Tuesday 16 February 2016

Life Adventures, What's New....

A little while ago, I sat down and started writing a post on this very blog, it took me ages (literally a couple of weeks) to get it finished because I kept going back to edit it so many times. That post was How Six Months Can Change but in reality, it's how six minutes can change because so many times I added paragraphs to that post, and then took them straight back away.

The post is about Spud potentially having ASD (Autism Spectrum Disorder) and potential learning difficulties. Looking back now, exactly seven months ago to the day since I published that post, I realise I was a little in denial, even though I said I wasn't in that very post! When someone, who is not very close to your child at all, tells you they think your son has difficulties and a disorder, I think it's natural to run away from them thoughts, their thoughts, and just carry on with your own.

However, now I know more about everything, I know Spud carries some of the characteristics that autistic children have, for example he needs ear defenders and covers his ears with the slightest of loud noises, seven months ago, instead of me seeing that as an autistic trait, I just told myself that Spud is sensitive to noise. Then I thought about the textures of stuff that makes him really upset and agitated, like a soft squidgy ball my mum brought back from holiday with her, one touch of the ball and Spud was terrified and screaming until my mum hid it in her bag.

I've been talking to my family more recently as I come to understand that Spud is still my normal Spud, my handsome, well behaved, caring loving child, but to others, he is a little hard work. When he bounces around not being able to keep still, and jumping from sofa to sofa every second, I just think that's childlike, when he takes longer to understand an instruction, I again just think it's childlike, his mind must be somewhere else.

Recently, Spud's SENCO teacher at school provided me with some PEC (Picture Exchange Communication) cards for home. They use them with Spud at school and they're working really well for him, although Spud isn't naughty for me, or ignores me (or anyone for that matter), he does take a little while to process commands and instructions.

Along with PEC cards, I've also been saying Spud's name first before asking him to carry out an instruction. Previously a conversation would be as follows, with just me and Spud at home, I was only talking to Spud, but he didn't register with what I was saying.

Put your shoes on please Spud.
Please get your coat on.
Can you brush your teeth now please.

I would then have to repeat myself a dozen times before he would carry out the required instruction.

However, now I say his name first, with the advice of his SENCO teacher so he knows I am talking to him, even though it's only us two at home! So now, my instructions are as follows;

Spud, can you get your shoes on please.
Spud, can you get your coat on please.
Spud, can you please brush your teeth.

We're getting there slowly but surely, Spud is 10 in March so for nine years I've had a way of parenting that now needs changing. The school are brilliant with him, and are supporting us both in whatever way they can, one thing however that does worry me is Spud needing to go to a specialist school, being taken away from the teachers and friends he knows and has bonded with, however after finding this article here, I do feel a little more relaxed.

Ignore the first line and put politics aside, it's a scheme that seems to be working well, however I've seen many children leave Spud's school because of situations the school couldn't deal with (to be fair, this was the infant school and not the juniors where Spud is now) and that's where the worry stems from. The article goes on to say about children with SEN needs, staying in a mainstream school, something I'd love to carry on with if it's possible as I fear a change of routine will not be the best thing for Spud.

The research from Simpson Millar found 58% of those questioned believed inclusion works, with mixed opinions and one worrying statement from a head teacher in regards to funding, I don't think I am worrying for no reason. I do worry about all the cuts the government are throwing all the time, if things are bad now, I can only imagine they'll get worse with years to come, so home educating may be the only choice for us, if and when that time approaches.

For now, I'm taking one small and slow step at a time, it's one big new journey for me, and I'm learning bit by bit. To be honest, it's like being a parent all over again, but only harder because you've had a certain routine that you thought worked well for years, only to be told you need to do things differently for your child to understand.

I watch now as Spud is playing with his puppy dog on the floor, he has his DS beside him playing out a game tune, whilst he's rubbing his puppy dog's belly. I struggle to see where all this new info has come from, I struggle to see how anyone looks and sees Spud differently from me!

Until next time,
Jada x


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