Tag Archives: Statement of SEN

A Bright Star No Longer Hidden

22 Jun

The annual review, a time for meeting with your child’s teachers and discussing progress, struggles and ideas. A meeting centred around your child’s special educational needs and the statement they hold.

Last week it was that time, the time for the Little man’s second annual review since attending his special independent school specifically for children on the autism spectrum. Lately, Little man’s attendance has been a little off the wall! Despite his love for his new school he continues to struggle to sleep of a night, often getting just a few hours sleep or none whatsoever. As one can imagine, mornings are becoming one huge battle us! For this reason alone I expected to hear how my son was falling dangerously behind that of his peers, what with his last school (mainstream primary school) insisting he had a reading age of 7, reception age writing skills, poor understanding of science and history, plus 2 levels below in maths and more besides. He was 10 at the time and I protested that my son wasn’t this far behind, especially in maths. His bedroom wall looked like some kind of number puzzle where he would cover it in mathematical problem solving and coding to a complex level (one even I struggled to understand)!

You see it was my conclusion that he was much brighter than he let on, but wasn’t showing this due to his unhappiness while attending a school who seriously struggled to meet any of his needs, both educational and developmental. It was during this particular annual review meeting that I realised just how right I was back then.

Here it comes… A seriously proud mummy moment…

Little man is two levels above his expect national curriculum level in maths. He is in year 7 and currently has a level of a child in year 9 on his way to year 10.

His also above in PE, Reading and more besides. He science levels were that of his expected age. English as a whole is also what is expected which just goes to show that my boy and any other child on the spectrum has the ability to shine given they are in the right environment to do so.

He has a great new system in which he can remove himself from the classroom to shake of any problems and excess energy with a run around the playground. He only has the ability to use his “Get Out Of Glass Card” twice for each lesson and teachers have reported that sometimes he finishes class having not used one. This may seem like such a minor thing but to a mum like me its pure music to my ears.

He also has a great reward system and school are working hard to try and discourage his swearing. Despite episodes still happening on a daily basis the improvements are slowly taking place and little man’s learning a little self control.

Proud… Oh yes, seriously proud! When your so used to being told the negative when it comes to your child’s education, you forget what its like to hear anything positive. This was a great example of this, it was the proudest I’d felt for a long time. I just wanted to shout about it from the roof tops.

Was I tempted to take a little walk through them office doors of his once mainstream school, the one in which his younger sister attends? Did I feel to wave his report in the air while shouting “Yer… Get a load of that! Thats my boy they are writing about!” Um maybe I did, just a little…I can’t lie. However, I don’t care what was once said! All that matters is that I have always believed in him even if those others who should have, instead made it their mission to write him off as a lost cause!

Well… Eat My Shorts!

My boys a star, a star that shines bright because his no longer hidden.

So, if you have a bright star that is currently struggling to be seen through the clouds then don’t give up on them! Believing is the key to your child’s educational success and as long as you believe others will follow. Never give up, fight for them to be seen as the star you know them to be.

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Why don’t you believe me

5 Jun

Why don’t you believe me?

As a parent to a child with Aspergers syndrome, I’ve heard myself ask this question a thousand times in an array of situations.

I really couldn’t care anymore if the lady up the road thinks I’m a bad parent and my son is the child of the devil!

But there have been some situations in the past when I have felt like bashing my head continuously against a brick wall, times when I needed support and understanding. People I felt should be naturally supportive were not, instead they made me feel as if I was an overreacting pain in the arse, one who had a problem with parenting… One who was full of Nonsense!

Those people were my child’s teachers, these people almost cost my child his diagnosis!

My child is challenging at home yet he doesn’t show such behaviour when at school is a common issue for parents who are going through the procedure of trying to obtain a diagnosis of Autism for their child (this is so common it should be added to the criteria for diagnosis)! It’s not that we are crying out for our child to have an attached label but without it we have little chance of obtaining the support we crave for both our child and ourselves.

It’s important to remember that us parents are not alone in such situations, but at the time it sure does feel like it!

It comes to a point when one really does question their own skills as a parent, we often find ourselves questioning our own abilities to do the job correctly. I actually started to envy other parents, their relationships with their children! “Why doesn’t their child violently hit, bite and kick them?” You start to wonder if your child loves you and if he doesn’t then why the hell not? You start to walk on dangerous ground when you start to wonder if this really is a case of “poor parenting”

It’s not easy knowing that your child is sat like some little angel in the class room, yet a few hours later his walking through the door and trashing his bedroom! Then someone suggests the autism spectrum, at first you instantly refuse to believe it, but the more you learn about it the more you realise the pieces of the puzzle begin to fit, in some sense you find comfort in the fact it isn’t down to you, your child doesn’t hate you, he just has difficulties regulating his own emotions, why? Because his frustrated with over loaded senses and an altogether different take on the world.

You climb mountains to get on that waiting list for an assessment, when you finally get that appointment the paediatrician nods his head and tells you his confident that your child has traits consisting of a diagnosis of autism ( in my case Aspergers)! More assessments follow and every medical professional your child meets draws them very same suspicions. Then they requests feed back from your child’s school and although you understand there to be no challenging behaviour you are confident that the school will share other concerns, odd behaviours and so forth!

So, why is it that they don’t… Instead they write a report that indicates your child is a typical boy, a child who communicates on the same level of that of his peers? Why do they fail to highlight any bullying, obsessions or quirky behaviours?

I speak for thousands of parents who have all had their child’s diagnosis held up or dismissed completely as a result of such report writing!

I remember feeling completely alone, So angry, So let down.

Every concern I had was disregarded as a lie, my child’s head teachers blamed me for the way my child refused to dress for school of a morning or when he failed to sleep the entire night. I began to hold back my concerns for fear of being judged!

I had now entered a new world, one that no longer got left behind at the school gate! A world of TAC meetings, CAF forms and assessments, a world of battles ones I’d eventually become accustomed to!

Sat in my doctors office, head in hands I cried, I cried so much I could hardly get the words I needed to say out of my mouth and into the listening ear of another! I was tired of fighting the system, I was tired of fighting my child to get out of bed and dressed each morning, I was tired of having my concerns pulled to pieces, most of all I was tired of being me.

It doesn’t help when your own mental health begins to slip away, when you find yourself only able to get through a day once you’ve tanked yourself up on Prozac! I remember reading my child’s education record some 2 years later, I remember the statements made in relation to my own mental wellbeing! What still makes me angry is the fact that my own health only suffered because of them… I didn’t do this to myself, they did it! Being strong enough to now say that with confidence is a wonderful thing!

Despite the depression I continued to battle on when eventually one year after that report my child received an official diagnosis of Aspergers Syndrome!

Why now? He had now seen a number of professionals and the very last assessment was the one that finally closed his case. A video interview with a speech and language assessment who specialised in the autism spectrum, plus a play assessment which helped highlight his intense special interest and rigid thinking.

School still failed to acknowledge his diagnosis as they should have, he was no longer 5 but 8 his traits were more noticeable yet the school failed to make prober adjustments. It normally came back to the issue of little man having no statement of special educational needs (something I later went on to successfully acquire, though not without a fight). Eventually though things changed direction and finally little man settled at home. This was down to working out his triggers that lead to meltdowns, different reinforcements for desired behaviours etc. Not everyday was problem free (far from it) but the hitting slowed a bit and I felt as though I had gain some control back. This was due to now having a better understanding of his needs. However, with the school’s complete lack of adjustments or understanding, little mans challenging ways started to surface once more… Only this time, it was within the school setting!

It’s a long story, but put it this way… That same child (the ‘typical’ little boy) was now excluded on a weekly basis, never taken on school trips and even taught In isolation. All this lead to a disability discrimination case which I finally agreed to settle before the hearing once all my commands had been met! (letters of apology, rewriting of policies and teacher training)! What a turn around!!!

My child now attends an independent special school for children with autism and Aspergers. Life isn’t perfect, who’s is! But we have the diagnosis, the statement and finally the right school… One where I no longer need to ask “why don’t you believe me”

I’m in the final for the mad blog awards in the inspiring category voting closes today (6th June 2012) at 5pm! Please if you love the blog pop over and give us your vote. Mum and Dad Blog Awards 2012

Why your child with Aspergers Syndrome May need an OT Assessment

24 May

Does your child with Aspergers Syndrome have difficulties with their fine and gross motor skills as well as that of their sensory processing.

If the answer is yes, you should consider getting an assessment from an occupational therapist (OT).

In Little mans case, this was highly recommended by an independent educational psychologist during an assessment in preparation for our pending tribunal hearing early last year. I’d always had concerns regarding some of his motor skills especially that of fine motor skills, handwriting mainly. I guess i wasn’t fully prepared for the final report, which admittedly came as somewhat of a shock!

However, knowing the true extent of these difficulties has allowed me understand why little man struggles within certain areas, plus since getting the statement amended he now has regular OT sessions within his special school.

The final report which was written by an independent OT based in Harley street London was a real eye opener, not only highlighting his motor difficulties but that of his poor sensory processing too.

It’s extremely important to think along the lines of OT when applying for a statuary assessment and beginning the process of requesting a statement of SEN. Once you have that statement and it’s all agreed, it will be a good year before the annual review, your next opportunity to request amendments!

Below I’m sharing some of the findings from Little mans OT report.

The report is sadly far to large to include everything so I’ve chosen some important factors that may affect others like little man.

Many see Aspergers as just a social communication and behavioural condition. This is simply not always the case!

Note I have Removed my sons real name and replaced this with the name you all know… Little man.

Behaviour during Testing
Little Man presented as a friendly young boy and was generally co-operative whilst completing table top activities during the first half of the assessment was and able to complete the assessment tasks with prompting and encouragement. However, Little man found the gross motor tasks during the second part of the assessment more challenging and needed constant prompting to complete the assessment.

Strength
Little man showed some difficulty with completing the given tasks of maintaining postures against gravity and practicing push-ups and sit ups. While practicing push-ups, shoulder abduction and pelvic tilt were noticed. It has to be noted that such activities apart from the strength, require a good level of motor planning sequencing of movements, and overall body awareness. Little man’s performance points to a mild difficulty in this area that is related to sensory input processing from joints and muscles.

Running Speed and Agility
Little Man scored below the average expected for his age group when tested on the subtest for Running Speed and Agility, showing some difficulty in this area. Items included a shuttle run and hopping activities. Little man managed appropriately with the shuttle run but showed some difficulty with hopping on one leg whilst stationary. He also struggled with items such as stepping sideways over a balance beam, and doing a two-legged side hop, which requires a high level of motor planning.

Results following a number of different tests

Little man presents with difficulty coordinating complex motor movements and higher level motor planning due to reduced vestibular-proprioceptive processing. These systems work closely together to give us a sense of where we are in space and of how our body works (strength, muscles, balance). He does not always rely on autonomic control and this means it will take him longer to complete tasks and need additional time to acquire new skills. His movements are not always refined and timed.This will directly impact upon his ability to produce handwriting at an age appropriate speed and develop more complex gross and fine motor skills that involve higher level motor planning and overall body configuration.

HANDWRITING

Little man held the pencil in his right hand with his thumb overlapping his index finger. He applied increased grip and writing pressure. He needed prompting to use his left hand as a stabilizer whilst writing. Little man sat on the edge of his seat with his trunk in flexion, leaning forward a lot.
Little man presented with some difficulty with handwriting, in particular letter formation and the spacing of his letters. His handwriting speed was also slow and appeared laborious. His increased writing pressure, poor knowledge of mechanical elements of handwriting and decreased planning suggests Little man must work extra hard to complete handwriting tasks, which involve fine motor control. It also indicates difficulties with sequencing and planning.This will impact significantly on Little man’s ability to complete written work in an expected time frame and to complete written tests on time.

Results of Little Mans sensory profile indicated difficulties with sensory processing and sensory modulation.
In addition the factor summary of the questionnaire indicated that Little man shows a Definite Difference with sensory seeking, emotional reactivity, low endurance/tone, oral sensitivity, inattention/distractibility, poor registration and sensory sensitivity.

Sensory Processing
Sensory processing refers to how we process sensory information from our environment and our bodies. We receive information from the following senses: touch (tactile); hearing (auditory); taste (gustatory); smell (olfactory); sight (visual); proprioception and vestibular. Little man has difficulty with sensory processing in all the above areas.

The auditory processing differences for Little man are apparent in the fact that he is distracted or has trouble functioning if there is a lot of noise around. It is reported that Little man appears to not hear what people say at times and that he enjoys strange noises.

The visual processing differences for Little man are apparent in the fact that he occasionally expresses discomfort with or avoids bright lights and becomes frustrated when trying to find objects in competing backgrounds. It is reported that he frequently has a hard time finding objects in competing backgrounds.

The vestibular sense allows a person to sense body movement, direction, and acceleration, and to attain and maintain postural equilibrium and balance. This then impacts on all areas of the person’s development and in particular, motor-co ordination. Little man’s difficulties in this area of processing are apparent in that he constantly seeks movement to the point where this interferes with his daily routine. It is reported that he spins or twirls himself occasionally throughout the day.

The touch processing differences for Little man are apparent in that he is sensitive to certain fabrics. It is reported that he expresses distress during grooming. Little man also has difficulty with standing in line or standing close to other people.

The multisensory processing differences for Little man are apparent in that he has difficulty paying attention and looks away from tasks to notice all actions in the room.

The oral sensory processing differences for Little man are apparent and that he will only eat certain tastes and prefers sweet food. It is reported that he is a picky eater and that he craves certain foods such as sugar drinks and coffee.

Sensory Modulation
Modulation is the ability to regulate/maintain arousal so that you can orient, focus attention on meaningful sensory events, and maintain an alert but relaxed state. It is this optimum level of arousal which allows us to function meaningfully within our environment. Some people have difficulty modulating sensory information. This can result in being over or under stimulated. We all have thresholds that need to be met by incoming sensory input. Without adequate sensory input we are unable to maintain an organised calm state. If an individual’s thresholds are too high they will need more intense input to meet their needs. If their thresholds are too low they will be easily overwhelmed. Little man is easily overwhelmed and becomes emotionally over reactive. It is reported that he easily becomes distressed at home and school when he finds situations difficult and overwhelming.

Conclusion
These clinical observations as well as the standardised assessments indicate that reduced sensory processing and modulation, and low muscle tone may be impacting on Little man’s ability to perform gross and fine motor tasks successfully.

Vestibular processing is our sense of movement and is closely related to the proprioceptive system. It tells us what direction we are moving, where we are in space and what speed we are moving at. Vestibular input can help to organise and refocus the body. Little man has some difficulty with registering and processing vestibular information, which is impacting on his co-ordination skills and ability to sit still for extended periods of time.

Proprioception is the understanding of where our limbs are in relation to ourselves. This information is provided by the stimulation of receptors in our muscles and joints. Proprioceptive feedback informs us where our arms and legs are without looking (e.g. being able to unfasten an apron that ties at the back).

When our proprioceptive sense works well, we make continual and automatic adjustments in our position. This sense helps us to stay in an optimal position in a chair; to hold utensils such as a pencil or fork in the right way; to judge how to manoeuvre through space so that we do not bump into things; to know how far to stand away from people so we are not too close or too far; to plan how much pressure to exert so we do not break a pencil lead or a toy; and to change actions that we are not successful with, such as the throwing of a ball that was off target.

Since proprioception helps us with such basic functions, difficulties in this system can cause many challenges for a child. Little man has difficulty with this and this is impacting on gross motor and fine motor tasks in all areas of daily living such as school work and play.

Low muscle tone relates to the tension of the muscles. A certain amount of tension is required to maintain positions and to allow co-ordinated controlled movements. For some children, the level of tension in the muscles is lower than other children of the same age, and so they require more effort to maintain the same positions/postures. Little man’s low muscle tone means that he would find it difficult to maintain a good seated posture for lengthy periods in the classroom setting.

#HAWMC Day 20 – A cure for ignorance

24 Apr

The 20th #HAWMC prompt was to come up with a cure for your health focus. The only thing was, I didn’t need a cure for my health focus! Yes, there is plenty of things I wish that I could make that bit easier for my son who has Aspergers Syndrome but I wouldn’t go as far as stating he needs to be cured!

With the above in mind I wondered what I’d write about instead, then it came to me… How about a cure for other peoples ignorance?

The majority of our society remains misunderstood when it comes to the autism spectrum. I hate listening to the remarks of others when speaking about something they lack a great degree of knowledge in. OK, ignorance isn’t always the fault of an individual, some just haven’t been exposed to autism, therefore not having any reason to discover and learn about it! Others are simply misinformed via the media or other sources.

Then we encounter them cases of wilful delusion, people who understand more than they care to admit but simply ignore it. Those that refuse to change a certain view or way of behaving regardless of how well educated they are on the subject. It’s my opinion that this kind of ignorance is often found within schools, you’ll find teachers that agree with the difficulties you state your child is experiencing yet fall to note the concerns or apply for extra funding so state there is no problems within school. From personal experience and through discussions with other parents of children on the spectrum, It would seem that many school who have a child on school action plus have failed to fully use its resources despite having received the funding so when it comes to you asking for a statement a school will sometimes discourage a parent from doing so advising them to leave it a few months and stating that there are one or two things they can offer in the meantime.

This is why many autism activist campaign for it to be made a requirement that all schools train and educate its staff in all of SEN and that of the autism spectrum.

You see, some people will claim ignorance to be immoral but how can one understand something if they haven’t been educated on? The fact that one person feels they have the right to judge another with little evidence to base their conclusion upon is that of ignorance in itself… after all evidence can only be formed if those collecting it look for it and therefore learn more about it!

I’m guessing almost if not all parents of a child with autism or aspergers syndrome have been on the receiving end of ignorance at some stage of their child’s life. The parent of the child who really struggles with everyday experiences such as shopping will know all to well what its like to be stared at and judged just by looking at their fellow shoppers! Yes, it get does get easier with time, sometimes I fail to even notice those stood around staring, the whispers or continuous head shaking motion and tutting sounds many make and though you know its there, some days you’re just to tired to care!

Nonetheless, Regardless of how accustomed to it one may become this is somewhat besides the point! People need educating but sadly you will always find not every ones willing to step forward and learn! Of course we can’t make people think before they judge, only they can do that. Plus we all do it in some form or another whether it’s in relation to autism, mental health or something else altogether. However, it will eventually still grind you down, OK, not everyday, but those that do are enough to drive you into a state of depression, insanity or both!

Parents of children who have only just received a diagnosis or even those of undiagnosed children can find ignorance much more difficult to contend with (I know I did back in the earlier days). What’s more ignorance can also be an extremely upsetting experience for the child on the spectrum, especially those considered more high functioning. Again I feel many assume that because it’s documented that children on the autism spectrum are in their own little world they therefore often disregard the child’s feelings simply thinking they lack the intelligence needed to understand.

Well its a fact, no one wants to be judged, especially when it relates to the way they bring up their children. The child with autism is often labelled a menace to society, the child heading for an ASBO by its 5th birthday… no one wants their child to be thought of in such a way! It’s this part that most parents find the toughest overall.

Of course we as parents can’t spend forever worrying what others do or do not think of us and I for one don’t seek the approval of society on how I parent. I don’t need to be told whether I’m doing an efficient job or not, I don’t seek any ones approval apart from that of my own. It’s took me a long time to be able to actually feel this way, yet there will still be those days I slip and break at a strangers glare or ignorant comment whether it’s in a week, a month or even a year.

So here’s my final thoughts to wrap this post up! Ignorance is actually a state of unawareness which can in fact be cured with a little bit of educating! Those that receive that education but chose to ignore it don’t only become intentionally ignorant but are also filled with a degree of stupidity. Bottom line… We don’t need to find a cure for ignorance because there is already one available in that of education! What we do need is a cure for stupidity to finally fix the problem!

Image credit to the fabulous Chato B Stewart who blogs at PsychCentral.com an activist for mental health who uses a bit of healthy humour within his work

Post 20/30 in  the Wego Health #HAWMC 

Special School – Don’t write it off!

12 Mar

As a parent of a child diagnosed with Aspergers Syndrome and special educational needs, I’ve been through the whole tiresome, wearisome battle to obtain a statement of Special educational needs (SEN) that states ALL of my child’s needs, as-well as providing the appropriate resources needed to meet such needs.

I’ve faced the whole mind-boggling experience associated with searching for an appropriate education setting, somewhere with the right resources to cope with what has been described as my child’s “Complex Needs”

I’ve embarked on the deliberating decision, when it comes down to the choice between Mainstream or Special School.

After many battles for, assessments, a statement, an amended statement & the almighty fight to obtain the right school placement, we finally found ourselves here!

Though it was far from easy, Little man now attends an independent day special school, especially for those children on the autism spectrum, catering for children through their primary and secondary education!

There is no words I can use to describe, how having your child’s needs finally met changes life for that of yourself, child and immediate family! When you finally secure that placement, having engaged in many years of consistent fighting for what only seems a child’s most basic right!

Three years ago, you would have likely heard me stating, “Mainstream schooling was the only form of schooling my child would be attending!” Admittedly, like most parents of children with autism or SEN, today, I was ill-informed, completely clueless if you like, to how special school’s actually operated! Well, why would I be any the wiser, I’d never even seen inside the doors of a special school, in all honesty, I guess I kind of collaborated the little I did know (well, what I thought I knew) to that of what I’d been told, the not so great opinions of others! This of course did nothing other than help produce an image within ones mind, resembling something far from accurate!

My opinion was my own, through it was sadly built upon that of ignorance! I’d naively thought that by attending a mainstream school, my child would learn the rules of socially acceptable behaviour, his “typical” peers would somehow be his social skill trainers, without even knowing the importance of their job, they would actively model how society expects one to perform in life.

Surly special schools could only pull my child under, corrupt his delicate evolving mind, somehow lowering his own expectations of what he could possibly do if truly desired! Those around him would swamp him, drowned him in their world, lower functioning children would draw out his more noticeable “autistic traits” he would somehow feed from them, becoming more and more aloof with each passing day.

Would he become more autistic than he possibly was, mimicking the social behaviour of peers? Would this actually lead my child to become a child who required little if no encouragement, staff assuming he was a lost course? Would it just be expected of him to achieve lower marks than he was typically capable of? Would he therefore never be pushed to display his full potential? Then there was the consistency the overly well organised routines, would this make my child more rigid, therefore more demandingly challenging with a total lack of flexibility within the home?

Right then, at that time, the possibilities, even if conceived from ignorance and lack of informed information, made special school not an option! My ill-informed mind was made up!

Nonetheless, 3 years ago, I wouldn’t have been given the option, regardless of whether he needed it or not! You see, this isn’t how it works, though within time, I came to understand this!

It wasn’t at least till 2-years ago,that mainstream school finally admitted that there were indeed problems (and lots of them)! Little man had gone from the active school refuser,the aloof quite child, to one who could not follow the simplest of tasks. He became far more challenging what with sensory triggers and a string of misconceptions. He was no longer able to contain his evolving desire for peer interaction, though he regrettably fell at every hurdle in his quest to achieve it.

Those that did befriend him, did so as to lead him into troubled waters, always getting him to play the clown while laughing uncontrollably when he got into trouble.

Misconceptions and mixed messages lead to constant exclusions, removal of life’s simple pleasures, privileges such as trips and playtimes.He found himself being taught in isolation, removed from what he knew, despite not being able to fully understand it anyway!

When Little man began stating he wanted to be normal, while bashing his head senseless against a wall, choice no longer had a degree of influence within this heartbreaking situation! Basically I needed him out! Unable to let this situation continue, I removed him from the school!

We filed a claim for discrimination on the grounds he was being treated differently as a result of his Aspergers Syndrome as-well as the fact no reasonable adjustments were being made! The school finally held it’s hands up, just days before the tribunal hearing I had been dreading.

By this point in time, an absolute turn around had occurred! The LEA no longer ignorantly refused to carry out a salutatory assessment of little man’s special educational needs! By this point I’d started training, learning the English Education Act, including those very important sections addressing special educational needs. What’s more I’d also obtain a solicitor (it was one thing helping others to get their child’s needs met, yet my own child’s education was in such a state, the solicitor could only but help)! The addition of letters devised by a solicitor did help to move things along, yes, I’m sure of this! Plus thanks to the appointed solicitor, Little man had now undergone independent OT, SALT and EP assessments, all of which greatly differed from those findings given by the LEA. This was all well and good, yet the discovery of the extent of his OT needs and possible additional conditions discovered by his EP, did cause me to draw one or two tears, before jumping back up into fighting mode!

Little man was no longer being home schooled and I’d managed to get the LEA to provide 5 hours a day of 1-2-1 tuition by a tutor at the local library! This was something that continued for almost 8 months!

A statement was finally produced, though it was better suited to a no frills range at the local supermarket. Parts 2 and 3 failed to include little if any real needs or any resources needed to meet such needs. The LEA were now frantically searching for a stat special school, non in which were even willing to meet him (with the exception of one)! I received daily letters through my letterbox from numerous school’s all stating the same, ” Sorry, we feel that we do not have the resources to meet ******** complex needs”

I’d come around to the prospect of a special school, gone were the days of ignorance, I’d now learnt that there were schools for both MLD and SLD as well as specialist schools catering for children with Autism spectrum conditions. I embraced the prospect of a school that had small classroom numbers, teachers who understood my child’s needs, such great things began to excite me. Given the last few years of hell, that mainstream school had brought us, my views had changed more than a little!

I could now be found saying

“My child will never attend a mainstream school again, not over my dead body!”

Now, this remark was not based on ill-informed opinions, underlying ignorance, but one made from experience, and not a good one at that!

With the discovery of Baston House, Independent Special School for those children holding a diagnosis of autism or aspergers syndrome, which was founded by the lovely Anna Kennedy (activist and a mother of two boys on the spectrum) I had to investigate and check the place out!

The school caters for both primary and secondary children, when visiting there was a handful of pupils but just meeting them along with the staff it become very clear that this was the place Little man needed to be!

I wasn’t under the illusion that it was an easy process, after all this was an independent school. However, with the LEA struggling to find a state school by the tribunal date, they gave up, no longer opposing any of my requested amendments.

This meant that not only did they now amend the statement to include all the recommendations of the independent assessors, making this the largest statement I’ve seen, I received some much sought after news.

Of course these amendments included part 4 of the statement! Baston house school was finally named, and I felt something I’d never felt possible, the up most relief and excitement that my child would now spend his school days in his new SPECIAL SCHOOL!

It’s been around 9 or more months now and we are currently approaching his annual review meeting! He will also move up to the secondary department which is within the same school, making this a less stressful transition.

Life now is a lot different! There are less phone calls from upset angry teachers, not one exclusion *madly touches wood* Amazingly little man has also risen 7 (YES, 7) sub levels in reading (in little over a few terms)! Ok, he still doesn’t sleep much and can’t help to have a supermarket meltdown, but his happier, that much, I’m sure off.

So, has special school caused him to regress? No, it’s actually the best decision I’ve ever made for my son, making the hardest and most emotional grating fight of my life, all now seem worth it! Seriously I wouldn’t change a thing!

So, if like me, you rejected the prospect of a special school, then remember this post! Do what you think is right! My advice… follow your heart, it will show you where to go, there is a school for every child, whether it’s mainstream, special or even at home, you’ve just got to find it!

Questions & Answers

20 Feb

I was recently tagged by the lovely Kate over at “Kate on thin Ice” to answer 11 questions, before writing my own 11 questions and tagging some more lovely bloggers. Below are my answers to Kate’s questions

1. If you could wave a magic wand and change one thing about mums, what would it be and why? As a mother to a child on the autism spectrum as well as two other children, I’d wave my wand, in the hope of removing the ignorance towards mothers of children with autism, an ignorance that far to many of our society display today. Although I’ve become accustomed to the stares, looks of horror on the faces of my fellow shoppers, during one of Little man’s supermarket style meltdowns, to such an extent it doesn’t affect me as it once did! I’d still make it magically better if I could, especially for those parents new to this difficult, yet highly rewarding challenge of parenting a child with a hidden disability!

2. How many hours or minutes of housework do you do per day? However many time will permit! I have to admit, their father is a dab hand with the vacuum cleaner, I’m more of a sorter (you know, separating the lights and, darks for the wash, embarking on a mission to pair together socks, organising the cupboards and dealing with the bills)!

3. If you could change careers, what would you change to? Well, right now my career is taking care of my children. Little man is now in an independent special school more suited to his needs, my daughter continues to do great in school, while my youngest Harley who has just turned 2 is entertained by myself during the day. I do however volunteer helping parents of children with autism to get their child’s special educational needs met in way of a statement of SEN. I help when the LEA has turned down the request to assess or when the end of the assessment results in the failure to issue a statement and the parents are taking the route of the tribunal. The training I did was awesome and my very high pass marks were a result of my desire to help other families (especially as I’ve gone through the whole procedure with the extra addition of a disability discrimination claim I had filed against his “then”  mainstream, primary school… to which the school later backed down on, resulting in us coming to a settlement and an apology given to my son, one I had been waiting for, for what felt like forever).

Although Ive developed a strong interest to issues surrounding Education Law, and also that of child psychology and mental health, I now see myself changing directions and have considered doing something that involves me working for myself therefore giving me flexibility which I need having three children, one with additional needs! Yes, I have some ideas, though I’d rather not say anything just yet (watch this space)!

4. What is your favourite cocktail? Has to be a Mojito though it’s not often I drink, well, apart from the odd class of white here and there!

5. What is your claim to fame? Being me, surly… someone’s got to notice me sometime soon! Serious through, I do have a bit of a big mouth, so thought, why not exercise it in a productive manner! You see, I’m considering becoming the stalker of the man who lives at number 10! I feel someone needs a word with him before the country finally crumbles and disappears! Why not me? I’m sure that will do something for both our public profiles 🙂

6. What is the quirkiest object in your home? My son of course, his so very quirky but in the greatest possible way! Would I change this quirkiness? Hell no! Its part of who he is, plus I think quirky is very much all the rage at the minute!

7. Charity Shop Or Designer Boutique? As much as I love a Designer Boutique, which I normally only get to see from the outside these days…  A good Charity shop, wins every time. I love the whole excitement that comes with finding that unique item, the discovery of a beautiful find, marked up at a bargain of a prize! I go to some lovely charity shops and have been known to make a day out of it with a friend! Jumping in her car, we will drive some distance just to find them hidden little gems in tiny villages, or well sought after locations. Yes, I’ve had my fair share of magpie finds, one of my most recent, a real pair of women’s Ray bands in the children’s brick and brac box! How much?… A tiny 20p

8. How many hours of the day are you away from your own house? These days, not many! When Little man was in mainstream though I did seem to spend more time in his school then he probably did! The problem now is, you try to get the things done, that you can’t with all three at home, before you know it, its afternoon, leaving little time for the walk in the park you had planned with your toddler.

9. What is your guilty pleasure? Twitter & pinterest while sipping something chilled from the fridge and munching on a Lindor egg (you know… the red ones the size of a creme egg but with a far better centre)!

10. Retro or Modern? Both, though Retro in the home is a big hit with me right now! I love the vintage floral looks, pale pastel shades inspired from the 40s and 50s… I’m dead girlie, love shabby chick, classic and pretty vintage finds. I’m currently redecorating my bedroom, though at this moment it’s an overcrowded space, with bare walls! I want to ensure I have everything I need, to create that dreamy creation in my mind, and think I’m going to try to pin my way there on Pinterest.

11. What is the one challenge you are most proud of overcoming? This is likely to be the challenge to get my son’s special educational needs met, a statement of SEN, a place in a special school and of course a fight to prove my son was being discriminated against within his mainstream school. I hit some massive lows, cried many tears and in the earlier years of his life I even found myself on Prozac! Pre-diagnosis, I felt like I was screaming yet no one looked up. I was even taken to court for school attendance issues despite my child not sleeping of a night, having to be carried in the gate, massive meltdowns, so bad that even Supernanny could not have fixed them (she, was actually filming a family on my mothers road last summer and couldn’t get away quick enough when my Little man started throwing himself about and shouting some form of inappropriateness for the world to hear! I dare to think what she thought, though actually, now, I couldn’t give a hoot!

So here’s my 11 questions I want bloggers to answer!

1. How old was you when you gave birth to your first child & was this planned?

2. How did you feel both physically and mentally following the birth of your child, for example, how long before you felt yourself again, fitted in your old clothes, returned to work etc.?

3. Did you experience the “Baby Blues” or suffer postnatal depression? If yes, are you over this, slowly getting better, or maybe things are still quite hard?

4. What are your family values?

5. Are you a SAHM or a Working mother?

6. So, why did you start your blog?

7. Do you feel less isolated when blogging and interacting with other bloggers through social networking sites and if applicable, blogging events?

8. Are you going to Britmums Live and if yes… what are your reasons for wanting to attend? “waving hand in the air… I’ll be there”

9. As a blogger do you ever help the promotion of certain charitable organisations or engage in campaigns for a good course? If yes, what charities and why?

8. What’s the most amazing experience you and if applicable, your children, have experienced as the result of your blog?

9. Do you have a goal you want to achieve as a result of you’re blogging talent? Maybe it’s to write an E- Book, start an online business, start vlogging, or like me begin self hosting (I think I’ll be taking this leap in the early summer)?

10. Name one blogger who regularly inspires you

Finally…

11. What piece of advice would you offer to a new blogger or anyone considering starting a blog?

Now I tag

The Rules:

You must post these rules.
Each person must post 11 things about herself on their blog.
Answer the questions the “tagger” listed for you in her post, and create 11 new questions for the people you tag to answer.
Choose 11 people to tag and link to them in the post.
Let each blogger know that you have tagged them.

Also please leave a comment for me after you have joined in so I can take a look at your answers.

A great 2011 for A boy with Asperger’s

21 Dec

A boy with Asperger’s 2011

At the beginning of the year I wrote a two-part post covering all the stuff that had happened during 2010 (yes, seriously this took two post and most of it was nothing but bad happenings). So, looking back through 2011 and realising just what an amazing year’s blogging I’ve had, I just had to do it all again.

So here it is, the busiest year on the blog so far, A boy with Asperger’s 2011

January: Not the best month to be honest, we finally get that all important statement of special educational needs for Little man, only toilet paper would have been worth more. Nonetheless we fight to the depths of the earth and it’s amended later in the year and thankfully contains everything he needs thanks to those all important independent assessments & reports.

February: We finally get some good news, which I document in the post, “The end of a chapter” The mainstream school in-which Little man used to attend finally holds up their hands and we get that all important apology in writing, we therefore settle on the Disability discrimination case only weeks before the tribunal hearing. Another great high to February was the invite I received from Cadbury that saw me and a friend attend an excellent Adult only event (no not in that way) we actually tried to set world records doing normal household chores with a twist (making a bed, unravelling toilet rolls and more besides). This was also the month that I got to interview Colin an adult with Asperger’s who had a very interesting message for Mr Cameron.

March: This was a terrible month, the month that saw my eldest Little man (AKA, A boy with Aspergers) get punched in the stomach by a much older youth of eighteen, while playing at the park with a friend and his mother. Little man was just ten at the time and had said “The wrong thing” to a group of older kids, you can read the post “How could that hurt my little boy” for the full story. March was also the month I shared my concerns on the pending Green paper in the post “Aspirations or clever financial alterations

April: I’m contacted by the lovely Anna Kennedy in regards to her ‘Autism and bullying’ campaign, as a result of this little man appears in an ITV news report which I wrote about in the post “Little man’s television debut” which was perfect timing, what with it being autism awareness month. I also highlight how appearing on the television went to his head a little resulting in him asking everyone and anyone “Do you know who I am”

May: It was this month I wrote one of my favourite post to date “I’m no Vicky Pallord” I also discover that I’m nominated for a Mad blog award shortlisted in two categories, “Most inspiring blog” & “Blogger of the year”

June: Brings with it a fresh start for the Little man when the local LEA crave in before yet another tribunal, agreeing his place at his independent special school for children with autism and aspergers. This was also a really exciting month in the world of blogging, I was featured in two local papers, making front page news in “The Southlondon press” with the Headline “Mum sets blogging standard” & I was also featured in the “Newshopper” both highlighting the news that I had become a finalist in the Mad blog awards 2011. I also got to attend my first ever Cybermummy (blogging conference) and with it the blog received it’s first ever sponsor Londontown.com who paid for me to stay in a beautiful hotel on the night of the conference.

Nonetheless, although the above is all fabulously exciting, June was also a very emotional & overwhelming month, what with Little man adapting to his new routine and little sleep, it resulted in me writing this very open and honest post “falling apart

July: This was the month I started the Santa’s little helpers feature resulting in me working with some pretty spectacular brands, we were also invited to the multimedia screening of Mr Poppers penguins in London’s , Leicester Square. Alice-Sara brings her friend who are both  excited by the odd celeb spot. In the middle of the month me and the children attend the Pandemonium festival in Northampton to celebrate the release of kung-fo panda 2 as VIP guest of Cadbury. The children get to test the new mini games, Harley becomes obsessed by the panda himself and we eat lunch next to the ambassador of china (Yer, I was praying that Little man didn’t treat the guy and his family to a demonstration of a meltdown, “Asperger’s style”)! Myself and Harley my youngest also attended the Boots bump to Baby event in London’s beautiful Haymarket hotel where Harley took a shine to the lovely Rachel Stevens and the boots clothing range (from the pic below who would think his only 18 months here). July is also the month I treat readers to an up-date on the amazing progress Little man is making at his new school.

August: A busy yet crazy month as I celebrate the publishing of my three page article in the SEN publication (please check it out by clicking HERE if you haven’t already). Myself, youngest Harley, sister and her daughter get invited to the tots event of the year, “The lollibob” where we go VIP and the kids have a blast meeting the likes of Bob the builder, Peppa pig and Ben and Holly from the Little Kingdom.

August was also the month that saw chaos unfold in the devastating London riots. I organised a Lewisham riot cleanup on twitter with the use of the hash tag #lewishamriotclean and from then on everything went a little mad, what with being interviewed for the BBC breakfast show by Gabby in the back of a taxi on the way to Lewisham following a sleepless night due to the sounds of rioters looting the supermarket directly across the road. Then as myself and Little man (yes, he cleaned Lewisham too) stood in Lewisham with a dust pan and brush waiting for fellow locals who I’d rounded up with the help of social media to join us, I’m shocked to discover the BBC are there to greet us. Yes, they interviewed me and followed my progress throughout the day, I later cringed watching myself on the 6pm news, in a report that seemed to go on for ever. My use of the quote “Lewisham is cleaner than usual” following the councils own operation seem to be something of a hit and spread across the papers and internet like wide fire! The images of Little man clearing up outside JD Sports still melt my heart and make me mighty proud.

 

August saw us working with some great brands, Micro Scooter & Meccano to name just a few. Little man also has great fun testing sensory toys this month and I try to raise awareness for child mental health by opening up and writing “Just a Little girl

September: This is a month that holds some great memories for me, not only did myself and some of the other Mad blog award finalist find ourselves invited to TKMaxx London’s flagship store to choose evening dresses and accessories for the for the Mad blog awards ceremony but I also went on to win ‘Most inspiring blog 2011’ at the awards itself, which was held at the fabulous Talk-Talk experience centre in London’s Soho. Not only did I win, get to meet a host of other fab bloggers but I also experienced a great working relationship with my mad blog awards sponsor ‘OptiBac Probiotics‘.

With all the above going on I really don’t know how I managed to squash in one of my most popular post on the blog to date, “How well do you really know your child’s teacher

October: was a month that saw the blog working with some pretty big brands such as Sainsburys & Argos, I make two local papers again having been interviewed by the SouthLondon Press and the Newshopper on winning a Mad blog award! Little man takes over the blog, (well, kind of, he finally says how he feels in his first interview, for the blog) where he talks about his Asperger’s, discrimination, bullying, feeling different and acceptance, click Here to read.

November: I’m delighted to become a judge at the BBC Christmas ideal home show for the face of Argos competition which was an amazing experience. I’m invited to lunch by Sainsbury’s at the BBC NEC Winter food show where I also get to watch a live Master chef cook off, I have a great time and meet some awesome people at Liberty’s London when I attend a charity event and I also start working with the wonderful ‘John Crane’ and ‘When I was a kid’ check out the post ‘Joining Forces‘!

It was in November I wrote the post “Merlin’s Magical wand helping children benefit from the magic, well that is unless they have autism” which had 2,000 hits within a few hours and is the busiest post of 2011!

December: The last month of ‘Santa’s Little helpers’ I therefore launch the ‘Santa’s Little helpers, the big christmas countdown’ we feature loads of fantastic competitions with awesome prizes up for grabs. I also get invited onboard P&O ferries to take a trip from Dover to Calais alongside the lovely “Romanian mum where we shop till we drop, and to end such a fabulous year’s blogging, I’m lucky enough to be invited by the fabulous Tots100, to it’s big Christmas party at Butlin’s Bognor Regis where myself, friend and children get to stay in the beautiful Ocean hotel, though Little man finds the change a bit hard to bear.

Wow, there it is, what a year!

There’s been some massive ups and as you can expect one or two downs (what do you expect, this isn’t a fairy tale you know!) But you have to admit, it’s a massive improvement from 2010 that sadly along with 2009 saw much stress and heartache, which just proves, you never know what’s lurking around the corner!

I really do hope that ‘A boy with Asperger’s’ has provide readers with smiles, laughs, entertainment, inspiration, awareness and more!

Merry Christmas and a happy new year to all my amazing loyal readers
We love yer!

Feeling a tad proud

28 Aug

Wow, can you believe it? I managed to get my article, “Big issues for Little Man” published in SEN magazine!

Back in late May I sent some press releases to the Media relating to the Mad Blog Awards. I was overjoyed when, ‘Peter’ the editor for ‘SEN magazine’ emailed me stating he really liked the blog, “Especially that of my latest article” (remember this was late May). Peter then went on to ask me  if  I would be interested in writing an article for the magazine based on my experiences parenting a child on the autism spectrum. 

Umm, Yes Please! 

SEN Magazine is a great resource for parents and professionals alike. It contains all the latest information on Special educational needs, as-well as host of other areas.

SEN contains resources and articles relating to a number of different conditions and disabilities. It provides contact details and links, pointing you in the right direction of all them need to know organisations! SEN, shares all the latest events and exhibitions and even has an online resource that shares extracts from the mag as-well as breaking news in the world of special education. 

The magazine is delivered via a subscription but is given as a free resource to all Special school. There is a free trail taking place at the moment, meaning you can have a copy of SEN delivered free of charge (try before you buy). I recommend this magazine to anyone with a child with special educational needs, (and no, it has nothing to do with my contribution what so ever) it’s just an awesome resource throughout!

I really didn’t think I would be able to upload a pdf file of my article on a,’wordpress.com’ blog (I have only been blogging here for like three years :))! 

Well, to my surprise and utter delight it turns out that I can! This means that I am able to now share my article with all my lovely online friends and anyone else for that matter! 

So, before you click the link and see the article I’m so very proud off, let me thank all my wonderful readers, new and old. Yes, its every single one of you guys that has helped me through the many battles I’ve faced as a parent to a boy with Aspergers.

 Could I see myself writing an article about the subject a year ago? No way! Life was far to messy to even contemplate such a thing! (Having your article published in a magazine, somehow feels a tad scarier then on the web!)

Writing this article actually shows just how far we’ve come as a family!

 The link will open a pdf file (Note: please feel free to download if you wish)! It would also be great if you could help me spread the news by sharing the link to my article online.

Thanks and enjoy

Claire-Louise 

SEN54 autism

We all have a right to life

31 Jul

     We all have the right to life!

 As I sat reading through some old post on the blog (as you do) I was drawn to a post I had published in March this year, “With the rise in Measles it’s decision time”

 It was clear from reading the post that the issues I had raised were ones other mothers had felt the need to contemplate at a stage in their children(s) earlier years. It was of an issue full of controversy and remains to be this very day. I wrote it because I needed to express my fears, yet I knew the possibility of a debate could be raised, it was clear I didn’t need nor want one! I was lucky the post didn’t become overloaded with anti vaccine debate, (Shame the same can’t be said for Facebook).

 However, given some of the more recent events that have occurred in my life, I felt the need to write this now and have done so without fear of a verbal battering from overbearing “Anti vaccine campaigners” At this moment in time I’m ready for you, So bring it on!

 So, what is there to say now that couldn’t be said in March?

 OK, here it goes! 

 Dear Anti Vaccine Campaigners  (Yes, those whom have chosen to campaign against the use of vaccine as a way to immunise our children)

 I do ask you ever so politely to please reframe from sending me emails requesting my signature on your anti vaccine petition! Please do not try to add me to your anti vaccine groups on Facebook! I do not want to Re-tweet your anti vaccine tweets when on twitter, nor do I wish to hound those who have chosen to vaccinate their children preaching to them what it is that you believe! 

 Why?

 Because It’s not my belief , nor do I intend to make it mine!

 So, here’s why

 On the very first day of October some ten, almost eleven years ago, I gave birth to the beautiful baby you all know as, “Little Man” It was the year off a new Millennium it was the year 2000. “Me”,  I was just a teen, a very young eighteen (Yes, mum I know that now)

 As the months passed quickly Little man grew and before I blinked he was a toddler. I grew a great deal too! Yes, of course I grew older, “Don’t we all” the growing I’m referring to, is that of the person I was becoming. Little man was a blessing a baby that never cried,(Except for when he had horrid colic) he was a baby that my mother referred to as a, “Little angel” He was easily fixated to the colours that flashed from the telly, the trains at the station and the wheels on his toy car. I weaned him with little problems (apart from his particulars  for finely mashed food). He was a baby and toddler that met all his developmental milestones, even exceeding a few! Yet looking back it was there! The clues, yet so little… What first time mother would notice? My Little man did certain little special things (Yer, they were different, different but oh so bloody amazing all the same)! Admires would glance at him cooing about how clever he was. He walked at a reasonable age through never crawled. He spoke, he spoke too well at times. I considered him a cheeky little monkey as he took my hand using it as a tool to point and pick things up for him. Lazy I had thought! But how wrong, how lazy he was not! Fully potty trained throughout the day and night before the age of two isn’t what most would describe as “LAZY!” 

 My Little man had all his required vaccinations at all the required times! Of course this included that of the MMR and although he almost broke that nurses nose when he delivered an almighty head-butt right on the shaft of her hooter, when attempting his getaway plan. There were no complications at that moment or during the days, months even years that followed. 

Age 4 years was the age in which I began to notice significant differences between that of Little man and his pre schooling peers (Differences that his then nursery had noted too)! Yes, I knew he was somewhat different prior to this age, but in all honesty I didn’t have much to compare his behaviours to. It was the arrival of baby number two, “My little girl, Little mans sister and rival” as he all to often treats her, who was born when Little man was 2 and 6 months old that many issue were raised. 

 Sadly we moved, “Good bye nursery that was so willing to help” Instead we started the long four year battle with the primary school his now escaped. It was only after much upheaval, tiresome and challenging battles that Little man finally got the diagnosis of Aspergers Syndrome just as he turned nine. This was a diagnosis that we had first been told about at our very first CAMHS appointment back when he was just 7 years old. Oh yes, we were told way back then that, “Our little man was very likely to be on the autism spectrum, with Aspergers being the most fitting diagnosis! Gosh what happened in them two years between them words and that final diagnosis is scattered all over this very blog! 

 As for his educational needs, It wasn’t till this year January that we final got the LEA to agree to statement and after the mother of all fights, he was placed in a special school for children with autism! This was just one month ago! 

Back when Little man first attend CAMHS age 7, when I first heard the words Autism My world changed for ever (for one it lead me to this blog back in 2008) I knew that there was a massive controversy surrounding the possible links between vaccines and that of autism. Though this was mainly targeted at the MMR due to it’s administrating of three vaccines within the same time deterioration. I would be lying if I said I didn’t wonder or question the MMR at this point in time, “Of course I bloody did!” but I had a healthy daughter who received that same vaccination, besides, it wouldn’t change the fact he was on the spectrum… I decided to bury it somewhere in my head. I didn’t need answers, I needed to concentrate on the now, for all our sakes! 

 But that changed when my third child was born, my now 20 m old son “Harley” When that time came, I had to dig the question back out and ask my self… Do I want my child to contract a virus such as measles and quite possibly die? Hell NO

Do I want my child to develop autism? Again NO 

Then I asked myself, Do I want my son to catch measles and maybe DIE or do I want to take the chance of my child possibly developing autism therefore avoiding the risk of measles allowing him to LIVE?

 I instantly had my answer! God I called the doctors receptionist within minutes! Two weeks later he was vaccinated.

  I don’t regret my decision, there is NO proven link between that of autism and the MMR! But it’s a known fact that measles can be fatal! Yet despite the, “No Link” being proven you anti vaccine campaigners argue it as being wrong or somehow fixed….I think some just want something, someone to blame! Without that link you have no answers and that hurts! But isn’t it time you focused on what’s important here,”The child” You’re not going to change who they are by embanking on your mission… Its time to embrace your child and deal with the diagnosis.

I will be outspoken and now share my opinion by stating that, “Those that leave their child totally unprotected, opting not to vaccinate a child in fear of autism, are playing Russian Roulette with their own children’s life, as well as that of the life of those at risk like new-born babies to young for vaccination. (I am sorry if I’m offending supporters of the blog, fellow followers on twitter & friends on Facebook, but it’s a view I feel so strongly about.)

 How would you feel if your child passed on rubella to a pregnant woman who ended up giving birth to a baby who was severely disabled including the loss of sight due to the mothers contamination of Rubella during her pregnancy? Would you feel guilty? 

 Last month I received the news that a friend who sadly I had lost contact with 3 years back had lost her daughter to Meningitis (another vaccine that is avoided) her daughter was not yet old enough for that first Jab. This was contracted on her 8th day off life! God this saddens me! 

 I hold no guilt! I can hold my head high as I walk the streets with my children by my side. I know that when a life is lost or a baby is born disabled due to the mother contracting Rubella, It didn’t come from me or my children. 

I told myself, “If the MMR or any other Jab causes my youngest to develop autism then so be it” I’d rather that then risk him never having the opportunity to experience life! 

 There are children in disadvantaged countries that are dyeing every single day. They don’t have that choice, the choice to be vaccinated. Why? Because there is no vaccine, there is no choice, its all about luck, an unwanted gamble, one you all so knowing have no choice in taking. Please Ask them if they had the choice what would they chose! I think we all know the answer. 

 Your child was brought into this world by you, its mother!!!!

Do you want to risk the life of that beautiful child you created, being crawly taken away? Or do you want to do what a mother is there to do, protect!  

raise their child, giving them every chance off a full and happy life (with or without autism) 

 Anti Vaccine Campaigners, I do not apologise for my outspokenness nor do I apologise for giving my children the right to life

Amen  

A fresh start

24 Jun

It’s 3-Am the early hours of Thursday morning, Little man is running around the house like some headless loud chicken on pro-plus and redbull. 

“Come on, you really have to settle down now! You know you start your new school tomorrow, don’t you think you should get some rest”? This was me, trying to unsuccessfully reason with my ten-year old little man! He seems more lively than ever despite the 8 mg of Melatonin he had an hour before! 

It’s the night before the big event! This is quite possibly the biggest event in little man’s life to date, for the morning will bring with it a new beginning, a chance to start a fresh! Don’t all children deserve this? 

Over the course of a few months I watched my child lose every last stripe of his self-esteem. I watched him being gradually excluded from everything he had learnt to love, socially isolated from the friends it had taken far to long for him to make! I battled a system that took every last inch of my strength to break, the endless meetings, the tears from both myself and my child. I listened to the professionals each one slowly giving up on him, the constant calls to collect him as he was said to have been a danger to himself and others, maybe he didn’t fit in with the daily activities planed for the day. I went to court where I found myself prosecuted for my child’s school refusal, not once but twice. I watched him cry, hit his head and ask god why? When my child stated, “I just want to be normal” I cried and continued to cry for nights, days, weeks even months after. I was scared for my sons future, for what lay ahead. I felt lost, wanting to remove my child from the school I felt was truly damaging him, the school that taught him in isolation like some mass murder. I battled for a statement, I got one, then battled for the appropriate amendments to be made! I got brave filing a claim for discrimination and getting the result we wanted although knowing this already tough relationship would now get tougher. Finally I removed my child from the educational setting that was so, so wrong for him, and watched the slow improvements as he was taught 1-1 for five hours a day at the local library by a great tutor supplied by the LEA. I found a school, an independent special school, solely for children with autism! Yet the Lea were not about to hand it to me on a plate and only after every single state maintained special school failed to offer him a place did they finally give in, agreeing to his placement at my preferred school. Little Man had spent the last six months out off school, prior to this, for the period of a year or more Little man was either home on exclusion, educated at school for the period of just three hours per day given in an isolated environment, spending the afternoons at home where he was home schooled. Now he would take the steps needed to make a slow transition to his new learning environment with the help of his tutor, his now best friend! 

This was a big deal for him, I understood that! It’s a big deal for me too! His excitement was electrifying, yet his anxiety was closely hovering by! Little man is wide-eyed at 3-Am almost every night, So this night wasn’t any different! However his this degree of hyperactivity was at a high and risky level, one I hadn’t seen in a while.  

It was something past 4-Am before little man finally gave in, surrendering to his bodies cry for sleep. I tried hard to stay awake, the fear I would somehow sleep through the alarm having fallen asleep so late was within me! Though I gave it all I had but was defeated, just as Little man was an hour before. 

What seemed like five minutes later (God I hate that) I was rudely but thankfully awoken by the horrid buzz of the alarm clock. Rubbing my eyes and seriously struggling to see a thing I faintly made out the numbers on the alarm establishing that it was 7-Am. I could have so easily closed my eyes, reasoning with myself that five minutes extra would do no harm, that I somehow would be able to remain in touch with my head that would remind me that I needed to get outta bed. But I didn’t… Though I have in the past, I made myself get out of that bed and get on with it. 

Waking the little man was like waking an angry dinosaur that or an over hormonal teenager (at ten, this isn’t great… meaning I would preferably go with the dinosaur right now) He angrily gave me an unwelcome gesture of his middle finger then so kindly asked me to @%** Off! I persisted in-till I had movement. Up he got with an awful load of abuse in toll . This little guy had only been a sleep a total of three hours and of course he was filled with both the fear and excitement about the new school . I tried not to escalate the situation and let him dress at his own slow pace. Eventually I was greeted with a somewhat more pleasant child, who sat next to me and said, “Mum, I’m terrified”  Holding on to his hand, I told him it was gonna be Ok! But if the truth be told… I was terrified too!

I would not be joining him for his first morning, It was decided that he should instead start the transition process with the help and support of his tutor. He would only go till 12 p.m. slowly working his way up to full-time. His tutor would go with him for the first two days to settle him before his contract to teach Little man would reach an end. (This was going to be hard) The taxi came and the escort came to the door. Little man walked out to greet her, I shouted that I loved him, to relax, enjoy it, to have some fun. His reply, “I love you too mum” His eyes were so tired and filled with fear, yet I knew he was also excited. I was incredibly proud at that moment… I could have exploded with pride, for after all his been through he was now taking this giant step into the unknown. The morning dragged I sat by the phone on tender hooks, ten, then eleven o’clock no call. I just wasn’t used to this! 12.30 I heard the knock, I ran down the stairs like sonic the hedgehog and flange open the door. There he was, my little man and his tutor. 

Indoors, feed and settled, (this has to be done before probing begins) I asked… “Well, what was it like?” To which he replied. “It was the best mum. I even made a friend! Oh guess what? He has aspergers just like me”  It was then I realised that the tears & the battles had finally amounted to something. I’m not stating they were all worth it, just that for once they lead to something positive. This time I cried the tears of happiness! 

 It’s early days yet, but for once I’m opting out of my usual pessimist attitude and holding on to the hope that this is really it…

A fresh start!

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