Mayo Autism Support

(MASA)

(MASA)

The one thing I will always remember about the  day I was first told my lovely Conor has Autism was that over whelming feeling of fear followed quickly by the absolute devastating feeling of being alone. Just under 5 years ago when Conor was first diagnosed I did not know one other person on the planet my age who had a child with special needs let alone Autism.  [Read more…]

Facing the unknown

 

Baby Jack is famous! x

Baby Jack is famous! x

Life is all about facing the unknown.x If you had told me a year ago I would have two boys with special needs and that both my lovely boys would not be able to speak, I would not physically have been able to cope with the prospect. I have already lived the last 6  years of my life raising my gorgeous Conor and would not have expected that now Jack would join him on his Autism journey. [Read more…]

Conor’s Autism

Autism

Baby Conor

Conor’s Autism

I have been asked so many times recently about Conor and how we found out about him having Autism. I usually give the good version and say we found out when he was less than 18 months old and at that time he was the youngest in the County to ever be diagnosed. It is all true but what lead to that diagnosis has been some of the hardest most painful years of my life. I decided to finally write down how it all happened and I may come back later to add more to it as I don’t think I could mentally cope with remembering all that happened and all we have been through all at once so for now I have written my first draft for you to read. It will be in two parts as it is a long story.x I’l post the second part in a week or so , once I have built up the courage to write it. So for now here is Part 1 of Conor’s Autism.- [Read more…]

Bed Time Printable

Bed Time Printable

For many children having a Visual Schedule helps them to make more sense of their world. It creates concrete ideas of what is happening now, next and later. For children with Special Needs in particular Autism having Visual Schedules explaining different routines/ plans for the day/ how to carry out differing tasks etc, are an essential part of their learning, understanding and communicating. I recently made a Visual for Conor explaining his Bed Time Routine so he would know what he had to do and the steps involved. He is at a stage now where he can follow very detailed instructions through pictures. [Read more…]

Valerie Sheehan Interview

Valerie Sheehan

A picture by Denis Scannell of Author Valerie Sheehan.

As many of you will know we are a house of avid readers. When I can’t find Hailey in our house I will usually locate her deeply engrossed in one of the many books that line the shelves in her room. Conor is the same he has boxes of books all over the house and well Jack likes the taste of a good book for now lol! But has his own mini collection of picture books in his Toy chest. I like to think I passed on my love of reading to the kids as it is a great way to escape from the world and get lost in the sea of words that fill the pages. I studied Law and English for many years so you can imagine I have read a great many books in my time.

Recently we were very lucky to be sent on some fab books from the very lovely Valerie Sheehan, Author of the Tony the Turtle series. A full review of the Tony the Turtle series to follow.

Having spoken to Valerie many times about her Book Series and the positive messages each book contains, she very kindly agreed to an Interview.x  [Read more…]

Autism knocks on the door

Baby Jack

Baby Jack

It is not often I am speechless (probably all the tea) but this summer I was shocked into silence, stunned actually. It was from something I hadn’t completely ruled out but you always, always hope your worst fear would not come true.It took me the last few months to get my feet back under me, and finally I have.
You see I am very lucky to have 3 gorgeous children; a beautiful girl and two super handsome boys. We have been living with Autism in our house for the last almost 6 years and it has brought many ups and a very many downs as we tried to find our way with it all.
Then we had Jack and we were so so delighted to have another gorgeous baby to hold and to love and to love us back All was well. [Read more…]

Special Needs Back To School Checklist

Back to School Checklist

 

The School journey for children begins again in less than a week. For most the start of school life or the return for another year brings excitement, anticipation, a few nerves at best. For children with special needs this can be an increasingly daunting time, knowing the start of the new school term is fast approaching, bringing with it possible anxiety, meltdowns and real fear of change and the unknown.

♥Children starting school.

If your child is starting school for the first time, both of you may be feeling anxious and nervous right now about what may lay ahead. There are things you can do to prepare your little one for the impending school term, to help them cope and feel ready to start. [Read more…]

Special Needs Moms need to know

Autism Awareness

♥ You are doing the best you can.

You are doing your best right now and that is enough. When you feel guilty that you are not doing enough for your child, that you could be doing more, know that all special needs moms have felt just as you do right now. You can always do more later, write out what needs to be achieved in a list and tackle it one point at a time, you have so much going on in your life right now caring for your family and your child(ren) with special needs, your best right now is enough.

♥ You are not alone.

We are all here waiting for you. Becoming a special needs parent can be both heartbreaking & overwhelming, just know that you are not alone, there will always be someone who has walked this road before you. There are thousands of special needs parents living in Ireland today and around the world. Social media groups are an excellent source of support/advice/friendship online, Facebook is an excellent online window to such groups. Come find us.

[Read more…]

Alone at the School Gates

School gates

I remember my first day of school like it was yesterday. My lovely daddy drove me to school that day in a little navy van. Sitting up the front beside him we arrived at the school gates where my teacher Mrs. Martin met me with a big reassuring smile. I however was undeterred  on my plan to hold on tight to my dad’s leg, forcing him to obviously bring me home with him.  I remember hugging my dad so tight never wanting to let him go. Mrs. Martin eventually wrenched me off his leg, enveloping me in a warm hug and carried me off to my first day of school. Every day after that first day I was excited to go to school, to learn all the magic that was held in it’s books, I fell deeply in love with school & learning from that day on, the love of learning has stayed with me ever since.

First Day Feelings.

When I had my own lovely children I imagined dropping them off to school, passing on my love of learning to them, teaching them in the evening. I was really looking forward to the dropping off/picking up, kissing & hugging them into oblivion. I was equally looking forward to each of their first days at school, the part you always see in the movies where the moms wait at the school gates chatting, exchanging knowing glances of nerves & excitement, wondering how their Little Puddins coped on their first day of school. I was so so lucky I got to experience that fleeting feeling of excitement when Hailey started school as I didn’t realize then that it would be the only time I would get to experience a “first day” like that.

[Read more…]

I’m glad I don’t have Autism.

When I think of Conor and the future I try to think not too far ahead, thinking instead of small steps of progress. I am always hopeful of the future but not of my breaking heart. When I think of what may lie ahead I feel a lump in my throat, anxiety jumps around inside my stomach as if he were on a trampoline, my heart starts to feel a sort of fragile pain almost like a whispering wind whirling around it, usually at this point my mind supersedes my frail heart helping me to focus on something else more present like what I am doing at that particular instant. That is how I cope with all that raising a child with Special Needs brings, don’t look too far ahead, focus on the here, the now.

Big sister

When your daughter asks repeatedly when her little brother is going to talk, or that she can’t wait until he can so she has someone to talk to it is like a knife to the heart cutting jaggedly at each tiny piece falling away. She has every right to wonder, to want an answer & to be hopeful. I can see how it plays on her mind, she is accepting of what is, but still wonders why/when he will talk, why he has autism, why he can’t go to the same school with her, why her brother is different to her friend’s brothers.

[Read more…]