Posted in Emotions

The anatomy of a post

Its easier for me to write down how I am feeling, than it is for me to say it… I feel that by writing it down I am saying it as it needs to be said. No immediate questions and no way I can get tongue tied (although I do get a bit ranty) but I do understand that this sometimes leaves me a bit closed off as a person and that can make me hard work especially for those closest to me and I own that, I practically come with a disclaimer.

That being said writing something down doesn’t come easy to me either, I will over process something in my head until it becomes a huge issue before, I even show any inclination that something is bothering me, then I will let it fester before I even think about writing it down. The writing I find very cathartic, and it helps me process thing before I can freely talk about them.

I think I have explained previously that sometimes I write down feelings, thoughts and ideas into a little blue notebook and that book travels with me to meetings, appointments, and things of the like. Not everything becomes a post, sometimes things from months or years ago become recent posts as it resonates with something going on in our lives current day.

I wrote a post whilst about not being ready to date and how to trust someone around your child when they are non-verbal etc, but I had by the time it was posted already met my partner and was on the verge of introducing to our kids, he didn’t know about my blog back then, but I imagine had he read it, he may have had some questions 😂

I have a friend that called me about one of my posts a few months back (Yes this is about you, this time lol) thinking it had been spurred on by some comments she had made to me and was a little offended that I hadn’t spoken to her about it… Imagine little old me having no idea what comments she was talking about because that post had started out in the blue book months before and then lived in my drafts for weeks. I’m not saying that somethings aren’t based on recent events because they often are but the anatomy of most my posts is a lot more in-depth (sometimes) than hearing, reading, or thinking something and immediately having a rant about it.

Looking in the blue book today, I have about 67 pages of notes, ideas, and doodles. In my notes on my phone, I have about 12 and finally in my drafts about 6. Some of these ideas date back to 2019 and may never make it into a post because what was written isn’t relevant to who I am today, or they were fleeting feelings or repetitive meetings in which can’t be elaborated on so don’t go anywhere.

I read somewhere that in order to run a successful blog you need to have a schedule of posts and stick to that schedule to help build an audience, I’m not sure what is classed as a successful blog, in my eyes his blog is successful… It doesn’t earn me money (if that’s what success means nowadays) but I feel successful because I started this blog with only a small goal in mind, to have just one other parent read it and felt less alone in their journey, if that was just one person reading it and feeling a little more at ease, or one person reaching out for advice ( do try but I am in no means an expert) or just one person realising their feelings are perfectly normal. I feel that based on the people who I have met because of my blog that it is very successful because my goal wasn’t to reach millions of readers or monetise anything. It was to simply help one person in any way shape or form because this journey is a lonely one and I had never felt loneliness like it before. I wanted to educate people or even just one person on what it is like raising a child with special needs and how hard it can be but also how rewarding and I feel I have achieved that and hopefully will continue to do so.

All my love as always 😘 M x

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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

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Posted in Brief updates

Let’s have a catch up – May 2021

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, 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 🎄🎁