Category Archives: Personal Posts

party sensory processing disorder

The Only Child Not Invited

It is that time of year again – Party Season. I know it is hard when a child is different to others to cope with their additional needs at a party – but honestly The Sensory Seeker is doing so well that I would actually say he isn’t much different to the others. I do understand that not everyone needs to be invited to every party but it is hard (probably more for me than him) when he is that child: You know the only child out of the whole class who hasn’t been invited.party sensory processing disorder

It isn’t even so much about the party it’s about him knowing he’s not fitting in. That it is okay for everyone else to go so why not him as well? The ironic thing today was that he came out with a sheet about worries – the school obviously trying to get disclosures for social services with the use of a Worry Monster. Ironic because they weren’t very sympathetic to listening to these worries; simply saying there’s nothing we can do. I explained that I knew they couldn’t make him be invited to the party (although I am sure his EHC Plan probably does make provision to ensure that he socialises/fits in with his peers) and that I didn’t like how it was so apparent to him that he was the only one not invited (erm like they had all been handed out in front of him). I was reassured that they had only been given out at break time. It is real progress that he is getting so smart. Previously he never noticed this happening but still wanted a party to invite everyone to. A blessing and a curse of his development.

His birthday is coming up and we are taking him out of the country but he wants to have a sleepover a different day this year. He doesn’t really care who it is (well actually his first preference is his 14 year old cousin who doesn’t live near us!) he just wants a friend – someone who wants to spend time with him. But again the school will tell me that he does have friends, that he is a happy and likable member of the class – so how come he doesn’t feel that he is/has because he isn’t invited?alone at playtime

Disclaimer: He is invited to the odd party and I am very thankful to those parents. I just wish this wasn’t even a thing. Why invite all but one?!

Alone at Playtime

Friendships. When it comes to friendships it is the one thing I really struggle with. Whether that is because I am actually Autistic or not makes no odds because either way I don’t seem to be able to keep friends. So when my children come home and tell me that they have no friends I really do not have the right words for them. I want to go and make people be friends with them, or tell my kids – fuck them they don’t deserve your friendship anyway. But it is the most painful thing and I know I long for that bond that others seem to have so easily.

It started when The Sensory Seeker made an imaginary friend – his name is a crossed between Mr Invisible and Mr Invincible (he gets the two mixed up and when I tried to correct him he said, “He’s my friend and so I can call him what I like!” I have never had any imaginary friends in my house before and I am glad that he is able to be creative but I do hope it is not because the school are failing him socially – and I fear that that may be the case.alone at playtime

I would go in and speak to the school about it but I haven’t for two reasons – the first being that when we go into the playground other children call his name in a way that seems to be pleased to see him. Plus he hasn’t been sobbing and breaking his heart, he just tells me that no-one plays with him at break time. Oh and because the school don’t really seem to care. No schools seem to be bothered about the social side of my children’s disabilities in my opinion – but maybe that’s because I am one of “those” parents.

The really heart breaking thing though was, not to hear that no-one wants to play with The Sensory Seeker, but that his confident, well-loved, well-liked older brother confided in my that his close friends no longer want to play with him because of his brother (The Sensory Seeker). Although I would like to hope this is not true since he told me I have actually stopped to notice what happens in the playground in the morning and there is a shift in the dynamics.  I want to be able to tell him how to fix it, how to either get that friendship back on track or deal with it and move on – but I am no good at any of that and really don’t know how. I can’t go and speak to the other children’s parents because it is just one of those things – and you can’t make people be friends.

I hope it isn’t true and my children are just trying to get even more attention from me, and actually they are happy and well-liked at school – but my own fears choke me up – and I am just glad they have each other.

Do you have any experience with this? Any tips or advice for me and/or them?

Please note that the photo was taken in the morning before school and he wasn’t actually alone in the playground at playtime – which is also why he looks so happy.

Changing from a Statement to an EHCP

Changing from a Statement to an EHCP

Experience of EHCP Paperwork

The hardest thing for me during the whole process of switching from a Statement to an EHCP was time – and the fact that I had to think so much about the answers to the questions I had to keep answering what seemed like over and over and over again. I was glad to have a degree when filling in the Family Contribution form and cannot imagine how difficult it must be for some families to do. I opted to type mine on the computer which meant I could just add to it, or draw out relevant bits when asked for the information again by someone new. I completely forgot to ask to be referred back to Occupational Therapy in time and so they have not been part of the process.Changing from a Statement to an EHCP

Experience of The EHCP Meeting

Well I have to say that the meeting itself was not as hard as I thought it would be and I guess it is because no-one mentioned any levels and I already knew that he was behind his peers – so that was not a big shock. I feel that I did not really know or understand what was going on and had to just trust the professionals. In attendance I had the current school SENCo/Head, the new school SENCo, his new TA, The Speech and Language Therapist, The School Advisory Teacher, and the lady from the council.

Changing from a Statement to an EHCPWhen I asked about adding in his Sensory Issues it became a little awkward as here in the UK there isn’t an official diagnosis for Sensory Processing Disorder. I hadn’t included information from the Occupational Therapist or Paediatrician as their reports were longer than the date – but the lady from the council said she would see if she could include them. I do think that the people in the room were a little under-educate in sensory issues and they seemed to think everything could be sorted with some tactile toys (least it is a start I guess). I suppose the problem also lies in the fact that I did not really know what to say as how to include it into the EHCP either.

It was good to hear his progress and that he has a good work ethic. He just wants to be like everyone else and tries so hard to obtain it. Fingers crossed he even may have passed his phonics screening this year! There was a lot of emphasis on making sure his transition to his new school goes well and I met his new TA. His old TA will also be moving schools and working as a classroom assistant. It was hard to hear how much me going away affected him and his behaviour – but was good in a way as it highlighted how he needs extra support to deal with changes. It was good to hear that the schools were liaising on the best ways to help him.

I now have to wait for the draft EHCP and then I have a very short period of time to read through it, making any changes needed and send it back. I am feeling hopeful -fingers crossed now.

Starting School Fears with SEN - The Reality

Starting School Fears with SEN – The Reality

When The Sensory Seeker was offered a place at a Mainstream school I had many worries. I felt that the best place for him was in a special needs school and that he just would not cope. I wrote the post Starting School Fears with SEN – in which I wrote about my worries and how irrational I thought that they really were. Now the end has come of his time at this school and he has to move on to another Mainstream school so I thought I would come back to that post to explain what happened now he is 7 years old.Starting School Fears with SEN - The Reality

Fears when The Sensory Seeker Started School

  1. Will my child eat?
  2. Will my child be able to use the toilet?
  3. Will my child make friends?
  4. Will my child with Sensory Issues keep their clothes on at school?
  5. Will my child struggle getting changed for PE?
  6. Will my child ever hold a pen?
  7. Will the staff in a Mainstream school be supportive of my child’s additional needs

Will my child eat?

Thanks to the introduction of free school meals The Sensory Seeker not only eats at school but he eats better at home too – even trying new foods that he would have never considered before. We can even encourage him to eat foods he would rather not eat (when given an incentive). He has even got much better with his cutlery.Starting School Fears with SEN - The Reality

Will my child be able to use the toilet?

At first The Sensory Seeker did wet himself – but now he is doing fine. Yes he uses the toilet completely independently. I think at school he is probably doing better than some other children – as he doesn’t ALWAYS forget to flush and wash his hands! At home we sometimes have trouble with toilet paper, but on the whole he is doing really well. Yesterday my husband told me that our son was even happy to use the urinals (which was a great time saver too!) We still have the odd toilet accident but they are the rare occasion rather than the norm.

Will my child make friends?

Yes The Sensory Seeker has people he considers are his friends, gets invited to the odd party and has a couple of children coming to our house for his birthday. He also goes to groups outside of school time and he has made friends there too. In fact I am really proud of how he has coped in those groups – another sign of how well he is doing independently.Starting School Fears with SEN - The Reality

Will my child with Sensory Issues keep their clothes on at school? And Will my child struggle getting changed for PE?

With his sensory issues he often takes his jumper off when it is still cold, or ends up walking down the road topless on the way home, but by and large he is okay and not doing daft clothing stripping in school. The Sensory Seeker is fine at dressing and undressing and has just asked for trainers with laces so that he can try to learn how to do knots (obviously I am doing them up for him but helping to encourage him to pull them undone).

Will my child ever hold a pen?

The Sensory Seeker can now not only hold a pen but is trying to create sentences, recall them and write them down (trying to remember them all is the tricky bit for him right now but the Teaching Advisory Service told me to write his sentence down, cut it up and then let him sequence it. It is hard to believe that it was considered whether he was better off just using an iPad rather than writing.writing name

Will the staff in a Mainstream school be supportive of my child’s additional needs?

Will the staff be supportive – well I could not have asked for more! I think the right attitude from the staff can make so much difference and The Sensory Seeker has come on in leaps and bounds. They are always there for me (to listen to worries no matter how small) and have brought him on from P levels to that of a child securely in the year below!

Other Posts of interest:

 

I'm Just a Sheep!

I’m Just a Sheep!

“I’m just a sheep!” – the line uttered today by The Sensory Seeker. He is anything BUT just anything. It was actually a comical line and just perfect for his well-timed, well-spoken delivery. Seeing him on the centre stage, in front of everyone, performing just like any other child. In fact not even every child could do that, and some did not have any lines. He did so well singing all the songs and the actions too.

I'm Just a Sheep!To think I was worried about him starting at a mainstream school – and now here his last Christmas play – I wish he never had to leave. The support of the school has been amazing, but I cannot praise my little boy enough. He works so hard, but also gives life his all. He is so happy and tries to please those around him too (even though he does not quite understand that not everyone wants his hugs or kisses all the time!). He is on his 4 times tables – having already mastered his 10s, 5s and 2s and is blending his sounds to read.

I'm Just a Sheep!

This year he has coped with Christmas much easier – now he knows numbers, days and months a bit better. In fact he’s only been tempted twice to open his LEGO advent calendar ahead of the days! As I say, he’s touching people a bit more but generally coping much better (even if he does keep talking about Easter). We have only just put some (Christmas)  lights up (the Christmas decorations usually go up before the 1st December). In fact it is only after this first Christmas performance that we have really felt the change (trying to open his door and trying to get out of his seat belt whilst his dad was driving on the motorway). We usually don’t allow computer games until the weekend but we are finding that they are helping to stabilise him (and we are allowing him to play as a reward).

How are you finding the build up to Christmas and do you have any tips on coping?

“MumofThree

Sensory Seeker Progress Aged 6

Sensory Seeker Progress Aged 6

I thought I would give you a little update on The Sensory Seeker. He turned 6 at the end of April and is currently in year 1 of a Mainstream school. In previous years the topic has come up about him staying back a year and we had decided not to. Well I am (touch wood) pleased to say that this hasn’t come up this year. He is making remarkable progress in all areas and we are so proud of him.

Sensory Seeker Progress Aged 6

Speech and Language

He has met his target for Speech and Language of talking about what happens next (although the SALT did agree that this is with guidance from his TA). He still keeps calling girls he but now knows that he should be saying she and does correct himself. He needs to work on “why” questions but I am noticing even more that things are very black and white. For example he was asked why was the girl standing on the stool and he was unable to answer the why because he was too busy explaining that she was naughty and shouldn’t be! His reading and amount of words he knows by just looking at them is coming on in leaps and bounds.

Sensory Seeker Progress Aged 6I think the second pack of the Alphablocks Reading Programme has helped with this. This set introduces the “letter teams” and blending them in a fun way with activities and games – not forgetting those all-important gold stars to reward him when he gets it right. I feel that books each progress well from each other, and the second set from the first. They are interesting and colourful. I do like the flash cards and think that they are very beneficial for The Sensory Seeker as they are so visual.

Diet, Health & Hygiene

Sensory Seeker Progress Aged 6Obviously there was no miracle and he still eats nowhere near as good as his brothers but I can hand on heart say I think that the free school meals provided at school have really helped give him the push to try new things. It is all too easy to give in at home, worrying that your child may starve – but at school there is only the food provided and no other option. He asked for grapes in his cereal this morning and his dad accidentally put milk in the bowl too – BUT he still ate it all.

The Sensory Seeker is regularly using his brown inhaler morning and night, and even reminding me to give it him. We have had far less (toileting) accidents in the day and night – and now even sleeps in his normal pants.

I guess swimming also comes under this section and I am really pleased to say that he is coping well in group swimming lessons now. In fact I do not have to watch him all the time when he has a lesson now and so was really surprised at just how well his swimming ability has come along on our recent holiday.

Maths

Well he is super whizzy at maths and is not only counting but making number bonds up to twenty.

Gross & Fine Motor Development

The Sensory Seeker’s gross motor skills are also coming along well if watching him on his Microscooter is anything to go by! He still needs to develop more of a sense of other people’s space but physically he is able to use his body to move well.

He still isn’t holding a pencil properly but can write legibly with support. Given the option he preferred to use a pencil over the tablet which is great news. We keep on providing him with things to help develop his fine motor development. LEGO is a big favourite in our house and it is everywhere and played with every day at all times. It is the only toy I have all over my house!

Busy Busy Things That Go 2000 Stickers Big, Fast, loud and tough!

Sensory Seeker Progress Aged 6There is nothing better than a good sticker activity book to help develop those fine motor skills. This book is just perfect for my little boy with it being packed full of diggers, buses, planes, boats, demolition vehicles, tractors, ambulances, fire engines, trains, scooters and so on. There is a great mix of colouring in, stickers and activities such as mazes, follow the line, spot the difference and observation skills. I love how all the stickers give a lot of free expression and creativity without making any mess.

It was also very beneficial for helping him develop more of a relationship with his older brother (aged 7) as they were both able to share the book, as well as work on it together.

ISBN 978-1-4723-6699-3 £8.00 Parragon Books Ltd

Friendships

The Sensory Seeker seems to get on well with others and has certain people he asks to play with. I am sad to hear him talk about how other children get invited to each other’s houses and he doesn’t but that could have absolutely no relation to his special needs. He is being invited to parties and no-one is nasty to him. The Sensory Seeker does still need help in maintain play going as he can join in but then doesn’t understand properly how to play by other’s rules.

We were sent Busy Busy Things That Go 2000 Stickers Big, Fast, loud and tough! and  the Alphablocks Reading Programme free of charge for purposes of review. All words and opinions are my own.

The Sensory Seeker Progress

The Sensory Seeker Progress 5 years 10 Months

I thought I would do a progress post of how The Sensory Seeker is doing. He is currently 5 years and almost 10 months old.

The Sensory Seeker and Mornings

As long as the routine is there mornings seem to be going pretty well. Yes The Sensory Seeker  may need encouraging to eat his breakfast but generally this is happening (whether that be dry cereal, scrambled egg or he loves bacon). I even have managed to get him to have a drink of milk each day. There have been times when this has been more difficult, and at one point he just screamed and screamed. Looking back I am not sure if I was not fulfilling The Sensory Seeker’s Auditory sense.

The Sensory Seeker ProgressAlthough it was really difficult at the time I just tried to focus on the fact that it was The Sensory Seeker that wasn’t coping. That it would pass. I knew it was to do with lots of changes and possibly tiredness. Instead of punishing him for his behaviour we tried to make things easier for him (without spoiling). We relaxed our boundaries (such as a complete ban on computer games in the week) in return for behaviours we desired (such as eating all of his breakfast before school). Teeth brushing is going really well, which is a lot to do with our fairy and the fact that he has “big” teeth coming through.  He is also really enjoying playing with LEGO before school – which is great for his fine motor development, imaginative play, sharing and attention. I know at the end of the term he is getting more tired and less co-operative and so I do tend to just save the argument by getting him dressed myself. The Sensory Seeker loves scooting to school – which not only gets us there faster but is good for his gross motor, his proprioception and vestibular senses. I also have my own Microscooter* now to help me keep up with him and ensure that he is safe. Thank you to Microscooters for this kind donation.

The Sensory Seeker At School

The Sensory Seeker ProgressSchool seems to be going really well for The Sensory Seeker. I haven’t heard any concerns and he seems to be progressing at a good rate. He has got really independent at going into school and doing the things he needs to do (hanging up his coat, ticking what he wants for dinner) before slotting into playing alongside his peers. He has had a few toileting accidents (more so when there was a lot of change) but other than that I am really happy with how things are. The Sensory Seeker even seems to be trying now foods as he now has cooked dinners at school. It is good to hear him counting and reading particularly, as when he was hardly talking it was hard to imagine him ever doing these things. He doesn’t like his shirt tucked in or his buttons done up – so we are currently not forcing him to.

The Sensory Seeker After School

The Sensory Seeker ProgressThe Sensory Seeker now goes to Boys Brigade, Football club and ICT club (all with his older brother who is 7 years and 4 months): He seems to be coping well (again just toileting issues). He is able to play (mainly with LEGO) without supervision or needing things structured for him. At home The Sensory Seeker can be easily wound up – but think that’s more of a brothers thing. He is occasionally eating with his fork/spoon but mainly with his hands still. Currently we are still concentrating on the fact that he is eating, trying new foods and textures. The amount is small and we do have to barter with him a lot. Bedtimes he goes down pretty much without fuss in routine. Sometimes we relent and let him go to sleep in our bed. He is more and more ending up coming into our bed in the night and the one time he didn’t he had an awful nightmare that I had died. Other than that he’s got much better at not touching people after I have told him and even was easier to have his hair cut this time. The Sensory Seeker seems to have a much larger attention span that he used to and has developed his own interests. We recently took our Microscooters to the Forest of Dean to do the Gruffalo’s Child Trail again and he did really well with reading the words (as well as the scooting).

* I received a free Microscooter to promote the benefits of having an adult scooter on the school run. I was not specifically asked for this post but wanted to share how useful it is in this situation.

Our Little Angel

Our Little Angel – The Christmas Production

Our Little AngelOur Sensory Seeker had his school Christmas production today. I guess you could say like a lot of other 5 year old boys. And that is exactly why I am writing this. Because today our Sensory Seeker wasn’t a boy with difficulties – he was a little Angel. He was no more supported than any other child in his year group and he was just fine!

Okay he may have poked the Star (character) when he was meant to be pointing at her. But her remember to point, no-one had to tell him to. No-one helped him on or off the stage. He just did it all by himself. And when he repeated the performance for the second time in the evening he kept his attention and another parent told me how well he had done.

I am so proud of how far our little Sensory Seeker has come and I am so excited about how far he has yet to travel.

Ethans Escapades
Christmas Tree Hand Made Biscuits Gifts

Christmas Tree Hand Made Biscuits Gifts

Christmas Tree Hand Made Biscuits GiftsWhen you have a child with special needs I think that a Hand Made Christmas gift for their teachers is a really special touch. The teachers know that The Sensory Seeker does not cope with the change of routine that Christmas brings, and how hard he has worked at making their gift. Not only does it help show the progress he’s made but it also helps him cope with his Sensory imbalance. This year he made Christmas Tree biscuits – which I then simply packed into cellophane, tidied some ribbon round and added a bow.

Hand Made Christmas Tree Biscuits Gifts

The recipe to make the biscuits is slightly more complicated but The Sensory Seeker used an all in one mix which seemed to work okay.

Christmas Tree Biscuits Ingredients

250g Softenend butter, 140g castor sugar, 1 egg yolk, 300g plain flour (plus extra if it is to sticky and for the surface/rolling pin), orange flavouring

For Decoration: Ice sugar, colouring, sweets.

Christmas Tree Biscuits Method

Christmas Tree Hand Made Biscuits GiftsMeasure all the ingredients. The benefits for The Sensory Seeker were that he had to listen, follow instructions and his attention/patience were stretched. I often had to change my use of language to be simpler for him, or less abstract to him. For example after weighing the sugar and flour they both needed tipping in together. But both items were white and some The Sensory Seeker did not understand the instruction tip the sugar in with the flour. But when I told him to put the contents of the white little bowl into the green big bowl he was able to understand.

Mix together all the ingredients. The Sensory Seeker started by stirring with a spoon, this was beneficially for him learning to try and stop himself from just touching things. I did then let him mix it in with his hands – which is good for his hand development as well as getting the desired tactile sensory input that he requires.

Next the mixture was rolled out and Christmas Trees cut out using cutters. If you have no cutters I am sure a Christmas Tree shape would be easy enough to make with a knife. They were then baked in our fan oven at 180 degrees for around 20 minutes (watch the biscuits and smell them until they are ready). Let cool before decorating.

Decorating the Christmas Tree Biscuits

Christmas Tree Hand Made Biscuits GiftsSimply colour some icing green and pour over the Christmas Trees. Whilst this is still wet decorate with stars and circle sweets (to represent baubles). When this has dried squeeze on more coloured icing to represent tinsel.

Turning Christmas Tree Biscuits into Hand Made Gifts

To turn the Christmas Tree Biscuits into beautiful Hand Made Gifts then simply shape some cellophane around them (we got ones with Christmas Trees on from Ebay), and secure it in place with sticky tape. Make it more of a gift by added some ribbon in festive colours and a bow.

Christmas Tree Biscuit Gifts Benefits and Problems for The Sensory Seeker

Christmas Tree Hand Made Biscuits GiftsMaking the Christmas Tree Biscuits provided a lot of benefits to The Sensory Seeker, but there were also a few problems to overcome. Whilst making the mixture up I also talked to The Sensory Seeker a lot: This was good for his auditory sense, following instructions, and his understanding – as we discussed concepts such as number, texture, etc. He has made great relationships with the staff at school and it was great to see him taking such pride in the activity. This is great for his sense of self and of his World (thinking about others). I was actually really impressed with him asking if it was time to start the next section again when he was allowed to play on computer games. The activity was great for his hand development with mixing, rolling, cutting, transferring (the biscuits onto the tray), and fine motor for adding the sweets. Most of these also helped his hand-eye co-ordination and his sense of place. He was able to meet many aspects of his Sensory Diet such as adding in some orange flavouring, which is good for the sense of smell, whilst giving the biscuits a Christmas feel. The Sensory Seeker DID need to wash his hands A LOT as inevitably he ended up touching. The surfaces also needed a lot of cleaning. The Sensory Seeker was particularly unable to resist the butter and had to be stopped from giving the (cooked) biscuits a little kiss (to give his teachers his love). It was a great way to let him become more aware about hygiene. Sitting still is quite difficult for The Sensory Seeker so the biscuits were made in stages. He also sat on a stool that allowed him to spin around and around in circles getting his vestibular input.

Note for parents: This activity may require a lot of patience and result in a lot of mess. We did it in the kitchen (with easy wipe surfaces and floors) and not far from the sink.

Christmas-countdown

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