Childhood Experiences ~ Sports Day

This is me at 8 years old, in my last year of ‘First School,’ the sports day experience I had 27 years ago I can remember vividly like it was only yesterday, this was the start of all sports days to come and I’ve never forgotten it. 

On Wednesday I read a post from Faithmummy What happened when a child refused to have my autistic daughter in her team which is a brilliant post written by Miriam Gwynne, who is also a member of a group of SEND Bloggers than I belong to. Reading this about Miriam’s daughter having to prep for her sports day, took me right back to how I felt on days like Sports Days whilst at school. I dreaded those times when it came to team games and picking team captains and team members, I struggled with co-ordination, I found any physical activity very difficult and I towered above my peers, at age 8 I was in age 11-12 clothing. I was the girl that nobody wanted in their team. 

Not every child likes Sports Day, in fact, I hated every minute! 

I hated the pressure of demands, “do this, do that, stand here, go and stop.” I hated team games, the hype and passing a ball to other team members and other kids getting angry if I wasn’t quick enough or dropped the ball. 

All those people watching, I hated drawing attention to myself and being ‘on show,’ I hated the noise of the crowds of spectators shouting “come on,” the metallic sound of the crowd, all their voices merging into one that noise that makes my ear vibrate and travels through the whole of my body, it feels like it’s bouncing off my bones, thinking to myself: “Please make the noise stop! I just want to go home.” When I dared to look into the crowd all I could see was a sea of eyes, staring and watching.

I was desperate not to be last, desperate not to be laughed at, and even more attention being drawn. In the sack race because I was so tall, my sack reached below my knees, when everyone else’s came above their waists, so of course I came last, I sat and I cried and cried I couldn’t stop, someone said “what are you crying for?” 

I copy and mimic what other people say, I even caught myself saying this to my child the other day:

“It’s not about the winning it’s about the taking part.” 

I stopped myself as I suddenly thought, what would my 8-year-old self have thought? 

“It’s not even about the taking part, what if I don’t even want to take part?” 

“I’d rather be reading a book like Matilda or  any other Roald Dahl.” 

So this year I won’t worry if my big girly finds it all too much to even take part, it goes back to trying to fit us ‘square pegs’ into those ’round holes.’ 

And please don’t pressure me into taking part in the all important ‘mums race!” That’s a whole other story ! 


We got out! (June’s Trip) 

This title may sound trivial! 

But I just wanted to share that we had a successful trip out as a family last weekend! 

I could write a whole blog post around the reasons why I don’t drive so I’ll save that for another time, but days out have to be planned with precision, I often just wish that I could have the ability to just jump into a car and whizz the kids off at any opportunity. But sadly not, we have to plan trips based around public transport and we are extremely luckily to live only a 5 minute walk from a train station. 

Lou is now getting quite accustomed to using the train now, and as long as she has something to ‘fidget’ such as her ‘fidget cube,’ then she’s normally ok on journeys lasting under 30 minutes. On Saturday June 10th we visited a local animal park, the weather wasn’t too bad and the rain held off but I was surprised actually how quiet it was which was only a good thing in our case as both Lou and myself don’t cope very well with crowds of people. On previous days out Lou had become overwhelmed and then has experienced a ‘sensory overload,’ sometimes resulting in us leaving earlier than planned. 

The girls enjoyed a quiet look around the animals and Lou was impressed with the parrot saying enthusiastically: “Mummy, quickly look, it’s Rio!” This was also our first proper trip to use the ‘Mountain Buggy’ for Lou and she had a perfect view! 

Trips out have to be carefully planned and we have to offer a lot of choices for Lou throughout the day, due to the fact that Lou displays traits of Pathological Demand Avoidance (PDA,) she prefers to dictate to us what she wants to do and where she wants to go, knowing that she would have happily stayed in the ‘soft play’ area the whole time, and that Moo was desperate to see the animals, we had to say things such as: “Now it is seeing the animals and then it is soft play.” As long as Lou feels that she has some sort of control over decisions she’s improved in public situations since this time last year. 

The girls enjoyed time sitting on machinery and Go Carts with Daddy. 

And to wind down after an exciting day, we ended in the sand pit area, which fills the whole room! With Lou doing her daredevil ‘Spider Girl’ swinging moves! 

Lou was understandably tired after such a busy day out and the train journey home wasn’t as straight forward as the way there! 

I often end up feeling guilty that my girls don’t experience days out like some other families do, but with money restrictions and the pace that our children are learning to cope with situations, we are learning that we can only do our best. We are now planning for a similar trip once a month, until the girls are familiar with the process, sticking to places that are a direct train journey away such as Worcester or Malvern. Then hopefully further a field eventually. 

Sometimes we just have to do things our own way and not worry about what other people are doing! 

Thanks for reading ! 

**Please note that this is not a specific review of the animal park we attended, the photos are my own and we paid full ticket price to get into the park, I wanted to share the details of taking our children on days out. 

For more information on the animal park we visited please visit:

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Why I won’t be voting Blue on 8/6/17

I don’t have a very political brain, but I sure do have a very passionate one. I’m trying to learn more about politics and I’ve recently joined a local online Facebook politics group. 

My problem is that my views are very ‘tunnel visioned’ and I struggle to understand the opposing views as I feel uncomfortable and frustrated when someone hasn’t got the same view as mine! I even struggle to debate on politics with my own Father! I will back down if views become conflicting, in the past I’ve changed my views to match those of the opposing person in order to avoid confrontations at all costs! 

However, I want to explain why I won’t be voting for the ‘Blue Team’ (as Lou would describe it!) this Thursday 8th June in the 2017 General Election. The following post I wrote last year:

Explains why I stood up at the local Council Scrutiny meeting and shared my family’s story of the vital service of ‘Family Support’ delivered via Family Support workers from the Children’s Centres in Worcestershire. To recap the local Conservative government cut vital services to children’s centres in the Worcestershire area and as a result we no longer qualified for a family support worker. The local Conservative government promised that “No Children’s Centres will close,” but we found this to be untrue for cases such as the ‘Orchard Vale’ centre in Evesham, where I visited 2 weeks ago, the sign covered over with a mass of leaves, and when peeping into the window where there was once an office with smiling faces there is now no one there, the room where I took my youngest child to see her Health Visitor is no longer in use, and the room where I once took her for the baby ‘stay and play,’ which used to be full of mothers and their babies is now an empty room. 

I wrote to Cllr Bayliss and he passed me onto his ‘officer’ who looked into my family’s case file without my consent and proceeded to tell me that “you’ve received your full package of support.” In the end I had to block Cllr Bayliss on Twitter as I couldn’t stand to hear any more excuses for the cuts to vital services, and his ‘but I’m ok’ general persona. When they told me that we “no longer qualified for support” my eldest child wasn’t under the Umbrella Pathway for Autism assessment, her behaviour at home wasn’t as extreme as it is now. I wasn’t under assessment for adult Autism, my youngest child, now 2 didn’t have a diagnosis or additional needs and now does and we hadn’t received the paperwork back clarifying that my partner of 7 years has moderate learning difficulties and requires literacy support. We now have triple the difficulties functioning as a family today than we did when we received family support back in 2015. But still no support. Parenting is hard in general but parenting 1 or more children with Special or Additonal Needs is the hardest thing I’ve ever done in my life, I truly believe that all families that identify as have a child or children with Additonal needs and wants support at home completely needs and deserves this support without any doubt. 

I’ve recently tried to re-refer back to the family support service but still do not hold out much hope, my eldest daughter’s school are also doing all they can to help and they are also aware how vital this support is for our family. 

But it’s not just us, I wanted to share our story as I know we are not the only ones in the same situation. And it’s not just the children and families service that has been cut, I recently rang adult social care and they cannot offer us any support either because my partners care needs are “not severe enough,” even though I’m supporting 2 children and an adult in the household I’m still just left to “work it out.” I’m firing on all cylinders and close to a complete shut down, yet we still don’t qualify for any help. 

I really do hope that something positive comes from the general election. 

All political parties have different campaign promises, but my vote will go towards one of the parties that supported the Worcestershire ‘Save Our Children’s Centres,’ campaign to the bitter end. 

Thanks for reading 🙂 

What worries me 

I’ve read a lot of articles and posts over the past year, most of which are helpful and informative, but once in a while I come across something that worries me and I have to avoid reading these type of articles to prevent further ‘overthinking.’  

I recent read such as article that talked about how Mothers on the Autistic Spectrum are more likely to be accused of fabricating their child’s difficulties. 

“The term used is ‘Fabricated and Induced Illness’ (FII), indicating that parents are thought to be embellishing a child’s symptoms because of anxiety, or for attention or financial gain.” Source: 

One further aspect I read about was that children’s services were known to have been investigating cases of fabricating a child’s Autism without parents having the knowledge that this was actually happening. I was so upset to read this, the day after I went into ‘shut-down’ mode, wondering if I should even carry on with Lou’s referral to the Autism assessment team. As I have mentioned in previous posts, the passion that drives me to fight for support for my daughter is to prevent her from suffering with mental health difficulties as I have. I want her to be supported in any way possible, as early as possible. 

The problems we face as a family in getting certain messages across to the appropriate sources, is that Lou ‘masks’ her difficulties, except at home where she is most comfortable and with the people who she feels unconditionally love her, us – her parents. We recently discussed that only myself and Lou’s dad have seen the true extent to her anxieties, frustration and anger and full traits of Pathological Demand Avoidance (PDA.) In the past I have videoed her ‘sensory overloads’ or ‘meltdowns’ and voice recorded in hope to actually be believed that these events are happening. I hate to see my child struggle and I struggle to comprehend why anyone would want to believe that this could be ‘made-up.’ I’ve also mentioned in previous posts that even though we have a low income we are desperate for recognition and support for our child, not for financial gain, again this upset me to think that people may think this of parents. We do not qualify for DLA, and, at the moment I’m too exhausted to try again, just looking at the form gives me a huge headache! If our children need any extra equipment we’ve provided it as they’ve needed it, even if it meant we have to scrimp and save for it.  

As her mother, I can sense when she is uncomfortable about something in terms of sensory issues, for example, I can tell if an item of clothing is bothering her just by knowing that I also experience irritability with seams and labels in clothing. I can also tell from a certain look on both of my children’s faces if they are about to hit out or throw something. I have tuned into their triggers and to an outsider this may not be seen.  

Ironically, the day after I read the article on fabricating I received a letter from our local assessment team stating that they will be sending out a professional from their Complex Communication Needs (CCN) Team to assess Lou in school. For this I am grateful that we have been listened to, but it also puts the doubt in my mind that they will actually see Lou’s full extent of traits in this environment, I can only hope that my views as a parent, and closest person to Lou are taken into account and believed.  

My next question for myself will come once we receive news if Lou will be kept on the assessment path or discharged, I hate to think of things too far before they happen, but I’ve made a mental note to myself not to appeal the decision made if it means that Lou is discharged from the service. And do I then use the pot of money that I’m continually saving for a Private Diagnosis or just leave it, but then have the worry of watching my child suffer further as the pressure continues to rise throughout school? There are so many people out there who cannot fund a private diagnosis so should why should the conventional route be this hard? Will girls who mask, and suffer in silence, such as I did as a child in the 1980s and 1990s, produce another generation of ‘Lost Girls,’  

I have, until recently, held back concerns I had regarding my youngest child’s sensory issues, I believed that it would be thought that if both children were presenting with difficulties, then it must be my parenting skills, even though the sensory issues she is displaying are different to those of her sister’s, such as wanting to chew and eat inedible objects such as sand, mud, stone and chalk. We recently found out that Moo is also Hypermobile, she has been referred to Orthotics and Physiotherapy and this being found has taught me that the sooner any difficulties are identified then we can hopefully try to gain support for her. After going through the system a 2nd time, I’m now more familiar with how things work and I’m hoping that things are put into place before Moo starts school. I’ve done things differently this time around, as I’m now more familiar with the services to access. I’m now taking Moo to a ‘Stay and Play’ session at a local Special Needs school, where I can ask the advice of staff. I have also contacted our local ‘Early Years Inclusion Team,’ at our local County Council and I have chosen an Early Year’s setting that I feel is the best place for Moo and where I feel there are good links with the local Special Needs school where an ‘outreach’ service is offered for those children who are identified to require this support. They also offer ‘split placements’ where a child can attend some sessions in a mainstream setting and the rest in the Special Needs School’s own Nursery. I found the staff here to be incredibly intuitive to spotting Moo’s triggers for identifying when she is about to hit out at other children, just from the look on her face! They also taught her a technique for placing her hands onto her knees when her hands go out to hit out.  

So for now I’ll just concentrate on what I’m doing, chasing up the appointments and test results and writing blog posts and updating my Facebook and Twitter blog pages and will try to put the worry of what other people think about me to the back of my mind.  

Thanks for reading 🙂