Decisions

I’m pacing in the garden. Distracting myself with thoughts of that tree in the distance.

Jobs to be done. But which ones first today.

– do I Hoover

– do I clean the toilet and bath

– do I do the surfaces in the kitchen

– do I finally deep clean the oven

– do I wash the windows

– do I cut the grass before the weather breaks

– do I phone school to sort out Hawklad’s exams

– do I sort out the Home Insurance Renewal

– do I bake that cakes I’ve been promising Hawklad for days now

– do I start putting together the work payroll

– do I chase up those work orders

– do I respond to those work queries

– do I fix the printer.

– do I complete the government form which needs sending in

– do I read the documents Hawklads psychologist has sent to me

– do I pay those bills sat on my desk

– do I clear the mountain of paper which is burying those bills

– do I sew those rips that have appeared on Hawklads trousers or do I just buy new ones

– do I fix the headlight on my car

– do I put those shelves up that are looking at me

OR do I just go round in circles, too tired to make a decision…..

Contain

That’s a cloud formation. A difference of option.

Well I think it’s a prehistoric fish….

Dad I think it’s a sperm….”

And with that the cloud spotting game ended…..

We are trying something different this week. A new way of trying to manage Hawklads anxieties. At present they can consume his thoughts, consume his day. They just seem to spread out and spiral out of control. Well let’s see if we can try and contain them a bit. This week when he gets an anxious thought then he makes a note of it and then immediately tries to distract himself. We now have a 30 minutes slot each day in which we discuss the anxieties he has made a note of. Talk them through.

Let’s see if this helps contain his anxieties. Helps him recapture more of his day.

T minus

Hawklad has been looking for a marker in the sand. Something to aim for which is solid. To him all the attempts to build bridges back into the wider world has to lead to something.

Yes school could be that. A return to the classroom. But he’s still not convinced that it’s right for him. Is he better off learning outside the school system. Plus it’s not a definite marker. It can be delayed. If the bridges aren’t ready say at the start of September, then maybe October might work.

Well now we have a solid marker.

A concert.

One of his favourite bands, The Darkness are playing some gigs in December. So we have bought tickets to see them in quite a small standing only venue. A definite date which is far enough away to allow for steady progress. A true test of his progress. We can leave it to the last minute to decide if he’s ready. We can even get to the venue and Hawklad can see what it feels like. If he’s uncomfortable then we can just grab a pizza and come home. He’s seen them twice already so it won’t be a disaster if he doesn’t manage it this time.

T minus 6 months and counting

Broken

A long and winding road if you can find it.

You kind of assume that your country is geared up to support its young people. That they matter. Well they should matter and countries should be geared up. But this is Britain, where support and mental health services have been under funded and in recent times cut back. Britain which has a Government that wants to return to ‘good old Victorian values’. Britain where children are only seen in terms of future economic value. In Britain where support is frowned upon by those in charge. In Britain where children taking time off in the immediate aftermath of a significant bereavement is described by the Government as ‘extended holidays’.

In 2016 Hawklad lost his granny and mum within 6 weeks of each other. A traumatic experience for anyone but for an 8 year old with Aspergers, it’s an emotional maelstrom. But here’s the thing. Sadly he won’t be the only child in this position. But where’s the support. Schools are not set up to cope. In Hawklads case the school cared but where clueless. The specialised education services in the area had been effectively closed down to meet savings targets. I approached his Doctor who just referred to child mental health services. He warned that they had a backlog of cases. That was all the Doctor did. Hawklad was already on the waiting list for Aspergers support.

That was it for over a year. No support. Left up to me, someone who was struggling already. How do you start to help someone when you are broken.

Finally we got to see the Child Mental Health Team. They worked on anxiety issues but no bereavement counselling, no Aspergers support. Luckily his dedicated worker was wonderful and she did try but it was not her area of expertise.

Fast forward to 2021 and Hawklad still has not had any bereavement counselling. Taking a wider view. He had some help with a physiotherapist but that was cut. He started speech therapy but that service was cut. He has had a few months of Aspergers related support but the specialist retired and was not replaced. He has had no dyslexia support. He does get some support for anxiety but that is patchy.

AND he is one of the lucky ones in Britain….

It has to be better than this for all our children. THEY ARE NOT JUST ECONOMIC RESOURCES. It won’t change here under this Government, it will only get worse. BRITAIN is BROKEN when it can’t care for its children.

Missed

Apparently Hawklad missed 6 exams last week. That’s a whole lotta exams missed in just one week. On the bright side, Hawklad did complete 5….. 5 out of 11 is almost a pass.

Hawklad completed those 5 exams because the teacher or teaching assistant emailed him the paper. In the 6 he missed something didn’t happen and I just can’t put my finger on what didn’t happen…. Can you.

What happens next is anyone’s guess. The teachers are now tied up in the year above mock exams. It’s another mess. We bury will be so glad to see the back of this school year.

Cloudy eclipse

Not the best weather for a partial solar eclipse. But there is always hope. Lying on the ground with Hawklad looking up at the clouds when he should have been doing his science class.

Then for a couple of minutes we get the best type of science teaching. Real life science.

I give you the famed cloudy Yorkshire partial eclipse.

Thought for the day….

Why do so many movies have to feature serious illnesses and sad deaths. I know it’s art replicating real life BUT it’s a pain in the backside when you have a son who is fighting fears and phobias about health. A son who has lost his mum to illness.

Even in children’s movies and cartoons….

Even in comedy shows like The Office.

Here’s an idea. Keep the movies as they are but have a separate movie channel. The SAFE CHANNEL. On this channel only safe movies. No illness, no death, no drugs, no broken families. No need to constantly be on edge at the slightest on screen sneeze or pale look.

Almost Summer

Whisper it. It almost feels like summer here in Yorkshire. Warm, dry, traffic jams, the shops are sold out of strawberries and watermelons. Yep it must be summer here.

So next steps….

This morning Hawklad mentioned that he is now aiming to return to school at the start of September. If he can’t go back then he will go for full homeschooling.

Today in the summer sun we tried a day time walk. The first day time walk for Hawklad in over a year. A carefully selected walk. Quiet. Rarely visited. Across farm land. It was a success. An hour walk completed. Ok not another human encountered but it is another step forward.

So we have less than 3 months to see if we can build Hawklad from deserted walks to being crammed in a classroom with 30 plus other students and teachers. That’s a tough ask. So little time to take so many steps forward.

Sun burnt

The walk with the mad dog is a lot more pleasant when it’s weather like this. Whisper it, I got a little sun burnt. Sun burnt in Yorkshire. That just sounds so wrong on so many levels.

Feeling a bit burnt by school. The big school year exams start on Monday. We still don’t know the actual timings. We don’t know which subjects are on which days. We don’t know the arrangements for Hawklad. We don’t even know if he is sitting the exams. This week school is closed. So I’m guessing it’s wait until first thing Monday and hope we hear something. If not, then I have no idea what will happen. It’s just a mess.

Nothing I can do at present so I might as well use my time more usefully. Go and find the sun cream. That’s sure to bring the rain back….

Cut adrift.

The end of the school half term. To sum up the last 7 weeks of school at home –

The support is rapidly drying up.

More lessons passing without much support for Hawklad. His work isn’t getting marked in most cases. Increasingly we are having to decide on the areas studied. Whether they are in line with what his class are covering, we have largely no idea. The year exams start as soon as the school returns from the week off. We still don’t know the arrangements for Hawklad. We don’t even know the detailed exam timetable.

Definitely feels like we are getting cut adrift. The support we battled to get for him a few years back has largely been removed due to wider commission decisions, not on individual case circumstances. He’s supposed to see a paediatrician every 6 months but due to cut backs in service and a pandemic, it’s now been over 3 years since his last review. The local council keep putting off his annual education review, again the last one was nearly 3 years ago. School do not provide any additional in class support p.

Maybe it’s partly single parenting and sometimes I get to feel really isolated – but it certainly feels like our family is being cut adrift. Sadly that’s what happens with the vast majority of Autistic and Asperger teenagers. Cut adrift.