Friday, 31 December 2010

A look back and forward

Seeing as its New Years Eve just thought I would take some time to sit back and see how far I've come this year.

Looking back

This time last year I was out of my mind with worry as Becca was having a job to walk and her hip was extremely painful, plus the medication the doctor was giving her wasn't working :( We found out a few weeks later that she had Hyper Mobility Syndrome (HMS) along with some fluid on her hip hence all the pain. She ended up with physiotherapy which helped with a lot of the pain as her muscles were all tight as well in her legs from the lack of use due to the pain. She was diagnosed as having the HMS in her knees, hips, shoulders and wrists.

We even had a dog for a while but unfortuanately we had to have Timmy rehomed by the RSPCA as we just could not cope with him. Timmy was a lovely dog, a cross between a lurcher and a border collie; unfortunately he had the strength of the border collie rather than the quietness of the lurcher. The last straw was when he managed to pull my shoulder muscles and when Becca tried to walk him the last bit home he pulled her straight into a lamp-post bruising her collar bone for several weeks.

Later this year after a lack of support from school I went back to the GP and begged them to re-refer us back to CAMHS as I wasn't sure how much more I could take of her violent temper tantrums. School wouldn't except that she had problems with other kids at school, saying "girls will be girls and they are only kids after all". We managed to get a referral through pretty quick and when we were seen they thought, even from the first appointment, that she more than likely had Aspergers Syndrome. Came home and did my homework and read up all about it, what I was reading could possibly be the way she reacts to life in general. School were non to supportive, to the extend I was told by the Headmaster that I didn't need to go to CAMHS as she was just a manipulative child trying to get her own way and that if she had Autism she would kick of at school as well as at home!!!!! Due to this outdated view of Autism I decided to change schools locally for both Becca and Stevie, I've now found this was the best thing I possibly could have done for both of them. I have seen an improvement in both of them since we changed in September.

Also this year I had problems with Stevie not hearing, went for several hearing tests but he passed them all. Finally got referred to a Development Clinic to see a Paediatrician, this doctor realised there was something wrong with Stevie and referred him to CAMHS as well to be possibly assessed for Autistic Spectrum Disorder. She also found that Stevie has HMS in his wrists and thumbs which has answered another problem of why he doesn't write properly. With Stevie I spoke with his new teacher and expressed my concerns about the way he was and she said she would support me with anything that helped him, she also reported back the areas she was having problems with. Between us we have started to understand him more. When CAMHS suggested we use visual aids she took this on board and has worked with Stevie so that he understands what he needs to do and when its going to happen. The poor little thing was getting all confused because his normal routine at school was being knocked out of sync due to Christmas and practising then performing their Nativity play.

Also this year my eldest son James left primary school and went up to seniors. It really brought it home to me that he isn't my baby anymore (even though he'll always be that to me), that he is going to learn to be more independent and hopefully make more friends. So far he seems to be enjoying it there although we had a little hic-up at the beginning of the term with it being a church school and we're non-practising; he had to go to this school because the local council decreed it although we tried to appeal against it.

Looking forward

My goals for next year is that I am hoping to learn more about my children so that I can love them more than I already do. Hoping to give them as many opportunities to explore themselves as well as the world about them, hopefully these will be enjoyable experiences. If I can understand my children more than hopefully we can go forth and enjoy our lives to the full, if this means that we have a few fights along the way to get what they need so be it. I will do whatever it takes to get what they need to live life to the full.

Wishing you all a Happy New Year and best wishes for 2011, hope it brings to you everything that you want plus more to make it a brilliant year.

Thursday, 30 December 2010

Christmas 2010

We had a brilliant Christmas, plenty of uptimes with a small down thrown in for good measure; much better this year than we've had in the past.

Christmas for us started on 1st December when we start visiting daily to a brilliant website called NORAD Each day there is a new activity for the kids to play on plus a visual countdown to when Santa will start leaving home. NORAD along with google earth allow you to track Santa and his travels across the globe; this really helps with both Becca and Stevie as they don't take to change of routine that well but because they know he is on his way it helps them both. They know that when he gets to a certain part of travels that they have to goto bed so that they can be asleep before Santa arrives; because as all kids know you can't be awake when Santa comes!!! They always know when Santa has been though cos he puts their stockings on their bedroom door handles.

Our stockings awaiting Santa

James with his pressies
from Santa

Becca with her pressies
from Santa

Stevie with his pressies
from Santa

The kids had a wonderful day playing with their new toys; didn't hear much from our Stevie once he'd got his DS working, he got Lego Batman to go with it seeing as he loves this game on the Wii and it was a hit. He also loved his Tonka lorry that his uncle bought him, this is one that you can take apart and rearrange. James got an ipod which he is constantly on (so much so that the charger wire is plugged into the laptop at least 2 or 3 times a day), he loves this but he didn't like the way I had wrapped it for him hehehe; to stop him guessing straight away what he'd got I had wrapped it in bubble wrap so before he opened it he didn't have a clue, his face was a picture when he realised it was an ipod so mission accomplished he didn't guess!! Becca got a tv for her room which she loves plus a Hello Kitty Lava lamp, she also loves the fact that once the New Year is here she'll be getting sky installed in her room so she can watch what she wants when she doesn't like what the boys are watching downstairs, can't wait for it to happen.

My Mum and brother came over to Christmas Day and have lunch with us, the day itself went fine with no meltdowns which was an improvement on last year; the problems started at bedtime when trying to get excited kids to calm down and go to sleep. I'm used to them not going to sleep properly everynight and having to spend at least an hour or two attempting to get them to do this; I deal with it as calmly as I can whilst trying not to lose my temper with them but not their Dad who stopped over due to no public transport, he has to go up and start shouting at them which is not the way to get them to lay down. If anything it actually fires them up, his shouting made our Stevie cry so I went up to get him to calm down so he could attempt some sleep and this is the explanation that he gave for his tears: "daddy shouted at me cos I went into Becca's room but he shouldn't have shouted cos it was the first time I'd gone in there to tell her I was going to sleep. He should have put me back in bed and taken Cuddles mummy. We should ban him from the house until he thinks about how he shouted at me" out of the mouth of babes!!!!

Boxing Day morning was full of arguments and misunderstanding of how to handle things from their Dad. For example with our Stevie you can't just say to him "go get dressed" you have to be more specific like "Stevie can you get a t-shirt, pants and trousers on please?". Dad didn't like it cos Stevie comes running to me saying "Mummy I don't want to get dressed", when I said to him did he want to help Daddy choose him a t-shirt, pants and trousers he went off happily got them out and then got def showed that its all in the way of asking it! Dad wasn't too happy but hey never mind the kid got dressed didn't he??? Dad has a lot to learn about how to handle the kids on a day to day basis, he usually sees them on a weekend when he comes over for access time so doesn't have to deal with a lot of the crap that I do every day; I've learnt a few tricks to getting the kids into doing something I want them to do but making them feel like it was their idea hahahahaha

Well I hope you all had a brilliant Christmas and enjoyed having your loved ones over. It just leaves it for me to wish everyone a Happy New Year and to send best wishes for the forthcoming year.

Apologies and updates!

Sorry I've not been updating this month, inbetween school shows, hospital appointments, stitching and Christmas didn't really have much time to be on here.

8th & 9th December

After having a 3 days off the previous week due to snow the KS1 kids put on their nativity play which was as brilliant as ever with the kids looking cute as Mary, Joseph, shepherds, animals and a big silver star. It was around this time that Stevie decided he needed to take his comfort toy with him to school so realised he wasn't handling the change in school routine very well. He took little Jerry Mouse with him as he is small enough to fit into school trouser pockets thankfully. On the Monday night they all performed to the parents, as I'm a stay at home mum I didn't go then but went during the day Wednesday and Thursday. We'd been given tickets for the Thursday but we (the ex and me) thought they were for the Wednesday, thankfully there was enough seats leftover so they let us watch it on both days - both shows were different even though it was the same script if that makes any sense. Our Stevie was a narrator, here's a couple of pictures of him.

So proud of himself

10th & 20th December

On the 10th I took Stevie for his first appointment with CAMHS and the lovely lass we see their (Cathy) went over the referral letter from a consultant at the hospital and by the end of the meeting said she thought he was showing signs of having Autistic Spectrum Disorder (ASD) but unlike his sister wasn't sure which part of it as yet. I always thought there wasn't something quite right with Stevie just like I did with his sister but having someone confirm had a delayed reaction on me. I was fine in the office and until we got down to the car again. I rang his Dad to let him know and then as I was explaining what had happened in the appointment it hit me like a runaway train that I now have two possible autistic kids...brain just went AAARRRGGGHHH and left me feeling quite weird in some ways all weekend while the shock wore off. We went back on the 20th and during the session Cathy and Stevie were talking, apparently some of his actions he was displaying showed symptoms of ADHD as well as the ASD, this though didn't bother me as it actually makes sense with the way he is when at home or going out and about. For instance he doesn't handle going shopping into supermarkets or other medium to large shops very well, there is too much going on for him and its like having information overload so he gets distracted extremely quickly and all the way around the shop. Yet if he gets taken round the shops in his old buggy he's fine apart from wanting to know what we're going to be doing next; have to keep repeating which shops we're going to and what I need in there, not allowed to go in a shop that wasn't on the list unless he suddenly needs a drink or a biscuit. When others ask me how it feels to cope with it all I explain it as having a 2½yr old in a 6½yr old  body.

We were also advised in the first session of CAMHS that he might respond to visual aids as when Cathy spoke with Stevie he explained that he gets confused when told something but if someone shows him he understands more especially when its a teacher. Did my homework and this is what we came up with:

This is our bedtime routine; its stuck on the board with velcro
then we can change the pictures from morning to night-time