There are weeks that are sent to test us and I have to say this has been one of them and we have been on a major rollercoaster of emotions.
It all began last week actually. I arrived to collect Elliott from playschool as usual and I was called over to speak with the school manager, a VERY experienced and lovely lady Margaret. She basically said that they have concerns regarding Elliott’s development, or lack of, and that she wants to meet with myself and my husband to get the ball rolling to get him additional help and support. BANG!!!!!!!!!!!!! I think my head exploded.
I have posted on my blog previously that we have had concerns regarding Elliott’s behaviour at times and I can’t say that I am hugely shocked that he may not be exactly where he “should” be but still it came as a huge shock that things were that bad. At some things Elliott seems to be beyond his years but at others, like speaking, he is far behind his peers.
I will jump forward in the time line of last weeks events to explain where we are in this at the moment with Elliott and then jump back later.
We went for a meeting with Margaret on Friday and basically what she is saying is that Elliott shows some obsessive behaviours when it comes to toys etc and he doesn’t seem to understand all instruction and because his speech is so poor it is hard to tell what he is actually comprehending as you can’t question him. She said that speech delay isn’t uncommon and alone not normally a cause for concern but in Elliot’s case he does seem to be trying to communicate and it just isn’t coming. Also in a lot of children it doesn’t seem to stunt their social development and in his case it is. Also he doesn’t seem to have any sense of danger (something we have been saying for a long time) and his spacial awareness is poor and he is falling over more than he should be at his age – he was walking at 9 months so his physical ability has never been of major concern to us but she is correct in saying that he falls over a lot.
So what is the current action plan for Elliott? Well all the relevent forms have been sent off to the area SENCO (special educational needs co-ordinator) to get them to asses his educational needs, the SENCO covers all aspects of children who need extra help from those with Dyslexia to those with autism etc. On Wednesday I have a meeting with his health visitor to discuss the referrals she wants to do for him and the doctor is referring him to a pediatrician to see him also as he too feels this needs covering. So we have A LOT of appointments for him in the coming months and I am confident that if there is anything there with all of this going on it WILL get picked up on and we can deal with the situation to hand. At the moment I am trying to keep an open mind but everything seems to have been suggested from just speech delay to mild autism – either way its A LOT to get your head around.and its a stressful time; partly because this degree of problem in Elliott we just weren’t expecting. He was always the first of his baby group to do everything from sitting to walking.
There are things we have been given by the school to help Elliott already, the first is to start using PEC symbols. These are basically simple drawings that help to explain to him visually as well as verbally things he is going to be doing as well as choices he can make, for example if he would like toast or a biscuit – it opens the lines of communication and also encourages him to actively listen as well as say words.
The other thing is to simplify and adapt the way we ask him to do or not do things. Apparently young children don’t really hear most of what we say to them, their brains sort of edit things to the bare essentials. So when we say “Elliott, don’t run” Elliott probably only hears “run” so instead we have to say what we do wan him to do “Elliott, walk”. When you think about it the idea makes a lot of sense.
So that has been Elliott and enough for one week on its own if it wasnt in the midst of Elliott and I being ill with a horrible cough that has been making both of us unwell but then on top I have to go back to the dramatic events on Wednesday with Sam.
I had arrived at school to collect Elliott only to be called over, again, by Margaret to inform me that Elliott had needed to be placed twice in timeout for his behaviour towards the other children. Apparently he had been wrestling them to the ground and pushing them out of his way making them fall. At the time she described it as being spiteful, which sent my brain into another frenzy because Elliott had never been deliberately nasty to another child in his life – without “reason” – Later she did retract this statement and said he wasnt actually trying to hurt anyone, more that he just didn’t understand the effect of his actions on others and they were caught in his general bulldozer attitude. As this wasnt until the following Friday I was left with my head just spinning, in the space of a week I had gone from having an affectionate, if not over enthusiastic child that had a quirky personality and I few behaviour issues to having a spiteful child with developmental delay issues that need further investigation.
So we walk to get the bus and one is pulling off as we approach the stop. I manage to flag it down and unusually the bus driver actually indicated back in to allow us to climb aboard. I thanked him for saving me 20 very stressful minutes waiting for the next bus with and impatient Elliott and we got ourselves seated. Sam was in his pram in the buggy parking section and Elliott was sat next to me on the seat directly to the side of the pram. I zoned out at this point, wondering what on earth was happening to Elliott, imagining the worst and trying to kick my brain into being positive and less than 5 minutes after sitting down we went around the roundabout too fast, gravity took hold of Sams pram and before I knew it the pram was being tipped over throwing Sam out of the carrycot and onto the ground! He was left in a screaming crumpled mess in the corner next to the back door and the next seat. I let out a scream to stop the bus the type of which I never want to have to leave my mouth again. The man seating behind us also did so and while I raced to get Sam he grabbed the pram and reset it before it could go over anymore!
I just sat there on the bus shaking and in tears holding a screaming Sam and not daring to let him move too much for fear he had gone over on his neck, The driver asked if I wanted him to call an ambulance and the man who had witnessed the accident said “yes, if you saw it you would know you have to.” Elliott just kept shouting “baby, baby, baby hurt!” – he had witnessed the whole thing. I don’t think I dared look at Sam and was just sitting there shaking, the ambulance was called and we all just sat there and waited. My practical brain kicked in enough to phone Steve and tell him there had been an accident and to meet me at the hospital but that was going to take a while so I called my friend Ruth to come and collect Elliott asap so I didn’t have to deal with him and sort out Sam. She arrived and had taken him home before the ambulance had even arrived on the scene – it felt like forever and was around 40 minutes all in.
When they arrived they took Sam from me and said that he looked ok but they had to take him to hospital for a thorough check over so it was off in the ambulance to children’s A&E, where Sam has been FAR too often in his short life! There he was sent from triage to the day assessment unit where the Dr said he needed to stay for 4 hours under observation but could then go home. The next thing I know a senior registrar decided to look at him and he decides that Sam in fact needed to be kept overnight because he had an obvious head injury – he had a big red bruise from where he had hit the ground – and he needed to make sure he had no injury to his stomach.
The night went well, Steve came in with Elliott to bring us a change of clothes etc….never a good thing for a man to pack a bag for hospital – I had a nightshirt and nothing else and Sam didn’t have anything to play with except a cuddly toy. Sam had to have his own room as he is only 4 months old and he was finding his white box very dull and was understandably unsettled anyway so the only thing that would stop him moaning was walking him around the corridors so that he could flirt with the drs and nurses – they all soon fell for his charms and wanted to take him home. At around midnight he was still awake and fractious and I was beyond exhausted. I took him for yet another wonder and as we went out of the door it swung back and banged him on the other side of his head!!! I couldn’t believe it, after everything he already had going on! He eventually settled down, the dr checked his now second head injury, which had now disappeared – at 2 am his obs were taken and then we recommenced our uncomfortable nights sleep. Sam currently wont sleep on his own – what baby doesn’t want to be cuddled 24/7 – all the hospital had provided me to sleep on was a recliner chair and it wasnt either comfortable or practical to sleep on with a 4 month old so needless to say I didn’t sleep all night.
In the morning I was given cereal as I’m breastfeeding – thank goodness as I was starving having hardly eaten at all the previous day – and after a once over by the dr and a bunch of medical students Sam was allowed home on the understanding that if he displayed any symptoms of head or stomach trauma he was to return straight to the hospital.
We ironically got the bus home – I figured if we waited for Steve we would still be there at lunchtime – and funnily enough I got Sam OUT of his pram on the bus, something I am sure he was also grateful for.
By Thursday evening Sam had developed the same nasty cough etc as Elliott and I had been suffering and although he displayed some of the symptoms we were supposed to return to hospital on I was pretty sure that they were co-incidental due to the cough and so had him double checked at the Dr’s the next morning who confirmed this.
All in it was a VERY stressful week that I am happy to see the back of! I have a lot more to say about Sams accident but for now that is the outline of the actual events, and also explaination as to where we have been this past week. I have so much to blog about at the moment its untrue – I have product tests to write up for Nuby, Bambino Mio, BumGenius, Fireman Sam AND Wow toys as well as other bits and pieces – as well as a peice on the photographer Saraya Cortaville; who had taken stunning pictures of both of my children this past year and who recently did a shoot with Sam. I havent forgotten anything. I have a long list sat on my machine and I am working out a blogging schedule so that I can get on top of it all.
I am going to try to keep my blog up to date with what is happening with all these meeting, tests etc for Elliott – I always try to make my blog informative and with it in mind that someone may find the things that happen in our family useful to them in some way and this si another journey I think it could be of benefit to take you on from day one.