Archive | October, 2013

Good Start to the Week

28 Oct

M was happy this morning as she knew I would be collecting her from school early  – just before lunch break in fact – for an appointment with the paediatrician. Her whole mood was buoyant before school which made a very pleasant change.

I have hired someone to help hack a path through the worst parts of the garden before the house disappears under the invading foliage and he turned up and set to work with zeal well before 10 o’clock.  As I know his parents and about ten other mutual friends I felt more than happy to leave him when I had to go out, and trust that he will be honest about how long he was working for.

M’s appointment was a routine catch-up, and also a request for more melatonin. For some bizarre reason it is up to the individual surgeries as to whether they will prescribe it or not. We have two practices that share one building; Sod’s Law dictates that I am with the practice that won’t, so it’s a convoluted system of the paediatrician putting in the request to the main hospital, then to the hospital pharmacy, and then by NHS van to the health centre. This can take up to a fortnight. Bearing in mind the local chemist could fill any melatonin prescription within 48 hours this is rather frustrating.  And a very good reason to know other parents whose kids also use melatonin for the inevitable time that you run out!

Anyway, we had time to grab a quick bowl of soup at a wee cafe, then as a friend had kindly agreed to collect B from school for me, I was able to take M into Inverness for her monthly special needs drama class. It’s run at the theatre and is usually a very small group of children, which is manageable for her. The theme this term has been Dreams, and this month was billed as Dream Crafts. M was keen to go – she does love a bit of cutting and sticking.

I am also keen for her to go! I get one whole hour to sit with other mums and drink Eden Court’s finest cappuccino whilst we chat about anything and nothing. It’s a win win situation.

I really should not have been so surprised with what she made. It does rather stand to reason when the subject is dreams – she was very pleased with herself and rightly so:

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 The gods of traffic were on our side tonight and we drove home in good time. B had been dropped back at home after Big Sis was home from high school and was in a calm happy mood too. Tea and the pyjama routine were done with minimal fuss, although the two little ‘uns were somewhat on the hyper side of cheerful for some reason and needed some full strength sofa snuggles before getting tucked up.

It will be interesting to note the anxiety levels of M tomorrow when she knows she has a full day of school ahead of her. Maybe the afternoon session really is too much for her to handle? But I am not yet sure I want to commit to a split school/home placement. Is it psychological or is there a sensory issue? All questions I am still trying to work out.

Autism – often challenging, never dull.

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Silent Sunday

27 Oct

Silent Sunday

It’s the Little Things that Trip Us Up

24 Oct

Today is the third day back to school after a fortnight half term break.

Days 1 and 2 weren’t too bad. M was calm enough, i.e. no screaming and ranting at full volume and nothing being thrown or punched.

The same cannot be said for this morning. Poor B, her brother, got the sharp end of her tongue full blast for the best part of an hour (sadly he is still not learning to ignore her) and I was treading on eggshells throughout the morning routine.  It is so tempting just to think “sod it, she can have a day off school for once” and to know that she would instantly relax, but it would leave the same problems for tomorrow, plus give her a mixed message about school which I can’t afford to do. So, we soldier on.

In the midst of the rant came some words about part of her visual timetable and it seems that the visual might not be matching what is actually happening. It’s a fixed part of her day, when the PSA (pupil support assistant or 1 to1) goes for her 15 minute break and M goes into the main classroom for that time. She generally has no problem with the classroom (she has her own table) but the visual must match what she is expected to do – you can’t use a generic picture and assume she will be happy if she is asked to do something else.

We got to school a few minutes after the bell – which I hate as I then feel I need to apologise to B’s teacher –  and I had a quick word with M’s teacher. She will discuss with the PSA exactly what visuals they will use in future. They are both lovely people and really do have M’s best interests at heart BUT, and it is a fact, they don’t live with her and they just do not see the impact that something so small can have on her, and by default, the rest of us. I got back to the house absolutely wrung out after an hour and half of trying to defuse a situation that I didn’t understand until the explosion had happened. B must be starting his school day in a state of disquiet, and goodness only knows what sort of impact it will have on M. For all I know this situation with the visuals could have been brewing for several weeks. Her processing is super fast, but her emotional understanding is such that the time between initially getting upset and exploding could be literally any time you care to mention. And I don’t even want to think about how long it might take for her to stop feeling anxious about this.

So, I have started my day with a battle, M has too, and B has been caught in the crossfire. 

Let’s hope by home time the tsunami has washed away and the waves are calmly lapping on the shore again. Thanks for reading.

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Silent Sunday

20 Oct

Silent Sunday

The Things She Says

17 Oct

M is out. Without a family member and not at school (it’s the holidays here) I am officially having a wee bit of respite.

So instead of getting on with some relaxing I am thinking about her (as you do)

Last night, about 4.30 am, she got up for the loo. She took a while to settle back again and just when I thought she’d dropped off she sat bolt upright and said “Wake me at 8 o’clock” Sleepily, I replied, “Why?” thinking she wanted to see a particular TV show she’d seen advertised.

Her answer, “Cos I’ll be asleep” 

You just can’t fault autistic logic!

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Silent Sunday

13 Oct

Silent Sunday

Bouncing Butterflies

12 Oct

Today has been very quiet.

Due to the extremely long day yesterday, going to R’s school parents day and collecting him for the half term, then heading onwards to visit E at university, we didn’t get back home till after 1 am this morning. Unfortunately I find it almost impossible to switch off after being on the road all day so I took hours to fall asleep and consequently have been as much use as a chocolate fire-guard today.

M has been much happier – seeing her big sister in person (rather than on 2nd best Skype) has cheered her immensely, so even though she too is tired she has been no trouble at all; some of this might be to do with the huge amount of tv she was allowed to watch until the caffeine kicked in. I feel no guilt – just eternal gratitude to the makers of Saturday morning children’s’ television.

I had originally bought these as a way of filling up part of a rainy day but as I was in no condition for even a short trip to the park I cunningly suggested M got to work.

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I was doing some mending and keeping half an eye on her, but apart from pressing out the cardboard so that it didn’t tear the wings I really left her to get on with it. She decided to do the butterfly with the purple body first (probably as it is prominent in the photo) and she set to work with the pens provided. There are 3 regular pens and a glittery one, which doesn’t seem a lot but there is a large page of stickers, more than enough to decorate both butterflies and have some spare, so the 4 pens are actually more than adequate.

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M is only 7 and doesn’t have a fantastic attention span, so I was pleased to see that the colouring and sticking was something she stuck at until she had completed one to her satisfaction. Then it was a matter of moments to help her attach the 2 parts of the butterfly into the body part, and to thread the stretchy string through. And here is the finished article:

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As you can see, one happy little girl and one butterfly that resembles the one on the packet. After letting her bounce and flap it around the house for about an hour, we went upstairs and attached it securely with a couple of pins to the ceiling above M’s bed so she can enjoy it every morning when she awakes.

I wasn’t paid for this review, and I bought the butterflies packet myself. I just thought it would be nice to share what we’ve been up to, and what a fun and simple art activity this was to do.

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