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It’s been a year….

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Since I last blogged….

I’ve taken to the iPad again tonight as it has been a week of real highs and lows. When you walk the path we walk alongside Angel and Soldier it’s anything but ‘the norm’ and you see the absolute best and worst in people and situations.

This week we have experienced really wonderful kindness and giving for kids like Angel and Soldier when our local taxi drivers took 100 kids including Angel and Soldier to the seaside. These cabbies give up their day (and many the day before to decorate their taxis) as do police outriders to escort the parade to the seaside. The councils close the street route and the public take to the streets to be soaked by water guns and water bombs as the kids have a day money can’t buy. Parents and carers can relax and be amongst families just like us, no one turns a hair at meltdowns, nappies on older kids, behavioural traits, you name it… It is normal to us… And the cabbies treat your kids like the special little angels they are… It’s exhausting as they pack so much into one day but truly magical.

This week has also broken my heart watching a fellow SWAN family facing into an impossible decision for their brave boy. This SWAN mummy is absolutely amazing, she writes beautifully in her blog. https://areyoukiddingney.wordpress.com/2016/06/18/quiet-storms/.
She is fun to be around, stunningly elegant, has a successful career, most of all she is filled with love for her gorgeous family.

We have talked a few times of how her son and Soldier look really alike and have similar mannerisms. We’ve watched each other’s boys grow up in our SWAN network. I can’t begin to imagine how surreal and emotional her current journey is…. I think how I would feel if it was Soldier but it’s just not possible to imagine…

Life is precious, enjoy every moment you have with those you love and give yourself a kick up the backside when you are stressing or arguing about nonsense… Save your energy for when life throws the really big challenges at you ūüė™

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Soldier’s voice #1

As many of us with kids on the autistic spectrum know there are so many different views of autism especially non-verbal autism. Some schools of thought are that children who present with autism, are non-verbal and appear to have severe learning disability are ¬†just that severely mentally impaired. Other schools of thought are that the communication challenges presented with autism are masking the child’s intellect. Who knows? We can only make a judgement on our individual child….

I am reading a fabulous book just now called Carly’s voice. Some of you may have seen the video I’ve shared a couple of times about a severely autistic girl who learned to type on a computer to communicate and revealed that she actually had far greater intellect than anyone ever imagined…. The book I am over half way through has inspired me to start sharing some of the little things I observe in my Soldier that make me really think that his current ‘tag’ of severe learning disability is actually wrong – we just don’t know how to access him yet!

Soldier’s voice #1

Both Angel and Soldier love our iPads. It doesn’t matter if both have the same apps one will always be ‘the attractive one’. We have different coloured protective frames but I can’t imagine that’s the driver. Expect it’s just good old fashioned sibling jealousy!

Angel was happily playing away on the black iPad when Soldier decided that was the one for him! A tussle ensued with Angel protecting her hold of the much saught after device! Soldier tries various different angles to get it and eventually backs off…. Or so I thought! I then observed him go and find the bluE iPad and take it Angel and hand it to her in the hope that she’d take it then he could get what he wanted – the coveted black one! She didn’t fall for his little trick but it certainly made me smile! He’d thought it through and worked out a little tactic! Go soldier can’t wait to see your next attempt!

 

Www.carlysvoice.com  Рwell worth a read!

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Heartbreaking loneliness

I have to admit to feeling like a bad parent at the moment…..

Our Soldier has started to show some interest in interacting with our Angel but in true autistic style he much prefers his own company and in fact really struggles in normal noisy children’s company and takes himself off to a quiet spot. He certainly appears happy with his own company although I do always have a slight niggle that underneath the autism there is a little boy who wishes things were different….

Where I feel very guilty is that Angel really wants a wee pal to play with! I know most people reading this will ask themselves, what’s the problem? Doesn’t she have friends from nursery, school, locally? Parents of other children with learning disability will most likely be reading with a knot in their stomach.

In the early days when Angel’s difficulties were becoming obvious I was googletastic and read many times about how lonely life can be for special needs children. I’m not sure I really believed it as at that time we were part of a fabulous local mum’s group and another group of friends we made through NCT. ¬†Angel was Angel, she was part of the group, never short of a play date. Her difficulties grew as the group grew up and whilst the other kids and parents didn’t really understand what it was like for us they were immensely supportive and inclusive.

We moved city before Angel was 3 and left behind those groups of friends. ¬†Thank goodness for Facebook many of them remain my friends today but Angel and her wee pals have taken their separate routes in life…….

She often asks for someone to play with and clings to my hubby and I to interact with her, play with her dolls, pretend cook, do art, all the things that a normal little girl should be doing with her little pals…. It’s absolutely heartbreaking sometimes!

We have moved to an Area with quite a few young kids locally. It’s city centre though and a couple of streets away from one of Edinburgh’s large private schools so a lot of local kids attend there, a very different world!

When we moved here Angel attended a supported nursery place on the other side of the city and a private mainstream nursery near our house on a Friday. In the 2 years of nursery she was not once asked on a playdate or to a birthday party, already the gulf between mainstream and special needs was obvious. ¬†Angel was well known and seemed to be well liked but she was different….. It broke my heart for her to be so lonely when she was still being asked to birthday parties back in Bearsden where we are from (although through time thatunderstandably stops as the kiddies move onto nursery and school, build their own sets of friends and we are no longer local). I’ve lost count of the number of times I have been in tears regretting the move away from our understanding and accepting network,

She has moved on to special school. Here I wished for another little girl like Angel that she could form a bond with. My eyes were opened quickly that the majority of children with additional support needs are actually boys. Angel joined a primary 1 class of 10, 8 boys and 2 girls. There are some lovely little boys in her class and she has had a few play dates which is good and one little boy in particular but unfortunately they are in different classes this year and see less of each other. In a special school the children are bused in from all over the City so even meeting the little boys is not straightforward. ¬†The little girl in her class she has struck up a wee friendship with at achool and they greet each other with little hug. I have sent notes to the mum/carer, invited her on playmates/ to parties but she’s never responded. Another thing I have learnt along the way that sometimes the parent/carer of a special needs child has their own challenges and that you may never strike a relationship.

I continue to host birthday parties, Christmas parties and ask along friend’s kids, school class mates and Soldier’s nursery pals and it is lovely that there are some little friendships there in these settings.

What I long for though is for Angel to have a proper little pal or two that she so seeks….

I will keep searching for another little girl like Angel and hope they form a bond! My latest venture is to find an inclusive rainbow’s pack. Even that’s not as easy as if she was a mainstream kid, our local rainbow pack has said as she doesn’t attend the school she can’t attend,……

It’s my dream to see my Angel playing happily and growing up with a little pal. Something most people don’t have to think about, it just happens…….

Xx