Thursday, 25 April 2013

A to Z Blogging Challenge - S is for

S is for sleep


What is that over-rated thing called sleep?

Something only the weak need? Yes in the eyes of my eldest son!

Sleep was not an issue when Little Man was a young baby, he started sleeping through at about 12 weeks old and was a dream.

At a year, he decided he had had his fill of sleep and stopped his daytime sleeps and his nighttime sleeping. He would go to sleep for about 3 hours and then think he had had enough and be awake through the night.

We tried everything - diet, meditation, sedation (he was one of the rare few who are not affected by the sedative), soothing bedtime routines, background noise, night light, no nightlife, door open, door shut, controlled crying, staying with him and each night a step closer to the door, doctors, health visitors, putting him in a bed at the age of 18 months, EVERYTHING.

Some mornings I would get up and do a mental calculation and I can't believe it now but I clearly remember days where I would think things were improving as I had had 2 hours broken sleep which was getting better than the previous 1 hour broken sleep a night.

I was a mess being so tired, I got to the stage where I would wake on the landing floor or propped against his door, I drove through red lights as they simply didn't register.

Nothing we did seemed to help his sleep pattern.

It simply boiled down to the fact, he does not need much sleep, neither did my husband for that matter until he hit 40 and old age has started to catch up.

He finally started settling when he was about 4, he still spends a great deal of time awake in the night but he stays in bed, doesn't generally disturb us, and tends to look at his books or have a little play and then drop back off again. I often hear him but can just roll over and go back to sleep.

Right now work is incredibly busy and I try and fit my hours round the boys and school hours, so this often means in busy periods getting up at silly-o-clock to get a full working day in so I am back to being a walking Zombie at the moment!

A to Z Blogging Challenge - R is for

R is for Running

I think last year, I may have don R is for running as well, but I am seriously addicted to it now!

18 months ago, I was not capable of running to the end of our street (about 200 yards) - seriously. It wasn't a lack of fitness really as I could easily jump in a pool and swim 50 lengths or walk over 10 miles, it was simply an inability to run.

Anyone else had/have that problem? I use to dread those horrid miserable, drizzly school days where they didn't know what to do with you at PE time so would send you on the dreaded cross country death run.

Where I live my senior school is on the side of a massive park and you've guessed it, we use to have to run round that park. I never made 1 side, let alone all 4 (in total about 1.5 miles) and that inability to run has stayed with me.

18 months ago I was challenged to a half marathon and being one to never turn my back on a challenge - I decided to overcome my running phobia.

I got decent trainers and set off under the cover of darkness with only the dog and music for company.

Initially that first 200 yards was hard enough but then I started setting myself new lamp post goals - 1 lamp-post further each run and then I suddenly seemed to break a barrier and I was off.

To be perfectly honest, the mad hound trying to charge ahead of me who is completely untrainable on a lead possible pulls me along rather than me 'running' but it all adds to my distance!

This time last year - I entered my first race, I don't do things by half so did a half marathon which was an amazing experience and I stunned myself in completing it in 2.35 hours - i don't think I have ever been more proud of myself.

Yesterday I got an email through to say I have been awarded a place through St Gemma's Hospice in Leeds who cared so lovingly for my Uncle and his family last week for - wait for this only The Great North Run!

I am both excited and scared witless about this! But bring it on!

Wednesday, 24 April 2013

A to Z Blogging Challenge Q is for

Q is for.....

To be fair I couldnt think of a Q to blog about and I found myself trying to think of things beginning with Q and that is what has formed the basis of my post, just how easy is it to think of 20 words that begin with Q without looking at a dictionary?

  1. Quiet
  2. Question
  3. Quantum
  4. Query
  5. Quick
  6. Quirky
  7. Queen
  8. Quaint - struggling a little now!
  9. Queer
  10. Quack
  11. Quake
  12. Queue
  13. Quip
  14. Quilt
  15. Quid
  16. Quest
  17. Quota
  18. Quote
  19. Quiz
  20. Quill
I have really struggled with that list! Can you add any?

A to Z Blogging Challenge P is for....

P is for Priorities

Ever since they were born, the boys have been my priority, they come before anything and everything else - I live and breathe for those 2 boys.

I am finding more and more though I am not prioritizing time with them. I need to step away from the computer and sit and watch TV with them, run round the field with them, go to the playground after school, instead I seem to spend every night rushing home to get back to the computer to work.

After the events of last week and losing my Uncle and hearing the vicar recounting all the memories his 4 son's had shared with him of their childhood with their Dad, made me realise that although I work for myself so being prompt and ahead of the game is essential when it comes to deadlines and responding to things to keep repeat business coming in, in reality there is nothing that won't wait until tomorrow or until the little fellas are in bed.

I know I am now very behind on this challenge and wouldnt be surprised if I have been stuck off the list, but I have been really run off my feet work and not wanting to spend additional time on this computer!

I want to spend more time with them, making memories x

Saturday, 20 April 2013

A to Z Blogging Challenge O is for....

O is for Obsessions

Back to my little theme for this challenge which has been about Little man and ADHD and ASD. I had a little diversity the last few days due to personal family stuff but O is for obsessions.

One of the biggest clues that Little Man may be on the autistic spectrum was his obsessive behaviour. He would get fixated on one thing.

As a toddler it began with Thomas the Tank Engine DVDs. We didn't think much of it at the time, with him being our first we thought it was normal. He would watch his Thomas the Tank Engine DVD on repeat, and then get fixated for months on one episode. Even at the age of 2 he worked out how to rewind the DVD so he could go back to the start of this one particular episode (the one with 'Boulder' high up on the cliff watching the trains for anyone who might be interested!). Nothing else interested him. He would also get fixated on one toy which had to go everywhere with him, it was more than just having a favourite toy, and often it was a tiny silly toy - like a plastic tarydactyl that was meant to sit on top of a pencil.

He never got obsessed with lining toys up or things being in colour order which is a classic sign of autism so his obsessions were not something we initially picked up on, it is only looking back we realise it or as people starting mentioning it.

As he has got older he get obsessed with various things - about the age of 6 it was club penguin, he lived and breathed it, all drawings, all conversation, all play was club penguin, he literally was incapable of talking to you about anything else. This lasted about 2 years. From there we moved onto Moshi Monsters - this was a little briefer only about a year, the we had spongebob, and again went through wathcing the same one episode for months and we are now obsessed with Lego, we know everything there is to know about Lego. He has thousands of pieces and can look at one his brother has and know it belongs to him. He has a special box in his bed which his treasures go in and no-one can so much as touch this box.

Obsessions are quite hard to deal with as it is their sole interest. I have to admit we are quite thankful this latest one is something so normal, and something everyone else can actually relate to and talk to him about - Lego is the way forward!

Friday, 19 April 2013

A-Z Blogging Challenge N is for....

N is for Narked!

I may just be feeling narked due to the funeral I've been at all day but the bottom line is t'husband really narks me at time and it is becoming more and more frequent and really getting me down.

As he gets older, he gets more and more like his mum, who he hates and doesn't have any contact with due to her selfishness and attitude but I honestly keep seeing more and more of her in him and to be frank it scares me.

Tonight I am well & truly hacked off as hubby got in from work, saw the boys and made straight for his computer. I was upstairs changing to take Little Man out to a games club he likes. I had to call him up and as he walks in he starts going on about his day and a stupid client - moaning. I then say our neighbour 2 doors down has cut a tree down and offered us the wood to burn so i asked hubby to pop round to get it. Simple answer was No.

Reason - new family are Polish and spent about 5 months gutting the house & garden - all workmen were Polish friends or family helping out. Hubby couldn't stomach this and constantly bitched about how we never get that, how we have to pay full price - you get the picture. The house is also one of the few on the road that doesn't have a driveway, they have 2 cars - 1 is parked on the road outside their house and the other now goes outside our house BUT they park higher up so we can't even see it from our window. It really pisses me off that he can't be happy for other people, that he is so bitter and feels so hard done by. His attitude that they shouldn't have bought a house with no drive if they have 2 cars - what the hell! It's a public road! They are not harming anyone. We can fit at least 3 cars on our drive so anyone visiting can park behind our cars.

It really gets me down, the moaning, the bitterness, and he's getting worse :(

A-Z Blogging Challenge M is for...

M is for memories

To be honest I had my M post planned right from the start and it was meant to be M for Medication. I thought I would blog about our really tough decision over whether to medicate our Little Man or not, our fears on the effect it could have, the what ifs and buts, however this week has been a really tough one on a personal level, hence my lack of blogging.

Very sadly my uncle died at the end of last week. He has oesophageal cancer about 9 years ago, got caught early, treated and been clear for years. He felt around February time something might not be right so visited his GP. Blood tests were fine but he decided to see his old consultant to put his mind at rest. To cut a long story short he collapsed with a blocked bowel and they had to operate and remove all his bowel, in the process discovering he had bowel cancer which had spread to the liver - silently inhabiting his other organs.

Long and short of it, he died very suddenly, unexpected as the prognosis was about 12-18 months.

Today was the funeral. I didn't take the boys.

It made me realise how important making memories is. It's now my parents generation who are getting old, getting ill and dying.

It was my Dad's younger brother. I want my boys to always have fond memories, many different memories - not just of their grandparents but of us as a family unit.

Sometimes you should sit back, smell the roses and take time out with your kids, work can wait, nothing is as important as your family x

Monday, 15 April 2013

A to Z Blogging Challenge L is for....

L is for Lego

Lego, we have Lego everywhere in this house, no matter where you look you will find Lego, and I mean everywhere, it even managed to get into a cake that Little Man made for the Great British Bake Off in school for Red Nose day, luckily Mini Man's teacher bought the whole cake and it was her son who found himself crunching on it and not a poor 2 year old who could have choked on it!

Lego is Little Man's current obsession. He has a box in his bed with 1000's of bits of special Lego in which no-one can touch. We have worked out he saves his money and buys the really expensive models just for the figures, or trinkets that comes with them.

We even know the history of Lego off by heart, having had to read it to him many times, infact I think I know more facts about Lego off the top of my head than I do about British Kings and Queens.

Facts about Lego

  • It was first produced in about 1947 as a car which could be taken to pieces and rebuilt
  • Lego originates from Denmark, its inventor originally producing furniture and then wooden toys
  • The actual idea of building bricks was an English invention by a company called KiddieKraft who produced hollow bricks with 4 studs on the top to allow stacking.
  • The Danish founder of the Lego group ran a competition within his staff to name the company with the winner receiving a bottle of homemade wine!
  • The word Lego can be translated as 'I put together' in Latin although this was not known at the time of choosing it
  • Sales for plastic toys were initially poor until in the 1950s Lego introduced the idea of a town plan using the Lego bricks
  • The first instruction manual was included with Lego in 1964
  • The first Legoland park was opened in 1968 - we have been to the Windsor resort a number of times and would love to take the boys to this one in Denmark, Billund - the original, I have been told there is no comparison and it is fantastic!
  • By 1970 the business had taken off.
  • 1978 saw the introduction of my Little Man's favourite bits the Lego minifigures
  • By 1979 specific sets were being created
The rest is history as they say

Friday, 12 April 2013

A to Z Blogging Challenge K is for ......

K is for Knackered!

Since having children - that is how I feel permanently!

For the first year of Little Man, I didn't, I mean we both experienced the new parent knackeredness, but once he started sleeping through which was by 3 months, that past. At a year old though sleep became a rare commodity in our household, with Little Man deciding it was something only the weak needed and was clearly over-rated.

I often woke up propped against the doorframe of his room, cold and stiff, I remember calculating my total number of hours sleep - all be it broken when getting up for work, and actually thinking, that’s a good night, I've had over 2 hours. Husband sleeps very heavily and use to get cross I never woke him but I knew I could get up, settle him and then be back in bed before husband would have even woken up sufficiently.

Little Man didn’t go back to sleep and I was advised that I should keep telling him I would check on him even at a year old and it was important I did those checks, but each time stretch the checking period by an extra minute. So I would settle him, get back into bed, then wake to my alarm 10 minutes later to do that check, next time I would set it for 11 minutes etc. I kept a sleep diary and some nights he would be up over 30 times. I refused to give in and take him in with us.

We tread a sedative from the consultant but Little Man had one of the rare reactions where it sends them more hyper and he over-rode it, we tried camomile tea, we tried baths, we tried strict routines, we tried ignoring, we tried controlled crying, we tried EVERYTHING!

Mini Man came along when he was 3 and Mini Man had a heart condition, was in heart failure for the first 14 months and deemed failure to thrive which required him to be fed on a 2 hourly basis so between the 2 of them I almost decided sleep was a no go. I use to sleep in my car at lunchtime when at work, and sometimes had to tell people I was going to find various people round the building but instead locked myself in the changing rooms and had 15 minute powernaps.

Redbull and coffee became my best friends!

Little Man still doesn’t sleep well but at 9 is happy enough to lie and look at his books or play with Lego and rarely disturbs us.

I work for myself though and plan my hours round the boys which often involves me getting up about 5 or 5.30 to get a couple of hours in before the house wakes.

I panic my tiredness is due to an illness (yes I have a major anxiety of dying from cancer). In reality I think it is more likely the fact, I don’t go to bed until 11.30pm or even midnight and then only get 5 hours or so.


A to Z Blogging Challenge J is for....

J is for Joy

This is a very simple post


  1. A feeling of great pleasure and happiness.
  2. A thing that causes joy.

Delight - gladness - pleasure - mirth - rejoicing

That is what I feel on a daily basis everything time I think or look at my boys.

 They are my life, they are my reason for living and give me the most unconditional, unbelievable amount of joy - quirks and all, I wouldn't change one moment

Liebster Award

{Liebster Award}

@Glasgow_mummy has tagged me to take part in a meme.

I have also done a similar meme to this before, but as I am trying to get back into my blogging and get my readership up again, I am going to take part and a guilty secret is I actually really enjoy these and then reading anyone else's who takes part.

The rules are that you have to share 11 facts about yourself, answer 11 questions that have been asked (in my case by @glasgow_mummy), ask 11 questions and then tag 11 other bloggers to participate.

So here goes...

11 facts

1. I have a PhD in Medicinal Chemistry (although my degree had nothing to do with chemistry) - sorry @glasgow_mummy I stole the PhD idea from you.
2. My most exhilarating experience was doing a boudoir shoot just before Christmas
3. Our dog is called Flapjack and is completely mad
4. I have climbed an active volcano which is constantly erupting (only tiny ones I hasten to add)
5. I am as blind as a bat & if I won the lottery would pay to have corrected lenses permanently put in my eyes
6. One of my favourite foods is raw mushrooms and humous
7. My current favourite TV series are Dexter, Breaking Bad and Supernatural
8. I am the most empty headed, dizzy disorganised people you could meet in everyday life, often being asked if I bought my PhD off the Internet. Job wise though I am a successful project manager
9. I love cooking, especially baking and decorating cakes
10. I am sat on a train typing this on my phone
11. I'm secretly a little lonely and would love to find a new hobby allowing me to meet new people and have some fun

11 questions for me

1. Have you ever been pulled over by the traffic police?
Once the other week to tell me I had a brake light out but my heart stopped when I saw the flashing lights!

2. If you could live anywhere in the world, where would it be and why?

Hard one - I would live anywhere as long as my boys were with me and I was close to family and we were happy (although somewhere hot with all the above would be lovely)

3. What is your favourite flavour of crisps?
Currently Salt & Vinegar McCoys or Walkers Worcester Sauce with a pint of cider

4. What's the last movie you watched?
Ice Age 4 with the boys - brilliant

 5. What is your favourite thing to wear?
Summer clothes as it means its beautiful weather

6. What does your last text message say?
Oi missus, you, me, wine, food, when? 

7. What were you doing at 12 noon yesterday?
On a work teleconference with a lymphoma specialist from Denmark and a colleague

8. What is your most treasured memory?
The first time I was taken to see my boys when they were born & the first time we were allowed a proper cuddle

9. What do you think is the single best decision you've made in your life so far?
To go self employed and work around the boys 

10. Do you have a pet?
1 black mad Labrador 

11. What is on your bedside table?
A lamp, glasses, contact lens kit & solution, Lego, 2 teddies from my childhood (Flat Ted & Fred), more Lego and my watch

11 questions from me

1. What is the most daring, outrageous thing you have ever done?

2. What is your favourite travel destination?

3. What are the best & worst things about blogging?

4. What was your most embarrassing moment?

5. What is your favourite pass time?

6. Where was the last place you travelled to and for what reason? 

7. Do you regret any decisions you have made?

8. What is / was your chosen career?

9. Have you ever been made redundant or sacked?

10. What were your dreams as a 16 year old?

11. What is your favourite flower? 

Now to tag 11 bloggers which could be interesting from my phone! 

OK I give up, this is a nightmare on my phone so anyone who wants to take part, please, please do!

Wednesday, 10 April 2013

A to Z Blogging Challenge I is for ....

I is for Injections

As I mentioned yesterday in H Little Man is not a big fan of hospitals nor is he a fan of injections - not that he's thankfully had many.

All children on the autistic spectrum can react to certain things in an intense way. Other than needing the venflons being inserted for his operations, the only other injections Little Man has ever had are his boosters as a baby which he took like any normal baby, so I was not expecting him to be a problem when 2 years ago I took Mini Man for his flu jab which he has to have due to a heart condition.

Little Man was happily playing on the floor of the nurses room by the bed, Mini Man was on my knee, Nurse distracted Mini Man and went for it, Mini Man howled, Little Man glanced up, took one look at the needle and shot right under the bed, into the far corner, crying and shouting 'make it stop, she's hurting him, get her away from him'.

There I was trying to calm one child down who had had the injection while crawling on my knees undera medical bed trying to cox the other one out which took about 15 minutes. All the while the nurse looked on totally bemused, didn't offer any help and seemed clueless as to what to do.

It amazes me the number of 'healthcare professionals' who don't have a clue how to react round a child with any form of autism (I don't think my amusement at how ridiculous I probably looked helped either but the choice was laugh or join them crying so I opted for the laugh.

Note to self that day Do not take Little Man to unnecessary appointments at all costs!

Tuesday, 9 April 2013

A - Z Blogging Challenge H is for ....

H is for hospitals

Over the early years we got very familiar with a number of hospitals.

My first real experience of being in hospital was when I was admitted at just under 30 weeks pregnant with blood pressure of 128/178 although I had zero symptoms and it was a late routine appointment that spotted it. I was kept in 4 days then sent home. Less than 48 hrs later I was in an emergency situation having had an abruption at home at just under 31 wks & had Little Man by emergency c section - my little 2lb 9 man. Despite this rough start he did very well in PICU & SCBU & was home after 6 weeks.

At 8 weeks old he got RSV, double pneumonia & suspected meningitis. We nearly lost him. The local hospital's SCBU had been closed the previous year so they didn't have small enough needles to get lines in him or to give him oxygen. the doctor who worked on him that night is my hero, he faught to get lines in & despite it being very traumatic & hearing our baby cry properly for the 1st time, he saved him and the young nurse Amy who stood bagging him & giving him cardiac massage until a specialist transfer team arrived from Great Ormond Street who intubated him & put him in a special pod to take him to Great Ormond St intensive care unit.

Next stop was a strangulated hernia at 16 wks old, again an emergency transfer to GOSH for emergency surgery.

Since then he's had 3 more hernia ops at the local hospital.  

First one was aged 4 - he reacted very badly to the anaesthetic. The operating theatres were in a different building to the children's ward and normally patients are taken through the under ground tunnel between buildings. This was closed for building works so we walked the 100 yards. When he came out of theatre we could hear him screaming as we came out of the lifts. We were greeted with him being restrained by not 1 but 2 nurses, who he was trying to kick, bite, thump, head butt anything  really. He was also trying to rip the IV out of his hand. I picked him up & he calmed down dissolving in sobs. He wouldn't go to his dad or on the trolley, he also refused to let me sit in a wheel chair with him, so I carried him. At the doors I turned to walk back to the children's building but was stopped & told we had to be transported in an ambulance right round the one way hospital system. Little Man heard the word ambulance and flipped, I could barely hold him, I was bitten, scratched, hair pulled, all while he was screaming not to make him go in the ambulance. I was physically shoved in. In hind sight I should have just turned & walked but I think I was so focused on not dropping him I couldn't see that. Once out of the ambulance he calmed down. He split his internal stitches with all the stress so a few weeks later the hernia was back.

The next 2 hernia ops were a lot less traumatic and done at the sane time as we knew what to expect and how to prepare him better. He still went a little mad after the anaesthetic but we were there as he woke and they had a sedative ready and waiting!

He is petrified of ambulances and hospitals - I firmly believe he remembers all the interventions in his first 16 weeks.

A-Z Blogging Challenge G is for

G is for Games

Games are very important to my son.

The brain of a child with ADHD is working at a rapid rate, our son describes his brain as whizzing around his head so he can't think straight or concentrate.

We were advised to limit his time on games consoles as these games also move at a very rapid pace and therefore feed the brain of a person with ADHD and do not help them to learn to slow it down.

However, there are literally 100's of games now termed 'brain training' and just doing a basic Internet search and using the search term ADHD and games and brain, will lead to many results, below are just a few that I have come across and reading these makes me wonder how games can be viewed as a bad thing, surely with correct use they could infact be very beneficial and teach some life-long skills. We certainly use games, more as a behavioural thing at the moment, they are important to our son and if he is mis-behaving he knows that he will lose 10 minutes of game time at a go, and as we limit it he understands the consequences.

NASA’s latest software technology transforms ordinary video game play into highly effective treatment for attention deficit, hyperactivity, and autistic spectrum disorders. Programming specific to your child trains flexibility of focus and attention. Enhanced ability to learn occurs naturally while playing favourite video games - XBox, PlayStation, and more, with S.M.A.R.T. BrainGamesTM

Feel-Better Games

The games, which are available for download or free play online at, rely on similar principles as other games used for AD/HD. With repetitive responses, players develop new connections in the brain that may enhance self-esteem.
The ADHD Brain
Games are a great way for kids with ADHD to practice following rules,  anticipating results of their actions, and staying on task until completion. Many kids with ADHD enjoy spending time on the computer, consequently computer games can be a fun way to practice skills without feeling like they're spending extra time in therapy. There are multi-user games as well to allow kids to practice sharing and cooperating as well as social skills
Playing games on the computer, which can be viewed as a treat rather a chore, can be a great way to include stress-free unstructured activities that still help a child progress with skills they need to manage their disorder.
Skills that can help a child with ADHD include:
  • Attention
  • Impulse Control
  • Organizational Skills
  • Anger Management
  • Social Skills
  • Self Esteem
  • Cooperation
All of these skills can be practiced with various computer games.

Monday, 8 April 2013

A to Z Blogging Challenge - F is for.....

F is for Frustration

This is the definition given for frustration
  1. The feeling of being upset or annoyed, esp. because of inability to change or achieve something.
  2. An event or circumstance that causes one to have such a feeling.

This is something we have faced on numerous occasions over the years when dealing with ADHD and ASD.

It comes in many different forms from frustration as a parent, frustration of a sibling and frustration as a sufferer. 

As a parent we have battled to get a diagnosis, rarely finding someone who took our concerns seriously and becoming increasingly frustrated with the repeated phrase 'he's just emotionally behind due to his prematurity' but there is only so long this can be said when we see no progress only things getting worse. Once we got that golden diagnosis we rapidly realised it didn't actually mean much other than an official name. We are now facing educational frustrations - ADHD is severely affecting our sons concentration span, a well documented symptom which is seriously holding him back in his learning but ADHD is not recognised as a disability that requires support, so he is falling further and further behind. 
As a sibling Mini Man has had his share of frustration. A child with ADHD and ASD needs a lot more attention and managing than a neurotypical child and as a result, without even realising it Mini Man has very much been over shadowed - how this became so apparent will become clear in the 'M' post. Mini Man now shouts all the time and constantly interrupts but we are coming to the conclusion it's because as a young child this was the only way he felt he could be heard.

As a sufferer Little Man faces daily challenges and frustrations and at times those frustrations manifest themselves in a melt down where he simply loses it and has no idea what he is doing. They are rare thankfully but an awful experience for all involved. He faces the frustration of being left behind in school, being forced to participate in group activities, of not understanding instructions unless they are very direct for example - can you put your shows on ' will lead to no response or action and he is left upset and frustrated by then being shouted at. Say it another way and say 'please go and put your shoes on' is fine, he does it straight away as it is a direct instruction, not a question as he perceives the first one to be. School can't adapt their whole teaching method to take this into account. We are now facing frustration that he is becoming aware he is different and behind.

We all face frustration from time to time but a child or adult with ADHD or ASD faces a much greater degree on a daily basis 

Friday, 5 April 2013

Listography 5 that are better than One Direction

I am really excited to discover Kate's listography is still going! I use to participate regularly and loved the different mix of subjects and things to think about, often leading to an afternoon of pure reminiscing.

 My blogging mojo went AWOL recently, leaving home and hiding under a distant bush so I have been away from here for a while, but now the prodigal blogging has returned I am jumping back in with both feet.

This list has been prompted by Kate's 6 year old declaring David Bowie was better than One Direction, while her 8 year old nearly passed out in horror. What have our kids got to look forward to that is better than One Direction?

  1. Traveling / backpacking - one of the best things i have ever done. Leaving University half way through my second year due to illness was a huge decision but after a few months back home and getting back to full health, I needed more, so I did what any normal 19 year old would do, jumped on a train without telling anyone, visited an organisation in Manchester, and there And then booked a trip to a kibbutz in Israel leaving 10 days later. I planned to go for 6 weeks, 6 months later I returned a different person having lived and worked the land, driven tractors, tended bananas & avocado, plucked chickens, termed across the Negev desert on camels with the Bedouins, floated on the Dead Sea, swam in the Red Sea, slept on beaches, climbed Masada to see sunrise and floated down the Nile for 3 weeks on £100 taking in the pyramids, Cairo, Luxor, Aswan, etc. I returned and transferred university and had the time of my life, fitting in much more travelling.
  2. Falling in love - need I say more
  3. First concert - just the thrill of it, the excitement. My first concert was to Dublin to see U2 on their Zooropa tour!
  4. Watching your child sleep - even now 9 and 6 years on the thrill and joy I get from standing watching them sleep, the innocence on their faces, mouths slightly parted, cheeks all rosy, and those sleepy cuddles.
  5. Leaving home - either to your own place, halls of residence, buying your first place and that feeling of reaching the goal of independence, adulthood, the pride you feel.
When I read Kate's prompt I thought this would be easy, but infact it was really difficult - can you add any, if you can pop over to Kate's blog and add your link x 

A to Z Blogging Challenge E is for....

E is for Education

Education is something my son is struggling with. He loves school to the point he cries every morning of the holidays as he wants to go, he loves the routine and knows exactly where he is and what he is doing - which is one reason they class him as being on the autistic spectrum. The holidays thrown him, the routine changes and he doesn't like it.

He is very keen to learn, he loves watching science programmes and then trying to recreate the experiments in my kitchen without me there (eek) and he is constantly asking questions to ask about things. His vocabulary and ability to hold a sensible conversation is also good, and in line with what you would expect for his age.

On paper however, it is a different matter. His reading age has been assessed as age 7 (he is 9), his spelling age 5.5 and they haven't even looked at his maths yet but lets just say he is still struggling with the basics and the 2 x table.

Frustratingly, there is little support. He will not qualify for a statement of educational need but he does need constant support to keep him focused and on-task. He doesn't even know his basic phonics, he cant tell you what sound 'ae' or 'oa' or 'er' make, which make spelling impossible for him. His homework is illegible but his teacher still gives him a star and tells him it is a lovely piece of work, well thought out etc, so he perceives this as doing well. While I understand to correct his work would be soul destroying surely they should be looking at it and seeing they need to work on his spelling and focus on common ones he can;t get.

There are reports to show that many children with ADHD are excluded from school, in some cases parents are being told to medicate their child or not send them to school - We are very fortunate not to be in this position, the school is very helpful.

A child in need of additional help should be put on an IEP - Individualised Education plan which gives them specific targets and works on areas of need. From an IEP, School Action Plus can be implemented.

These we have in place however the extra support he gets is dependent on what is available in school as he is not entitled to any specific funding. This for us is very frustrating as he is a bright little man who is struggling and being failed by the system, the way the rest of children are taught just does not suit him, I think he may be dyslexic as well and we are currently investigating this, but in the mean time he just falls further and further behind and there is only so much that can be done at home, by home time he is exhausted, not switched on and has had enough.

Thursday, 4 April 2013

A to Z Blogging Challenge D is for......

D is for Diagnosis

Despite the thinking that ADHD is a very overdiagnosed condition and an excuse for poor behaviour, getting a diagnosis is infact not easy and a long process.

Our son displayed all signs of ADHD from the age of about 2 but we had to bang our heads against brick walls until he was 6 as they refuse to do any testing before this age. Nope sorry I lie. we do have written in a letter that we were a rare, special case where they had agreed to test prior to his 6th birthday but it wasn't the norm. That would be a full 19 days before his 6th birthday which as it is at Christmas, meant the final diagnosis was held up until after the holiday period so probably no quicker than if we had waited.

First referrals need to be made after numerous (make that 100s) of visits to your GP and health visitor.

You then see either the Child Development Centre or your local CAMHS (Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services) which one will depend on their structure. We skipped the CDC as our CAMHS had a paediatrician and child psychologist. However, there is normally a huge waiting list

The nursery or school also need to have highlighted concerns.

Your child will then be assessed to ensure there is no other reason for their behaviour, a physical examination carried out, intelligence tests etc, family background and circumstances are looked at and their teachers contacted.

Following this diagnostic tests known as DSM-IV (The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders,, 4th edition) is used and the Connor questionnaire for parents and teachers

The fact sheet published by ADDISS fully explains the different types of behaviour and symptoms your child must be displaying in order to even be considered for a diagnosis. It is an interesting read.

Spam, Spam, Spam, Spam, Spam

So I want to talk about Spam, not the tinned variety that I have nightmares about - spam and tomato sauce sandwiches which made me retch -yes really - I swear I will never put my kids through anything so hideous!) remember, but the electronic type of Spam

I am taking part in the A to Z Blogging Challenge and one of the criteria is to turn word verification off from your comments so it is easier for visitors to pop by.

Having duly done this though I am being spammed, the latest about genital products, yesterday I could enhance my manhood - bit difficult seeing as though I was a female last time I looked and loads with links in which quite frankly I would only click if I were VERY stupid but we are only 4 days into this challenge and the Spam is really doing the old noggin in already

I am going to take to the great oracle twitter and ask for advice but has anyone got any advice on how to Banish the Spam? (other than turn word verification back on)

Wednesday, 3 April 2013

A to Z blogging Challenge - C is for......

C is for Coping and Challenges!

ADHD and autism have brought with it difficult times, finding methods to cope and over come challenges.

We always knew deep down something wasn't quite right with Little Man - but that day someone actually said it, I suddenly realised I needed to learn coping mechanisms.

To hear the words that your 3 year old 'may have learning difficulties and is showing autistic traits' is devastating. I walked across that playground and didn't even bother to control the tears, I then sat for about an hour in the car crying picturing the lovely trolley collector at our local Sainsbury's who you heard people talking about and saying how well he was doing, they had heard he was living independently, had a job etc. At that point in time, in my mind, that was my son's future.

But you cope, you overcome the challenges, you seek help from places like CAMHS (Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services), the Child Development Centre, the doctor, his consultant. You try and see all positives - mine were:

  • As a premature baby he was still under a consultant - a foot in the right door for help
  • As a premature baby who we nearly lost more than once to be on the autistic spectrum with mild learning difficulties was actually pretty good going when you consider what could have been
  • As a scientist, I at least understand, have databases of medical journals at my finger tips and lots of friends in the medical field, I was going to bang on as many doors as possible.
You cope, you have to and you amaze yourself just how you can adapt and overcome all challenges you face.

My Little Man amazes me day in and day out, and I couldn't be more proud of the beautiful, sweet natured, caring boy he is growing into.

Tuesday, 2 April 2013

A-Z Blogging Challenge B is for ......

B is for Behaviour

Definition in the Oxford Dictionary - the way in which one acts or conducts oneself, especially towards others

Behaviour is something that is paramount in children with ADHD and/or ASD.

Children with ADHD find it hard to control their behaviour and/or pay attention. An ADHD child will act without thinking, can display hyperactivity, and have trouble focusing and concentrating.

The expression 'live for the moment' sums my Little Man up totally. He has no thought process about what he is going to do, he thinks it and does it in the same moment. There are no 4 seconds between the thought and the action or 4 seconds after. He simply lives in the moment. After he has done something he can give you every reason under the sun why he shouldn't have done, or why it may have been dangerous, he completely understands, however, he does not have the thought processes to think about doing something, then think of the consequences, and then act. His brain is wired differently to ours.

Children on the autistic spectrum can display some challenging behaviours due to changes in routine, being over sensitive or under sensitive, being very tactile and needing to touch or place inedible objects in their mouth, hand flapping or simply having what appear to be tantrums through sheer frustration or violent behaviour.

Living with a child with one, or the other or both can be very challenging.

Many of the behaviours displayed though are a normal process of growing up, toddlers go through many stages, so at what stage do the alarm bells ring and you think 'actually this is not normal'?

A diagnosis of ADHD requires the following:
• the behaviour is demonstrated to a degree that is more severe than other kids the same age
• the behaviour appears before the age of seven
• the behaviour continues for at least six months
• the behaviour creates problems in at least two area's of life: home, school, daycare, playground

For us we knew from a very early age, at a year old, I was mortified when I collected Little Man from the childminder to be told he had taken to biting. She was very calm about it and reassured me it was normal and he was just discovering things and it would soon pass. It didn't. He didn't seem to understand being told off, he had no comprehension. From biting he moved to hair pulling, then pinching, then spitting, you name it, at some point he has had it in his repertoire. He could have almighty melt downs over seemingly small things - roadworks leading to a diversion - that took us about a week to work out, change in place at the table to eat, holidays. He was very tactile, he would start to stroke strangers hairs, anybodies hair. He would dive into buggies to kiss babies, he couldn't just sit next to you but had to be almost sitting on top of you. Despite all this, he is a very serious little boy, with a lovely sense of humour and one of the most loving, caring little men you could wish to know.

Behaviour has been hard, we are coming out the other side (for now) at the age of 9, he is learning boundaries, albeit slowly but he is learning. Over - learning is the key to everything!

Monday, 1 April 2013

A-Z Challenge A is for......

A is for ADHD

Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)
There are still some schools of thought that ADHD is a myth, an excuse for poor parenting/bad behaviour/, and as a parent of an ADHD child I have come across many other parents who don’t see it as a real condition and have had to hear muttered comments such as ‘nothing a bit of discipline wouldn’t sort out’, ‘a good smacked bum would help’, ‘perhaps if she (meaning me) didn’t work, he would be better behaved’ and many more.

I am not disputing the fact that today we see many, many more cases than we did say 20 years ago, but is that to do with knowledge and better diagnosis? In the 1960’s ADHD was known as Minimal Brain Dysfunction, in the 1970’s conditions didn’t have names – my husband himself lasted 3 weeks in his reception class before my in-laws were told the school couldn’t cope with him and he spent a few years at a ‘special’ school before returning to mainstream – he has never had a diagnosis of ADHD, but I would bet my bottom dollar on him still being diagnosed as a 40 year old. It does go to show however it needn’t affect your life – my husband has a successful career and a degree before that.
Like many parents living with a child with ADHD or one who they know is not neurotypical but no-one will listen, we have suffered extreme frustration in trying to make people understand ADHD, being told by doctors it is bad parenting, bad behaviour, the terrible twos, then the terrible threes, home circumstances, or starting nursery etc, they always find a reason but as a parent you know, trust me, you know when your child is not behaving as his peers.
ADHD is infact a biological condition caused by an imbalance of the chemicals in the brain’s neurotransmitters. It affects the frontal lobes of the brain which is where impulsive behaviour control is. It is hereditary and long term, although symptoms do modify with age.
There are three main forms of ADHD:
  1. Overactive and impulsive (hyperactive)
  2. Inattentive
  3. Combined
ADHD can have a huge impact on not only the child’s life but also that of the family. Both our son and us as a family have been ostracised by others as no-one wanted to understand or get to know us. Our son is currently 9, and can hold his own in a conversation and has a firm comprehension of things around him and subjects. On paper however, he is functioning at the level of about a 6 year old with reading, writing and maths as he struggles to concentrate long enough to learn. He is an intelligent little boy but sadly he needs someone to continually bring him back to focus and the lack of resources and the lack of recognition of ADHD as a disability means he gets little support.
Symptoms can be difficult to recognise as ADHD often overlaps with other conditions such as conduct disorder, obsessive disorders, anxiety, dyspraxia and autism – which also affects our son. Social interaction and ability to maintain friends can be impaired.
ADHD is hard for any family to live with and a greater understanding and recognition of the condition would go a long way to improve the lives of anyone affected by it.

I also wanted to add a huge thank to ARLEE BIRD who started this blogging challenge and allowed do many of us to connect so THANK YOU!

What I have written here are my views and my experiences and understanding as a parent, although I do not deny having read many books, magazine articles and trawled the internet gathering information over the years.