Friday, 27 January 2012

The Best Day Ever....

.... according to Mr Ben  
(though - to be honest - he has a day he declares the Best Day Ever about once a month!)

At school today he was chosen as "Star of the Week" for "working really hard."
Next week he gets to sit on the class sofa instead of on the carpet.

He has also only got one step left before he earns his "Freedom" badge 
- he has to work on "not shouting out"
- if he cracks that it will be a minor (major) miracle!
But the thought of being close to getting Freedom of the School is really exciting for him.

When Gma picked him up and the end of school he sang and danced the whole way down the path!

Thursday, 26 January 2012

Diabetes - 2 years on

2 years ago - on the 11th January 2010 My Mister,  Al was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes.

2 years ago -  13th/14th January 2010 - he was in hospital -
on an insulin drip - in ketoacidosis

2 years later - still in a late onset Type 1 honeymoon - he had his 3 monthly hosiptal check - HBA1C spot on target again {cholesterol up though :( } - and really it's all geing pretty well.

 I dashed out of work for an hour and we went met up for lunch -  it was lovely :)

Sunday, 22 January 2012

A long awaited Hamlet

On Saturday My Mister  and I had a quick day trip to London to see a long awaited production on Hamlet. I'm not sure when I first read that Michael Sheen was going to be starring at the Young Vic, but I know that I signed up for their email list straight away in the hope that I would get tickets. Pulling out the tickets on Friday evening I noticed that the receipt for payment was printed on the 4th May 2011, so it has been quite a wait.

Dropping Mr Ben at Gma's and leaving Miss Megs in bed (she's old enough to get up and make her own up to Gma's) we got the 9.04 from Runcorn which was sadly infested with foreign exchange student who had nobbled our seats -good job it wasn't busy.

We had agreed that if the weather was ok (ie no rain or snow) we would try out the Boris Bikes and cycle down to Leicester Square. My mum was somewhat horrified when I mentioned it -but on our last visit to London we had walked the route - and it was mostly quiet side streets, ideal for the experiment.

Sadly I was a bit preoccupied and forgot to take any pictures - but I must report that the whole experience was excellent. I had prebooked 24 hours access online for £2 - and as long as we did the ride in less than 30 minutes there would be no additional charge. There is a docking station just outside Euston - and there were plenty of bikes to choose from. They are really heavy - but very comfortable and stable to ride - perfect for the city streets. We made the journey with only one stop for a map consultation (and only one "going the wrong way on a one way street" incident!) In fact the hardest bit was finding a docking station near Leicester Square - but I've now downloaded he app which has GPS and directions - so next time that won't be a problem either.

Lunch was unsurprisingly enough at Steak&Co - good as always - and then we got the tube to Waterloo (I'm not brave enough to cycle over either Waterloo or Westminster bridge!) We wandered over to The Cut - there was some TV filming going on and production vans everywhere - and waited in the foyer of The Young Vic for the production to start.

Half an hour before the start time the ushers started shepherding people out of the main door - around the corner and into the street behind. We found the alternative door where our tickets were taken and we entered the "secure hospital". Like a promenade performance we walked through institutional corridors - with doors and timetables for "treatments" - past the gym - fencing practise scheduled in later - and into an office. The far wall was glass - we went through the door and into the auditorium - set as a thrust. It was already clear that the reviewers talk of a"big concept" Hamlet was spot on.

And so it proved - much to my excitement and delight. I've seen a lot of productions of Hamlet over the years - the first "big" one being Kenneth Branagh at the Barbican in ?1993. But never have I been reduced to a sobbing wreck at the end.

Set most definitely within the asylum -  Claudius was  the smarmy consultant in a 3 piece suit and Gertrude a child like and adoring acolyte, begging for more tablets. The guards were in orderly uniforms - the action mostly taking place within a therapy circle of chairs. Some action took place wordlessly upstage, behind the glass door. There was huge disconnect between what was being said and how the characters behaved. The ghost scenes had the tension of a horror movie - with a voices and thumps coming out of the total blackout. And Hamlet - Michael Sheen was everything I hoped for. So vulnerable - and quite clearly mad. No ambiguity here. Though at times he appeared to be the only sane man in the unit, ultimately his insanity took over.

As act 5 started - most of the grey carpeted floor was lifted to show a huge pit of sand. The grave digger was doubled by Polonious  - and Hamlet was most definitely aware of this. When Ophelia was buried - I feared that she was going to be really covered in the sand - but instead she rose from the grave to double Osric - and again Hamlet clearly could see this.

I was already in tears by the time Hamlet passed away, sitting next to Horatio, feet dangling into the pit. As the army entered to kick the bodies into the pit and cover it with a huge piece of plastic sheeting (biohazard -is the madness contagious?) I really lost it - only to be stunned when Fortinbras entered and removed his helmet to reveal himself as Hamlet. Not since seeing Black Watch at the Lowry way back in 2008 have I been moved to a standing ovation like this. It was the final day of the production - and I am so glad that we saw it.

I was also really impressed by the Young Vic -I certainly hope to go there again.

To see production photos go here

After the show - it was the trek back to Euston, and the 7pm train home to find Mr Ben asleep and Miss Megs ready for bed. A long day but a great one!

Monday, 16 January 2012

A happy post

I seldom post about Mr Ben's additional needs - 
about autism and specific learning difficulties.

I'm not an honest blogger. I don't write about meltdowns and traumas.
I don't write about my worries. I seldom write about battles with the local authority.

This blog is happy. 

This week I got news that makes me very happy - and so I can share it on here.

Mr Ben will be transferring to High School in September - hopefully the school which Miss Megs attends. The thought of this has been panicking me ever since I won the last battle - to get a statement for Mr Ben, with 10 hours of 1:1 support plus 10 hours from school budget.

A few months ago he was seen by an Educational Psychologist who is new to the LA. What a revelation! She was totally clued up about Autism. She understood Mr Ben instantly. She could see how clever he is - she identified his sensory seeking behaviour. She talked to me for over an hour. She met with Mr Ben twice. She re did all the BAS scales and NFER. She told me her report would cover everything - and that she was "imagining what his statement should look like." I was so hopeful.

And then it went quiet. No report. I chased. School chased. It had gone to the LA team who were rewriting Mr Ben's statement for high school. I imagined that all the good stuff would be taken out as too expensive. I waited. The deadline for transitional statements is 14th of February - knowing the usual LA delays I didn't expect anything before then.

And then - on Saturday - a huge padded envelope arrived the post. The EP report. A report from the Autism Specialist Teacher. And a draft transitional statement.

And after all those years of fighting, and all those years of NO, and all those years of settling .... it was good.

"Sets commensurate with his cognitive ability" 
(which is 99th centile for verbal and non-verbal reasoning - GCA of 135!) 
"Daily intensive literacy sessions" 
(5th centile on diagnostic scales - 10th centile and below for reading and writing)
"Pen portraits"
"Small steps"
"Social skills group"
"Time must be provided for OT within the curriculum"
"Home e-mailed home, completed on computer and emailed back"
"Haven of support for unstructured times"
"Activities that will lesson anxiety"

And 15 1:1 hours funded  - with the school 10 hours on top!

Of course there were things I could quibble with.
Of course  I will make comments and ask for things to be tightened up and quantified in places.

And of course I am expecting there to be battles about the delivery of the statement.

But for now - time to be happy!

Sunday, 15 January 2012

The Wizard of Bolton

As a last hurrah for Christmas we went to see "The Wizard of Oz" at one of my favourite theatres, the Bolton Octagon.

 With a Dorothy from Bolton 
(the Wizard was actully from Wigan - just down the East Lancs Road) -
the production in the round was fast and funny and totally engaging.
At first Mr Ben was rather worried about the Wicked Witch - 
but he soon got into the swing of things.

 Production photos here.

On a Saturday in January...

...I got good news - more details to follow - so to celebrate we went to Pizza Hut...

{I do love the glimmer setting on my phones camera!}

... and then for a walk in the woods at Risley Moss...

 It was much colder than it's been for the past couple of weeks- the pond had frozen over-

- but the light was amazing - the birds were singing
- and the trees were beautiful against the sky!

 {It's that glimmer again!}

Thursday, 12 January 2012

Sick Day ....

for Mr Ben...

... he's feeling REALLY sorry for himself :(

Wednesday, 11 January 2012

Keep calm I'm the Doctor....

Miss Megs is very impressed by her new poster (a Christmas present from friend Miss Jamie)!

Saturday, 7 January 2012

A jolly cold day...

... for a bike ride.

"Do you want to go to the park?"

"Yes, can we go on the bikes?"

Friday, 6 January 2012

We go to Costa for a coffee...

... Al  gets himself a Linzer biscuit... 

...he sits down to eat it...

... Mr Ben spots it....

"Wow! A giant Jammie Dodger! That is so awesome!"

No biscuit for Al!

Thursday, 5 January 2012

I spy... blue sky...

Today I had lots of errands to run - 
when driving home I was surprised to see the sun for the first time in what seems weeks - 
so I stopped at the park for walk. 
It was cold and windy - but oh so bright!

 The  sky was so blue - the birds were singing - the water on the lake was splashing - the wind rattling the flag poles - it was perfect!
But by the time I got back to the car the clouds had returned and the sky had darkened...

... time to go home.

Monday, 2 January 2012

On the last day of Christmas (holidays)...

... we went to Liverpool...

... we saw the new Sherlock Holmes movie at the Liverpool One Odeon...

.... we ate in a very crowded Gourmet Burger Kitchen....

.... then we came home to do home work  and get ready for school and work tomorrow! :(

Still - only 5 1/2 weeks to half term! :)

Miss Megs Photographs....

... urban decay and environments in Liverpool 
for her GCSE Art course.

Sunday, 1 January 2012

Birthday Presents....

 for Miss Stephanie and Miss Charlotte. Of course today was really Nana's birthday - the girls birthdays are tomorrow -
but they were very happy to get their presents a day early!

Photos courtesy of Miss Megs!