3

Ear Defenders

We have had a big win recently on something that we have been working on with Dylan for a very long time. I knew when he learnt that they could help and would aid us in getting out and about in the world that they would help.

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When Dylan started school we told them that we had been encouraging him too try and wear ear defenders to help when out and about as Dylan finds noises very distressing. If we go outside and it is windy he is covering his ears and trying to escape, if he was outside in the garden and a truck, motorbike or an airplane goes overhead is running in and slamming the door. That just isn’t fair for him, he was desperate to play outside but just couldn’t stand the noise. They told me that they weren’t a good idea, wouldn’t make any difference to him and many other things.
I chose to simply ignore them. I knew they would help, I know my child far better than they think and I understand autism far more than they can appreciate.

We started with just 10 seconds on and it took a long time for them to even last that long, months in fact. Once he managed to keep them on for a few minutes you could see him starting to experiment with them, pulling them slightly away from his ears and then putting them over properly. Then when he was putting his hands over his ears I was putting his ear defenders on and he then started to realise that they helped a little.

After he was confident in the house with them and out in the garden I started taking them out with us and when he got overwhelmed and was asking to go home I would pop them on him and they would help him last a little longer.

He made me realise though this was the wrong way to do it.
The other day before we went into Soft play for the first time he requested “headphones” as he calls them, so I popped them on for him. My goodness what a difference it made having them on from the start.
For the first time I had to say to Dylan after two hours it was time to go because Amellia was asking to go. While there he was so much more relaxed, wasn’t running to the toilet to hide, no closing himself in the changing room, he actually enjoyed his whole time at soft play!

These have been a game changer for us, I cannot wait to get out and about more and am hopeful that using his ear defenders will enable us to enjoy more family days together. They will help to prevent him from getting overstimulated which can lead to meltdowns and self injurious behaviour.

Here is too more adventures together as a family!

1

Sensory Screening Cinema Experience

The last weekend of the Easter break for the kids from school and the rain started to pour. I didn’t want to spend the weekend stuck in the house so while pondering what to do I thought I might take Amellia to the cinema if anything was on. While I was having a nosey I noticed a movie that looked like she would enjoy and my heart ached a little as Dylan had never experienced the cinema before, when I came across a sensory screening of the movie. I had a quick chat with the hubby and we decided to go for it, and if Dylan really couldn’t stand it one of us could stay with Amellia and the other head home.

With it being a rainy day I was then worried that others who didn’t really need to go to a sensory screening may go to this as something to do with the kids in the rain but the cinema had it perfect. This one started at 12 and a regular viewing of the movie started at 12:10, great! Whoever was in the sensory screening was going to be people who needed it and would hopefully be understanding if Dylan wasn’t best impressed, this gave me enough courage to book the tickets and get everyone ready to head out to the cinema!

With a bag full of Dylan & Amellias favourite snacks to keep them occupied we headed in to get some popcorn. With a bit of a queue forming behind us I was worrying that it was going to be a bit of a busy screening, but once we headed into the screen we were the only ones there and it stayed that way. Who doesn’t love being the only ones in the cinema!

What a sensory screening means is that they turn the volume down and have the lights on. Unfortunately though the adverts before hand didn’t follow suit and were still full volume and Dylan found this extremely distressing. He was shouting for home and banging his ears and head. He then took my hands and put them over his ears and seemed to relax a little. Thankfully we were the only ones in this screening because by the time the adverts had finished Dylan was adamant we were going home but I wanted to try and get him to stay until the movie started with the bright colours and quieter sound to see if he would enjoy it.

With him pressing my hands tightly over his ears by his request he started to relax as the volume went down and the bright colours and sing song ways of kids movies started.  He shouted home a few more times and I decided next time he asked I would take him. After a few more minutes he got off my knee and looked like he was going to make a bolt for the exit, I’m pretty sure he was until he spotted the numbers on the chairs.
Thankfully with it being an empty cinema we left him to his own devices walking up and down the chairs looking at the numbers and bouncing the chairs as he counted.

He lasted the whole movie!!
This was such a positive experience for us all; Amellia totally loved the movie, complained that it wasn’t long enough and sitting still really isn’t her thing and even though she could have wandered while watching she sat perfectly still the whole way through. Dylan enjoyed his first trip to the cinema, maybe not in the expected way but he enjoyed it in the end and we all got to have a family afternoon out doing something we haven’t done before.

Thank you Omniplex for making these sensory screenings so that people who struggle with full volume and darkness can enjoy something that others do on a regular basis. We will be back in the near future, so many kids movies coming out this year that me & the hubby had long discussions over who was getting to see it in the cinema with Amellia but now we all can!
I also highly recommended the movie Wonder Park, it was amazing  and one we will be buying once it is released on to DVD we enjoyed it that much!

 

 

 

0

Softplay Success!

Finding a new place that Dylan thoroughly enjoys and caters to his needs is always a bit of a struggle and a huge success when we do. Recently we found a place that ticks all of the boxes and I hope that it will be a place your children can enjoy too if you live or are visiting the area.

When Ad is off work and able to go places with us I like to go somewhere new. It means that there are two sets of hands in case things don’t go our way and another set of eyes to keep a close watch while Dylan explores! It also means that if things don’t go the right way it is someone to talk to while I bundle him up to leave, help me ignore the judging eyes and grab the bags.

We headed to a soft play called Indiana Land and we couldn’t have found a better place to spend some time together! We paid £2.50 to get in, which is a bargain for soft play. There was only a few other children there, so nice and quiet for Dylan’s first time exploring.

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He was settled from the moment we got in and couldn’t wait to get exploring. It has a nice amount of empty space which gave lots of room for running around and some great slides, rope bridges, obstacles and a ball pit. Dylan really enjoys open space because when you go to a soft play or even a park he finds it very overwhelming trying to decide what to go on. He loved just being able to running without having to make any decisions immediately. He then took my hand and wanted me to go exploring with him. Which many soft play places don’t like, so I was really pleased that they didn’t mind me going on with him to help him familiarise and get used to everything there was to offer.

After a while it was obvious that he was getting overstimulated from all the running, jumping, sliding and just having a good time. Ad then spotted a sensory room!
It had a passcode on the door so we asked the lovely workers at the reception if we could go in and they happily opened it. Inside it was amazing, big bean bags to relax on, ear defenders, several different light features that you could change the colour on, timers and a fiddle board.

 

I really liked that it had a passcode because it meant that others couldn’t just come in and out while he was having his chill out time before heading out to run around again.
I’ve never seen a sensory room at a soft play before so this really is such an inclusive place.

Highly recommend here if you live around or are visiting the area especially for parents with ones on the spectrum/sensory needs etc as it’s a struggle to find places that cater to them and this place is perfect!

The only thing that would worry me about going on the weekends would be that the freefall may be open. It was locked when we were there as it was during the terrific tots time which was a big relief if it was open and Dylan took a notion to go down it we would have probably had to leave as once Dylan gets an idea in his head it is pretty impossible to distract him.

-WeeOhana

 

 

6

Understanding is impossible unless you have walked it yourself.

Having an autistic child is something that is impossible to understand unless you have walked it yourself.

The sleepless nights because they don’t sleep, and when they do your mind is going at maximum speed thinking of how to help them better tomorrow, what you can do that won’t cause a meltdown, if they will ever get a job, be able to live independently, cook, dress appropriately independently, tell you how they are, ask for what they want, say where hurts, if they will ever have a partner.. and many, many other things.

The worry when they won’t eat and have an extremely restrictive diet if they will be able to keep healthy on the select few things they eat. When they stop eating a certain food and you are left with even fewer foods, and they are losing weight and no one has ideas or provides you with help to get them eating more.

When they go into school in floods of tears clinging to you and you worry and stress through the day if they have settled, are they ok, will the school be honest with how they were, will they forgive and are they happy.

Buying new clothes entails turning the items inside out to see how they will feel to them and having to hunt out clothes that don’t have seams, and when they decide they like something and will wear it happily bulk buying them in every size to ensure that your child will go out with clothes and shoes on.

When you go somewhere they have enjoyed having your fingers tightly crossed so that nothing has changed and hoping it will be really quiet so that they can enjoy it and it won’t start a meltdown.

Will they ever make friends and have a proper friendship with even just one person. Be able to go to the cinema together, out for a walk, lunch, or even just have a conversation together.

How are you going to be able to cope with meltdowns when they are older if they are still lashing out, head butting, and how will I prevent them from self harming when they head butt the walls, hit themselves, scrab at their body, pull thier face..

Would someone else be looking after them better and providing them with better chances and helping them more than you are.

What happens if you end up in hospital and have to spend time there, how will they cope, who will look after them because no one knows them like you do and an even bigger worry.. what happens when you die, who will care for them like you do, love them and understand them like you.

The constant fight for help from services which are meant to want to help but show you the exact opposite.

The need to cuddle and protect them when they are sad, overloaded, having a meltdown but infact it just makes them worse and the only thing you can do is watch and ensure that they are safe and are not harming themselves.

Ignoring the stares, tuts and comments made when out in public and your child is having a meltdown and you can’t do anything to help them or stop it.

And the over whelming feeling of continuous guilt.

-WeeOhana

9

Leaps & Bounds of progress!

These past few months Dylan has been slowly progressing, but over the past month it seems to all be coming together. We have many words now which is absolutely incredible seeing as every time he has been seen by his pediatrican we kept getting reminded that not all autistic children talk and not to get our hopes up. He can request things like his iPad, juice etc, it’s amazing to see and I have got a lot of hope for the future now and I’m sure his language skills will continue to develop and maybe one day we will be able to have a conversation with us! It gives us a lot of hope and really lifts spirits.

In school they have started to use pecs to help him move from one place to the next, his anxiety is brought down a lot with these pictures and I am now running about like crazy taking pictures of everywhere we go so that I can use them at home with him too. I am hoping it will help when out and about with him so that we can keep him calm and hopefully enjoying what we are doing rather than worrying about what is to come next.

He is starting to try new foods, well he has licked a yogurt and they are trying to encourage him to try new things in school via pictures and are going to get me some to try at home with him, which is a really exciting prospect. Dylan’s eating has always been a worry for me, as much as the dietician says it is fine because he isn’t losing weight it cannot be healthy for him and is not ideal. I would love to be able to just pick him up something when out and about but unfortunately at this moment in time that isn’t really attainable as he doesn’t eat very much at all especially for dinners and lunch. Maybe one day he will eat a sandwich, now that would be incredible!

He has also started to interact a lot more with Amellia and the other children he knows. He will ask them for races using his makaton that he is starting to pick up and what is even more amazing is that the kids around us are so great too him. They understand him really well and it is so great to see them running around together and enjoying each other’s company. Something again I wasn’t sure I would ever get to experience with him.

Something he has started to really enjoy also is playing mario, he is learning how to control him and enjoys walking him around the map. Before he just used to hold the button and laugh as he fell off the edge, which is funny.. but finding something he really enjoys doing and playing is great!

Obviously he still has his hard times, but I totally adore him and he is simply wonderful. I will continue to encourage his growth and I truly believe give a child the tools and encouragement they need and they will progress in there own time!

6

I hope it gets easier..

Thursday was the first day for both my kiddies and they couldn’t have had more opposite experiences to the whole school thing.
Amellia absolutely loves her new school, on Friday morning she was dancing in my car with excitement before going in (which you may have seen on my insta story) and she has said that she wishes the weekend was only one day so she didn’t have to wait to go back to school. I just hope she continues to love her new school, they are offering her so much support and that is bound to help her settle and enjoy school more.

Dylans experience was the complete opposite. When we were walking down the hallway to his classroom he was fine and waited for his friend to catch up with him and I was starting to think it was going to go really well and he was going to love it, but as soon as we turned to walk through the door he would not go through and climbed up me as quick as possible while spontaneously exploding.
I carried him in and tried showing him some of the fun things they had out to play; sand, colouring, paint but nothing would settle him so they suggested putting him outside into the playground to see what he made of that. While they hurried him outside they told me to go. . as heart-breaking and as much as I really didn’t want to leave I couldn’t just ignore what they told me because in reality they have done this before and know what usually works best.
The parents then had a wee meeting to get to know some of the staff in the school and what they could do and provide for the children. After 45 minutes one of the classroom assistants came along to tell me that Dylan was settling for 5 minutes, remembering and looking for me and then settling again. After another 15 minutes they then brought the kids back to us and it was time to go home. As soon as he saw me he just kept repeating “mummys car” over and over again, he was more than ready to go home.

The next morning I woke up too carnage. Dylan had decided that doing a bit of poo art was the right thing to do, normally he shouts in the morning which wakes me up but he decided not to alert me and have a bit of a dirty protest and wake me with the smell. It was absolutely vile. I had my fingers crossed that the smell was going to be linked to something secured in his nappy but no such luck. I’m still scrubbing at the stains that refuse to budge! As soon as he saw me he started shouting “no school” over and over and over again.
I got him cleaned up, brought him downstairs and calmed him down. Amellia went to school dancing and singing then it was time to take him to school. After getting part of his uniform on I gave up, imagine wrestling with a alligator to put clothes on, Yeahh.. that’s why I gave up after he was decent.
The whole drive to the school he was going crazy in the back of the car, trying to undress, banging his head, hitting his legs etc.. I was waiting for him to fall asleep he was getting that worked up, but he didn’t.
Pulling into the carpark, walking to the class he was just going absolutely berserk. I had given myself a pep talk that it would be ok, they know what they are doing.. but it didn’t work.
They more or less had to remove him from me finger by finger. He was clinging on for dear life. It was absolutely horrendous. I just wanted to scoop him up and run away and never look back. I ended up in tears as they took him from me, it was such a horrible experience.
They came down to the room where we were meeting other members of staff after 40ish mins and said that he was doing the same as last time settling and then remembering again. This time at least when they brought him back to me he didn’t seem quiet as distressed but was busy shouting bye to everyone because he just wanted to be gone. He fell asleep as soon as he got into my car, which is only something he does when he is really worked up so that sort of summed up the day for me.

On Monday they are going to see how he gets on and have said that they will text/call me when they need me to pick him up. I’ll be sure to let you know how the next week goes.. at least on Monday I can sing to them “It’s my birthday, I can cry if I want too” so I wont look quite so bizarre crumbling into a heap on the ground in tears.. maybe that will make me look crazier actually.. oh well.

Wish me luck!

5

My child, my choice.

With Dylan starting school recently I have had a lot of people giving me their opinions on something which I feel strongly about and tell them before they even start with the back and forth.

My child, my choice.

I don’t agree with putting my child on a bus to and from schools. He’s three ffs. I wouldn’t put a neurotypical child on a bus even if it was a specific one for the school so I’m defiantly not putting my neurodivergent child on one.

People argue that it gives me more time, but I would rather do what is best for my child than what is best for me. I’m pretty sure that’s normal for parents.

I hear things like oh but everyone else does it.. I’m not a sheep thanks very much, I think for myself and what benefits my family the best. Also, just because everyone else does it does not mean it is right. Many things are questionable that “everyone’s does.

Not long till he starts nursery now, where did the time go!? They grow up far too fast and with them both in school now I know the years will fly by even faster 😦