Archive for July, 2011
Posted in anxiety, Asperger's Syndrome, Autism, behaviour, challenging behaviour, children, coping with change, feelings, life, parenting, school, special needs, tantrums, tagged Asperger's Syndrome, Autism, challenging behaviour, children, Feelings, life, parenting, school, special needs, Tantrums on July 29, 2011 | 4 Comments »
J started this term a week after everyone else in his class due to our guests being with us, it wouldn’t have been fair to send him to the place he despises whilst we went out and had some fun with our friends would it? So anyway, last week he begrudgingly went off to school without too many problems and I managed to have a brief chat with his new teacher, who seemed to welcome any information about J that I could give her. She also seemed to be very nice and quite understanding, for example Friday’s J now has show and share, something that he doesn’t particularly enjoy because he doesn’t like everyone looking at him and instead of forcing him to try to take part she simply said that a few other kids could go first and then he could see how he felt, if he didn’t want to do it then he didn’t have to.
Despite a not too bad week (all things considered) J has been refusing to go to school this week. We’ve had “I’ve got a cold”, “my tummy hurts” etc etc and he even locked himself in the toilet on Tuesday so that he couldn’t go to school! Out came the screwdriver, door unlocked and off to school he went. Again brief chat with his teacher and she said the she would keep an eye on him, as did his wonderful teacher aide. J had his homeschool day on Wednesday, last week he excelled and completed a workbook that I had got for him in around an hour and loved every minute he spent doing it, this week he really wasn’t up for doing anything. He was pretty meltdowny all day. I took him to the post office to pay some bills and thankfully it was empty so no huge meltdowns but very whiny, when we got home I took another workbook out for him but he only managed a couple of pages before he’d had enough. Whilst he was already feeling meltdowny I decided to cut his hair, J hates having his hair cut and this always causes a huge meltdown and so since he was already in that mood I figured we’d just get it over with, (I’ve been trying to pin him down to do it for a couple of weeks).
So a little meltdowny and whiny all week and lots of “I don’t wanna go school”. I think it’s partly due to him now going 4 days to mainstream instead of the 2 days he was doing last term. It’s a huge class, 4 times bigger than his EI class with 1/2 the staff, it’s also a much bigger room and there’s less structure. Basically he’s struggling, which I had known he would and even expressed my concerns to his teachers, they wanted him to attend f/t (5 days) but I insisted on him having the Wednesday at home because like I say I knew that he’d struggle to cope in his mainstream class.
Yesterday his new teacher was away, (for family issues) and we were informed that she would be away next week too, as her replacement they have bossiest and scariest teacher ever! She’s just awful, I’m sure she’d be great with a class of teenagers but not 5 and 6 year olds! J has taken a real dislike to her and informed us last night that she told him off because he couldn’t put his bag on his back! He also informed us that “she’s mean to all the kids even the quiet ones”. You can imagine the fun I had this morning trying to convince him to go to school. He walked into school with me trying to calculate how many more days he had with “her”, she had told them that she was taking the class for the next 6 days, so he naturally thought that this included the weekend (the next 6 days remember?). I told him that he would be home tomorrow and on Sunday, to which he exclaimed “yes! that means I don’t have her for 2 days” then went on to inform me that he only had her for 2 more days?? I hadn’t quite caught up with him at that point so asked him why he only had her for 2 more days. He had worked it out like this, today doesn’t count, that’s 1 day, he won’t be at school Saturday or Sunday, that’s 2 more days, then he goes to school for 2 days and it’s then his homeschool day……… ta dah! 6 days in total. Needless to say he was crushed when I told him that the weekend isn’t included in the 6 days!
When we arrived at the school this morning, I was relieved to see other parents complaining to the teacher aide about the fill in teacher, relieved because for once it wasn’t just us! One parent was very concerned because she felt her child might “do a runner”, the majority of the kids in the class are petrified of her and the parents aren’t happy leaving their kids there. For us the nightmare is, J already hates school, how are we supposed to convince him that it’s ok really and it’s not a scary place when he has someone like this taking his class?
I’m very tempted to keep him home on Monday, he has a cold at the moment………… maybe he’ll be “ahem” ill. I’m sure he won’t be the only one…………………
Maybe they’ll find someone else to take the class next week…………… please pretty please………
Posted in Arts and Crafts, Australia, days out, free things, nature, parenting, photography, pictures, Silent Sunday, smile, tagged arts and crafts, Australia, Days Out, Fun, parenting, photography, Silent Sunday, smile on July 24, 2011 | 14 Comments »
Posted in Arts and Crafts, Asperger's Syndrome, Autism, children, creations, family, feelings, happy, life, love, parenting, pictures, smile, special needs, special occasions, wordless wednesday, tagged arts and crafts, Asperger's Syndrome, Autism, children, Family, Feelings, life, parenting, smile, special needs, special occasions, wordless wednesday on July 20, 2011 | 30 Comments »
Posted in anxiety, Asperger's Syndrome, Autism, behaviour, challenging behaviour, children, coping with change, feelings, life, parenting, school, special needs, tantrums, thankyou, tagged Asperger's Syndrome, Autism, challenging behaviour, children, Family, Feelings, life, parenting, school, special needs, Tantrums, The Future on July 18, 2011 | Leave a Comment »
Today was my little man’s first day back at school. This school term actually started last week but our friends from the UK were here so we decided to let J have an extended school holiday. He’s been off school for a total of 3 weeks. During those 3 weeks we’ve had very few big meltdowns and only a few “mini meltdowns”. He’s also coped really well having our guests stay and has even slept through the night no less than 8 times in the last 3 weeks!!!! We also thought we’d solved part of our bedtime battles with him, we still have the usual “I don’t want to go to bed”, “I’m not tired”, “I need a drink”…….and so on but I have been sitting with him once he’s in bed and had his stories etc. I’ve been sitting with him stroking his hand or head to calm him for about 10 minutes every night and it’s been working!! He hasn’t come out of his room even once in the last month once he’s been put to bed!!!
Last night I didn’t manage to calm him, he didn’t come out of his room but he did cry (real tears) and he did whine and several times told me he wasn’t going to school. *sigh*
Today it’s all change for him. Not only is he no longer attending EI, he is attending Prep 4 days a week (I’ve insisted he stay home on a Wednesday to give him the break he needs) but he also has a new teacher. Thankfully a couple of weeks before the end of last term his Prep teacher informed me that she was leaving at the end of term so that I could start to prepare him, unfortunately the school didn’t officially announce it until the end of the last week of term and the name of the new teacher was given to us on the very last day of term. I received a phonecall at 9am yesterday from someone at the school asking for my email address. She then emailed a short letter for J including pictures of his new teacher, the Prep classroom, which has been changed around and the new entrance that the children are to go in. I’m very grateful to this person for taking up her personal time to do this for J. Thankyou
However, the school has been back for a week, there are a few ASD children in J’s class. Change can be hard for all children, throw a little ASD in and you have fun times…………NOT! Other than this person calling and emailing we have had no contact with the school over the last week, I would have thought with the amount of meetings and issues that we’ve had with the school and J’s reaction to change (something that they are well aware of) that they may have taken 5 minutes out of just one of those days last week to email, call, write a brief letter………….whatever, to inform us of the changes so that we had the time to prepare him. Instead it was left to this person to email in her own time. Again I’m very grateful and owe them our thanks.
Last night and this morning we’ve had lots of “I don’t want to go school”, “I don’t want to go in a new door”, “I don’t want a new teacher” and lots of “I hate school”. *sigh*
I’ve printed some information off that I compiled about J and about how he “copes” but then explodes at home because he isn’t really coping and gave it to his new teacher when I dropped him off this morning. I also had a very brief chat with her and explained a couple of his “issues”. She seemed friendly and receptive, it’s very early days but I guess we’ll see how we go.
The past few days has really highlighted just how hard the start of each school year is going to be for J ………. and for us. New teacher, new classroom, new routines……………. It’s going to get easier…………………. right?
Posted in Asperger's Syndrome, Australia, beach, children, days out, feelings, friendship, fun, happy, holidays, life, memories, pictures, smile, special occasions, thankyou, tagged Asperger's Syndrome, Australia, Autism, children, Days Out, Feelings, friendship, Holidays, life, parenting, smile, special needs, special occasions on July 15, 2011 | Leave a Comment »
So our friends left us last night to return to the UK and we’re missing them already.
It’s been great having them here for the past week and a half but it’s gone by way too quickly. Having them here has been a little like having a holiday, without actually having a holiday We tried to fit in as much as possible whilst they were here…………….. the Gold Coast, the Sunshine coast, the Beach, Brisbane, Australia Zoo, Whale Watching and Sydney, (although we didn’t join them whale watching or in Sydney). Here’s some pictures from our “holiday”
It’s been fab having them here!
J has been a star and has coped really well having guests stay with us. Our guests visiting Sydney was well timed and the “time out” that he needed. He spent a day in pj’s playing computer games and just being himself, which was just what he needed. He got pretty tired whilst they were here but only had a handful of meltdowns and saved them for when our friends weren’t with us, well done little man!
Having our friends stay was just what we all needed, a “holiday” and a little bit of home……….. so thanks S and M for visiting, come back again soon!
Posted in Australia, days out, family, feelings, friendship, fun, happy, life, parenting, special occasions, tagged Animals, Australia, Days Out, Feelings, friendship, Fun, life, parenting, smile, special needs, special occasions on July 3, 2011 | 4 Comments »
2 more sleeps!!!
2 more sleeps until our friends arrive from the UK. We can’t wait!
It’s going to be great to see some friendly faces from home
Hubby’s really looking forward to seeing his best friend from back home. Back in the UK he used to see S almost everyday, I think he’s missed this, although they do speak on Skype……………… Whilst it’s great catching up on Skype, let’s face it, it’s not the same, so hubby’s really looking forward to seeing him.
As for me, I just can’t wait to see a familiar friendly face :)
I’m curious too, I’m wondering how J is going to react to seeing them and having them stay in our house. So far he’s very excited that they’re visiting but he’s not excited about seeing them, he’s excited because they’re bringing some of his favourite biscuits and crisps with them LOL
He’s also very excited about some of the trips that we have planned. They aren’t staying for too long and so we’re planning on fitting in as much as possible, starting ofcourse with the Zoo.
J is planning on showing them how to feed the kangaroos and he can’t wait to show our friends the other animals at the zoo. We’re also planning trips to the Gold and Sunshine coasts and ofcourse a trip into the city for some shopping. I’m planning on taking J to the Museum whilst they have their shopping trip because shopping trips aren’t much fun for him
We’re all very excited and can’t wait for them to arrive…………………….. 2 more sleeps!!!
Posted in Asperger's Syndrome, Autism, behaviour, children, family, feelings, health, life, memories, parenting, pregnancy, sleep, smile, special needs, tantrums, tagged Asperger's Syndrome, Autism, challenging behaviour, children, Family, Feelings, health, life, memories, parenting, smile, special needs, Tantrums on July 1, 2011 | 2 Comments »
The lovely Fi at Wonderfully Wired recently wrote a post about this. It also something that we’ve been asking ourselves, what were the first signs that J was wired differently and that little bit extra special?
I’ve been reading and re-reading a chapter about this in The Autism Experience, which has also had me going over things again and again in my head.
Alarm bells went off for us when J was just over 18 months old, he started to randomly bang his head. He’d be playing quite happily and then suddenly and like I say quite randomly would bang his head against the wall, the floor or anything else hard that he could find. We first went to see a pediatrician because not only were we worried that what he was doing wasn’t “normal” and we were concerned that one day he would seriously hurt himself, we were also worried about what other people would think about the bumps and bruises that were suddenly appearing on his head and how long it would be before someone started jumping to the wrong conclusion.
As a baby J would have huge tantrums. We used to put him in his travel cot, where for a time he was safe, until the tantrum ended. By the time he was around 9 – 10 months old he would pull himself up and bang his head on the corners or the rail of the travel cot, despite not yet being able to stand unaided………….. the “tantrums” were so huge sometimes they would last for hours. I think back now and wonder how many of those “tantrums” were actually tantrums and how many were meltdowns due to sensory overload, change in routine etc At the time we just thought that he was like us, stubborn and strong-willed, plus even as a baby we knew he was clever, maybe we just weren’t stimulating him and his interests, maybe he was bored………………….. so many maybes but maybe these were early signs.
J has always been a picky eater, even before he moved onto solids milk was an issue. Breast milk wasn’t enough and so we moved onto formula but we even had to change the formula we used……………………… and don’t get me started on how many different teats we tried before finding the “right one”. We had to use a fast flowing teat because he wouldn’t or couldn’t suck properly…………. I’m now told that he sucks and chews things because he isn’t fully developed orally so who knows maybe this was also an early sign.
When we first saw J’s pediatrician (yep the very same one that diagnosed HF Autism/Aspergers last year) J was almost 2, he mentioned Autism but J was a good talker………… a really good talker, you could have a “proper” conversation with him by the time he was 18 months old. He could talk so he couldn’t have Autism…………… right? Wrong! But at the time the pediatrician assured us that J was a very bright boy and had good communication skills so it was unlikely to be Autism. We had already made the decision to move back to the UK by then and so we were told that we should source out some help and support when we arrived back there. Whilst he was a great talker and we thought (at the time) that he was just smart and an early talker, looking back now I can see how “adult like” some of his speech was, I mean how many toddlers use words like ignorant? Was this another sign?
J was also (and still is) great at remembering things. By the time he was 2 he could tell you the name of every Bob, Thomas and Cars character. He’s always been a collector too, everything from his toys to toilet roll tubes. Whilst at times he’d play with them “correctly” he mostly used to line them up either on his track or the floor and he’d always know if we had moved one……………………….and oh boy did we know it too! Early signs???
J was a late crawler, in fact he didn’t really crawl at all, he used to roll and then commando crawled (dragged) himself around. He was a little late walking but not too late, by the time he was 16 months old he was walking, not always steady but walking none the less and by the time he was 18 months old he was running, in a very cute baby kind of way. He loved to be pushed around in his tricycle when he was little but would never attempt to use the pedals, pedalling is something he still struggles with. I’m told J has low muscle tone, I wonder if these were early signs?
J has never been a good sleeper, rarely sleeping through the night and daytime naps became a thing of the past by the time he was 2. Daytime naps were always hard work, J had to be put in his pushchair and usually wrapped up in his blanket, then he had to be pushed back and forth until he finally dropped off. Sometimes we’d do this for over an hour, until finally we gave in and no longer bothered with the naps. As a baby he loved to fall asleep laying across me in the evenings, those short naps were a godsend. He usually went to bed ok, (although slept in a ready bed for 18 months because he refused to sleep in a bed after we moved on from a cot), he just didn’t and usually still doesn’t stay asleep. He’s always been a light sleeper, every tiny noise would wake him up. Looking back now I can see his sensitivity to certain sounds, he hated the hoover for example, certain sights, the dark and bright lights and certain smells. Then there was the biting, J was almost 2 when he started biting himself, we’d go out for the day and I’d wonder what people must think looking at this very sweet and very cute little boy with bumps and bruises on his head and bite marks up his arms. Like the head butting/head banging this was quite random but he would also bite himself and others when angry or frustrated. Early signs??
He’s never really been great around other children either. I remember our first trip to see our Health Visitor at Clinic upon our return to the UK, I was nervous wreck, panicking about what he might do to another child. Eventually he made “friends” but they were my friends and their children, whom all but one were either older, (twice his age) or younger.
Then there was his reaction to change, he hated surprises and couldn’t cope with change, (again something he still struggles with and probably always will). When he was 2 I can remember him having huge “tantrums” in the car because I had driven the wrong way home! Early signs??
Looking back now I can see that all the signs were there, I don’t think I could say what was the first sign, maybe all of the above or maybe the first signs were seen in pregnancy. I had a difficult pregnancy, (whole other post) and J was born a month early by emergency c-section. But I remember going for a 4D scan and it took forever to get pictures, he just didn’t like anyone looking at him and wouldn’t pose, we ended up having to go for a long walk before we finally got our pictures……….. as for those you can see him frowning and pouting on them, maybe they were the first signs