For the past 12 months I’ve been fighting…
..fighting for two things:
For the right for my daughter to access the support and services she needs and for awareness that parenting isn’t to blame for the behaviours that my daughter displays.
I’ve been defensive about my parenting skills since Lou was only 3 months old, I’m not perfect I would like to know what a model of a ‘perfect parent’ is or if this actually does exist. I make mistakes, I learn from these mistakes and I learn as I go along. I can remember the first time I felt like a failure as a parent, Lou had a cardigan on and it was a sunny day and we were sat in a café. I was literally JUST about to take the cardigan off and this lady approached me and said in an abrupt manner: “Excuse me I was a trained midwife and your baby is too hot.” I just stood up and walked out I couldn’t do right for doing wrong I literally cringed and felt I needed to justify myself over and over. It’s been the same ever since and now I’ve got enough gumption in me to say “thank you” politely and just walk off, I often result to sarcasm and I’m waiting for the day I’m brave enough to add:
“I’m not after parenting advice, but thank you!”
I’m desperate for other people to just see that Lou’s additional needs are not down to parenting, I research at every opportunity to help explain her needs to people who may question my parenting. I cringe when she has a tricky moment right at the point where it’s just me in charge as it looks so obvious to be me at fault. In my head I’m thinking “they are judging me” and I find I make mistakes under pressure then I panic and evaluate after the event “I should have done this.”
Lou’s behaviour is extremely difficult it is both mentally and physically draining, at times it is unbearable, but I love her and I plough through because I love her and I want to protect her and keep her safe. During a recent stay at my parents they witnessed some very tricky behaviours and reassured me that I am “doing the right thing.” They have seen what I see. Our health visitor has witnessed some tricky behaviours Lou displays in the safety of our home, she didn’t stop talking, she didn’t stop jumping, moving and demanded attention and was overly friendly. Our family support worker has too witnessed Lou’s behaviours in the home and helped refer me to 2 different parenting classes to build my confidence – some information I was familar with, but a lot of strategies I hadn’t even though of. Lou was assessed by a Family Fund assessor who witnessed hyperactivity, she even attempted to climb on the lady’s neck! We have a GP onside and on April 12th 2016 after a year’s wait Lou was seen by a Paediatrician.
Lou always runs around in the foyer at the GP’s surgery she has realised she can run, (very quicky) in a circuit right around the surgery. After 2 trips to check out the toilet facilities (this is a frequent occurance,) we were invited into the Paediatrician’s office and Lou was invited to explore the toys on offer. Lou was more fascinated with wanting to be weighed and measured jumping up and down on the scales and then climbing up and down onto the examination couch. Filing cabinets were more appealing than building blocks and toys inside the cupboard were more exciting than those already out, so much so she was prepared to try and prize the toy from the Peadiatrican’s hands!
The Paediatrician reassured me when I spoke my blame of my own parenting, the best words I could hear were:
“I have witnessed behaviour that is more extreme than a typical 4 year old.”
She confirmed that Lou had “Sensory Processing Difficulties” and also recognised that she “displays both Autistic Spectrum Disorder and ADHD traits,” although nothing further would be diagnosed until Lou reaches 6 years old.
I left the appointment feeling drained from coping with the behaviours whilst talking and answering questions, especially as Lou had twigged that I was telling the Paediatrician about her and was attention seeking to avoid me talking further.
This is so clever and so switched on to actually recognise this.
After this confirmation I was sad as I had to accept that my child does have additional needs but also a felt a happy release that I was being believed, that we were being listened to and that I wasn’t being paranoid or making it all up – as if I even could or would. Yet I still get the odd ‘parenting advice’ and all I can do is try my best to educate and try to explain in the best way I can.
Here are the main findings of the Paediatrician’s report and the action that would happen after this appointment:
1. Difficulties in keeping attention on one activity – will flit from one toy to another. She likes things in a particular place and will be anxious if things are moved.
2. Needs extra processing time and at times displays difficulties when things do not go her way. Responds to clear and consistent boundaries.
3. Very challenging behaviours, particularly at home. First noted about 18 months old. Behaviour became even more challenging after the birth of her sibling. Demanding of Mother’s attention at all times and very jealous of younger sister. Insists on being first down the stairs or up the stairs and has a strong need to control her environment. Strategies used from parenting classes and includes visual timetables in the home.
4. A number of sensory difficulties including Hypersensitivity to touch and movement. And sensitivity to noise. Displays sensory seeking behaviours. Extremely busy and on the go for most of the clinic appointment. Frequently requests mother’s attention and climbed onto examination couch. Did play with some of the toys in the room, but not for long. Has Hyper Extendable joints – particularly noticeable in thumbs, wrists and elbows.
1. Microarray blood test. (Test for genetic syndromes, etc.)
2. Hearing test.
3. Chase up Occupational Therapy appointment.
4. Referral to ‘Pre school forum’ to aid transition to school.
5. Clinic review September 2016 to see how coping with school environment.
It’s nice to be believed.