Category Archives: Parenting

How Parents Can Give Sensory Support to Older Children

When it comes to older children parents can help them learn to manage their own sensory needs. The most important thing to realise, is that it is the children themselves who know best. They are the ones experiencing things and can tell what works and what doesn’t.

boy wearing glasses in school uniform

Here are some suggestions for parents helping their older children to learn to manage their own sensory needs. Special thanks to some local parents for their help some neurodivergent themselves.

How Parents Can Help Older Children

First parents need to accept that their child is making those choices because they need to, rather than the fact they are trying to get out of something. But, on the other hand not all of them really will be to do with the sensory needs, but that they are becoming more autonomous, just like their peers.

As they mature it could be that the child can hold a full and frank conversation on the issue, and less likely that parents will need to rely on making conclusions based on their behaviour alone.

listening to older children

Parents should let children express their views and respect their decisions. Parents should listen to what they are told – believing it and acting accordingly. Parents should assume competence in their child, including when judging when the child can or cannot handle something, and what supports that young person needs in place.

Give Older Children More Choices

Parents/carers have to show them that they have choices; which will also help them to feel in control of their decisions. This will also hopefully promote independence. Allowing self-management where possible. However, try not to limit the choices, giving as many as possible.

Allow them to select things when shopping for clothes, or deciding what to wear (I know how I like to wear the same clothes – for me it is the feel and the practicality); by having lots of breakfast options available for them to select from; and so on. See Sensory Processing Issues with Clothing.

sensory processing issues with clothes
Photo by Senjuti Kundu on Unsplash

Alter Your Boundaries Accordingly

Question why we want things a certain way. Is it really important (eg their teeth will become bad, risk of skin cancer for not wearing sun cream) or is it something we would like them to do? Personally I get hot super easily and people always want me to wear more clothes when they feel it is colder – how many parents feel that their child NEEDS a coat in winter, when they’re honestly not cold!

This may mean altering your own boundaries of what you feel is acceptable. In the breakfast example our son will eat plain pancakes but cannot make them himself. He has recently started learning to cook himself toast but will only eat it smeared in jam. As parents we do not feel that jam every day is good for his health, but actually his independence is more important. We keep having discussions about why we do not feel jam every day is good and suggest alternatives but ultimately it is him who needs to decide to change this.

lots of jam on toast - helping older children be independent

Give Older Children Explanations

This will involve having plenty of discussions about things. This will also help them to consider and extend their understanding of their own needs.

Like it is no good just telling them that they have to brush their teeth but what could happen as a consequence if they chose not to do so. That the choice is actually theirs. Get them to consider what it is about brushing their teeth that makes them not want to do it. Help them think about the choices they have in regards to when, where and how they brush (what type of brush and paste) their teeth.

Help them to Understand their Sensory Needs

It may be that the child does not understand and needs more support. Sometimes the child will have put in their own strategies but without even realising it. Parents could talk to their child and help them better understand what tools and strategies they are using. For example, I know that The Sensory Seeker calms down when he gets into his Art or Music.

Egg Carton Christmas Trees

This may include acting out scenarios – even things that have happened before or what may happen so that they know what to do in that situation. Help them devise a sensory diet and incorporate feedback into daily activities.


The chronological age may not match development, so make sure that everything is appropriate for where they are at. Develop the language around sensory awareness and model it. Also be aware that some of the ways they may self soothe may need monitoring too – especially for things like online gaming.

I hope this has been useful; is there anything else you can think of please?

See also: EHCP Phase Transfer Review Year 10

Advice on Periods

This question is one I am answering as part of the FREE Virtual Sensory Integration Education Annual Conference November 2022

Parent types send

Parent Types of Children with Additional Needs

When it comes to being a parent of children with additional needs I guess you notice things more. I am no way in saying that you become an expert in the condition but I personally think it becomes more likely you will spot others who you believe are the same. Sometimes this insight is welcome but other times it is best to keep these opinions to yourself – dependent on which of the parent types that the child has. Parent types send

Different Parent Types of Children with Additional Needs

I believe there are basically four types of parent when it comes to children with additional needs and they are:

  • Parent Types 1 – The Fighters
    • These are parents who recognise that something is not quite right and fight tooth and nail to discover what it is and access all the help they can for their children.
  • Parent Types 2 – The Accepter
    • These parents realise that their children might not be quite the same as others but just accept things how they are. They probably do not even want a diagnosis for their child as they just see it as an unnecessary label which isn’t particularly helpful.
  • Parent Types 3 – The Lunatics
    • These parents are nuts – they think that their children need to be cured and do stupid things such as force them to drink bleach. They genuinely believe that their children will be better off if they can get rid of their additional needs.
  • Parent Types 4 – The Deniers
    • These parents are walking around with blinkers on and will just not accept that their children would benefit from additional help. These parents ignore their children’s behaviour or make excuses for it. Some may think that there is something wrong with having a child with additional needs (which quite clearly could never happen with a child of theirs) – whilst others just do not think that this is the case (even when there are so many obvious signs to others).

Changes for Schools that make it Easier to Help Children Regardless of Parent Types

Previously the parent types of a child mattered when it came to a child having additional needs and fighting for the right support in school. I have previously written about whose responsibility is it to ensure that it is identified and put in place. But that is now changing from what I can gather.Help at School for those with Sensory DifficultiesWell from what I can gather now schools have more control in helping all children – especially those with type 4 parents who are not going to help the school access the funding that they need. From what I can gather any additional money which is given to the school due to The Sensory Seeker’s EHCP does not have to be spent solely on my child. That as long as whatever it is the money is spent on helps him then there’s no reason why other children cannot benefit from it also. I haven’t thought too much into it – but maybe if they built a sensory room – or got in sensory toys or ear defenders – this sort of thing can be shared. Maybe I have got this wrong and I don’t think it is unreasonable – just annoying that type 4 parents aren’t able to help with helping the schools to access this funding in the first place.

Do you agree with these parent types? Can you think of any others? Do you identify with any?

Child Safety and the Internet

Child Safety and the Internet

There’s no denying it that the internet is a big part of children’s lives; with new kinds of lessons about child safety – for both them and us parents to learn about. My husband and I learnt the hard way that we had to be savvier about what goes on online when we potentially could have lost our children due to some issues with child safety and the internet. Here I will cover things that every parent should think about when it comes to children’s internet safety and some things that are happening that we may need to be aware of.

Child Safety and the Internet


There are so many devices that children can access the internet on now – not just Personal Computers, but each one has roughly the same issues for child safety. There are laptops (which are obviously portable), games consoles (including portable ones), tablets, iPods, Skype, WhatsApp and there’s probably a lot more I haven’t remembered. PLUS there’s the fact that even if your child does not have access to one of these then once they leave the home then someone else can show them on theirs.

Plus it seems that children are having mobile phones younger and younger. For me internet safety falls into two categories – the first being the obvious we need to stop our young children accidentally coming across content (whether that be visually or people) that is not safe or suitable for them; and the second is those who are going looking for that content – out of either curiosity growing-up and/or peer pressure.

Some problems with Child Safety and the Internet


Let’s start with the lesser of the evils and that is spending. Be careful of in-app purchases and advertising around what they are using online – we ensure everything requires a password and that you need to keep re-entering the password rather than it still working when you give the child back the device. Obviously also ensure that the content is age-appropriate for the child before you download it too.

Children keeping themselves safe

These are probably the problems that we are most familiar with – knowing that children must be aware that not everyone online is who they say they are. Make sure your child knows basic rules such as not to tell everyone everything about themselves – not a photo in your school clothes with the logo, your address, telephone number, password or even your age and name. Using nicknames to connect with friends is a good idea – and once they start wanting to play on “servers” – but try to ensure that these are moderated. Don’t accept things from people you do not know – including messages, e-mails and texts.

Make sure any social media accounts are private, not public, and that they only connect with people they know. Plus regularly check the security settings. Ensure that they are in the living room with their devices and make sure you can hear what is going on – I would think twice about headsets until you are absolutely sure that they would be safe (we are still saying no to our thirteen year old).

The same can be said of webcams and if they have access to “Facetime”. If they do decide to meet up with someone make sure other people know where they are going (with permission of their parents) and meet in a public place.


Some of the things that children are experiencing today are much the same as we did when we are growing up – bullying and peer pressure, wanting to be “grown-up” etc but now they are magnified with the use of the internet. I am sure we have all seen the videos on social media of the children being beaten up whilst someone else is just standing their filming it on their phones. Other bullying can be a lot more subtle – little comments, exclusion – including not giving “likes” and even nasty or inappropriate private messages

I think it is important to be aware of the platforms that have these private messages as you may only be monitoring your child’s account by having them as a “friend.” Top ones that spring to mind for me are: Facebook Messenger, Snapchat, Instagram, Twitter and any games which have a chat facility. I find that on YouTube people can be just nasty publically. I guess it is so much easier to be an anonymous behind a keyboard.

Also be aware that your child is capable of making a new account where they know you know nothing about it. I am not sure which is worse – having a child who is bullied or IS the bully?! Either way try to keep a close-eye on their activity and devices. Take an interest in what they are doing online – what are they playing, and join in. Let them know that they can come to you if they feel that they are someone else is experiencing something unpleasant.

Child Safety and the Internet

Inappropriate content

So one minute your child is watching a video on YouTube – a Minecraft Video, or Peppa Pig – and the next thing they are watching a totally inappropriate Peppa Pig video that someone has made. It has come on because YouTube thinks it is of a similar nature and lets it autoplay. In situation one you can avoid this by getting your children to use YouTube Kids and parental controls.

However children are very technically minded and can easily change the settings (for example to say that they are over eighteen years old) in order to search for this content. Some people would argue that this natural curiosity is no different to sneaking an adult magazine into their bedroom when they were younger – but that it is a lot more accessible.

Unfortunately, I am afraid that there is a lot more seriousness than this with videos being available to children of a very abusive nature and not what they are ready to cope with; never mind any cyber grooming they put themselves at risk of. I believe Google search and YouTube to be known to have the worst most easily accessible inappropriate content to children.

Of course online grooming is very real such as the case of murdered teenager Kayleigh Haywood.

Sexting and Sending Naked Images

Other things that are happening at the moment are sexting and sending naked images. Children are accessing porn as young as 7 years old. This could be due to hearing things at school and from other kids – who may have older siblings.

I think the most important thing here is to talk open and frankly with your child about these issues. Don’t make them feel ashamed. Let them know that they are loved and it is dangerous/unsafe. Remember what it was like to want to be older than you are and wanting to fit in. Tell them that their curiosity and urges are normal (even if you wish they were not). Do things to ensure that their self-esteem is raised and not damaged from the experience.

Extreme Measures for keeping children Safe Online

Sometimes as parents we need to take extreme measures – as maybe the case if your child has ended up with an addiction. Our devices are now controlled by our HomeHalo (which only allows the internet at certain times, controls each device for where it can and can’t access and at what times). It only stops them getting on so if they’ve left it on it will not kick them off.

There is also one called Guardian Web), plus we completely turn the router off at night;. There are administrator accounts on things were possible and each one needs a password entering before anyone can use it – which only us parents know. Plus there are then parental controls – which are also on the television (we even had to stop children’s channels being accessible in the middle of the night); the history is monitored and small handheld devices are locked away at night-time (we bought a safe especially for this). We haven’t but you can install an app such as SMS Backup+ which e-mails a copy of every SMS, MMS and WhatsApp message that is sent or received on a phone, as well as logging every incoming and outgoing phone call. Plus you can set e-mail accounts to auto-forward copies of every e-mail sent or received from your child’s address.

Resources of help for keeping Children Safe Online

  • Books are a great source of help especially the ones that help children understand what is happening to them as they grow up.
  • The NSPCC – they have a great range of resources for these topics for different ages. I like the one called I saw your willy – that demonstrates that even if you post something for a few seconds and delete it – it is too late and potentially the whole world can see it.
  • For parents there is the Youngminds Parents’ Helpline  which offeres free confidental online and telephone support, information and advice to any adult worried about the emotional problems, behaviour or mental health of a child or young person up to the age of twenty-five years old. It is a free call – 0808 8025544.
  • Thinkuknow, is a website set up by the Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre, and offers advice and guidance for both children and parents.
  • Read about the Xbox One Parental Controls

Of course with our special needs children there is even more of a risk of their vulnerability – and they may not understand what is appropriate and what isn’t. This is, unfortunately, how we came to discover that our son is also most likely on the Autistic Spectrum. Luckily it did not go unnoticed and he was safe – but not without a lot of hard work on his part and a lot of emotional distress.

writing for children

Writing – How children learn to Write and Ways to Encourage them

Writing is an area of development that The Sensory Seeker has struggled with. He hasn’t got very good fine motor skills and so finds it hard to hold the pencil. If you think that learning to write is easy, then try putting your pen in the hand that you do not normally write with, then close your eyes and write your address. Was it as easy as you thought? There is so much to think about – not just the shapes of the letters, how to space them out, whether you have room on the paper, which directions to go from – plus any other distractions going on around you.

The Development of Children’s Writing Skills 

When you start to write you do not need to worry about things like having ideas and imagination, talking about feeling or having a good memory – that will all come later. First you need to focus on holding the pencil, hand-eye co-ordination, time to experiment and being allowed to draw and scribble.

writing for children

The writing journey

Writing goes through a journey, starting with mark making. I tend to not call it scribble as it is the first important step to writing. This then develops to tell a story. It may not look like it makes sense but it does to the child. Then comes the identifiable shapes and patterns – lines, squiggles and blobs. As control improves the shapes and letters become clearer. They learn the rules that writing goes from left to right, top to bottom. They leave gaps to show where the words start and finish. More letters will be used to tell the story. They start to spell. They begin to use their phonic knowledge. The write simple sentences. They learn about punctuation. They will write stories making sense phonetically, and they will learn about using the right word. Help to encourage extending their vocabulary. Spelling correctly comes later.

Encourage your child’s Writing

writing for children

  • Make a postcard.
  • Let them make a shopping list, or write a recipe.
  • Give them lots of stationery – fun notepads, stickers, post-it notes, fun pencils and rubbers.
  • Let them copy words.
  • Encourage them to make Thank You cards/letters.
  • Let them use technology – you can get games where they can write with a stylus.
  • Get a whiteboard or chalk board – where they can wipe off what they have written.
  • Play family games that involve writing – like the Silly sentence game (where you write part of the sentence, fold it over, and pass it on for the next person to add their bit)
  • Start a scrap book and they can write underneath what the pictures are.
  • Let them draw a picture for the words you tell them.
  • Write yourself – be a good role model.
  • Remember that writing does not have to be with pencils/pens – you can use all manner of things to help them achieve the correct letter formation – sand, shaving foam paint, etc.

Here are some great blog posts for helping with Fine Motor Development to help those Writing Skills

writing for children5 Letter Learning Activities with Mega Bloks – Mom Inspired Life

Halloween Do-a-Dot Printables – Gift of Curiosity

Styrofoam Fine Motor Activity – Triple T Mum

Vowel Farm – There’s Just one Mommy

How to Encourage Writing with Young Children – My Big Fat Happy Life

Letter of the week Letter B – One Beautiful Home


teenager aspergers syndrome

Teenager with Asperger’s Syndrome the benefits

I wanted to write a post about the benefits of having a teenager with Asperger’s Syndrome. My teenage son was diagnosed with Asperger’s Syndrome when he was ten years old. He is my first born and none of my other children have reached their teenage years yet. But when I hear people talk about teenagers it all sounds a bit alien to me, and I think that his Asperger’s Syndrome make dealing with a teenager easier.

teenager aspergers syndrome

Teenager Obsessions – or interests

When making a diagnosis on whether someone has Asperger’s Syndrome or not it may be considered whether they have any “obsessions,” but I prefer to call them interests. One of the benefits of having a teenager with Asperger’s Syndrome is that you can easily buy for things for them. Their  interests are usually pretty rigid and unlikely to change quickly. This makes planning for birthdays easier. For example, my son really likes Minecraft and so I knew he would be delighted when I ordered him Minecraft cakes and clothing for his 16th birthday. His interests also make a good bargaining tool – if I say do X, then you can do Y (related to his interest) he will generally do it. The teenager with Asperger’s Syndrome may have interests in common with those younger than their peer group, which is not always a bad thing  for their parents.

teenager with asperger's syndrome interests

Those with Asperger’s Syndrome may be more likely to really engage with a task for a long period of time. Again this is largely to do with the their interest. I think this has really helped my teenager stay focused as he knows what he wants (to be a computer games programmer). The teenager with Asperger’s syndrome is more likely to be internally motivated, because they do things on their terms, what they want to do. This is really useful now my son is at an age when thinking about University, as he is less likely to need rewards and praise in return for independent learning.

Taking things literally

A teenager with Asperger’s Syndrome may take everything as black or white, this makes things simple and uncomplicated. For a parent this is amazing – drugs are wrong; smoking is wrong; I could go on but I may get embarrassing. Needless to say my son generally avoids behaviours that are considered dangerous/illegal, things he has been told that he should not do. I have a very thoughtful teenage son who listens to what I say and takes it on board. An example of this is how he does not waste money and is now paying for his driving lessons.

Lack of Social Awareness

Of course a lack of social awareness is generally a bad thing but there are positives to it too. A benefit for a teenager with Asperger’s Syndrome is that they are less likely to get hurt. Not being able to read the signs of so-called friends letting them down, I think can be a good thing (although very painful for the parent). One of the biggest fears I have is one of my children successfully committing suicide and I think without the teenage-friend-wars, or succumb to peer pressure, therefore it is hopefully less likely to happen.

This lack of social awareness means that the teenager with Asperger’s Syndrome may take the lead, without worrying that someone else may want to do it. They KNOW that they are knowledgeable about something and put themselves forward. My son often thinks he is right (and often is) and will not be afraid to vocalise it (note this is not always the case with everything, but I am focusing on the positive). An example of this is the fact that my son has a great memory, this is pretty beneficial when it comes to remembering routes. He has great accuracy too and I am pretty sure he did this for the orientation part of his Duke of Edinburgh.

With little understanding of social norms those with Asperger’s Syndrome are good at contributing without wasting time on small talk. They have no hidden agenda and may be straight to the point, especially with issues that others are worried about bringing up, or when considering the unpopular. They are not over-emotional and can see things logically that others may not. This makes it easier for them to prioritise and stay focused – especially beneficial for their career. The teenager with Asperger’s Syndrome may take things on face value – including people. This means that they are less likely to judge people based on society’s constraints (gender/age/appearance stereotypes for example).

It may be the case that the teenager with Asperger’s Syndrome does not know how to behave in social situations, and so tries to learn the “right” way to behave. Therefore becoming more socially desirable than someone who acts from emotion. I know that if my son has offered to make me a cup of tea, or asks if I am okay – then he’s put even more thought into it than those it comes to naturally.

benefits of a teenager with aspergers syndrome

Rigid Routines – or Being Organised

I would like to think about the routines as the teenager with Asperger’s Syndrome being reliable and organised (although I am aware that my son’s routines aren’t as rigid as some/or used to be). What this means is I know when he will get up in the morning and he is always ready for school on time. With British Summer Time and the clocks going forwards I have really struggled to get into the new routine (and so has my Sensory Seeker that does not understand the clock changes). However, to my teenager with Asperger’s Syndrome the time is just the time, same as it has always been.

Cannot see the bigger picture

Not being able to see the bigger picture means that the benefit for a teenager with Asperger’s Syndrome is that they can focus their attention to detail. This means that they may pick up on things that others may miss. Concentrating on these details can make them a bit of a perfectionist, but you know that they will do a good job.

benefits of a teenager with aspergers syndrome

Hopefully some of these characteristics are personality, and his younger (normal trait) brother will be just the same. From everything I hear about teenagers though, I will not hold my breath.

Do you have teenagers? What are they like? Do they have Asperger’s Syndrome or not?

Ethans Escapades
sensory seeker party with reptiles

Sensory Seeker Party with Reptiles

Sensory Seeker Party Idea

Party planning can be difficult (see my party guide ), with lots of things to factor in. Who are the guests, what is your budget, will they be left, what can they eat, how will you entertain them? When it comes to your Sensory Seeker Party the first thing to think about is what will work for your child. I was really surprised to see how patient my Sensory Seeker was at a recent Wild Kids Reptile Party. In fact it wasn’t a party, it was a clever idea of a friend about us all chipping in to entertain our children in the school holidays – that it what such great value it was. We hired a hall and all bought a packed lunch. This is a good idea for a Sensory Seeker Party as there wasn’t food on view, until my Sensory Seeker could actually have it.

sensory seeker party with reptiles

Sensory Seeker Party Suitable guests for Reptiles

Obviously you need to consider who your guests are. I could not see a Sensory Seeker Party with reptiles where there are a whole bunch of Sensory Seekers, as they would not cope in this scenario. Sometimes you need the attendees to be quiet – and those Sensory Seekers who like to make a lot of noise may find this very difficult. Our party had a wide range of ages and it suited them all. I am also not sure how well it would have ran with a lot of very small children – so I would imagine it would suit at least those of school age.

sensory seeker party with reptiles sensory seeker party with reptiles

If the children did not want to hold the reptiles they could still just stroke them. The guests had the option for each reptile as to how comfortable they feel with them, and whether they wanted to hold or stroke them.  A good Sensory Seeker party will make sure there is somewhere for the guests to go if they really do not like the reptiles, or a particular reptile.

sensory seeker party with reptiles

Reptile Sensory Seeker Party Pros and Cons

It was great to see my Sensory Seeker loving all the different textures of the reptiles. This is one of the reasons I think that it would make an ideal Sensory Seeker Party. He had no fear of the reptiles and even wanted to hold the tarantula (which you have to be sixteen years and over to do).

sensory seeker party with reptiles

sensory seeker party with reptiles

I have to admit that my Sensory Seeker was much braver than me. I found the staff to be fully supportive, and very encouraging of those who were a little apprehensive. I was amazed at how well my son sat quietly, listening and waiting his turn. I think it is also that they come out to you – so you can arrange to have it in a familiar environment, or one that you know really suits your Sensory Seekers needs.

sensory seeker party with reptiles sensory seeker party with reptiles

As a Sensory Seeker Party I can see that the biggest problem would be preventing hands going in mouths. The staff had warned the children not to do this and had hand sanitiser for at the end, but my Sensory Seeker kept trying to put it his hand in his mouth. This was simply resolved by me sitting next to my son, and keeping his hands clean with antibacterial gel.

sensory seeker party with reptiles sensory seeker party with reptiles

About Wild Reptile Parties

Available throughout Gloucestershire, £120 for a one hour party  for hands on educational interaction with some of the world’s most fascinating  animals without the mess. Wild Kids Reptile Parties bring with them not only all the animals (including friendly snakes, frogs, tortoises, stick insects and leaving behind any you do not want to see), but the protective sheets and hand sanitiser.

          sensory seeker party with reptiles

For more information or to book a party please visit

This is NOT a sponsored post.

Christmas with Special Needs

Christmas Special Needs – Adapting life to make things easier

Christmas Special Needs

Christmas special needs can make things more difficult. We have learnt that the best way to cope with it, is it to adapt things to fit with our children’s needs. My oldest, and now my youngest, son do not like the disruption to the routine (a lot less so for my oldest now, so I feel there is hope for the youngest as he ages). When my oldest was younger Christmas Special needs meant that  he did not like the absence of  doing things he liked at school (such as maths) , and it being replaced by things he did not like such as singing and dressing up. The structure was gone and the visual and auditory stimulation was high. It was such a difficult time that I really could not tell you what happened. It is all a bit of a blur. I remember that I just kept telling myself that his behaviour would settle as soon as Christmas was over, and the routines had resumed (well at least until Easter anyway). This is pretty much how things are for my youngest now. My oldest accepts the change much more easily now (he’s 17 years old the end of the month), but just wants to play computer games all the time.

Christmas Special Needs – The Christmas Dinner

Christmas with Special needs is the reason that the Christmas dinner came to happen on Christmas Eve. I really could not cope with an undiagnosed child at Christmas  Special needs ( Aspergers), cooking Christmas dinner and doing all the other Christmas things.  I was a lone parent and he was a fussy eater. Trying to encourage him to stop playing his latest game and come and eat veg was never going to happen. But by moving Christmas dinner to Christmas Eve then I could encourage him to eat with the promise of a visit from Father Christmas. It also meant that it left me free to help him deal with Christmas Day – as I was not in the kitchen cooking.

Christmas Special Needs

 Particularly advantageous if he was getting frustrated with his new toys, as well as being able to sit and encourage him play socially with me. Instead Christmas Day consists of eating foods he likes – picking on cold meat, curry snacks, fruit, chocolate, mince pies, crisps and the like, as and when (a break in the game allows). On a practical note, you can always run to the shops if you have forgotten to buy something too (like my pigs in blankets last year!) It has also become our tradition and I think it has many advantages, not just for children with special needs.

Christmas Special Needs – The Decorations

This year we have gone one step further to help cope with Christmas special needs by having not put up any of the decorations (well we have the odd one or two). We have always put the tree and everything up on the 1st December, but when I noticed my youngest son being more ‘spinny,’ distant and wetting himself at least daily, and realised that it had happened as soon as the school had their tree/decorations up I decided that we would delay it. One day he was particularly distressed (he’s really touching people a lot more) and had to come home from school, I noticed how much he settled in the non-stimulating environment. It is hard, and our 6 year old is desperate for the tree to go up – but we just discussed putting the tree up to our youngest and he went wild and hurt said 6 year old. We had to monitor him for ages after that. Luckily my husband breaks up from work on the 17th so there will be 2 of us around, allowing one to cook and one to look after him, so we are waiting to put the tree up then. If he could not have had the time off we were considering just letting the boys decorate their room (as oldest and youngest have separate rooms) and have a tree in there.

Christmas Special needs

Christmas Special Needs – Aspects of Christmas enjoyed

We thought about the aspects that they do like and those to avoid when considering Christmas special needs. All  the boys have advent calendars – which helps them count down to the big day – so there is still some excitement, preparation for it. We have taken the youngest to see Father Christmas, and got him to talk about what presents he would like. These are the aspects of Christmas that he enjoys, and plenty of dressing up too. He also has his visual aid book at school – so he still knows what to expect, to some extent, at school, and makes it feel structured for him, and let him know how much of the school day is left.

Christmas Special Needs – Rewarding the coping

We are rewarding our youngest with computer time (his favourite activity) at the end of most days, just to help him cope/focus. We are having to really be aware of his toileting, and regularly taking him, as this is an area he is really struggling with during the festive season.  I think it is important to remember that no matter how difficult we may find his behaviour is to deal with, it is a million times worse for him, that it is his inability to cope and anxieties showing.

I have not mentioned Autism in this post as it has been decided that it is not what my youngest son has. I need to write a post about that but really finding it difficult. I do still feel that whether it is consider as Autism or not then the methods used to help him remain the same so have looked on the NAS at their help with Christmas advice.

If anyone else has any help and/or advice on coping with Christmas I would really appreciate them sharing it in the comments.

See also Christmas is coming and my son is getting stressed – over on the Special Needs Jungle – talking about Christmas with her teenage son with Aspergers.

Disability Difference of Opinion

Different Disability Opinions – Some you never Expect

I think the one thing as a parent of a disabled child that makes it easier is knowing that you are not alone. Sometimes you may do that awful thing and realise that things could be worse and grateful that they are not – or maybe that’s just me. See until recently, I thought that there were very little different disability opinions on certain topics.

Different Disability Opinions

    • I would fight tooth and nail to get my children every bit of help that they need. This is where there are  different disability opinions as I know that other people feel that their children should be just accepted and that starts with them.
    • I believe that if you can access financial help to better a disabled child’s life then why not do everything to help improve their lives.Again there are  different disability opinions in this matter as other people believe that it is their child and they want to pay for them.
    • Some people could never leave their children, either due to needs or not feeling it is right that they are their responsibility.I guess that the different disability opinions may be to do with the nature of the disability too, as there are others desperate to get some respite but funding does not allow, and others who are able just to leave their disabled child/ren to go off on holiday, leaving them with friends or relatives.
    • There are different disability opinions as to whether we would, if we could,  take away the child’s condition if we could or not – would or whether this would  take from the disabled child/ren  who they are as a person?

 different disability opinions

 Different Disability Opinions I didn’t think I’d hear

  • It’s no-one’s fault, certainly not the parents that a child has a disability. Certainly not bad-parenting, or a way we have behaved with them. I hope this is a  different disability opinions that if someone actually thinks it keeps it to themselves please.
  • That there is no hope for the disabled child’s future. I am very pleased to say that my 16 year old son has got his first job – something we never thought we would see, especially after the way they talked about him in his Reception year at school. I believe there is hope for all children and each one has an important future.
  • That parents are NOT “lazy” and “ignorant” to access the help and support they need – However Katie Price said that they were in an interview with Radio 5, described here by BBC Ouch Disability. I tell you what Katie as you are so the opposite of lazy and ignorant, why not pop round to some of these homes and help them out, instead of knocking them even further. This really is one of the different disability opinions me and Katie Price are going to have to have – as I know that having a disabled child/ren means it is impossible to even contemplate being lazy! And usually quite the opposite of ignorant but having to research and learn everything you possibly can about your child/ren’s disability and how you can help them.

This information was brought to my attention by DownSideUp – see what Hayley and others have to said on the matter here

Rubbish parenting my lazy teen with aspergers #thesensoryseeker

Rubbish Parenting – Stop Blaming the Disability

I am sick to the back teeth of every parent who considers their child to have special needs/be disabled (whatever you want to call it) having their parenting called into question. How many people have been told, why not try this course to help manage your child’s behaviour – when they just mean you have rubbish parenting? This seems to happen before, during and after a diagnosis process – in my small experience anyway.

Rubbish parenting my lazy teen with aspergers #thesensoryseeker

My Experience of being Accused of Being a Rubbish Parent to my Teen with Asperger’s Syndrome

Maybe I’m just insecure, always feeling judged, that we have rubbish parenting, a letter once stated that “the mother fusses too much” when my oldest son’s school were justifying why they do absolutely nothing for my son’s needs. His IEPs always said he should achieve this grade or that – which was no problem for him and didn’t need working on. Trying to get him sorted in extracurricular activity, and socialising they just really refused to help with. It was if they completely ignored the fact that he had any needs – it was easier just to blame my parenting because then they did not need to do anything about it.

Rubbish Parenting stopping him being Independent

The school claim that he just needed to be left alone to do things – this would help make him more independent, my interfering by trying to support him was just hindering this process. “What I do not want to do is get him the placement exclusively on my own, it is important that he contributes to the process, as at the end of the day, when he leaves school, I will not be around!” This is the response we got when we could not find any suitable placements for work experience. He never said but basically implied it was down to rubbish parenting that we had not made him independent enough and that he just expected everyone to do everything for him. “We had a brief look the other lunch time and there seemed to a lot”. No there were a lot of companies that offered to fix computers but not to write computer games – not really the same thing.

The assumption is always just made that my son cannot be bothered, and as a parent I have failed to get him to be anything other than self-entitled. I am really upset that it is suggested that my son is lazy (oh yeah you can see that from his grades can’t you) rather than the fact that he has a diagnosed recognised social communication problem (Aspergers). I did repeatedly go into school and question his ridiculous IEPs – you know what happened? They did social stories. They didn’t work. They got a new SENCo – then they tried Social stories. And if I pushed too much they would make me feel like it was my rubbish parenting – and actually my son was just a normal, lazy teen. But it will always come back to Social Stories being the answer (they never work as he can’t generalise them from one situation to the other).

Rubbish parenting and blaming it on the disability #thesenoryseeker

It isn’t Asperger’s Syndrome it is just the Teenage Years

Maybe they are right, I really don’t know what is teenage behaviour and what is his disability, but I DO know that he is far from lazy. If it is clear to him what he has to do then he does it. Will this ignoring the problem make it go away? Does ignoring cure Aspergers? Will he suddenly know how to communicate socially? But then I do hope they are right, that it is just down to rubbish parenting, because one day he will move out of home, and away from me, and my “fussiness” and everything will be alright! I do want you to come and all agree that it is rubbish parenting that I’m fussing: That I am just not letting my boy grow up. This is normal and what most teenage parents go through. Please tell me I’m fussing.

Because if not, what is the alternative? That my son’s needs are continuously ignored? What will his future hold? Funny as he has done so well lately, and when applying for his first job I was told I should have helped him more!!! Luckily he has been given a second chance with that, and you know what even if it means it is rubbish parenting I am going to help him.

Sensory seeker eating nicely - concentrating on the positives when having a bad day

Bad days with Sensory Processing Disorder

Bad days with Sensory Processing Disorder unfortunately happen to lots of people. Sometimes a bad day happens and it is amplified by the fact that it isn’t just a bad day, it is another bad day, with yet another meltdown. That if you have any time and energy left after fighting the bad day to look for help that you are met with either a brick wall or blame. It seems that this blame seems to occur more when there do not seem to be any answers – instead of just saying sorry we sympathise but we do not know what to do. Throwing In the towel of despair will not help anyone so trying to find the positives will help a lot.

Sensory Temperature Issues and Possible Solutions

What Might Be The Triggers for the Bad Days

I try to think about what may be causing the bad days. Then to consider what could make things easier in the future.

Is it a change in routine – such as a new school, Christmas (is a big one), Easter, school holidays, a new baby, a change of house.  For me, the easiest ways to deal with them are to tell myself that they will not last forever. Actually once the routine returns things will be easier. It helps by trying to make things as normal and routine as possible. I simply found over the holidays that keeping busy was enough to distract him from feeling anxious.

Are their needs being met? –have they moved about enough that day, do their clothes feel right, is it too noisy, not bright enough. If not is there anything that can be done to help meet their needs.

Sensory seeker eating a picnic concentrating on the positive

Staying Positive Through the Bad Days

Focus on their achievements – try to at least focus on something positive each week. When days are hard I can just remind myself about how far they have come. Maybe their language development, how they are now getting themselves dressed, putting on their own shoes, learning to listen, wait, eating better and try to empathise with others.

Think about others. Could your situation be worse? Sometimes thinking about how things aren’t actually that bad do help. Maybe looking back and asking yourself if this is your worst day. Then maybe if the answer is yes then tomorrow could be a better day. Remember you probably aren’t alone and there are many other parents in a similar situation. This is especially useful if it has been suggested that you “attend a parenting course,” which is something I hear of a lot.

Make time for yourself – don’t forget that you are important too. Whether that is looking after your health – not skipping on breakfast, to getting some quiet time to read a book, have a bath.

A Situation that Happened to Us

Our son was angry at school yesterday and he locked himself in the toilet (by standing behind the door). His one to one managed to get him to come out and I am proud to say that he apologised – what an achievement that is. He is back in group swimming lessons now, and he is doing so well that I am able to take my other two children into the main pool and swim at the same time.

What about you? How do you handle a bad day? Are there any strategies that help the child? What about ways to help you deal with the day?