12

My Sunday Photo – 17.02.18

We were up and out early this Saturday morning to ensure that we could enjoy the day as much as possible. We headed off to Castle Espie and it was wonderful. We had lots of fun exploring, puddle jumping, looking at the views, enjoying the birds and all of the things Castle Espie had to offer.
Here are a few of the pictures I captured while we were out & about.

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8

Autism Assessment – Stage 2

Stage 1 of the autism assessment is where you are seen by a pediatrician who then refers you on to the next stage if they agree with the concerns and think that an autism diagnosis is necessary.
We got referred to stage two the third week of December which was when Dylan turned three. Unfortunately they cannot refer you to stage two until the child is three, which has made this a very long and drawn out process for us because Dylan’s autism has been so obvious since a very young age. Thankfully though for the stage two we only had to wait a few weeks.
I had heard about the stage two assessment from other people who had already done it and I was very nervous, I was expecting to leave in tears.
Basically its a parent only interview to get as much information about your child from birth to now. All the milestones they hit and which ones they struggled to reach or have yet to reach.

When we went in and as we were sitting waiting I was getting so anxious, and was really worrying about Dylan. When you go to this appointment you are not allowed to bring your child with you so I really struggled leaving Dylan. I can count on one hand the amount of times I have left him with someone bar my husband.
After a few comments made after we got back, I wont be leaving him with them again.

A lady then came to get us from the waiting room and she was very friendly and calming. She told us all about what would be happening and why we were there etc and asked us if we were happy to start and away we went.
At the start she asked us a lot about how Dylan was as a baby, how was the pregnancy, birth, what was he like, did he sleep well, did he hit his milestones for walking, smiling, laughing and what was he like when we weaned him. As I was answering them I was thinking to myself how obvious it was even from such a young age that Dylan was autistic, he smiled & laughed very late, weaning was hell food it still a huge issue with Dylan, I can’t remember how he slept.. but I think it was ok..I can’t remember being too exhausted? (haha!)
She then went on to ask us about how he is now, how he communicates, copes with change, diet, behaviour, friendships, understanding, dislikes and all that type of thing and after all the questions about his struggles etc. and then to end the bit about his development she then asked about his strengths too and his like.
I’ll not answer these all for you.. otherwise this blog post will end up extremely long.
Obviously it isn’t easy at all especially on the mind and your mental state to be constantly thinking about all of the negative things, what your child cannot do and what they really struggle with but I think that I now know that you have to give all this information and think about it that I have grown a little harder shell when being asked and I just answer it the best I can because I know I have too to ensure that he gets the help and care he requires and deserves.

She then asks about your mental health and if anyone in your family has any mental health issues, diagnosis etc and then after that she just has a little chat.
She told us that usually they ask how you will feel if your child does not get a diagnosis but she said that she wouldn’t bother asking us that questions because it is very obvious that he is autistic. She asked us how we think we will feel when we do get the official diagnosis and I think I am going to struggle.

I worked in a special needs school with many kids who have autism when I was younger and many who I have encountered think that this will make it very easy for me to accept and to just carry on with. They seem to forget that these children I worked with, they weren’t my own. I went home at the end of the day and so did they, I wasn’t emotionally connected to them like I am Dylan, my own son. Personally, I think it makes it a lot harder for me. I have experienced how autism affects children as they grow up, I know the struggles and what the future may bring.

We now have another 6-9 month wait for when they will see Dylan and give us an official diagnosis and get it over and done with then onto the next hurdle.
The lady wrote at the top of our one that we will take any cancellations and we just want to get the official diagnosis over and done with so that we can move onto the next part of the greving process.

-WeeOhana

 

27

My Sunday Photo – 04.02.18

I haven’t joined this linky in a little while, I’ve been rather bad to my blog and not shown it much love this year yet.
Starting from today I plan to get back to the usual amount of blogging & social media presence.
Here are some pictures from my walk at Mount Stewart last week with my hubby & son.
Hope you have had a good week & hope to chat to you soon! =]

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2

Hearing Test, Hopes & Goals.

I’m not sure if you will have read how Dylan’s first hearing test but I came away from it saying I would never take him too another.
Roll forward 16 months and he was due for a review as they couldn’t get a clear reading last time due to him screaming and being disgusted by the whole situation of it all. They told me that they would recall him in 6 months time, it didn’t go well either but not quite so bad. Again they couldn’t do the full test as he would not cooperate they told me he would be recalled again in 6 months but they weren’t worried about his hearing they just now had to get a positive result for their records.
When an appointment came again for him to be checked again but in a different hospital I put on my big girl pants and took it by the horns. I wanted to get this green check on his records, rule it out and onto the next thing.

He wouldn’t let them look in his ears for very long at all, but the lady knew straight away when he was getting distressed and didn’t force it on him unlike the ones at his previous appointments. She said the one ear she got a look in looked a little red, but seeing as it was winter time this occurs to most of us especially if we have a cold. We then went back to sit and wait for the next part, thankfully we didn’t have to wait long as he isn’t ever very happy about waiting in strange places.

In the next room he had to sit on my knee while a lady tried to get him to concentrate on something while another played different sound etc to test his hearing.
As they were doing this I was thinking to myself about how if it was his hearing we could fix this, help him and right it all.
As I found myself getting caught up in those ideas I had to remind myself that if he does have a problem with his hearing, we could sort that out but it wouldn’t solve the many other things he struggles with daily, he would still be autistic too.

When she left the room to go and talk to the lady doing the sounds I felt like I had just been to a job interview. Making him sit still, hoping he would behave the best and do his best in the series of tests he had just done.
Inside I was panicking a lot that they would come back and say that some of his problems was because he couldn’t hear very well, and that he would need to get that sorted alongside everything else that was going on.
Another part was hoping she would come back and say it was his hearing and that she had the perfect solution and it would solve everything!

Though I knew in my heart of hearts this was never going to happen, I say to people that I don’t like false hope that I want to live in reality with it all and I rather everyone be honest and upfront with what they think.
This is true, but sometimes I can’t stop the little bright ideas my brain thinks it has sneaking in and bringing a whole load of false hope and joy. When I realise I’m being crazy or when I’m even proved that I am wrong then it is a whole load of heartache.
This is why I try to live in reality and not give a whole load of false hope because it just knocks you back when you are climbing.
Obviously I agree with hope, everyone needs hope and goals.
I believe in attainable goals for my kids, ones I know they can reach or are close to succeeding in so that we can celebrate together rather than discuss things they haven’t reached yet. Celebrate everything, some things that you don’t even notice your children doing are huge milestones for children like Dylan and others. It really makes you appreciate the small things, like when he looks at you, when he tries something new, when he touches something he hasn’t before.
I know its going to happen soon so one of my goals for Dylan is that he will call me mummy soon and know I am mummy and not just use the world, another goal which is going to take a lot longer but I have accepted this is that when I smile at him for him to smile back.

-WeeOhana

3

Acceptance & Denial.

Coming to

I think it is a very common thing to do, to doubt what you have been told about your children. Especially when you are trying to come to terms with it.
I go through phases where I think to myself that there is no way that Dylan is Autistic. I mean, he is my perfect, handsome wonderful, clever little boy who I totally adore, obviously. This is something that will never change and I will always feel all of these feelings and many, many more about him. He is my son, my little buddy who I will always love with all of my heart.
It is hard to accept that your child has anything wrong with them, something that changes how they view the world and how the world will view them. Something that you as their parent can’t fix with love, medicine, therapy, or anything at all. Yes you can help make it all a little more bearable for them and show them how they can ‘fit’ into the world and the supposed things they are meant to feel, enjoy and like but is that really helping them when you are then trying to make them conform to what we view as ‘normality’?
I have always been one for trying to join Dylan in his world, copying him in things he enjoys, if I enter his world then he may want to join me in mine for a bit too, but I am not for forcing him to conform. It’s all about give and take. Even in a relationship with my husband; I don’t force him to like everything that I do, and likewise I don’t like all that he does but we compromise so that everyone is happy and I’m sure that is the same for you, right? So now explain why should I try to force my son to like all these expected things rather than letting him enjoy what makes him happy and his own little self?
IMG_1947.jpgAfter doubting it all I generally very quickly get a wake up call and brought back from my safe haven. Sometimes this happens so abruptly that it can take me weeks and months to recover emotionally from.
I always feel that I am very in denial about how much Dylan’s autism actually affects him. I am with him 24/7 so Dylan’s quirks and ways are all that I know now. We have all got used to this and the how Dylan is, but when you see other children his age it surely gives you a huge wake up call to just how much it does affect him.
Its made much more obvious about how much it has effected his development when around other children his age. You see them chatting away, running to mummy and daddy to ask them for help or to show them what they are doing, showing off their new toys to their friends, playing together and so many more things that I don’t process as things that Dylan struggles with until they are right in front of me and made so blatantly obvious that these are things he should be doing too.
Amellia finds it very difficult to process when we are around children his age and she has been made aware they are the same age. When we get home there will be lots of questions of when will Dylan talk, when will he want to have a sleep over in her room, when will he want to play Lego with her and not just knock the tower over and many, many more questions. I answer them as truthfully as I can, Amellia is incredible with Dylan and totally adores him but sometimes people forget that she is only six and obviously this is very hard for her to process and understand too.
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I think the going back and forth between thinking that he clearly is fine and then to realisation that no he obviously is autistic is just a way of my head trying to get round it, my head trying to accept it all and come to terms.

-WeeOhana

4

Don’t dwell…

Must Not Dwell.. (1)

I have started 2018 with a bang and completed my online course that I singed up too to extended my knowledge on autism with a pretty impressive 100% on all modules.
I am pretty chuffed and it sure has given me a nice little boost of pride and self-confidence to start the year with.

The course I completed was compiled of these modules;

  • Understanding autism
  • Autism and communication
  • Autism and sensory experience
  • Autism, stress and anxiety
  • Autism: supporting families

I found out some facts from doing this course that I wasn’t aware of, but the majority of it I knew from living daily with an autistic child.
I think this course would be beneficial for people with very minimal knowledge on autism, but if like me you live with autism in your life daily then it probably wont provide you with much extra.

I learnt some facts that really shocked me and admittedly scared me too.
Did you know that only 15% of autistic people are in full-time employment? 75% of the population are in full time employment.
I mean.. how crazy is that, and how does that give me any hope for Dylan. It seems absolutely bizarre that the percentage is so low and really unsettling for parents of autistic children.

At least 1 in 3 autistic adults are dealing with severe mental health struggles due to lack of support. 70% of autistic adults believe they are not getting the help from social services that they require and they also said that would feel a lot less isolated if they were given the support they need and what I believe to rightfully deserve.

It’s crazy, it really is.
The future scares me, it really does. Its something I try to not think about too often because it worries me, really worries me.
What does it hold for us, how well will we cope, how we can get the best for Dylan possible and all while keeping the balance of family life right too… it’s a lot to think of and far too much to dwell on.

-WeeOhana-

9

My Sunday Photo – 07.01.18

This week has been spent really enjoying time with my kiddos before my little girl had to start back to school.
She can’t wait to go back on Monday with her new hair cur, looking far too grown-up for her own good!
Something about haircuts always makes kiddies look so grown up!
IMG_2113.jpgDylan is going to really miss his sister and I’m really worried its going to set him back again, but we just have to roll with the punches!
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How has your week been?
-WeeOhana