Blog Me Better – Sun 14th Dec 2014

By | December 14, 2014

Life as a SN parent can be challenging and dare I say it, isolating too.

Isolating because it’s difficult to find those other parents/carers who “get” what life is like. Who “get” that outings have to be planned, that if your child is lucky enough to be invited to a birthday party, then along comes the plate that they’ll only eat off, the (see through) water bottle and the food, because of their sensory issues and aversion to trying new things.

It’s always lovely to meet up with other SN parents/carers at functions and share in the achievements and challenges. Twitter has also been a great mechanism for “meeting” people who “get” our life, even though they may be hundreds or thousands of miles away.

Invariably I’ll bump into a mum from D and T’s old mainstream school, D and I walk past it twice a day. D received a SEN and left nearly 5 years ago, T 3 years ago because the school wasn’t meeting either of their (very individual) needs. The talk will turn to how D is doing and then T. When I mention that he received a diagnosis of high functioning autism last year, it goes one of two ways:
Either I get the “I’m so sorry”
Or
The eyes glaze over and you realise that they’re looking for a reason to quickly finish the conversation.

Which is understandable. Until autism was first muted around D at 3.5 years old, I have to honest and say I didn’t know much about the vast autistic spectrum either.

The truth is I’m not sorry that T received a diagnosis, we were anticipating it. It explained all the little traits we were trying to ignore, the ever growing variances between him and his peers and the knowledge that we weren’t rubbish parents, it was purely and simply genetics.

It was also important that T received this “label” before secondary school, so that, if need be, school would recognise that he may need extra help and support. This “label” was also beneficial when we had to appeal his school place refusal because we could talk through what he could bring to the school but also be very open about his OCD traits, his need for a positive, visual routine etc.

And it’s worked, on the whole. He’s settled in extremely well, in the excellent secondary school that we fought so hard to get him into.

But it’s taken its toll, the last couple of years, I’m so tired, emotionally and physically and only recognising now, that the children are settled in their schools, that I need to take care of me, rejuvenate myself a bit so that I can be the best Mumma I can be, that they deserve.

I was asked recently if I’d like to feature in a “Blog Me Better” segment of the Mail On Sunday (weekly newspaper in the UK), I was sceptical at first but then willingly agreed. Anything that helps raise a smidgen of acceptance and awareness of autism can only help, can’t it.

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The above was today. Me in the paper! Blog Me Better has taken on a new meaning for me over the next few months as I not only continue to detail how parenting my really quite individually lovely children with autism goes, but how I’m doing too.

Because as carers we matter too.

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