Hello world. It’s been a long time since I wrote here. So I thought I’d drop you a line to let you know i’m still around and give you a brief update.
So much has happened over the last month. We had a lovely holiday in Greece, which I will write about when I gather myself together enough. It is sometimes only when you go on a holiday like that away from all the stresses, strains and distractions of reality that you realise how much you needed the break. This was definitely the case for me this year, and partly why it has taken me so long to come back here.
Having the break gave me time to think and to consider what really matters and what changes we might be able to make to help B with secondary school, to manage my stress and anxiety levels and to try to balance family and work in a way that works for all of us.
We have been back from our holiday for about 2 weeks and the first week was an absolute whirlwind. We went to the Paralympics, which was absolutely fantastic and B started his new school.
School has, as predicted, been a huge change and has caused all of us some degree of stress. B has handled it really well. He seems quite happy about going to school, but his anxieties are coming out at the end of the day. He is quite confused about what homework he has and when. It is causing stress because he wants to come home and shut himself away and escape into his computer games, but I am seen as the big bad wolf because I want him to tell me about school so that I can help him with planning and homework. I am aslo trying to identify whether or not he can see what is going on. On the face of it B says it is all fine and he can see everything, but when I look in his books and talk about homework it is clear that he can’t see some of the things and he is still having to handwrite notes, which means that he isn’t going to be able to read them.
I have sent a couple of emails to the school and already had one meeting with the SENCO (Special Needs Co-ordinator). The responses, so far, seem very positive, so we are very hopeful that the issues will be resolved and that B will be fine, but at the moment it is a full-time job for me to support the process and to remain calm enough and sure enough to deal with the evenings explosions of pent up emotions and stress.
Which brings me to the other big change for the next few months. I had been so stressed before the summer and was struggling to balance work and all my other commitments. The stress was meaning that I wasn’t able to be as patient as I would like with the children and was often feeling too overwhelmed myself to support B with his anxieties. D and I talked about solutions while we were away and decided that for the time being I should stop work.
Part of the reason for not writing the blog for a few weeks was because I needed to discuss this with the Trustees at work. The details are not clear yet, but I am clear that I cannot work for the next few months.
I will write more about some of these things in the next few weeks as I think these decisions and the negotiations we are having with school are so telling about the struggles that disabled people have. In our family we have to balance the complexities of our visual impairment as parents, with the needs of the children, ensuring their visual needs are met in school, finding our way through the fog of aspergers syndrome with B and managing my struggles with depression and anxiety. We do all this whilst trying to work, run a house, negotiate and jump through the hoops of the benefits and special educational needs system and give the children a range of life experiences. When I write it like this I realise that sometimes its inevitable that the wheels come off and we have to drop one of the balls. It does make me think when this happens, of the number of families who are dealing with different, but equally demanding issues and the judgements that some people make about scroungers and lay-abouts. If you had to drop one of the above balls would it be your job or the decision to support your child in their education?
I hope to get back to some more regular blogging soon, but am also trying to have some time for me in order to keep the strength to support B.
Keep your fingures crossed and wish us luck
Thanks for reading