Psychology with a Slow Processor

Today has been a strange old day; a tired head, lethargic body and no real brain power. I’ve put this down to going to bed at 4am on Monday night/Tuesday morning! Silly, I know, yet it was required due to my own procrastination.

Procrastination: that’s a funny old word isn’t it, yet it is something most of us are guilty of, some more than others and for me, I can crown myself queen.

Since May of this year I have been studying my first course in Psychology. This isn’t just the first sub course of my planned degree but my first psychology course ever; I haven’t studied it as a GCSE or A Level and have no background or experience in the subject. My only drive is my passion and fascination with the way the brain, mind and body works and all things to do with children and special needs.

For the next three to four years I will be studying course after course in an attempt to gain a 2:2 or higher; I’d love to get a 1:1 and I’ll aim for the best I can achieve but in order to become a member of the Psychology board, I need to get a 2:2 minimum.

I wasn’t sure how I’d get on with this course but I surprised myself with the amount of interest I actually had in the topics it covered. I thought that maybe there would be something that I’d switch off on, but it’s everything I love and I want to do well. My only down fall in all of this, is that psychology is based a lot on research, analysing, reporting and the main issue – essay writing.

You may have read in an older post that I have low reading and comprehension ability, so it takes a little longer than most to read all the text; then I have trouble processing information into a coherent bundle to write up. I’ve managed so far to get grades between 65-75 for my first attempts and luckily this first course doesn’t count towards my grade for the degree but it is a valuable learning tool to see me ready for the level two and three that will be counted. I got a high score on my computer marked assignment but I have to wait approx two months before I find out how I did on my main assignment. The final assignment is never marked by the tutor but by an assessor of the exam board who usually grade lower than you would get from a tutor; why, I don’t know because you should be graded in the same way by all to ensure consistency in learning!

So, here I am, trying to relax for a few months before my next course starts, but now that I don’t need to study, I’m reading everything I should have read while I was doing my course! All the extra material that help build your knowledge. I’m not saying I shouldn’t read it now, I should and it will hold me in good stead for the future.

What I find intriguing is that procrastination is a funny thing that pops in a and out when it pleases.

Snail Male

Like a snail

he’s slow,

taking his time,

painfully

as I watch,

slowly cutting,

missing the edges,

leaving the white.

I want to grab him,

speed him up,

shake him.

Maybe

he’s not real,

there’s a button,

a speed dial,

on, off, fast, slow, demo.

He’s stuck on demo.

He leaves,

I hope for good

but he’s back,

the same,

painfully

slow cutting,

the drone of his voice,

the enthusiasm

it’s lacking.

My time is up,

I leave him there

still cutting.

Maybe he’ll be there

when I return tomorrow!

Child Art

It’s time to help out,

the paper, it’s wet,

the paint’s still to dry, yet

the flowers, the trees

and leaves need cutting,

the sun, it’s a devil, the shine,

it’s real battling.

Cut inside the pencil,

trim up to the edges,

be careful, don’t rip them.

The leaves for the branches,

the boarders for the sides,

the cutting is complete.

Now to place them,

use paper and glue,

stick them on,

it’s done,

Mexican art!

By Jamie Masq

Occupational Therapy Lifts Weight

I know, I know, there has been a huge gap since my last post – for those who follow anything on my blog then that doesn’t count as you saw a post only a little while ago, but for those who only want to read and relax in the knowledge that they aren’t alone with the stresses of special needs here’s another step forward.

I have many drafts still to complete from the last year but lets just jump straight to the front here, todays accomplishments!

NHS have kept us waiting for just over two years for an appointment for our son to be seen by an Autism and Sensory Processing Occupational Therapist. They are trained and experienced in ASD and therefore know what to look for and implement with regards to integration therapy for day-to-day school/home living. Due to the huge expense and lack of trained professionals the department that our son was referred to was closed and those waiting were placed on a back list. Well, you’ve guessed it, they have employed new staff and last week phoned to ask if they could come to our house and discuss the issues and our concerns.

I’m not going to lie, after waiting two years, the first appointment she read out was snapped up quicker than and toad catching a fly! Luckily that appointment was for the following Monday and with only a couple of days and the weekend to ponder, I had very little time to worry or think about things too much. Roz arrived bang on time and spent an hour and a half mainly listening to me telling her all about our sons sensory issues (sound, temperature, proprioception and vestibular… etc.), attention issues, and the new leg pains along with the general daily self-care skills. A few pages of note taking later she was able to give me a little confidence on the areas they can help with and things we might try while maybe referring him for Physiotherapy or a Podiatrist for the leg pains (that’s to be confirmed).

The next stage is for Roz to liaise with the school and arrange a suitable time to go in and watch him, speak with the staff and get a better picture of his school needs before coming back and looking at implementing a program for home/school.

You see, this makes me happy because I can implement strategies that they can supervise and ensure are correct without worrying that I’ve done it wrong. I can push for the support he needs and the best part is, I no longer have to feel guilty for stopping the private OT sessions that were too expensive for our newly one income family.  I know eventually he’ll be discharged when we know how to do everything properly, but that’s better than having nothing in place at all.

Today, a weight has been lifted and although it’s a foggy and damp day, it’s brighter within.

The Race Maze

Here is The Race Maze as our son kindly named it.

You have the option to try and get two pieces of treasure!

This maze is fairly simple once you get past the start and I would say it’s suited for a child of KS1, maybe Preschool if they’re advanced.

Let me know how they get on and if I’m allocating the right age group?

Great for hand-eye co-ordination and fine motor control!

  • aMazing (beyondthemasquerade.wordpress.com)

Reviewing the IEP

Sunday 12 June 2011

Our sons IEP (individual education plan) has been the same for the last year; two objectives that are quite broad in area and not being met or achieved.

These objectives are:
1. To get dressed quickly – put clothes in order and follow the pictures.
2. To complete a piece of work on his own – listen to the task, repeat it to an adult, complete the task and work towards the reward.

We need to change these goals so that they are achievable but I don’t know what should replace them. As you have all probably read by now (if not, then go check out my pages, there is lots of info in different sections to piece together about me and our life. We’ll be here waiting) our son has Autism but high functioning with bad attention and sensory issues to sound, temperature etc. which affect him daily. So while these objectives might seem like something to work on because he needs to learn, he can in fact do them, he just has trouble with the sensory side of life which I’m sure as he gets older he’ll learn to cope with, I hope!

Should we keep the ‘getting changed’ task on the IEP but maybe break it down into chunks so that only the bottom half needs to be achieved first? Do we replace them with more academic type objectives, such as, reach reading level 5 by July, learn 6 x table by end of term?

What kind of things do you have on your IEP?

At the moment the IEP seems a pointless exercise, but as we are on the path for Statement assessment, we really need to work this out.

I’ve been told that the IEPs need to be SMART (specific, measurable, achievable, recordable/relevant and time-bound). For example task 1 should have a time frame to achieve rather than the basic ‘quickly’ along with the help he will receive from a teacher or support assistant and maybe the reward. However, a mixed response on the academic targets; if a child doesn’t have any issues in that area then the IEP is only going to show issue relating to social/self-help skills!

There are a lot of things to learn regarding IEPs and how each person believes the system works.

Communication Breakdown

I’m concerned with the lack of communication between the teachers, SENCO and parents at our children’s school. When we went to the parents evening for the elder, the teacher was unaware of her issues or our concerns which had all been raised with the previous teacher, SENCO, head teacher, GP and Paediatrician. Both the teacher and SENCO had completed forms and questionnaires for the Private Occupational Therapist and the Paediatrician she was due to see?

Following her appointment, per my ‘All Aboard” post, the Paediatrician sent a letter to our GP and the school SENCO. Dr J said she’d found no obvious signs of an ASD, that our daughter was a pleasant girl who suffered from low self-esteem, would be referred to CAMHS and ask that the school work on the self-esteem. The letter to the school asked if they can refer her to CAMHS or Behavioural Intervention Services as they see fit. This gives the impression that the decision to refer , is down to the SENCO which raises concerns and worries me.

I’d been given copies of the letter for my files but the school letter had the wrong address. I gave it a couple of weeks to allow time for the letter to filter through the school systems properly before enquiring if they had received it. When I spoke to the SENCO she said they had received it a couple of weeks previous! They had also received the questionnaire again and they had used the previous answer, plus the new teacher had added some comments of her own before they sent it back.

At what point were they going to tell me of this letter and further information supplied – never?!? Bearing in mind, I had requested the referral first, I think I should be kept in the loop on all correspondence to make sure everything stays on track.

I asked if I could have a copy of the revised questionnaire for my files (they go missing on-route to the clinic) but never received it on the last day of term so will be chasing that up and taking a copy into the Dr J so that she definitely receives it. I will also chase up to make sure they make that referral to CAMHS so that we can start getting the help she needs.

The new teacher appears to be very sympathetic towards our needs of understanding and I hope she turns things around as I believe she will. Fingers crossed – she has my support.

All Aboard

Back on a rollercoaster

Back in January 2012, our daughter had her first appointment with the Paediatrician. This appointment was organised following concerns we’d raised with our local GP: anxiety, self-esteem issues, outburst/tantrums etc; I’d written a list of behavioural issues that had been on going and escalating since she was about five years old – it might have been earlier but its hard to tell what behaviour is expected in a toddler, especially if its your first child! None of this is present in school – she prefers to stay quiet so as not to attract attention and with added sensitivity issue, bursts once she gets home.

We saw the Paediatrician in the local community hospital where I had written a longer list of issues to back up my concerns and show that I wasn’t an over-anxious mother.  Some of the questions asked included when our daughter started socialising?, what she was like in school?, did she have friends come to our house?, did she go to theirs? and do we have any parent friends in the village? – The answer to that last question was ‘No’ and now my husband is saying we should go to the pub more and socialise, making me feel and question its our fault?!?

When she was in Year 5 she went to a Year 3s house twice and was invited to their birthday party – the first visit to a friend’s house in 4 years since her arrival whilst in Year 2! She’d been to a birthday party in her first year at the school but didn’t join in and wasn’t comfortable so never accepted any other invitations, although she had at least one or two a year. She was, however, happy to attend birthday parties that her brother had been invited to and got upset on the occasions when I had to tell her she wasn’t allowed to join in (not all parents expect siblings to attend as well and rightly so). Recently she’s been to another Year 6s birthday party and was okay, yet when she attended another which was held in a hall with a disco DJ, I wasn’t allowed to leave. Eventually after 20 minutes I was given the nod to go, but as soon as I walked in the door, the anxiety had kicked in and I was called to collect her.
Other questions asked by the Paediatrician included the usual ASD traits, eye contact, interactions, obsessions, rituals, routines, reactions to change, behaviours, sensory issues etc. Although I’d prepared a long list, this wasn’t enough to cover all the questions about 7 years ago and it was difficult to think back that far on the spot. I think some things I probably said she was okay, but if I think about it, we always adapt the way we worked to her behaviour. Based on that, I can’t say 100% that I answered correctly.

Quite a lot of those issues pointed a lot to the things seen in an ASD child but after the many questions, the pediatrician said “at this time and based on current information from you alone (us the parents) and without any school evidence, she doesn’t show any signs of an ASD. We need to have the school social questionnaire to confirm, but in the mean time, are you happy to be referred to CAMHS for behavioural intervention strategies?” I agreed to this, but have had no dealing with CAMHS and therefore know nothing about them. I’m no stranger to the trials of behaviour therapy/interventions and have very little confidence in what they can offer that is any different to what I have already read and tried.

However, I don’t know what it is causing the issues – I have ideas but I can’t pin it to one diagnosis and a lot swings to ASD (in my opinion) but then a lot of ASD is a mixture of other diagnosis so maybe not.  I think ASD but then I think about it more because they say no and I think ‘maybe it isn’t because of this…’ but then I remember something else and think, ‘well, actually?!?’ Its very frustrating; at least with our son I pretty much knew what it was and just followed their lead until enough evidence was available but with our daughter I have conflicting views from different areas in her life which is making it very confusing. Back to the drawing board of reading, taking notes and waiting. Maybe its a mixture of sensory and coördination issues causing the anxiety which over the years has built up and causing all the issues. I don’t want to force a DX on her when it isn’t that but I do want to know what it is, so we can move on and help her.

Letting Go

Back in July 2011, I was close to the edge of my emotions, finding it hard to keep everything locked in that I had done for the few years before. On Friday 1st July 2011 I realised I couldn’t cope alone; I’d tried really hard that week to be more relaxed and smiley and for most of the time, it had worked but following a SENCO meet at our sons new Junior School, it hit me that I’d had to kick myself into my own transition. I was trying not to cry, I had to back off from the 1-1 contact with his teacher and try to let him get himself out of school without my getting the daily catch-up that I had grown accustomed to. It was almost like the feeling of the last day of term.. it was horrible and I didn’t know why I was so emotional. I’d coped through the months of assessments, the diagnosis, the fighting and many times I’d wanted to cry but couldn’t and yet that week whilst trying to cope with support from forums, I had tears rolling down my cheeks while I explained my feelings of letting go. I felt like such a dip!

Our sons Infant teacher, SENCO and TA/LSA had been brilliant in their support for him and me and it was now hitting me hard that I was going to lose them all for a school that promoted (promotes) independence yet they had the impression that the Infants were mothering the children, wrapping them in cotton wool and making any problems they had, seem worse than they were. They outright stated that all the children grow up so fast during the holidays and there would be absolutely no problems for the children but more over, our son would be fine and follow the children as the others do! My interaction with the teachers and SENCO would be minimal and finding out the days events would be impossible.

I knew that I should have let all the emotion out, but I really didn’t get any opportunity. On the Saturday while sitting in bed I was reading replies to my post on the forum and I almost cried reading them; while typing my replies, my eyes were filling up but I didn’t have a quiet place to go that wouldn’t mean the children or my husband wouldn’t see. Non of our doors get closed or locked and they would have known if something was up if I had.

What made it harder is that I knew I wouldn’t get the same feedback or such close support that I’d had over that past year. They had been amazing and a deep part of our life.
We were going from daily 1:1 contact and updates, popping into class for a chat or SENCO update straight into no contact and a home-school diary that I knew would fail miserably. I had no confidence in the new SENCO (and yes I had met and spoken to them; it was not confidence filling – if anything, I was now on the defence ready).
I didn’t know at what part was making me so emotional: the thought that I’d be losing great people or that I’d be losing that comfort/support or maybe it was both!
I’d been through so much that year but I’d held it together pretty much throughout but that transition was rocking me.

Gradually over the weekend I’d managed to let my mind wander on other activities and hoped nothing would set me off at school. I’d found out at the start of the next week that our sons new class was job share and it worried me that he would have to deal with the weekly change but what concerned me more was the communication or possible lack of, between the two teachers with their handover each week and how that would affect the children, let alone our son. I started to put my guard up and yet had a couple of weeks of end of term activities to get through, so I tried to ignore the niggling feelings of apprehension for our sons new school and got on with finalising the goodbyes.

I did really well: I spent two weeks going through exhausting school end of term plays, leaving assembly, DLA forms, more Statementing paperwork etc and then handed out our end of year gifts the day before the last day which included bottles of wine and chocolate treats for the LSA’s.

Some people say ‘why go to so much trouble and expense on school presents, they are teachers and its their job!?!’. When you go into school daily and receive as much dedication and devotion to your child, to receive extra support for you whilst trying to come to terms with an Autism diagnosis for your child (or any special needs), they are there to hold your hand if you want it, to let you vent, to offer guidance while you fight for educational needs and not push you away or judge you – to me, that goes above and beyond the call of duty, that isn’t in their job description, not to that extent anyway. That alone is something that stays in your heart for years to come and you will never forget that feeling of gratitude; no words can ever be said to show how much their support means but you can try damn hard to make it so, to show them.

That emotional goodbye was put fast in its tracks by a quick meeting with the SENCO while our son went with his teacher to quietly look at her gift together alone I’d spent just over a month putting together a personal DVD with messages from him which was something from the heart and allowed him to express himself without the need to write (which is one of his biggest issues at school). I tried various music tracks including Ben Folds – The Luckiest, but this song made me tear up every time and it was something I liked and might not have been right for his teacher but it’s now a song that I hold in my heart and associate with that year. With a little help from another teacher, we managed to find another song that was just as meaningful but that I knew would mean more to his teacher (which I won’t divulge)

I didn’t cry, in a way I wanted to a great deal, but my body is too used to me holding it together and then on the Friday when the children said goodbye to their teacher, I don’t think our son really appreciated what the events of the day really meant and while the teacher was being smothered in hugs from various children, we slipped away to go home.

That evening I went to bed at 8pm and didn’t get back up; I was emotionally exhausted and instantly switched off.

Secondary School Placement

I haven’t blogged for over a week. I wanted to ensure I blogged at least once a week but I’ve been tidying and moving around at snail pace. I do that every now and again, I go through spurts of laptop use or cleaning or not much at all. This last week I’ve been at school during the afternoons, volunteering and enjoying every minute. Today I spent the day tidying and cleaning for our daughters friend to come over after school. She is in Yr 6 and this was her first friend to the house since we moved in, back in 2007!

I have a few things to blog and must make a small note so I don’t forget – you can remind me if I haven’t done it by the end of next week. Our daughters issue with socks and the morning hassle and temporary solution.

Now for the main reason for this blog post: she has received her Secondary School allocation and she got her first choice. We are all very happy and she is excited – the school is brilliant and breaks the classes down from 30+ like most schools, to 17-23 depending on the groups ability. One of our main concerns would be her lack of organisational skills and as she hasn’t been diagnosed with any form of Special Need (although due to be seen by CAMHS) this school has a wonderful on-line homework log system where they show when its been set, when due, when tests are expected, when completed, what the homework is etc..

Anyhow, thats it – a quick post to shout to the world that we don’t have to fight or appeal, like we were expecting to.

Bullying the Unknown

Yesterday our daughter was provoking her brother on the way home from school, trying to get a reaction. I’ve come to learn how she reacts, how her manner changes when she’s doing something mean or on purpose. She was trying to crush the ice on the floor before he got to it because he was using them as ice-skating patches or just making noises and using them as stepping-stones or anything part of his imaginative world. She then climbed up a snow mound formed from someone shovelling their drive way and he headed towards her to have a climb as well. She held him back and laughed at him, he giggled too thinking it was a game like he always does but she continued so he held his own and forced his way back into her which she didn’t like and stormed off. Sometimes I have to ignore these spats so as not to give too much attention to the bad behaviour or make it seem like I’m taking sides – he’s was able to control himself and fought back without anger so I left them to carry on their own path. As usual she had to get to the door first and made her routine noise and door touch, which I have been told is not a noise but words although I can’t remember what it was so will come back on that.

At home she wanted to paint her paper mache‘ pot white but we didn’t have enough white paint to cover the pot so I tried to improvise by adding glue and water. Unfortunately this was too thin and didn’t work so she started to get a little jumpy and flappy. I asked if she could use another colour such as yellow or pink and she chose pink; this worked well so I went into the kitchen to make a drink.

Suddenly her voice was raised and I could hear our son starting to get distressed and angry so I went in to find her lounging on the sofa hiding the controller from him. He was playing the XBox for his hour and it was just a little too loud so she’d gone over to turn it down, he’d reacted to this saying it was now too low and tried to get the controller. I had to send her to the stairs for a five-minute time out as her actions that followed were just to continue to provoke him and once sent she gave a satisfied smile as she walked past.

I went to the stairs and waited for her five minutes and then asked how her day had gone at school. She said okay, I asked if all went well and she just shrugged and nodded. For the last two days I haven’t had after school ranting from her which I’ve had recently so was wondering why this behaviour. I’ve worked out that her outbursts at home in the evening depend on how she’s been ridiculed and treated in school during the day but then it might not be the only trigger as her behaviour is excessive sometimes, even on a weekend!

I went upstairs to my bedroom for a ten minute break and she followed me in about 5 minutes after saying ‘yes’. Yes to what I asked and she told me she’d had a bad day at school and when I asked why, she didn’t know. Without any further info, there wasn’t much I could say and she wasn’t forthcoming and in fact not sure herself so I left it while she sat on my bed playing with some Lego.

This morning just randomly she said ‘they were laughing at me yesterday’, I asked who and when and she just named a few boys and said it was during break but didn’t know why? I think I might have to have a meeting with her class teacher because although what she gets isn’t out right bullying, its ridicule and taunts that amount to the same thing, the same distress and that unwanted outbursts in behaviour once out of school!

Your Direction

28th November 2011

Apart from last week when our son was very ‘tactile‘ (as his teacher called it), wanting to lean all over the teaching assistant who wasn’t used to this side of him and didn’t know what to do with herself, he has started eating his top again. He put three holes in his top that following investigation we established he had done using a pencil. He was pushing and pulling on me when we walked, directing my path or dragging on my arm and requesting a carry. I should point out that he is seven years and if a neurotypical child he wouldn’t need carrying nor a parent even consider it, yet I resort now to piggy-back rides in time of need.

We are rarely out of school before 15:30 and today I had to go into school to find him. He was still in class but his teacher and another parent were standing in the doorway talking, they saw me but didn’t move so I had to wait for ten minutes so that I could rescue my son from his classroom! Eventually I got in class to help and I found he had no socks on – he’d accidentally dropped them in a wet patch during swimming this morning (spare socks are now required, in case)

On the way out of school he was joking and pushing me in circles, this is something he does occasionally some days more than others. Once out of the playground he was pushing and pulling me, directing me in zig zag paths yet a little sensitive if it wasn’t going his way. Once we were in the village shop he plodded along slowly, in a day-dream but he had to touch all the labels that were sticking out of the aisles as we walked down, then swinging anything that was hanging up.

I don’t know what they are doing in school that is so different to the infants but they definitely aren’t recognising his overload signals or in the last 4 months he’s managed to completely change his way of coping (I don’t think) and he’s now holding it all in.

Ha! Holding it in, gets me thinking on another area of when he joined the Juniors and I was told ‘they grown up so much during the summer holidays, he’ll be fine’. That laid back approach soon changed when they found that maybe they should have read up a little more and taken more interest in his history.

There is always one weird parent

While walking home from dropping the kids off from school yesterday I walked past a small local shop that one of the parents of a child in our daughters class runs. On this morning she’d just been setting up some clothes outside for view when two other mums (one who is also a TA in the school) approached her and they started chatting.

I suppose you could say I’m a slightly paranoid person but when you aren’t in the habit of socialising, you start to notice the odd looks of the clique parents. especially when one of your children is clearly not neurotypical and the other un-liked by her peers.

Whilst walking past I tried not to look or make it seem as though I was conscious of their presence but carried on walking, looking straight ahead but very aware of their being to my side – imagining their hot gaze burning into my head. At his point I had a flash back to when I was a child, a young Junior where I was friends with a boy called David. He was tall for his age and slender in size with short brown hair. I believe he lived with his Dad and if memory serves correct, with his Grand-father too although I don’t recal ever seeing his Mother and think she may have passed when he was younger.

David was quiet, a little under-dressed with trousers that didn’t quite fit his length but was always dressed smartly – as was his Dad, always in a suit although more like the material from a prison sack. This kind of information doesn’t really have any relevance but I like to remember anyway. He did interact with the other children although he did like to keep to himself and I remember I always rushed at the end of the school day to catch-up with him and walk home with him and his Dad. His Dad walked at an exceptional pace and David used to run along side him to keep up and they didn’t talk all the way home.

Today I felt like Davids Dad, walking quickly, alone and paranoid at what parents thought about me and my family (not to say his Dad was paranoid!).
Did they talk about me or us once we were out of ear-shot?
Did I look like Davids Dad in action?
Have we now become that family you look at as a child and think ‘they’re weird’?

Maybe!

At the End of the School Day

Following on from the The Start of the School Day

At the end of the school day, I waited in the playground like usual in my normal spot where our son likes, waiting for him to come out. For some reason I missed him and instead of him walking to me like usual, he walked into the middle of the playground and just stared at nothing as if he wasn’t there. I spotted him and called to him but he didn’t respond so I walked towards him and he stared into me with a blank face as if he didn’t recognise me. I touched his shoulder and he pulled away and turned his back to me then buried his body into mine refusing to go back towards school yet wanting me with him. This was all very weird, but in the middle of his Therapeutic Listening which he was reacting to.

Everyday when he comes out of school we have to check his bag contents to make sure he has his jumper, pencil-case, beaker, school work (homework, reading book, log book, diary, fiction log), hat and gloves, lunch bag. I made him a key ring when he was still in the infants that Mrs T worked hard to try to add with us ready for his increased independence when he progressed into the Jnrs. This is failing now he’s moved up and the support at the end of the school day is non-existent due to the battle with the details for the Final Statement. Every day we end up going back into school to collect or search for one thing or another and today was no different – his jumper was still in school so we went back in to find it.

He didn’t want to go back into school and refused, pulling against me getting aggressive in his way, I held him close which is what I sometimes do to help ‘ground’ him but today he dragged his feet and I was literally dragging him into school with his feet trailing behind us. Once in class he flopped over the tables and wasn’t responding to requests to find his belongings. Again this is a fairly regular reaction at the end of the school day which is why I prefer that he has end of day support to use his key ring; as soon as the bell rings for the end of day he relaxes enough to let the days overload of following rules, stimulation, noise etc come out. The end of the school day is the time when he can let go and vent. On this occasion like some other days when the need arises, I checked his bag and we found all his bits together, on this occasion his jumper, beaker and one glove. During this time, our daughter would have met us in the classroom and would be standing around waiting or winding him up in some very small way – usually telling him what to do or highlighting what he shouldn’t do, pushing for a reaction and then complaining when she gets one; today was no different.

We left school and on the way out of the playground he grabbed my leg and walked along almost as if I was walking with him on my feet. After a while he let go and walked beside me but started to drag down on my arm, bent over slightly and started using me as a huge support so that he didn’t have to keep his body up straight. We haven’t worked out exactly why he does this but its part of his way of relaxing when he’s tired I think. It’s hard to show or explain this side of him to school as they have a completely different view; while in school he’ll be bouncing around the classroom and corridors and hardly ever walks, a complete opposite to how he is at the end of the school day or when we are out and about.

We popped into the local shop to get a few bits for tea and he wanted to pull the basket (one of those with a long handle and wheels) which I usually try to avoid using but there was no other available. As I mentioned in the other post, he is oblivious to his surroundings half the time so gets in the way of many people in the shop and with a basket made in 10 times worse than usual. Both children were tetchy and very reactive to anything remotely negative that I said, such as ‘slow down’, ‘be careful’, ‘leave him a lone’, ‘watch where you’re walking’, ‘stop!’ All would be met with back chat from our daughter or a small aggressive outburst from our son, yet I have to stay calm and try to ignore that niggling feeling that eyes are burning into the back of my head from shoppers wondering, inquisitive thoughts on the behaviour of my children.

I got some basics and although trying to hurry both children to the tills, made a slow plod down the aisle and managed to get out without too much fuss. Our daughter I asked to carry a light bag which she met with the usual ‘its too heavy, you carry it’ but she carried one for me. We walked slowly home with our son being told to stop every few metres as he ran off in front not looking where he was running, or stopping at drives or entrances to the pub car park etc. Once on the corner of our road both children run round and to the edge of the pavement on the kerb (sidewalk for those in America) waiting for my go ahead to cross – we live close to the end of the road. Usually they race to the front door and our daughter has to do a ritual door touch about 8 times from right to left and back again along with a ‘doky, diky’ saying on each touch. She is the elder and always wins and ‘has’ to win, if she doesn’t she stamps her feet and turns her back, gives rude outbursts of abuse that I don’t think are typical for a high-grade Jnr but that’s a different post!

On this occasion our daughter was carrying a bag so knew she wasn’t going to win and told her brother when he started running, ‘I’m not playing’ and refused to join in the daily race. Although the choice not to race was hers, she didn’t like it and once in doors gave back chat to anything I said. When they get into the hall they are supposed to hang up their bag and coats (hooks are at their level) and put their shoes in the shoe rack – this rarely happens so I have to remind. Our son threw his coat on the floor and before our daughter could do the same I started to remind them both on what I wanted them to do before they could ask to play on the Xbox or Wii. She gave an instant backlash that she knew and she isn’t her brother and didn’t need telling what to do; while this is almost correct, if I don’t tell them it doesn’t happen…