Monday, 20 December 2010

December is a Waity Month!

So it's true, December is a waity month. Not only because we've been waiting for Christmas! For us December has been a lot more waity than that.

We've been waiting the last 6 weeks for the local education authority to make a decision about whether or not to assess Sam for his special educational needs. Well today (on the last day they had for us to receive it) we got a letter finally from them saying they were going ahead with the assessment. We are relieved and so happy about this. Hopefully this will lead to Sam having a statement in place for when he starts primary school next year. I will be interested as well to hear what an educational psychologist thinks of him too, hopefully that visit should be arranged straight after the Christmas holidays.

We've also been waiting for Sam's official diagnosis. He was due to be discussed by the multi agency team on the 15th December but I've heard nothing about it yet. Someone mentioned to me that he was first on the list so there was no reason for him not to have gotten his diagnosis but we'll have to wait for the letter from the paediatrician! More waiting!! At the moment I am happily plodding on, but I'm sure it will hit me once I see it in black and white. I have to remember that Sam is still Sam, he is a happy, energetic, loving little boy regardless of his autism.

We have also made some rather large life changes and are waiting on those as well this month. We decided to open a cake shop and work for ourselves. This will hopefully lead to a more flexible family life and when you have a child with disabilities this is soooo helpful! We are underway getting things ready and will hopefully open after New Year sometime!

Finally, just wanted to share a nice outing with you that we had the other day. We were invited to go on the 'Santa' train at the Lakeside and Haverthwaite railway. The boys had a great time. Although Sam doesn't really 'get' trains, he loves the movement and the fact that you can look out a window without being strapped in a seatbelt. William was much more fidgety but both boys did really well considering the journey was an hour and a half. They also got a present from Father Christmas which although they weren't bothered with them at the time, they've been playing with the toys ever since! It was nice to know from my point of view that we could still go out and have 'family time'. It did help that no one batted an eye at Sam's flapping and shouting as the rest of the carriage (and 2 more besides) were full of other disabled children and their families! If anymore train events come up we're going!

Saturday, 23 October 2010

Catching Up

There has been so much going on recently that I've not really had the time or inclination to post until now. We've all had colds too which hasn't helped!

Sam has had some fantastic days at nursery (probably helped by the fact that for the last week he's had some great nights sleep!). He has been a lot more focussed and attentive. And on one of the days he stops for his lunch he actually sat down at the table when he saw all the other children sat down and waited for his sandwich! His support worker made him wait 2 minutes and gave him his drink then another 2 minutes and gave him his sandwich. Sam basically doesn't do waiting so this was a real treat.

We are finding that Sam likes things to be in context. We really struggled for days putting on his school jumper, but when we do it just before we go out after he has his shoes on he is fine about it. We had just been trying to put it on him too early.

We've just had another 'team around the family' meeting which Andy was able to come to as well. We went in with the idea that we would get pushy if needed, but we didn't need to! Our team of professionals are the pushiest (but nicest) bunch around! After our initial referral for Sam to get a statutory assessment was knocked back I was concerned that the next one wouldn't go in for ages and the specialist advisory teacher is pushing for it to go in asap after half term. So excited about that, and she's sure that this one won't be rejected. She thinks Sam needs the highest level of support as (and this is the real hard part) the feeling is that Sam is most likely profoundly autistic. On the scale of criteria they use, profound is about as bad as it can get. So mixed feelings really, as I'm pleased no one is pretending he is fine and coating anything with sugar, but.....ouch (knife through the heart moment). The specialist advisory teacher is also on the panel which will diagnose Sam and it looks as though she's going to try and push him through for discussion as soon as she can.

I signed up for the More than Words course the other week and we had the specialist speech and language therapist here a few days ago to do a pre-programme assessment. She was lovely, took a lot of history and a short video of Sam. I'll start the course in November so it should be good! She is also on the panel that will diagnose Sam so it was great that she's met him, as she said any evidence she observes she will take with her to the assessment.

William is still great, he is nearly one now! His current favourite thing is pretending to eat and drink play food and making you pretend to eat it too. He is still pestering Sam constantly which is great too. The other day I caught them both squished into the same box which was quite funny! Don't know who got in first but I didn't care to be honest, just to see the interaction was brilliant.

Saturday, 25 September 2010

Progress: Brilliant But a Little Sad Too

Forgive me for not writing more recently. Sam has been waking up in the middle of the night and not going back to sleep so we're all a bit tired and both boys have stonking colds at the moment so we have our hands full!

I know I mostly post when something good is going on and I'm in a happy mood but I need to share a bit of the rough times too I think. The stuff happening now is terrific in one respect but a bit sad for me too.

I think I knew these times would come, and it's great that they do, but there's a bit of sadness too in the progress that William is making. I suppose it's not progress really, but 'normal' development. And it's beginning to overtake Sam. Don't get me wrong. I'm so happy William is getting along so well but at the same time my heart is breaking.

It's the little things really. William does a little dance when music comes on (more of a head shake, arms waving about), he plays with toys the way they are meant to be played with, he claps, points, can stack stacking cups, tries to imitate you when you are sweeping, gives great big hugs and has now started to try and give great big kisses too. He acknowledges you when you call his name and his understanding is coming along nicely. Although Sam could do a couple of those things at William's age he lost those skills soon after and still can't do most of these things.

But Sam is showing some signs of progress as well, and he's been a lot more interactive with William and affectionate in general. I think he is really loving nursery and I'm sure it is bringing him on a lot, it just really brings his condition to light when you see the things his 1o month old brother can do. If William could just teach Sam now that would be wonderful!

Thursday, 9 September 2010

Primary School Visit

So this morning we went and visited a primary school that we thought might be suitable for Sam starting in Sept 2011. It is about a 20 minute drive from here on Walney Island. We'd heard it might be suitable from various people as although it is a mainstream school, they have a huge focus on inclusion of those children with special needs. In fact, much like Sam's nursery has a special designation as an inclusion nursery, this school is the primary school equivalent if that makes sense!

So before we got there this morning I found myself having really high hopes for this place and I was not disappointed! A lovely senior teaching assistant gave us a tour and discussed the special needs side of things with us, answered all our questions and was very lovely towards Sam. It's a small school, under 200 pupils and about 30 of those have special needs of some description. So quite a high proportion really. They said that if we applied Sam would most definitely get in due to his needs. I came away feeling really positive about everything, seems like things are finally coming together!

Wednesday, 8 September 2010

First Week of Nursery

So Sam started back at nursery on Monday after a 7 week break. The night before I was so nervous that I was feeling a little sick. We were really expecting him to be unsettled there this week, probably clingy and generally upset. He is going 4 mornings a week now instead of 2 afternoons and on two of those mornings he is staying and having his lunch there as well.

Well I dropped him off on Monday morning (after he'd been awake since 3am!!) and he walked into the room like he'd never been away! Had a look round, came back to me as I was updating his support worker but there was no screaming, clinging onto me etc. I left and went home all the while worrying about how he was getting on. When I went back a few hours later to pick him up they said he'd had a brilliant morning! Couldn't quite believe it! The following day was great too and then this morning we took him in with his little packed lunch. I really didn't expect him to eat anything as sometimes at home he doesn't like to eat if we are in the same room, let alone a room full of pre-schoolers! But his support worker managed to get him to eat his sandwich and treat at the table, woohoo!!

I am so pleased and proud of Sam this week. He has a day off tomorrow and then is back in for his last day this week on Friday. I'm hoping for another good one. I think a lot of the change in him is due to the fact he is a morning person and was usually worn out by the time he arrived in the afternoon last term. It's so nice that nursery can see the happy, fun side to him as he is in the morning.

I have signed up William to have one morning a week at the nursery too at the same time as Sam so that I get a bit of a regular break each week to catch up on housework or have a cuppa! They run a private daycare there too, so it made sense to do it and try and save some of my sanity. We took him for a little visit to the babies room today to see what it was like. He seemed to enjoy himself, taking it all in. We got there and sat on the floor with him and before we'd even been in 2 minutes Andy had a crowd of babies bringing him toys and hanging onto him. It was so funny, I wish I'd brought the camera especially when they started bringing hats over to try on his head! Andy seems to have this effect on babies and toddlers wherever we go!

Tomorrow we have made an appointment to look around a mainstream primary school that takes on children with ASD and have several staff members trained in it. Really hope we (and Sam) like it as he may end up going there next year.

Thursday, 19 August 2010

Good News Bad News and Other Stuff!

Good news first! We heard back about the dreaded DLA form I filled in for Sam and we've been awarded high rate care until 2015! This is such a relief and one major stress out of the way. And to know that we don't have to fill it in for another 5 years is wonderful. Now maybe it won't feel quite so bad when we're up with Sam from 2.30am onwards!

Bad news then. Our referral (well, the nursery's referral) for a statutory assessment for Sam was turned down by the LEA (local education authority). When I opened the letter I couldn't believe it. All that was going through my mind was how is Sam going to get any kind of education without any support? After blubbing for a bit, I rang our health visitor who assured me that Sam would still get an assessment and she promised to ring all the relevant people. She called the nursery and spoke to the head teacher who said not to worry, that they've been refused first time in the past. The woman from the LEA rang me herself and said not to worry too. That all they need is a bit more evidence, mainly from the specialist advisory teacher who will be seeing quite a lot of Sam this year. The nursery will rewrite the referral and we'll see what happens.

One good thing to come out of the referral was a paediatricians appointment. We've been waiting 17 months for a follow up appointment. Sam was very good, no tantrums or anything but he did flap a lot and we were able to explain all about Sam's problems as they are at the moment. The doctor wants to see Sam again in a couple of months to review his behaviour (not holding my breath for that appointment).

We bought Sam a touch screen monitor to use to play very simple games on and he's really loving it so far. We've found a few bubble popping games which are proving very popular! Hopefully if he develops more understanding we can find more increasingly challenging games for him to try.

William has started walking!! At 9.5 months old!! He managed a couple of steps last week, but this week he is all about the walking. And he tries it everywhere. When he falls down he claps himself which is very sweet! Sam had better watch out now as he's only going to get better and faster at it then there will be no escape!

Finally, today we went to a fun fair. Wasn't expecting to stop really thinking it would be too busy etc etc, but it wasn't at all. It wasn't huge and there were no crowds of people which made it really nice. Sam looked quite excited about all the rides and got to go on some with Andy. He went on the rollercoaster, the dodgems, and a fast spinning ride (which I would have called the scrambler from my childhood). Oh and of course a bouncy castle too! He seemed to really enjoy them too. He wanted to go on the dodgems when we were on holiday last year but was too little at the time so he was very pleased to go on them this time and had a good flap! So it was a really good afternoon, topped off by a yummy chinese takeaway for tea!

Tomorrow we are expecting Sam's new bed to be delivered so hopefully he will like it as much as he did in the store when he had a good bounce! :)

Tuesday, 3 August 2010

Holiday and Post-Holiday

Well we went off to Cornwall for a week. Well it was supposed to be a week, but we came back a few days early as the weather was so bad, raining non stop, and with 2 little kids in a small holiday cottage far away from most of their toys that they can play indoors with, it's a little grating on one's sanity! We did manage to have one beautiful warm day so we hit the beach in the morning and a play farm in the afternoon. The boys loved the beach. It was William's first time and he made the most of it! Trying to stop him eating the sand was probably the hardest part. Sam as usual LOVED it, loves the sand, loves the splashing. In fact if we lived near the ocean he would probably end up being a surfer dude one day!

On the bright side the boys were wonderful car passengers there and back, probably helped by watching Bear in the Big Blue House on the dvd player.

Well, we've been back nearly 2 weeks now and are slowly working through our list of jobs that need doing, next on our list is painting the living room and kitchen!

The boys have been doing a lot of interacting this last week. Poor Sam, he is being chased now by a very fast William who will not leave him alone. He gets prodded, whacked, climbed on, and he just let's him do it! In fact, probably 75 percent of the time I think he is enjoying it. This is great, more interaction has got to be a good thing to help him progress.

Another plus is that Sam seems to be coming out of the toast phase he was in. He's now back to eating his instant oats for breakfast and yoghurts too. It may be a small thing to be so pleased about but when he eats such a tiny range of things it's great to know he's getting just that little bit of extra calcium and other vitamins.

Friday, 9 July 2010

My good boys!

We've had a few good days with Sam at the moment and I thought I would share what's been going on.

He had a brilliant afternoon at nursery a couple of days ago. When Andy went in to pick him up he discovered him in his full spare set of clothes wearing his wellies. It turned out that a teacher had been filling up the water table outside with a hose and Sam decided to have a bit of fun! It took 2 days for his shoes to dry out! Later that day, seeing as he was in such a good mood we decided to try cutting his hair. Last week Andy bought some brand new clippers that were much lighter, cordless and quieter than the old ones and I think this made all the difference because his hair was cut in record time and with absolutely no fuss whatsoever. It's his best haircut to date!

Yesterday was Sam's first dentist appointment and I was dreading it. Up until recently, trying to brush his teeth was a nightmare, he barely let me get the brush into his mouth. We got a battery powered toothbrush which he seems to really like, must be something to do with the vibrations. But he was so good at the dentist's, Andy took him in and the dentist actually managed to have a quick look and feel of his teeth and said we were doing a good job with him! Relief!!

Sam had another good day at nursery today which was amazing seeing as his support worker (who is lovely and he's really bonded with) was in a meeting with myself, the health visitor, the speech therapist and the specialist advisory teacher for autism. When we caught up with him after the meeting he was happily jumping up and down outside in the garden.
The meeting went really well. We mainly discussed how Sam had been since the last meeting. The nursery has put in a referral for statutory assessment for his special educational needs. He really does need a lot of support. Reading his support workers statement about him and hearing the specialist advisory teacher's report was very hard, no one particularly likes hearing about their child's 'profound' difficulties or reading them in black and white. But I know they have to paint a difficult (but truthful) painting of how severe his problems are in order to get the maximum amount of support for him. Some positives were mentioned in the meeting as well though, the other day at nursery Sam tracked and followed a little lad on a bike, lost him in a crowd of children and then found him and continued to follow him to see where he was going. He's not done this before so that's great! Any interest he has in watching the other children has got to be a good thing. Lots more was said as the meeting lasted a long time so I won't bore you with the rest!

William is getting even better with his crawling and has now figured out how to cruise around holding onto the furniture. He pulls himself up onto anything he can! He's pretty much the exact age that Sam was when he started cruising too so we might have another early walker. One funny quirk he has is that he seems to have some kind of love of the hoover! Not sure why but I can't bring it out when he is around as all he does is chase it and feel it, strange child! He also finds Sam very funny and giggles at him a lot. Sam is noticing William a lot more and just today thought it was very funny when William put his hand in his mouth! He didn't try and remove it, just let him have a feel with a smile on his face. A real brotherly bonding moment!

Thursday, 1 July 2010


Wow, I can't believe it is already the 1st of July. June has just whizzed by and I only did one post!

Well I went on the PECS workshop and it was great. I feel I've gained a lot more confidence to try Sam with it again. And also working through the practices in the workshop means at least I feel I know what I'm doing! We've bought a selection of sensory toys to try and use to start him off with the first phase. The last time we used bubbles as a reinforcer which we shouldn't have done, they are his ultimate favourite thing and afterwards we couldn't change the reinforcer without a tantrum. Now he's had a break from it all for a few months I hope we can start again fresh, not using bubbles!
Also on the course was a lovely lady who is the specialist advisory teacher for autism for our area and will be taking Sam on under her wing from September. Was great to meet her and she is going to be at our meeting next week.

William has just started crawling a few days ago and he is getting very good at it! After only a tentative few starts on his knees he's been all over the place! He also keeps trying to pull himself up onto things, but hasn't quite made it yet.

We are trying to get loads done at the moment, feels like there is so much to do and no time to do it. We want to convert the office into a nursery for William as he is not going to be able to share with Sam just yet, maybe in a few years time. We also need to clear out the loft room as it is full of junk, sort out stuff to do a car boot sale in a few weeks, and finish the dreaded DLA form (which is nearly there). As well as doing all the other bits of decorating/DIY that still needs finishing!

I am really looking forward to our holiday in a couple of weeks, just to be able to forget about everything for a week and de-stress!

Saturday, 5 June 2010


So Andy has now left his old job and started a new one! He was working at a busy pub in Ulverston, working loads of hours and mainly late into the night. Now he's the chef at a cafe back in Grange over Sands and is working mainly 9-5, so he's home every night to help me with the boys! Woohoo too, as the boys have been a bit difficult recently at bedtime. During the summer the owners of the cafe want it opening 3 evenings a week till about 8pm, but that is still so much better for us than before!

Sam is certainly liking having his daddy home every night, he's a real daddy's boy! William on the other hand is a real mummy's boy and to be honest it's getting a bit much. He's soooo clingy with me and doesn't like it when I leave the room. This is not something I experienced with Sam at all, he had no separation anxiety issues and would quite happily play whilst I got a few jobs done.

I have registered on a PECS workshop in Kendal in a couple of weeks time. I'm so excited about that. It would be nice to know what I was doing when we start trying PECS with Sam again.

We've had some really nice weather here now for a few days and I am really missing having a garden. Our tiny backyard (and I mean postage stamp tiny) is just not enough really. We've set up a makeshift sandbox for Sam out there and he delights in throwing it all about the yard, if I can find a pic I will add it to the post later. It would be nice though to be able to do some gardening again (this was a real therapeutic thing for me before) or sit out in the sun! Maybe one day we'll get one again.

Hope everyone is enjoying the sunny weather!

Wednesday, 12 May 2010

Goal 2!

Well, Sam wanted another kick around again this evening, so Andy (proudly) obliged. Here are a few pics of my lovely boy!

Tuesday, 11 May 2010


Andy needed to wash his motorbike today, so he drove it around the back of the house into the alley running parallel to our street. He took Sam out to hopefully 'watch' and to be honest I had my doubts about doing this. There are no gates to either end of this alley, one end leads onto the main road and the other onto a smaller side street. Either way, if he started running (as he likes to do) we could be in trouble!

But he loves Andy's motorbike even more than running so he stuck around and watched! Then he got his ball from our little back yard and had a kick around with Andy in the back alley. And I mean a proper kick around, he looked like a right little footballer (even had his Chelsea top on)! Then he chased Andy for a bit and Andy kept throwing him up into the air. Sam had such a look of happiness on his little face, it was truly wonderful.

It might seem like a really small, insignificant thing for your child to kick a ball with purpose but for us it was a brilliant achievement. Well done Sam!!

Friday, 7 May 2010

Team Around the Family

So I went to the 'team around the family' meeting today which was held at Sam's nursery. I took Sam to his classroom first and he went without any fuss or crying which was great!

It was nice meeting up with all Sam's professionals and we discussed mainly his education at nursery and the things that were already in place to help him and things that will be put in place to help him learn. We talked about his individual education plan (IEP) and how we are starting off with one goal for the moment and that goal is to get Sam to play/interact with his support worker for one minute. It sounds so simple, but it will probably be quite hard. He needs to want the interaction and to concentrate on it for a whole minute. This will be reviewed near the end of the summer term when we have another meeting. I left the meeting with a really good feeling and lots of good ideas.

One of the ideas is using a visual timetable with photos of the places Sam goes, people he sees, things he does etc. So he can see the order in which he'll do things and perhaps be able to communicate what he wants or where he wants to go. So I've got lots of photos to take!

Afterwards, it was too late for me to go anywhere else and too early to take Sam home, so I got to go outside and watch him playing. He was having so much fun running up and down a hill, a couple of little girls started following him and one kept trying to give him a hug, which of course he was wriggling to get away from! She said to me 'That's Samuel'! So funny, perhaps he has a little admirer!

As a family, we've managed to get transferred from our dentist back in Grange to Barrow instead which will make life a bit easier. Andy explained about Sam and they were quite happy to see him so as well as an appointment for me, we now we have an appointment for Sam to see the dentist for the first time ever near the end of May, eek! We have such a hard time cleaning his teeth that I'm kind of dreading the lecture I'm sure I'll get but we'll see what happens.

Tuesday, 4 May 2010

Getting the Right Support

Ok, so long time again since I last blogged, got lots going on, especially with Sam.

At the end of this week we've got a 'team around the family' meeting between myself, the health visitor, Sam's support worker at nursery and the Early Years teacher. And also perhaps his speech therapist. Hopefully we'll come up with a plan together of how best to help Sam learn and progress. I have been wanting something like this meeting to take place for ages now, so excited!

The Early Years teacher came and observed Sam at nursery one afternoon last week and had some suggestions for teaching him. Sam is very tactile as I've mentioned before and so she suggested using sensory toys (which they did the following session and he loved it!), also taking the indoors outdoors as he is so calm and happy when outside, and also intensive interaction therapy which is where the teacher mimics Sam in his noises/movements/play in order to get a response/interaction. This is something we do in our house anyway all the time!

Another thing we've been to is a Portage drop in playgroup for disabled children. They only take on a certain number of families but because the Portage worker is also the organiser of the local NAS branch and is a lovely person she invited us along to join in. It's good for Sam and good for us as parents to meet up with other parents. Two of the little boys who are also attending the playgroup go to Sam's nursery and one of them is in Sam's classes. We went to this morning's session and got to go into a sensory room. I really wasn't sure if Sam would be interested, but once the main lights were out and the bubble tube came on he was hooked! He loved the lights and movement, really was enthralled. So enthralled that he didn't want to leave the room! We've been told that we can use it any time it's available for free, just to call ahead and book it! So many doors are opening up to us for Sam and we are feeling very very lucky.

William is doing well, he's sitting up on his own (well for a few minutes anyway!) and he is really moving now in his baby walker! He seems to have discovered his voice this week and has been babbling away like mad (and happily screaming too!). I think he's going to be a chatterbox someday!

Sorry for such a long post, I should really write little and often! Oh well!

Thursday, 15 April 2010

Positive Things!

Well, once again sorry for not having blogged in ages! To be honest I just haven't felt there was anything to blog about!

This week has been a thoroughly positive one though. I have been feeling better in myself, the sun has been shining so I've been able to get out with the boys more, I've had extra help as both my parents have been to stay and now Andy is off work on holiday for a bit so that is great.

Sam started his new nursery class yesterday and despite being upset at first he got to go outside for about an hour so must have had a bit of fun. His teaching assistant asked us if we could bring him in 10 minutes after everyone else has come in as the coming and going of kids and their parents seems to be upsetting him a bit. He is going again tomorrow afternoon, so hopefully he'll be a little more settled.

Next week our area's early years teacher is going to observe him at nursery which I'm thrilled about. Finally something is happening for him. Our health visitor (HV) came to see us about Sam a couple of days ago and she is really pushing things forward. She wants to have a family meeting with some of the professionals working with Sam (like the early years teacher and his teaching assistant, maybe his SaLT) to work out what is the best way of supporting him and looking at his immediate future. I am so pleased about this. When you don't hear anything for a while you start to think you've dropped off the radar!

The HV also wants to form a local parent and toddler group for children with ASD which is terrific. Normal parent and toddler groups aren't always suitable for those kids with special needs no matter how much you want them to work. This way I can meet other mums and dads who are local and in my position.

Today we went out for the morning to Grizedale Forest, a tourist attraction in the lakes with lots of forest walks, mountain bike trails etc. We had a lovely walk, Sam actually walked a lot himself (we didn't bring his buggy) and stayed on the trail and everything when he wasn't having his hand held by Andy. He even got lifted onto Andy's shoulders and was very happy about it. He's only done it now a couple of times, and really doesn't know he should be clinging on so Andy has to hold his hands tightly, but even still this has been real progress for him this morning!

William is still lovely and smiley and growing ever bigger! He tries grabbing everything in sight including Sam (who I am beginning to think is liking the attention).

Well that's all for now!

Thursday, 18 March 2010

Loving this Nursery!!

Sam had an interesting nursery session yesterday. When we went to pick him up we noticed he had a reddish tinge to bits of his skin. At first I thought it he'd scraped himself falling or something like that but then we noticed it was paint. The nursery teachers had wondered what he'd been up to as he had gone very quiet and when they found him by the easel they saw that he had emptied a pot of red paint all down himself!! I've tried cleaning him up as best I can, but he is still pink in places!

We found out yesterday afternoon too that there was an parents open evening at the nursery last night, so we ended up going to that. We got to meet the support worker who will be working with Sam for his 2 afternoons a week from April onwards. She was so nice and explained how they would be helping Sam. Once he has been there a few weeks they will be assessing him with a specialist teacher and/or an educational psychologist so that they can apply to have a statutory assessment done by the local education authority (LEA). Hopefully this will lead to getting him a statement of special educational needs which is wonderful. Goodness knows he's going to need all the support we can get him. This nursery really have been making a wonderful effort with him already and now I'm feeling really positive about Sam's future there.

On another positive note, my diet/excercise programme has been going really well. Since the beginning of the year I've lost 11 pounds! All I've done really is cut out the snacking and gone out walking with the boys everyday.

We had a lovely walk this morning around Tarn Hows. For those friends reading this from abroad, we live near the Lake District. There are so many incredibly scenic places to visit and we love this particular one as the walk around the lake is pushchair friendly and it generally only takes us about an hour (without lots of stops). My legs may be regretting this tomorrow!

Thursday, 11 March 2010


I've wanted to blog for a few days now, but not been really sure what to say. I've had a few low days recently which have probably been down to sleep deprivation and if I am being honest (which I wanted to be on this blog) some post natal depression as well. Some days there is just a big cloud around my head and I can't seem to lift it. However yesterday and today have both been good days so hopefully I can keep up the momentum for tomorrow!

Sam's been a bit off colour this last couple of weeks. He used to be such a good sleeper and now he keeps waking in the night crying, sometimes once, sometimes several times and it can take an age to get him back to sleep. Other times he doesn't go back to sleep at all. He is also eating hardly anything at all. Breakfast is fine, lunch ok ish, but after that he seems to just not be interested in eating or drinking at all, even some of his favourite snacks. Just not sure what to do, perhaps he is too tired to eat? Really hope it's just a phase.

His nursery days are still going well. He's due to start nursery properly in April as it is the term after his third birthday. He will be moving to a classroom called the green room which has a special needs teacher. Over the next few weeks he'll be visiting the green room during his private nursery sessions to help get him used to it. This nursery is so caring I love it! When Andy dropped him in there yesterday a couple of little girls came running over to Sam and helped find his photo on the wall which goes over the peg for his coat and hat. Little things like that really bring a tear to my eye as I'm sure however lovely they were being, he hadn't a clue.

We have started to wean William now. I was getting a bit fed up with him trying to launch himself at our food all the time and getting upset when we wouldn't give him any. So he is on baby porridge in the morning and baby rice in the evening till he gets used to it, then we can start him on more interesting stuff! I did let him suck on a banana the other day, mainly because he lunged at one I was eating. He made light work of it that's for sure! He lurves his grub!

Spring is in the air here! We've had some lovely mild sunny days, long may they last. They really lift my spirits and hopefully also the weight off my bum as I can now get out more for exercise! Yay!

Tuesday, 2 March 2010


We went swimming for the first time in ages today. And it was William's first time in the water too. He started screaming at first, so much so that I thought about just taking him to get dressed and watching Sam from the sidelines. But we persevered and Andy got him back in the water soon after and he really loved it! We have one of those inflatable swimming seats and William was quite relaxed floating around in it, and was even turning himself around. Sam loved the pool as usual, and I think he probably drank his own weight in pool water!

Friday, 26 February 2010

Touchy Feely

Sam is a very tactile, touchy feely kind of a boy. From what I have researched, I think that he is under responsive to touch which is why he is always seemingly seeking out new 'feels'! One of his favourite things is sand, he loves to run it through his fingers! He LOVES all different textures.

One day at nursery when Andy picked him up, instead of sand in the sand tray they had put cous cous in it. We thought what a great idea! So we picked up a large container and change it daily with different bits. So far he's had the cous cous, a mixture of beans and also lentils. He loves this and spends loads of time playing in this tub.

Here he is with his beans, strangely allowing William in for a quick play as well! William gets a bit enthusiastic with the tub and usually there are beans flying everywhere!

William watches every move Sam makes and you can tell by him trying to leap off your lap that he's dying to run after him and have a play. We are encouraging gentle interaction between them which so far seems to be working. Sam tolerates him getting closer and closer, but only for a short time and he has to be in the right mood.

Monday, 22 February 2010


Well yesterday we woke up to a blanket of snow and even more falling. Sam was actually well enough this time and had the right gear to go out in it. So we took him around the block a little and in our back alley. You could tell that snow was the best stuff since sliced bread to him and he loved it. He touched it every now and then but the main game was just to shuffle through it. He was not happy about having to come inside. I for one am a little tired of all this freezing weather. Roll on summer when I can get out my sandals!!

Here is Sam flapping away at Andy throwing snowballs in the air!

William has been a good boy this week and slept through the night about 4 times now. You would think that would mean I was getting some sleep but no. Sam has been waking every night at about 3am and not really going back to sleep so no sleep for either me or Andy! Hopefully this is just a phase because I neeeeed my sleep.

One of the things I learned at the NAS meeting I attended was that we could be entitled to claim disability living allowance (DLA) from the government for Sam. I hadn't even thought of this as we haven't had his diagnosis yet, but you can apply without it and he does fit the requirements. The form is enormous and very daunting and from what I'm told is an absolute nightmare to fill in in that it needs to be worded absolutely correctly but also that it is all about what your child can't do in comparison to other children his age so is emotionally hard. Not looking forward to this at all, but the money would come in very handy for his care and could even pay for some extra nursery sessions. We can only apply and see what happens!

Friday, 12 February 2010

Moving Forward

Eek! I've not blogged for quite a while now, apologies! But really, not much has been going on till this last week so you've not missed much!

The boys both have colds again. Sam has been having tantrums again, but definitely not as bad as the last time he had a cold. I think a lot of the tantrums are to do with the lack of communication as well.

Sam's been at nursery again. Andy has dropped him off the last few weeks and he's been fine for the most part. This last time we both went to pick him up and the kids were all playing outside so we could see Sam through the fence. He had a big grin plastered on his face and was running around like an idiot! Even more importantly it looked almost like he was paying a bit of attention to the other kids (even chasing a couple!). It was so lovely to see him enjoying himself.

He also had an appointment this week with his SaLT. She is absolutely fab, really good with Sam and very honest with me. I know and she knows she can't diagnose him, but it is her opinion that he is autistic. It's a hard thing to hear, but a relief at the same time. At least we feel we have something to work from. She was very reassuring again. She thinks he is very bright and will definitely talk, it just might be the last skill he gains, so I could still be waiting a while to hear "mummy"!
She also told us that she had seen the May list for the children being discussed by the multi agency team and Sam isn't on it, so looks more like it will be towards the end of the year that we may get his diagnosis. Grrr, it's taking so long!

We booked a holiday to Cornwall for the summer holidays which I'm very excited about. The last time we went to Cornwall Sam was 8 months old, so this time we'll be on the lookout for more toddler activities (any suggestions please let me know!) Hopefully we'll get some nice weather so we can hit the beach!

This morning I went to a support meeting for my local branch of the National Autistic Society. The organiser was so welcoming and everyone seemed very nice. I had pictured it as being more of a moral support group (and I'm sure if I needed it, it would have been) but I got so much practical advice and suggestions too. The group were all mums who have diagnosed children. They have been there and done that and I'm sure will help point me in the direction I need to go to get help for Sam. I'm really looking forward to the next meeting and joining in with other activities too.

William is growing bigger everyday (his feet now touch the floor when he is in his baby walker!), is still smiley and now squeals and chuckles too! Everytime we sit him up on the sofa with his back leaning against the sofa he manages to get himself into a sitting position, at least for a few seconds before falling again. I can't believe he is 3 and a half months already!

Wednesday, 27 January 2010

Second Nursery Session and an Afternoon Off!

Sam went to his nursery again today for the afternoon. This time it was just myself who took him. I wasn't sure what to expect today as he had been awake since about 6am and would have usually taken a nap. But he seemed ok when we went in so I (gulp) left him! I returned 2 hours later and he was a little upset, mainly from being so tired, but he did really well, hopefully next time he will have had more sleep! I found it really hard to leave him there, but I guess it had to happen sometime. :)

So with Sam at nursery and our friend Kate watching William I had 2 whole hours to myself!! So I went and did some shopping, filled the car up with petrol and generally clock watched whilst checking my mobile phone for missed calls from the nursery (which never called by the way!). I stopped in loads of shops to browse which I could never do with either of the boys with me as they get bored easily. It was the strangest feeling but really nice too.

Sunday, 24 January 2010

Buggy Board!

So we went into Barrow yesterday and bought a buggy board for the back of William's buggy for Sam to stand on. I had put off buying one as Sam is not one to keep still - if he's not strapped in he's off on the run. But shifting the huge double buggy around is a bit difficult, so we thought we'd give the buggy board a go. So we went on an experimental trip into our town to the supermarket and back. Sam loved it! We still had him in his reins, but he loved the view and movement and stayed on the entire way there and back. He had a huge grin on his face, the kind he gets when we let him stand in the shopping trolley at Tesco! The only time he got off was in the store and Andy managed to keep him busy while I shopped. I still wouldn't use the board for taking the boys to the store by myself, but I can at least take a walk around the block and to the park! :) If I remember I'll try and take a photo and post it here sometime.

I'm full of a cold at the moment as is Andy and I think Sam might have picked it up too as the random tantrums have started up again today. :( If he does have a cold hopefully it won't be as bad as last time!

Kate, our friend came round today and cuddled William whilst I cleaned the work surfaces in the kitchen and did some other chores. I would normally not particularly like cleaning as I'm not very domestic, but it felt soooo good to be able to get to it. (William can be a very clingy baby and I usually only have my left hand free to do anything with!)

Wednesday, 20 January 2010

New Playgroup

Well, Sam started his new playgroup today. At the moment he'll just be going on a Wednesday afternoon which will prepare him when he starts proper nursery there in April. Both Andy and I went as we had to leave playgroup early for Sam's eye test at the hospital. We got to stay there with him as it was his first time, but he seemed to be just fine. I'm still going to be horribly nervous leaving him there without me or Andy but it has to be done!! The staff are aware of Sam's issues and I feel confident they will understand him. He has a keyworker, Karen and each keyworker cares for about 2 children so he'll definitely be looked after!

He only started to have one tantrum when we were there when a little girl jumped onto the bean bag he was playing with. He just didn't know what to do, bless him. As he was lying on the floor, the little girl went and lay down next to him I think to try and help but he was so confused it set him off again! Overall though he had fun. They have lots there to keep him busy!

After playgroup we had a hospital appointment for Sam with the eye doctor. We got there expecting to have to get drops in Sam's eyes, then a long wait to be seen by the doctor. But it turned out we had received the wrong appointment letter and only needed a quick 2 minute checkup. Everything was fine and he'll be seen again in 6 months.

And now to William! The chunky monkey has filled out his moses basket so is in a proper cot now. He's so smiley it's unreal!

Sunday, 10 January 2010

Great Day

We've had a really great day today. Gotten some jobs done and still managed to feel a bit relaxed. My mood was greatly helped by Andy doing the 'night shift' with William!

Sam has had a great day too, he's generally been a very happy boy. He was having such a good day in fact that we decided to start him off using PECS (picture exchange communication system). The idea is that he learns to communicate using little picture cards to tell us what he wants. We started off with Andy 'helping' him to pick up the card with the bubbles on and hand it to me. I take it saying the word bubbles and blow bubbles for him. This got repeated about 4 or 5 times and then Sam handed me the card by himself! He loves his bubbles so this went on for some time. Andy moved the card to different spots and even most of the way across the room and Sam would still look for it, fetch it and give it to me in order to get me to blow the bubbles. We'll be doing this again regularly and I'm hoping tomorrow to contact his speech and language therapist (SaLT) to get some more input or help. It's only a start but this has given me such a high today that I wanted to share it with you!

Wednesday, 6 January 2010

Glub Glub Glub

We've got a new fish tank! We thought that Sam might enjoy it as he likes water and bubbles and fish swimming around. At the moment we have some guppies and some tetras that were put in yesterday (unfortunately there was one casualty in the night). Sam seems a bit interested in it, but I think what he'd really like to do is put his hands in instead of watching it!

We are hoping Sam will start one daycare session a week starting next Wednesday until April when he will start proper nursery a few times a week. We have a teacher coming to our house on Monday for an introductory visit. We visited the nursery (Bram Longstaffe) back in September and we were very impressed. They are very experienced in dealing with children with special needs and both Andy and I feel confident that Sam will do well there. Whilst we were looking around, we stepped out of the classroom and left Sam playing for about 10 minutes. When we returned he hadn't noticed we'd gone and was quite happy busying himself at the water table so that was a good sign!
William has his first jabs tomorrow so hopefully that will go well although I'm sure there will be some screaming! Calpol will be at the ready!

Saturday, 2 January 2010

Sam's Birthday

Ok, so sorry to be all doom and gloom at the start of a new year, but unfortunately today has not gone well at all. Sam was still not feeling very well and has had tantrums/meltdowns all day long. He's been having really bad meltdowns for the last few days which are not normal for him at all, he's usually a fairly happy boy! I am ever so grateful to Kate, a family friend who has been coming over to help me with him whilst he's been like it and Andy's been at work. She's lovely and has really helped me to cope.

Sam did manage to pull it together for some of his presents which we presented to him unwrapped and also for the chocolate birthday cake strangely enough! :) He loved the sensory ball my mum got him and also the Handy Manny doll with tools (from the playhouse disney channel) that Andy and I got him. Then of course the new moon sand set went down a treat! (I'm sure moon sand has actual magical calming powers!)

Luckily he's gone to bed straight away tonight bless him, hopefully tomorrow will be a better day!