If you’re after an entirely quilting focused post today, feel free to skip to the next blog in your reader. This is not a quilty post (though I will end with a sewing project!). I don’t tend to post a lot of personal stuff – my blog is my happy, creative space. But I wanted to share a bit and put our story out there in case it might help other mums like me.
You know, mums who are told their child’s behaviour is a result of their bad parenting style. Mums who are told there’s nothing wrong with their kid. He’s just at the busy end of the kid scale and perhaps you need to see a psychologist to discuss your feelings of inadequacy as a parent? Those mums who get the bad looks at the shopping centre when their kid starts licking the floor or the legs of the chairs or runs out the door and onto the street while you’re frantically yellling. Yeah. Those mums. Mums like me.
This past week we’ve been given an official diagnosis by the paediatrician (specialist here in Oz, not your everyday doctor) that J has ADHD. It wasn’t a surprise. It’s been put up as a possibility since he was 3. But now it’s official. And what a relief that is. I am not a bad parent. I don’t need to change my parenting style. My child is not a naughty kid. It is a physiological problem. Even nicer to hear from a specialist is that I’m doing the right thing for my child, despite all the naysayers.
|Cute platypus picture to break up all the text! I know, I talk a lot! More details on this little guy further down!|
We started seeing a paediatric occupational therapist (OT) when J was 3 (who then suggested ADHD was likely). Around that time, one paediatrician (that cost $400 for his esteemed opinion) told me J probably had ADHD and come back when he was 6 and he’d put him on medication. Not so bloody helpful. What was I meant to do for the next three years?! Our OT however was the first person who listened to my concerns, did a complete 2 hour assessment (all play based) for J to discover his strengths and weaknesses and gave me some tools and strategies to help us cope. I cannot thank our OT enough for the difference she has made to us. Nor can I thank my mum enough for her continued support and help with all of this. She is my biggest help!
So my boy, at a whopping age 5 and a half has a few labels applied to him. ADHD. SPD (sensory processing disorder) and executive dysfunction. That’s a lot to put on a kid. So I try not to make a big deal out of it, while we work on ways to help and support him so he can achieve whatever he wants. He’s a smart kid – this stuff isn’t going to hold him back.
But he is doing so well. I am so proud of him. He has just started school three weeks ago and received his first merit certificate the other day (for having lovely manners!). He also went to the canteen for the first time, all by himself and bought the only thing on the menu that he can eat – popcorn. He told me he asked first if it was gluten free. Then he saved some in his lunchbox to bring home for his little sister. Melted my heart.
So I want to do whatever I can to support him and help him be a success at school. Which leads me to my current sewing project.
After a parent-teacher meeting yesterday, it’s become obvious that staying in his seat, and focusing on fine motor skills (like writing), are difficult for my kidlet. So the teacher and I are working together to come up with some things that might help in class – little signs for visual cues, soft music, larger pages to practice his writing on etc. And I thought this little guy might help too.
Meet Jones. Well he’s called Jones for now until my son renames him. Jones is the name of J’s imaginary friend, so I thought it might apply nicely to his new platypus buddy. Jones measures about 14” long and weighs 600g (21oz). He is designed to sit on J’s lap, under the desk, while he works on tasks that are difficult for him and require concentration.
I don’t fully understand how it works, but something about the weight, and pressure on joints and muscles helps the brain for kids like my boy. He has a heavy blanket (weighs a few kilos) that we put over him at night to help him relax and settle. It works. He loves it. So this little guy Jones is going to help him with his schoolwork. I hope.
I have stuffed this guy chockfull of buckwheat (after quadruple stitching all the seams!) to give a nice squishy, but heavy little helper. The pattern is by Pauline of Funky Friends Factory. And it was a breeze! The pattern was so well written and easy to follow. I made this in less than two hours. Fabric is Color Weave – which you know I jut adore. Couldn’t resist using it in the red and black for this project.
So the big test will be tonight when we sit down to try homework. I hope that this little guy will work his “heavy” magic and allow my boy to focus while we learn all about the letter “t”.
If you’ve made it this far through this epic post, then thanks for reading a bit about me and my boy. If you’re a mum like me, then I just want to encourage you to go with your instinct, fight for your kid, even when people tell you you’re over the top. No one knows your child as well as you do – so keep pushing to find answers and likeminded people that will help your child reach their potential. Yay Mums.
And if you have a question about anything I’ve mentioned, feel free to drop me a line. I could talk for days about this journey and what we’re doing. But I think this blog post is long enough