As it approaches midnight and the dawn of a new year, it is time for reflection and although there have been lots of meltdowns and daily sessions of stress and anxiety this year, there have been a lot of positive things achieved as well.
The biggest thing to help the development of our youngest son has been the Statement of Education that he was awarded this summer after a 6 month process involving lots of reports written by various professionals as well as a lengthy one by myself. He now has the 1:1 support at school that he needs to function on a daily basis so that he has the chance to reach his full potential. Without this he would not be able to access his sensory diet of high impact activities every 15 minutes and without that his world would fall apart.
Our daughter has shone in her drama group that she attends outside of school and has performed on the West End stage for the second time as well as at a local show and the school panto. Being someone else gives her a new lease of life as she can hide behind the character. Her confidence has doubled and she's found an interest she enjoys.
The biggest breakthrough for her has been realising that it is ok to ask for help and learning to discuss her emotions. It's still early days but we are making progress which can only help with her development for independence as she grows up.
Our youngest son has begun to thrive with the help of regular dietician appointments. As well as his daily protein milkshake to boost his vitamin intake, he has now tried 2 new foods this year - apricots and fruit winders. This may seem a small accomplishment and something most parents take for granted, but as a parent of ASD children it is a small miracle to add colour to their diet as it is generally very bland in its choice and brown in colour. If our youngest son had his way he would live on yorkshire puddings!
We have finished the year on a good note with all 3 kids having a playdate with friends and for two hours they played nicely with no arguments. Three of the five kids have ASD but the shared understanding between them seems to aid better play and it helps the siblings to realise there are others that live in their shoes and understand what it is like to have a sibling with ASD and the challenges it can bring to daily life.
My goal for 2014 is to find some more 'me time', so that I can enjoy my craft activities, read the mountain of books that are building up around me and continue to walk/jog my way to good health. I will continue with my volunteer work and increase my knowledge of ASD so that I can ensure that all our kids get the best start in life that they deserve.
Happy New Year to you all.