open yourself up like we have you kind of expect everyone to have an opinion and believe me the internet isn’t full of sunshine and roses. Its a place were someone can remain annonymous, write hurtful things and suffer no reprecussions.

Our first instance was within three months of setting up the blog, we had no social pages other than our personal ones in which we shared the blog to our friends and family, we were never the type of people to add strangers on our accounts. Within those months things went really well and we gained a few followers, a few subscribes and it felt like we made difference by sharing our story. It was maybe December/January time when I recieved a message.
‘nobody cares’
Maybe you arent trying hard enough to teach him’
you feel guilty coz it id your fault’ (actually spelt coz, are we 12 and limited to characters again?)

By this time we had grown stronger in our acceptance and I deleted it and haven’t given it a seconds thought until now but could you imagine if that was to someone more fragile than us? Someone looking for reassurance or hell even guidance!

Fast forward to May and the wonderful Beth (Check her out here) designed a logo for our blog and our newly established social media pages. A lady commented to tell me about my use of the puzzle piece and how it is a hate symbol for autistic people.
I appreciated being educated but I also felt like I was being told off. Like I was doing wrong so far into our journey and I should know better.
The puzzle piece implies that they don’t fit in, that there is something missing or that they are a puzzle to be solved. Due to the juvenile type of picture commonly used it can also lead people to believe it is something that only effects children. Like its a bad haircut they grow out of.

I absolutely love the puzzle piece symbols which is why it was incorporated into our logo, I see it as a beacon of hope for William. He is a piece of this world that fits perfectly but we just need to find the right place for him. Its not about changing him but how the world sees people like him. To try and make it a better place not only for our autistic children to grow up into but for all children and that message I can imagine is very important to a lot of people.

The infinity symbol is supposed to represent math and a love of numbers, something shared by many people on the autism spectrum (I do think this statement is a massive sweeping generalisation) but not all, so far William has no association with math of any kind so to me this one isn’t as personal to us as the puzzle piece. It is also used signify inclusiveness and the integration of people with autism into general society, since there is no beginning or end to the sign. I just don’t feel anything towards it like I do the puzzle piece. I look at it and think of tattoos loads of people in their 20s and 30s now regret (mines a tramp stamp 🤣)but I don’t look at it and feel hope, I feel nothing.

And now I bring us to present day….

As a family we have always been open and honest which is why it hit us hard when we struggled to open up about William’s difficulties because it was so unlike us.
There are pictures and stories about me online that I have no shame in sharing and same goes for David. I have always been willing to share my dark days, my good days and days in which I’m just an absolute airhead and say or do something that is just inconceivable for someone of my age and education.

for example here is me in a pair of pyjamas (which at the time I felt were wholly acceptable as an adult) trying to frighten Dave by being a bear 🐻 GRRR

I love and hate twitter with equal measure. I shared an anecdote about how our little boy laughs uncontrollably if you tell him to stop touching his diddle, this was accompanied with a beautiful little gif (check it out on our Facebook page here)
Twitter always opens up the floor for trolls and/or unsolicited advice and 2 men decided to tell me that I should not post these kinds of things because I would damage him when he is older, because facial recognition is soo good now that he will be identified putting a risk to any future employment… Let me tell you something, there are pictures of my passed out drunk in a field at 14 years old and I still have a good job. There are pictures of Dave in drag (as a work event for one of his Saturday jobs?) and he too has a very good job.
When William is able, I expect him to take over our pages and continue to share stories of his life just like we have our own for years with Piczo sites, Myspace, Beebo, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and many others that have been and gone.

I want him to continue to tell the world and show them how he has grown and how he navigates life, the good and the bad. Funny anecdotes a plenty! If he decides he doesn’t want to or wants it deleted then I am happy with that too.

Much love as always, The Buckley’s 😘