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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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Day 10: 365 Activity Challenge

10th January 2017

It’s toy Tuesday!

Today, Jack has been at Nursery and told me about the different toys he’s played with, he was also very keen on a “motorbike” until he went over the handle bars 🙈

Mikey has seen his Portage worker for the first time, which is a specialist who uses play to improve his social and communication skills.

When they both got home we lined up all of their favourite toys around the living room and made a “bear trail” as Jack called it, unfortunately I didn’t get a picture but I did get one of Mikey lining up his favourite two toys his “choo choo train” and his “gary snail”.

Today was more of a chilled day than an organised activity, but we’ve had appointment after appointment the last few days so I thought a bit of chill time with their favourite toys would be fun.

 

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Day 9: 365 Day Activity Challenge

9th January 2017

Our “sort of” messy Monday, so today I had plans to have a food colouring/shaving foam crazy messy Monday, but Mikey had an appointment at speech therapy (which I will write a separate post about) so we winged it a bit, but I got pretty messy so I guess that counts!

We’ve been playing with bubbles allllllllll day! Anyone with a kid in speech therapy will totally understand what I mean. Bubbles are a really easy word to say and it means you get eye contact with your child, which is a big turning point for Mikey.

So all day we’ve been blowing  bubbles and looking at what colours and reflections are in them, plus we’ve been trying to keep them up in the air for as long as we can without them popping, it’s been really fun!

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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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Why I won’t label my son

Why I won’t label my son.

For some time now there has been an Autistic question mark looming over my son’s head, I wrote a blog post a few weeks ago about how people and services were suspecting my son was “on the autistic spectrum”, I have since been told everyone is on the Autistic spectrum, just varying degrees, I don’t know if this is true, but I’ve decided…not to care.

I don’t care what my son is labelled as, we are going through all the motions now to start the appropriate therapies to make his life and learning easier. But if we walk into a pediatrician’s office and he gives my son a label, he’s not going to walk out a different child, he will still be my Mikey. I understand that services have to give it a name so they can do referrals and arrange the correct support, but that means the label is for them not for me or my son. The same as me being an “O positive blood group” doctors need to know that, but it isn’t how I introduce myself to others.

I’m not saying Autism isn’t real or that we shouldn’t recognise, quite the opposite really. It frustrates me that as soon as I mention to someone, that Mikey is going through tests for Autism, that they change their behaviour around him, before I tell them that, they say he’s funny, cute and clever, if I mention Autism they give me a sympathetic “Awww but it’s ok though, he’ll be ok”. They reassure me like my son has a death sentence, he’s different…but isn’t everyone?

His older brother Jack goes to a mainstream nursery, which I’m planning on sending Mikey to if he manages going to it without any problems, so if Mikey needs other support it just means they have different learning needs. There are a lot of intelligent successful people in the world who have autism and there are a lot of intelligent successful people who don’t have it.

I’d like to live in a world where it’s not a terrifying, upsetting time for parents when their child is diagnosed with Autism, where they get the support needed for their own needs, because let’s face it not one person is the same and it isn’t a one size fits all scenario.

So when I say I don’t care, it doesn’t mean I don’t care about my son, I love my children more than anything in the world, but he is perfect the way he is. A diagnosis isn’t going to change the way I look at him, I wouldn’t change one part of him.

As a parent it is my job to support him and make sure he gets any help he needs, so we’re going to start Speech Therapy and Portage in January. I am a great believer in therapies, let’s face it, people pay good money for therapies just to make their life more peaceful and happier, so if my son is having therapies at 2 years old is that really such a bad thing?

To me he will always be my little Mikey Moo, everyone who meets him adores him, he has special little quirks that make him extra special, but that’s why we love him, his name is Michael and a label of Autism will never change that.

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