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Our special autism and ADHD needs

Our journey has felt quite traumatic for us and I realised how lonely and overwhelming all of this must be for all Special Education Need (SEN) parents. That is where my SEN Facebook page was born. It was a way for me to offload, share our stories and any useful information I came across, in the hope that it may help others in a similar position.

Our family started in 2013 with the early arrival of our son, Joshua.

The years seemed to suddenly pass by so quickly with our new busy bundle! We always said he was an outdoor child and a fussy eater, but as first time parents we didn't notice anything 'different' until around 4 years of age. With twin brothers arriving and starting school in 2017, Joshua had two very big changes taking place and all at the same time! His brothers arrived 8 weeks early and this meant that we were living in and out of the hospital for a good 4 weeks until Jacob and Jamie could come home.


What a lot to deal with! I know I was exhausted and feeling like my world was never going to be the same again, not to mention how Joshua must be coping?! I remember seeing Joshua come along to visit his newborn siblings and noticing a different child in front of me. His eyes were different.




It soon became apparent that there was a lot of resentment towards his brothers, behaviour was changing at home and around year 2, school finally started seeing the other side to him. Aggressive outbursts including hurting others, throwing chairs and even having the class evacuated on some occasions. With Joshua escalating and the twins growing up as two extremely busy little people too, our family was struggling.



Both my husband and I were working full time and the pressure of a balanced life was taking its toll on my mental health. I was having to attend appointments, deal with incidents at school, social services and more...I didn't know how much more we could take.

We couldn't wait for Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS) to diagnose Josh so we decided we were going private. An expense we couldn't afford but we felt the wait would be detrimental to everyone in the household.

We got a diagnosis of autism and Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). School applied for an Education, Health and Care Plan (EHCP), which thankfully was approved. Interventions, as well as support were being put in place.



Gradually Josh was calming down, but still with aggressive outbursts at home. These being mainly aimed at myself and his brothers. Alongside this, the twins were showing signs of possible ADHD and autism. Thankfully, they were referred while at nursery under the Community Paediatrics. The wait would be a while, but nothing like CAMHS thankfully.

Again, home life was continually becoming too overwhelming and I decided to leave my full-time job of 14 years to give myself the opportunity to accommodate all the appointments, phone-calls, courses, paperwork and time to also deal with my anxiety which had reached an all time high. I never admitted it, but I think I was mid-breakdown and burnt out.

After 2 years of supporting the boys, attending every parenting course offered, fighting for support, more appointments, more paperwork, medication reviews for Joshua and building my confidence and knowledge, we have got to a place where we feel we are a functioning family.



We have a lot to still challenge us such as secondary school placement next (which will be through panel) - and hormones joining us too!

Our journey has felt quite traumatic for us and I realised how lonely and overwhelming all of this must be for all SEN parents. That is where my SEN Facebook page was born. It was a way for me to offload, share our stories and any useful information I came across, in the hope that it may help others in a similar position. It's grown into something more than I've ever expected and I'm so proud of the courage I took to put myself out there, vulnerable but fortunate to have our voices heard and respected in such a supportive following. If it wasn't for this outlet, this may have been a different story...



 


Leandra is a SEN Mother of 3 boys

and a popular Oxfordshire SEN blogger - a.k.a @Sentipede


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