Going with the flow & not sweating the small stuff at Christmas!

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Photo by Gary Spears on Pexels.com

Actually, for the first time in a few years, I am excited for Christmas!

Not to sound like a miserable cow, but I must admit, the last couple of years have felt a bit shit without Mum being here. She was my Christmas. So much of how you celebrate the festive period is built around how you spent it as a child.  All the traditions, the smells, the songs, the 80’s brash decorations! I loved all of it!

I certainly don’t want this to be a sad blog just before Christmas, but I know a few people that are experiencing Christmas for the first time this year without one of their parents, or a parent that is incredibly ill and I just want you to know that you’re in my thoughts.  It doesn’t seem like it now, but I want you to know that it does get just a little bit easier as the years pass.

I can’t believe that this is the third Christmas without Mum. I remember the particularly well…  Ellie constantly raising her glass to Nanny – which felt like a knife to the gut every time she said it, and I remember it just feeling very empty without her there.

That first Christmas was also the year that George Michael died, on Christmas Day! I’d managed to pretty much hold myself together that whole day, but when hubby came in and told me he’d passed away, the flood gates open.  I’m not sure whether I was crying for Mum or George, but I just let it flow!

I was surprised at the resilience I found to get through the day… until I’d drunk my weight in gin and the news of George Michael passing away was announced.  Your brain is a very powerful organ and it does everything it can to protect you – including pushing thoughts and feelings to the back of your mind so you can get on with life.  However, if you need to let those feelings out… do that too. My mantra was ‘just go with it’…. Your body will tell you what you need to do.

To be honest, the last few years, I’ve avoided doing some things that made me think of mum at Christmastime, like shopping trips.  It was just too hard to walk around and be reminded that Mum isn’t here. Seeing lots of mums and daughters picking out presents, having lunch with bags piled up next to them, I hated it! Thank goodness for Amazon – it’s been my saviour the last few years!  This year however, I did drag hubby for some Christmas shopping and all was fine.  I suppose what I’m trying to say is, if you don’t feel like doing things because they feel too difficult, then don’t do them.  Look after your sanity – there’s always another year.

I must admit, I have been a little more relaxed about Christmas this year.  I remember in the past, feeling very anxious in the lead up to it. I would want everything to be perfect, the house to be spotless, every eventually for food to be covered.  But this year, I’m a little more chilled.

When you think about it, Christmas Day is just another day. We get so bloody stressed about the whole occasion but how many of us think ‘thank f@ck for that’ when it’s all over? Every year I say, I’m not going to get so worked up over Christmas this year and that I will have everything done and dusted well in advance, but as I type this I still have a load of presents to wrap and a list of food shopping that I didn’t manage to get last night on ‘The BIG Shop’!  But its all good, it will get done at some point so there is no need to panic… and if I don’t have celery to stick under the turkey as it goes in the oven, Christmas will still be great, and nobody will actually give a shit!

What has also helped with the feeling of Zen around this time of year, is that Ellie seems to be a little calmer.  Christmas is not always a great time for children (and adults) that are on the autistic spectrum.  She is still obsessed with what food is going to be eaten and when (that might come from me!) and gets excited/anxious about different things that are happening, but this year it just doesn’t feel quite so fraught.  Maybe my new Zen-like state just lets it all wash over me (along with flashing the ‘Vs’ behind the fridge door).  I also discovered the magic of Reiki this year… maybe that’s helped too!

I’ve also been doing a Self-Mastery course in the latter part of this year.  What the hell is that? (yes, I hear ya!). In short, it looks at ‘your own life story’ and the struggles, celebrations, and the pivots in life that we all go through.  You then look at how you’ve behaved during the difficult times and look for patterns. Do you self-sabotage? Do you sit in denial? Do you move on quickly from something bad and not allow it to process? (I’m guilty of all of them!)

Learning to forgive, being mindful and practicing things like gratitude and self-care (along with other aspects that I won’t go into right now) has been a big part of the course and I know it has helped me greatly over the past few months. Everything we have been through in our past shapes who we are now, and this course has been invaluable to me in so many ways.  I’ll write a standalone blog on it in the new year.

If you’re still here at the end of this somewhat waffle-filled blog, I would just like to take this opportunity to thank you for sharing in my journey on the blog this year and wish you and your loved ones a Very Merry Christmas. Have fun, stay safe, don’t sweat the small stuff… and I’ll see you on the other side. xxx

Love and hugs

TOMD xxx

Why are school mornings like Groundhog Day!?

This morning was like every other morning, which is like every morning in households everywhere that children live.  The dreaded school run! Why oh why is it just so hard!?

It doesn’t seem to matter what time I get up, how organised I might be, the result is still the same… shouting that we need to go, teeth still not cleaned, ties suddenly lost and an announcement at two mins to blast off that they need to take something random with them to school! Why do they do that, they’ve had a whole sodding night, but NO, please announce this at 7.55am!!

The difference in my household and I’m sure its the same for all mum’s of special ones, the worry is that it will always be Groundhog Day.  Will I always have to remind about putting on deodorant, brushing hair and the fact that there is jam smile on her face?! Don’t get me wrong, I am happy to do this for as long as it takes, but A. it worries me that I’ll still be doing this when she is 25+ and B. it pisses me off!

Thing is, as mums we (that’s the Royal ‘we’) have enough trouble having to think about what we need to do for ourselves, but as a mum, you also have to do the thinking for everyone else as well!  All my two kids want to think about is Pokemon/Skylanders and Coronation Street episodes from three years ago, therefore it’s down to me to remember drinks bottles, PE kits, reading records, lunch, teeth cleaned, suncream/scarf & gloves (depending on the time of year) and any other parafinalia I may have missed!

So literally, every day, every single sodding day, I say (shout) the same thing to the kids before school… and I know you do too… and if you don’t, you are a very lucky lady!  It has to be beyond a shadow of a doubt, the worst hour of the day.  The relief that I feel once they are both dropped off is immense, it just rolls off my shoulders in a big “thank fuck for that!”.

I’ve mentioned before about how hubby would call me, usually on his way to work during school run hour because he thought of something trivial on the way to work.  He quickly learnt not to do this.  Well, a few weeks ago, I went away with my old school mates for some R&R which meant hubby had to do two mornings of school runs!  As we  landed in Dublin, I called home to say we arrived safely… His first words were  “how the fuck do you do that every day?  You deserve a bloody medal!”  I know!!

I’m very fortunate that I mostly work at home and go into the office once (sometimes twice) a week, so for four out of five days, I know I can wing it where I am concerned – if I’m only half ready its no biggy.  If I had to go through the stress of being ‘work ready’ every morning and try to get out of the door at stupid o’clock, I would now be found rocking in a chair with a very large Gin!  At least this way, its just Gin!!

But in all seriousness, as our children grow up, they do become more self-sufficient and do things for themselves.  I have a fiercely independent eight year-old who even now, does so much for himself.

However, for our children who have challenges and needs, it doesn’t always go that way and as parents, there is always the niggling worry in the back of our minds that we will always need to be around to help… which of course, we always will be.  Just pass me the Gin!! xx

Until next time…

Tales of a Mother’s Daughter xxx

This blog of course, extends to stay at home dad’s and not just limited to us mums!

 

D-DAY! Diagnosis Day… choices to be made and the surprising grief that followed.

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D-DAY! Diagnosis Day… choices to be made and the surprising grief that followed.

I’m heading back to our Autism journey, back to the summer of 2010.  Since ‘the dark winter’ as I call it, of 2008 we had seen many consultants, registrars, speech & language therapists, other therapists with fancy names, Autism Advisory Teachers and Child Development Practitioners.   Today, we thought was going to be just another appointment with the consultant… the one we finally found that took us seriously, who could see that there was something not right and recognised a link between diet and the brain.

We’d already seen Dr McGreggor several times where she assessed Ellie’s behaviour, how she played and interacted and took a ‘progress report’ from us.  What we weren’t expecting was for her to offer us a diagnosis.  It had been two and a half years since we started this journey and now my heart was galloping at what she was about to say.

“Ellie is certainly on the autistic spectrum and I would say she has high functioning Autism.  I would say she is borderline, and with that, you don’t have to take the diagnosis, if you’d rather not?”

I heard the words, I nodded, but it was like one of those outer body experiences.  Were we being asked whether we would like to take the diagnosis?  WTF!

The consultant went through the pros and cons (of which I just don’t remember now) but one was that with a diagnosis, we would be able to access better support.  If having a diagnosis meant a better chance of getting help, then there was no question.  Whilst I would’ve loved to stick my head in the sand and pretend this wasn’t happening, it really wasn’t an option.  Ellie was still the same little girl, with or without a label.  Plus, she had only just turned five years old.  We had no idea how things would progress and change as she got older.

Looking back, I know it was the absolute right decision to make, as things really have changed as Ellie has grown up.  For one, there seems to be an ever increasing gap between her and her peers and she continues to have a 1:1 support at secondary school. I’m sure this wouldn’t have been the case had we not made that choice.

The consultant also agreed that diet had played a huge part in Ellie’s symptoms and confirmed that if we had not changed her diet when we did, she would be in a very different place by now.  The relief to hear that was immense.  Thank god we did what we did and took those ‘poisonous’ foods out.  I won’t lie, back in 2008 it was really hard work as the mainstream supermarkets had barely anything ‘free from’.  My family, especially my mum, played such a huge part in making those dietary changes… it would’ve been so much tougher without them.  I fear, that we may have even given up if it wasn’t for their support and understanding.

So, we decided to go for the diagnosis – High Functioning Autism (or Aspergers), although on our letter it actually says ‘Allergy Induced Autism’.

What I didn’t expect was how I felt in the coming weeks.  Instead of relief… I felt grief.  I definitely went through a grieving process for a good two weeks. Grieving over the daughter we thought we had, worrying about the things she wouldn’t be able to do, fearful for how she would ‘fit in’ with her peers and unsure of where this journey would take us next.

Until next time,

Love and Hugs xxx

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Digesting the YorkTest!

flat lay photography of vegetable salad on plate
Photo by Ella Olsson on Pexels.com

So yesterday, we got the results back of the YorkTest (re-test) we did for Ellie last week.   We first did this for Ellie some 9-10 years ago when she was two years old and was seriously regressing and we had major concerns about Autism.

Back then the test confirmed what we thought – wheat and dairy were having a huge effect on her brain function and her ability to communicate and understand (see first few blogs for more).

Anyway, the results came back as Yeast showing as intolerance and nothing else. NOTHING ELSE!  Now, I wouldn’t expect wheat or dairy to show up as Ellie doesn’t have this in her diet (maybe just now and again in an emergency like there only being a burger van to get food from!) but other than that, very little so its likely that these wouldn’t be in her system to test against.  A huge relief though to find that the 11 foods that were picked up a few weeks ago didn’t show up.  To be honest, I did wonder if Ellie was following the instructions the Kinesiologist gave her and whether sometimes she couldn’t be bothered to keep her arms raised.  I mean, this is the girl that finds a bag of cotton wool balls heavy! 🙂

So, come Monday morning, we will be eliminating Yeast as best we can from her diet – along with still keeping her wheat and dairy free (after what we went through all those years ago, I’m terrified to fully re-introduce those at the moment – plus it would mess with any improvements from the Yeast withdrawal).

So, what are the symptoms of Yeast intolerance? If you Google this you are immediately taken to symptoms of Candida.  These include Abdominal bloating, constipation and diarrhoea. anxiety and depression, hives and psoriasis, impotence and infertility, menstrual problems, respiratory and ear problems, unexpected weight gain, feeling “bad all over”.

There is a useful video with the lovely Dr Hilary Jones on the YorkTest site that explains the symptoms of yeast intolerance and foods to avoid.

http://www.yorktest.com/food-intolerance-advice/problem-foods/yeast-intolerance/

Symptoms mentioned on the site are:

  • Bloating, Cramping, Diarrhoea, Constipation, Headaches and can also cause;
  • Acne, Eczema, Fatigue and Sugar Cravings

The symptoms that ring true with Ellie are the Anxiety and Depression (but could this be part of her Autism profile?) and also Eczema and Sugar Cravings.  I’ve always said she is addicted to sugar!

Having looked at some of the foods Ellie enjoys – crisps being the first that springs to mind, the varieties she can have all have yeast extract in apart from the Ready Salted.   Ellie is constantly asking for crisps and gets very upset when I say she can’t have any more.  She’s even been caught sneaking crisps up to her room (crafty kid).

Its also in all types of food such as vinegar – does this mean no tomato ketchup and salad cream?  No wonder she likes it so much!

Other big culprits are Marmite (safe there!) dried fruit, Bread, Mushrooms, Gravy and Stock cubes, Fermented drinks, Beers, Wines and Ciders (safe there too!) and Ginger Beer (does anyone actually drink Ginger Beer?!).

It looks like I’m going back to checking everything again and seriously reducing/stopping the consumption of Prawn Cocktail crisps, Tomato Ketchup and Salad Cream, amongst a long list of other stuff!

I’m not going to be very popular around here! :/

I’ll keep you posted… but be warned, there may be many more vlogs involving distressing scenes and wine!!

Until next time,

Love and hugs

 

TOMD xxx

YorkTest results day!

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I’ve gone all professional and added a video!  No clue if I’m doing it correctly… and as I type this blog the video shows me upside down!!

I hope when you watch this I’m turned the right way up! If not, I’m going to look a bit silly, but you can have a laugh at my expense… I have broad shoulders (I blame my Dad for that!).

I’ll be blogging more about the York Test results and my plan of attack very soon.

Until then,

img_9537love and hugs xxx

Rice, Rice Baby! What happened when another food becomes a bad guy!(Blog#14)

So, lets get back to the story.  If I’m honest, most of the summer of 2008 was a bit of a blur.  We had returned from Florida, which went ok considering how poorly Ellie had been in the previous months.

There’d been doctors appointments (but that’s for another blog). We’d also decided that we wanted to try for another baby.  I remember this news shocking my mum as she felt that now wasn’t the best time to be thinking about trying for another child with everything that was going on with Ellie.   Why would we want to risk having another autistic child? What if Ellie didn’t get better?  I knew that’s what she was thinking.

Ellie had been following the diet for six months now and we felt we were getting a handle on the situation (how naive!) and considering our past complications with not conceiving in a previous life (that’s a whole other story!) we figured we may not be as lucky to get caught again anyway. Plus, we couldn’t see ourselves just having the one child – I certainly didn’t feel like I was done with the whole babies and pregnancy thing.

So, with a possible pregnancy on the cards, we decided to book a little getaway for ourselves to New York (ok, not that little) in November – at the earliest, I could be in the early stages of pregnancy – and if we didn’t do it now, we might not get around to it.  Mum and Dad kindly agreed to have Ellie while we were away.

So, lets fast forward to late November.  I was 12 weeks pregnant (wooo hooo!) and we were going to New York in two days  but for the past week Ellie really hasn’t been very good.  A lot more moany and any little instruction was met with confusion and meltdowns.  Simple things like ‘sit down’ and ‘put your coat on’ was lost on her.  It was clear to see that she was starting to regress again.

So, in a panic we made a quick dash to the Kinesiology lady that did the weird stuff with little bottles.  Once again, I held Ellie’s hand whilst she sat on my mum’s lap and I raised my arm up (and sometimes not) each time the lady put a little bottle of something on my cheek.  I didn’t know what was being tested and neither did the Kinesiologist but it turned out that along with the usual suspects, Rice was now a bad guy!

WHAT!! Something else we now had to eliminate!  When we thought about it, Rice was in a lot of what Ellie was eating as a substitute to the wheat and gluten so she had now become intolerant to it.  That seemed to happen pretty quickly with Soya earlier in the year which we were warned about from the York Test Nutritionists on one of our telephone appointments.

This was not great timing.  We were due to go to New York in less than two days, we now needed to sort through what Ellie could eat while we were away. Thankfully, Mum was ‘on it’ even quicker than I was.  She had everything sorted out ready for when we went and assured me that Ellie would be fine.

So we went to New York and had an amazing time – apart from feeling absolutely shattered from walking for 10 hours a day and growing a baby… and not being able to enjoy a beer in a New York bar 😦   We rang home often to check on Ellie and was assured that everything was fine.  Apart from it wasn’t.  Mum and Dad had taken Ellie to visit my brother and his family for the weekend and whilst she was there she was extremely upset, and unsettled… they just didn’t want to tell us while we were away.

By the time we got home the following Wednesday Ellie was just coming out of this withdrawal period and was starting to follow things a little better.  Mum knew that had we known how bad she was on the Saturday before we flew, we may not have gone.  We couldn’t believe the effect food had on her.  Once again, Ellie had become intolerant to something that made her regress.

Thankfully, over the months, we managed to reintroduce Rice back into the diet.  We now knew that too much of anything could cause Ellie to become intolerant.

For this last year or so (2016-2017), we have become a little more relaxed with the diet. Back in the day we were so anal – making sure there could be no contamination of wheat or dairy. However for a while now, we’ve allowed the odd bit of chocolate or a burger if we’ve been out and stuck for food options and some cheese on her gluten free pizza on ‘Pizza Friday’!

I have noticed recently though, that some of Ellie’s behaviours have become more extreme. She is getting easily confused, not understanding what I am saying, extreme mood swings and slurred speech. Of course, this could all be the process of becoming a teenager (god help us!) but when you have a feeling in your gut (excuse the pun!) you need to act on it.  We’ve already had a Kinesiology test which is great if you want an immediate answer, but it revealed 11 different foods!  We needed something more conclusive (ie; whether something was severe or borderline) – so yesterday, YorkTest received a small blood sample to get Ellie re-tested for food intolerance … so now we wait! :/

For more information on YorkTest visit: http://www.yorktest.com/products/foodscan-junior-test/

Until next time….

love and hugs xxxx

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Mixed Emotions for Little Mix! How we nearly didn’t go to the concert!(blog #13)

Back in May, we surprised the kids with tickets to Little Mix as part of their birthday present (they’re both May babies!).  They were both very excited and for the last few months I’ve heard nothing but how excited they (Ellie) was for the concert.

Fast forward to the night before (Thursday). Ellie had a huge meltdown about how she was going to look rubbish, how she would “look like the donkey” (what!??), how she was going to have her hair – up/down/curly – and which ever way I suggested, it was still going to look rubbish!

Then there was more…. “Are you going to dance?” (Yes Ellie)  “I don’t think you will”.  “Can I dance?”…  “I’m a rubbish singer”… “Shall I sing?”… “My hair is going to look rubbish”…… I zoned out!

Weirdly she said nothing about the crowds and waiting… though I know this was the underlying factor to the anxiety.  There was constant shouting at me of  “I’m excited for Little Mix!”.  I had to resist the urge to shout ‘Tell your face then’ and just replied “Ok babe” but that just got a shout back “Are you excited?”   Well,  right in that moment, no I wasn’t excited.  I really didn’t want to go at all.

Forty-five minutes later and Ellie had finally gone up to bed – crying and mumbling more of the same… and I’m sat with a vodka – on a school night – with work in the morning (I’m hardcore like that 😉 !).  A WhatsApp moan to my best girls and a waffle on my Facebook page and I felt a little better… plus the second vodka was kicking in! (don’t judge).

Next morning… what do you think were the first words I heard?  Yep, you guessed it… “I’m really excited for Little Mix” which would’ve been fine, except it was a moany, shouty noise I heard and not an excitable 12 year old!   Oh god! Here we go again! There was an hour of more of the same – all whilst trying to get us out for the school run and me off to work.  Well, I lasted 45 minutes before I blew my top – which actually could be some kind of a record!  Hubby stayed out of Ellie’s way so as not to add to the anxiety levels!  It’s really not helpful for two parents to lose it!

Later that morning, I hear that the traffic for the the previous night’s gig was horrendous.  Over an hour just to get into the car park, and hours to get out again.  I was really not wanting to go now.  Ellie doesn’t do waiting at the best of times, so this would definitely be meltdown territory.

After much consideration, we came up with the following plan.  Hubby offered to stay at home as he’s not great in traffic either (stressssss head!) and that would take the pressure off of me to try and keep both him and Ellie calm.  I think the thought of a quiet night, hot tub, beer and the TV to himself may have also played a part!  What a trooper! 🙂

We were also taking George’s little friend from school and her mum with us, so that would hopefully be a good distraction for Ellie.   Well, the plan worked!  Despite it taking well over an hour to move the last six miles, the singing in the back of the car and eating of snacks was a complete distraction and we got there meltdown free.

We were lucky at the gate as well.  We arrived just half an hour before the main act – which meant the line for bag search was empty and despite a little wobble as we entered the site, Ellie was doing really well.

The concert was held outside at Powderham Castle in Devon so there were no feelings of claustrophobia and we stood quite near the back (which was handy for later as we got out first).  Ellie didn’t even need her ear defenders (George wore them) and she was now genuinely excited to see her favourite group.

What happened next made all that pain and anxiety (mine as well as Ellie’s) worth it.  As the girls came on, Ellie held her hand to her mouth and started to cry.  She was so happy to see her girls there on stage!  Granted, they were small dots from where we were, but seeing them on the big screen and seeing Ellie so ecstatic was amazing.  She must have cried with joy at least half a dozen times during the concert!

We danced, we sang, we waved and even ‘slut dropped’ a few times! (did I just say slut dropped?!).

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Pure Joy!
Ellie and me LMix
Finally relaxed at the gig!
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Fun Times!
 

As I said earlier, being near the back had its advantages.  We left just before the encore (as did a lot of others) and watched the last song as we walked to the car park.  I then made a sprint for the car and picked up the guys on the way out!  We were out of the car park in 5 minutes! Genius!*

Apart from a scary detour up a single car sized country lane which seemed to go up into a forest and me trying to manoeuvre us past several cars coming the other way (Ellie really not keen on that – & nor was I tbh!) the evening was a complete success and I’m so glad we decided to go.  Both Ellie and her brother George were still buzzing when they got up this morning.

So, I might just do it again!

*I heard later that night that two friends were stuck in the car park for over two hours!  So whilst they were still trying to get out, I’d got the kids up to bed and was now sat… having a vodka! Right decision made! 🙂

Until next time….

img_9537-1Love and hugs xxxx

Sports days, exam results and being proud of the progress (Blog #12)

So, the end of the school year is nearly here!  To be honest, I don’t know how I feel about the holidays.  I love the fact that there’s no routine, no lunches to prepare, no uniforms to get ready and no PE kits to hunt down!  On the other hand, there is the anxiety of what we are doing for the six week stretch (and that’s just me!).  If I give out a programme of activities to Ellie, I won’t hear the end of it as each situation is super analysed and questions (the same ones) asked over and over again. If I keep information under wraps, there are meltdowns that we aren’t doing anything this summer and its going to be rubbish! We actually had one of these on Sunday with two whole weeks to go! Joy!

Anyway, I digress! I want to talk about the end of term and events that our AS children find particularly difficult – Sports Days and Exam Results.

Sports Days have always been difficult – especially in the early years. The cheering, the waiting around, the heat (if we happened to have a hot day) the co-ordination required to do the races and following multiple instructions.

I remember the first sports day Ellie had with the teaching assistant running along with her. We felt a huge sense of pride, but also saddened that she wasn’t able to do it on her own like the others.  She stood out as being different.  What I do know, is that everyone loved her.  All the parents were cheering her on and were genuinely as pleased as we were that she was competing.

Something then happened at the Year 1 Sports Day.  Ellie managed to do one race, along with the assistant running with her, but everyone cheering her name and encouraging her to finish, it all got too much.  Ellie sat back down in tears and didn’t want to take part in any more races. My heart went out to her.  Her peers were always so caring and really looked after her – they made her feel like it wasn’t a big deal – I loved them for that.

The following year, Sports Day was rained off … twice! Aaaah, those rainy memories of 2012!

So, onto Year 3 and a major achievement!  Sports Day was taking place at the local park with all of the Key Stage 2 children – some 240 children plus parents.  Once again, we were apprehensive about whether Ellie would want to take part.   My heart was thudding as she stood with her team mates ready for her race.  I can’t tell you the pride I felt as she ran down the straight towards the finishing line.  As I looked around, hubby, Mum and my Dad were all tearing up as well.  Over the other side of the track, I could see Ellie’s teaching assistant wiping tears from under her sunglasses. Yes – Ellie had done Sports Day all by herself.

 

And by the time Ellie did her final Sports Day last summer she was nailing it!

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Exams and results are also a big part of the summer term.

We were very fortunate with the SATs that Ellie took last summer, as school didn’t pile pressure on the children and we certainly didn’t with Ellie. Surprisingly, Ellie’s assistant reported that she had her best week ever at school during SATs week. All the routine and structure was a dream for Ellie.  In the end, we didn’t even find out the results of the SATs – we knew that Ellie had made progress during the year which for her was the goal.

So now fast forward a year. This week we had a panic attack about this year’s exam results?  Where did we lose the ‘being proud of the progress’ attitude.

Its not that we would ever compare Ellie to any of her peers, but it was just a shock to see how she did in a paper that the whole of the year took.  Admittedly, it was Maths, which has never been a favourite ( Ellie used to be scared of Maths) but to see that she only got a handful of questions correct out of a score of 60 really got us worried.

The story was similar in other subjects.  All I could think was ‘what are we going to do?’. I was imagining Ellie sat in her classes, not benefiting from the curriculum in any way.   I couldn’t understand why they would test her on a paper that she hadn’t even been learning (Ellie does Maths at a lower level away from class).

Thankfully, Ellie is fortunate once again, to have a super teaching assistant who kindly asked the Head of Year to give me a call.  Talking things over with her made such a difference.  She explained the processes and the reasons to why they tested everyone the same and that for Ellie, she has made great progress during this year… not only academically, but more so socially, gaining confidence and independence in lots of aspects of school life.   She has her own targets to strive towards and school were very pleased with her progress.

And that’s were it’s at… progress.  We don’t need to worry about what everyone else is doing – as long as our child is moving forward, be it big or small, and most importantly, if she is happy, its all good.

So, I’m now on countdown to the start of the summer holidays!  Best re-stock that wine fridge! 🙂

Until next time,

 

img_9537 Love and hugs xxxx

Kinesiology… Kinesi-what?!! (blog #6)

So, we had already seen a bit of an improvement in Ellie’s symptoms from changing her diet, but we needed to know exactly what was bothering her.   I personally had suffered with episodes of tummy pain in the past (we’re talking 2001 here) and it got sorted out with a practice called Kinesiology.

Kinesi-what?!  It’s one of those ‘alternative therapies’ that you need to have an open mind about. We weren’t even sure if it could be done with two year old… but, it turns out you can!

We visited a practitioner who lived not too far away who saw myself, my Mum and Ellie. Now, this next bit may sound a little mumbo-jumbo to some of you, and to be honest, we weren’t really sure of it ourselves, but we gave it a go.

This is what happened….

Ellie (two years old) sat on my mum’s lap whilst I lay on the bed.  The practitioner did something with my ‘Meridians’ and cleared them and I then held Ellie’s hand so she was now working with Ellie’s body.  I know, I know, this all sounds very weird!

I then had little samples of different products placed on my chest and I had to push with my arm against the practitioners arm.  I didn’t know what she was putting on and when, but there were occasions when I couldn’t lift my arm at all!  Can you guess what I (Ellie) was weak against?  Wheat, Dairy and slightly against a few other things like potato, beef and even tomatoes. OMG… ketchup!!

This certainly helped us to pinpoint what was troubling our little girl and encouraged us to stick with the diet.  We tried a few more forms of testing such as The York Test which also confirmed similar foods.

Its been nine years since we did that test but today, I looked up the details of the same Kinesiologist.

I’ve had this niggling feeling lately that something isn’t right…. some weird eye movements, stuttering, not following simple instructions… it might be nothing… but my gut (no pun intended) is telling me to follow this up.

Until next time…

mothersdaugter logolove & hugs xxx

The ‘A’ Word. Are we really talking Autism here?

img_4064The A Word…

I remember clearly – it was Boxing Day 2007 and Ellie, who was normally such a happy and sociable toddler was very upset by the visitors we had that day.  She looked terrible – her eyes had black circles around them, she looked pale and her nose was constantly running.  Over the following days, Ellie seemed to go even further downhill. Simple instructions such as “put your coat on” was met with moans and groans and hand flapping.  Ellie stopped looking at my Nan and my mum became very quiet and speech was replaced with groans.

At a Christmas play date, a friend suggested changing her milk as her daughter was having some problems.  Anything was worth trying so we changed the cows’ milk to soya milk. The change in Ellie was unremarkable.  The following morning we were greeted with “Hello Mummy, Hello Daddy” instead of the moaning we had been experiencing.  As days went by, Ellie became less moany and able to follow instructions again… but this didn’t last.

Over the following weeks, she started to revert back to her previous behaviour and some. The moaning became a lot worse, eye contact was going and Ellie didn’t seem to recognise close family members. We would also find her climbing into tiny spaces and constantly climbing on me – which I suppose you’d think was quite normal for a two-year-old, but for some reason, this just didn’t feel right.

This may be a little TMI… but Ellie’s bowel movements had changed.  She produced what looked like ‘rabbit droppings’! She started dribbling excessively, started to eat weird non-edible things and would want to constantly be eating Weetabix.

We also had this really weird experience one night where Ellie was sat on my lap in her room, but she was looking behind me laughing uncontrollably – like she could see someone there.  We jokingly said “Ellie, can you see dead people?” but the whole episode really was quite spooky!

I’ll never forget the day when my mum brought up the A word.  It was a couple weeks into January and my husband Andy was working away for a few days. It was just after lunch when I got home from work and Ellie really wasn’t too good.  Mum had that look about her that she was going to tell me something… and then she came out with it… “Do you think Ellie might be Autistic?”

I couldn’t believe what I was hearing! I felt sick to the stomach. She was just having some trouble with her milk and something else wasn’t agreeing with her… where on earth had this come from! I just thought it was ridiculous.  Then mum mentioned a site about Allergy Induced Autism called Respectrum, run by Marilyn Le Breton and Rosemary Kessick – unfortunately, this site is no longer running. Part of the site included case studies about children and how certain foods had affected them.  The comparison was unbelievable. Their stories all rang true to what we were experiencing.  As we read through the case studies, it became clear that these children saw improvements when removing wheat, gluten and dairy from the diet. From the experience with milk, we knew there was definitely something in this link with food.

It was time to become Google masters and do our research…. And also tell hubby what we had found out.  That bit wasn’t going to be quite as easy.

 

Until next time… Love & hugs xxx