Posted in Brief updates, Dads Journey

Co-Parenting

Today’s topic of conversation is co-parenting. I wanted to do some research into the types of co-parenting, purely to make sure William’s dad and I are doing it right and hopefully improve upon it if necessary or make sure we are at least heading in the right direction.

There are 3 types of coparenting.

High conflict co-parenting

High conflict parenting is exactly as it sounds, it’s difficult for some to put personal reasons aside and focus on what’s best for the child. This is often the style used in the aftermath of a separation. This style of parenting can be detrimental to the child and makes it almost impossible for both parents to have equal say in the way in which a child is raised. Usually in high conflict parenting relationships one parents tries to maintain control of the child and their Ex, often being unable to make a courteous, decent, or even ethical choice for their child.
I read an article recently about the signs of High conflict parents and it is usually because one or both parents are narcissists, but this article was very informative on spotting the traits of the high conflict parent.

  • The blame is always on the other person, they themselves can do no wrong and often portray themselves as the victim.
  • They lie, they often don’t think of any repercussions or simply don’t care.
  • They seem to enjoy the conflict, relishing in the attention it brings them. Their behaviour can be classed as gaslighting, using your natural emotions against you to cause a reaction. It often means its their way or no way.
  • They use your child against you, refusing or restricting access. This may also include speaking poorly of the other parent in front of the child.

Parallel co-parenting

The most common type of coparenting is Parallel Co-parenting, this is usually when two parents are unable to communicate with each other but have learned to tolerate one and other but lead two separate parenting strategies with little to no discussion. It is possible to transition from high conflict to parallel co-parenting but can take lots of work from both parties and may result in legal mediation or court ordered access rules restricting the need for the parents to communicate.

Cooperative and collaborative co-parenting

Finally, we have the category that William’s dad and I seem to fall into. Learning how to co-parent is difficult but I don’t think we really had a choice, because of Williams additional needs, we had to make sure we were on the ball with it and singing from the same hymn sheet so to speak. This is the pinnacle of co-parenting and what all parents that are separated such be aiming towards. It’s kind of weird how when we were married, we couldn’t communicate but now we do it easily and without thinking. I would even say we have a sort of friendship (we won’t be having movie nights and braiding each others hair though 🤣) Our conversations are mainly about William but we can also ask how one and other are. He even went out of the way to have William so that I could recover from my shoulder injury and the flu. Don’t get me wrong both David and I would probably agree that it wasn’t easy to begin with but just short of a year on we have it running like clockwork. 🕒

I think with the way our marriage crashed and burned that it would have been easier to slip into high conflict and then just coast through parallel co-parenting, but we persevered, and it’s paid off because it was the right thing to do.

I guess what I’m trying to say here is that despite the past and any hurt, that we both consistently put William first, as any parent should, and I am grateful that we are able to do that. I remember my post announcing our split and how I wrote that we would be co-parenting, and that Williams dad would be involved in all decisions etc, but I don’t think I believed it at the time. Maybe writing it was a self-fulfilling prophecy?
Needless to say, I believe and always have done that both parents should have an equal say, rights and access to a child they helped produce and I am very proud of both myself and David for putting everything aside and working together to ensure Williams best interests are upheld and I hope we can continue to do so no matter what the future holds.

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Posted in Emotions

Non-Starter

Let’s have a moment of silence for all those moms that expected this week to be something it isn’t…

Let’s think of those parents whose children are starting mainstream schools; those parents who are scared that this isn’t the right environment for their child and the parents who know it isn’t the right environment for their child but whose hands were forced.

Let’s think of the parents like myself whose children are yet to be allocated a suitable school. Whose children are getting left behind.

But let’s also celebrate the parents of all the four-year-olds out there who are happily and successfully starting their school journey. I will like their first day pictures on Facebook and comment about how adorable and grown up they look, but it’s tinged with sadness on my part.

We are back at the stage of jealousy for me, the green-eyed monster has reared its ugly head…
‘Why isn’t that my child?’
‘Why do that child’s parents get all these experiences that I once dreamed of?’
‘What did I do wrong, and they do right?’

Its stupid to think that way and usually its easy to swat away those thoughts like flies but right now its hard. I think that’s because its everywhere, social media, supermarkets, TV. There is no escape from what this week is. Its the start of the school year! Whoop de fucking whoop!

I wanted to photograph William in my street as me and H were outside my mom’s, I wanted to take photos with next doors youngest girl as she is starting secondary school, both in their slightly big but immaculate uniforms on their first days…but that isn’t happening.

I was naive and booked this week off work, I’m not so why as we were no closer to William securing a suitable setting but I guess I will still hopeful (or still had my head in the sand who knows 🤷‍♀️) I envisioned walking him to school and meeting other parents, talking about how big our kids are and how they’ve grown up so fast, how it was only yesterday when they were still in nappies and toddling around. I feel hard done to, and I know how bad that sounds as William is such a beautiful child and I wouldn’t change him for the world, but right now I feel robbed. Robbed of the firsts in which I expected. Every day with William is wonderful but as his peers are growing up and moving on, he just isn’t. We are in the same place we were 2 years ago, nursery, nappies, messy mealtimes… don’t get me wrong, I do know and fully appreciate how far he has come in those two years but this week its hard.

My week off will now be dedicated to decorating, continuing the journey of turning my house into a home, something to keep me busy and my mind occupied as we follow the same routine we have for years. I’m so grateful that William’s nursery said they would keep him as long as possible, but that journey should have naturally ended now, and it hasn’t.

So again, let’s just take a moment for those moms whose week isn’t as expected, those who instead feel angry about it, disappointed, upset. Those moms who may spend this morning crying into their coffee, writing angrily at a laptop or smiling through the heartache or in some cases all three.

All my love to all moms out there, no matter the situation you are in this week 😘 M. x

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Posted in Brief updates

Where do we go from here?

The battles done and we kind of won, so we sound our victory cheer… where do we go from here?’🎶

If you recognise the above Lyrics then you are as much of a nerd as I am, but I though it was very apt to describe our current situation. If you don’t follow our journey on social media, then you won’t be aware that William’s final EHCP has arrived! After what I believe has been 44 weeks. 24 weeks over the legal deadline.

The EHCP specifically states that William will be attending a special school as soon as a suitable provision becomes available, it backs up what the case worker (the illusive Richard Day) told us over the phone which means they can not back out of it.
Although the lyric states the battle is done, the war isn’t over, and this was just a small part of our journey. There is still the fight for a school and ensuring it is the best setting possible for him and then once he is in a school ensuring they stick to the plan and that it adapts and changes as he needs it to.

That is just the education side of things, there are so many other area’s that require a fight, accessibility, mobility and many more. I feel like every battle is going to be uphill but right now I am relishing in this one. There were tears from myself, Williams dad and family members who had all been in the with us. Happy tears for a change.

At the height of the pandemic Gavin Williamson announced that there would be flexibility over timescales in relation to plans; I remember writing about it at the time and being assured by the Local Authority that this wouldn’t affect William… 🙄 I don’t think there is a big enough eye roll emoji to insert here. Is 24 weeks classing a flexible or absurd?

In 2019 Gavin announced they were conducting a SEND review which has as you can imagine been postponed as with everything else the authorities have been doing, my concern is that Gavin seems to want to abolish the EHCP claiming parents should be able to get their child what they need without one however this massively worries me. I know that more and more requests for EHCP’s are being declined but approved upon parents taking it to appeal. Not having an EHCP creates so many barriers and I worry if these are no longer going to be available then it won’t make it easier for children to access the education they need but would make it near on impossible.
I found it so hard to even get the request for the EHCP let alone going through the motions on ensuing it was done and watching our timeframe more than double. How can parents help their children without a set timescale and document to ensure the local authorities stick to it? Will it just be a verbal agreement between schools and parents? There would be no ramifications if it isn’t upheld? I’m frightened for those who don’t yet have one, or don’t know they need one. And for those of us that after blood sweat and lots of tears (and coffee and therapy) finally have one that may become null and void.

I guess time will only tell, much love M 😘

Posted in Brief updates

Congraduations 🎓

It’s a bittersweet feeling when children of William’s age are moving on and he isn’t, on the 16th July he officially graduated from nursery, only he didn’t.

I’m looking at his little diploma now and it brings tears to my eyes thinking about it, I’m sad but I’m not sure if I am sad for William or for myself. It sad that he doesn’t get to start school with children his own age in September but then if we think about it, he isn’t like children his own age.

William doesn’t understand that he should be going to school so the more I think about it, the more I think about it the more I realise that I am sad for me, sad that I don’t have the excitement of a first day, meeting other mom’s in September, school uniforms and meeting teachers etc. I know it will come eventually but the delay just makes me feel like we are even more different from other children; i feel like its segregating us further.

On the other hand, it makes me really happy about how inclusive his nursery are and that even though he isn’t moving on, he got to graduate with his class. I am so grateful they are keeping him until the easter term; I honestly don’t know what I would have done if they had of said no.

A short and bittersweet update today, much love M 😘 x

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Posted in Autism In The News

Genevieve Hyde

Do you know this woman? If not let me introduce you…

Genevieve Hyde

This is Genevieve Hyde, she is the former head of education at Wargrave House School and Specialist College in Newton-Le-Willows.

I struggle when I think about the fact I will have to entrust William into the hands of a school for more than 6 hours a day, it genuinely gives me palpitations and strikes fear into my soul but when you make that inevitable decision of which school to entrust your child to, you pray it was the right one and that they have the utmost respect for you children and their needs. That they have nothing but the best intentions.

Genevieve did something that as a special needs parent I find unforgivable, she made fun of the children in her care. In fact, it’s unforgivable to make comments about any child but she was in a position of power and trust! I have had friends and family make comments about my child and can honestly say they have swiftly been put in their place or cut out completely… this is someone who should know much better than to be so cruel, someone who chose to work in that field, someone who should understand.

Genevieve created a WhatsApp group with members of her staff in which she not only made comments about other staff, but about pupils in her care. It was the another member of this group chat that reported her for her comments.

She also made comments referring to her pupils as ‘window licking’ my question here is that although one of her staff members reported her, did they comment in return to the messages? did they tell her it was inappropriate? or did they go along with her?

Can you imagine how the parents of this school feel knowing they placed their trust in a woman who blatantly abused it.

This woman was trusted with the care and education of children like William, children who, as the name of the school suggests require specialist care. In May 2019 she was suspended under an investigation of misconduct. She was later dismissed in which she unsuccessfully tried to appeal. Thank God! However, despite losing her job, she is still allowed to continue in the profession and seek employment within specialist education. How is this an appropriate punishment? In a few years and this isn’t in the papers, this woman may be in charge of another child’s education, I wouldn’t want it to be my child!

Were parents at her school even notified of this when it happened or have they read about it in the papers and now wondering if it was their child she was referring to?

The world can be a cruel and horrible place…

Much Love
M. xx

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Posted in Appointments, autism and covid19, PCP & TAF Meetings

PCP Meeting… Covid-19 edition

Just a little reminder of how happy Big nan is now she gets to see William xx

We take the same notebook to every single meeting, it wasn’t an expensive book; in fact I think it was a freebie from a company my work engages with on twitter but this random book has become a symbol for us, a record and a reference guide. It has been to every meeting without fail and contains scribble and tears (maybe snot too🤮) We need to start looking for a replacement as its almost time to retire this one, and by retire I mean put into storage in case we need it for reference in the future. I’ve bought loads of new notebooks but non of them are quite right. I know it may sound silly as it’s just a pretty ordinary notebook but it symbolizes our journey.


I’m not sure if everyone’s experience with PCP meetings are like ours but it wasn’t what we expected. We were sent a copy of William’s support plan yesterday to prepare us for today and were asked to look through it and focus specifically on his areas of need.
Both Dave and myself sat down and picked apart this plan and what other professionals had written either agreeing, amending or adding & removing and making notes in our trusty blue notebook ready to question parts we didn’t understand or needed clarification.
The support plan is twenty-six pages long and that is with a small font!

The call was at 3pm and I had volunteered to work until shortly before so that I didn’t sit dwelling on it all day, luckily Dave wasn’t back at work until this evening so he was able to look after William.
Meetings are very different in the current climate so instead of having to travel to the nursery we had to, usually in silence with a few passive aggressive comments we had to gather round my desk and tune in to a Microsoft teams meeting (I spend my entire working day on teams 🙄)
We expected a woman from our school of choice to attend the meeting but she was busy which is understandable but disappointing. More concerning is that our nursery representative couldn’t figure out how to work Teams.
We expected to go through the points raised on the support plan and be able to put our input in whilst on the call but this was not the case, Our SENCO spoke through was each section of the plan and told us that until I next meeting we were to input our thought on Williams strengths and needs focusing on his worst days because that would be when he needs the most support.
There were parts that weren’t relevant to William which had confused us last night and should have been deleted but we got some clarification which was good.

I must say the SENCO Lisa is fab, she answered numerous neurotic emails from me during lockdown and told me and the nursery (who was on Lisa’s mobile on speaking in the background) what needed to be written or included.

I think the main focus of this meeting was to discuss what will happen in the run up, during and after our next meeting. This disappointed Dave as I think he expected more from the meeting in general and didn’t take as much from it as I did.

SMART Targets have been set for William and what they are aiming for him to achieve within the next four years.

  • To be able to use objects, images and timetables as a point of reference in order to follow a routine.
    (They believe this one should be achievable by the end of the year depending on how much William regresses when he goes back to nursery)
  • To independently engage with a wider range of activities and toys.
  • Communicate my wants and needs to familiar people.
  • Explore a range of unfamiliar environments and activities independently in various ways.

Its great to see they have targets and what was very impressive is the steps they already had in place to ensure he is on his way to these, no matter how slowly.

I’m not sure if we have mention previously but William has Global Developmental Delay (GDD) and currently William is classed as being in the 0 – 11 months age bracket. He has developed in almost every area barring one into the 8 – 20 months bracket. The one that he is struggling with revolves around language and communication, hopefully he will progress when he goes back to nursery so he will officially be in the higher bracket. I said to Debs tonight that’s its really daft as it is just label to put on him but it feels really important for us to have it, to know where he is on the scale and that he has moved from one to the other.

The next step is for us to add to this pan and submit it before the end of next month in time for our next meeting which is 21st September (Happy Birthday Me 🎈)
This next meeting will be to finalise the support plan to submit for EHCP assessment which will take 20 weeks from submittal to be confirmed. We should get a draft back after 16 weeks to approve or edit.

Our intention to send William to a specialised school has been documented and admissions are fully aware that that is our intention. This doesn’t guarantee him a space but at least he is on their radar which can only be a good thing ready for the application process later in the year.

Posted in Autism In The News

Back to the pound… part 2🐶

MYKA STAUFFER! The more I read about this woman the angrier I get. How could she give up a child like he was a stray dog?!

If you haven’t read our original post on Myka Stauffer here it is

Back to the pound 🐶

I have always judged people who get a puppy or dog and decide to take it back to the pound. I am completely aware there are 100% valid reasons in some cases but it always devastates me. You promised that little furry guy a new home, a good life and to love them forever… So […]

She implied to the word that she had ‘re-homed’ Huxley to a new mommy but turns out that apparently Huxley is in the US foster care system! And let’s face it even here in the UK we haven’t heard great things about that system. This means his current situation and new mommy may not even be permanent. Another traumatic upheaval for a little boy who deserves so much more. There is even rumour spreading round the internet that the re-homing was less official especially since the state of Ohio have announced his in not in their custody.
When a parent (and I use this term loosely) decides they can no longer look after their adoptive child they go through an official vetted process called adoption dissolution. As it was Myka who used the term re-homed it may be that the process was not done officially and that they used the wildly criticised and unsafe underground method which is called… you guessed it… Re-Homing!!!

I have re-watched the video announcement, because you know, I felt my blood pressure wasn’t high enough and I just wanted to torture myself. She states in the video that the doctors told her he needed more, implying that they told her he needed re-homing.

She then discusses this “secret” about Huxley and how they can’t discuss in detail for his privacy and in fear of messing up his future? Well I’m sorry but they’ve shared every aspect of that child’s life including the fact he has bitten and pinched his siblings. By saying this repeatedly in the video it is implying that it is Huxley’s fault that she gave up on him. Including a video of him having a meltdown.

In a comment on one of her videos she also states Huxley wanted to be re-homed and constantly chose his new family instead of the Stauffer’s. He also apparently signed and showed lots of emotion to show he wanted to be with them. Let’s also bare in mind that Huxley is non verbal and only has limited use of signs.
There is no way in fucking hell he would be able to knowingly agree to or want this let alone tell them he wants this.

Obviously this was everyone’s fault but theirs! It feels a little bit like the blame game. There full video about re-homing Huxley wasn’t even about Huxley but instead all about Myka just like all her other posts about their kids.

This post has resurfaced and people are slating her for it and I despise myself for this but at the time of writing this she was asking for guidance and it’s not fair for people to use that against her.
William, as you guys will be aware is really food orientated to a degree in which it is obsessive. He loves food and doesn’t understand the difference between his food and anyone else’s. I noticed in one of Myka’s videos that she was using treats to help Huxley learn signs; this is a method our key worked advised us to use to help William make eye contact. Unfortunately as soon as William sees the food he goes into meltdown even if he doesn’t want to eat it.

There are numerous other theories out there as to why Huxley was re-homed however based on some footage which has surface I’m beginning to think he should have been removed from their care before they gave him up. There is footage of Huxley showing his hands taped so he is unable to suck his thumb. I wonder if they did this to their biological children.

Babies have natural rooting and sucking reflexes, which can cause them to put their thumbs or fingers into their mouths — sometimes even before birth. Because thumb sucking makes babies feel secure, some babies might eventually develop a habit of thumb sucking when they’re in need of soothing or going to sleep. This can be used as coping mechanism.

Thumb sucking for autistic children can be stimming behaviour, stimming is short for self-stimulating behaviours. It is also known as “stereotypical repetitive” behaviours.
Therapists class stimming as a protective response to being overly sensitive to environmental stress. For example, a child starts to flap his hands when he is in a noisy shopping centre.  Stimming is less reported when a child is engaged in activities that they like. In this case, stimming is recognised as an activity to occupy them while they are bored. Stimming is also viewed as a form of cause and effect play.
One of William’s stimming behaviours includes sucking on clothes tags, we purchased something amazing for William so that his hands could be free for him to explore the world around him. Its called a Chew Buddy. Link below for you guys to check them out.

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Chewbuddy-CBA81RAB-Pack-of-2/dp/B00KLDO5PW/ref=sr_1_1?dchild=1&keywords=chew+buddy&qid=1591114956&sr=8-1

TheKillerDoll on YouTube discusses how it is blatantly obvious how they used Huxley to boost their channels and how they treat him differently to their biological children. Check out her video here. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IVcdwG17Rhc

The Stauffer family don’t seem to be leaving the headlines any time soon, especially as more and more skeletons are falling out of their closest, the YouTube community are turning against them, their sponsors have cut ties with them, their subscribers are dwindling and now at 706k, she has been caught out buying Instagram followers, I’m a YouTube novice so I wonder if she has bought viewers too?