Wednesday, 26 September 2012


By generosity! I'm collecting old mobile phones in return for an ipad to help my daughter Lucy. Today I received a package for 89 phones!! What a boost, I'm now more than half way there. I've had lots of promises too, so hopefully this task is not going to be so long to achieve as I first thought. Of course there is still a long way to go, but I am overwhelmed by the generosity of some people. Thank you so so much!

  Heart and Minds is a charity which helps turn old mobile phones into ipads for children with autism. They also help schools and are currently working towards opening a school specifically for autistic children.

 Having an ipad could help Lucy's communication, learning, organisation, fine motor skills, relaxation and behaviour. It would be a welcome addition to our home. If you can help in any way by donating your old mobile phone then please contact me okesanne (@) or on Twitter @okesanne. Thank you so much!


Tuesday, 25 September 2012

Precious Moments

Some moments money just can't buy.
I was cuddling with Joseph when he reached over to grab his milk, I said 'no, it's all gone' and he stopped, inches from my face an glared at me. Then his features softened and he carried on staring at me. Finally he said 'love you mummy' and planted a big kiss on my lips.

Up until now we've had to prompt him to say 'love you' so it was a very special moment.

Friday, 21 September 2012

Missing My Little Man

Joseph has started crying when I leave him at pre-school. He goes in fine, he looks for his coat peg, puts his lunch bag on the trolly and runs to the door. Then when we get inside he clings to me and holds me so tight. If I try to move him even a little, he cries. I try to get him interested in the things around, the playdough table, the cars and garage, the train set (this one works best) and eventually he'll peal himself away from me and play. But he's constantly watching for me and doesn't want me to leave. If I do he cries again. His carer will take over and give him a cuddle, or sit him on her lap. I know by the time I've signed the register he'll have stopped crying, and usually by the time I've got outside and took a sneaky peak in the window he seems quite calm and happy. Then when I pick him up I'm always told that he has been fine all day, and he doesn't seem overly keen to go home, although he's obviously happy to see me.
The thing is, I'm going home and feeling down all day, today I've been worse than ever and I'm thinking I can't do this any more. What if he carries on doing this, do I have to go through this every day he's there. Can I take the heartbreak? If he was crying all day then it would be an easy decision to stop him going. Seeing him so calm before I've even left the premises tells me he's ok, but I'm not. I still can't help thinking he should be home with me. He's no trouble (mostly), I don't need this free time, I miss him so much. But he's having fun, mixing with other children and getting prepared for his school years. And it's only two and a half days a week.
Why is being a parent so hard?
Here is a little pic of him after pre-school yesterday, a little worn out.

Tuesday, 18 September 2012

The Festival

On Sunday we had our local festival. We took the kids up and had a really nice day. It didn't rain and was quite warm when the sun broke from behind the clouds.
The entertainment consisted of Belly Dancers, singers, circus acts, majorettes and fire dancers. The kids were invited to have a go on the circus equipment, there was a tightrope, some trampolines, stilts and mini bikes to name a few. There were the usual stalls offering tombola prizes and mini games, a bouncy castle, a huge inflatable slide, a couple of fairground rides and a fire engine that the kids could sit in.
Oh, I mustn't forget the ice cream van :-)

Thursday, 6 September 2012

Joseph is a Little Builder

By that I don't mean he's been playing with the Mega Bloks :-) Little Builders is the name of the pre-school he is now going to. Yesterday he spent an hour there and we waited with him. He had so much fun he barely noticed us. He fitted in straight away and even spent time going up to other toddlers and saying hello. We were in the playground outside at one point and Joseph was playing on a bike. A little girl had a bump with another boy and although it wasn't bad she started screaming. Joseph immediately jumped off his bike and went up to her and asked "you arright!" bless him.
Today he went at 12.30 and we left him there until 3pm. We were only there with him a couple of minutes and he was quite happy to say goodbye to us and let us go. When we went to pick him up, at first he didn't want to leave. The staff there said he'd been really good and was quite happy being their alone.
Tomorrow he goes in at 9am until 2pm...eeek! No doubt he'll be fine again, but I missed him so much today, I'm not going to be so happy.
From next week he'll be attending every Wednesday afternoon and all day on Thursday and Friday.
I didn't do this with any of my other children, they all started nursery at 3 years old, apart from my eldest who I just bear to let go until he started school. I feel he is far too young at just 2 years to be leaving me. However, I've given it lots of thought and basically it's my selfishness that wants to keep him at home, I'm sure he will love going to pre-school. If at any point he doesn't love it then I will keep him home, I'm doing this for him not me. I've consoled myself by thinking that we still get two full days alone together (and two with the girls at the weekend) This time will be even more precious for me and I will surely make the most of it.
So that's it, my baby is growing up!

Tuesday, 4 September 2012

Back To School!

yesterday the girls went back to school. Leila into year 1, Lucy into year 3. In my day it would have Junior school!!.
The night before Lucy was anxious, refusing to go to school, refusing to go to sleep and generally being miserable and moody. yesterday morning, however, she was really excited and looking forward to going back. Dad got up and came with us so the girls got to ride their scooters to school.
Leila had to have two kisses and a cuddle before she left me but she was ok, not upset or anything. Lucy gave me a quick kiss on request and was a little tentative entering the school, but not too bad at all. I missed them all day and couldn't wait to pick them up, It was lovely to see them come out of school bubbly, happy and chatty...even Lucy!
Then after a couple of hours at home Lucy got moody again. Still she was very tired so we put it down to that and took them to bed. She wouldn't go to sleep again, insisting that she had to read first, then asking for the night light off when she has always had it on. Eventually she fell asleep but was up again at 5am.
She was moody again this morning and totally un co-operative. She wouldn't get washed or dressed for me, I ended up having to help her. She then had a tantrum because she wanted to take her scooter again, but I can't manage them on my own as I have the pushchair. (Dad was too tired to get up today)
On the way to school she finally told me what was bothering her. when they do p.e they have a timer with a buzzer that goes off at 5 mins. Anyone not ready in that time has to miss p.e. Lucy cannot get changed in 5 minutes, it's more like 15-20 minutes. She has poor co-ordination and concentration, getting dressed is a real trial for her, even though she is capable. It took us a long time to teach her to undress and dress so to us it's an achievement that she can actually do it. We don't try to make her do it quicker.
I've told her I will have a word with her teacher. I know that up until now she's been given a little longer than the others to get dressed. I've also told her that we will practice changing at home to see if we can get her to do it any quicker. She wasn't too pleased with that :/
Then it got me thinking. She's 7 years old now and it's starting to be more noticeable that she's not quite like the other children at school. It won't be long before the other children pick that up, if they haven't already. She does need to be treated differently, the more this happens the more she will be singled out as different. So now I'm thinking, is it possible for a child on the autistic spectrum to be happy in a mainstream school?
Going back to when my eldest son was Lucy's age. The school had told me they thought he had problems and had given me a number to ring to get him assessed. I buried my head in the sand, said the school didn't know what they were talking about. He was top of the class in most of his work, maybe he was just too clever and bored? Things gradually got worse but still I wouldn't accept that anything was wrong, although I knew in my heart that there was something not right.
Fast forward a few years to secondary school, he was bullied mercilessly, he refused to listen to any of the teachers and was always in trouble, he would run away on a daily basis from school and home, he was uncontrollable, he never completed any of the work he was given at school. I was called in for an urgent meeting, he was taken to see a psychologist and the outcome was a diagnosis of Aspergers Syndrome. The school's response to this was to start assessing him for a Special Needs Statement and sticking him in the special needs class. This was all too much for my bright son and he ended up getting worse.
I took him out of school and refused to send him back. I said I would teach him myself but even after a ton of research I knew I wouldn't be able to cope with him. He was then given a home tutor and that worked nicely. He was co-operative and completed all work given to him. Sadly, it was not a long term option. Eventually he was given a place at a Special School, in a class with other children with high functioning autism. He never made a single friend there, and we still had episodes of unresponsiveness and running away, but overall he got on much better. He left with 5 GCSE's and went on to a Special College. Now he's doing a degree in accountancy. He's had a couple of work experience jobs but not a proper job yet. At 24 I'm happy with the way things have turned out. But, I don't want to go through all that again.
Another factor to take into consideration is Lucy's dad. With my son I was a single parent, so that meant I had to deal with it all by myself, but on the other hand I didn't have anyone to oppose me.
Lucy's dad has already expressed that he wants Lucy to stay in mainstream, and he won't even consider home schooling. (By the way, I did successfully homeschool my older NT daughter for 3 years)
So a sad little girl this morning has set me on a rollercoaster of emotions and now I'm completely stressed just thinking about the future.
I'd love some responses, here or on Twitter or #Specialsaturday #Special awareness.
Do you think that children with autism can thrive in a mainstream school, at primary or secondary level?
Do you think that it's best to treat children with high functioning autism the same as other children, or should they be treated differently?