Category Archives: Aspergers

S.A.L.T.

Standard

Things are on the change for M just now.      He is preparing to move from primary school to secondary after the summer break.    It is a scary time for him and all the other kids that are going through this at the moment.      For M though, it is a much bigger deal.

M has suffered with anxiety issues for such a long time.    Therefore the added pressure of a period of transition can be difficult for him, and that is putting it very mildly.

A while back, we took him to the GP because his anxiety issues were becoming unbearable for him and he was loosing a ridiculous amount of his education.     The doctor was brilliant with him, and referred him to the child mental health unit at the hospital.

He  had an assessment and was referred on to a psychologist.

The psychologist has met with him a few times, and Hubby and me, both with and without M.     It was quite a harrowing experience for us to go over the negatives in my son’s life.    I hate to focus on the things that are not going well, and prefer to build up the positives.        As usual at these type of things, I cried a lot, but was pleased we had decided to get M the help that has been unavailable to him for too long.       The psychologist decided they were several people it would be useful to refer him on to, these include occupational therapy, speech and language therapy, school doctor, as well as looking into dyslexia, and fragile x syndrome.

We received a letter about the  appointment for speech and language therapy (S.A.L.T.), quite quickly.      I took M to the appointment.      He was, as can only be expected, very wound up about the whole process.      Not knowing why he was going confused him, as he doesn’t see what the rest of us do, in that his speech is often babbled and totally non-understandable.     I tried to explain to him what it was all about, but it was difficult, as I too was nervous.    I was worried that there would be another label being stuck on my gorgeous boy.

When we got there, we actually went to the wrong place in the hospital, but were redirected, and were still very early!    While we waited he sat on my lap and cuddled, doing his cat noises that he does when he is trying to make himself invisible.

The therapist asked us to go through.   She had a student with her, so M was doubly nervous about strangers.      Both of them were of course lovely.     They let M play with some Lego, while I gave them the background information of why we were there.     It is quite difficult to give enough information when for us, it is just part of who M is.     Lots of questions were answered and many notes were taken.     It was then M’s turn to answer some questions.    He was asked about school, and what he liked to do.      He muttered and mumbled his way through the questions.    He then had to do a little task of explaining why sentences he was given didn’t make sense.     He was nervous while doing it and kept looking at me for help and reassurance.     He did fine though.      He then played a game of Guess Who with the therapist.    To him it was a game, but it was a way to get him using descriptive language.      When the game was finished, M packed it away, while the therapist and I had another wee chat.     She said on first impression, she believes his poor speech is a nervous thing, as when he was talking about something he knew about he was very articulate.     She wanted to meet with him again to do some more detailed testing.    The appointment was made for this week just gone.

He was less nervous going for the second appointment.     He had met the people before and he knew where he would be going.     It was far calmer for him.    Well, it was until we got to the waiting room, and then, he again sat on my lap for reassurances.       The therapist still had her student with her, and the student was given the lead of the session.

The first task was for M to say what was on the pictures he was shown.     The idea of this task was to hear him   pronounce various sounds, while notes were made of how he says things.    He whizzed threw them, with a rather bored attitude after a while.      The next task was to interpret the sentence said to him and point to the picture it represented.    It started easily but got more and more complicated, with plenty of double negatives and sentences given in a way that nobody actually speaks.     The final task was that he was shown images and asked questions about them.     It was all very interesting listening to his responses, as he was spot on with the majority of them.     He did spend a lot of time, looking at me for reassurance and grabbing at my hand.     He was nervous and it showed, but he did brilliantly.     He was then allowed to play with the Lego, while the therapist spoke with me.      She said he has an amazing vocabulary, as well as knowledge of use of it.     She said that she saw no need for her to have continued input with him as it was obvious that the times when his speech became confused was when he was frustrated or confused by the task he was being given.    She says she will report her findings back to the psychologist but will say that she believes his speech problems are directly relating to his stress level.

While it is great that there is no underlining reason for his often confused communication, it is also frustrating that there is nothing we can do to directly help him with this.    We again have to look at ways to help him manage his anxiety.

We continue to help him prepare for the transition to the secondary school, and try to get procedures in place that may help him to manage his anxiety.

 

 

Double Figures

Standard

Yesterday my baby turned 10.      I just can’t believe he is now into double figures.

I remember the day he was born quite vividly.   He was an elected section, because of the problems M had when he was born.      However, despite being first on the list for the day, they decided to make me have a natural birth.   Needless to say, my blood pressure went array as with M, and I was taken to theatre for a section in the evening and he was born at 9:02pm.      When he came out, there was much relief he was a boy, because I had been given a scan a week before because of my BP problems, and all I remember seeing was hair.    Yes, he had so much hair that it was visible on the scan.   This made me think he would be a girl, despite being confident throughout the pregnancy I was having a boy!      I would have loved whichever sex my baby had been, but I had made up my mind for a second boy!      It was therefore great that my hairy baby was male.

He has grown into a beautiful person.   He has a kind heart, and would do anything to help others.

He does though have a side he doesn’t like showing the wold, but it is one that we see regularly at home.   The side of him when he lets go of his restraints of holding everything together, and he just lets rip.    It is of course not unusual for a person with aspergers to behave in this way.       It is as if he has multiple personalities.      Whenever I talk to the school, I hear about how quiet and reserved he is – at parents evening this week, the one negative his teacher spoke about was his lack of confidence to put himself forward and put his hand up.     But we know a very different boy.     We know the boy who gets upset when he isn’t perfect at everything he does.      The boy who screams and yells at those around him because he has a days frustration that has been bubbling up inside and needs to release.     The boy who is controlling to his brother because he doesn’t get his less forceful personality.       We also see the child who still needs Mummy hugs when he’s not feeling well, and he has had more than his fair share of illness recently.      The child who stands up to his friends when they don’t understand M’s flapping and ask him to stop, because nobody criticizes his brother apart from him.     We see the vulnerable child who hates conflict between his friends – although its fine when its sibling conflict!      We see the child who will stand up for his friends when they are bullied, but will not speak out when it is happening to him.      The child that adore his cats to the point of obsession.      The child who still believes in Santa and the tooth fairy, and not understanding why some of his peers are questioning their existence.        He is a very complex human being.      He is different people depending on his environment.     However the one thing that always shines through is his good heart.      I may be biased, okay, I know I am biased when I say he is a lovely person, but I believe he is.

Lego Obsession.

Standard

M is Lego mad.     He loves building with the kits.    He loves using his imagination to free build things – a true master builder.     His favourite wii-u gams are all Lego based – I must say of all the game genre the boys play, anything Lego based is far more fun to watch as a bystander.       He hates reading, but will pour over any book he comes across with a Lego theme.   The highlight of his month is when his Lego Club magazine gets delivered.      He is addicted to the stuff!

Recently he began talking about Denmark, and if it would be a good place for a holiday.     I have friends who are Danish and although I haven’t been for many years, think it is a beautiful country.      It then dawned on us, why he was suddenly so interested in going there.    He had discovered this was the home of Lego.    While he says he wouldn’t mind going to any of the other Legolands around the world, he thinks it would be best to go to the “proper one” in Denmark.     He also tells me there are some exclusive sets that you can only buy in Denmark!!     It would be an amazing experience for him to go there.

Recently he saw a competition where you had to design and build a new model for the Lego Friends range.      He was so enthralled by the idea of the prize, which was to go to Lego HQ and spend a week with their designers to turn your model into a real kit, including yourself as a Lego figure.      What an amazing opportunity for any child, and wouldn’t it be really cool to say you are a Lego figure?     Any way after much planning and fretting about what he should build, he decided on  a haunted house.    He got it about half built, and saw some pictures of models already entered, and decided his wasn’t of the same standard so gave up.     I tried all I could to encourage him to continue, even offering to help him, but he said that there was no point as the first prize was the only one worth having and he wasn’t going to get that.     His mind was made up and there was nothing I could do to change it.

We went to the cinema to see The Lego Batman movie a couple of weeks back.        He was so excited about this film coming out from the first time he heard the concept being mentioned.     The Lego movie is one of his all time favourite films.       Luckily, the reality lived up to his high expectations of it.     I really enjoyed it too, as it was very much scripted on multiple levels, with many references to the 1960’s series, which I imagine we have all loved every time it has been repeated over the years.      When M loves a movie, he becomes obsessed, and will watch a DVD back to back to back, but he has never before asked to go and see a film a second time at the cinema, as he has with this.     He is thinking him and me could have our date day with this at the weekend.

One of M’s support workers, who visits him from the academy, had suggested over a year ago that he might like to join an after school Lego club that she runs for children with additional needs.       He wasn’t interested.      It was at a time when he was in such a low dark place that there was no point forcing the issue.       The question of it came up a few more times, and while he tried to make the right noises about the idea of it, he would make excuses as to why actually attending it wasn’t for him.       He then made a friends with a boy in his class but a year below him – it is a composite class, who also has additional needs.   This other boy goes to the Lego club, and suddenly M wanted to go.     I spoke to the teacher and she was all for him going along.     The first week, he wasn’t too well, so didn’t go.    I did wonder if we were getting the excuses again for not doing any extra curricular activities, but thought I’d try again the next week.     That was when Old Person was ill, and so he was thrown off balance with her in hospital, that he wanted to be with her when she got home.     He therefore didn’t go that week either.         On Monday, when he came home for lunch, I asked him if he wanted to go to the club after school.    I was bracing myself to counter his objections, but instead he said he would.   Not a single argument.     I did think he still had a couple of hours to change his mind!      He arrived home from school and Hubby took him up to the Library where the session is held – it is quicker for him to walk home and then go out rather than try to park at the school at home time!       Hubby stayed with him as it was his first time there.     There were a couple of people M knew from SafeSpace – our local additional needs group, as well as the child from his class.       He was introduced to another boy his age who goes to the other primary school in the town, as the teacher thinks it may be good for them both to have a face they know other than those going with them when they change schools in the summer.       Hubby said that M just got in and started creating, totally oblivious to the surroundings and the people around him.        Give a child something he is confident with and he can achieve!      It was good to know what that it was a good place for him, but a pity it has taken him so long to have his head in the right place to be there.       The next day, the teacher rang me to tell me that she was so pleased to see M there.     I thought that was nice of her to do that.

In the summer, M and I are going to abandon the rest of the household and head to Glasgow for the BrickLive event.    It looks amazing with not just display models to look at, but pits full of bricks for free building.      I think it will be a day he will love as he will be surrounded by something he feels connected to – and no I don’t mean he has little dots on his head to clip things on!

Lego has been great for M as a means to express himself.    It is something he always wants me to do with him, possibly because I’m more patient than his father!!     He sees it as our thing, and that’s lovely.     It is great to have an interest to communicate with him, and I must say my love of Lego has been reignited when we sit for hours trying to find the correct piece, that of course hides when you’re looking for it.

I am looking forward to BrickLive, but think the trip to Denmark might have to be on hold for some time, while we save!