Today the day came, the day my little man Harry, who’s now nearly taller than me moves on to the next chapter of his school life. The final day of primary school.
I’ve no idea how we got to this point so quickly, he is still in so many ways, my little boy. He will still slip his hand into mine as we walk down the street, he will still expect me to tuck him into bed at night and he still can’t sleep without his favourite blanket. In so many ways he remains my little boy.
Yet time stands still for no-one and it is time. Time for him to move to this next chapter of his school journey. Time to go and join the, ‘big kids,’ in secondary school.
I remember driving him to his first day at his gorgeous Childminders. Dropping him off and hoping that he would be happy and that he wouldn’t miss me too much. He was and he didn’t.
I remember picking him up at lunchtime for his first afternoon in nursery, in his little red tracksuit, and wondering how we’d arrived at this point so quickly. I wondered at how I now had to let go of a little of him, to let him make his own choices without me always being there. I hoped he’d have fun and make friends. He did both effortlessly.
I remember picking him up at lunchtime for his first afternoon in reception, him saying over and over again, ‘I am so ready for this!’ He was and again I wasn’t. I couldn’t believe we’d gotten to reception age so quickly and that again I had to let him go to be loved and cared for by someone new. I hoped he’d make friends, love learning, be happy and that he would always be able to tell us anything. He did.
I remember him leaving year two ready for juniors, wondering again how it was possible I now had a child ready for juniors. I hoped he’d always be happy, that he’d have a strong mind, that he’d be brave, loving and confident. He has been all this and so much more.
I write today as my son leaves primary school ready for his next big adventure, Secondary School. I know that he is ready in so many ways and that again, I am a little bit left behind. Not quite ready to begin this next stage yet. Not quite ready to let him go and be with the big kids, not quite ready for the teenage years. For the day he wont slip his hand into mine anymore. I’m not ready to know less about his day, or to not have a teacher to contact who knows and understand him almost as well as me.
But I have to be.
Because time slows for no-one.
He is ready, and as this year has proved to us more than any before, he will approach these changes with a sense of adventure, with optimism, with a strong and brave heart, with a zest for life.
And I hope for him again.
That he is happy.
That he finds friends who truly love him and understand him and ‘get him.’
That he is brave.
That he finds the gold in every day.
That he can talk to us about anything.
That he’s never too old to step in for a cuddle when the day has been tough.
That he finds strength in who he is and realises how incredible he is.
That he understands and knows in his heart how loved he is.
One more step along the world you go my darling Harry, we are with you cheering you on every step of the way.
If your not so little one is moving to seniors this year, why not join us over at Team Teen, the place where relationships are made with other parents to support you on the next phase of your parenting journey.
You would be so very welcome.
PREPARING FOR PARTIES WHEN YOUR CHILD HAS ASD
Parties…we’ve not been able to throw them for quite some time, and once lockdown restrictions are lifted even further; we’ll start to see families and friends coming together to celebrate everything from weddings to, well, just being able to see each other and hug each other.
Many of us will take this for granted, for but children with ASD (Autism Spectrum Disorder) it’s rarely as simple as sending out some invites and ordering a cake.
Children with autism can be used to routine and are likely to be hypersensitive to noise, taste, touch, smell or bright lights, the chaos of a social event can be stressful and overwhelming for them – but you don’t want them to miss out, and why should they?
There is a vast scope in the sensory stimulus for children with autism, making it difficult to know how they will cope in certain situations so it’s essential to ensure they are prepared and as comfortable as possible.
Which leads to the question: how can a social event be made autism friendly?
The simple answer is, it’s all in the planning.
HOSTING A BIRTHDAY PARTY FOR YOUR CHILD
Spend time with your child, preparing them for the event and explain what will happen (as best you can) and if there will be people they’re not familiar with it can be helpful to show them pictures to help them recognise people outside of their regular circle.
Try to create a visual timeline that you can pin up a few days ahead of the event so your child knows what to expect – include details of arrival times, when the food will be served etc.
As with all the best plans, things can go awry on the day, so think ahead to what your child might be affected by and consider options to help them cope without causing any additional stress.
MAKE YOUR OWN RULES!
Is there a safe space you can transform into a quiet room where they can escape and seek sanctuary?
Will there be loud music, would ear defenders help?
First thing here is don’t just assume your child will want a party with all the trimmings. It’s fine if they don’t – maybe just take them to their favourite park or for a quiet family meal.
Communication is key, if they do want a party then you need to guide them through what they want and what you can include.
If your child doesn’t like cake then don’t have cake, you don’t need loud music if they won’t enjoy it.
You don’t need to invite everyone in class, their party is about them and the last thing you want is for them to suffer through it. If it’s the first time you’re considering a party then start small, just one friend and close family members and any pets of course!
If this goes well, they will want more parties and you can start extending their social circle ready for that.
GOING TO A FRIEND’S PARTY
It’s much easier to control things when you’re the host but your child will be invited to others’ parties and if they want to go then you need to do all you can to make it an enjoyable experience.
First of all, speak to the parents of the birthday child and get as much detail from them about the party so you can go through the plan of the day with your child in advance.
If you feel like you will need to stay with them then explain this as well.
Consider visiting the location ahead of time and plan for a quiet place to go if your child begins to feel overwhelmed and/or over stimulated.
All the best parties have games so think ahead and teach your little one the rules and how to play. It can also be useful to create a story to show that the rules are there to make things fair and help limit the chances of a child becoming overly competitive.
By doing this in a story format they will be more likely to relate and understand.
On the day of the party, perhaps arrange to arrive a few minutes early to help your child acclimatise and to see how they react to the environment and the excitement.
Take any calming toys with you (stress balls, computer game, and headphones) just in case and plan to go outside for a walk if they become upset and decide with them whether to go back in or go home.
Don’t be afraid to leave early. A short good time is much better than a longer day and leaving after a meltdown. Have a treat or surprise planned for your child so they aren’t too disappointed at leaving before everyone else.
Of course, another choice is simply not go to the party until you can be sure you your child is ready for the experience. Every child is different, and only you can know what will be best for your child.
ASK FOR HELP
Here at Dr Dave’s Entertainment we are autism champions and Jayne is Makaton trained to level 2.
We regularly plan and manage events and advise on parties and celebrations to include all children and young people of all ages and abilities.
Our son, Harry has ASD so we share the challenges, the concerns and the joy with you.
If you need some extra support ahead of an event then contact us by visiting www.drdavesentertainments.co.uk or or by calling us on 07905723864
How is home schooling going?
‘ I can’t work, I’m hungry!’
‘Mum, no offense, but I need a professional to teach me!’
‘No, I can’t do it today, I’m rubbish, I don’t get it.’
Sound familiar? We’ve heard from many parents during this period about the ‘joys’ of home schooling. From the ups of discovering new arts and craft activities to the downs of having to Google what a fronted adverbial is.
Did you know that it’s not just your child and family having these conversations? We all have basic needs that need to be attended to first before we can even think of home schooling. Abraham Maslow famously wrote about the hierarchy of needs that underpin everything we do – children and parents alike.
Physiological needs – there is such a thing as being ‘hangry’. Kids are unlikely to engage if they their basic needs are not met. This is why schools have breakfast clubs. Likewise, as a parent you are not going to be able to concentrate if you need the loo, or are tired.
Safety needs – your child is unlikely to be ready to learn if they have just been yelled at. Home schooling needs to feel supportive and an environment where it is safe to make mistakes. Likewise you probably won’t be able to give home schooling your best shot if you are worried and thinking about how you are going to pay the bills or what will happen after the furlough scheme ends.
Love / belonging needs – We all need to feel part of a team to perform at our best. To be loved and feel belong is a basic human need. So your sulky pre-teen is going to need a bit of time to readjust after being sent to their room. And as a parent, you are not going to be your home schooling best if you have had a row with the other half.
Esteem needs – Children need to believe that they have capability. Plenty of praise and encouragement helps. Likewise, when we scroll through parenting groups it’s hard not to feel in competition with other parents on home schooling. Be kind to yourself, and know that you are doing your best.
Self-actualisation – all of the magic comes together at the top of the pyramid. When all of the basic needs are met, your child is ready to learn, and you are in a position to give home schooling your best shot.
Remember the occasional INSET day is OK, and your job in this situation is to parent, rather than teach. We are reliably informed that baking a cake on an off day counts as Food Technology and Maths, and that gin is the answer to home schooling.
Please get in touch if you need any help. www.thinktuition.co.uk www.facebook.com/thinktuitionservices
We also run free group support through our facebook page
What will help with my morning sickness?
Information taken from the incredible book, The Essential Guide to Using Complementary Therapies During Pregnancy by Denise Tiran
Sickness affects up to 90% of mums-to-be. It may occur at any time of the day or night, be constant and may last much longer than the first three months. Being tired, hungry, anxious, prone to travel sickness or if you’re expecting twins may make it worse.
Heartburn, food cravings or aversions, excessive saliva or headaches often accompany the nausea. In a few mums the vomiting can become severe (hyperemesis gravidarum), which usually requires you to be admitted to hospital.
Here are a few suggestions to try at home. If these don’t work you could see an acupuncturist, osteopath or homeopath. If your sickness persists, tell your midwife or doctor.
- Eat foods you can tolerate but avoid fried or fatty foods. Don’t get too hungry – eat carbohydrate foods eg bread, crackers, potatoes, cereal or pasta to maintain your energy levels.
- Get as much rest as possible so you don’t get over-tired – and consider taking time off work.
- Try gentle exercise such as yoga or pilates, or relaxation – listening to music or doing visualisation
- Try a special DVD or app (www.morningwell.com) which uses a link between your ear’s balancing mechanism and the vomiting centre in your brain. Pulsations, unheard under the music, cause sound waves to bounce on your ears, acting on this balancing mechanism to reduce your nausea.
- Wristbands (Seabands™) – measure 3–4 fingers up from the crease on your inner wrist till you feel a slight indentation. Wear the bands on both wrists with the buttons over this point; press 20–30 time when you feel sick.
- Ginger biscuits are not the answer – use grated raw ginger to make a tea, or buy ginger capsules. In some mums ginger increases nausea or causes heartburn. Don’t use it if you’re taking blood thinning drugs, aspirin or tablets for high blood pressure.
- Peppermint tea may help, but avoid it if you have epilepsy or a heart condition, and don’t use mint if you’re taking homeopathic remedies as it can stop them working properly.
- Camomile tea or slippery elm tablets may also be of use but you should only take these on the advice of a qualified medical herbalist practitioner.
With homeopathy, you need to choose the remedy which most closely matches your symptoms. It’s best to consult a qualified homeopath who can prescribe the most appropriate remedy for you
If you’d like more support with your pregnancy please visit our antenatal support group, with plenty of tips from our midwife and aromatherapist Jeanette Dean
Here’s the link
Cal and the Team
The gentle caesarean
It almost seems like a contradiction of terms doesn’t it?
The gentle caesarean.
There doesn’t seem to be much gentle about having several layers of skin and muscle cut and a baby pulled from its sleepy 9 month home. But believe it or not, the way caesareans are being done is changing, and hospitals are increasingly recognising the need for a more person centred caesarean birth.
Statistics show one in four births will end in caesarean section and this can be for a number of reasons, failure to progress in birth, breech baby, health deterioration of mother or baby, a baby that is measuring on the large size, all sorts of reasons. For many women, having a caesarean is not the ideal birth choice and for many, ending up with a caesarean birth has been the beginnings of them believing or feeling like they have had a ‘traumatic birth.’
Birth Trauma is real and recognised and can have a huge impact on the way parents enter their new role. For this reason, it is vital services are improved for those who are having caesarean births.
So what is the gentle caesarean?
In some sense, the gentle section is about giving women more control and a less clinical experience of an instrumental birth. This is more viable if the birth is going to be a planned section rather than an emergency section but still then, certain measures may be observed.
The gentle caesarean allows women to stipulate what they would like for their birthing process. At birth, the drape can be dropped so mothers and fathers can see the baby being born if they wish. Cord clamping can be delayed and the birthing partner can cut the cord if they wish. Specified music of choice can be playing in the background and low level lighting can be requested if possible to create a more calming and less clinical environment. Mothers can request that the birth partner tells them the sex of the baby, and request immediate skin to skin with the baby rather than baby being passed straight to the birth partner. The element of choice and decision making and control is passed back to the parents rather than clinical impositions being given to parents. This is proving to improve birth outcomes and reduce levels of post natal depression amongst women.
Maybe one of the most important parts of a gentle section is the way in which the baby is born. Instead of the baby being delivered quickly, the baby is gently eased out of the opening and almost walks its way out of the womb, an experience which takes longer, but is less distressing for baby as they are born gently and slowly. Whilst this may not always be possible, it is well worth discussing this with the hospital staff pre-birth and making arrangements from there. Amongst the backdrop of covid 19, there may not always be the options available, but a positive birth experience should be something that all parties strive for together, both midwives, surgical staff and parents. Ensuring that options are discussed thoroughly is key.
If you would like any more information on the gentle caesarean, please feel free to ask our antenatal course midwives via our facebook group or join one of our pregnancy coffee evenings, details of which can be found here via the link below.
Cal and the BNB Team