Shining Star

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You’re a shining star, no matter who you are
Shining bright to see what you can truly be ~ Shining Star ~ Earth Wind and Fire

It’s hard to believe that it’s only been three years since I sat on the stairs listening to my little boy trash his bedroom in rage..

I remember staring at a big dent in the wall where he’d smashed the door back with such force that it knocked the plaster out. The fact that it was a rented house only added to the stress of the situation because ,at this rate, we would be kissing goodbye to our £450 bond.

My head felt sore from where he’d yanked my hair hair out and I had absolutely no idea why my child (who had been happy and smiling one minute) was now angrily launching his toys against the bedroom wall (I’d removed anything that could cause damage to him or the house, obvs) Was it something I’d done or said? Seemingly it came out of the blue..

Similar incidents had happened before but never to this degree. I’d experienced toddler tantrums with C but this was wasn’t in the same league and C’s tantrums were spectacularly bad.

I was unable to calm S down and it was impossible to reason with him. Bribery? That failed as well. Ma had died the year before so I could no longer lean on her for support while OH was at work. Never in my 24 years of being a mother had I felt so alone or such a failure. It was a difficult day, to say the least.

Only it wasn’t a tantrum.. it was a meltdown and S was diagnosed with ASD and Sensory Processing Disorder a year and half later. Finally it all made sense. I wasn’t a shit mother. My child was autistic!

I have documented S’ journey from diagnosis in this blog. We have had nothing but love and support from the onset from the professionals and the school. Knowing that a lot of parents struggle to get the right support for their autistic children, I count ourselves fortunate.

When S started school, he had major problems with the worst being social and communication. It became obvious that the 15 hours of support (as per his statement) weren’t enough. He had support in the morning but was out of control in the afternoon, especially at playtime’s or during other unstructured activities. I was getting regular phone calls to go and calm him down. The school requested more support, which they were granted, and then things improved in the afternoons as well.

The school have concentrated on his strength, which is maths. Last year, he wowed the school by being able to recite the entire twelve times table! Not many five year old’s can do that. I’m 44 and I STILL can’t do that but then, I’m thick, innit..

When he started school, he couldn’t take turns. He couldn’t share. He lashed out. He had meltdowns throughout the day and he wouldn’t write or attend assemblies..

Two years later he is a different child. He will take turns. He will share. He doesn’t lash out as much. His meltdowns have reduced. He still doesn’t do assemblies but the teachers understand that forcing him to do something which he can’t cope with is a recipe for disaster. One meltdown generally makes him unreceptive for hours, which means he doesn’t learn anything.

There has been an improvement in his writing as well…

Half-way through this year he was doing most of his work on the computer as he was refusing to write and most attempts to encourage him would end in meltdown. One day he decided he wanted to do it. He still holds the pencil cack-handed but the important thing is that, not only is he writing, but it’s voluntary!

I watched him write his dad’s name on his birthday card a few weeks ago. I watched in amazement as he curled the letters for the first time that I’d seen. Maybe most parents of six year old children won’t understand the importance of this but for parents like me, the smallest acts are usually the ones which stop us in our tracks..The wordDaddy’ written without help, prompting or melt-down changed a fairly mundane day into a momentous day.

S continues to use numbers as comfort. He is never without one in some form or other. His blackboard is a mass of sums, a stick picture of me (with my age above my head – 44 – Ahem!) and him holding my hand with his age above his head. I’m maths phobic. I HATE maths. Algebra? What the hell is that about? But the little Numberjack can’t get enough of the ‘M’ word!

Without the wonderful support he’s had, he wouldn’t be the boy we know today. He is proof of what early intervention can achieve when it comes to autism and special needs. He is different but he’s accepted and loved. He copes with his day because those around him understand his limits. He’s getting better at understanding them himself but still has bad days, like yesterday when he had a meltdown and lashed out at his special teacher. He hid under a blanket for a while because he didn’t like how it made him feel to lose control and when he came out, he did French. He NEVER does French because he doesn’t like how the words sound. Truth be told, neither did I. I wasn’t overly enthralled with French either but mostly because the teacher used to throw his briefcase across the room to get our attention, la psycho.

The class has a ‘Star of the Day’ award system which rewards good behaviour or work with being able to take in something of their choice to ‘show and tell’ the next day. S has many of these awards with the latest one awarded for doing French.

I think that all little children are stars. Their innocence shines light into a world that can sometimes be dark. Sadly, they morph into teenagers and the innocence is replaced with gobby one word answers like ‘So!’, ‘Because!’ and ‘Whatever!’ Not forgetting the standard phrase of the teenager on not getting their own way…

‘I HATE YOU, YOU’VE TOTALLY RUINED MY ENTIRE LIFE, I WISH I’D NEVER BEEN BORN!!!!’ *slam* *bang* *wollop*

I have no idea where S’ journey will take him or what form his teenage angst will take. I’m just enjoying who he is now because he is happy, therefore, I am happy and I am never more happy than when he flings his arms out to me and showers me in kisses in full view of all the other parents at school. He’s my star of the day, everyday.

mumturnedmom

Creative Commons Image by Neal Fowler

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26 thoughts on “Shining Star

  1. He is such a star. You are right to be so proud at how far he has come. It takes a lot of commitment on behalf of the SENCO staff at schools, but they are so supportive and really understand these children and their individual needs.

    • Thanks Nicola, we’ve been very fortunate with the level of support for S combined with attending a school that genuinely cares about him. How far he’s come in two years is testament to their level of commitment to him. He’s loved and I really couldn’t have hoped for more. 🙂

  2. It really does sound like you have had great support. I have so much admiration for SENCO staff, they have a tough job, but it must be so rewarding when the child they help shines. And he’s obviously shining. I’m so pleased he’s one of the positive cases, you generally only hear the negative, which is a shame.

    • In our case, it’s his special teacher who has the tough job as she is the one who works with him on a one to one basis throughout the day. The SENCO works out his needs throughout the year with his teacher and his ST works to those needs but they have a great bond now, which is great.
      There are a lot of negative cases, sadly. 😦

  3. Oh hon I’m so pleased that S in such a better place now. Sounds like he’s a real star and has come along so far. You must have been proud as punch to see him write his daddy’s name 🙂

    My own post is also about autism, and we’re seeing our consultant tomorrow to talk about early intervention therapy for my eldest xx

  4. What a lovely post. He has made such incredible progress and you must be so proud of your little star. It’s brilliant that he’s had such good support from professionals. It always makes me sad when I read of parents with autistic children who aren’t getting the support the whole family desperately needs.

    • Thanks Sarah, sadly there are too many who don’t get the support that they need. Early intervention makes all the difference and so many children (and families) are getting the support too late. X

  5. Tracy you forgot to mention what STUNNING eyes S has and when I look at them on a photo you can only begin to imagine what’s going on in his world of noise/sights/instructions and much more that at times he doesn’t want to see or hear. Also when I look at his eyes, they are full of love and pure happiness either at what he’s doing or looking at you.
    I have heard from you his major steps from starting playgroup to year 1 in big school. There is so much credit to be given to those in the educational field, the Drs but most importantly you, OH and his grown up siblings. The huge strides that S has made is a credit to all involved BUT I always think there’s nothing like a mothers love.
    Who knows what the future holds for S but what I do know is as long as there’s breath in the bodies of his family, he will always have love and a place to call home. S appears to be able to decide for himself and will try and do things but at his pace, seeing that word *Daddy* well! I can only imagine how that felt.
    This blog doesn’t do justice to how you fought to get the help you could see that S would be needing in his educational life, you were amazing.
    But mostly S is amazing, absolutaly bloody gorgeous, clever and he’s a little person who has amazed all who knows of him!
    Xxxxxxxxx
    Ps, Ma is keeping an eye on him from *up there* xxxx

    • Blimey! I’m weeping my eyes out here, Sheerie! What a beautiful comment!!
      I like to think that Ma is looking out for him because she loved him so much. She would have loved his quirks. She would have had a strong bond with him. I know it…
      I planted some Sweet Peas this year because that’s what she called him. Annnnnd I’m sobbing again lol
      Lufs you loads lovely lady and thank you for your wonderful comment. xXx

  6. Sweetheart I absolutely LOVED this post. You are the most amazing mum and its your love and patience that has helped S be the fantastic boy he is autistic or not. Those little moments that seem insignificant to others make us autism parents hearts skip don’t they? As a very lovely lady once told me (Sheerie you diamond!) “you were meant to be S’s Mum” ❤️ xxxx

    • Thank you Rebekah! Lovely to see you on my humble bloggette! 🙂
      Yes, it’s the little moments that mean the most, as you will appreciate being an awesome autism parent.
      Sheerie is indeed a diamond. You’re both amazing ladies who I am proud to call ‘friend’. 🙂
      Being a mum to my boys is what my life has been about. Being a mum to a child who sees the world a lot like I do, is a privilege. S has enabled me to understand things about myself that I struggled with when I was younger and I am able to understand him, especially as the years go on. My pain is his gain and that in itself makes all the bad stuff worthwhile. xxxxxx

  7. This is such a joyous post to read, not because it’s about how S coped on one particular day, but because I know personally how far he’s come and how much input so many people have had in order to help his star shine brightly. You’re a wonderful mum who wouldn’t accept anything less but the right support for your little boy. Love to you all x x x

    • Annnd I’m blubbing again…
      Thanks lovely. 🙂 I know that you understand how it feels and I’m so glad that your one of the amazing people who I share the journey (warts and all) with. Love to all of you too Xxx

    • OMG I’m in floods of tears here! What an amazing song and I wished I’d have known about it when I was writing this post as I could have quoted one of the lines..maybe one for another post?
      Thanks for this, lovely. 🙂 Xxx

      • It really is the most amazing song. It makes me tear up every time I hear it so I won’t apologise it made you howl as I guessed it might. Lufs ya x x x 🙂

  8. This is such a lovely post, he is an absolute star and it is so wonderful to read about all the progress that he has made. I’m so glad that he gets such good support at school, but the support he gets at home also makes him the boy he is. And, I have to agree with Sheerie, he does have the most incredible eyes x Thank you for sharing with #ThePrompt x

  9. You know, I believe that we all have our individual needs that need to be met. There’s no one size meets all. There are some who need a bit more attention than others to help ensure they thrive. Your son is certainly a star. Your pride shines out through your words. I’m glad he’s had the support he needs to shine.

    With you with maths, Ugh xxx

  10. Well there you go That’s how it’s done what an amazing blog I especially loved the part about the card as B had hand written my father’s day card (all of it) so I completely get IT and with such quality improvements as well it’s nice to read success stories as it is to read struggles (so I don’t feel so useless ) I shall endeavour to find time to keep on blogging (this word is still weird to me haha) also it’s nice to talk in more than 140 bloody letters you can’t shut me up haha honestly love your blog and you of course x

    • Aww thanks Paul. 🙂
      Your blog will be amazing because you write from the heart. I love it that so many people ‘get’ what I’m talking about with S. At school, I’m in the minority with one other parent really understanding how I feel but on here, I’m surrounded by lots of parents who understand what these little things mean to us. It means the difference sometimes between coping and struggling. X

  11. Wonderful post, it’s so nice to read that S has been given the support he now needs to be able to shine, not only that whatever everyone, school, family, You are doing is giving him the freedom & confidence to make the decision to try new things! He sounds like a super star xx

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