1 year of Sensory Sensitive Mummy!ย 

It’s been such a busy time with Moo’s 2nd Birthday but I always remember the date that I started my blog ~ Sensory Sensitive Mummy 1 year ago today ! 

This time a year ago I was feeling so very lost, and I decided to write my feelings and our journey down via a blog, having only just found out exactly what a blog was! My blog now feels like it’s own person, I feel like it has its own identity! 

Fast forward to today and I’ve now had 12 months of research on Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD) something that I wasn’t very familiar with, also Autistic Spectrum Disorder (ASD,) Pathological Demand Avoidance (PDA,)  ADHD and Hypermobility. I’ve also started to look into more about genetic anomolies. 

I now belong to several amazing support groups after feeling so alone in our journey, we’ve been able to connect with other families that experience the same as we do, these people just ‘get us.’ If we are experiencing a bad day or if I have a burning question I know that I can post my query online and someone will offer support or guidance about what they may do in the same situation. 

12 months of research via the Internet, other people’s blogs, support groups, books, etc has taught me so much about how best to support my child, I understand so much more now that every behaviour certainly does have a reason and that for the majority of the time, there’s usually a sensory reason behind it. This has also taught me so much about me, about who I am and helped to answer so many questions I’ve had about my whole childhood and life so far. I have touched on this in posts about myself, but I’m keen to keep this blog about my child’s journey and I’ve recently found a new platform to express my feelings about my own journey that I may wish to share one day! 

After the past 12 months of learning so much about additional needs, it has empowered me to want to work in the SEND sector and I’m keen to return to work in the later part of this year, I will certainly aim to keep posting on the blog as and when I can! 

Through my daughter’s love of Sensory/Messy Play and Craft I have been able to develop activity ideas via #sensorymummyideas and #sensoryandcraftshare

This is a direction I hope to continue, especially through the summer months when we do a lot of Sensory and Craft activities. 

I was so happy to be introduced to the charity Family Fund, who provided a grant for our daughter for Sensory equipment and Play Therapy sessions. I have been able to write monthly blog posts for this charity and we’ve had photos taken of our family that are used in their marketing materials. 

Blogging has also reignited my passion for photography as I like to use my own photographs in the blog, I have also learnt how to edit photographs and add graphics to create my own quote pages. 

I have learnt so much by being a member of a fantastic community of SEND bloggers, they post some amazing things via their blogs and I like to share as many as I can. 

There have been times when I’ve wondered if I’m doing the right thing via sharing but one of the reasons for also starting the blog was to help other people – I always said if I help one other person it would be so worthwhile, I now have just over 340 Facebook likes on the Sensory Sensitive Mummy Facebook page, just over 700 Instagram followers and only today (how ironic!) hit 2,000 Twitter followers! 

I am not predominantly worried about the stats of my blog, or social media but what this means is that the goal I had of spreading awareness of SPD has reached this many people, and I hope in the process, has helped with the understanding and acceptance that I’m so passionate about. 
Thank you for everyone who has supported me over the last year ๐Ÿ™‚ 

Here’s to the next 12 months! 

My Year ~ 2016

The amount that has happened in 2016 is incredible, I feel empowered to write this post as we have only a few weeks left of this year. I have also decided to give myself some time off over the Christmas season so now feels like the time to round everything up! 

There have been many ups and many downs to this year ~ the most significant thing that I feel I did this year was to start this Blog in March 2016. It has literally changed my life and opened up so many opportunities for me. It almost has it’s own persona now, I feel like my Blog holds such a significance to who I now am. I’ve never been very good at expressing my true feelings or saying how I really feel about something, now my Blog is a huge tool for how I express myself, it is a form of therapy for me to get all of the thoughts and feelings onto something that is out of my head! 

In addition to writing Blog posts, I also keep on top of Facebook pages, Twitter and Instagram accounts for ‘Sensory Sensitive Mummy.’ 

I’m forever saying this, but parenting is the biggest challenge of my life to date, especially to a child who has additional needs, my Blog has been a platform for me to research and share our story in such a way that other people have responded, this has resulted in me knowing that we are not alone in this, it is incredible how many other parents there are out there who are experiencing exactly the same as we are, this has given me much comfort.

Things that have also happened this year: 

  • I became self-employed! I used knowledge that I’ve have gained from working in the Early Years to create ‘Sensory Mummy Music’ incorporating Music, Movement and Sensory Experiences. I absolutely love being able to go into 2 different Early Years Settings and do these sessions, it helps so much to stay connected with the Early Years settings, it makes me feel less worried about missing out while my children are still young. I am unable to return to part time work until Moo is at Pre school so this type of work suits me well. This has also allowed me to build my confidence, which was low after having my second child.
  • I finally accepted that ‘this is me,’ ‘this is who I am’ and that I shouldn’t have to pretend to be someone I’m really not just to please other people. In the past I have tended to act differently in front of different groups of people. At school I had 2 very different friendship groups, keeping up a pretense is absolutely exhausting! At the same time as starting my Blog, I also created a brand new Facebook account, with only really people I do class as true ‘friends.’ We’ve had a lot of emotional upset in our little family this year, some very important truths came to light, facts were not believed by others, either this or a complete denial to accept truths that didn’t want to be listened to. I’ve had to protect my children and with having a daughter like Lou, who is extremely impressionable, we’ve had to restrict her from interacting with certain people to protect her. Having to agree with a certain type of individual for a very long time had taken its toll on me and I had to block a great deal of negativity in order to function as a mummy for my children, which is my ultimate priority. Not long ago I was referred for some adult testing – more details I do hope I have the confidence to share in 2017.

  • Lou started school! 

She has done incredibly well in her first ever term of school, she settled really well after a lot of worrying on my part! 

She also took part in her first school Nativity, she lead the Wise Men from one end of the Abbey to the other and looked very proud about it! 

This was such an achievement for our girl as she has previously struggled with sensory overloads in buildings such as churches.

  • I have been able to spend time at home with Moo as well as keeping my brain active via the Blog and music sessions. When Lou was the same age  (21 months,) I was working full time. 

One thing that has recently come to light was knowing my own limits. I have always been known for ‘doing too much,’ I sort of struggle to know how much is too much. I have recently taken on quite a few roles as I was feeling confident. What I do forget is when the pressure mounts up, especially at a time of year like Christmas. I know that I’m struggling when my brain feels like it’s about to explode and I become snappy. my parents are now experts are recognising when I’m doing too much and will remind me so that I can take stock and evaluate the current situation.

Going into 2017: 

  • My Blog HAS to stay! It is my therapy and I’d be completely and utterly lost without it! 
  • My business will remain – I love working with the children – after a few year’s practice I feel that the planning and delivering of these sessions are like second nature and I don’t tend to feel stressed at all! 
  • I like to still feel connected with Early Years Settings even though I’m not officially working in a setting. I will continue to run my Facebook group ‘Worcestershire Early Years Professionals.’ And continue with my role as Committee Secretary to a local Early Years setting. 

      I recently wrote a post titled: ‘Feeling Lost’ after Lou was discharged from Occupational Therapy and Family Support, due to recent Children’s Centre funding cuts. Due to this, only last week, I almost entirely gave up my fight for Lou, I was beyond frustrated. I often think of looking after Lou’s needs as a full time job in itself: Attending appointments, chasing appointments and reports, making visual supports for our home, researching activities for Lou’s ‘Sensory Diet’ and carrying out activities that support her Gross Motor development and calming activities, etc. Especially during school holidays, any remaining energy I have to focus my remaining energy on her. 

      It happens once in a while where I think I’m Superwoman! Adding in quite a few other roles, but I’m already doing more than enough, and to stay on top on my game – especially in terms of supporting Lou, It’s essential that I rein it in and say to myself: “I’m doing too much at this time.” 

      I’m not ‘Superhuman’ I simply cannot doing it all… 

      Thanks for reading ๐Ÿ™‚ 

      Happy 6 months!ย 

      I know it’s sad (I don’t get out much!) But Happy 6th months to my Blog ๐Ÿ™‚ 

      6 months ago I was in quite a crazy place and starting my Blog enabled me to find a place where I could share all my thoughts ~ and in the process I’ve met lots of lovely, supportive Bloggers. It’s helped me to understand myself and my daughter more and has opened avenues I’d never have expected. I’ve always been quite down on myself and was forever telling myself I wasn’t any good at anything but in the last 6 months this has happened (all through the platform of my Blog,)

      • I’m a regular Blog post writer for the charity ‘Family Fund.’ 
      • I’ve been able to use my photography in my Blog, which was an interest I’ve had since a child and this has enabled me to pursue my interests once again. I’ve been asked by Family Fund for permission to use a photo of my daughter, Lou, in their marketing materials. 
      • My Blog post regarding local children’s centre cuts enabled me to feature with my family in a local newspaper and I continue to fight to support this cause.
      • I have learnt so much about Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD,) ADHD and ASD and have researched so much on Pathological Demand Avoidance (PDA.) And have been able to advise some other parents. All of which has enabled me to learn so much about my own child and how I can best support her. From finding out about a ‘Sensory Diet’ I’ve incorporated my Early Years experience to explore many different sensory (messy) play and craft activities. 
      • I’ve started writing 2 online series via an online publisher and I hope to producce my own book in the near future. 
      • I’ve connected with so many supportive Bloggers via support networks, both local, countrywide and even worldwide.

      6 months ago I didn’t even know what a Blog was! I never thought that a platform could open up so many opportunties whilst enabling me to be at home whilst my children are young. 

      So very, very greatful ๐Ÿ™‚ 

      Thanks for reading ๐Ÿ™‚ 

      “This is what I do…”ย 

      It’s been nearly 5 months since I came across another Blogger’s site, via a parenting support group, before March 2016 I didn’t even know what a Blog was! I would have never have thought that 5 months later I’d be sharing my own story via my own Blog! 

      Yesterday I hit a 50 post milestone, some posts have taken me over an hour, sometimes up to 3 hours long, so on reflection I realised how much time and energy I’ve put into my Blog so far. I’m trying to educate my other half on the benefits of me Blogging as even though it’s not a paid ‘job’ I do say: 

      “This is what I do.” 

      I now find myself explaining this in general conversations – stating that I am a stay at home mum, but I’m also a parenting and additional needs Blogger.

      It’s difficult lately as it’s the school holidays, and I would normally spend sometime writing in the day whilst Lou was at Pre School and Moo had a morning nap, therefore I’m doing more in the evenings! It is addictive once you start but I’ve found so many benefits to Blogging, I’ve now signed up for an online course in Blogging and Web design to help develop my own understanding and to help advise and support others who maybe want to start their own Blog or Website. 

      This is the direction my Blog is now heading in: 

      1. Continuing our own personal journey, writing posts from the heart and sharing our experiences, whether good or bad.

      2. Sharing parenting experiences in general – I love sharing parenting quotes, especially the humorous ones! 

      3. Product reviews – this is a direction I wasn’t sure about at first, but I’ve now completed 2 reviews and currently reading 2 parenting books to write a 3rd review, it’s nice to work with companies that appreciate me writing about their products. 

      4. Continue the fight to make Sensory Processing Disorder more acknowledged in the UK, as it is in the USA. 
      5. Sharing my love of photography – I’ve loved photography since I was a child, I enjoy taking nature photos and photos of my children, what a way for them to look back at their childhoods, when they have grown up! Or say “mum, what did you take that photo for?!?” 

      Sculpture in the grounds of Abbey Park, Pershore.

      6. Helping others – my brain is a minefield – I started blogging to help collect my thoughts together, that were endlessly floating around in my brain. I’m certainly not an expert in anything but I’m passionate about my children and working with children as I have done for 12 years, if I can just help 1 person I’m happy. I’m also happy to help other people start a Blog and happy to learn alongside as I’m still picking up new things myself daily! I’ve had a love for technology from a young age – I can be quite addicted but I’ve always enjoyed using technology and just have to ensure that this is done at an appropriate time and place! 
      7. Sharing activity ideas and plans. This reminds me of my passion for planning and implementing early years activities – some of my most popular and most read Blog posts are those about ‘Sensory Diet’ and ‘Messy play’ experiences. If I find a new activity and it’s successful at home I like to share with others. 

      8. To continue to write monthly Blog posts for Family Fund – a charity that provides grants to disabled or seriously ill children. I’ve had posts shared via Family Fund, Learning SPACE (Specialised Products Aiding Child Education,) Footie Bugs, (a children’s football programme, and the SMILE (Sensation, Movement Interaction in Life Experiences) centre in Malvern where Lou attends, has shared my Blog via their Facebook site. I have recently written a post to share our experiences of the benefits of our local children’s centres as I was saddened to hear that funding is proposed to be cut and groups at some centres are closing already, I was recently approached by a local radio station to talk about my experiences. 
      I am the worst person for complimenting myself but I am surprised and proud of what I have achieved in a few months, I feel that I would like to return to my career once my children are both at school, but in Blogging I have found the very thing that knits all of my interests together.

      I’ve learnt such a lot in the past few months I’ve become a stronger person and feel confident enough to share my views and beliefs and stand up for what I truly believe in, even if not everyone agrees. I stand by that “knowledge is understanding” as this time last year I was completely lost in own self doubt regarding my parenting skills, I was stuck in a rut and from researching and sharing via support groups I’ve learnt so much about why Lou does what she does. And I’ll continue to fight for support for her ๐Ÿ™‚ 

      Thanks for reading ๐Ÿ™‚