A-Z Of Autism - D Is For....

So if you read C is for then you will know what all of this is about, if not here is a little recap. I'm a Mum of 3 autistic children and way back 13 years ago when my eldest was diagnosed I really struggled to find real-life info about autism. So here we have the A to Z of autism, I'm not a Doctor or health care professionals, these are just some words on what autism means for us. Each fortnight (life stress dependant!!) is the next letter of the alphabet, do head over and check out C (highlighted above) and let's get on with D!

Delay

What I am hearing from other SEN parents recently is a lot about delay, global development delay. There has been a rise in autism diagnosis of children of preschool age, 2 of my 3 on the spectrum were diagnosed at just age 3. There a lot of parents now whose children are being diagnosed as having a global developmental delay, rather than autism. They seem to think it's because CAHMs don't want to rush into an autism diagnosis, so a GDD gives them time to observe. Ultimately this means that the child misses out on those crucial early interactions they need with an autism diagnosis. Look out for my future post, on what to look out for and note down!

Distraction

My boys specifically get massively distracted and find concentration difficult. Their distractions can range from someone clicking a pen behind them to a squirrel running past a window. It makes school a little difficult especially for Dj, he is massively distracted by other pupils and finds concentrating on his work difficult when it's too noisy. 

Dyslexia

We are in the process of getting Dj retested for dyslexia, he was tested in year 5 and we were told he was borderline. I am unsure how you can be borderline dyslexic? But I am not a Doctor... He struggles massively with English, spelling, writing and tells me words float off the page when he is reading. The common signs your child may be dyslexic are:

  • May talk later than other children
  • Adds words to their vocabulary slower
  • Have difficulty pronouncing words
  • Have difficulty rhyming
  • Unable to follow multi-step directions
  • Has trouble reciting the alphabet, days of the week and months of the year
  • Slower to develop fine motor skills
  • Had trouble sounding out or blending words
Dj certainly fits all of the above criteria, so we will just have to wait and see what the test says, if it comes back he is then we will get more assistance in school.

Dyspraxia

Similar to dyslexia, Dj is also waiting to be tested for this. Dyspraxia affects fine and gross motor skills. Dj has poor balance, poor posture, poor hand-eye coordination, he loves to dance, but has no rhythm! He is very clumsy and always walking into things, tripping over and has very over-exaggerated hand and arm movements when he walks. He tells me it helps to keep him upright. I am inside if it is associated but he also has terrible vertigo and struggles on stairs and near glass windows where he can see how high up he is, a aeroplane or glass lift is his worst nightmare.

Dyscalculia

Again we are awaiting tests for this. Dyscalculia impairs an individual’s ability to understand everyday math concepts, make sense of numbers, and memorize formulas. Dyscalculia looks different in everyone who has it. One of Dj's biggest cause of anxiety is Maths, he says he just doesn't get it, no matter how much it is broken down for him.

Decisions

I think this a broad spectrum word in the D category. when it comes to making decisions my 3 can NEVER make up their mind, they constantly go back and forth over their decisions. Even if it's only just about what they want for their tea, the whole anxiety of making decisions is too much for them. As a parent of a child with additional needs, the weight of making decisions for them is heavy. Whether you are making the right decisions for their now and for their future. Its a tough one as we can't see into the future so we just work on a what works for right now basis.

Diversity

The autism spectrum is just that, a spectrum, each person on the spectrum is different. There are a diverse range of people diagnosed and some you wouldn't even realise! 

DLA

People on the autism spectrum are unusually entitled to some form of disability living allowance. This is to help pay for the extra thing that they need. Whether that be paying for taxis to get to appointments, additional clothing and adapted items for instance. The amount a person gets is done on a points basis and includes filling out a large form. The form isn't over complicated but some questions may not seem relevant as its just one form for all no matter what their disability.

So that's my D's for this time, I am hoping to have the next letter up in 2 weeks! But in this house, you just never know, but stick with me OK. If you want to catch up on previous weeks check out the A-Z of Autism page which contains links to all previous letters.

Thanks For Reading

Mandy

xx

Shimmer and Sparkle Instaglam Dolls - Series 2

Shimmer and Sparkle Instaglam dolls are a great range of fashion dolls that have actual real makeup inside! There are 6 collectable dolls on the series 2 NEON range! Each of the 6 dolls has its own unique style, hair colour, outfit and neon make up pallet including lipstick.
The dolls themselves are really eye-catching and come in their own enclosed display capsule and display base. As I said above there are 6 in the collection Nina, Luna, Hayley, Jada, Mia and Evie, we were sent Jada and Nina for Pops to have a look at, she loved them so much we have since bought Evie for her aswell! Only 3 more to collect, so she keeps telling me!!
Each of the 4-inch dolls head opens up to show a hidden make up compartment and mirror, so your child can recreate their own makeup looks themselves. Each makeup palette features a combination of neon make up colours, 2 eye shadows, 2 lip glosses and lipstick.
The Instaglam dolls have poseable heads and once you've perfected your look, pop her back on her golden stand and proudly display her. The Instaglam dolls have a hidden beauty tool too. Their hair accessories on their heads pull out and reveal makeup brushes, these can be used on yourself or the dolls.
I love the size of the dolls they are great for taking out and about as they aren't too big. Pops has autism, so we encourage creative play as much as possible and she's always in my makeup box, so these have given me some welcome relief from her pinching mine! The dolls are well made, non-toxic and made with high-quality materials. The makeup doesn't stain and washes off really easily, so they can really go wild with their creations. Roleplay is so important for development, and our children copy what we do, so its nice to be reassured she can do this and the makeup is completely safe for her to use. 
Each of the dolls has a secret sparkle reveal, slightly dampen the application brushes and brush them over the doll's eyelids and lips for a shimmer reveal!
Head on over to the Instaglam Website and check out all 6 of the dolls available. The full range is available for rrp £9.99 each at Character Options Online, there are also some fab full makeup sets available, which Pops already has her eyes on for her birthday!
Thanks For Reading
Mandy
xx


Easter Gift Guide

 

With Easter just around the corner, I have some fab gift ideas for all budgets, it's not just all about chocolate eggs. I have been sent a selection of products from some fab brands to be featured in this gift guide. All are available to buy online, so just click the highlighted link in each section to take you directly to the purchase page.

Bird & Blend - Tea Infused Chocolate Eco Easter Egg - £18.95

The ulTEAmate, melt in your mouth, chocolate TEAster Egg has landed! Not only is this thick & creamy artisan chocolate infused with our Hot Cross Bun tea, but it is also filled with surprise Cream Egg tea bags and its packaging is 100% plastic-free & eco friendly! Available in dark chocolate or milk chocolate, the dark chocolate version is vegan too! Only Coco are the fantastic small independent artisan chocolate company that makes their tea-infused chocolate bars - we cannot recommend them highly enough! Be warned, they only created a limited run of these (to ensure no waste!) so you’d better be super quick to catch one - it's sooo good that the Easter Bunny wants it back!

Coding Critter Bopper, Hip & Hop - £40

Hop into preschool coding fun with Coding Critters Bopper the bunny and her two pals, Hip and Hop. They’re reading a storybook for interactive coding adventures. Code Bopper to find carrots, pull them along in her garden cart, and hang out with her two adorable bunny friends, Hip and Hop. Coding Critters introduces early coding concepts to children as young as four through hands-on interactive play. Use the directional arrows on Bopper’s back to programme a sequence of up to 30 steps. Coding Critters double as interactive pets: Press Bopper’s nose and switch her to play mode.

Waboba Moon Ball - £5.99

The ZERO GRAVITY BOUNCE! It has been engineered to be the highest bouncy ball. The lightweight Zero Gravity Foam is the bounciest material on earth! Until you bounce it out of this world of course. Say goodbye to small rubber balls and old pink super balls. The patented design makes an iconic pop sound when it hits the pavement, making it more addictive and fun to bounce high everywhere there is a hard surface. Its high quality and extremely durable. The Waboba Moon Ball withstands endless bouncing, sport uses, and indoor & outdoor games. The Moon Ball helps improve hand-eye coordination. Used by professional athletes as a sport training ball. It is also a great sensory ball for kids

Craze Sensations 4 pack compound kit - £9.99

Craze Sensations. A fabulous new collectable ASMR range that taps into the sensory trend.  Open and discover a world of sounds and textures! Mix the decorations with the special compound to create unique satisfying sensations. Inside each of the 4 pots, there’s a new sensation to enjoy. Open the pot, discover the exciting compound and then mix it with the textured decorations and let the fun begin! Listen and feel that AMSR satisfying sound as you squish, smoosh or crunch the decorations together with the unique Craze Sensations compound.

Hoppy Floppys Happy Hunt Game - £16.00

Hoppy Floppy rabbit needs your help finding his carrots! This attractive family fun game will keep early learners engaged as they develop a variety of key skills through play. Early learners spin the spinner to help Hoppy collect the carrots. The game develops a variety of core skills in matching, strategy and colour recognition. The cute rabbit-themed plastic squeezer will help build fine motor skills and encourage pre-handwriting skills. The box contains a colourful egg-shaped game board (printed in the box), game spinner, 16 plastic carrots in four colours, four plastic baskets, a Hoppy Floppy rabbit squeezer and multilingual instructions.

Reading Eggs Mega Book Pack - £69.95

After lockdown 3.0 we are all probably fully aware of Reading Eggs, I know the majority of parents I know used it through school with their children, but did you know that they do the books alongside? The best-selling Mega Book Pack is the ultimate activity book bundle for children learning to read and is suitable for ages 4–7. Bursting with fun and colourful activity books, game flashcards, reading books and more, the Mega Book Pack is designed to supplement the award-winning Reading Eggs programme, allowing your child to practise essential reading and writing skills offline. Research shows that children enjoy the greatest gains in learning by using a combination of digital and print resources. The Mega Book Pack matches the first 80 lessons of the programme, and is guaranteed to bring a smile to your child’s face! It can also be enjoyed as a standalone resource to support your child’s reading, phonics, spelling, comprehension and sight word skills at home.

Stomp Rocket 40000 Stunt Plane Kit - £29.39

Run, jump and stomp to launch Stunt Planes; 100% kid-powered. No batteries required. Great for year-round fun to get kids away from screen time and more active outside. The set includes 3 Stunt Planes, sturdy adjustable launch stand and launch stomp pad with an air hose. Looper plane performs giant loops, glider plane soars up to 100 feet and Wildcat plane does all kinds of crazy tricks. Adjust the angle of flight with the adjustable launch stand, fly into the wind or with the wind and change how these planes fly. You can pair it with the Stomp Rocket Science book and get kids interested in STEM subjects (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) early. Ages 5 and up.


Pick N Mix Retro Sweets - £7.99

Panda Sweets Pick N Mix Boxes are huge, they contain a massive 1kg of sweets. The Pick N Mix Boxes are perfect for movie nights, family gatherings parties or any other occasion, they are absolutely stuffed to the brim with a huge range of sweets, such as jelly sweets, chewy sweets, fizzy sweets, chocolate and marshmallows. The kids absolutely loved it, and so did Mr RTR, he's a massive sweety fan, who isn't right. We have had lots of pick n mix boxes but this one is definitely the best value for money at under £8, we have paid well over £10 for others identical. Use code LIFESOFAR at checkout for 15% off your order until the end of June 2021.

I hope this guide has given you some ideas for the upcoming Easter break, all items are available for home delivery, so not to worry that the shops aren't open! Happy Shopping.

Thanks For Reading

Mandy

XX

Its Been Hard

I am not the kind of person who moans and complains about my life, I have always been of the mindset that you deal with the cards you have been dealt in life and just get on with it. But if the last 11 months has taught me anything it is that its OK to say that you're not OK, that you feel like throwing your kids out of the window, or just walking out the door and never coming back! I say the first in partial joke, I would never throw the kids out the window, but they have driven me to want to!! I have no shame in saying I have come close to walking out the door several times in the past 11 months. I know I am not alone and there are lots of other people in our situation, but right now it does feel like that, it feels like I am the only one in the world who is struggling. I feel like I have been pushed to the very edge of my sanity and I'm not sure how to get it back again! I'm not the best at asking for help either, I am the one people come to for help so admitting I want or need it usually gets brushed aside.

Balancing the needs of my entire family weighs heavy on my mind, the needs of 3 autistic children, all whos needs are VERY different from one another.  Our house has always run in a very finely honed schedule, it is how we get through the day, how we get through the week and ultimately how we get through life! It's a schedule we have all, autistic or not become accustomed to and a routine that is abundantly clear we all very much need. School is a major part of that routine, that 6 hours a day is a massive part of their schedule, its structure, respite, fun and learning all in one, very different from the routine we have at home. They know their home routine, they all filter in from school and we slide right into our home routine, the same at weekends, everyone knows what they want to do. I'm a full-time stay at home Mum as well as a carer for the kids, but when they are at school that little 6 hours is my time, whether that be having a brew with my mate, a phone call with my Mum, writing my blog or just cleaning the house, it was my 6 hours. Oh boy have I missed those 6 little hours!

I am very fortunate that 1 of my children has been able to go to school full time all the way through, sadly that's not been the case for my 3 other children who so desperately needed it. Spud, who doesn't have autism, wasn't entitled to a place at all. which meant 100% home school. I was sad for him, school is a big part of normality for him, he lives with 3 autistic siblings and our lives are dominated by them in every aspect, so for the past 3 months, he has had no let-up from the trials of living with them. Pops has especially struggled and when she struggles the WHOLE house knows it. She's a verbal struggler, so the past 3 months have been full of screaming, swearing, biting, spitting, pulling her hair and looping the same section of tv shows constantly. There hasn't been a whole lot of homeschooling going on with her, as she just doesn't have the attention span to sit at the table and do it. I  managed to get her into school 2 days a week, which was a huge help, she goes to an SEN school, so the whole school has an EHCP, so there was no way to get her in every day like my other child who has an EHCP. For L, who is in his 1st year of college there was no option to attend college, it was straight online for him. He has struggled a bit, he likes the social aspect of college, so he has missed his pals. Lockdown has made him feel isolated.

We all gave a huge sigh of relief when we heard that schools are set to reopen. I know many are opposed to the move, but I think my kids, my families children and lots of friends children certainly need this. I have 2 going back on Monday and 2 on Wednesday, I am SO looking forward to Wednesday, it will be the first time since December 19th that there will be no children in the house!! I intend to fully appreciate the silence! I am hoping we all just fall back into routine and happiness and harmony will resume. We are just all hoping this will be the last time we will be returning from homeschool, we can all only hope!

Thanks For Reading

Mandy

xx

                                                                                                                      

Designed by FlexyCreatives