I’ve been busy lately writing a book all about our child’s journey living with Asperger’s and PDA. It’s taken a lot of any spare time that I had for the past 4 months. It’s still not finished but I feel a big part of it has been completed and I can breathe. The process has been pretty emotional and draining, reminiscing on some sad times for my baby boy. Some chapters took a little longer to finish as I would write these awful memories in stages to shield my mental health.
I have been thinking about writing a blog as I didn’t want you to think that I had disappeared from the face of the earth. I’m still here and we are still on an emotional roller coaster when it comes to my boy’s education. We have also embraced a lot of positives since the end of August.
A lot of my previous blogs have relayed information about negative experiences that challenged us whilst my child was in the mainstream setting. I also did a blog about all the positives that we saw when my child got offered his place in a specialist setting.
I’m in a positive mind frame at the moment and I guess I was wondering how I could make my blog positive when realistically we have doubt and uncertainty about what the future holds for our child.
I try to shut the worried thoughts to the back of my head and focus on where we are at right now. I have a happy boy that feels accepted. He’s learnt so much in the last 6 months, things that I thought would take a long time for him to understand, such as other peoples feelings, he has recognised other boy’s struggles and wanted to help them.
At the new setting, we knew that not everything would be plain sailing. I don’t think there is a perfect school and never went into this thinking there was one. I knew there would be boys similar to my child who was angry, frustrated and upset. With this mixture of children I knew that there would be incidents, but maybe I didn’t realise actually how many incidents would be going on each day. I possibly picked a quiet calm day to view the school and later viewed the school in such a different light to what really goes on every day. However, I am very supportive of the school because the staff really try hard, the school provide wonderful opportunities for the children but sadly my child was getting hurt by some of the boys. Not just the once but a number of times. I thought at first it may stop if we could talk to the head and hoped my child would be offered a quiet area of the classroom if things became too much for him. This approach created doubt too though – we were going back to the roots of my child being sat on his own outside the classroom which was how it used to be in mainstream. My ASD child was and is still very sensitive to touch, so a slap on the back, or being grabbed was a huge ordeal. My boy is an intelligent child but having him watching his back constantly is stopping his progress. I don’t want to talk about the school much because I believe that the school is amazing for some children there, but for the future, it’s not the right place for our child. It’s a hard decision because he has good days – more good days than bad, but I need to listen to my heart and my gut feeling.
Our boy needs to be in an educational setting which is relatively calm, a place where he can run out and have space if work becomes too much. Somewhere which is not in lockdown and where he can get out and come back after breathing for 5 minutes. Somewhere that he can reach his full potential. We have found that place, but it’s full to capacity and we may have to wait, we may have to jump through hoops or we may have to weigh up plan B but I will remain positive throughout. Things may not happen fast and I have braced myself for challenges ahead, but I am trying to view these challenges as all positive outcomes which make us a little stronger.
Our little boy at just 8 years old has learnt that everyone can be different. If they hurt him it isn’t on purpose and there was a reason behind it whether it be difficulties in social interactions or possible past trauma. Not everyone has been as lucky to have parents that have fought his corner and been supportive, that child that hurt my child didn’t want to hurt my boy – they just need help and support and possibly love. I’ve witnessed my boy friending another boy on his gaming device, after being stood on by this child on his first day. He forgave, he forgot and wanted to help him feel wanted, help him feel liked, give that child some self-esteem and to be a friend. To this day now he plays with this friend most nights, he believes he made this boy happy again. Isn’t that what life’s about? Making others happy and just being understanding.
I am proud of my boy and the learning curve that he has had since joining his new setting and I am positive for his future as he grows into a kind understanding little boy.
Whilst we are still on this educational roller coaster of a ride, I look back at all the positives, not the things that have gone wrong. I have only started to feel like this the past few months and its all about looking after yourself!
As a parent or carer, it is so important to look after your own mental health. The roller coaster can be a long ride and the uncertainty of when it will stop is always there. I remember when we were going through the EHCP process. On the bad days, we would choose to drink alcohol and eat takeaways, it became a vicious cycle of no energy – waking up on a morning with a thick head and the feeling of being anxious. Walking the dog with tears in my eyes and a hundred and one questions going round in my head. Then I began to hate myself, the weight was piling on and I would go into a state of hiding. I know friends and family don’t care what size I am, but I do. I will make excuses to not attend and hide, the confident bubbly me disappeared when I stopped looking after myself and then you get stuck in that awful cycle day in and day out.
This time around I’m stronger and clearer, I walk the dog thinking how lucky we are and how far my little boy has come, without the challenges that he has experienced he wouldn’t be the boy I have today. I don’t have questions in my head, I enjoy looking at the trees and the sunlight rays that come through feeling grateful.
I’m enjoying eating healthy and making nutritious food and I am starting the process of losing the 3 stone that I gained by being stressed and unhappy. (1 stone gone… another 2 to go)
I’m enjoying making time for me at the gym, it’s important to take an hour out of each day to try and do something for you. This week isn’t going as planned with half term, but instead, I woke early at 5am and took advantage of an hour before my husband left for work. There is always an hour, you just need to make it happen.
Meet with friends that can relate with you, laugh and talk about random stuff! I’ve met a wonderful warrior mum who listens to me babble most days, some days its conversations about our children, but then others can be totally random like her husband purchasing a didgeridoo! Or her listening to me babbling on about my fear when I get my eyelash extensions!! Just general girl chat! Try to surround yourself in a happy bubble, and if it’s not happy make it happy by helping others. As long as there is a happy element in what we do I think I’m on the right path.
I am really unsure what the future holds for my child’s education it seems the LA is overloaded with children just like mine that need the right placement but worrying and stressing isn’t going to make things easier. You need to be strong and have a clear mind, I’ve also noticed the happier I am the more calmer my child is, it’s hard for him to face uncertainty and I need to be the rock for my boy which I always will be.
Keep smiling and raise your head high.