Building confidence

As a rule, I am a very confident person, I’m not afraid to stand up in front of a crowd or speak my mind on something I have knowledge in but confidence is so much more than that.

For the next 9 weeks I’m attending a building confidence course, at first, I thought this was going to be building up children’s confidence but its actually from a parents perspective, which is great as it’s brought feelings I didn’t even know I felt. Today we were asked to set some individual goals in regards to our own personal confidence, mine are the following:

  • Accept help from others- I am a very knowledgeable person with most areas of the spectrum & the psychological effect this has on people. I am very rigid with our routines as I’ve set them & enforced them so I am very reluctant to hand the reins over to someone else as it generally undoes everything I have put into place. I stop doing things as I worry what these effects will have on the children, mainly Teddie.
  • Support my son (Alfie) with his confidence & low self-worth: Alfie is the least confident boy I know, he puts himself down pretty much every day. Although we support him at home and he has help at school with his anxieties I feel he could progress so much more if he had the tools to self-regulate his owns feelings & have the confidence to speak his mind.
  • Inner confidence: Although my outer exterior tells you I am a confident person my inner exterior is telling me different. I am very obsessive when it comes to my children but not so much about myself, I pretty much put myself down at least a few times a week. I worry what people think.
  • Avoid toxic people:  There are certain people I need to avoid as they make me feel a certain way about myself. I’d say I am a very good listener, I’ll sit and allow friends/family to tell me their problems, worries or concerns but when it comes to my turn to share my feelings I’m shut down & not listened too.

I’ve always been an advocate for “It’s okay not to be okay” as parents we all feel like we are doing a rubbish job at one point in our lives- your lying if you think this isn’t the case but it comes down to having the confidence to admit this to ourselves and be able to make the changes that are needed for you to feel good about yourself.

I think building confidence isn’t necessarily aimed at parents with children on the spectrum, in fact, you do not even need to be a parent to want to improve your confidence. First impression count & by making small changes this can make you feel so much better in social environments.

The information I gain over these next 9 weeks I would love to share with you all, sometimes the smallest of change can be the breakthrough you needed to become the more confident you.

Merry Christmas

This photo just melts my heart, I know I say it all the time but I couldn’t be prouder of Teddie if I tried. This was Teddie’s first nativity as last year he couldn’t handle it- so much so he still struggles with the school hall even now. Teddie had a slight blip at the beginning of the play as something wasn’t where it normally was but it was sorted in no time.

Seeing Teddie centre stage singing and dancing was like a dream come true for me. My face was hurting so much from smiling, he only did one song but he bloody smashed it!

School plays are always a bit bitter-sweet, as much as we want Teddie to be involved in them at the same time I’m filled with dread he’ll have a meltdown in front of everyone while it’s being recorded for all to purchase. As, much as I really do not care what people think I don’t want to put Teddie through it.

I honestly was dreading the last few weeks of school for Teddie but he handled it so much better than last year. The end of the term can be a struggle for all children let alone Teddie, it’s been a long-term and everyone is exhausted from the constant change to the daily routine.

The boys have all finished school for Christmas, the first day of the school holiday’s has begun and we are staying in PJ’s all day.
Teddie has been on Christmas countdown for weeks, but the last few days he’s been super excited as the days get fewer. We decided against getting chocolate advent calendars this year for the boys instead we opted for a wooden countdown wheel, I think it’s this that has got Teddie so excited. I cannot wait to see his little face Christmas morning.

On Friday we are seeing Teddie’s paediatrician for the last time, we were due to see her 2 months after receiving his diagnosis but in fact its 2 weeks short of a year due to the ridiculously long waiting list. It annoys me slightly that we will be discharged as if we ever need to see a paediatrician we will need to be referred to again. Although we have waited forever for an appointment I cannot wait for the doctor to see how much Teddie has changed since she last saw him, to think a year ago he was non-verbal now we can’t keep him quiet. It’s amazing what difference a year can make.

Every day Teddie faces a new challenge, we don’t always know how to deal with them all but we always get there in the end!

We love our Bear and wouldn’t have him any other way

Making the change

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If there’s any advice I would give to parents who are just starting their journey with or towards a diagnosis it would be this:
The diagnosis at this stage isn’t for your child it’s for you as parents, your child is who he/she is and a diagnosis isn’t going to change that or help them in any way (other than school) it’s down to you as parents to make that change.
The dynamics of your lifestyle need to change, not solely around your child but adaptions need to be made so everyone can live in peace.

We certainly found it hard adjusting our family dynamics, with two older boys and jobs we hoped Teddie would just slot into our routine but unfortunately, that wasn’t the case.
We cannot and may never be able to rely on Teddie to make sure he has everything he needs for his day as we would be setting him up for failure, although at 5 this would be an ask regardless of an additional need. As Teddie’s parents, it’s down to us to make sure he has everything he needs accessible for his day out readily and waiting for him so when I say Teddie go get bag and shoes he knows where they will be and he’ll feel he’s accomplished what was asked of him as the slightest thought of failure can result in a meltdown.

Fight, fight, fight for your child, I often say to parents you’d never let a person physically hurt your child, so don’t allow them to mentally hurt them. There is no difference between the two when it comes to neglecting your child due to their disability, the pain and hurt are just the same.

Stand proud and be present, show the person you’re meeting with you know what you’re talking about, they may well be qualified in their field but they are by no means as qualified as you are as you live this job day in and day out!

Even on the hardest of days never let your child see how you are feeling as they will only mirror your behaviour and make the situation worse.
We have all been in the situations when at times the right thing to do would be to shout and tell your child off but you are just pouring more fuel onto the already out of control fire. I’ve perfected the inner scream down to a tea now, there are times when I’ve wanted to shout, scream and cry but as always I need to have a “happy face” as it’s my smile that clears the cloud over Teddie when he’s in crisis.

Talk about how you are feeling, everything you are feeling is completely normal and trust me we have all thought it! If you can try to attend parent workshops do, there honestly not there to tell you how to be a parent in-fact you can gain some insights on how other parents manage their routines and feel supported at the same time.

Love and support your child every day, always be their voice and never apologise for who they are.

Year 1 so far

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We are 3 weeks into year 1, I’m still not sure how that’s even possible, feels like only yesterday Teddie was starting reception.

I had my doubts about year one, my gut told me we may possibly see some struggles but so far Teddie has yet again proven me wrong.

Teddie has settled in the class better then any of us could have expected, he now has his own desk and work area. This has made such a difference, Teddie needed that place within the classroom, somewhere he can call his own. Teddie is spending more and more time within the class something he didn’t do a lot of in reception. 

Teddie loves to dip in and out of things, if the other children are doing an activity on the carpet Teddie will join in but if it all gets too much for him he will take himself to his table to do independent work with is 1:1.

One of Teddie’s many talents is he has an amazing ability to listen to what’s going on elsewhere in the classroom, even when he’s not be participating in it. To others, it may not look like he’s even listening but he would be able to repeat everything that has been said even though he’s not fully engaged and working on his own activity- this boy amazes me.

Last year Teddie found the beginning part of the day difficult so he always entered the school through the office and went straight into the sensory room completely avoiding the classroom, this was something I wanted to change this year. I hoped Teddie could go straight into his new classroom but still have access to the sensory room later on in the morning. So far Teddies has been able to avoid entering the school via the office & sensory room and has been eager to go straight into his classroom like all the other children do.

It took a good 2 weeks for Teddie to stop asking to go back into the reception classroom, he always said:

“this classroom finished (pointing with his middle finger) go back to Teddie’s class in reception”

At first, he didn’t fully understand why he couldn’t go back but after we told him he’s a big boy now and the smaller children needed the reception class Teddie completely understood and liked the idea that he’s a bigger boy now.

There’s still one major concern we just cannot overcome- the toilets!

Towards the end of the 2nd week, I spoke with Teddies 1:1 and assumed Teddie was using the toilets in his classroom only to find out he wasn’t. Teddie would go to the toilet in the morning once he woke up 6.30, 6.45am then again once he came home at 3.15pm, this is an incredibly long time not to go to the toilet! We decided the only option was for him to use the only toilet we know he’ll use and that’s in reception.  There are 5 toilets to choose from in reception, Teddie will only use the 2nd toilet on the left.

Once we told Teddie he could use the reception toilets the following day he went twice!! Teddie was made clear that he is welcome to use this toilet but we go to the toilet say “hello” then go back to year 1, he was absolutely fine with this.

We are having a few teething issues with pick up, half the class go to the afterschool club Teddie is becoming very upset as his name isn’t being called out for it. He has no idea what afterschool club is, he’s just sad he isn’t being picked for it.

Everyday Teddie overcomes an obstacle without any issues or fuss at all, we are so proud of him we could burst! 

We love our Bear and wouldn’t have him any other way.

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School holidays, the end is near!

I’ve been counting down the day till I can tell Teddie he has school tomorrow, he’s asked nearly every day if it’s a school day. 
6 weeks off school is a looooonnnnnggggg time to be off when you have no real concept of why you aren’t at school.

There are a few things I’m really not going to miss when the boys (Teddie) are back at school. Like when you’re taking 5 minutes to yourself in the garden and u hear what every parent dreads……….the sound of the lego box being tipped over!!

Picking lego up should be used as state punishment or classed as a job as its a bloody pain in the arse & takes forever to pick up. There’s always one piece you’ll miss but you need not worry as you’ll find it when u stand on the bastard thing when u sneak into the bedroom check on the child!

Out of the 3 boys, Teddie is actually the only one we didn’t have to keep amused throughout the holiday. He makes his own games up, normally coping whatever he’s watching on YouTube.
He loves nothing more than flitting between rooms like a Tasmania devil leaving wreckage as he goes. I often just sit and watch wondering what is going through his amazing little brain, he’s always so happy in whatever he’s doing.

Every day Teddie has turned the lounge into a soft play area with the cushions off the sofa. All 3 boys think they’re on an all-inclusive holiday & Harvey’s using the house like a hotel, the end is near!

Teddie is super excited about returning back to school. I think he will go straight in without any issues but think the 2nd week in we will see a slight change in him. The realization of school and the routines he has no control over.

Teddie has the same amazing 1:1’s, without them again this year I would be a nervous wreck, I think Teddie would be as well.

This time last year Teddie was about to start school, he could hardly say more than a handful of words fast forward a year & we cannot keep him quiet. He’s made so much progress it’s unreal but I still have the same worries and fears.

The children in his class & school are all so lovely but there is always the worry as the other children get older their understanding of being “different” grows. Teddie has never seen himself as any different from the other kids his age, I’d hate another child to change that.

Alfie said a while ago a new (year3) boy came through to the dining hall with his trousers round his ankles after finishing the toilet. Alfie said Everyone was laughing at him. I really hoped Alfie didn’t laugh as well, he said he didn’t but in the heat of the moment he probably copied everyone else and laughed.
The first thing that crossed my mind when Alfie told me this was this will more than likely be Teddie in a few years.

This boy did what came naturally to him, he sought out help when he needed it,  I’m sure it was more the situation and the surroundings that made the children laugh over his inabilities to pull his trousers up but it still must have been upsetting.
If this was Teddie we would probably laugh with everyone else not fully understanding what they were laughing at.

Laughing and teasing is uncalled for, it can have a real effect on all involved but especially the ones being laughed at.

We all go through things as a child we’d like to forget. I remember one girl always reminding me I had bumps in my hair when it was up in a ponytail. She always had this perfect ponytail, something that I hadn’t ever noticed till she sought out to remind me how imperfect my hair was. It became a constant daily reminder of how awful my hair looked, after a while, I stopped wearing my hair in a ponytail as I began getting really annoyed with my mum for leaving bumps in my hair.

Although this never really had an adverse effect on my life, at the time it made me change how I thought others saw me and how I saw myself, I can only imagine how awful the poor boy felt when most of the dinner hall laughed at him.

If there’s one thing you can teach your children please encourage them to just be kind, let them know that the things they say and do can really hurt others even if they think they are only playing. Explain that all children come in all shapes and sizes & we are all different in our own way.

How much better would the world be if everyone was just that bit kinder to each other?”

– Holly Willoughby

As Teddie starts yet another chapter in his life, we continue to support him as he finds his way through this world.

We love our Bear and wouldn’t have him any other way.

 

 

 

Our funny Bear

 

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As I put Teddie to bed he made that pretend to cry noise as he wanted me to lay with him, something daddy does every other night but mummy doesn’t fall for the same tricks.
I close the bedroom door and return to the garden where my parent’s, Gareth & Alfie is still sitting, we could all hear Teddie calling out for me still pretending to cry so we ignore him.

Out the corner of our eye, we see a big brown bear appear at the upstairs window, Teddie.

“Mommy (he’s American lately) It’s Teddie, I’m crying”

We all look at each other and bust out laughing, to which Teddie thought was highly amusing so then started to sing Tommy Thumb.

 “Mommy finger, Daddy finger, brother finger from his window”.

He was about to go onto grandad finger but as I got up Teddie legged it back into bed like we hadn’t just seen him, the little shitbag

What made this situation so funny was this time last year Teddie could barely speak 2 words.  I generally had worry and fear behind my eyes not knowing how he’d cope with what the world had to offer.

Fast forward a year we can now have a conversation with Teddie, although at times it’s limited its still a conversation he’s engaging in.

It’s the littlest comments that make us laugh out loud like;

“Cheers” whenever he has a drink with someone.

“That’s not right”  when he sees something out of place.

“Fingers crossed mommy” when we are playing Mario on Ds

“Yes, I can” when we say no thank you.

“10 more minutes” for everything we tell him to stop doing.

“Good job” to almost everything you do.

This past year has taught me that even if you have an inability to do something it doesn’t have to change who you are. Teddie has always been confident, funny, loud & proud even when he didn’t say a word now put words into the mix he’s polite, kind, caring, loving and all the above.

Teddie receives limited speech therapy, once every few months at school his successes have come from a mixture of putting in lots of work at home & at school but it’s mainly come from Teddie wanting to learn.

Teddie has a photographic memory so 95% of his learning has to be learnt from visuals. Carpet time & speaking/learning in groups are areas Teddie struggles most with as he cannot process the information like he can if he was learning from visuals

Unfortunately, as Teddie goes through the years at school the learning is taught with a teacher at the front of the class and the children listening and taking notes, something Teddie may not be able to do.

Teddie has a revised curriculum ready for September, we are hoping he can spend more time in the classroom learning his way but also seeing how the other children learn. Teddie often likes to dip in & out of class learning if something takes his eye or if he knows whats being taught.

                                  


 

Teddie’s EHCP is now finalized ready for when he starts year one, although not much will change now the school will now receive a lot more money to help cover Teddie’s revised learning.

I read recently that schools are having their budgets cuts, a decision the government feel is a good move. The Guardian reported that 80% of schools are having to cut numbers of teaching assistants and support staff due to the new national funding formula for schools in England.

This is something that has affected our school resulting in only 1 teaching assistant per year rather than 1 per class. These changes open us up to comments such as;

“A teacher has 30 children to look after but special needs child has their own 1:1, how is that fair”

“My child needs help but he/she isn’t getting it but others are”

I completely agree there is not enough funding going into education, schools, especially our’s go above and beyond to make sure the children are not affected by these changes but the parents do not always see the bigger picture or help the situation by making comments although not always directed to us (Teddie)

What many parents do not always understand is for a child to receive a 1:1 procedures need to be met & put into place. Yes, Teddie has his own 1:1 that’s because I have fought tooth and nail for him to receive the funding he needs for him to attend school.

What many parents also do not understand is Teddie’s 1:1 will only be present in the classroom while Teddie is at the school, if Teddie leaves the school the funding leaves as well.

A special needs child does not start school and automatically have own LSA the parents needs to start the procedures months, years in advance, even then it’s down to the local authority to decide if a child warrants a 1:1. 

Our school has bent over backwards for us, for that, I cannot thank them enough but I think that due to us having the respect for each other. We could have sent Teddie into school and moaned about what should & shouldn’t be in place for him instead, we

worked together a year before Teddie even started school to get him what he has today.

Before you make judgemental comments on what one child has but your child hasn’t stop and think about the lengthy process we have been through just to get our son through the school doors every single morning. 

 

Thank you.

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There are two kinds of people in this world, those who have no impact on your life and those who change it, all the staff at Teddie’s school have most definitely changed his life.

Today we say farewell to the reception class, how is it possibly Teddies done a year at school already. We had no real expectations of what we wanted Teddie to achieve this year all we were worried about was Teddie liking school and Teddie being liked, We had nothing to worry about.

I am honestly lost for words (a rarity ) and finding it hard to write how I feel. Thinking about the effort and love Teddie has received this year brings me to tears just thinking about it.

How do you thank the people who have put their everything into ensuring your child gets everything they deserve & more, who go out of their way to just say hello or to check how Teddie is doing ok?

The teacher, Ta’s, office staff, head, senco, music teacher & Teddies 1:1 is more than just staff at a school they went above and beyond and cared for Teddie with love. They allowed him to be himself, they gave him the room to grow and become the amazing boy he is now.

We are forever grateful for everything you have all done for Teddie this year. As another chapter closes we await a new one to start, with your love and support, together Teddie can become whoever he wants to be.