Posted in school

Self doubt

I had a moment last Wednesday night… and when I say a moment I mean that I didn’t sleep through worry (or maybe it’s this cold 🤧)

I worry alot so this may not seem unusual but this was different, this wasn’t necessarily my usual kind of worry. This was more self doubt. I had fought to get William the right education for what feels like eternity, we got the school we chose but I started to panic that I was wrong. What If it wasn’t the right decision. What If I had fought so hard for the wrong thing.

This hadn’t come our of no where, it was because Williams dad and I were taking to his new school the following day and I had become immersed in this overwhelming fear that I was wrong. I can only compare it to one other feeling I had had previously and that was when I was pregnant, I was terrified that when I went for my first scan, there would be nothing there. It was that same kind of feeling! I spoke to other people about the scan feeling and I’m most definitely not the only one and I imagine my doubt about the school wasn’t just something I experienced but last Wednesday night I felt alone in my fear.

The Thursday morning was just as bad, whether is was the cold, my bad shoulder, the lack of sleep or the worry… maybe even a combination of all three but I didn’t stay still, I couldn’t eat or focus on anything other than watching the clock waiting for the time I needed to meet William and his dad. Let’s just put it this way… the saying is right. A watched clock does go slower. ⏰️

I had spoken to Williams teachers via email a few times over the last few weeks but it’s not the same as meeting face to face. The moment we arrived at the school, they put me at ease. They didn’t just fall in to SEN teaching, they are there because they are passionate about it, because its not just a job to them but a vocation. They know every child from noises they makr in the other room, from tiny footsteps or a stray sock on the floor. Other parents had given me glowing reports about the teachers too which all made sense once i met them. William immediately connected with them and just left us to go and spend time with his new classmates. I knew as soon as he did that, that all the worry was for nothing. It was 100% the right decision for William and I was right to fight so hard for it.

The school itself is perfection. Everything is laid out perfectly, there is structure to everything and more visuals than you can possibly imagine. It’s so accommodating for children like William. I would love to say I held it together but we all know that would be a lie. I sobbed at how perfect it was for Williams education, the fact that he will travel through the school and be safe and in the right environment until he turns 19 just gave me this overwhelming sense of relief and in a big headed way a sense of accomplishment. I did that. I fought and I acheived it. All the worry was gone and I felt proud of myself.

27 days. That’s all he has left until he joins his classmates and I can not wait. I’m so excited for him to be in an environment that will be so beneficial to his development.

Uniform all ready 🥰

It’s been a long time coming but it will be here in the blink of an eye and as confident as I feel about it, I know that come that date in April I will be an absolute mess.

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Posted in Appointments

Precautionary

Poorly kids are the worst! 😭 Actually, I take that back… a 7 and a half hour wait in our local children’s A&E is the worst.

William hasn’t been feeling well since the end of February when he got his first (of many) cases for tonsillitis. Antibiotics didn’t clear it after the first dose finished so 5 days later we were back at doctors for a second dose. 3 days after the second dose ended he was still poorly so on Monday his dad and I took him back to the doctors (I feel like we’ve seen them that much recently that they’re going to invite us round for dinner at Christmas 😳) the doctor said he was fine but tonsils still a bit sore but no longer infected, the give him pain relief and he would be fine.

Fast forward to Friday and I have to take him to chemist as he has conjunctivitis because let’s be honest, it never rains, its pours 🌧 Drops received and starting to be administered, let bare in mind that my shoulder has gone again so I’m fine this one handed… its not easy even with two hands. Friday evening William was lethargic, hot to touch and clingy and he had barely eaten or drank all day…Not to mention the waterfall of slimy vomit that came out of his mouth and all over me. Honestly it’s like my kid aims for me when he’s sick 😫

Like any parent I was worried and ring my own mom for advice and then rang 111 who told me to take him into A&E as soon as possible as a precaution. Luckily I have some amazing friends who are used to being on standby when it comes to getting William places in a hurry.

We arrived at A&E at 8.15pm. It was busy, super busy. Kids were screaming, adults were moaning really loudly about how long they had been waiting etc. One parent told me it was going to be a 5 hours wait… she was wrong 😭

I want to talk about the waiting room, firstly the chairs are not built for 7 and a half hour waits with a gimpy arm. But that’s not my gripe… my issue is how unfriendly the waiting room is for a child like William. The lights are super bright and loud, some of them were flickering.the waiting room is busy with colour. Lots of different colours and sparkly fish hanging from the ceiling and the air con is loud. For an autistic child with sensory processing disorder that is a lot to take in for a lengthy period of time. It’s a difficult wait for most children but I’m sure other towns have sensory rooms for children like William. I’m almost sure the eye hospital next door has one or were at least trying to raise funds for one. It was also a nightmare that only one person could accompany each child, I understand that there is a limit on space but William needs to be restrained to be examined and unfortunately its not ideal with two arms let alone one.

Anyway that’s my moan over… the nurses who triaged us were brilliant. So patient with William and understanding. The doctor we saw was also amazing. Thankfully William just has a viral infection which will pass with calpol and time and even though the wait was long and painful I’m glad we went. I’m glad I made the 111 call and followed their advice because really you just never know with any child what is wrong but when they can’t tell you, it’s so much worse.

Hopefully he will be better soon and can enjoy his last 2 days of nursery next week. 🤞

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Posted in Brief updates, Emotions

Calling all lazy parents

I would like to take a moment to state that I do not always want to play with my child. I sometimes can not go through the same set of flashcards for the 500th time I’m a day.

We all have moments in which we check our watch and realise bed time is a long way off. This doesn’t make us bad parents, it makes us tired parents. It makes us human.

Becoming a mom or dad doesn’t make us super human. It doesn’t change the fact that we crave time that’s ours and ours alone. That soak in the bath which involves candles, a book and enough time to shave both legs 🦵 time which doesn’t involve accidentally sitting on a rubber duck.

We want to watch TV or a movie that doesn’t involve animation or singing. I would like to have a power ballad stuck in my head instead of nursery rhymes.

There is no shame in needing a little time out. We can not always be on it 100% of the time and its important to try and take that time when we can, so we don’t burn out.

I remember thinking that my kid would have limited screen time… that didn’t happen. It is I who ended up with limited screen time 🤣 I can’t remember when I last watched Corrie when it actually aired instead of days later. I gave up completely on the other soaps as there just aren’t enough free hours in a day.

I work part time and absolutely adore my job. It gives me something to focus on that isn’t being Williams mom and I need that but I admire those full time workers and full time parents. I choose to work and if someone chooses not to then that is their business. There is a lit of stigma around parents that work and parents that don’t. There seems to be no happy medium. There is a archaic kind of judgement that working parents should be home raising and looking after their kids but then a judgement against those that choose to stay at home about how they should be working. I feel like non of us can win!

So this post is dedicated to the parents who aren’t ashamed to say that some days they only give 99%. The ones who don’t want to listen to the same song for the millionth time. Who pretend peppa pig goes to bed at 5pm. The ones who pretend toys are broken but have secretly take the batteries out 🔋 enjoy that 1% of time you need for yourself because you deserve it. You deserve to shave both legs, to wash all the conditioner out of your hair and to not have to hide in the kitchen when you want to eat a whole chocolate bar!

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Posted in EHCP Process, Emotions

Underfunded or poor use of funds?

I want to start this post by saying that for the first time in a very long time, I am writing this on my mobile so be prepared for more spelling mistakes than normal. Part of my process is to sit at my laptop and write… I don’t know why. It makes my thoughts feel more official and organised and when I’m on my phone it feels like I’m just ranting to my friends via message but maybe that isn’t a bad thing so here goes nothing.

I spoke to another parent today who’s child seems neutologically very similar to William. This family are having to take the local authority to court to ensure their child’s needs are met and it made me think about how many other parents are going through this right now. Thankfully I didn’t have to go to court but we are still schoolless. How many children of school age are without adequate education? How many children are stuck with inadequate education?

How can the local authority knowing do this? Spend funds that could help our children on fighting parents who just want the best or at least the bare minimum for their children? Or do we pay for that in our taxes? The money spent on fighting parents could get more children into the right schools, the right level of 1 to 1 support. I am a firm believer that the SEND departments are massively under funded and when my solicitor asked if I wanted to persue compensation, I firmly said no. Why would I want to take money from an already underfunded department? But what are they doing with the funds they have? Are they using it in the best way possible? I don’t think so! 💸

I’m worried about whats to come for us as it gets closer and closer to William’s loose start date of April/May. What If they name a school that isn’t suitable for William? I won’t send William to just any school. I have to be sure  it will meet his needs, I have one in mind but would happily accept a suitable substitute but what if they don’t offer one. William will be schoolless and too old to continue to attend nursery and thats a real fear I have. I could attempt to home school him and although I would give it a bloody good go, I don’t have the resources available to me nor any idea where to start. We try educational play with alphabet and numerical flashcards and use many sensory items but it’s not the same as school and I’m not cut out to be a teacher and these are pivotal years of his education. I chase our caseworker every month after the monthly allocation meeting to be met with the same replies. ‘No update yet, we will be in touch when there is’ I’m worried about the transition time and if there will even be any. 🤷🏼‍♀️ Both myself and Williams dad may need to take time off work but we can’t prepare until the local authority let us know more details and as someone who needs a list to organise her lists, the lack of being able to prepare weighs heavy on me and my mental health. Some days the panic takes over and all I can focus on is what I don’t know like how much school uniform is going to cost me, will William be able to scope wearing it? How will he get to school? No one will discuss transport with me until he has a named school but what time would it come? Will Williams dad need to be here whilst I work to hand him over? Do I need to provide a car sear? What if it doesn’t arrive? Will he be on a bus or with a PA? I should be happy because I’m in a much better situation than other parents but I’m not. I won’t be until William is settled in a school that can meet his needs

I re-read my post from February last year, school allocations. It broke my heart all over again… almost as if I was sat in the bath receiving that phone call from Elaine to tell me William wasn’t even on the list of allocations all over again. This was the day I genuinely didn’t think I could keep fighting. Couldn’t keep getting knocked down. The 15th February 2021 and I just wanted to stay down. I shouted and cried and broke things! Why wasn’t my kid important? Why didn’t we matter? It took me a while but I got up and I fought, with alot of help and advice 🥰 and we actually got somewhere. Not where we we want to be but almost there.

I almost let them bully me into sending William to a school I knew couldn’t meet his needs. I even met head teachers who were non committal about whether they could or couldb’t support him. They expected me to name them on his EHCP without a commitment and thankfully I just couldn’t do it. The local authority expected me to and pushed me to, making me believe it was the only option for us. That’s not right, that’s not ethical and it was most definitely not what was right for William but it was what the local authority deemed right for them. They should have been putting William first from the moment he was on their radar but they didn’t.

I received a SAR in regard to Williams education and when I looked through it, it broke my heart. Not once did it refer to Williams best interests and meeting his needs, only after the point I gained legal representation did they seem to change their agenda and that’s wrong! Some parents can’t afford legal help or aren’t entitled to legal aid, it shouldn’t come down to money in order to get our children the educational they deserve! The education they need and are entitled to!

I recently read the ofsted report on the Hull services from December 2019 and its a damning read. Here are a few highlights or more accurately lowlights…

There was too little involvement of families in decision making about the services and support they need and insufficient awareness of the resources and support available to them in the local area.

There was poor self-evaluation of service quality and insufficiently focused improvement planning to facilitate better provision and outcomes for children and young people with SEND.

There was a lack of an effective strategy for jointly commissioning services across education, health and social care.

Here’s the full report if you wish to read it.

As always I will keep you all updated with our journey to education but if any of you have your own stories you wish to share please reach out either via our social media pages or our reach out page.

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Posted in Events & Holidays

Autism Night Before Christmas – by Cindy Waeltermann

Twas the Night Before Christmas
And all through the house
The creatures were stirring
Yes, even the mouse
We tried melatonin
And gave a hot bath
But the holiday jitters
They always distract
The children were finally
All nestled in bed
When nightmares of terror
Ran through my OWN head
Did I get the right gift
The right color
And style
Would there be a tantrum
Or even, maybe, a smile?
Our relatives come
But they don’t understand
The pleasure he gets
Just from flapping his hands.
“He needs discipline,” they say
“Just a well-needed smack,
You must learn to parent…”
And on goes the attack
We smile and nod
Because we know deep inside
The argument is moot
Let them all take a side
We know what it’s like
To live with the spectrum
The struggles and triumphs
Achievements, regressions…
But what they don’t know
And what they don’t see
Is the joy that we feel
Over simplicity
He said “hello”
He ate something green!
He told his first lie!
He did not cause a scene!
He peed on the potty
Who cares if he’s ten,
He stopped saying the same thing
Again and again!
Others don’t realize
Just how we can cope
How we bravely hang on
At the end of our rope
But what they don’t see
Is the joy we can’t hide
When our children with autism
Make the tiniest stride
We may look at others
Without the problems we face
With jealousy, hatred
Or even distaste,
But what they don’t know
Nor sometimes do we
Is that children with autism
Bring simplicity.
We don’t get excited
Over expensive things
We jump for joy
With the progress work brings
Children with autism
Try hard every day
That they make us proud
More than words can say.
They work even harder
Than you or I
To achieve something small
To reach a star in the sky
So to those who don’t get it
Or can’t get a clue
Take a walk in my shoes
And I’ll assure you
That even 10 minutes
Into the walk
You’ll look at me
With respect, even shock.
You will realize
What it is I go through
And the next time you judge
I can assure you
That you won’t say a thing
You’ll be quiet and learn,
Like the years that I did
When the tables were turned……

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Posted in Events & Holidays

Inclusion pt.2

I wrote a post a few weeks ago about inclusion, today I want to do a little follow up… specifically about pretending to be inclusive.

SEN sessions seem to be available for most places, trampoline parks, splash zones, swimming pools, ice skating etc, it’s a wonderful thing but let’s talk about the ‘inclusivity’ of it, theses are great ways to include our community for certain functions, but they aren’t inclusive at all.

These sessions are usually available at times in which it is not possible for most to attend due to school, unless I am mistaken SEN stands for special educational needs… education been a priority meaning these sessions during term time (in some places they are term time only) in a morning is just not practical, it’s a great promotion I suppose. ‘Look at what we are doing for our SEN kids!’ when not actually making it inclusive at all. When questioned the responses are… ‘well if it proves popular we will look at opening more sessions and time’ it’s a bit backwards isn’t it? A bit of a cop out.

Some places do it a bit better and offer more inclusive times, but most do not. Hull city council, I’m talking to you now specifically. You go from one end of the scale to the other, during school hours or encroaching on bedtime, I know I make it sound like you can’t win but why not open up a peak slot? Take a risk and be inclusive!

SEN swimming at Woodford leisure centre – 6.30pm – 8.30pm

SEN skating at the ice arena – 9.30am – 10.30am

Companies do not have to do anything tailored to SEN or disabled kids and the fact they do is admirable but they fall into thee same traps the HCC do, school times or bedtimes and its not far, I understand you can’t please everyone and at the moment these times suit William with him still been without a school place but what about all the kids fortunate enough to be in school… why should they miss out?

During the summer half term, sessions were opened for SEN swimming, and it proved to be so popular that it sold out completely. Surely this is an indication if not a massive fucking sign that these kinds of events can be profitable for businesses and the council but yet they are so few and far between that’s its insulting.

And don’t even get me started on trying to find an autism friendly showing at the cinema, I have spent ages this morning looking at all 4 (Odeon, Vue, Cineworld & Reel) of my local cinemas and haven’t been able to find a single one and when I say that, I don’t mean that I couldn’t find one suitable for William, I mean that I can’t find one at all! Maybe I’m not looking for the right terms but it shouldn’t be this difficult, should it?

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Posted in Emotions

Inclusion

Let’s talk about inclusion… as an adult, I can honestly say that I genuinely like my own company. It’s much harder to end up in an argument although not impossible. 🤣

We worry about our kids been included in the playground, getting invites for parties and things of the like but as a parent of a child with special needs inclusion is something we worry about for everything. Will I be able to navigate his adaptive stroller around that shop, do the disabled toilets have a suitable changing facility? Will that cafe or restaurant understand that he may be noisy and throw his food?

I feel uncomfortable in situations in which it is obvious that William is uncomfortable, it’s mainly because I still worry about what other people think and I’m not sure that will get go away but I hope it does.

I recently attended an event, or a gathering of sorts and I had the strangest experience, something that I have never experienced before; total all-encompassing inclusion and understanding. It sounds really strange to say this, but I have taken William to places that should have been safe for us, but they weren’t. I was terrified of doing a first new place/event, as I usually am because let’s face it, I can be the queen of anxiety and overthinking and believe me I had been doing a lot of it in the run up.  What if I William had a meltdown? What if people didn’t understand?

I panic about going to my parents or big nanna’s and they’re regular occurrences so its natural that I would panic about somewhere else, I often have my mom or my friend on a standby in case William doesn’t cope with new places or people and it’s a silly thing to think I have to do but it is just one of those things.

I guess what I am trying to say is sometimes you have to take that leap of faith, whether that is faith in a person, an event or yourself. If you’re not willing to try then how will you ever experience new things, how can you write people off as not understanding your child if you’re not giving them the opportunity to do so. In a world of people that can be judgmental and cruel, there are still people who are kind and accepting, people who include our children without trying.

Inclusion is something we all crave, whether we like to admit it or not, it can be in conversation at the dinner table, inclusion in a game of football on the park or in our case it’s the inclusion into society or inclusion into people’s lives. Its something we can take for granted when we are neurotypical, I know before having William it wasn’t something I even thought about but now the thoughts can be all consuming.

Today’s post it to simply say, think about what you are doing, think about the child that you may class as a little odd, think about birthday parties and events, think about how you would feel to be excluded, then think about how it would feel if the sole reason behind it, was because of who you were; something you have no control over.

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