Just a quickie

Posted by Sarah on Apr 26, 2012 in Uncategorized

I just thought I’d share a Beth funny with you all. When Beth was in Primary School she had a stock standard answer to shut me up. Every day I’d pick her up and say “What did you do today Bethie” to which she’d reply “Painting.” I used to get excited, thinking of all the wonderful artwork I’d be getting home soon. Of course Beth is my oldest and the first to do all these exciting things at kinder and school. I’m sure I’m not the only mum who still loves the artwork from their kids but thinks “Where the hell am I going to put it all!?” Anyway, after a while I realised that she was just saying this so that I’d stop asking her questions.

Thanks to meticulous research with visuals such as High School Musical Beth must have an idea of what high school students do. I asked her what she had done on Monday and she answered “I disected a frog today.” For a split second I did half believe her but then I saw the smirk on her face as she reached for her ipad and realised that she’d ‘bazingaed’ me. (For those of you not in the know, the character of Sheldon on Big Bang Theory yells BAZINGA when he’s tricking somebody.) She said the same thing on Tuesday. Today when I picked her up I asked her what she’d done today. Before she could say anything I added “and you can’t say you disected a frog.” Quick as a wink she answered “I desected a toad.” Cheeky bugger!



Posted by Sarah on Apr 24, 2012 in Uncategorized

Beth’s school is doing swimming at the moment and I made the mistake of going to watch today. I’m always a bit delusional about my kids, I have a vivid imagination and always fantasize about how well they’re doing and people secretly watching them, and thinking how amazing they are. I remember going to a counsellor when I gave up drinking five years ago, saying how worried I was about what people thought of me. His words stay with me to this day “You’re not as important to other people as you think you are.” I of course chose to ignore these wise words and believe that not only am I incredibly important to all but that so are my children. This has it’s downsides. For example, if you choose to believe that people are watching you thinking what a wonderful parent you are you then have to believe that they also think that you’re a crap parent when you do something that isn’t so nice. Of course the counsellors words were right. After all I don’t think of other people much at all so why would they be thinking about me!  Anyway, I digress…….

I took Beth to school and as it was raining people were running late and they had to leave for the pool. I offered to drive her to the pool which is just around the corner from school as I was thinking I’d go and watch. I noticed after all the kids were in their groups that Beth was in the ones who were the least capable. Beth did swimming from a baby until last year so she knows how to swim, quite well in fact. She can do the breathing and arms but the problem is that she has to feel like doing it at the time. She loves the water so much that she jumps up and down a lot, often lying in the water or putting her head under when she’s standing. It’s so difficult to get her attention at times, then when she swims well it looks out of character as it’s like she has no idea. I coped with that ok. I got that they had to assess on behaviour and she was in a group class instead of the one on one that she used to get.

The other thing that happened was probably a small thing and I’m not going to let it get to me. One of the teachers asked me to go and get a child who was in another group having their play before their lessons. He was meant to be having his lesson instead. It took a while for the staff to know who the boy was and the first teacher came over and walked back with me. She explained that with the new kids it sometimes took a while to get to know all their names. She added, “unless they’re naughty ones”, smiling. I laughed back and said that they all seem to know Beth. As she was saying “unless they’re naughty ones” at the same time she then added “or slow.” Then she laughed and added “or really tall.” I half laughed and said “Well I’d rather tall than slow” and she said “absolutely” and it was left at that. Now I’m a bit of a dweller when it comes to things like that and I’m also incredibly oversensitive.  I guess I have to think about what the word slow means. Beth is very slow to pick up cues, slow to walk, slow to even answer questions. In fact she’s slow in most things, she just goes at her own pace and doesn’t really care if she’s not ‘with the program’ ‘cos she’s comfortable the way she is. So as a descriptive word it’s probably a good one for Beth. I think my problem is that in my mind the word slow means stupid. And maybe that’s my problem, maybe that’s not how other people look at it at all. So I’m going to let it go.

I watched the rest of the lesson and the play. Beth was oblivious to everybody else most of the time. All the kids were playing with each other and Beth was like a dolphin, under the water most of the time and coming up for air once in a while, only to go back under. I went to watch to see her interacting with her peers and it just wasn’t there. But you know what, she was perfectly happy doing what she was doing. She had a great time, doing her own thing. I just half wish I hadn’t gone. Sometimes I think it’s better to be oblivious, to believe what you want to believe. Because once you see the reality it’s hard to go back into your fantasy land.


Lots going on

Posted by Sarah on Apr 18, 2012 in Uncategorized

It’s Wednesday of the first week back to school for term 2. I’ve had a busy week thus far so I apologize if I ramble as lots has been going on.

Sunday Beth woke up with a crook neck. Of course the sceptic in me thought at first that it was like her sometimes cough when it’s getting closer for school to start again. No, it really was sore. She has terrible posture and very low muscle tone, tending to lie instead of sitting most of the time. When we were at Bec’s last week Beth sat on an IKEA chair that has wooden arms but is padded in the body. It’s called a poang chair. It would be uncomfortable to lie on because of the wooden arms and it’s a little bit bouncy which suited Beth. Bec said her son Will sits on it a lot for similar reasons. After Beth woke up with her sore neck I got very excited, realising that I have a good reason to buy another piece of IKEA furniture now!

On Monday when I was hanging out for some ‘me’ time Beth once again complained of her sore neck. As she could hardly move it I had to get over the fact that it’d be another day occupied with children and make an appointment for her. We go to a great osteopath in Upwey where Beth originally had cranial sacral therapy which helps the blockages at the back of the neck that go to the brain. When we started speech and occupational therapy something had to give as we’re not made of money and we decided to cease the osteo. Also, when trying a new treatment or therapy I like to do one thing at a time, otherwise if there’s improvement you don’t know what did it. The speech and occupational therapy go hand in hand and have different benefits so we were happy to do them together. Anyway, when we went on Monday we got in to see somebody Beth hadn’t seen before called Ben. He was excellent. He did a full spine assessment, commenting on the fact that Beth has such low muscle tone and how her bowel movements were probably not working properly, there was in fact several spots in her back that were tight. He gave us simple exercises to do such as standing on one leg when cleaning her teeth to help strengthen her core muscles. He fixed her neck up with a little bit of massage and even managed to do a bit of manipulation. I was very impressed. The best thing was that at the end when I asked when he wanted to see Beth again he said that she’d be fine now. He said she should be much happier after the treatment and she certainly does seem to be. I’m thinking of taking my Bill there too as his neck has been a bit funny lately.

I went to see the psychologist today to see about the forms I filled in on Bridie’s behaviour. I spoke with Jill about the results which had very high levels in the anxiety fields and the demanding behaviours but fairly normal in others. We did the ‘cars’ test together which shows where somebody lies on the spectrum. The last question was whether I believed that she was on the spectrum or not. I told Jill that my gut tells me no, that I believe she has extreme anxiety but that she’s fairly good socially, she doesn’t have obsessive habits and she could function pretty well at school and even at home at times. Jill agreed with me and when we looked at the cars results it did in fact show that Bridie’s score was 24 and a score of 30 or over shows that you’re on the spectrum. Interestingly enough I had done a similar test on the internet which put me on the spectrum with 34! Jill didn’t leave it at that thank goodness and suggested that I bring Bridie in in two weeks and she does some further assessments. It did highlight to me though how easy it would be to rort the system. When doing the tests at home I recognised where some of the questions would be leading as obviously I had done them with Beth. Things like ‘lining toys up’ which is typical of a child on the spectrum was something that I deliberated over. Yes, Bridie does line toys up at times, but don’t all ‘normal’ children too. I could say yes but I knew it didn’t mean once in a while but repetitively. I could easily have said yes to lots of things and not necessarily been lying. Once Bridie had been seen it would no doubt have been clear that she wasn’t on the spectrum but some things are still based on parents answers. And when somebody has a child of two or three the majority of the assessments would be via the parents. If you knew the ‘right’ answers you could lie about behaviours and get a diagnosis for a younger child fairly easily. I guess it depends on the parents and their honestly. Sadly I have met people who are desperate for a diagnosis for their child, whether it is in their best interests or not. My friends and I have often discussed this and asked “Why would they want a child with all these anxieties and difficulties?” The only answer that keeps coming back to me is that they don’t want a child with these problems, they just want people to think that they have.

Beth was very excited when I picked her up from school today. Not only had she gotten an award but she got to pick a prize and she had chosen a Glee CD. The award is for her house which is called Cowan House. All the awards have written on them “In recognition of their Confidence, Persistence, Organisation and Ability to Get Along Well with Others”. Wow, well done Bethie, what a fabulous award! She is so proud and rightly so. Bill was so jealous when he heard her CD blaring in the car. He’s said a few times how he wished he could go to her high school. It’s nice for the other kids to see that being autistic isn’t that bad after all!


It’s nearly over!

Posted by Sarah on Apr 14, 2012 in Uncategorized

Well the school holidays are nearly over. I feel like I’ve gone stark raving mad! I’ve found these holidays to be particularly stressful. Paul has been home for some of the time and we’ve had things to do so I’m tipping it’s a combination of things. We’ve only got three or four months left in our current house while our new house is being built. I am well and truly over our current house. It’s old and lots of things are wrong with it, it’s filled with boxes and still heaps to do. We keep going around to the new house and seeing it’s progress which is very exciting so I’m sure it’s just me being impatient. It’s taken a long time to happen but I know it wont be much longer now.

I think I’m also impatient to be going back to my psychologist. I’ve filled in forms in regards to my youngest child Bridie about her behaviour and anxieties and Jill is going to let me know next week whether it’s necessary to get referrals for proper assessments or whether she believes it’s behaviour based and we need to have help with controlling it. Either way we’ll have some answers. It’s ridiculous though how we as parents wait for a behaviour to get better or wait until we’re at wits end to ask for help. It could be something fairly easy and now that I’ve decided to take action I’m chomping at the bit to know what sort of action that will be.

We’ve had a few playdates this week. We went to my friend Catriona’s house with Bec and her kids. Cat has a son Jose who has aspergers. My Bill thinks Jose is wonderful, as does Bec’s son Will. We had a lovely afternoon though Beth didn’t cope with the fact that they had no wi-fi for her ipad. She’s like a dog with a bone. We walked in the door and the first thing she asked was did they have wi-fi. When I answered that no, they didn’t have wi-fi she responded with “You mean they might have wi-fi?” “No, they don’t have wi-fi.” “You mean they’re getting wi-fi don’t you?” You get the picture. After an Easter Egg hunt that Jose had organised including hiding one in the dogs water bowl (Minka the Wonderdog found this one before the kids could get out there) Beth came back inside and asked Catriona “Do you have wi-fi now?!” She’s nothing if not persistant.

The following day we went to Bec’s and the internet had dropped out while we were there. Beth was in the front room and must have taken out some cords for the gaming console which Will was cracking it about. Bec was in there and she said that Beth kept calling her wi-fi lady. While Bec was trying to talk Will down (who also has autism) while he was going off Beth just kept saying “Can you fix the wi-fi wi-fi lady” oblivious to the ruckus that she had caused.

Yesterday Rod the speech therapist came over. Beth was happy to see him as we haven’t seen him since late last year when we stopped going to Sensational Kids. Rod now works independantly and came to the house to see Beth. We did a big jigsaw puzzle and Rod had the picture on the box, telling Beth where pieces went. For example he’d say that the apples were on the left hand side of the puzzle, about half way down. Beth then had to do the same and explain to me where a piece went so that I could place it. We agreed that we wanted to get more conversation back and forth and that’s what we would work on. He’s going to come once a month on a Friday. He’s also going to contact Beth’s teacher so that we can all be on the same page.

I took Beth to get her hair cut this morning. We’ve been going to the same hairdresser for years but there was a new lady cutting Beth’s hair this morning. She must have been worded up by the owner because Beth didn’t seem to faze her one bit, even when she took Miss Piggy with her and said that she wanted her hair styled too. I was very impressed, I always like somebody who can adapt so easily to Beth, it shows that they’re not set in their ways about how children ‘should’ be.

School is back on Monday. Beth has already woken this morning doing a little cough so let’s hope she wont be into full blown “I’m sick” mode on Monday. I’m looking forward to some peace and quiet to finish off our sorting for the house. I’m not looking forward to the long days of driving but it goes hand in hand doesn’t it? Hopefully by next holidays we’ll either be in the house or well on our way to being there.


School holidays

Posted by Sarah on Apr 4, 2012 in Uncategorized

Well it’s Wednesday of the first week of the school holidays and I’m already feeling a little bit mental. My darling Bridie who is a bloody nightmare to get up during school times is waking at 6am every morning. Now I know daylight savings is finished and all but even so, that means she should have been waking at the decent hour of 7am before this week and it just wasn’t happening. I was so looking forward to not having to get up at 6 every morning and driving for half the day, now I’m ready to get back to it! I did laugh at myself the other day in regards to Bridie. The cat sleeps on the end of my bed and as soon as I move she’s off the bed miaowing at me for some food. If I go into the toilet she follows me in there and often uses her kitty litter while I am using the toilet. One particular morning I woke up to Bridie calling out Mu-um at the same time as Henry the cat (who is in fact a girl) miaowed that she was up too. I thought to myself – my God, she’s just like Bridie. Then I remembered the book; All Cats Have Aspergers. I wonder!

I’ve had Paul home for two days, he’s gone back today. On Monday we took Beth and her friends from last year, Jessica and Erin, to the movies. Beth had been so excited about seeing her friends. We saw them at the school fete and they said that they too have missed Beth. Erin came to our house and Jessica’s mum brought her straight to the movies. It was funny to see how Beth changed when Erin arrived. She obviously has been watching lots of teenage movies because her whole conversation consisted of “Oh My God” or “Totally”! She was like a different person. I wonder if she talks like that with her friends at her new school? Erin was asking about the school and Beth told her the names of her friends so although they may not be what we would regard as friends yet, clearly in Beth world that’s what friends are. She doesn’t always play with them but they are in her class. I think that’s ace, she’s happy with it so so am I.

Yesterday Paul and I went to look at flooring and benchtops for the new house. The kids all stayed with Grandma and Grandpa which was handy as they (Beth especially) would be a pain in the arse in warehouse places. We’re off to Bec’s house today.  Beth sits and watches dvds, Bridie plays with her buddy Kasey and Bill and Will do what boys do, usually electronic games. I don’t care, as long as I can get my Bec fix (and Liz and Bree when they’re there too with their kids) I’m a happy mummy!

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