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Mikey’s Progress: Portage, Speech Therapy & Nursery

When Mikey had his two year check back in October 2016, I mentioned to my health visitor I had some concerns about the fact he wasn’t speaking, making eye contact or responding to his name.

The first avenue we took was a hearing test.

A few people had mentioned he seemed deaf or that he may have hearing problems, we went for a hearing test and he passed with flying colours.

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So the next route we took was removing his dummy and limiting his TV time, which improved his focus and he started to make a few sounds, but we decided together he needs some support.

So we had three options to explore: Speech Therapy, Portage and Nursery

This was October last year and I didn’t quite feel he was ready for nursery so, I went to a Speech Therapy drop in session and my health visitor applied for Portage, which went to a panel along with other applications and it was decided Mikey would qualify for it.

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Fast forward to January 2017 he had his first appointment session of Speech Therapy and is now saying the words: Bubbles, Up, Pop, Daddy, Jack, Bot Bot and Yeah.

He now goes to nursery twice a week and runs off without saying bye, then cries when I pick him up because he wants to stay there (charming).

Plus on Tuesday he had his first Portage session.

I felt nervous and excited about his first session with the Portage worker, I didn’t really know what to expect.

I knew their aims were to improve his eye-contact, socialising and interaction, we’d discussed that in the initial meeting and I felt happy with these goals.

The session went really well, she brought along some toys that meant Mikey had to give her eye contact and she put her thumbs up and said “good looking” every time he looked at her.

I saw a great improvement even after just one session, so I’m excited that he has this weekly.

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The fact is that Mikey is extremely clever, (like scary clever) he knows what he wants and he sees the world in his own way and he lives by it.

Time and time again I keep getting asked what “they” think is “wrong with him” by people, especially because the Autism word keeps getting thrown around.

NOTHING is “wrong” with him, there is so much right with him, he’s so intelligent and if anything overly independent for his age.

Plus it’s not for “them” to decide.

Who are “they” anyway?

Professionals who don’t know him?

I’m his mother and it doesn’t matter to me what label may or may not be given to my son, because to me a label doesn’t change who he is, I love him for exactly who he is right now, his quirks, his meltdowns, the special little moments we get together.

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It isn’t for anyone else to change those things, but of course I take into consideration that he may need support and I would never hold him back from anything that can make his life easier to live, I mean celebrities pay thousands for therapies, it can’t do any harm whatsoever, so my thinking process is…why not?

I’m having these therapies put in place for him, partially because his health visitor suggested it and I completely trust her judgement, he is a very kind person, with a lot of experience and really cares for Mikey. Also my own instincts as mother tell me that although it works for him now being self-serving and not interacting with others, that it may be a struggle for him when he’s older, but there’s a good chance it won’t be.

I’d rather him have gentle therapies now to support him at a young age where he knows no different and prevent any future struggles that may happen, than waiting to see if he has to undo habits once he is in school, when it will be much harder for him because he will have more of a comprehension of the fact it is support he is getting, rather than knowing no different.

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The support he is getting has improved his interaction, eye-contact, socialising and speech in such a short space of time, I’m so proud of him and how well he is doing.

If anyone else is going through a similar journey with their child please comment, I’d love to hear from you about your experience or just to know about your little one.

I will keep you updated on his progress.

Thanks for reading!

michael

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Mikey’s Progress: Speech Therapy & Portage

If you follow my blog, you’ll know my son Mikey has just turned two and has recently been referred to SALT (Speech and Language Therapist) and Portage for some of his behaviours and the fact he isn’t speaking yet.

He’s only just turned two

So speaking to the everyday parent, everyone I’ve spoken to has had the same reaction “What?! All that intervention already? He’s only just turned two!”. 

Look, they aren’t wrong, but the fact is he is struggling in certain aspects of his life, it’s only a flicker at the moment, but his social skills, interaction and communication are just not developing at the “average” rate, and before you say it…I know! Every kid is different and Mikey is my extra special unique little boy, he looks at the world differently to the rest of us, he doesn’t tell me that, but I just know.

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So what’s wrong with a bit of therapy? That’s all it is! Some gentle support along the way, so if there is the chance of him struggling when he’s older, we don’t “wait and see”, we give him the support he needs now, there won’t be a huge barrier he hits in a few years. Think about it, celebs pay thousands for therapy, Mikey’s getting it free, why not?!

For those who don’t know Speech and Language Therapists provide support for a whole host of people with different support needs, one of which being children  who struggle to speak. 

If you ask Google what Portage is, it’s “The carrying of a boat or it’s cargo between two navigable waters” but for our little Mikey it means “a home-visiting educational service for pre-school children with additional support needs and their families”.

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This week he had his first proper session of Speech Therapy, I say “proper” because the first one we went to was a drop in session where she assessed if he needed further support, which she did, so on Monday we went along and said “Bubbles, Up, Pop, More and Yeah”w we had been given “homework” which was a sheet of paper with tips on to improve his speech, so over Christmas we’d perfected “Bubbles”, he’d said the odd other word, but it was like he’s saved it all up for his speech therapist and since that first session he’s non-stopped babbled, it’s amazing to hear his little voice, I’m excited by how much he’s progressed, he seems so much happier already.

We had his initial visit from Portage and they just wanted to know all about him, us and our life. They were telling me about Portage and how they interact with him through play and that it will improve his interactive skills, I’m so happy they have this support available and that my little boy gets to take advantage of it, we start his first session at the end of the month, so I’ll update on his progress.

The world would be a better place

I know a lot of parents are in a similar position to me, there is an Autistic question mark floating around and it’s hard to know what is the right thing to do when it comes to letting intervention take place and introducing therapies. I’m only at the start of this journey, I don’t know if Mikey is Autistic, there is no way of knowing, but it doesn’t matter, he’s MY baby, no label is going to change how special he is to me or anything  about him, if he needs different support to other children, then so what? He’s unique and sees the world in his own special way and do you know what? I think if we were all a little more like Mikey the world would be a better place.

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Bubbles

If you follow my blog, you’ll know my son Mikey is about to start speech therapy. He’s just turned two and still doesn’t speak, he makes the odd sound but no words yet, not any that he will say more than once anyway.

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There is a question of Autism that keeps getting brought up every now and again, but I’m all for the gentle approach, so we’re starting with some therapies to see how he gets on.

He is very close in age to his older brother Jack and people say the older sibling sometimes “talk for” the younger one, so that’s a theory I’m willing to accept, but I’m open to the option there is the possibility of other reasons for his speech delay. It’s a case of time will tell.

So he has an appointment for his first speech therapy session in January, but until then we’ve been given a little homework to help him. One was rolling a ball to each other to increase his eye contact, which does help, but we’re still getting the hang of sitting him still to do that and the other was blowing bubbles.

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It’s surprising how easy the word bubbles is to say and how blowing bubbles to your child can improve their eye contact. We’ve only tried it for a few days and Mikey is already saying the word bubbles, not every time, but it’s definitely improving.

Plus it’s something that all the kids enjoy and it’s not a strenuous task, there is never an bad time to blow bubbles for kids.

I’m looking forward to his speech therapy starting and to see how he progresses, I’ll keep you updated.

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Learning Success: A Review

Learning Success

All people are different…right? No two people are the same, we all know that. So why would our learning needs be the same? That’s because we all have different learning needs.

I know this very well I have two boys and girl and the boys couldn’t be any more different to each other in personality and in their learning.

But how do we teach our kids and cater to their diverse learning needs? Learning Success has the answer.

Learning Success was created by a great team of people including Liz and Phil Weaver, both with numerous years in Kung Fu under their belts, therefore they both have great experience in what works and what doesn’t with learning new skills and how to overcome issues.

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They’ve created this great online system, with daily lessons that spell out ways of thinking that are so simple, once you’ve read it, you wonder why we haven’t been learning this way all along.

My son Mikey learns differently, he is going through Speech Therapy and Portage at the moment, but I was struggling with how to interact with him and support his learning at home. With Learning Success I realised I was trying to cram too much into one day and we were bound to fail doing it that way. This way we do 15 minutes a day! That’s such a small amount right? But it’s the right amount, to keep Mikey interested and make sure his learning is about quality and not quantity.

It’s a great tool for parents as well as children, it changes your way of thinking and if you follow it and stick to it you are bound to succeed.

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The daily activities come straight to your email and are quick and easy to do, but make a lot of difference. After only using Learning Success I have noticed a difference in Mikey’s interaction. Suddenly he’s making eye contact and starting to say words instead of getting frustrated, this is something I’ve been waiting for, we tried everything and it all seemed to fail. Using Learning Success was a gentle approach to learning and it worked for us.

My eldest son has a quick approach to learning, he picks skills up really quickly and he even loves Learning Success too, I was focusing more on Mikey for the lessons because he needed more support but Jack enjoying joining in and taking part in the lessons as well so it can be used by the entire family.

The online system has a vast array of information and there is more, I’ve focused more on how it works with your child because that’s what I used Learning Success for and if I’m honest what I thought it was for, but it is for Adults too! Let’s face it, it isn’t only children who need learning support, at any age support can help with education, career or even just every day life and now Learning Success is here to help us.

Whether its reading, writing, math, spelling or something else, Learning Success is really what it says on the tin…successful learning. There isn’t many programs out there like this, it isn’t just a company trying to get you to sign up, this is really passionate people who actually want to help you. The videos and learning programs include the creators of this great site and it really shows they have put their heart and soul into making this programme so it works.

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My children aren’t of school age yet, but I know of so many parents whose child has been diagnosed with a learning disability such as Dyslexia, Dyscalculia, ADD/ADHD, or Dysgraphia, but are given no support on how to deal with it, well now learning success can provide you with the support to learn in an appropriate way that suits you and your needs. You don’t have to suffer with these problems, the help is there waiting for you with Learning Success, you just need to take it.

If you are waiting for the catch….there isn’t one. The only thing Learning Success requires is that you commit, you commit at your own pace in your own time. If you don’t do the lessons it isn’t going to work because you need to do it for it to work, it’s simple, easy and manageable, there is every reason you should get started today.

Here’s the link to their site:

Learning Success

Plus their social media pages:

Learning Success Facebook

Learning Success Twitter

Learning Success Linked In

https://plus.google.com/+Learningsuccessblogcom

Learning Success Pinterest

Learning Success Youtube

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But you don’t look Depressed…

But you don’t look depressed…

Apparently if you’ve had Postnatal Depression before you are more likely to have it again.

When I first had Depression I didn’t think it was Depression, I thought these were normal feelings after losing a baby, actually after losing two.

Being pregnant again and getting past my “safe point” of 12 weeks during my pregnancy with Jack seemed to help, but then I was taught a harsh lesson about how there is no safe point in pregnancy, when my waters went at 25 weeks and he was then born at 29 weeks. Those same feelings came back and my coping mechanism with life (or lack of) returned, that seems to be my way of spotting when something isn’t quite right with me, if I am suddenly unable to cope with everyday situations.

Of course my baby being born almost 3 months early wasn’t an everyday occurrence, so I cut myself some slack, just because I had the same feelings as when I lost the babies, didn’t mean I was Depressed, right?…Wrong.

I had this amazing baby, finally at home, finally in my arms, yet I felt like I wanted to die. I was so terrified of someone holding my baby and hypersensitive to what people said that I was isolated, but that was okay (to me). My baby had been born early, it was OK to be overprotective, that’s what I thought, and do you know what? I wasn’t wrong, I had every reason to be overprotective, but my fears of leaving the house, even walking down the street were wrong, it was Depression, it turns out it had never really gone, there just happened to be a lot of traumatic things happening around me that gave me even more reason to be sad.

So for a moment I sat and thought about how I may have Postnatal Depression after my first child was born, but I also felt off-colour, maybe I was ill? No…I was pregnant. Jack was three months old and he was going to be a big brother. Well, that answered all my questions, it must have been my hormones making me think like that. They’ll settle down, I thought, then before I had any time to think about myself or what may be going on in my head, or even the joy of a new baby…

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I got the phone call every child dreads, my Mum saying my Dad was having a heart attack. He’d had one before when he was 42, it was very minor and he’d been improving since then, age now 50, I calmly got ready to make my way up to the hospital to check on him, but that wasn’t the case. As soon as my Mum told me, “they said his heart isn’t beating” that’s when I knew it was over, I just knew in the pit of my stomach, he wasn’t coming back.

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So as my bump grew, so did my Depression, but my Dad had died of course I was depressed, it was grief! I’d never thought about the fact that since my first loss with a Molar Pregnancy, which brought with it a Cancer scare, that I had been suffering with Depression all this time, I had the thinking process that once I’d had Mikey I would be OK.

Don’t get me wrong, if you met me on the street or even spent a few hours with me, you’d probably say “You don’t look Depressed”, I was a master of disguising it, partially because I was ashamed, I had two perfect children by this time, what did I have to be Depressed about? And the rest of my fear was telling someone and then once flood gates open, they don’t close.

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There’s also the fear everyone is too afraid to talk about, that your children could be taken away from you, I thought if I told my doctor that I felt like I was worthless and failing in every aspect of my life, that I didn’t want to get out of bed in the morning and I was afraid to leave the house, that he’d think I couldn’t cope and would take my kids away, but this isn’t the case.

Finally I got the courage to go to the doctors over a year after first telling him I felt Depressed and he helped me, I didn’t take antidepressants because I was Breast feeding and didn’t want to stop, but I started counselling, which helped. I found life easier to cope with, I wasn’t afraid to get in a car with the kids in case it crashed, or walk down the street in case someone just took them from me, I felt like I could lead a normal life again, of course I will always grieve for my Dad, but life was manageable again.

So with my fifth pregnancy and third baby, I felt strong, like this time was different. I’d got into a great routine with my boys, they are both great kids, who sleep, eat and behave well (most of the time). There was the everyday stress of life in general, knowing I had to have a Cesarean which wasn’t what I wanted but was safest for baby and planning my wedding, but I was coping.

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So what came next hit me like a tonne of bricks…

My husband Paul and I had a minor argument about 9 days after Nicole was born, it was that minor I can’t remember what it was about, but I remember just thinking “I can’t cope with this…I want to die”. The feelings of anxiety crept back again, I was scared to do things in case something bad happened, yet no-one knew. Since then it’s been like a snowball effect, it’s just got bigger.

There is a stigma that comes with Depression, that you must have a reason for it, it needs to be solvable…but what if it isn’t? I don’t want to feel like this, I hate that I anticipate every situation, conversation and reaction, but I can’t help it. I’ve got Depression…again, and it isn’t fussy who it chooses.

So I don’t look Depressed…

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I can tell you, you’re right I don’t have the face of Depression because there isn’t one, it doesn’t matter who you are, how much money you have, what religion you are or what race you are, Depression can affect anyone at anytime.

I have three beautiful healthy children, an amazing husband and a loving family, I have every reason in the world to be happy and I am a lot of the time, but when I have a chance to gather my thoughts, or I’m faced with an everyday situation, I crumble.

Being Depressed doesn’t make me a bad mother, I love my kids, I look after them and I do everything in my power to make them happy. There isn’t even a question in my mind that I’d rather be anywhere or doing anything else than being with my kids, but the stigma of Depression leaves people feeling like they don’t deserve their children and this just isn’t the case.

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If you are suffering with Depression, you need to talk to someone. Whether it is a family member, friend or a doctor. Let someone who cares know how you are feeling, there is no way out of it alone, I’ve learnt that the hard way, I’m about to start Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, in the hope I can put these horrible feelings behind me.

The only way to fight it is to talk to someone, Depression wants to isolate you…don’t let it.

Here’s some support links:

MIND

PANDAS

Mothers for Mothers

PNI

House of Light

APNI

The SMILE Group

 

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Bidvine -Hire the right pro for the job: A review

 

Is it just me or is searching the internet for the service you need pretty tedious?

Plus how are you supposed to know who are genuinely trustworthy? Look no further…

Say HELLO to Bidvine!

Bidvine is a London-based local services tech startup, connecting customers with the right service provider, so like Tinder but for local services!

A handy website that not only finds the service you need but only uses the trustworthy ones!

The greatness of this site doesn’t stop there! How? I hear you ask…

Well they take your postcode and then take some more information about what it is you’re looking for.

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I needed a baby photographer, so I asked for one on Bidvine, it was a quick and easy as that! Here’s the questions I was asked:

 

Then you enter your phone number and the bids come rolling in…

I chose to just receive texts but you can get phone calls within 15 minutes I already had 5 offers!

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I really can’t believe how simple and easy it is!

So the tool itself was great for finding services, once you’ve submitted your request and the bids come rolling in you get a link with each individual texts which takes you directly to the Bidvine site with a message from the company who have quoted your request. It includes the name of their company, reviews from others who have used their service and a direct message to you!

All this just from a 30 second request I put in?! Where has Bidvine been all my life!?

No longer do you need to spend hours scouring search engines, put a few minutes into Bidvine and let them do the hard work for you!

Personally I feel this is a tool everyone needs! Think about it…you want the service, they want your business, so it should be easy for you (the customer) to find what you want, for the price you want and to know it’s a trustworthy service.

It is currently based in London but covers the whole country!

For the purpose of this blog post I searched for a photographer, but there are no restrictions to the services provided by Bidvine as long as they are rated they have it!

https://www.bidvine.com/

Looking for a service? Sign-up to Bidvine!

Own a business? Register it with Bidvine!

They also have a FREE app on app store: Bidvine App

Check out their social media:

Facebook

Twitter

Instagram

Google Plus

Also check out their reviews on Trust Pilot

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A break from blogging

So  I’ve had a bit of a break from blogging the last few months. I’ve really missed it and feel there are so many things I have missed recording about my little monkey’s.

To re-cap I have two little boys Jack (2.5 yrs) and Michael (1.5 yrs) and write about all the trials and tribulations of being their mummy. Since I stopped blogging things have changed quite a lot, I am now expect a baby GIRL!

I will talk about my pregnancy more in upcoming posts but I’m still in shock it is a girl!

I just wanted to write a quick post about why I haven’t been blogging for a while, there has been no major reason other than life just getting in the way.

So now I have my 2yr old, 1 yr old, 20 weeks Pregnancy and my wedding in 8 weeks! Safe to say I have plenty to write about…..