A boy, a zoo, and an autistic meltdown | Days out

Two boys hugging in what looks like an upturned giant plant pot at Chester Zoo

Let me tell you a little story. One that isn’t shown by the abundance of happy photos taken during this day out.

One Friday in August a family went to the zoo. Mummy and Daddy, with their 7 and 9 year old boys.

The 9 year old (J) is autistic, with suspected ADHD. The 7 year old (N) is currently undergoing referrals for assessments too.

The family were hoping it was going to be a day of fun and adventure; seeing lots of animals – especially the meerkats, penguins and red pandas! Read more

Our autism journey – from no support to regular support


The word autism spelled out using letter blocks, on a background of brightly coloured circlesSource

I recently shared a post about our autism journey so far; from when we started noticing signs of autism in Jacob to when we started to receive support for him at school. Since we started that first support process with the pastoral support plan, we have received no end of professional involvement. As much as we gained the support, it still constantly felt like banging our head against a wall. Because nothing seemed to be moving anywhere. No matter how many professionals we met with and how many meetings we attended, I felt like we were just going around in circles and meanwhile, Jacob’s behaviour was becoming worse & worse. Read more

Our autism journey – from first signs to first support…


The word autism spelled out using letter blocks, on a background of brightly coloured circles Source

Whilst I’ve shared many snippets of our life on the blog – especially one of the more personal taboo, unspoken subjects of my mental health struggles – there’s one major part of our life I haven’t really spoken about. And that is, autism. A while ago I wrote a letter of sorts to my fellow special needs parents and that was really the first indicator on here, that we were dealing with this. Read more

I see you, the parent of a child with special needs

To the parent of a child with special needs

I see you

The parent who wishes they could change the world’s view of their child’s normal, which is not like every other child’s normal.

The parent who dreads every single school run. The school run that ends in the walk of shame. Because your special child, is just being normal.

I see you.

The parent who lives in a shell with their special child because you dread every single outing.

Jacob playing with water

The parent trying to hold it together whilst your special child is having a meltdown; because that’s their normal.

I see you.

The parent who is begging for help. Because you know your child isn’t every other child’s normal, but their special kind of normal.

The parent who is crumbling under the pressure of living with the difficulties your special normal child faces every. single. day.

I see you.

The parent who is sad that their special child is forever excluded from peer events, like birthday parties.

The parent who is sad that this even extends to their siblings.

I see you.

The parent who is reading this.

The parent who feels isolated.

I see you.

I see me.

I see me

I’m the one walking there, standing there, holding back the tears, head held in shame. But why should I be ashamed?

This is my special child. This is his normal.

My child can’t help the way he is. He just needs understanding. He needs me.

I need to be strong. Even if I don’t feel it, I need to show it. I need to fight for him.

He is my strength. He’s made me the mother I am today.

I see you – reading this. You are not alone. I stand with you. We have the fight, the strength, the courage. 

We have the special kind of normal.

Mummy and Jacob with Harry Potter

Toddler troubles – sibling jealousy?

I mentioned briefly in J’s last update that we are having a few problems with J’s behaviour towards his brother, which is really getting me down lately. I really don’t know where to start to be honest.

He started a couple of months ago, which thinking about it is coincidentally around the same time as N started moving about a lot more so requiring much more of my attention, meaning J getting a little less so most likely getting jealous.

First he started with smacking him on his head, then he started pushing him backwards when he was just sat there minding his own business. He’s thrown things at him; soft toys, hard toys. When he’s been laid down with me changing his nappy, he’s even kicked him or stamped on his head – I feel so bloody ashamed saying that.

I got to the point where I just thought – especially by other people’s reactions – what have I done wrong with him, how have I managed to make him behave like this, is it all my fault because I haven’t done the right things with him? I was starting to hate him; that is so hard to write, but he honestly felt like a devil child. I lost count of the number of times a day it would happen. I would be in tears every. single. day. Numerous times. I lost count of that, too.

It absolutely breaks my heart to watch. To watch my eldest son doing these things to his baby brother. To watch my baby crying his heart out because his brother just decides he wants to hurt him. Absolutely, indescribably heartbreaking.

We have tried various methods of disciplining him. Telling him a firm ‘no, it’s naughty/it hurts’; removing him from the situation and giving comfort to N; it became so overwhelming that I would really raise my voice at him and shout too – not the best thing to do, I know; removing the toy that he used to hit. None of these worked, he would just go back a few minutes later and do it again and laugh at us.

We finally came to the decision to introduce the naughty step. (I joined the bad parenting club, shoot me now if you must). As soon as he has smacked/pushed etc. then he is told to get on the step, for two minutes. Using the step for this behaviour has made it become much less, though he does still do it so we just need to keep working on it and hope he grows out of it (soon). The problem now is that when he’s on the step, sometimes he’s still defiant and will repeatedly try getting off and still laugh at us. He does know when he’s done wrong though as sometimes he will go straight to the step as soon as I look at him.

I don’t even know how to finish this post either. I am just at a complete loss right now with what seems like no end in sight.

Have you had problems with sibling jealousy/rivalry and how did you deal with it?