Its no secret that I don’t like people. Actually that’s a lie. I like plenty of people just not starngers and it takes me a long time to be comfortable around anyone.
I have often spoken about Sarah but just in case some of you aren’t sure on who I am referring to… Sarah is our amazing health visitor. She has stayed with us for about 4 years since before William had even arrived. I have always maintained that Sarah is massively overworked and unpaid and I will stick to that. She has been an absolute godsend to us throughout our journey and when we moved house she promised she would stay with us…Lets fast-forward to present day and do you a little play back play
Lets fast forward to present day, here’s a little bit of a run down
Postman checks front garden for dog (its the cat he should be more affraid of 🐈)
Thump of mail hitting the mat triggers both me and William to dash for the door… He wants to eat it and I want to read it.
Its a win/win, I get the letters and he gets the Farmfoods leaflet.
I begin to shout for Dave…
This ever so nice letter from the community health team tells me that ‘as we new to the area’ we have been allocated a new health visitor and she will be coming to see us on said date.
As you can imagine we are confused so I call the number of the letter, I didn’t really hold out much hope as I had left a few messages for Sarah with their reception and never heard back. The answer and transfer me somewhere else… I explain that I have been in the area over a year now and we were told Sarah would be staying with us. I’m crying at this point because its such a big thig for us to have her in our corner; helping me fill out forms, turning up to meetings she isn’t invited to etc. The woman then asks me if William has additional needs.
Sarah has gone… she got a new job and isn’t a health visitor any more and her caseload has been deployed to others.
Needless to say we are devastated, a little hurt we weren’t told but mainly devastated.
We are worried that we wont get the same level of support from some who doesn’t know us. That we have to build that relationship back up and we don’t have the time to do that with William hopefully attending school next year. Are we going to have to repeat the last few years and have the same conversations?
I think we were lucky to keep Sarah as long as we did and I am so grateful for that and although for us this is a massive blow I really hope that in her new role she will be very happy and appreciated for all the hard work she puts in to everything.
Louise. That’s our new health visitor who we will be meeting a in a few weeks, I really hope she reads through all Williams notes and makes us feel at ease but for now we will just have to wait and see. Although she does get points for calling us after my distressed phone call… Maybe this isn’t going to as bad as we think…
Its nights like these I really wish autism was a physical being so I could kick the shit out of it. I fucking hate you autism you son of a bitch!!!
Its 11:30pm and William is still awake. He is calm and comfortable watching TV in his room. Before anyone jumps on the too young to have a tv in his room please remember that the only thing that can soothe William is the wonderful invention that is BabyTV and even then that’s only works some of the time. Could you imagine my neighbours during his frequent 4am screaming fits without it?
A little while ago it was a completely different story. William had spent the last half an hour or more hitting himself. Believe me it felt like a fucking lifetime. He doesn’t have a massive amount of strength in his arms so one little slap wouldn’t necessarily hurt anyone but he continuously slaps his stomach or legs with both hands until they are red. It’s really difficult to watch and if I try to restrain him he will lash out and bite me or become even more upset. And believe me when I say this he has the strength of a pitbull in those jaws.
Its these moments in which I feel like a huge failure as a mother.
I have tried everything to pull him out of these self harming states but nothing works so I tend hover in the hall or in his room and try to distract him but often just watch him and cry.
It makes me feel like an absolute failure as a mother. I’m supposed to protect him when someone hurts him… what am I supposed to do when he hurts himself?
The worst thing about this evenings episode was the reason he was hurting himself, it was something as simple as needing a poo and then the discomfort of needing changing afterwards. This has never been a cause before tonight and he is on medication to help him go but for some reason tonight it was an issue for him.
I need someone to blame. Someone to shout at. I write often about accepting that we are not to blame for William having autism but it was easier when we did think it was us because it was easy to direct hate at ourselves.
Who do I hate now? The diagnosis we still don’t officially have? The genetics that he may have inherited? The fluke that may have caused it? God? I just need something or someone to be mad at! I just need a reason… Why?
Dave here 👋🏻 I was trusted to attend a meeting solo as Marie had work commitments. This was a huge deal as she is always the one with the notebook who asks all the questions but I’m still alive so I guess I did well… 🤞🏻
Firsty the wife loves a good snapchat filter but never smiles in any photo. She says she has resting bitch face. I say she is just a massive poser.
Secondly but more importantly can we just address the fact that William looks cute as hell. I do love a good dickie bow on him.
This picture was taken before went out for Big Nans 90th birthday party. 90!!! When you think of a 90 year old you would never picture Big Nan. She acts younger than us sometimes and is so full of energy. She once cut through a small tree using a saw that only had about 3 teeth!
It was a great get together but the older generation don’t seem to understand what is wrong with William and asked thing like ‘will he get better?’ which is heartbreaking because the answer is ‘no’ but at the same time he isn’t poorly so the question isn’t relevant. The understanding we have now about ASD wasn’t available to them and is still a growing knowledgebase.
FYI – the consent forms for the ASD waiting list have been signed so we are just waiting for acceptance nowbut will keep you updated
I won’t lie and tell you I was looking forward to a solo meeting because I really wasn’t. I was nervous and worried I would say the wrong thing or not ask the right questions. Marie is always really prepared and has a notebook full of notes from every single meeting we have had so far. True to form she had made notes for me to guide me with questions and made sure I went armed with the notebook so I could update her as soon as I left.
As the meeting was at 9am getting to the nursery with the boy in tow in a buggy was difficult. It was raining which didn’t help the public transport situation and I struggled to get on a bus and had to wait for a third bus in order to be able to fit on one… after the second one went passed I was very grateful Marie wasn’t there as she would have been what I like to call ‘a bitch’ and I mean that with love but when she is stressed she gets angry and can be mean 😢 a bit like the incredible hulk… you wouldn’t like her when she’s angry.
The usual crew were all in attendance and Sarah our health visitor was late as usual. Health visitors are so overworked and underpaid that I am shocked she has time to attend at all and we are always grateful.
Let’s get the bullshit out the way first. There is apparently only an 18 month wait list for the ASD panel 🤥 they’ve hired new staff and it may be even less… So firstly they haven’t hired new staff… they have connected with a company called Healios who are an online based company who allow people to connect with health professionals via video link. Since they have been on board the waiting list has reduced from 3 years to 2 years and 4 months. This is based on first appointments given to parents in our online support group and their referral date so unless they are recruiting their own staff as well I can’t see it reducing that much more. Apparently a long wait is good at Williams age as diagnosis’ can be seen as a label and they don’t like to label younger children etc etc etc… I understand that but surely it should be done before school? and as it stands now it won’t be and it worries us that his needs may not be met without it.
Going forward William will be set targets by speech and language for us all to work together on to help him develop and improve but until then we aren’t fully sure what we are aiming for. Lisa from Early Years Development will continue to assess his funding and ensure he has the right amount of support each term at nursery.
I also gained a little insight into what will happen next with the ASD panel. This is after our long wait… we will get a large questionnaire which will ask the same medical kind of questions Marie gets asked at every new meeting about her pregnancy and labour etc and about Williams behaviours. They will then want to speak to us about day to day life and then in a separate session will observe William. I worry that if this is online that they won’t be able to get him to cooperate and we would have to wait even longer. In some instances a diagnosis has been given then and there which would be great for us as everyone has said all along he has autism and a severe developmental delay BUT if they can’t do that they will do a ‘watch and wait’ this puts a stopper on it all for 6 to 12 months to see if anything changes. I’m not going to sugar coat it but I would be super pissed if we waited almost 2 and a half years to be told we needed to wait another year!
The paediatrician – she wasn’t at the meeting. Thank fuck. Basically all parties had presumed she would have referred the boy to Physiotherapy due to his movement and the way he holds himself. When I told Marie this she was raging. The woman deffinately rubbed her up the wrong way and told me off. She was not a people person and if you’re good at your job it wouldn’t matter but apparently she isn’t either! We will chase this when we get our next appointment through. She did say it may be with another paediatrician so here’s hoping 🤞🏻
Check out this adorable moment!
William has started sorting his toys and will collect certain types and compile them.
Here he is taking all his trains to the dog 🐕
In our last TAF meeting it was devastating to hear that the boy was only at the age of 9-11 months developmentally and as you may have read it hit me really hard and it took a while to get my head around things and I would love to say I have done this fully but there are still some things I struggle with so I had barely slept the night before thinking there would be no improvement (we had seem some but it hard to trust ourselves if that makes sense) and then I would have to break the news to Marie. so… He is still in the 9 to 11 month development bracket but is slowly emerging into the up to 20 month bracket. He isn’t there yet but there had been no improvement at all in the last meeting so this to us was amazing! and it’s rare we get good news about his development so it was wonderful to hear. Even slow progress is better than no progress.
There was a lot of discussion about an EHCP and his future education but since the wife knows more about that than I do I will let her fill you in at some point.
‘You are already doing a great job at home to help’
This a quote by from Lisa from Early Years Development. It brought a tear to my eye and when Marie found out she cried happy tears.
I bet you are all totally impressed with my note taking skills, I had a great way to make sure I documented everything to be able to relay info… I had my phone recording in my pocket 🤫
Today was THE day! Everyone said it was… everyone said it was THE appointment to get him on the ASD Panel waiting list. We were referred to the neurodevelopmental paediatrician because she would be the one to put him on that list… I should have known better, why would this be THE day. A miserable cold day in January when none of the previous ‘THE day’ appointments had been the actual day.
Yesterday we had a tiny step for babykind but a massive leap for William👨🏻🚀 He has been using a fork! 🍴 He had actually been scooping and stabbing his own food and successfully getting it in his mouth. This amazing coordination is a huge achievement for him. He hasn’t reenacted this at home yet but he has a small toy that involves putting a disc into a slot and he has also master that. His current favourite game is putting the disc in and passing me it to fire out for him to do it all again… so basically I spend a good portion of my evenings playing fetch with my toddler 😏 His other favourite pastime is holding me hostage in his room and forcing me to play round and round the garden until I can escape but we are currently on game number 1,00000003 and he still laughs before I even touch his hand which means I will keep going.
His bedtime routine hasn’t improved although our morning one has. His Nanna bought him some adorable all in ones to sleep in which means we don’t have to fully disinfect his room every morning. Don’t get me wrong he still tries to take his pants off at every opportunity… he is just like his dad in that way 😜
He isn’t lashing out as much as he has done in the past but his routine is now settled again so i am hoping it stays that way if he encounters changes. He does need his nails cutting soon so if any of you see me with a bloody face then you can probably guess why.
Today didn’t start particularly well, both David and William had to get up much earlier than usual and neither of them handled it well. I basically hand to turn into Gny. Sgt. Hartman to get them sorted and out of the house! I’m not exactly pleasant when i’m stressed.
Traffic was horrendous and we stayed in the same spot on holderness road for 15 minutes and then to cap it off when we get on our second bus we ended up miles away because the shitting ‘movit’ app crashed. THEN google maps told us to go in the wrong direction! Needless to say both me and Dave were very stressed and took it out on each other. He shouted at me, I shouted at him and then we didn’t speak…
Arriving late is never the impression I want to give so I was very on edge when we finally arrived. The paediatrician whose name I can’t remember didn’t come across well, I don’t know if its because I was on edge but she was very condescending and told Dave off for fidgeting because it was distracting her.
She tipped out some toys for William to play with and grilled us about family history and when William reached his milestones. I couldn’t remember when he first smiled and I felt like a terrible mum. I remembered he was 10 months when he first sat up and 21 months when he was walking independently but I could not for the life of me remember when he first smiled. I remember the feeling and the fact I cried when he first looked at me and smiled but not when. She asked about our family histories and if any one had any history of ASD and there is one person in each side of the family. Both boys and both in Williams generation. Both on our Fathers sides.
How is his medical history, how many times has he been in hospital? How many times has he had antibiotics? What caused his massive allergic reaction? what are his bowel movements like? apparently sluggish bowels are often found in children with autism. Does he have any birthmarks? What was he like as a baby? Was I on medication when pregnant? Other than GD did I have any issues? Did I breastfeed? How was the labour? Well it was fucking hard! it was definitely no walk in the park.
Then she asked about his sleep patterns and we explained how well he slept really well until he turned two. How is his diet? well… when we can get him to eat he will eat anything and everything, even stuff he wont touch with his hands will go into his mouth. His poops often come out gift wrapped due to the amount of paper he eats. Its not worth risking a finger to get it out of his mouth. 👆🏻
Where do I work? What do I do? Where does Dave work? what does his job entail? How many hours do we work? Who lives in our house? How does William interact with the pets? How is his recognition with people? This one is always a touchy subject as he doesn’t really behave differently towards anyone. I explained we could have walked out that room and left him with her and he wouldn’t be any different. On occasion he will show immediate delight when he sees his Big Nanna or my dad but that is it. She explained how it is fairly common for children with autism to fail to bond with people and parents will often struggle due to their feelings not been returned… well this really hit home and I started crying. I love William with every ounce of my being but it is disheartening actually more like devastating when he doesn’t care for me in the same way. If I am holding him when he is upset he will reach for hs dad and when his dad is holding him and i got to kiss him he will pull away from away. How will he know I love him if he rarely lets me show it. When we are alone and i’m the only option he will come and snuggle with me but that isn’t because I am his Mum, it’s because I am there.
She listened to his heartbeat and all was fine, took his weight and height and she also flexed his joints, checked out his hands, feet and his birthmark. Is his skin dry? No… I had forgotten about his chicken skin. I always forget about it because to me it is normal as I had it. Basically chicken skin is a condition called Keratosis Pilaris, it’s basically a build up of keratin in the hair follicles that causes small bumps on the skin. It is hereditary as a few of the women in my family have had it so to us it’s just the norm.
She asked us to strip him off and get him to walk the length of the corridor outside. He did it gingerly, the same way he walks anywhere. She asked us to try and get him to run but he doesn’t run. He never has… we tried to make it a game but he didn’t run just waddled a bit faster. A bit like my version of running 😂 She did speak with us about his walking abilities and how hard things will get when he no longer fits in a stroller and where to look for help. Obviously this wasn’t what we wanted to hear as we hadn’t even thought about the fact he may not get better with his walking so it was a bit of a blow.
She agreed he has a severe developmental delay and the 9-11 months bracket he was put in before was correct. That is 2 whole years behind where he should be. He will be 3 in March which seems crazy as I feel like it was only yesterday we brought him home from the hospital. Although she also agrees that he has severe autism she will not be the one to put him on the ASD waiting list. She wants the speech and language therapist to it. What the actual fuck!!! So let’s just recap who we now know wont, haven’t or cant do it… * Ourselves * The Nursery * His Key Worker * His GP * His Health Visitor * The woman from the Early Years Team * The Paediatrician from A&E * The Community Nursing Team * The Neurodevelopmental Paediatrician They all agree that it is highly likely he is on the spectrum but nothing has actually been done with that knowledge. If the S&L therapist doesn’t do it then I do know who will and just in case anyone spotted me crying hysterically in the middle of anlaby road this is why. The waiting list according to other parents waiting time for first contact is currently 867 days. That is 2 years, 4 months and 15 days. 28 and a half months. 124 weeks. 20,808 hours. 1,248,480 minutes or 74,908,800 seconds. I can’t imagine this wait getting any smaller and the longer it takes to get us on it, the longer it takes to guarantee William the support he needs.
Once again one referral has lead to another and she wants to refer William for blood tests to rule out any underlying issue as autism can often be the symptom of something much bigger. She is also requesting genetic testing. A genetic test can not diagnose autism or detect it early but there are 100 genes that have clear links to autism but no one mutated gene can cause it. For example there is a clear link between children missing the chromosome called 16p11.2 and autism however one 1 in 4 of those missing this have autism. This test can give us a reason as to why him? and I know it’s selfish but I think as parents we need to know its not our fault and that we haven’t caused it somehow.
So no answers were given today and today was not THE day we get on the waiting list. We are back in three months and hopefully will feel like more parts of our journey have been completed.
On a separate note we received a message from the nursery today about an exciting new room they are creating. A sensory room! Children with needs like William’s will be able to spend their time in a special environment tailored to them. William’s Key worker Val will be based in there permanently and as William needs 100% support so will he. I am so pleased with this development. They are a fantastic nursery and i’m very lucky we chose them to care for William.
I started writing this at 7pm and it is currently 1:15 in the morning. William has been throwing up since about 8pm. Terrified me the first time as I thought he was choking on it. He only ever been sick like this once before and it was over a year go. Currently I have a pile of sick covered clothes, cushions and blankets (both mine and his) that need to go in the wash, his pram and travel cot (I didn’t want him in his room alone if he was sick again) sat drying next to the radiator and William asleep on the sofa behind me with a temperature and a towel… Just in case.
Its been a tough few months recently, William seems to have regressed in his behaviours and seems to be lashing out at me more than usual. Not his dad just me… what did I do? He purposely scratched my face when he was frustrated which I’m not going to lie hurt like a motherfucker! the valuable lesson I have taken from this is to make sure I keep his nails short however cutting them is an awful and thankless task. Imagine if an octopus had claws on each tentacle and you had to avoid 7 of them whilst pinning the other one down, that’s what its like cutting his nails. Except that the octopus is screaming and biting to get away from you.
We have had a full on meltdown because I wouldn’t let him eat ‘another’ packet of Parma Violets. He went to find more and threw them all over the floor before throwing himself down too and refusing to get up… I tried to lift him but he’s very smart and makes himself go all floppy! considering developmentally he is less than a year old he does show some terrible two’s traits which we were told is a good sign (insert eye roll here 🙄)
His sleep is very disturbed now. From the moment we brought him home from the hospital he slept for 7pm until gone 10am and we had to wake him up not the other way round. People called us lucky. I don’t feel lucky anymore. He goes to his room at about 7 to 7.30pm and precedes to destroy his bedroom for a good hour or more. Draws opened and emptied, everything he can physically reach ends up on the floor and in pieces. Juice everywhere and if we are very ‘lucky’ he will often smear the contents of his nappy around the room. Three times in a week we’ve had to hose the boy down in the shower and disinfect his room and carpets ready for the next day… we go through a lot of sheets and a lot of wash powder. The washing machine is always on.
Speaking of hosing the boy down, its a 2 man job to bathe him. It sounds awful but it takes one of us to hold him down and the other to clean him. He needs to be held because he starts having a meltdown and can fall and hurt himself. To put it into context some days I feel that bathing a feral cat would be much easier and less painful for all three of us.
He has gotten to a stage now where he doesn’t want to be wearing pants… he will squirm and kick out when trying to put either a nappy or trousers on him and when they’re on he will walk round in circles trying to pull them off until he has succeeded. This was cute the first few times but once he peed all over my Nans DVD player it wasn’t! I thought about braces for him but he cant handle restrictive items so I’m not sure if that is the way forward? I suppose it is just going to be trial and error.
His follow up appointment at the eye hospital has come through to double check his vision. That’s in likes a week time, I am praying they don’t need to use the drops again as he couldn’t handle the disorientation last time and was a nightmare with his saucer like pupils 👀
His return to nursery after the holidays went just as expected. He clung to Dave for dear life despite often not wanting to come home. He has become accustomed to his non-routine over the Christmas break and didn’t want to be away from us. Dave had to spend an hour at nursery trying to calm him down.
I think the support available now from other parents in similar situations is amazing and one of the main reasons I started this blog. There are groups to arrange to meet up or if like me you are antisocial there are just groups to read other experiences and ask advice and support of those who have already been there. There isn’t enough support professionally which can leave people feeling alone and isolated, don’t get me wrong the nursery and Williams health visitor have been amazing but there doesn’t seem to be anyone else at this point in time which is daunting. It feels like it is one person referring to another to another and so on. It feels like they’re passing the book so to speak. I know this isn’t necessarily the case but so many people need to be involved before something happens that it feels like a never-ending circle.
We have an appointment a week for the next three weeks so hopefully we will take a step forward soon. Even if it’s just a baby step 👣
So I’m going to apologise in advance because this is going to be a bit of a rant.
We are currently waiting on so many referrals and appointments that we are at a stage where we have nothing but seem to have it all… I know that’s contradictory. We have no appointments and no diagnosis but we had plans set in place to work our way forwards and it felt really good to be in that position.
I was really positive about it all but I guess I was just delusional. The glass isn’t half full like I initially thought it was. What makes it worse is whilst I felt this way I could throw my efforts into supporting Dave as he comes to terms with the fact William isn’t developing at a normal rate. He was very open and honest in his post (which knowing him was probably his first and last) but that doesn’t mean he isn’t still struggling to adjust just our situation.
WHY? WHY GOD WHY? Do we get post on a fucking Saturday?!
So in drops a letter. Private and Confidential, Mr William Graham Buckley… for a fleeting moment I was excited. What an idiot eh? I opened that envelope quicker than birthday cards with money in them. I didn’t understand. It was regarding a referral but I had no idea what it was for as it didn’t say and nothing about it rang a bell in regards to our last TAF meeting. I wasn’t expecting it and as it was a Saturday, there was no one I could call to find out. I did what any sane and rational parent does. I turned to google, I asked Alexa ‘referral to CHCP, Hull Children’s Community nursing team.’ Nothing. I asked on the SEN Parents group I recently joined on Facebook. Only one person commented and it wasn’t with the answer. Spoke to my mum and sister, couldn’t help but seemed like a step in the right direction. The letter said to wait until today and if I hadn’t heard anything call them… Just to put it into numbers. The letter was dated 27th November, we received it 7th December and today is the 11th December. So I was a good girl and waited those 4 days which seemed like a lifetime.
I made the ridiculous decision to call whilst at work. I always do this and I should have known better.
Smear test results – bad news – called at work
Biopsy results – bad news – called at work
Job interview – bad news – called at work
Glucose tolerance test – bad news – called at work
I should just stop taking my mobile to work!
Call One. I called the number on the letter and a lovely lady called Jess answered. what was the referral regarding? I don’t know maybe his suspected autism. What does the letter say? To call you if I hadn’t heard anything. I’m sorry Mrs Buckley he isn’t on our system but the department you need used to be based here and I think that’s why you have our number. She gave me the number for the paediatric team who I should be dealing with. Just a simple mistake.
Call Two. I called the new number, it took ages for anyone to answer. My anxiety levels rising rapidly. I just wanted to know what referral I was waiting for. What next step we have for William. A lady answers that didn’t give me her name and I’m almost certain is in the wrong job! The attitude on it was appalling. Why are you calling. Referral. Was given your number by blah blah blah, what’s it regarding. Honestly felt like I was in groundhog day ⏲. She had no idea what the hell I was talking about. He’s not on our system. The letter means the doctors are putting a referral through but it says they’ve sent it? No its sayinging they are doing it… I was the looking at it but ok then. Call your GP.
Call Three. Call taker at City Health Practise answers, no proper access to their systems but pleasant enough. Very understanding of how upset I was and apologetic. Doesn’t know what I’m talking about but will send a message to the receptionist and put a red flag on it for a call back. GREAT! More waiting…
Call Four. This one wasn’t even to me. One of the 2 places I had called first had called Dave, not sure which one. The referral was wrong. Sent to the wrong place! I’m not sure why I was so shook by it but I’m not ashamed to say that I actually started crying whilst in view of other people.
Dave was due at or GP in the afternoon for William’s flu vaccination so he was going to speak to them face to face and find out what was going on.
I went back into work and took shelter in the toilets and sobbed. It was loud, messy and snotty but I couldn’t stop. It just gushed out of me for a good 20 minutes and I let it because this was another setback and the third time we have tried to get somewhere in regards to referrals. AND its not the first that has been done wrong,
1. Eye test ➡ Told to go to opticians ➡ then to gp ➡ then to eye clinic but it was actually sent to ➡ The Children’s Urology Surgery Team in error ➡ had to go back to the GP and start again.
2. Paediatrician says they are referring William to ➡ ASD Panel, check with GP and they’ve received it and it’s all in hand. Health visitor checks with GP and no referral done by Paediatrician as they wanted GP to do it who isn’t able. GP didn’t even notify us.
3. This one
And to top it all off William’s flu vaccination was for last Monday at our GP surgery but they had booked us in at their sister site and not told us!!!
Dave spoke with the GP receptionist who assured him it was booked with the right people. He told them that it wasn’t and we had spoken to them but no it was right apparently… he had to demand they call to confirm which she didn’t want to do because the referral was right. BUT it wasn’t! After after much frustration he convinced her to call and guess what it was done to the wrong place but apparently that’s ok as its an easy mistake to make as they are in the same building etc etc!
Waiting for new referral now… To Sunshine House. Which FYI isn’t in the same place as the place we had received the letter for.
I feel my confidence in this system is slowly weakening. No wonder referrals for anything take so long. The wait for the ASD panel is between 2-3 years once confirmed and we aren’t even on that list yet. All these mistakes are setting us further and further back! William will already be at school by the time he gets a diagnosis… Will he get the support that he needs without it? Can I trust what is been told to me?