31 March 2017

Autism Awareness - #YourJourneyMyBlog - Seeking & Avoiding Sensory Stimulation

 
The month of April is best known for the explosion of Easter Bunnies, obscene amounts of chocolate as gifts for children and a magnificent feast to celebrate the resurrection of Christ. To many people April is Easter, they plan, they organise, many months in advance sometimes, Children have the time of their lives, gorging on chocolate, receiving gifts from extended family members, but to me, April is Autism Awareness month.

So to celebrate this, I am going to dedicate my blog for a whole month to families who wish to share their Autism Journey with you.

Some of these people have autism themselves, some are autistic parents to autistic children. We have teachers with autistic students and even Bloggers who want share their journey with me, which I am very grateful for. 
 






When I first sat down to write this I realised that having a child with autism means I have so much to say and such a long story that I couldn’t possibly go into everything from birth to diagnosis and beyond. So I sat down and had a think about our biggest challenges and some of the things that impact on our daughter and on us as a family the most. The thing that stood out above all else was her sensory issues, so I thought I would sum up the trials and tribulations we have had and continue to have in relation to what she calls her ‘sensorys’. 



It might sound unusual to anybody else, but in our house it’s commonplace to hear our daughter talking about her "sensory’s" or one of us referring to her having a sensory day. 
Her "sensory’s” are such a big part of our lives and are present every single day without fail, in fact I would say that they are one of her most noticeable autistic traits. Although we are now at a point where we can manage this to a level where they don’t hinder her daily activities for the majority of the time and she is coping really well.



But it hasn’t always been this way.

 

When she was little, I would say around the age of 4, things that she had previously coped with or we had put down to age had started to become an issue. Her attention span was poor and she was struggling to settle in the classroom environment once she started school. 



She is what is referred to as a sensory seeker.

So in school when she was expected to keep still she would be doing the opposite, moving at 100 miles an hour, climbing, jumping, skipping and anything else you can think of. She couldn’t just sit and concentrate, in order for her to listen and have any hope of taking anything in she would rock, spin, swing or fidget with anything she could get her hands on. To top this off, she is actually a mixed profile so as well as sensory seeking, she is also sensory avoidant! The way this displays itself with her is that she seeks out movement and deep pressure, but avoids light touch and certain noise, so a major problem she has is hating the feel of clothes on her skin.




It’s probably really hard to imagine this, but trying to buy clothes for a child with autism and sensory issues relating to this, and have her get dressed, can be one of the most challenging and troublesome problems we face! When she first started getting distressed with clothes we couldn’t actually understand how a simple pair of socks or dress could make her want to physically hurt herself just to get them away from her skin! She was too young to try and explain it to us and we did have some battles in the early days as we didn’t know any better. 
This is when we found out about sensory processing disorder which can affect children on the autistic spectrum as well as others who are not. Once we understood, we set about figuring out what exactly bothered her and what she could actually cope with so that we could make life easier for her. 

To be honest, as silly as this sounds, I think I went through a little grieving process with this. 

I had to accept my little girl couldn’t wear the cute outfits I dreamt of buying her or have the pretty hair bows in her hair like the other children had, I was obviously putting way too much importance on that! At first we struggled to find things, but over time we got it so well figured out that now we more or less know exactly what she can and can’t tolerate and you will often see me or my mum with our hand up a dress in a shop looking for seams! 

Half of the time she looks like nobody owns her.

She often looks like we’ve dressed her in somebody else’s clothes as she likes things tight and small and wears some things inside out, but she’s comfortable and happy and that’s really all that matters.
As you can imagine, things were not easy for her at school and alongside her sensory issues, as with other autistic children, she was socially immature, anxious and stressed. Although her cognitive ability is probably higher than average, she started to fall behind and as the years went on the gap grew between her and other children her age due to all of the other issues holding her back. Despite all of this, she is now nearly 10 years old and is currently at an amazing school that are nurturing and supportive and she is making great progress. 

She is a real trier and although she finds life in general a challenge, she rises to it every single day and puts so much effort into everything she does. 

As a family, I feel like we have pretty much got it sussed with her right now and I am actually not only really proud of her but proud of us for dealing with whatever life throws at us and adapting to it to make her life as fulfilling and enjoyable as possible! The next step will be the challenges we have to face when she goes to high school, along with her hormones!! 

Although we know this won’t be smooth sailing, we will be as prepared for it as we can and adapt just as we have done with everything else that comes our way!
 
 
 
Massive thanks to Claire Gill a lovely lady, who has been following the page for a long time. What an absolutely beautiful family! 
 
  For more information on Sensory Processing Disorder check out my series starting with Confused About Sensory Processing Disorder.
 
 
 
 
 
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30 March 2017

Autism Awareness - #YourJourneyMyBlog - Beginning The Diagnosis Process


The month of April is best known for the explosion of Easter Bunnies, obscene amounts of chocolate as gifts for children and a magnificent feast to celebrate the resurrection of Christ. To many people April is Easter, they plan, they organise, many months in advance sometimes, Children have the time of their lives, gorging on chocolate, receiving gifts from extended family members, but to me, April is Autism Awareness month.

So to celebrate this, I am going to dedicate my blog for a whole month to families who wish to share their Autism Journey with you.

Some of these people have autism themselves, some are autistic parents to autistic children. We have teachers with autistic students and even Bloggers who want share their journey with me, which I am very grateful for. 


 Our Journey:
 How it all began...
Lou was born in the spring of 2012, I had a fairly normal pregnancy and was still able to work full time with children, the job that I’d done for 8 years. On the day that Lou arrived I was calm and collected, I took everything in my stride. But then there was a problem. I remember a yellow piece of paper and the words:
 “We need to deliver this baby right now,”
Then all I remember is the lights of the corridor as I was transported into surgery. Lou’s heart rate had reached a dangerously low level.
I don’t remember a lot else at this point, except trying not to cry with the relief that Lou was here safely, and the relief that I felt once she let out that ‘all important first cry!’ I struggled to contain my laughter when the surgeon urged me not to cry as he was completing the stiches after the C-Section, and as he said “Whoa Mamma” it made me chuckle and I moved more!

I was extremely relieved the next day when I was allowed to take Lou home to the comfort of our own house. I found that Lou would settle to sleep better if she was swaddled tightly in a blanket.
I soon noticed that Lou had a problem with her milk, she was what I would call a ‘sickly baby,’ she found it difficult to keep her milk down and had Colic really badly. We would later find out at 10 months old, that Lou was in fact intolerant to all dairy products, along with egg. But it took a lot of questioning on my part to get to this point. Lou was a late sitter, she sat up at around 8 months old and she crawled at 11 months, and walked along furniture just after her 1st birthday.
By 17 months, I was concerned that she wasn’t walking and was referred to a child Physiotherapist, who reassured that if Lou wasn’t walking by 18 months, that they would then have her back in. We noticed that she seemed to be in pain when she stood up and walked with her feet slightly outwards, it would take us until the age of 4 to finally find out that she has ‘hyper mobile’ joints, which explains also, why at only 2 years old, and suffering a fall from only a small height she broke her arm. I will explore Hypermobility later, in a chapter on its own.
From her birth until 15 months old, myself and Lou spent all our time together, she was my ‘little friend,’ and we explored so many places together, parks, swimming, toddler groups, you name it, we did it! I went back to work when Lou was 15 months old, I loved spending time with her, but I also missed my job in a nursery with 2-4 year olds very much. We moved house from the countryside to the city, to be in walk-able distance to my work and Lou went to a wonderful child-minder for part of the week and for the rest to a nursery attached to the local college. Both settings loved having Lou, they both told me that she was wonderfully ‘spirited’ and definitely knew her own mind! Something that was very different to how I presented as a child! I found it increasingly difficult to be at work full- time with a toddler at home, when Lou did walk at 18 months, I missed her very first steps, and this was heart- breaking.
From 18 months old, I noticed small things with Lou, such as she was always in the bathroom seeking out water, when she started the nursery where I worked, she could be constantly found in the bathrooms and flooded them frequently! She was a wanderer and didn’t take well to mummy being in the classroom! She was very strong-willed and I put her behaviours and tantrums in public down to being ‘The Terrible Two’s’ (as people around me would call it.)
The advice I was given by professionals was: that this was a ‘stage’ and the time to worry is if it carried on.........



Part 2 – I believe You!

I believe you...
Those are the three words that any parent who is struggling wants to hear.
Before my second child (I refer to her affectionately as Moo,) was born in March 2015, I had expressed my concerns about Lou’s behaviour, in terms of her listening skills. We were still seeing up to 10 large tantrums a day and this seemed to escalate once my pregnancy became more noticeable. I held off for a long as I could in telling Lou that she would be having a baby brother or sister, as I knew she’d find this difficult to comprehend. One thing that I found frustrating is that Lou was always worse around me. She was well behaved at Pre School and when away from me, such as when she stayed over at my parents’ house. This made me feel quite bad when I also had pregnancy hormones flying around the place, I started to believe that my own child disliked me.
I did some reading up on ‘Sibling Jealousy,’ before Moo was born in order to prepare myself, people around me would try and reassure me by sayin:

“she’ll get better, once she gets used to the idea of being a big sister.”

I only wished this was true.

Once I brought Moo home Lou had a quick look at her but didn’t really make much fuss over the addition to the house, we noticed an expected increase in Lou’s meltdowns at this time, due to the change in the family dynamics, it must have been hard after being the only child in the family, and being the center of everyone’s world until Moo’s arrival. I found it very hard when the girls’ father went back to work after his paternity leave, as I’d had a Caesarean I wasn’t able to get around for the first two weeks, we were living in a second floor flat with a staircase as a barrier to the outdoors with one 3-year-old and a newborn.
Sometimes when going out, as I got to the bottom of the stairs, and I was still in pain from my major surgery, I’d burst out crying. As I tried to load the pushchair up and desperately hold onto the reins, Lou would often cease the opportunity to run off and I’d have to abandon my newborn whilst retrieving her.
Once Moo was 4 months old I expressed concerns to our health visitor about Lou’s spiraling behaviour as I thought she would have calmed a little by this time, she would pull her sister’s tiny legs whilst I was holding her, and would vigorously rock the bouncer chair when her sister was inside, she was putting so much pressure onto her baby sister, even though a lot of the time she was trying to affectionately hug her. I was alarmed when the health visitor suggested that I should know more about behaviour management as I’d – And I quote
 “been in childcare longer.”
This came as a shock to me as I believed health care professionals should support the children and their families from birth to 5 years old. She suggested that the problems with Lou might lie with my “behaviour management” and “parenting skills.” This, for me, was a massive knock in my confidence as at this point, I’d had 10 years’ experience in working with Early Years children, I know it’s completely different when it’s your own child, as opposed to the children in my classes, as I was aware that Lou, naturally had more of an emotional attachment to me and even at 3 years old, was aware that I, as mummy, would be there for her regardless. The Health Visitor referred me onto my local Children’s Centre for a service called ‘Family Support’ but I still hadn’t heard from this referral by August 2015, and by this time I’d reached a place where I was emotionally and physically drained, and finally got myself down to my GP who prescribed me with anti-depressants as I was so low and I believed myself to be an awful parent. I blamed myself for everything. Promises were made by the health visitor for referral to a Paediatrician and to CAMHS (Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service.)
I once saw this lady outside my health centre and she asked Lou directly “have you been naughty?” I literally couldn’t believe that this professional was labeling my child with the ‘N’ word, a word that I have never used in my profession. She later denied this when I wrote a complaint to my local health visiting service.
Whilst all this was going on I had applied for a house with a garden for Lou to be able to burn of some of the pent up energy. I longed to be back closer to where my parents lived and I was over the moon to be given the go-ahead for the house with a garden, only 5 minutes from where I grew up, this would be a positive new start for us all as a family and I was very glad to be re-united with our original health visitor from when Lou was born.
It was during a visit to my home that this wonderful lady saw Lou climbing all over my furniture, jumping off and being rough with her younger sister. It was the first time I felt properly listened to and there was no mention of my parenting skills whatsoever, what the health visitor noticed is that I looked very different to the last time I saw her, she said to me “you look exhausted,” and I agreed that I was completely run down as Lou was extremely hard work at home and I was thoroughly drained as I wasn’t being believed in how bad things can actually get at home, in terms of the extreme meltdowns, sometimes up to 10 time per day.
This is when the health visitor said
“I believe you,”
I could have hugged her!
This lady knew my family, she believed me when I said that the only time that Lou was still was when she was asleep and that she had to be constantly supervised, especially when in the same room as her baby sister. Loose ends were quickly tied up in terms of the referral to the Paediatrician, which due to the previous health visitor, had never actually been made. Lou was also referred to an Occupational Therapist and we were put in touch with a Family Support worker, via our local Children’s Centre.
At the same time, I had a very interesting conversation with Lou’s new Pre School manager who asked if I’d ever heard of SPD (Sensory Processing Disorder,) as she’d liaised with the area SENCo (Special Education Needs Co-ordinator,) who had suggested that we may like to investigate further after observing Lou in the Pre School setting. The manager and other staff at the Pre School had noticed that Lou would hold her hands over her ears if she experienced a sudden loud noise, and this was happening during music time. Staff also noticed that Lou would need at least 10 seconds ‘Processing’ time if asked a question and she could talk fluently but they did question her understanding. Lou was responding well to a visual signing strategy called ‘Sign-a-long’ and visual timetables, which clearly detailed what events and routines were happening each day.
We were still having a pretty rough time at home, in terms of behaviour but I soon came to realise that this was because Lou was a very good ‘masker’ of her difficulties and doing her best to conform in the Pre School setting, she would then ‘explode’ as soon as she got home. She would hold in all of her sensory overloads at the setting, until she saw me, who she saw as her ‘safe person,’ and in her ‘safe place’ of her own home. I became interested in finding out about SPD, to help my child, to understand her more. I found a lot of useful information online and I soon became aware of several support groups via social media, where I could talk to other parents who were going through the exact same thing. Many of these groups were based in the USA and I soon realised that there was more awareness there, they seemed to have so much more awareness than in the UK.
When Lou saw her Paediatrician for the first time in April 2016, she was extremely lively and tried to escape from the office several times, she was extremely hyperactive and didn’t want me to talk about her to the Paediatrician and therefore would try and gain my attention by clambering onto the examination table. She snatched away toys from the Paediatrician that she had got out of cupboards and was wanting to wash her hands in the sink! She even looked inside the Paediatrician’s handbag and wanted to type on her computer! What this appointment gained was a diagnosis of Sensory Processing Disorder, but the Paediatrician also noted that Lou had shown traits of ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder,) and ASD (Autistic Spectrum Disorder,) although she wouldn’t diagnose anything further until Lou was age 6, to do further observations and she was keen to see how she was going to settle when starting school. One thing that was completely enlightening for me was that the Paediatrician noticed that Lou had hyper mobile joints.
In March 2016, I was empowered to start my Blog ‘Sensory Sensitive Mummy,’ to share our story and to help spread awareness of SPD in the UK, and hoping to help and support other parents in the process, because there may be many out there that are feeling as desperate as I once was, their parenting being blamed for their child’s difficulties, especially if these children are also very good maskers of their difficulties in educational settings.
This lead to the phrase that I’m always saying...
... “awareness is key, awareness is understanding.”

To Follow the journey of Nicki and her children then follow these links.
Sensory Sensitive Mummy
Blog email: sensorysensitivemummy@outlook.com
Twitter: @sensorysenmummy
Instagram: @sensorysensitivemummy
 

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29 March 2017

Autism Awareness - #YourJourneyMyBlog - Monster Child?



The month of April is best known for the explosion of Easter Bunnies, obscene amounts of chocolate as gifts for children and a magnificent feast to celebrate the resurrection of Christ. To many people April is Easter, they plan, they organise, many months in advance sometimes, Children have the time of their lives, gorging on chocolate, receiving gifts from extended family members, but to me, April is Autism Awareness month.

So to celebrate this, I am going to dedicate my blog for a whole month to families who wish to share their Autism Journey with you.

Some of these people have autism themselves, some are autistic parents to autistic children. We have teachers with autistic students and even Bloggers who want share their journey with me, which I am very grateful for.


Hello, 

I’m the mum to an almost 4 year old boy who I affectionately refer to as The Monster, and a baby boy who is almost 2 months old. I’m a long time partner (but not wife as he refuses to put a ring on it) to my other half.




I often get asked how we knew The Monster was different. What triggers was there that made us question his ‘normality’? Well in short we didn’t realise he was different since we had no comparison. Was he hard work? hell yes. Was he challenging? of course. Was he hitting all his milestones? Some but not all. All sounds pretty normal to me. Nobody had ever told me having kids was easy so I assumed this was ‘normal’. The fact I’d managed to eat toast and have a shower which I’d been reliably informed was impossible when you had a small person meant we were winning, surely!? 

It was his child minder who raised the flag. 

She described him as having tunnel vision and very busy. His speech wasn’t coming, he was super noisy but no words and he was mildly delayed at walking, taking his first steps at 17 months. When she told me in no uncertain terms that he was, quote “hard work” and "the most hard work out of the 20+ kids we care for" it was music to my ears. I thought all kids were this challenging! And so with that we mentioned it to our GP and the ball started rolling….and rolling….and rolling. Here began what was to become a just over two-year diagnosis process. 
In the months that we waited for his first appointment with his paediatrician I raised the flags with The Monster’s health visitors. His two year check was fast approaching and I was now more aware than ever of the things he wasn’t doing. He used to wave but had stopped, he used to say hiya but had stopped. He didn’t have enough concentration to hold a crayon never mind draw a line and he was constantly busy. Sleeping was cheating and being up for several hours in the middle of the night wasn’t an uncommon occurance. Everyone assumed it was normal waking and nothing some sleep training wouldn’t resolve.

I finally broke.

Ringing the health visitors uncontrollably sobbing down the phone after a particularly long stint of about 4 hours broken sleep a night. They sent someone around that day. But they still didn’t get it. The boy did not sleep! This was to continue until the actual day of diagnosis when I was finally granted the magic potion, melatonin. Hello sleep…oh wait, hello newborn baby! 

At the first paediatrician appointment I was asked a whole host of questions whilst The Monster ran rings around me. He turned on every switch he could find, played with the taps, banged the window and avoided all toys in the room, obvs. At least he was on form and she could see what he was like. We got referred for a hearing test, a speech and language appointment and for an epilepsy test since he was having frequent episodes of staring into space. 

We waited so long for these appointments to come through that I arranged the hearing test and contacted a speech and language therapist myself.

Eventually he had his epilepsy test and it came back normal. After over 18 weeks we still hadn’t heard anything for the other follow-ups so I contacted the paediatrician to find out what the blooming heck was going on, only to be told his records had been archived rather than sent to the relevant departments. Furious. Lucky I had been so pro-active or he could’ve been lost in the system forever. By this point I already had a speech and language report and he was undergoing more hearing tests which at least meant we didn’t have to start afresh. I can’t recall too much from the next appointment with the paediatrician other than to confirm that he needed further assessment.

In the months that followed we confirmed he had no major hearing problems that would affect speech. He had an NHS speech and language appointment and he was observed at home before being refered to the multidisciplinary team for observations which would ultimately lead to a diagnosis.  

I did my homework. I read and read and read about autism, I completed countless quizzes online and I watched The Monster a lot. I did all this in secret. 

I was plagued by guilt for looking so much. What if he wasn’t autistic, what if he was ‘normal’ after all? 

Communication was becoming increasingly difficult. He was growing physically but mentally and emotionally he was now much behind his peers. He still didn’t talk, he only just started waving and he couldn’t nod to indicate if he wanted something or even if he liked something. We started signing and amazingly he picked up a few. Progress at last. His behaviour was at times uncontrollable and I began dreading going to new places. On one occasion before diagnosis I apologised about his behaviour and said he was autistic. That was the first time I used the ‘A’ word to anyone outside my circle of friends and family. He wasn’t even diagnosed. He had tried to nick someones mobility scooter so I had to say something! I had a lump in my throat the size of a grapefruit and I cried all the way home. 

Time went by and I had it all but confirmed that he was autistic. I was relieved when the assessments came around. Another step closer to it becoming formal. But what if they didn’t see what I saw, what if in the hour a week that they observed him he was on good form, what if he wasn’t behaving autistic enough!? 

The assessments came and went and finally D Day (diagnosis day) loomed. 

My partner and I were handed a 13 page dossier before entering the room. It was tough reading but also made me laugh out loud. They had seen what we see. They had him down to a tee. We entered the room and were granted the sofa whilst the paediatrician and 2 other professionals sat opposite us. Not daunting at all! We went through their report fully before finally being told “He has Autism Spectrum Disorder”.  I think they expected us to crack there and then, constantly asking if we were OK. My feelings? Relief. Sadness. Happiness. Grief. Real.   

It’s been four months now since The Monster was diagnosed. 

I still grieve for the child I thought we would have. It gets me some days that I may never hear my boy talk, I may never see him ride a bike, have a partner, get a job, learn to drive, leave home. I’ve learnt it’s okay to be sad sometimes and I don’t feel guilty for shedding a tear about it. It doesn’t mean I love The Monster any less. If anything I love him more. He has taught me to always be kind, to be compassionate, not to judge, to be patient and to be a better person. All this and he isn’t even four. 

That’s pretty epic. 


I no longer feel guilt for accessing support and I can talk freely about his autism without feeling like I am betraying him. 




My name is Lisa and my son is autistic. 
I Also have my very own blog page A Life Less Ordinary With Autism

 You can also follow me on FB - A Life Less Ordinary With Autism


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28 March 2017

Autism Awareness - #YourJourneyMyBlog - The Long, Bumpy Road to an Autism Diagnosis


The month of April is best known for the explosion of Easter Bunnies, obscene amounts of chocolate as gifts for children and a magnificent feast to celebrate the resurrection of Christ. To many people April is Easter, they plan, they organise, many months in advance sometimes, Children have the time of their lives, gorging on chocolate, receiving gifts from extended family members, but to me, April is Autism Awareness month.

So to celebrate this, I am going to dedicate my blog for a whole month to families who wish to share their Autism Journey with you.

Some of these people have autism themselves, some are autistic parents to autistic children. We have teachers with autistic students and even Bloggers who want share their journey with me, which I am very grateful for. 


Autism - the start of a very long and bumpy road.

It's a girl! 

It was amazing to hear those words from the sonographer at our 20 week scan. Fast forward 20 weeks and after a long labour, Chyler was born under emergency circumstances. She pulled through and after almost a week in hospital, we got to take our precious bundle home. She was always a placid, laid back baby - or so we thought. 

At 18 months we were pulled into Nursery and advised Chyler wasn't "walking and talking" the way she should be. I put it down to her going at her own speed but agreed to Speech and Language Therapy (SALT) sessions for her. After all if she could benefit why not? Little did I know that was just the start of a very long and bumpy road! The sessions made no difference and a referral was made to the local Paediatricians to make sure there were no on going medical issues. 

Fast forward 18 months and after 9 months of observations and appointments, Chylers' ADOS came back - Autistic. At 3 years and 4 months old. Our world felt like it came crashing down. Not because of the diagnosis but because as her mother I felt like I failed her. I didn't and I know that now - but hormones are a wonderful thing! This was just the tip of the iceberg for us as a family as we would later come to realise.  

Chyler is quirky, funny and has the most amazing smile. 

She can light up a room with it and her infectious laugh. She likes routine which was a very strict one at that (and don't we know it if it's broken or not adhered to) and she will hit fight or flight mode at the first chance if given it. We struggle with weekly tasks like shopping etc because of the noise and crowds and going out to celebrations and days out have to be planned with military precision and even then there is no guarantee she will play ball and it will go to plan - if at all!  
Chyler is not only autistic, she also has a long list of other disabilities - which sometimes hinder our progress from an Autism point of view. It's not easy - but no one said life would be and I would be lying if I said I don't become frustrated with ASD sometimes - because ultimately I'm human and have a breaking point too. 

But I have to remain strong for both my girls. 




Chyler has a younger sister, Peighton who at the age of 3, was also diagnosed as ASD. She is the complete opposite side of the spectrum to Chyler, but she has her demons also and massive anxiety issues that don't mixed well with ASD. Dad is also now on the pathway to DX. We've always "joked" about how he has a lot of quirks and autistic traits, but never really done anything about it. However the longer this journey goes on, the more apparent it is that actually he may well be on the spectrum too. 

Every day is different in our house, some are good, others not so much. Now hormones are on the mix too it sometimes becomes too much and we retreat to our "bubble" and block out the world. But as long as they're safe and happy then that's fine with me. Ultimately their happiness and well - being is paramount to us and comes first always. 

It's hard being a parent anyway, but when you have children with additional needs and disabilities - it becomes that little bit harder. We are not perfect by any means but we get by, by taking each day as it comes. Having been on this road for over 8 years now, it's been a long, winding one with a lot of "pot holes" BUT we don't let them beat us. We fix the punctures and move forward. Life is too short to keep looking back after all :) 

Autism doesn't change who my girls are, it helps shape them into who they are. Anyone who has the pleasure of having them in their lives are the lucky ones - not the other way round! 

Sadie xx

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