Tag Archives: depression

Taking A Blogging Break Helped Me Get Over Depression

13 Aug

Usually you’ll find me saying that writing is the only thing that keeps me going, not this time! Blogging has been a big part of my life for the last five years or so, its provided me with a way to let it all out, acting as a type of therapeutic therapy. Suddenly all that changed!

Its no secret that the last couple of months (well 5 to be Precise) have seen me riddled with depression the way to deal with this type of hurdle has always been for me to write about any issues or problems weighing on my mind. But this time the thought of even sitting at the computer made me feel Physically sick. Everything seems a huge massive effort when your depressed, even the the most simplistic things like making a phone call or talking to friends. I noticed that this episode had me withdraw completely, even from my online existence, Twitter included! “Hell yer! Not tweeting! It’s gotta be bad.”

Slowly I’ve been getting back in there. I’ve been adding posts here and there instead of just going at it like a blogoholic! This hasn’t been easy for me! I’ve discovered that blogging isn’t like riding a bike. You do forget how its done! Well, the social media side of things at least! I’d forgotten that a tweet button and facebook share button was sat on my dashboard with the aim of getting me noticed, I’ve just been writing logging off and then going about my day.

I guess I did get to the point where blogging was no longer helping me but feeding a depressive episode that I was in denial about even experiencing. The things I loved about writing and blogging in particular, were slipping away from me! Looking back I realised that I was just going with it, blogging in zombie mood, doing it because its what I felt I had to do! After all I’d been blogging almost daily for years now.

Blogging is something I love dearly, something I enjoy doing and want to keep on doing. In order to be able to do so I needed to step away from the computer and deal with the crap clouding my mind. Only then would I be excited about the prospect of blogging once more.

At first things were strange, seeing my stats come crashing down was in all honesty somewhat frightening! I’d always proclaimed that I didn’t give a monkeys hoot about states but when you see them drastically plummeting you suddenly thing… “SHIT!” As you frantically make your way back to the computer to save your online identity. I didn’t though, I couldn’t, and that’s how I knew I had come to a point where I couldn’t even if I want to… I just simply couldn’t!

That didn’t mean to say I’d forgotten those who support me! My readers and of course other bloggers who I know consider friends.

Then there are the blogs I follow, and yes I may have been sat wallowing in self pity but I still read them I just couldn’t bring myself to comment as even that was a step to far for a girl on the edge! “Communication? No way! Say they replied back?” Yes, I really wasn’t quite myself.

So with two blogs on hold I went at fighting this crap head on! I don’t want to jinx things but hay I’m feel Ok.

Oh and guess what? I actually woke up and felt excited about blogging today.

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Addictions & Aspergers

1 Jun

Little man didn’t go to school last week hardly at all! He has a toothache which is probably down to the fizzy drinks he drinks. The thing is Aspergers Syndrome and toothache doesn’t always result in a trip to the dentist. Yep, his refusing, despite the pain his in. His made it pretty clear he isn’t stepping foot in the dentist and I’m losing the will to live as a result!

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Firstly, it isn’t like I can just drag his backside there kicking and screaming! Why not? Because little mans kicking and screaming involves hitting, swearing and screaming so loud that in the past passers by have called the police thinking I’m some kind of child abductor. Believe me, this situation isn’t easy!

Shockingly, in between the tears of pain little man made a request… “Can I have a can off Coke please mum?”… Shocking… I know! I’m really having difficulty getting him to associate the cause of the pain with that of the fizzy pop. He waited till i was out of sight and went straight for the fridge. Lets just say that he finally realised that the fizz and the pain go hand in hand!

Yes, the fizzy drink as predicted, set of his toothache and did so in style. Little man rocked and cried as he experienced such intense discomfort. I tried to once again explain that this was a direct result of drinking fizzy drinks due to there high sugar content. I guess I expected some kind of big reaction, maybe a promise that he’ll never go near the stuff again! Shockingly little man made the suggestion of using a straw in the future instead.

The thing is, when younger, little man loved the dentist. He had a filling when he was around 6 years old! Myself and the dentist were sure he’d freak out and were all geared up ready for the explosion! Well, you can just imagine how shocked we both were when discovering he actually enjoyed the sensations of the drill during a small filling (mainly the vibrations he felt within his numb mouth).

He tells me he doesn’t remember this, which seems odd as he remembers almost everything (past events). He has no reasons to block such memories out.

I myself have a real dentist phobia and as a result, I’m registered under a clinic especially for those diagnosed with such fears. Note, that despite the amount of drugs they pumped in me, ones designed to relax me in order to receive the treatment I so badly needed, I still went ballistic and as a result, not one wisdom tooth was remove and not one filling applied… I left with worse toothache than when I had arrived! It is said that I had to be carried out from the treatment room as I was throwing punches at both the dentist and his assistant. I don’t remember becoming violent… I’m not that kind of person! This was down to the cocktail of drugs pumped into me for sure. I’ve now been told that the only way forward for me is to be put to sleep during treatment and I don’t want this to have to be the case for my 12 year old son. Its important that I point out that despite this somewhat intense fear, I’ve never displayed it in the presence of any of my children. If mums scared shitless then its simply a job for daddy! Oh Yes… I just ensure its him who makes the dentist trips. Though this brings me to my second reason on why dragging him kicking and screaming wont work! Dad isn’t used to public meltdowns, the type displayed by our little man. When outside, whenever such meltdowns have surfaced he’ll just run off the other way having been highly embarrassed by the situation! Sometimes I wish I had such an option as running! Sadly I don’t!

You see… In life some of the most “normal” everyday tasks that are usually completed with ease, are often more trying for those on the spectrum. I personally think, that those who don’t get to witness such struggles first hand, will never truly “get” it! I mean, I’ve been given some awful advice at times! Popular ones being… “Don’t take no for an answer… You’re the adult not him!” or another… “His being over the top and throwing a tantrum in the hope you’ll give up and give in!!” … Come on People, do you not think I haven’t already thought such “possibilities” over in my head? I’ve stood my ground and not taken no for an answer (and often still will) however, its all down to the situation at hand and how difficult little man is coping with the task or activity… Something’s are easier said than done and although their are times when his just plain not behaving, there are also situations such as the one we are in, where little man has little control over it! Trust me I’m his mother… I know!

Well, we have since had half term (which is a few days from ending) and little man still has an on/off toothache but still refuses to let a dentist work their magic. I’ve done my upmost best to keep any fizzy pop locked up and haven’t given him spends for the shop as I just know what he’ll buy. Sadly, I read an article in the paper just this week, about that of a young man age 30 who was diagnosed as having Aspergers Syndrome, was addicted to Coke (not the drug but the type supplied in a can and found usually in a refrigerator). Sadly this addiction took his life, it actually killed him. It was reported that the young man drunk an excessive amount of coke on a daily basis which has been reported to be behaviour motivated by his Aspergers. The young man had been drinking Coke -Cola since the age of 10 and his mother commented that it was as if her son had a self distract button (read report Here).

Its sad to think that the thing he loved was to be his killer! The 30 year old was reported to have died in his sleep and the cause of death recorded as excess liquid consumption.

Of course the above story scares the crap out of me! I just wish it would do the same for little man! So far no luck! Its dead frustrating and some days I just feel like I need to take ahold of him and shake the sense into him. Somehow maybe then the importance of what I’ve just told him would actually take some positive effect. Right now he just can’t relate his own actions with that of the young man who unfortunately lost his life at the hands of a Coke can.

Its my experience as a mother to a child diagnosed as having Aspergers Syndrome, that children on the autism spectrum seem to have rather addictive personalities! Of course not everyone! But for little man, I think this may well be the case! He so easily attaches himself to something in which he loves and like many diagnosed with Asperger’s syndrome, he will then over indulge. Both interests and habits almost always become obsessional and then indulged to an excessive level.

Well, its teacher training day this coming Monday so little man’s return will be on the Tuesday. He really needs to go in as the continued time off will just land me in trouble with the school/LEA. I could even be taken to court due to the lack of medical evidence I’ve obtained. Such evidence would usually be needed to authorise such absences. But I can’t possibly produce it, as little man won’t step foot in the dentist meaning I can’t request such written evidence. This is a fact but regardless of this, I know the court would not understand such a situation, therefore brand me an irresponsible parent before throwing me in jail, giving me a huge fine that I just can’t afford to pay, or even worse… Both!

Well, that’s about it for now! Just a quick thank you to all my lovely readers and fellow bloggers for your support and well wishes. Admitting to the world that depression has taken ahold off you, isn’t at all easy… But the response you all gave and tweets you sent just proves its worth speaking out and that no one is going to think any less of because your depressed. As you can see I’m slowly getting back to grips with blogging once more, though its taking long than expected I’m still here! Its a tad strange as I’ve always thrown myself into my writing when depression hits me! However, this time things were very different indeed.

Onwards and upwards from here on now!

Hope your all bright and well.

Bye, bye for now.

Shutting Down

22 May

I’ve been pretty silent, I know! Its not like me, not to blog for long periods of time, but these past few weeks have been different! I’ve actually been completely out the loop when it comes to social networking, my tweets have been few and far between and Facebook has been left unvisited.

I’m not to busy, I won’t lie! I’m not on holiday or having some girly time someplace fun. I’m at home, in pyjamas on the sofa mostly.

In my everyday life, my social commitments have suffered too. I’m not spending much time with friends, I’m not even answering my mobile or home phone when somebody calls. Its actually really stupid but I haven’t been able to complete the smallest of tasks. I dread having to do almost anything.

That’s how I knew…. The signs are all there, ones I’ve experienced before making them so apparent this time! Depression… I was depressed and knew I had to do something about it, and do so fast. But that was just it… I was lacking any get up and go which meant that the prospect of visiting a doctor or even booking an appointment to see one was all to much to bare.

Thankfully, I’m starting to feel myself again and though it will take some time to get on top of it all, I’ve started and that’s the hardest bit done.

So, why was she depressed, you may ask? Many assume its the pressures of parenting a child on the autism spectrum but for me that’s a little bit of a cop out. I’ve been parenting little man for almost 13 years. Since the age of 18 its been my life. I’ve since had two more children and being a mother to all three of my children has brought great joy into my life. Yes, when little man is refusing to get up from his bed or even leave the house of a morning I do feel a tad close to breaking point, but guess what? Its not made me depressed… I don’t think it has anyway!

The truth is, life can be a bit full on somedays and when all your problems collide that’s when things go a bit tits up. I can’t put my finger on just one thing and say its this whats caused this depressive period. That’s impossible!

With deadlines looming for reviews and guest post, I just shut off. This blog and that of my other were left at times for days without a post. With my hair thinning at age 31 years and my doctor telling me it was down to stress I just had to let go a little and remember what it was like to be me again.

I love blogging, that much I’m sure off. I just wanted to take a little me time in order to remember that.

So here’s to the continuation of blogging… Here’s to me smiling again.

Oh, and before I drop off, a message for the world! “If you ever feel like your slipping into a black hole of depression then act quickly to nip it in the bud! Many of us are not visiting our GPs, mainly due to the stigma associated with depression! Just remember its an illness and lucky enough its a fixable one too! To be the best we possible can we need to feel our best… Fact!

My Child’s Diagnosis Didn’t Give Me Depression! The SEN System Did That!

7 Apr

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Its funny, Just recently I found myself engaged in conversation With a fellow parent at my daughter’s school. We were discussing depression, a subject I won’t hide from!

This parent reads my blog and is aware that depression has sometimes been a part of my life… More so than not.

So, if I’m ever asked a question I will try to answer it openly and Honestly. I’m not ashamed to say… “Yes I had depression” Why should I be? So, Having engaged in conversation for at least five-minutes with this lady I suddenly came to realise that there was some type of crossed wires on her part in regards to a depressive episode I experienced around 3 years ago! This started me thinking… Does everybody think the same way?

So I wanted to explain something, and do so very clearly! My son’s diagnosis of Aspergers Syndrome didn’t bring out any episode of depression within me. My child being on the autism spectrum has never actually left me feeling depressed! However, what has had me running for the antidepressants is that of the things that come with that diagnosis (like it being stuffed in a brown envelope and shoved in your hands). I’m not talking in relation to little man’s autistic traits, his sleepless nights or sudden angry outbursts! I’m talking about the battles to get others to sit up and listen. Basically, It wasn’t my child’s Asperger’s syndrome that depressed me it was the system in which I now found myself battling with.

You think a diagnosis is going to change thinks. The right help and support will come and be handed to you on a plate… Well dream on, it most certainly won’t! I learnt almost instantly, that for some, my sons diagnosis wasn’t worth the paper it was written on.

Over the years I’ve come to realise that being a parent to a child on the autism spectrum makes you a stronger person. It gives you fighting power, the type you never even knew you had! Because when your a mother its not only your job to ensure your child has everything they need to lead a full and happy life but the love you have for them that drives you. Almost any mother can relate to this regardless if their child is autistic.

Battling schools for appropriate educational services, educating society about autism and getting your child’s voice heard is all part of the package but it doesn’t necessarily mean its going to come with instructions, and I guess it was this aspect of his diagnosis that hit me the hardest.

Being told little man had Aspergers Syndrome was hard, I can’t deny it! No matter how prepared you think you are, you never are… Not really! Even when you’re told by specialists that its almost a certainty and you’ve therefore done all your own research and have reached the conclusion that “Yes, they are right… you can see it too!” I guess its because it makes it all the more definite, more final! But what must be remembered is that little man was the same child he had been the day before receiving a final diagnosis and I wasn’t depressed then!

Its all to easy to assume that the giving of a diagnosis is the reason why a mother crumbles and starts suffering such conditions as depression. What one must remember is that its all that comes after… The fight to make others do the right thing by your child, its this that can really drain your energy both physically and emotionally.

So if your about to receive that final slip of paper enclosed within a brown envelope, then brace yourselves… As the battle begins.

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ITS TIME THAT OFSTED PUT A STOP TO ILLEGAL EXCLUSIONS AGAINST CHILDREN WITH SPECIAL NEEDS

20 Feb

Yesterday was a rather productive day.

Its a day that two years ago, I longed to see.

Yesterday was all about reaching out, creating awareness and getting heard.

It was those important factors above, and a few more besides that encouraged me on the given tasks I had been set. Tasks I thought would never happen but was now about to suddenly surface.

The task was that of sharing our story with the world.

Two years ago I felt as if no one would listen. I was able to successfully bring every aspect of our story to light and people would take notice… Every aspect but this one! Now I’d been given an opportunity to change this.

It all began when the charity “Contact A Family” sent me an email with an attached survey surrounding the topic of “Illegal exclusions from school” Of course I had a lot to say on the given subject. I hoped that others affected would have too. The results could finally prove the extent of the problem and finally a campaign set in motion.

Thankfully this is what happened! The results have lead to the charity “Contact A Family” launching a national campaign highlighting the results of the survey entitled “Falling Through The Net”…

The charity’s Falling Through The Net survey, collected the opinions off over 400 families of children with disabilities or additional needs.

The results indicated that more than half (53%) of families have been asked to collect their child during the school day because there are not enough staff available to support them.

• More than half (56%) of families have• been told by the school that their child can’t take part in a class activity or trips because it is unsuitable for them.

• Almost a quarter (22%) are illegally excluded every week and 15% every day.

• More than half (53%) of affected disabled children are falling behind with school work and 43% feel depressed because of illegal exclusions.

• Half of parents (50%) are unable to work due to being called to school frequently.

The charity is making the following recommendations to improve the situation:

• Where exclusion is necessary, schools must follow statutory procedure to ensure decisions are lawful, reasonable and fair.

• The most frequently illegally excluded pupils with a disability or additional needs are those who have conditions which affect behaviour. Schools should take early action to tackle the underlying cause, and to put in support before a crisis occurs.

• Schools and teachers should work closely with parents to understand a child’s condition or disability and their extra support needs and ensure the child gets the help they need.

• Ofsted has an important role in identifying unlawful practice in the course of an inspection. School should be offered additional support to help them improve their practice. A grading of “inadequate” should be considered if schools continue to illegally exclude children with a disability, SEN or additional need.

Looking back through some of my blog post that I had written back when Little man was being regularly excluded from school (both officially and unofficially) I am reminded of the sheer frustration and anger this situation was causing for both myself and my child.

I’m reminded of them painful days full of tears and disbelief as we struggled to get of a never ending rollercoster of emotional terror.

My post remind me that I am in fact a much stronger person than I myself give credit too. Despite the forming of depression and a certain degree of hopelessness, I never once give up… even though I often found myself close to the edge I remained there by a thread… A very thin one.

It wasn’t just our family feeling the pressure, although at that specific moment in time I felt like the only one and that felling was a somewhat lonely one! There was many more like me and it was during those months that followed that I discovered many others like myself living in fear of the daily phone calls from their child’s school demanding they collect their child for whatever reason.

The Boy With Aspergers Facebook page which is an addition to this very blog has some 5,800 + members, many looking for the same answers, huge numbers struggling to work together with their child’s school in a productive manner. Instead these parents found themselves on our page asking the same question… “Are they allowed to continually request I collect my child from school and bring him home?”

Yes, they are…. But only if the statutory procedures are carried out by the school. Its when they fail to put these procedures into action to ensure such decisions are lawful, that they then become unlawful.

What happens to the schools who chose the latter? In most cases if not all… Nothing!

You see the Education Act states that it is a parents responsibility to ensure their child is educated once they have reached compulsory school age. If parents fail to ensure regular attendances AWOs (Attendance and Welfare Officers) likely step in and local authorities proceed to take parents to court if they fail to fulfil this parental requirement (for whatever reason). This can leave parents with a hefty fine to pay or even in some cases a prison sentence to serve. The thing is parents can be found guilty of an offence under section 441 or 441(a) regardless of the reasons behind the absences. Its simple if you are (a) the parent of the child and (b) they never attended school everyday regardless of the reasons, then that parent is automatically found guilty of 441 (the lesser charge of failing to secure school attendance) and will end up with a fine or find themselves on some type of parenting order. Its the law, plain and simple!

My point?

Your child’s school phones you up, sometimes on a daily basis and requests you collect your child as they are unable to contend with their challenging behaviour. You take your child home as the school requests you do, only the official routes are not put into motion… There is no exclusion letter setting out the reasons for your child’s exclusion. This therefore means that the local authority have not been notified and your child’s school have broken the law. Maybe you don’t know this at the time but when you eventually discover this to be the case you take action. Written complaints to governing bodies, LEA officials and ofsted! Yet nothing at all happens… Instead the school seem completely disregard it all and continue to operate in such a manner! How is this allowed to continue? If parents are taken to court and hit with hefty fines then why ain’t schools? After all laws are laws.

When I was called at the ridiculous hour of 8.30pm and asked that I keep my child away from school on the same day as a planned Ofsted visit I had finally been pushed enough. I took myself and child to the school and as he throw himself around the reception area in sheer anger and frustration I just stood demanding I speak with the visiting ofsted officer.

Next thing I knew she was stood behind me, placing her arm around my shoulder as she lead me to an empty class room for a chat. I remember it all becoming to much and I sat telling her through sobs and tears, the extent of the schools treatment towards myself and my child, paying particular attention to the ongoing illegal exclusions (including the one he was currently meant to be serving). I passed her evidence I’d collected, diary notes and some written thoughts from the little man himself. She agreed that the schools activity was illegal and promised to investigated. I tried making contact with the officer as the weeks turned to months but never had any luck. I was horrors with the schools final report and grade of a “Good” school. There was absolutely no mention on the subject. It even stated the schools understanding of children with SEN and certain disabilities. To say I was horrified is an understatement! I then lost every bit of faith I had left in a failing system.

Yesterday morning I gave a live radio interview to Paul Ross on the BBC LONDON 94.9 Breakfast show.

That same afternoon I found myself agreeing to a LIVE TV interview with SKY NEWS. Now I’ve done TV interviews before and have appeared on the news as well as sharing stories in national and local newspapers, but a LIVE interview was something new to me and admittedly as I stood waiting to enter the news room my stomach did an array of huge summersaults making me feel a tad sick!

I had to constantly remind myself of the pain we suffered… How awful life was for little man during those dark days attending mainstream school. I then collaborated a huge mass of messages in my mind, all surrounding the questions parents of excluded children would leave on our Facebook page messages I’d read on the Facebook page all searching for answers and support.

I just had to remember that by doing this I could help contribute somehow to making a difference for children like my little man and their family’s too! This combined with the great encouragement given to me from some great supportive people across social networks such as twitter and Facebook, was the virtual kick in the butt I needed to get in that news room and go for it.

Thankfully I was joined by Srabani Sen, Chief Executive of Contact a Family and the whole thing went pretty well.

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So… Here’s hoping together we can bring much needed changes to the way schools deal with the challenging behaviour of children with additional needs.

Would be interested in hearing from others who like myself and many others have had fight this battle. If your interested in featuring in a post I’m planing on this subject please email me via the address on my contact page.

Links to media articles on this subject…

An article on the guardian blog from a teacher who says illegal exclusion needs to stop! Click Here

An Article in the guardian newspaper (I myself contributed too under a different name) plus it features the wonderful Mama Owl (aka Juile Sheppard) and her beautiful boy Logan. Click Here

Enable – The official Contact A Family Report featuring mine and little mans experiences Click Here

Contact A Family Article on their findings Click Here

I’m afraid I haven’t been given the permission to broadcast the Sky News Clip as yet. It was showed at 1:50pm on the 19th Feb 2013 live on Sky news (Sky and freeview). If you are a Sky account holder You maybe able to view this on Sky Go today if you would like to see it. I will share on the blog as soon as I have permission to realise the clip.

What goes up must come down

28 Dec

You know what they say… What goes up, must come down! This is exactly what happen when Christmas Day suddenly finished. All that built up excitement and in someways anticipation experienced by the little man was suddenly gone… And boy, didn’t we know it!

No Christmas is Christmas without an Aspergers style meltdown and although little man sailed through the actual day itself in a somewhat relaxed and merry way… Boxing Day was somewhat different all together.

Waking him up was the hardest part, if I’d let him, I’m pretty sure he’d had slept the day away. His facial expression said it all… That evil deadly stare that says “Back off bitch or I’m gonna blow! Not to be defeated I persisted on my mission to get the little man up from his bed before the daylight had fully disappeared.

Crashing around, screaming and shouting, declaring me to be the most evil mother to ever walk the earth. Little man was now up… but happy about he he was not!

Literally throwing his whole body through the living room door, crying for reasons he himself didn’t know, he shouted in no uncertain terms “Stop trying to control me, this is my life, my time!” Somehow I felt as if I was sat watching the film ‘Kevin and Perry Go Large” but this wasn’t some stroppy 17 year old. It was my 12 year old who had gone to bed smiling and woken a raging beast.

I knew things could easily spiral into a more explosive episode, so with that I did my best to ignore the rude names and hurtful statements, fore I’ve learnt that engaging in an argument with your 12 year old only feeds his fuel. His sister, sat on sofa was next inline as he so angrily asked her what she was looking at. My daughter had a choice choose to ignore it like me or feed the fuel and if course she went for the latter.

Screaming over one another the hurtful comments flew about the air as the toddler sat watching Thomas drowning out the noise like he had done so many times before. To think it was not even midday and I was already reaching for the Paracetamol, was a clear indication of the day ahead.

Finally… some two hours later, a sore head and with this inner feeling of drain washing through me. I sat on the sofa next to the little man who was now much calmer meaning I could try to unearth the meltdown trigger I’d regretfully missed.

One would expectedly assume that the trigger for this meltdown was tiredness. His need to catch up on sleep if I’d had allow him too. I guess in some respects this is true. However this was in no way the main trigger it was just the one that sparked the rage. Whether I’d woken him or not, I was about to discover that today’s antics would have been unavoidable all the same! Why…
Well… Because the tigger was Christmas!

It had been on the agenda for so long. The build up, christmas crafts, school plays, parties and more! Suddenly it was over… No more Christmas for another 365 days and counting. Talking to him, I realise that for months his head has been consumed with nothing other than festivities. If it wasn’t the rehearsals in his bedroom for the school play it was searching the Internet for the latest WWE merchandise to add to his growing Christmas list.

Little man looked at me and with a tear in his eye he declared “I think I’m actually really sad its over!”

Well, there are many things a mother can try to fix but this is something I cannot. This is life… something that little man will face year and year again. But just being aware of this will help me prepare for the events that could likely follow as Christmas comes and goes in the years ahead.

20121228-180945.jpga happy little man on Christmas day

Bullying from A child With Asperger’s Perspective

19 Dec

Little man knows more than most what its like to be bullied. While at mainstream he experienced various forms of bullying from public humiliation to more subtly forms like when bullies befriended him for their own personal laughs.

Aspergers Syndrome means little man would at times say inappropriate things without really meaning to cause offence! He also has more intense interests and has a tendency to over power conversations, dominating them with his passions.

Kids pick up on this stuff really easily and little man stood little chance of blending in.

We also started having concerns that little man was starting to unintentionally bully others as a result of this treatment. He would copy things the other children’s actions and he also had a tendency to repeat things they would tell him… They even once told him to slap the teachers face and tell her she was tangoed! He was told that the teacher would no it to be a joke. He soon discovered this wasn’t the case when he learnt he had been excluded yet again.

He became very angry during them last few months he was attending this particular school. The bullying on top of the discrimination he faced by the teaching staff left him confused, worried and hurt. Its never easy seeing a 10 year old boy depressed and asking the question “Why can’t I just be normal?” Especially when that boy is your son.

Since attending his independent special school, his much more in tune with his feelings. He has a better understanding of how people should treat him and equally, how he should treat others. This is all since making friends with children who truly want to be his friend (they have no inferior motives, no ones laughing at his expense). His learnt the importance that surrounds these friendships and the happiness they can bring.

Its for such reasons that my little man has wrote a beautiful heartfelt poem that left a lump in my throat & a proud look on my face.

The pain that bullying brings (by little man age 12)

Bullying is bad it drives People mad.
Be Friends with all don’t be a foul. Children are crying and there are kids dying.
A single tear, it makes me want to cry that kids fell like they have to die.
Make kids smile every once in awhile there are kids sad, it drives me mad. You go on Facebook and tell the world you’re bad but inside your just sad.

Sweet yet powerful… Wouldn’t you agree?

DON’T GIVE UP

7 Nov

I sit here today and I write you this post, a post that shares a very important message!

Don’t Give Up!

Too many parents tell me about the fight they currently face to obtain a diagnosis for their child. They tell me how others see them as uncaring because they are so eagerly chasing a label, one so many, wrongly claim to be unnecessary.

They tell me they just feel like giving up. They state the professionals have suggested they just wait a couple more years, see how things go!

They tell me they are tired, worn and lost.

I tell them it was the same for me… I state how I experienced the doubt, self judgement and sleepless nights! Then I tell them where we are at today!

Yes, I was tired… I don’t think I realised just how much till things had settled. I remember feeling that my concerns were looked upon as nothing but parental paranoia.

I remember wanting to scream out loud “Just shut up and listen” No, correction, I remember shouting this statement more times than I care to remember.

I questioned my own concerns. I felt that maybe I was going mad or worse that it was just me being a mother who was unable to do the job of parenting correctly.

I remember watching the months turn into years as I continued my battle, one that was just to get my foot in the Child Psychologist door.

In between there was issues, ones that turned into significant difficulties. More importantly, difficulties that could have been avoided or at least decreased in scale, if someone had just listened.

I did all I could do, yet it never felt enough.

School attendance fell, school phobia developed, but again, no one listened. Court cases and school attendance officers made my life more difficult and the fact I was found guilty and fined… Well, that just lead to my depression, lack of trust in the British justice system and great weariness in the operations of the LEA and everybody in it.

You sit there and think “Oh God, there really is no answer, no solution, no way to make them listen!” and as I started therapy I remember the endless tears that required my therapist to fetch more tissues. I remember the relief I felt, just to have someone… Sit… Just sit and listen.

Over the course of the battle, I saw my child become a target form both children and adults. I watched him change in personality as he tried to become someone he wasn’t… Someone who he thought he needed to be in order to be excepted.

Life is better now… I didn’t give up!

Little man has a diagnosis and this later lead to appropriate schooling and a much happier child!

You are the parent, you know your child. Don’t let anybody tell you differently.

Don’t give up!

I Just Want A Hug

4 Oct

I reach out my hand but you pull away, I open my arms and you flinch as if in pain, I open my heart up but you ignore to see the inner core of a heart that’s full of love for you.

Your first day at school you clung to me, arms wrapped so tightly around my neck I felt as though I couldn’t fully catch my breath… You did this for weeks, they blamed it on a detachment problem.

Then one day they just took you from my arms, carried you away while you kicked and punched as you screamed the word “Mummy” through your tears. Your tiny arm was stretched right out before me, your hand flapping up and down crying out for me to take a hold of it (something you never normally wanted). You wanted me to save you and I couldn’t. I cried but was told to toughen up, the tears wouldn’t help you.

“It will get easier” they kept on telling me, yet it didn’t every morning was the same as the one before.

I’d come to collect you, be stood in the playground waiting for you. Other mothers chatted and looked in my direction, some even made comments out loud that referred to me in some horrible way. I didn’t fit in but neither did you.

The bell rang out and as the doors swung open children darted out in all directions into the open arms of their parents. They stand staring as you appear from the doors, look at my open arms and ran the other way. Some could be heard whispering to one another, many laughed as I set chase running like some manic mother fearing her child may make it to the dangerous road outside.

By the time we reached home you were unstoppable, like a bull in a china shop you trashed about as you shouted and cried about everything and anything. I didn’t no what I should be doing to make things better for you, I wasn’t even sure of the issues you were upset about. I know now it was nothing precise, it wasn’t the fact we only had one biscuit, nor the fact I’d made pizza for dinner even though these were triggers, it was the underlying cause that was needing to be fixed. No… Not your Aspergers Syndrome, But your schooling.

We didn’t have an Aspergers diagnosis then… We had nothing but a load of court letters threatening court action for your school attendance that had now started to decrease. I’d try to get you there in the mornings but given you had not slept till 4am you’d wake with such anger. I was tired… You were tired! We didn’t need scare tactics what we needed was support.

Some almost 3 years and 2 court cases later you were diagnosed. I felt both relief and pain. You had been through so much and I’d failed to make them listen. I felt guilt for getting depression when the school just looked at me like some overprotective mother but at the same time some kind of shit one. I was screaming but no one could hear me, I now know that no one wanted to!

I felt resentful to a system that had failed to help me get the support we craved, to our british justice system who fined me what little pennies I had for your lack of school attendance… I felt guilty every Friday I saw my therapist and told him I felt like giving up.

There is a point to this post and for me a very important one…

Labelling isn’t always a bad thing it gives us answers, it gives a platform to start building on.

It wasn’t that my son refused to hug me because he disliked or loved me! It is because he is tactile defensive. Knowing that has helped, OT has helped and cuddles are now given once in a while (even if they are quick they are special all the same).

Without that label that many describe as wrong to give, my son wouldn’t have been able to attend the special school he does today. It’s pretty obvious now that my son’s autism traits such as hating change, poor social interaction and sensory processing were only part of the reason he feared the place he was expected by law to spend 6 and 1/2 hours of his day, 5 day a week attending. Bullying made up part of the fear which consequently, everything combined lead to what I now believe to be school phobia.

Without the label I’m scared at how life may have been today. Could I have found myself sectioned in a Psychiatric ward, I think quite possibly… Yes I could have! Where would that have left little man… Where would it have left his siblings?

Instead I started to get stronger and it was a bloody good job too. We had a lot of battles to come and I needed to be well enough to take them on.

I’m extremely passionate about advocating for families dealing with autism! It should always be understood that its not the diagnosis that is the problem but the carp that often comes with it! We do have to fight harder for what our children actually deserve, what is overly best for them. But to try and get any of these things without a label… Is like a dog chasing its tail in circles.

If your worried your child is on the autism spectrum, don’t let others make you feel bad for seeking your diagnosis. A label doesn’t have to be a bad move it can actually be a really positive one!

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DLA and Aspergers Syndrome

16 Sep

It’s been a difficult couple of weeks. I’m tired and moody, everything and anything seems to set me off!

There has been so much on my mind, an overload of worry that I can’t seem to shift. It’s not like I’ve had any less sleep than I usually would! Plus there has been no real big dramas (well, nothing out the ordinary that is)!

However, there is one thing I guess I can blame for my sudden decrease in mood…. The filling out of the DLA (Disability Living Allowance) form. Seriously it’s enough to make the happiest and most energetic of a person, feel depressed and lethargic! It’s a headache… A big fat headache.

I was first faced with this form back in 2008 when my son started attending CAMHS. I wasn’t sure it was right to claim it, but our doctor stated we should as Little Man was more than entitled to the benefit so why leave it to those that wasn’t! I actually cant imagine how we would now manage without it, it makes up a big part of our income.

I remember the thud when the postman shoved it through the letterbox… It hit the floor and the house shook. The form is just outrageously lengthy and anybody else who has ever needed to fill it out will know what I’m talking about! It’s just so barbaric when you have to answer the same question over and over and over again!

We were lucky as we didn’t need to appeal anything, there was no wrong decisions! Our claim went through the system accordingly and it was one battle we didn’t need to fight.

Just like in 2008 I’ve been faced with the stress of having to fill it out again! And how it hasn’t changed much at all.

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Little man’s claim is up for renewal and filling out the form is something I’ve tried putting off for months. Not only do you get that classic wrist ache and dead fingers, but it’s very likely that you’ll slowly be driven insane. The frustration as you read out a question only to see that it’s the same as the one you answered 2 questions ago, only its been rephrased and categorised under a different area of care! Some of them questions you’ll need to read over and over again, just to understand it within your own head, because surly they don’t think that your child’s difficulties are that black and white! As a result you find yourself needing to use the space set out at the end of each section. You know the one… “Use this space if you wish to explain why you have given the answers you have within this section… Blah… Blah… Blah!” When your child is on the autism spectrum you find yourself filling out every single one of those boxes. Then there’s the space at the end of the form designated for “Anything else you think we should know?” plus you end up writing an extra two A4 sheets of paper with all that stuff you think they should know! Stuff you think will help your child’s claim success.

There is no possible way you can complete such a form in a day, not if you have a life anyway. You’re this child’s carer and the time required to fill in such a form just isn’t logical. This time round we have the official diagnosis. We’ve been through the statementing process and have seen a whole host of specialist. This therefore means we have acquired a good deal of paperwork, paperwork that the DLA would like you to send in with your form.

I hate paperwork and find myself requesting everything in digital form. I was then stressing at the prospect of having to print it all out to send it to them. Not only would this be disastrous for a good number of trees but would also cost me a small fortune to send. Thankfully they have allowed me to send it to them via email which makes the process much more simplistic.

The hours spent filling in the DLA form were not jolly, they highlight just how difficult life can be for your child which in itself is a difficult reality for any parent to face.

If your filling out the DLA form for the first time, I’d advise that you don’t rush into it. There are many online sites designed to help with the process and you might want to contact the national autistic society for some advice. Their online site has lots of useful information that is designed to help you fill out the form or appeal against a DLA decision.

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