Reasons To Be Cheerful....1....2...3....

I feel like I'm in a very positive place in the last couple of weeks.

Ok....the house is in a mess but it's really getting there...and I HATE the rented house....and I'm SO busy with everything that I'm exhausted come the end of the week . But, somehow, through all of this I'm kinda finding a little bit of time to Stop. Breathe. Smell. the roses...even if it's for just a few minutes.

This post is kinda in line with Hammie's previous post...."The Best Things In life are Free." 'Cos it's been on my mind for some time....only getting around to it now!

Here's a list of the things, in the last week or so that have brought a smile to my face or just quite simply made me feel good! I wonder if I can make it a list of 10?? Hmmm..... lets see.

Here goes....

No 1: The Test

Almost 2 weeks ago Snuggles did his testing for his orange belt in Taekwando. It's only his 2nd testing and he's only been going a year. Bearing in mind that he finds it difficult to stay easy for a long length of time he did extremely well. They have to be on the floor for about 40 minutes or so and the Master (who tests them) is quite strict. Twice he had to remind Snuggles (and ONLY him) that he must stay easy as he's still being tested.
They're big into neat dress and respect. Snuggles top was all twisted on him and kept sticking out at all angles! I had this INCREDIBLE urge to halt proceedings and attend to him!! But I managed to stay easy too! At last weeks class they got their results......they all passed with flying colours!! I was so proud of him as he went to collect his orange belt! That brought a smile to my face and a tear to my eye!

No 2: The Chat

On TWO occasions in the last week I've had a real grownup CONVERSATION with my son. OK, the 1st one was me trying to get the Santa list and Birthday Party lists out of him (he'll be 9 on 22nd December!) It was the way he was talking though....throwing in all the things his peers say (watch out Sesame...Babs is next!) "Of course there's a Santa...come on Mum...we saw the real one in Lapland"! Indeed we did...

The funny part was after I'd told Daddy that we'd had a grownup chat Snuggles came and whispered to me..."Did we really?" He was delighted with himself!

No 3: The Walk

We've taken to walking home from school 3 days a week....well it's the only chance I get to walk the dog. So, this one day we're walking, Snuggles and Scamp. I had to go to the chemist so I tie Scamp up outside and Snuggles minds him and WAITS for me to get back so he can go into Spar! He goes in to the shop, by himself and buys his ice cream. So independant.

The best, heartwarming part was going home from there. There I am laden down with schoolbag, 2 coats and the dog pulling me this way and that. I'm a bit fed up TBH. Then I look ahead and see Snuggles skipping along eating his ice cream! So happy and content! was I. A lovely moment.

No 4: The Friends

I've noticed something recently....... more children are saying "hi" to snuggles as they pass by. He's also responding to them, more so than before. He's approaching them and having real proper chats.

There's this one kid who is just soooo cute! I've such a soft spot for him. He's one of the youngest in his class, is a little bit babyish and his Mum died when he was 5. He tends to walk some of the way home with us and they chat. This one day C says to S..." say Get a life to me". So S says "to me". C repeats what he said and S repeats the whole lot back to him! Getting confusing so C, unable to restrain himself just bursts out with the punchline (said in a dramatic girly voice...obviously copied from older sis!) and says "I already have one and it's fabulous!! Well, I just burst out laughing! Snuggles of course turns to me and says "I don't get it...what does it mean?" Then of course I had to explain it to him....he still doesn't get it! I got a laugh though!

No 5: The Birthday Party

Snuggles has decided that he wants a football party this year! Now, bear in mind the 1st one he went to was only in July 2007 and he wouldn't play...Him and C (above story) played in the play area. For which I was very thankful! Then last February C had a football birthday party and Snuggles coped very well...not too many incidents!!

He joined the local football team last March....just so he'd be able to cope at yard time and any more parties. I didn't want him to be excluded. He just went to the practise and didn't have to play any matches....has a VERY understanding coach! He plays matches now....well, they put him on for 5 or 10 mins! He's doing very well now and I've NO problem with the fact he wants this party. I'm THRILLED. Not worried at all. Probably won't even bother with a social story either!!'d wanna see the invite list....getting longer by the day! Yay...Happy Days! Well, fingers crossed....don't wanna count me chickens too early!

(Snuggles is the one with foot on the ball....and with shinpads outside his socks as "they

No 6: The Hairdressers

I FINALLY made time to go to the Hairdressers and get the hair cut.....and Highlighted, of course. Got it much shorter than usual. So it's shorter...blonder....but I'm no younger! I guess he can only do so much...ain't a miracle worker!

What struck me though was that there I was sitting there for 3 HOURS with nothing to do....except make small talk and flick through magazines! Bliss. Forgot what that was like. Also, I was in better form (less tired) when I collected Snuggles from school.

It also reminded me of something I forgot. My little monthly most guarded secret that I'll share with you now. Not even Mr Jazzy knows about this! But...about once a month I get up, as usual and bring Snuggles to school. I dash home, turn off the phones, make Tea and toast and take it back to bed, read my book then go back to sleep for an hour!! So it's kinda breakfast in bed....I just have to get up first! I tell ya, it's TOTAL bliss and revives me no end. I will eventually get back to those days.

No 7: The Dog

Now Scamp really is the bane of my life...he's so hyper and hard to manage! I simply don't have the time to walk him these days. That said he does get out for a walk (may only be 20mins some days) every day. But, to see his little face, ears up and tail wagging in anticipation is sooo cute. Also makes me feel guilty! Then when he's out walking, tail wagging again and he's SO happy to be out...smelling all the smells.....burying bits of tissue and paper that he finds....and....eating all the poos he can find! Yes, he's still at that stage!! So disgusting!

No 8: The Beach

NOTHING calms me more than looking at the beach. Even if I only have 5 mins to look at the water and enjoy the view. Now Shankill beach is not great...very rocky...but lovely to be on when tide is out and I can see both Dalkey and Bray heads.

It's only 5 mins away from our house so I'll get back to it when we move back. Can't wait!

N0 9: The One-Liners

As I've said before ("Happy Talkin....") Snuggles is great for the ould one-liners!
He often comments on how alike he thinks we look. Last week he sez....." How come we look like each other Mum?." Followed by THE classic of all time....."except for the wrinkles!!!!" What can you do but laugh....he has a point!!

No 10: Snuggles

Last but not least.....having snuggles (AKA snuggies) with Snuggles. What a way to start and end EVERY day......with at least 10 thrown in during the day for good measure!

Well that's it! I made it to 10! I could even add afew more.

I did this in 2 sessions...started last Saturday ( sad!)...and since then things have gotten hectic again and there are some building issues etc, etc. But, all I have to do is read this from time to time and remember we all have a lot to be cheerful's just harder to find some days.

Can you find 10 things that happened recently to make YOU smile?? xx J

Snuggles Success Story

I'm trying to get back into blogging again! I have missed it, but it was getting too hard to fit it in to my day. Other things, important things, were going by the wayside so had to reel myself in! Also, it's VERY cold at the building site that is my house, especially during the mid-term break. God, it was freezing cold that week! House building coming along now though after a bit of a lull, more about that later.

Didn't know what to start back with so I decided to tell my news about Snuggles.

I THINK I'm ready to talk about this now. I know it sounds mad 'cos this is really good news, but it's still hard to get my head around it.

I wrote some time ago about the "Re-Evaluation" or "Re-diagnosis" that was being done on Snuggles. We were advised of the results some time ago and I was not surprised by them in the least.

I met with the Psychologist and Play Therapist and I was advised of the following:

  • They couldn't support a Diagnosis of ASD as he didn't "tick enough boxes". See, I was always worried about those damn boxes! Ticking boxes......who's the Autistic one there I may well ask!

  • Play Therapist said while Snugs presented to be "a little odd" and spoke with a "slight American accent", at times, he also didn't tick enough Aspergers boxes. Now that did surprise me a bit. And that was coming from a play therapist who's accent I couldn't quite place.....Northern Ireland?...... or ...... do I detect a slight American twang??! Hmmm. Eye contact not great and, I found him to be a little odd to be quite frank. the Autistic person in the room!! Hmm...indeed!

  • If they absolutely have to put a label on his condition it would be PDDNOS. Oh yeah, sez I, that's the label for kids when we can't figure out where on the spectrum they belong! They sniggered at that! But they explained, nicely like, that PDD is the umbrella term for the whole of the Spectrum as Autism is essentially a Pervasive Development Disorder. I didn't realise that about PDD. However, I guess then that the NOS part is the bit that covers the kids with no label!

  • They'll only give the PDD Label if they have to as they don't think a label will serve him well. Very big into providing an over-all Statement of Needs instead i.e. a multi-Discipliniary one. Fair enough, that probably is in his best interests but not in Ireland. Not in pre-recession and DEFINITELY not in post-recession (with recent savage budget cuts) Ireland. Sure the present Government ( and I stress present!) won't even honour the Epsen Act.

  • They won't supply a written report of their findings to enable Snuggles retain his SNA and Resource hours. if they gave this report he would lose his supports. That I am grateful for.

  • We should plan to lose the SNA by end of 4th class. Eh...WHAT??? I don't think so! My plan is to cut her back as much as possible but I have to think ahead to Secondary school. Whatever supports will be available then, which currently isn't a lot as far as I understand, will be diminished if he 's seen to no longer need supports. If he doesn't have an SNA it won't neccessarily mean he doesn't need it.

When all of the news was given to me I mentioned my upset at change of diagnosis. See, what's really hard for me to accept is that I sent my beautiful child, my ONLY child, to a special Needs school for 4 years, thereby losing out on the magical "first day" at school. And, making friends, and meeting other mums at school gates. In fairness, for 2 of those years he spent most of his time in mainstream. But now they're basically telling me that it wasn't necessary?? I sent my child who doesn't have ASD to an ASD school for nothing?? The psych's response to that was no, it was absolutely necessary. The school provided what he needed at the time, he just doesn't need it anymore. I felt a bit better after that. But then she added....if it was me I wouldn't have left him there for so long!! Well....thanks a bunch! Now I feel soooo much better!! Huh, it's easy for her to say with her high ranking job in the HSE which would allow her to access any supports her kids might need. Grrrrr!

Now, don't get the wrong impression, I'm worried that people will. I know LOTS of people who would give their right arm (and the rest) to get the news that we've received. I'm NOT complaining I AM delighted for Snuggles. He's a great kid with a great future. My wish for every parent with a special needs child out there is that they get whatever supports they need to get their child to reach their true potential.

I've decided to accept he was on the Spectrum and has now moved right along to some place they quite can't determine. And the reason for that is that we made the difficult decisions to send him where we sent him..and to keep him there. The work that BOTH schools and ourselves at home put into him have gotten him to where he is today. So there!

To finish off I have to mention that we had his IEP yesterday. It was great. Lots of positives and nice things said about him. Same psych was there and she said that he's a warm, engaging, bright and fun child! Ahhh! That I really appreciated...she's not ALL bad! God I'm probably painting a horrible picture of her...unfairly. To clarify... she DOES have Snug's best interests at heart, she's very good at what she does and knows exactly how to play things to get what she wants.

SLT was also there and I was so grateful that she was. We talked about his various needs and her input was enlightning at times. He talks out of turn to adults, doesn't realise boundaries so he appears to be cheeky. Psych all on for punishing him as they would the others. I said what I always say about punishments...He doesn't get it (in this case that you must treat adults differently) so by all means punish him but he MUST understand why or he'll just keep doing it. SLT completely backed me up and they're gonna do a Social Story etc...! She also explained his extreme giddy behaviours in class (at times) . She says it's mental tiredness from all the processing of info due to his Auditory Processing problems! Now I didn't know that but I knew it wasn't ALWAYS for attention. The attention and making others laugh was a bonus to him but there was an underlying reason for the behaviour as far as I was concerned. I felt it was because he couldn't manage the task...usually fine or gross motor skill based tasks he "acted out".

I've blogged before about his speech (Happy Talkin...) and what psych previously said about him (Trusting the Professionals). SLT just finishing off a report on him, this time highlighting expressive language. She's finding problems, in sentence structuring, prepositions and syntax. Yay! Finally someone to back me up! I've saying this FOR FOUR YEARS. So, Mrs psych(o)! if I hadn't kept him there "so long" as you say this would never have been dealt with...cos it took your staff the 4 years to do this report!

Everytime psycho ( see how the"o" slips in nicely now??!) said " I bet other kids behave like that" ie it's not just him, it was knocked resource teacher or SNA! I kept out of it, I knew what she was at. Sometimes he IS the only kid and no he will NOT "grow out of" his S & L problems. Now I'm NOT saying to her "I told you so" (ne ne ne ne ne!!) but it felt soooo good to be vindicated! At last. For Snuggles sake cos maybe now (at nearly age 9) he'll get more appropriate SLT. Somehow. That's the next step.

Sorry for long post! I've put in as much as I can as it might be helpful to others who are travelling along a similiar road to us...and I have 2 such people in mind! This is for you and I hope you find something of use here.