A new year, Mainstream Early Years Education,

Lachlan is now 4 years old and in his final year of Early Years Education (formally known as Pre-school year) we are now six weeks into the first term.

Lachlan is happy, settled and just loves his playgroup this is his second full year there, he loves the ladies who teach, support and care for him and he loves the other children.

I am now glad we didn’t pursue a place in an additional needs setting for Lachlan, I think the other children have learned as much from Lachlan as he has learned from them, as a parent I have been deeply touched to watch Lachlan develop relationships with the other children, who are yet to young to understand why Lachlan is different, sometimes they join in Lachlan’s games and they watch out for him too.

In the first post I wrote about Lachlan starting playgroup,

The road to mainstream Pre School…

There were so many obstacles, in the beginning it felt like too many to possibly overcome.

In all honesty Lachlan and I were terrified. After Lachlan’s first afternoon my heart broke harder than it had ever broken before, I realised that day just how different and behind his peers Lachlan was and I had no idea how to make playgroup work.

I will never forget that day, looking back on it though, it shows just how far Lachlan has come, it proves what seemed impossible can be possible.

Miracles do happen….

Lachlan can talk, in short sentences, everyone who works with Lachaln has fought so hard to get Lachlan speaking one of my biggest fears was how Lachlan would communicate that he was hurt or something was wrong at playgroup, I am amazed to say Lachlan’s solution is to say “I bumped,” sometimes while holding the “bumped” arm, leg or head.

“I bumped,” we have worked out also covers, that something hurts, this has solved a lot of frustration on both sides as now when Lachlan is becoming unwell he lets us know, something is bothering him.

The down side to “I bumped,” is when Ian or I give Lachlan a row the monkey runs to the other and you guessed it with a quivering lip says, “I bumped!”

Lachlan can say in words everything he wants these days, the frustrated “Un’s” have almost gone completely, he is beginning to ask for things too, his favourites at the moment is to say, “I need a biscuit, crisps, cake”, “I need juice”, “bum change”, “build a house, lego”, “go out”, “need a kiss” and my favourite “me and my mummy”.

Lachlan hardly ever cries, hardly ever covers his ears, very rarely headbangs and at playgroup instead of hiding from others he actively looks for interaction from the other children and staff, he has learned to sit reasonably well at snack time and latterly sits very well at story time, especially if a “Meg and Mog” book or “Maisie Mouse”, I honestly would not have believed it possible in such a relatively short space of time that Lachlan could come on so much had I not been a part of the journey.

Don’t get me wrong, there are still many battles to be won, currently everyone working with Lachlan is trying to get him to drink from a cup without a lid, we know he can do it as we have caught Lachlan swigging from abandoned glasses of juice at home and drinking the bath water from his bath toys, he just won’t!

Safety is a huge issue, Lachlan has 1:1 support at playgroup full-time, unfortunately for all his care givers Lachlan’s climbing ability is outstanding, he has no concept of height, loves to jump from high surfaces, hang’s upside down at every opportunity and loves doing headstands, I have yet to try it but Lachlan really is convinced certain programmes on TV just have to be watched upsides down! Outdoor dangers are another huge concern, as Lachlan has no sense of danger, he still wants to walk straight into the river or out into the road. We have a buggy which is now rarely used and if out on foot we always put a harness with a line on it to act as an extra pair of hands.

Toilet training is a disaster, did you know how much fun it is to be able to make ones own puddles to play in??

Eating is still hard going, though after a huge regression due to illness, Lachlan is now back to making slow progress, he will eat anything provided it is mashed, his dairy, egg, gluten and soya free diet continue, Lachlan’s favourites are “Hairy Bikers Sausage Casserole” and “Beef and Ale Stew”.

I was touched and delighted recently that Lachlan has been invited to Birthday parties, we go along and do our best, we have managed three so far, Lachlan loves parties!

I have heard of and seen two occasions in the last week where Lachlan has wanted to share an activity with one of the playgroup ladies, it was heartwarming to see him go and “ask” the ladies to join in with his games.

Our kitchen is covered in all the paintings Lachlan has painted for us, I still have the very first one he ever did. Going near paint used to result in a complete meltdown from Lachlan. The photos below show just how far he has come. Lachlan now loves paint.

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I guess what I am trying to say and prove in this post is, anything is possible, never give up trying, never give up hope…….

I know in my heart Lachlan will be all he can be, I have no idea where this journey will take us but we will travel together.

I, for a long time felt completely out of my depth with Lachlan, I now believe I can and do make a difference, especially with a little help and guidance from the wonderful team of people known in our house as “Lachlan’s angels”.

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A special Birthday Party

I remember one of the things that hit me hardest when Autism was first mentioned nearly two years ago, was the theory that Autistic children lack imagination, I can remember feeling terribly sad thinking how do you play without imagination?

Recently I have noticed on numerous occasions Lachlan playing in imaginative ways, I have seen him line up my washing baskets, then sitting himself in the front one, happily shouting “chop-choo, woo-woo”, I have watched him crawl around the floor going “woof-woof” I have seen him make “ice-cream’s” with both play doh and sand, handing them out to us all, with a “yum-yum”. Lachlan frequently pretends to be asleep, making sleepy noises, being a spaceman or rocket and shouting “5-4-3-2-1-BLAST-OFF” while jumping off something is a long-standing favourite, making cups of tea in the bath and building houses out of anything and everything from Lego to lumps of wood, Lachlan does it all.

I want to share what happened one afternoon last week while Lachlan was enjoying some free play time with his play doh.

Lachlan was sitting at our kitchen table with the play doh ice cream factory, happily making cones as he has done on lots of occasions recently, next thing Lachlan is digging in the large box we store all the playdoh stuff in.  We have a fair collection as I never got round to clearing out the bits Alex had finished with, so out of the box come the characters from In The Night Garden, one by one Lachlan lines them up along the edge o the table.  Upsy Daisy, Iggle Piggle, Macka-Packa and the Tombliboos they are all there, next Lachlan gets a large lump of purple play doh, he sits it on the table, to the lump he adds small pink dots of play doh to the top, all the while I am watching curios as to what Lachlan is up to and watching none of the play doh is swallowed!

What Lachlan did next had me stunned, delighted and yes it brought tears to my eyes!

Around the purple and pink lump of play doh Lachlan carefully arranges his Night Garden friends in a circle, then to my astonishment Lachlan started singing the words to “Happy Birthday”, word for word, when it got to the point of saying whose Birthday it was Lachlan sang, “Happy Birthday to Upsy Daisy, Happy Birthday to you…”

Lachlan then turned to me and said “Upsy Daisy’s Party”

I threw my arms round Lachlan and replied, ‘yes darling, you have given Upsy Daisy a party, a Birthday party”.

All this was witnessed by Lachlan’s speech therapist who was as stunned and delighted as I was.

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Sometimes it’s all just too much…….

Today was Lachlan’s big review meeting and I fell apart in the middle of it!

I was sitting there and it was such a positive meeting everyone was saying how well Lachlan is doing and how far he has come in the last year both of which are true, then I just went to bits………

I wanted to scream at everyone “is this as good as it gets?”

Somedays I feel trapped in a living hell!

Lachlan swings from my curtains like a professionally trained trapeze artist, does headstands on top of furniture, he thinks the dogs bowl is;  in his woods “a paddling pool”, climbs constantly, has opened the oven door, shouts splash at the pot of boiling potatoes cooking on the hob, has chewed through several power cables and flushed goodness knows all what down the loo!! (toilet)

Take your eye of the ball for a nano second and I guarantee Lachlan will no longer be engaged in the activity you left him at. His current favourite is the dogs bowl!

The door goes, the phone rings, you need the loo, on return all hell has broken loose!

I always make sure Lachlan is never in any danger, we are all very aware, but it is exhausting, I don’t even switch off in my sleep, the other night my older son got up to use the loo, I heard water and flew out of bed panicking Lachlan was puddling in the bathroom, this is at 4.00am! Lachlan was of course sound asleep at the foot of our bed oblivious to the fuss. Poor Hamish got the fright of his life!

I need a break, I am done in, I guess I need to fall apart, I have been strong too long, I need to let it all out……

I am so angry with myself…..

I should have seen it coming, I have been listening to Guns and Roses November Rain,  Let it be by the Beatles and lots of P!nk up loud in the last few weeks, my music therapy you could say, a warning that I am struggling though.

The worst bit is I fear I have hurt a few of the wonderful allies who fear they have upset me.

It is so hard to explain the roller coaster I am trapped on, I truly celebrate every little step Lachlan takes with heartfelt joy, I tell anyone who will listen how amazing my boy is but then the frustration grows in me it builds and knawes away, little things that fill me with joy will then break my heart all in one go,

The day I taught my little nephew to ride his bike without stabilizers, I was so proud in that moment I couldn’t have been prouder of that wee lad, but then it hit me, I might never teach Lachlan to ride a bike….

The conversations I have with my nephews when they want to tell aunty Vicki something, I am delighted they want to tell me, then later on I wonder will Lachlan ever tell me about his day in the same way?

It hurts. No matter how had I try to not let it, It really does hurt.

It is the constant immense pressure I feel under to keep pushing Lachlan on, all the changes,                                                                                                               if Lachlan is doing so well and is happy can’t we just stand still for a little while?             Enjoy the moment?                                                                                              Just breathe.

Lachlan is just a little boy, my little boy.

Today it all just got too much, my guard slipped.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Birthday Boy

“What a difference a day makes! This time last night I was in floods of tears feeling robbed and thinking too much about what other four year olds do on their Birthdays that Lachlan wouldn’t do. First thing this morning I sang Happy Birthday to Lachlan and he replied by saying “cake” then we had music therapy and Gill played “happy birthday” several times on keyboard much to Lachlan’s delight, we brought out the cards at lunch time and thanks to the “look who got a letter” song from Blues Clues Lachlan opened his cards with help and a huge grin, a little while later we gave Lachlan the one wrapped present Gran and Grandpa had brought, Lachlan opened it with help from Gran and was delighted with the tractors jigsaw inside. We then had home visiting teacher in, this was when we gave Lachlan his play table and train set, both my little and big boys have had a great time with it! At tea time Nana and Graham came and we had cake and candles and sang “happy birthday” twice, Lachlan loved investigating the candles, then Hamish gave Lachlan his present, at supper time we sang and had candles again and Alex gave Lachlan her present which both Alex and Lachlan played with for a while. Lachlan has loved every minute of a stress free amazing day and I have no doubt he knew it was his Birthday, his special day, we achieved so much today, so much that most people take for granted, it is the little simple things that give hope and bring happiness and joy, Vxxxx”

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