What I’ve learnt from 2018

By | December 31, 2018

Blimey, where did the year go? It’s absolutely flown by and there’s been much to learn from as we head into 2019.

I’ve been decidedly quieter on all things social-media this year – more of that later – but, in a way, that’s a positive, because I can look back now and share.

This year saw D’s dream come true, she became the proud owner of bunnies! She’s always had @autismbunny as her comforter and her drawings always feature bunnies, so we knew she’d be overjoyed to finally have her pets.

We had to wait until my foot operation was over with in April, get a decent-sized hutch and run and then…would you believe it, the day we were due to go and choose them, I ended up being treated for a cat bite in my thumb!

That long, hot summer saw D outside next to the bunnies as soon as she got home from school.

Jett and Jasper were her choices of names (after gemstones) and she’s been very good at filling their water and food and preparing their treats, leaving the “mucking-out” to us, which is fine and expected.

They’re indoors for the winter now and a funny addition to our living room as they chase each other or flop dramatically over for a sleep. The Christmas tree has been met with interest and the decorations sniffed at. Jasper does a pretty good impression of being “oven-ready” too!

A few weeks on from this saw D’s musical proms week at school, an absolutely wonderful time to really appreciate every performance and the patience of the music staff who gently encourage and enable the group and individual performances to happen.

D has weekly flute lessons at school so I was looking forward to hearing how she’d progressed – as she doesn’t like to practice at home – she definitely compartmentalises her home and school activities.

What I wasn’t prepared for (and which produced some proud tears) was a performance where she was sitting at a keyboard, she and the staff had kept from us that D had taught herself to play the keyboard! Wow, just wow!

It felt like such a decision to make, to place her into a special needs school environment (the life skills and smaller class sizes versus mainstream and maybe qualifications) but moments like that, when you see how much our girl has flourished and she enjoys it too, even being described as a “role model” for the younger pupils.

Speaking of qualifications, two opportunities presented themselves before the end of the Summer term:

One to undertake with school, a bronze Duke of Edinburgh’s award, which has proved quite tricky to set up as there are Physical, Skill and Volunteering elements to be recorded (here’s D doing her “Skill”, a weekly SN golf session):

And an Art GCSE! This is being undertaken in conjunction with another local SN school and a TA takes her to a weekly afternoon session, with a specialist teacher also visiting school. It’s something that we had never dreamt D would achieve and we have made sure that she is kept fully involved in the decision-making and understands the requirements as she does have a tendency to say “yes”, because she feels it’s expected of her (the DofE is a good example):

This year also saw a SN circus trip and a birthday party at an inflatable water park, both presenting stranger-anxieties and unfamiliar surroundings challenges:

She’s been a busy girl! Our “normal” school week also has D doing after-school multi sports, Theatre Club and band practise so, there’s never a dull moment!

The week before Christmas always brings her school’s carol concert, in which D not only played the flute but also sang with another pupil, it’s a lot of fun!

2019 will bring a practice and a “proper” DofE expedition (gulp), but that’s a few months away!

For T, 2019 will see him undertaking GCSEs (double gulp!), he took his mock exams in November/early December and he seemed to enjoy the exam environment more than a class one. This makes sense for T as he likes to go in, get something done and then move on, no deviances, no messing around.

His projected grades are good and, after having a shaky start to the school year, he’s turned things around. There were external influences (shall we say) and a combination of him being moved in classes, the teachers understanding his autism and PDA more and his determination will, hopefully, see results.

But, we don’t want to add to the pressure that a mainstream environment v autism brings, we are so proud of him whatever the outcome.

He’s still playing football in a team, playing as a team member and enjoying it. There are frustrations when the team don’t play as a team, but again, very proud of what he achieves every week.

My crochet habit turned into a good deed too, as personal poppy sales raised over £300 for the Royal British Legion:

So, 2018 has brought a lot of positives, hasn’t it?

Something I need to remember as 2019 will bring yet another foot operation and my continued journey from having had sepsis last month.

It scares me how different things could have been, it frustrates me that I am left with dehabilitating nerve pain in both the foot that needs the operation (left) and the one where the sepsis started (right foot).

It has effected my wellbeing greatly and my plan of a marathon one day to raise funds for autism/mental health charities has been discarded but… my unexpected and sudden hospital stay taught me that we can overcome change of that humongous nature, albeit with continued aftershocks (D has major separation anxieties concerning me now).

The sepsis incident also taught me that I should “do more stuff”, not put things off, whether it be reading that book I’d wanted to, tackling that crochet pattern or meeting up with someone I’d been putting off… as the “tick” says “Just Do It!”

Happy New Year from our house to yours x

Facebook Comments

Leave Your Comment

Your email will not be published or shared. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>

CommentLuv badge