Archive | April 2016

Return to Paper Mountain

“Transferring Buzz’s statement of education to an EHCP, shouldn’t take much! It should be really straight forward”

“The paperwork work we will need to do, won’t be any more than has been needed for his reviews in the past!”

“Taking over Buzz’s personal SEN budget will give you the flexibility and freedom you need to fund and timetable a weekly plan for him that suits his needs, without having to bankroll it yourself, and all you need to do is keep a record of all spending, mileage, DBS checks and employer insurance details. It will be easy for you!”

I have a feeling the professionals are living on a different planet to myself because: –

Straight forward, they said! – Let me think……… Um. No wait this is an easy one to answer. NO IT IS NOT! 99% of Buzz’s statement is now not relevant and this, along with results of his recent assessments, means that the whole document practically needs rewriting, instead of minor editing.

No extra paperwork, they said! – please see previous comment, and then add an entire week of mind-melting, soul-sapping, time-eating, sleep-depriving hurricane of box files, invoice/receipts, reports, emails, phonecalls, budgets and timetables, squeezed into every spare second of an already full and busy week of Home Education, housework, food shopping, school runs, meetings, letterbox contact letter writing, dog walking – actually Beedog has been a good excuse to take regular breaks………. Oh and of course, not forgetting writing this weeks’ #WASO post.

More flexibility and freedom, they said! – Okay I will give them this…………Hahaha! Who are they kidding? Freedom and flexibility, well yes it will give me the ‘freedom and flexibility to tailor Buzz’s weekly timetable to his needs without financially crippling Bumble and I, but what is it they say? “Be careful what you ask for”, “There is no such thing as a free lunch”.

Some of you will know that we felt forced to deregister Buzz from his primary school, because neither he nor they were coping. We fought to get him an SEN Statement that specifies that he should be placed in a Specialist School. Trouble was – there wasn’t one suitable, and he wasn’t ready in any case. So for the last two years, I have been home educating him.

Now, please don’t think I am being ungrateful for the opportunity to have direct access to funding that can be used to enhance and open doors to future learning opportunities for Buzzbee, with the sensitive support he may need. From the moment the lead SEN worker assigned to Buzz’s case suggested that it may be an option that the SEN panel would consider a viable option for him, as they are currently not in a position to provide him with suitable specialist educational provision, I could see the positives to taking full responsibility for providing him with what he needs to progress not only academically but socially and emotionally.

workinghardHowever, it has come as somewhat a shock, the depth and volume of research and planning that I am currently having to put into creating an acceptable Direct payment budget proposal to present to panel.

  • Complete costing breakdown and proof of payment for any current activity or home ed based learning tools and equipment that we are using to support Buzz with his timetable.
  • Complete financial breakdown of proposals of current and future activities/timetabling and the expenditures that will occur as a result.
  • A breakdown of timescales and frequency for each activity.
  • A detailed description of the activity/subject and how this fits into Buzz’s home ed timetable and how it ties in with his SEN needs – and when I say detailed, I mean detailed!

And, I haven’t even mentioned the long list of amendments/rewrites that are needed in order for Buzz’s statement to transition with moderate ease (fingers, toes and eyes tightly crossed).

While the reality of taking on this challenge is most certainly not straight forward and my mind keeps drifting off into space and questioning what I am doing and whether I am in fact up to the mammoth responsibility this entails, the long and PAINFUL process of dissecting Buzz’s home education experience has also, in a very strange way, been a positive experience and has quelled extended bouts of self-doubt and criticism of myself when it comes to the quality and extent of Buzzbee’s learning experience.

Buzz may still find physically reading and writing stressful, and fight me on a daily basis when presented with activities or exercises that he needs to complete. Yet he is now rarely asking for someone to read dialogues or game instructions when playing on the computer or tablet, and he will often find himself a note book and jot down random words he has seen around or practise spelling words he is familiar with.

I have worried that there is a limited volume of work physically produced to prove his is learning and not sat all day playing games and watching TV (he wishes), but in truth he has been exposed to so much more than I could have possibly expected, both through direct and indirect exposure to educational opportunities.

What Buzzbee lacks in core literacy and numeracy skills, he more than makes up for in physical and verbal demonstrations of the wealth of information and knowledge his has absorbed, and my little caterpillar is slowly breaking out of his chrysalis and morphing into a bright and articulate butterfly before our eyes.

hungrycat

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Easter mayhem

Stop the bus, I need to get off!!!!

I have been struggling to get posts out lately for various reasons, so I thought maybe this week I would write a ‘Easter Holiday update’ instead and maybe it will give you some insight into one of the reasons I have struggled to keep up with anything, let alone #WASO posts.

Okay maybe that is a little dramatic but after having both the boys home together for the Easter Holidays, it would be fair to say Bumble and I are certainly feeling it more than we probably should be admitting too, and I have started counting down the days until Waxy returns to school and I get them both back into their routines.

To be fair to Buzzbee for the first 5 days of the holidays, he was completely wiped out thanks to a pretty horrible cold virus and fever. He is on the mend now, although going on the increased volume of meltdowns and irritability, he is still not feeling 100% and DOES NOT have any self-regulation reserves left to call upon but on the plus side, he is currently falling to sleep easier.

mummytime

During the time Buzzbee was under the weather, he was needing ‘mummy cuddle time’ almost 24/7 and Beeswax has found this difficult to manage and his responses towards Bumble and myself spoke volumes about how he felt about his little brother receiving so much attention. I am guessing that he was also feeling a little rejected by Buzzbee because in the past if Buzz was poorly, he would have wanted his big brother and only his big brother. So for Buzzbee now to have transferred his need for comfort from Waxy to Bumble and I must have been really difficult for Waxy to manage, and on top of this, despite Bumble and I bending over backwards to make sure he receives the attention he needed, Waxy’s jealousy and fear of vulnerability shone through – in all honesty he was a complete nightmare and at times, I was really struggling to remain calm and empathetic with him – “5 hours sleep in 72 hours makes Honey a cranky mummy”.

Easter Sunday we visited Bumble’s family to celebrate his eldest brother’s 50th birthday and secretly I was praying that Buzzbee would not be up to the 4-hour round trip. Not because I didn’t want to catch up with Bumble’s family. No! I was dreading having to take Buzzbee to my brother-in-law’s because he has had an amazing new kitchen conversion done and during our visit at Christmas, it took Buzzbee exactly 1 minute to go completely bonkers and into sensory overdrive.   He had a ball, but Bumble and I were cringing every few minutes as he slipped and slid across their brilliant, shiny white floor tiles in his socks, belly, bottom and oh yes, a ‘awesome fast’ wheeled computer chair. And, don’t even get me started on the window blinds or giant brass lightshades.

Thankfully our nephew had a trick up his sleeve, which, after the organised chaos of lunchtime, was in fact a complete godsend. He has recently started working on a working dairy farm and had arranged with his boss for us all to visit after lunch to see where he works and visit the cows and calves, including one beautiful little one that had only been born the day before. Buzzbee was in his element and wanted to take the calf home with him.

I guess we could say despite Bumble and my concerns, the day was actually a successful day.

holycow

The majority of the duration of the holidays the boys seem to be permanently preparing to spontaneously combust with almost every event or person that they are involved with – Okay, it hasn’t helped that I haven’t felt too great myself and have certainly not been bringing my ‘A game’.

Last weekend Bumble had to go away, and the boys were less than thrilled about the idea of having mummy ‘all to themselves’ all weekend – apparently I am really boring and don’t let them have too much computer time when daddy isn’t home to talk me around. Okay they are right I am stricter on computer time but then in my defence when Bumble isn’t around, the boys ALWAYS seem to unravel quicker when playing too long on electronics.

As always I had a plan and I was crossing my fingers that it worked for us all.   Which thankfully it did, and I am determined to chalk it up as a positive weekend – that is if I just pretend the 12 emotional meltdowns on the Sunday from Buzzbee while bowling and before bedtime didn’t happen.

After spending so much time at home because of Buzzbee, and then myself feeling under the weather, it was great on the Saturday to get the boys out in the fresh air and visit their favourite safari park for a few hours before returning home and having some computer time. Everyone happy and the boys ALMOST managed a whole 3 hours without trying to take chunks out of each other.

Sunday on the other hand! From the moment the boys woke up, they felt like the world had it in for them. First the WIFI went down which meant no Netflix while they had breakfast (which incidentally, mummy managed to burn because she was distracted with picking up the pieces of their latest argument). I then discover that there is no water coming through the taps, which sends Buzz into a complete irrational panic that we are all going to shrivel up and die from dehydration. Eventually we were notified that workmen had managed to damage a water main and the water would be off for an undeterminable amount of time.   Time for plan B, get the boys out of the house for a few hours. After several activity suggestions were rejected by one or the other (but most of the time, both of them), we finally agreed that should go bowling and have lunch out.

Simple. Right?

Oh how I wish it had been. I only have myself to blame, after the morning’s meltdowns, I should have realised that Buzzbee was not in the right headspace to cope with being in an open space with lots of people and noises surrounding him, let alone the challenges that a bowling alley can bring.

He was just about holding on and then the boys’ ultra-competitive streak kicked in and the emotional fireworks began, over and over again. Buzzbee (who in fact was winning) perceived he had thrown badly, so fell apart. Waxy then got extremely irritated with Buzzbee “showing him up” and became verbally aggressive with him, and so it carried on for a game and a half until mummy ordered 2 glasses of cold, blue ‘magical’ drinks (Slush puppies to you and I).

Buzzbee’s game improved as did his mood and just in the nick of time because the events that followed his next throw of the bowling ball, potentially could have been the final nail in the coffin in his mind. Thankfully instead, it was the turning point for all three of us and gave us a much needed laugh – not to mention the family in the alley next to us.

Buzzbee’s ball ricocheted off the lane bumper and got itself stuck between the rail and the gutter. In an attempt to help his little brother, Waxy told him not to worry and just throw another ball and when the rail goes down it will just roll down the gutter.

So, Buzzbee threw another ball! Into the gutter! Where his other ball was already sitting!   Buzzbee had taken Waxy’s words literally and in his mind, he had done just as his big brother had told him. Waxy’s face was a picture. His jaw almost dropped to his kneecaps in disbelief. Obviously he meant carry on with the game and throw the balls at the pins but his choice of words meant that Buzzbee had misinterpreted his advice.   Waxy finally now understands why we tell him to be careful how he says things to Buzzbee because he will more often than not take those words very literally.

bowlingtime

Thankfully at the beginning of this week, Buzzbee’s dance classes restarted and for one evening at least, having a little part of his routine being put back in place meant that Buzzbee seemed to have relaxed a little. Or maybe, I was just feeling a little more relaxed because I knew I would be travelling down to my parents the next morning and would have reinforcements until Friday evening.

OMG they were at each other’s’ throats the entire time we were staying at my parents. I really do not know what had got into them but as always my parents were great and operation ‘divide and conquer’ was put in place and between the three of us, we kept the boys apart and distracted.

As I sit here writing this #WASO post, sitting in the lounge of my parent’s caravan, I am pleased to report that both the boys are currently laughing and joking with each other while playing Monopoly, as if the events of the previous days has never happened – I would love to know how they can do that because I am a wrung out dishrag after the last several days of dramas.