An incredibly successful day

For both #1 Son and myself.

At 09:00 this morning I strode off to school suited and booted for #1 Son’s initial evaluation meeting for Special Education Provision.

I’ve been both dreading and looking forward to this by turns.

He had to meet certain specific criteria to qualify for an IEP – which is an Individualised Education Programme.

Basically it was to see whether or not he could be statemented.

I spent a year working in the SEN department of Oxfordshire County Council, so I knew how hard getting one of these could be, at least without a metric tone of supporting documentation and medical backup.

And the autism assessment process is stalled a bit. It’s just so slow.

So I had reports from:

  • An Educational Psychologist.
  • An Occupational Therapist.
  • A Speech and Language Therapist
  • The School’s own SENCO

Which came home on Friday, which I read, re-read, highlighted and annotated.

I went up to this meeting agreeing with the reports, but prepared for battle if needed. I knew they wanted to help him, but criteria are criteria and he had to meet them to get the extra help.

At the meeting were:

  • Myself – daddy stayed at home with TT
  • The Principal
  • His class teacher
  • The school nurse
  • Head of SEN services for the district as meeting co-ordinator
  • The school Counsellor – who #1 Son has dubbed “The Feelings Lady”
  • The SENCO
  • The Occupational Therapist
  • The Speech and Language Therapist
  • The Educational Psychologist

It was a full meeting. I was completely drained both physically and emotionally after it. He’s not the only one in this household who can get overwhelmed.

So he couldn’t be registered with a disability due to autism, as the school cannot diagnose that.

He couldn’t get the IEP on cognitive ability because the reports proved he is average to above average in almost all areas.

So what’s left? Well, a few things but the main one is Developmental Delay.

That is a blanket term that covers a lot of things, but the one that covers him best is social, emotional or adaptive functioning.

I don’t disagree. He has severe sensory issues, cannot relate to his peers (but is great with much older and much younger children), confidence issues and is struggling generally.

I just feel a massive sense of relief.

Within 10 school days we will get a copy of the IEP and once we read it, sign it and return it, it becomes “activated” and off we go.

There will be more meetings, more reviews. This is not a one-off thing, but the main hurdle has been jumped and he will get more help.

And now for the second good thing of the day.

I went for a pre-operative assessment with the surgeon who would perform my hysterectomy if agreed to.

Well, take a shufty at this ladies and gentlemen:

For those in the audience who cannot read doctor handwriting (it’s a skill), he had agreed, without any hesitation, to perform:

A TOTAL ABDOMINAL HYSTERECTOMY

WITH BILATERAL SALPINGO OOPHERECTOMY

They are taking Every. Single. Thing. Out!!!!

I could have kissed Mr. Surgeon Man.

๐ŸŽ‰๐ŸŽŠ๐ŸŽ‰๐ŸŽŠ๐ŸŽ‰๐ŸŽŠ๐ŸŽ‰๐ŸŽŠ๐ŸŽ‰๐ŸŽŠ๐ŸŽ‰๐ŸŽŠ๐ŸŽ‰๐ŸŽŠ๐ŸŽ‰๐ŸŽŠ๐ŸŽ‰๐ŸŽŠ๐ŸŽ‰๐ŸŽŠ๐ŸŽ‰๐ŸŽŠ๐ŸŽ‰๐ŸŽŠ๐ŸŽ‰๐ŸŽŠ๐ŸŽ‰๐ŸŽŠ๐ŸŽ‰๐ŸŽŠ

I’ve been warned that because they will go in through the belly it’s going to be the full six weeks recovery time for the procedure alone, coupled with six months to feel myself and back to normal again.

That’s fine.

Parent-Teacher Conference

We had our first one for #1 Son last night.

I would be lying if I hadn’t been approaching it with at least a modicum of trepidation.

But honestly? It was amazing.

They have kept such good notes on his progress, both educationally and behaviourally.

He is improving. Slowly, gradually, but it’s visible and it’s there.

Perhaps the most important takeaway?

HE CAN READ!!!!

 

Honestly? I didn’t think he could. I knew he knew his letters, but stringing them into words (at least at home) is something he apparently couldn’t do. I now know it’s wouldn’t.

Busted kiddo ๐Ÿ˜‚๐Ÿคฃ๐Ÿ˜‚๐Ÿคฃ๐Ÿ˜‚๐Ÿคฃ

He is getting a lot of 1:1 support with the paras during centres, and when that happens he does well. But at the moment he doesn’t have one of his own and he’s one in a class of twenty. So they are trying, gradually, to scale back and seeing what he can cope with.

Basically it’s data gathering to bolster their bid for extra support for him. That will either start or happen next Tuesday at the Special Education meeting.

I am behind them 100% and fully intend to say so. Apparently having parental agreement and support really helps.

I would walk through fire to get him the help he needs, so let’s hope that the relevant professionals are on the sensible side and that I don’t have to go full on mama bear rage mode on them.

Or worse. Be British at them ๐Ÿ˜‚๐Ÿคฃ

His teacher also said that cognitively he is exactly where he needs to be. That he’s smart and funny. That he’s kind hearted. He’s also a perfectionist and sensitive.

She’s a true angel she really is.

Completing the Turkey Trot

Well #1 Son did complete his Fun Run ๐Ÿ…

It didn’t quite go according to plan however…

First was the change in venue from outside at Melrose Common to inside in the school using the All Purpose Hall.

Which meant that there was some confusion over whether we could actually cheer him on. However we were let in (very reluctantly by the stalwart Office Manager).

They then split the Kindergarten classes into two groups, and he was running in the second so we had to wrangle a very grumpy TT for 40 min rather than 20.

But the run started and started well.

Then #1 son tripped over one of the cones. And I could see the meltdown coming. So. I pulled up my big girl pants,

AND I RAN WITH HIM

I grabbed his hand and did several circuits while cheering him on.

I am unfit. I was wearing my galaxy leggings.

And this t-shirt:

But we did it. And he was so pleased. Both that we were there, and that I ran with him.

He hasn’t quite grasped that it was a Fun Run and keeps asking if he won gold, but for everyone that sponsored him yes he ran it thank you.

He raised $170 before the run. And the school have met their target

And not only will there be a Popsicle Party for all students, the top performing class per grade get an individual reward.

Stay tuned to hear if his have won.

Pyjama Party

It was noisy and crowded but I think the kidlets had fun

We met the School mascot, Willy the Winthrop Wildcat:

He was attempting to be mascot-y but a number of the older children were pulling his tail and attempting to knock his head off

๐Ÿ˜ก๐Ÿ˜ก๐Ÿ˜ก๐Ÿ˜ก

TT was by turns enthralled and enchanted:

She kept sidling up close to him, laughing uproariously and declaring “cat” but was sadly too shy to give him a cuddle, which quite frankly I think he would have appreciated too.

She did keep wandering out to the front where he had been sitting to try and find him though after the stories.

He and the Principal read all the children a bedtime story. It was very sweet. And he (the principal) is a man who clearly loves his job. I truly think he is awesome.

All in all it was a nice way to spend a little time.

We are also now the proud owners of a sofa bed!!!

We do not talk about the hassle it took to install it oh no.

We do not speak of

  • The rain.
  • The hoisting it over the (second level) balcony one way and it not going over.
  • The re-lowering to the ground.
  • The re-positioning and re-hoisting.
  • The having to take not one but two doors out of the frames. Yes they were put back!
  • The holding of the breath whilst it was manhandled through the kitchen and subsequent archway.

But it is safely installed.

Trying to keep TT out of the way of the workmen was… fun. I mean the cat was easy, we just shut the door to the walk-in when she darted in there to get away from said strange workmen. Who were very perplexed at both my effusive gratitude and my insistence on offering tea/coffee.

I am British – when men are undertaking work for me, particularly hard, strenuous or complex work, I must offer hot beverages. It is a cultural thing. My mammy trained me well.

But the toddler? Oh no. She had to flirt, and hand them shoes and be interested in wide open door frames ๐Ÿ™„๐Ÿ™„๐Ÿ™„

All members of the Shields’ clan approve.

Oh and so far #1 Son has raised $100 for his Turkey Trot next week.

Thank you!!!! Donations are both gratefully acknowledged and would still be gratefully received.

Sponsored Turkey Trot

Ok I’ve been a bad school parent.

I kind of ignored a Fun Run slip that came home because, let’s face it, I don’t actually know anyone here.

Or at least no one I feel I can hit up for money.

But on November 22nd #1 Son will be doing a sponsored run (and will be running anyway) so he really ought to be able to hand in some pennies.

I had planned to pop a link in here to his page, but apparently it’s email only.

So, if anyone wants to donate and knows me well enough to either have me on Facebook or have my email address, send me a message and I’ll email you the link.

Any donations gratefully received.

This is the email you’d get:

Yes we will sponsor him too.

Look at that face ๐Ÿ’•๐Ÿ’•๐Ÿ’•

So proud

So, the book fair has been and gone.

#1 Son came home with an impressive haul:

And pleasingly, he did not forget Happy. Happy is even still (mostly) white.

Tuesday is Art day and so he has returned from school today a fetching shade of blue. Maybe he was channeling his inner Smurf?

But more importantly for me, is the other thing he came home sporting:

Super Star

That’s right, TWO REACH STARS!!!!

In one day!!!!!

Honestly I could just burst with pride.

Unfortunately I don’t know exactly what he earned them for, as there was no journal sheet in his bag, and he is not the best at remembering anything but that doesn’t matter.

And not to be outdone, TT insisted on photobombing:

Of Book Fairs and Class Rewards

So tomorrow is the school Book Fair for #1 Son.

As far as I can tell we give him money ($20) and he and his classmates toddle off to somewhere presumably in the school building I can’t imagine they let them out and spend the money on books. Apparently for every dollar spent some additional funds go somewhere that allow the school to purchase additional books for the school library. Which in my opinion is actually pretty epic. Kids don’t seem to enjoy reading quite so much as well I did when I was little but perhaps I am an anomaly.

What me? Odd? Never!!

In addition #1 Son’s kindergarten class have won a class reward which involves wearing their pyjamas to school tomorrow. I was a tad sceptical until I received an email from his class teacher confirming it. It is also apparently National American teddy bear day or some such fiddle-faddle so he can also take in a soft toy of some description for the day. He has chosen Happy.

Who is a plushie snowman gifted to him by my cousin Jenny just before our big trip.

He’s been pretty much inseparable from that snowman since we got on the plane. And he has been named Happy because apparently that “is how he made him feel”.

Nenny you rocked that!

I’m not crying you’re crying.

He also has a “bedtime stories and hot cocoa” evening on Thursday this week from 17:30-19:00 and pjs are the requirement then too so both kiddies will look insanely cute.

On the TT front, she has discovered the joys of the phrase “no, not yet <thing which I want her to do>”

This is me:

She did also spontaneously count from 1-5 tonight and jumped for joy after (I may have been making a huge fuss ๐Ÿคฃ)

I’ve also gotten her to accept Moana (which is “BURD” because of that damn crazy chicken)

In addition she will nowย occasionally allow one of the Ice Age franchise.

Which is saving my sanity a bit.

As for me, I’m not in the best place mentally today. I’ve attacked my fingers and my scalp a bit. I don’t consciously do it, but it’s not a great stress reaction.

Thinking of going to the doctor after the holiday and seeing if anti-anxiety medication might help. Should probably track my blood pressure a bit first.

I did some knitting though so yay. Need to finish my non sock project.

Another great day

For #1 Son.

I was more than a little surprised when I read his daily report sheet* yesterday and it was glowing, yet he did not have a REACH star sticker, but I shrugged it off.

But our lovely J handed me one this morning that he must have peeled off of his t-shirt.

So I have recorded it in our โ€œFolder of Awesomeโ€

He has six now, which is one per month, with two scored in October and two already for this month – IN ONE WEEK!!!!

I could just burst with pride and happy. I know we are nowhere near the end of the war, but for now at least, it feels like we are winning.

*His teacher created a daily checklist of his academic centres and puts stickers on the ones he completes. She also writes me a daily report of good and bad – did I mention the woman is a saint?

Our week

But not in pictures.

It was pretty normal up until Thursday.

On Wednesday I went up to my yarn shop to their โ€œSit โ€˜N Knitโ€ class – which is $7 per session and you can pay in blocks but as the current block finishes in three weeks, Iโ€™m paying the instalments until then, then I will buy the block.

Itโ€™s been lovely to hang out with like-minded ladies. Iโ€™m hoping they will teach me the Continental style.

Now, on to Thursday.

#1 Son has been pretty stable at school for the last few weeks. His days average around 50:50 with some escapes out of the classroom but usually only into another kindergarten classroom.

Which does make me feel a little sorry for the other teachers. But they donโ€™t seem to mind too much.

The overall actual classwork amount he completes varies day to day. But he is at least managing some per day. Although I canโ€™t shake the feeling that he is starting to lose the advantage he had from a year in reception class.

However I think I got cocky. I was starting to feel that just maybe he was settling down. Thursday put the kibosh on that one a bit.

I missed a phone call from the school at roughly 11 oโ€™clock. That will teach me to change the Tiny Tyrantโ€™s nappies!!!

They then rang the husband creature who texted me in a bit of a flap. Actually that is unkind of me, as he was really very calm and controlled. (This normally doesnโ€™t herald anything good).

The school were ringing to tell us that #1 Son had escaped out of his classroom and actually managed to escape out of the school. This has been something they have feared since he started playing this particular little trick.

They didnโ€™t have a choice and this time had to call the police to go and find him. They apparently allowed one of the paras (which seems to be the equivalent of a teaching assistant) go with the police so that he had a familiar face. Which was a good thing as the whole โ€œstranger dangerโ€ conversation is not one we had really been focusing on because of his tendency to focus on the exact opposite point of the conversation.

This has now been rectified.

With some urgency!!!

It was all hands on deck. Daddy raced home from work and I called the lovely J for a lift to school to collect him.

Gave TT a chance to model her new coat which is for three year olds:

So we got him home. School were apologetic and we would โ€œstart again tomorrowโ€

I rained hell fire on him without shouting. I never thought I could do that but it is possible.

I also docked his allowance. Which he was more upset about than losing screen privileges. (Which also happened)

Itโ€™s not been a fun day, and I am then dreading parent-teacher conference but onwards and upwards.

Friday was much better. I had to pick him up from school so as he had a very good day, we went for ice cream.

After ice cream we went to the park.

TT decided that swinging for an extended period (rather than < 30 seconds) was fun and #1 Son was playing appropriately!!!

I did find myself saying โ€œI donโ€™t care what the other little boy is doing, he is not my sonโ€ when I caught #1 Son trying to climb up onto the roof of a playhouse to copy one of his new little friends, and was outraged that I wouldnโ€™t let him follow suit.

And, perhaps most importantly, we met another little boy and his older brother, who is also on the spectrum. There was only a dayโ€™s difference in their ages too.

Although he seemed further along the spectrum, they played together so nicely. Both boys played with both #1 Son and TT, and I had a lovely chat with a mom who โ€œgot itโ€ and could advise me on Stateside services.

Iโ€™m hoping that we might catch up with them this Friday too.

A day unlucky for some

But not for us.

For today Friday the 13th October 2017 we have sold our house.

Yes that bloody Millstone that was hung around our neckโ€™s since April yes, April finally belongs to someone else!!!!

I mean okay we have not yet actually received the funds from the sale yet. No more dealing with shitty conveyancers!!!

Please excuse me while I do a little dance in celebration. It might even be the squirmy happy puppy dance. (Which Iโ€™ve not done since I left the office).

We can buy a car!!!!!

#1 Son also had an excellent day.

He received todayโ€™s REACH Star For doing his writing work without complaint and generally being awesome.

Yes I know the shirt is too small he insisted on wearing it and quite frankly Iโ€™m not sure Iโ€™m going to bother washing it before getting rid of it.

(Ok thatโ€™s a lie, but it was fun to consider however briefly ๐Ÿ˜‚๐Ÿคฃ)

Got to speak to his teacher today because our lovely J was unable to pick him up from school due to a previous appointment. And the lovely teacher confirmed that he has improved greatly, and she is very very pleased with him.

Yes we got our normal ice cream. Yes both children were a giant mess at the end of it. They had fun. Iโ€™ve even bought some very expensive oatmeal pouches to try and tempt TT into actually eating breakfast. Standby for the results on that one dear audience.

Oh and before I forget my wonderful boy and I had a conversation about Christmas. He was explaining to me how it was very important that J, her partner, and her two children, (and especially the baby) should have Christmas presents from us this year.

(It was hilarious that he referred to Jโ€™s partner as her dad because he knew him to be the babyโ€™s dad. I did explain)

๐Ÿ˜‚๐Ÿคฃ๐Ÿ˜‚

I forgot how literal a childโ€™s view of the world can be.

But the best part of this conversation was the discussion about him giving the baby his toys and perhaps most importantly a previous favourite toy. He explained to me how he felt it was important that toys that were less favourite should go to other children.

No Iโ€™m not crying youโ€™re crying. Or maybe someone is cutting onions in here. Just proves what a wonderful sweet boy he really is. And finally on the way home he asked to go to the park unfortunately his sister had other ideas (in the nappy area) so we played outside once we got home. Our lovely downstairs neighbour H said that we were able to use her grandsonโ€™s outside toys as and when.

So I managed to capture this:

See Saw

They can be so gosh darned cute when they want.

๐Ÿ’•๐Ÿ’•๐Ÿ’•๐Ÿ’•๐Ÿ’•๐Ÿ’•