A week of firsts!

First first- 

Most parents don’t have to worry about their child moving schools until they go into juniors (normally the same school just a different building) or go into secondary school at 11 years old. 
So to them our first of 3 solid terms (1 year) in a school in year 3 is nothing- but for Dinky- this is amazing! 

First school 2 Terms

Second school 2.5 terms (the last.5 begrudgingly)

Home ed while waiting for a suitable school place- 2.5 terms 

Specialist independent ASD school- 3 terms and NO plans to move on!!!!

I could do a little dance!!! 

This school have given Dinky so much more confidence and it is the first time she has felt she belongs in a school! Which goes to show that the two mainstreams were making it obvious enough to an autistic child that she wasn’t wanted. Well, in fact Dinky is far too awesome for them, and they couldn’t hack it! 

I love her school now. There were a few teething problems and I had to get past my own insecurities about education after the crap we have been through in the last 4 years. 

I couldn’t thank the staff enough and as it is the end of 2015 and Christmas I brought the staff gifts, but no gift could show them just how grateful I am that they have worked through the tough part, kept an open mind and embraced PDA as part of the spectrum! 

So that was our first first.

Our second first (with added firsts!)- 

We stayed for one night at Legoland Windsor resort hotel! 

Dinky was more excited for staying  in the pirate room than she has been about getting gifts at Christmas! 

Again, most parents would have taken their kids somewhere overnight by the time they are almost 8 years old, so they would probably wonder what the big deal is. 

Dinky’s autism makes it difficult to go to new places and due to her sleep difficulties I thought it would be too much to go away for a holiday. Dinky hasn’t missed out. She has a Merlin Annual pass and has been to chessington, Legoland, sealife London and Brighton, and the London eye LOADS of times- and one visit to shrek adventure. She also has an adventure farm park annual pass and a seaside resort annual pass- so she isn’t short of day trips! 

Legoland hotel has been something she has wanted to do for a long time but at over £300 for one night I’ve not been able to afford it. It was a random event I went to for the local parent carer forum where I saw the commissioning manager for personal budgets who actually did Dinky’s social care personal budget assessment. We were discussing the personalisation of the personal budgets and I said that Dinky’s dream would be to sleep at the Legoland hotel, and she said “book it- use the budget!” So I booked one night for a Santa sleepover. 

I contacted Legoland who at first were not helpful, but I contacted them again on their Facebook page and they sent photos ect of the changes to the resort over the festive period so that I could prepare Dinky. I also got pictures of the room we were going to stay in and Dinky watched the YouTube video loads!

We were as prepared as we could be. 

Dinky kept wanting to bring things and I limited it to her favourite teddies, her Dino toy, her iPad and weighted blanket 

  
The first impressions of the winter wonderland Legoland had created was – WOW! 4 ft Christmas trees with lights on were everywhere and covered in a dusting of fake snow. All the big trees had lights on and their big Christmas tree was enormous! 
  

  
Santa and his elves were absolutely fantastic! Dinky had her special buggy and after a lengthy conversation with the militant clip board holder we were allowed to take it with us to see Santa. 

I had forewarned the elves and Santa of Dinky’s autism and they handled her amazingly well. We had done lots of Santa prep and it paid off! Previously Dinky has refused to talk to Santa, last year she spoke one sentence and that was it. 

This year Santa got a high five and an excited ramble about staying at the hotel and wanting a dino room guard and Disney infinity figures. 

The whole place was magical!

The evening entertainment in the hotel was phenomenal! 

The elves were great with Dinky (her ADHD meds had worn off by this point)- I was shocked when Dinky volunteered and was picked to help the elf with his magic tricks! 
She also played games with the Legoland mascot, a dragon called Ollie   

 And she sang Christmas songs to the Lego character Santa!

  It got a bit much at this point and Dinky began attacking me and the elves, so I took her back up to our room.

After her melatonin, Dinky slept quite well. We had the usual early morning wake up then back to sleep for a few hours before getting up and ready for breakfast at 7am.

The next day was pretty up and down as the pool was shut due to a technical difficulty, Dinky was really upset by it and her meltdown was bigger than I have seen since November. 

She spend most of the day playing repetitive games with a steady stream of new kids to fill her roles. 

We did a few rides in the dark and headed home.

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Being ‘out of action’ is difficult

Dinky is hard work, whether it is due to her being 7, her ASD-PDA, her ADHD or her SPD. She keeps me in my toes. 

Last week I was in and out of hospital having tests ect to find that I have pleurisy. This week I have been on some strong painkillers, sleeping a lot and trying to do as I am told- resting. 

Breathing hurts and moving hurts, so I’ve been ‘out of action’ so to speak and had to rely on my dad which I don’t like doing.

Dinky has been quite good about it all. But it has been tough. My dad has had to come over everyday after work to help me with Dinky. She has been really avoidant and very emotional about everything. She has had lots of outbursts and meltdowns which mostly included trashing her bedroom. 

One of the benefits to being a single parent is that Dinky gets consistent parenting from me. There is no one to challenge my strategies or undermine me. Dinky and I have a way of doing things which works for us. So add in my dad, and I have to constantly remind him how to talk to Dinky and how to reduce demands to her level of coping. 

School have been great and they haven’t pushed her which has been great.

Dinky has also been distracted by Christmas build up. 

Most autistic kids don’t like decorations due to change, usually Dinky finds change hard, but she adores the sparkly decorations and the lights that come with Christmas. 

She loves decorating the tree and opening her Lego advent calendar.

We have been fortunate enough to be able to book a Santa sleepover at Legoland hotel which she is really looking forward to. She has wanted to stay there since she found the YouTube videos which give tours of the hotel.  Everytime we go to Legoland she asks if we are staying overnight! 

She has been watching that YouTube video a lot!

She can recite it word for word! 

I have had to tell my dad that he can’t say ‘if you don’t behave you won’t go’. I will not use our first hotel visit to a place she adores as a bargaining chip to get her to comply to mine or my dads wishes. That is not how we do things here. 

Hopefully it won’t be long before I’m back to myself!