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

Transition meeting Pt. 1

I think terrified is the best way to describe how I am feeling about William transitioning into ab school setting from his nursery. The fear keeps me awake at night as I toss and turn thinking about how he will handle a new environment and different levels of support. When I think that his days at his amazing nursery are numbered it genuinely makes my sad.

This was William just over 2 years ago on his first day at nursery, he looks so young and baby faced. He loved it whilst I sat at home and cried. I didn’t think anyone could look after my child as well as I could but I was wrong… Over the last 2 years they have helped William and myself in more ways that I could have ever anticipated, they helped me understand some of his educational needs and pushed us through the right channels for support, funding and diagnosis. Thinking that his last days are slowly coming upon us brings tears to my eye, not a single tear or quiet tears but messy heartbroken sobs. I know it is almost time for him to continue on his educational journey but i’m not quite ready to say goodbye to them 😭😭😭

Today was part one of the transition meetings to get William into the right school with the right support. Unfortunately we still haven’t received his draft EHCP however we are aware that he has been banded as intensive for the level of support he needs which is the top level. Below are the definition and school needs for children branded due to Speech, Language and Communication difficulties as Intensive or severe provided by Hull Local Offer. William easily fits into the ‘Intensive’ category however after discussing with his SENCO; Lisa, he would standardly have been placed in ‘severe’ had he have been going to a specialised school as his level of support would have been less within that environment.

LevelDescriptorsCurriculum needs
SevereVery severe expressive and/or receptive language difficulties of a specific nature, which are significantly impacting on progress and social, emotional, and behavioural development. Child/young person of broadly average ability.
or
child/young person with a very severe communication disorder, which is significantly impacting on progress and social, emotional and behavioural development.
or
child/young person’s ability to receive communication is severely limited due to a language disorder or a profound difficulty in interpersonal interaction.   Child/young person may have emerging mental health difficulties and/or experience a high level of anxiety in most school situations.
Intensive programmes to develop understanding of language, expressive language, speech intelligibility and/or social communication skills. Intensive programmes to help the child/young person develop alternative or augmentative means of communication to a level commensurate with level of ability. Differentiated programmes of study to facilitate interaction with the curriculum either by oral, signing, symbol or written systems. Programmes of support to enable the child/young person to become competent users of communication aids / technology.  
IntensiveProfound speech, language and communication needs as a result of which a child at school entry age is only likely to function below the 12-month level in relation to these skills.
and
child/young person uses primitive gestures, a few signs/symbols and/or has almost no spoken language.
and
child/young person is unable to form words or make adequate use of augmentative systems of communication.
and
child/young person has severe limitations in the expression of intentional communication. or child/young person has significant physical difficulties, with less cognitive impairment, which require voice output communication aids.   The child/young person may have an accumulation of layered needs, which could include mental health, relationships, behavioural, physical, medical, sensory, communication & cognitive needs.
Child/young person needs very early (infant) developmental programmes in relation to language/communication. Child/young person requires intensive training to acquire the limited use of means of alternative communication systems (e.g., signs/symbols systems). Child/young person requires intensive programmes to develop pre-lingual articulatory skills (i.e., formation of sounds in words). Child/young person needs programmes of work which recognises their high level of dependency in relation to language and communication. Intensive programmes of support to enable the child/young person to become competent users of communication aids / technology.  

The guest stars in todays transition meeting
* Lisa – SENCO
* Jenny – Specialised school representative
* Zara – Williams 1:1 support from nursery
* Chris – Head of chosen mainstream school
* Me – Mom, stress head, emotional wreck etc

For those who has tuned in to my blog before will notice Val isn’t listed as Williams 1:1 support, sadly Val decided to take partial retirement which means she no longer works Williams days. This did make me very sad as Val is amazing with William (Please feel free to remember when I pitched a fit because he left Linda to go to Val 🤣 I soon ate my words about that one) however William loves Zara and she has been in the sunshine room with him all along so i am quite happy with the change and happy for val to have some well deserved rest.

I got to meet the head of our chosen mainstream school today and she seems very similar to the head teacher who was in place when I attentended in the 90’s. She asked me to tell her about William, nothing specific but my view on what he is like as a child. I got a little emotional explaining how loving he is in his own ways but it was nice to be asked, not about his development or what he can and cant do but about how he is as my son.

Our chosen mainstream has two classes for Williams age group with each having 30 children, he is currently in a setting of only 8 kids so the transition may be a big shock for him, the plan is currently to aim to start this by the autumn term which is October/November rather than the standard September term. It will be easier for William to adapt to his new setting if he is eased into it slowly, starting out with shorter days or weeks which are to be agreed once his EHCP is in place. When this finally does come through I can name our chosen school with the view of a specialised setting in the future (ideally the following year🙏🏻)
On top of the EHCP naming I am also following the standardised appeal process to cover all bases to ensure we don’t have another crushing disappointment like we did when it came to specialised school allocations but i’m not holding my breath. Any parent of a child with special needs will tell you how fucked up the system is and how you get used to being let down by a system that is supposed to ensure your child has the best possible care.

As always I will keep you posted on what is to come and stay tuned for a catch up on other things that have happened within the last few months 😊

Much Love M.x

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 Brief updates

School allocations

I don’t even know where to start! I don’t even know where to begin this post other than saying everything is fucked!

Yesterday was the legal deadline for allocations for special school, I had waited for what felt like an eternity already, the night before I barely slept and for the full day I felt sick and emotional… I chased them at 2pm to be told my caseworker would be calling me back once the allocations were ready. By 4:30 I was beside myself and asked Williams dad to chase as I didn’t want to keep pestering them (always a nice person and doesn’t get me anywhere!)
Shocking horror! Our caseworker is on annual leave! Who the fuck takes annual leave at such a pivotal time in their office… Mark does! That’s who!

5:30 roles around and Elaine calls me….

William wasn’t on the list of allocations!

What? That cant be right… we were assured he was on the list. Elaine explains that as he doesn’t have an EHCP in place he would never have been on the list but we were told it didn’t matter. I pushed for months to get the process started earlier but due to Covid was told it wasn’t possible. I questioned if it would be an issue to be told it would not… ALL FUCKING LIES!

To say I wasn’t angry and devastated last night would be a huge understatement; I cried uncontrollably for about 3 hours, ranted at Williams dad, my mom and friends and smashed up some old furniture before taking the dog on what I can only describe as a walk in which I felt like I needed to punish the pavement. I needed to get out the feelings of despair so that I could face today as super mom because yesterday I felt exhausted… I felt too tired of all this hard work to get shit on, too tired of fighting to get what is best (but then I have always been a melodramatic kind of girl 🤣

I had to wait until today to speak to our senco; Lisa. She found out yesterday that William wasn’t discussed at applications and apparently had a meeting with her line manager and the head of the Hull SEND team Caroline Scott to discuss Williams options. It would have been fucking amazing if they could have called me first so I didn’t spend a full day waiting on something that wasn’t even going to happen!

His EHCP will be confirmed 3rd of March and there is an exceptionally slim chance they may allocate him a special school during that process but I am not holding my breath as I don’t think I believe a word of it anymore.

I have a meeting on 4th March to discuss this other meeting 🙄 and it looks like our options will be the following…


* Keep him in nursery until the term after he turns five – although he gets funding for nursery it still costs me a lot of money each month for his 2 days and paying full costs for 3 additional days is financially out of the question.

* Home school – we both work which would make this difficult but not impossible however it is the interaction he will miss out on which will not help him develop his communication skills.

* Mainstream with a watertight EHCP – I never wanted mainstream as the environment isn’t right for William and his mental health but this may be our only option until special school allocations next year. I would be able to name a set school on his EHCP and I have done research however I just don’t know if this is best.

I will keep you posted on any further developments.

Much love, M xx

Posted in autism and covid19, Emotions

How do you know if you are doing the right thing?

As a parent this is something, we always ask ourselves until our child reaches an age in which their own decisions can be trusted. As a parent of a child with special needs not only do you question your choices but you over analyse every decision you are forced to make but what do you do when that spills out into your own life? When the simplest of decisions can be agonising because you try to predict every possible outcome which proves impossible and life just becomes too overwhelming. When every decision comes back to haunt you?

The pressures of being a single parent to child with additional needs is immense, every choice reflects upon your child from simple things like buying a different brand of chicken nuggets by mistake or choosing the wrong school. They both seem like such opposite ends of the scale, but both have a massive impact on Williams life and the responsibility of chicken nuggets is a big one on its own without the other factors.

What if they stop making his chicken nuggets, when is the right time to introduce new chicken nuggets? I am aware it sounds crazy, but I need to think of these things and try to find a solution before they happen.

Sometimes things do happen in which there was no way you could plan ahead for. Somethings happen and take you so much by surprise that you do not know how you will recover or if you ever will but in some circumstances you thrive.

How do you deal with those situations? I feel like I have become more guarded. I feel like I have to step up and become super mom, I feel like there is a constant battle to ensure William has the best support, the best family, the right environment and so on… I don’t know if that’s a natural part of being a parent, a single parent or a special needs parent but it’s exhausting.
I am exhausted! It so hard to maintain a good balance between being mommy and being Marie and I feel like I am losing myself. It sounds daft because you don’t get a break from being a parent, it’s not a job; it’s a privilege. You don’t get sick days no matter how poorly you are or how much pain you are in, being a parent is just who you are on a fundamental level. With this pandemic its difficult to find the time to stop and take a breath. It’s not as if William can go to his Nanna and Grandad’s so that I can…🥁… have a nap. (not very rock and roll of me I know)
It’s those kinds of things that I think we all took for granted, I don’t think any of us really appreciated how much we benefited from the everyday interactions we had with our family and friends.

Posted in Events & Holidays

Yule never guess what 🎄

Forgive the horrendous pun 🙏🏻 but I couldn’t resist.

What can I say about Christmas 2020? What can I say about 2020 in general that hasn’t already been said be everyone? I think this year I had more understanding of what William could and couldn’t handle at Christmas which made it easier for me to make sure he wasn’t overwhelmed.

Each christmas eve I have alway reads William ‘Santa comes to Hull’ I’m not sure why I made it a tradition as it wasn’t one I had as a child but I felt it made it a little special knowing he was on his way. This year William grabbed the book from me and and decided to show me it before I read it… Maybe one day he can read it to me 🥰

I’ve been poorly recently with a mega cold 😷 (100% NOT covid as I had a test) and an injured scapula so the preparations for christmas have been hard physically on top of the usual picking up and carrying William and then the emotional toll of it being my first Christmas alone as a single mom which… If I do say so myself I totally bossed it 💪🏼

Every year without fail we all have always had christmas dinner at my mom and dads house. Christmas isn’t christmas without my mom yelling at my dad to get out of the kitchen or telling us there isn’t room for all of us in the small room, my niece eating more than her share of after eights and my dad hovering round with a bin bag asking if anyone can take it home 🤣 and even more so… it isn’t christmas without big nan. The first lockdown kept us apart for 113 days… so far on this teir 3 we are at 66 days and counting. Thats almost half a year! 😲
I know the rules for christmas day were relaxed but it wasn’t fair to potentially put anyone at risk with William going to nursery, his dad visiting him but working, my sister working and my niece at school… we all felt we would rather we were all here next year to celebrate properly (I’ve also told my mom she has to cook christmas dinner for us all once its safe to do so even if it is summer 🦃 BBQ turkey will not be accepted)

William came down christmas morning and started playing with some of his toys and opening some gifts at his own pace. When this got too overwhelming for him, he retreated upstairs and laid on his bed floor for a little bit until it was time to leave the house. My sister thankfully allowed William and I to go for dinner (the covid test probably helped in that decision😂)

Before I had William I hated Christmas and as William doesn’t usually cope with the festivities I was getting this way again but this year I realised I love it, I love the opportunity to see all our family whilst we aren’t working, to eat good food and just be happy. I think Christmas 2021 will be appreciated so much more than any before it by everyone.

William really enjoyed his christmas dinner and when I say that what I actually mean is he actually ate it this year and pudding too 🍰… I hope his nanna doesn’t take this personally against hers especially after my dads comments last year #dry 😂
We took some of his sensory toys and his tablet so that he could freely do what keeps him happy such as watching ‘Little Baby Bum’ on netflix and biting things 😁 The reason his does this is for oral stimulation… If i’m not careful he tries to eat the fluff on my dressing gown, paper, dog food or his own poop 🤮. I do think William may have an eating disorder called Pica which is relatively common in those with autism or developmental conditions.

When we got home he was ready for round two of presents 🎁 and to spend some time with his dad, which was nice as he got to see him open some gifts too.
We ate left over buffet from christmas eve (yes we had room and no I didn’t cook it; it was a cheeky morrisons order) and relaxed in our new PJ’s until bed time.

Williams weighted blanket from big nan was a smash hit but he wouldn’t share it with me, in fact when I tried to cover myself with my own blanket he decided I wasn’t allowed that either😲

Overall this Christmas (year even) wasn’t the one anyone imagined we would be having but to me its given me a whole new appreciation for the festive season and how important it is to spend time with your family. I’m not saying that this time next year I wont be writing a ‘Jingle Hell… Pt.2’ based on last years post but I think I am more prepared now, I can see what triggers William’s meltdowns and can try to prevent them in advance.

I really hope you all had a wonderful christmas or at least got very drunk to block it out🍾
We will all have a re-do for 2021 and it will be the most magical christmas any of us have known, wouldn’t it be amazing if it was a white christmas too ⛄

Its approximately 28 hours until we can say goodbye to this terrible year, I am still working hard on my Understanding Autism level 2 so I may not get the chance to wish you all a happy new year after today but remember, it can not be any worse than this year.
Much Love M. x 😘