Friday, 31 August 2012

Summer School's over...

.... and done with.

Today they had a trip to Camelot -

Ben obviously had a great time (riding Whirlwind, the Dragon  and the waterslides)

He cheerily told the staff he would see them again "Next September" -
I bearly had the heart to remind him that he's back there in 4 days time!

Meanwhile - why is it no surprise that he spent his money on a blow up hammer!

Lunch with Megan

Last day of the holidays for me -
 Ben was at Summer School again -
so Megs and I shopped and had lunch in Frodsham.

Thursday, 30 August 2012

Benjamin - Soap Star?

Delighted to show off the soap he made at today's Summer School!

Tuesday, 28 August 2012

First Day of Summer School

There's still a week until Ben starts High School proper -
but this week he got the chance to go to a 4 day summer school
focusing on Literacy and Team skills

I hoped that this would provide a nice, gentle start to Ben's High School career -
but was also worried that he would fine it difficult to settle down to work.

I was hugely reassured when his Literacy teacher came to talk to me at the start of the day -
she had read his statement(!) and wanted to know more about his likes, dislikes, triggers, stress responses etc!

She also offered to phone me at lunchtime to let me know how Ben had gone on with the Literacy section of the day (the answer was he coped really well and enjoyed the work on Roald Dahls' Revolting Rhymes)

He spent the afternoon playing basketball (good job Al has worked with him on ball skills)
and he emerged at 3 o'clock hot and happy to go again tomorrow!

Monday, 27 August 2012

August Bank Holiday @ MOSI

A REALLY wet day -with  Megs was still off at Jamie's -
 we joined up with Jude and went to Manchester Museum of Science and Industry (MOSI)

First up was the fabulous video sculpture

Ben loved the experimental areas -

the adults loved the rather delightful cafe -

- whilst the 1p I spent on the unpromising "space slot machine"
provided the best (if most bizarre) entertainment of the day!

Thursday, 23 August 2012

At Katharine with Tatton

Our last day with Katharine this summer -

playing at our favourite playground in Tatton Park.

Wednesday, 22 August 2012

Just hanging out with his mates

We were in the park with Jonathan, Karen and Katharine.

Ben saw some boys from his Junior School -
 usualy he would have ignored them, or perhaps just said hello.

Today he went over to them -
and spent 10 minutes just hanging out with them as they talked about games on their ipods.

Again I see that he is growning up - beginning to find his own way.

Tuesday, 21 August 2012

Back in the Park

Three cousins in the Park....

...... for nearly half an hour - and then it rained.

Story of the summer!

Monday, 20 August 2012

Today was a day....

... for chilling in a sandpit.

Sunday, 19 August 2012

A very excitable Katharine....

.... is staying at Gma's.

She bobbed around at Church, sat for dinner, then was off again.

For several hours I only got photos like this...

Before she slowed down long enough for cuddles with Gma.

Saturday, 18 August 2012

A Day in York {to see the Mystery Plays}

We drove to York on Friday night -
 and had a great morning in our favourite City,

By the Minster

My favourite shopping streets {Cath Kidston - Joules - Laura Ashley etc}

Ice Creams outside the Art Gallery

Sitting in the sun in the museum gardens
{entertained by choirs and Morris Dancers}

The reason we were in York - the Mystery Plays performed in this amazing setting

York looked better than ever in the evening sun

Ben faced down the Viking Warrior in McDonalds


Then we headed home...


spotting the Virgin Balloons as we went.

Friday, 17 August 2012

Ready for High School?

{I was prompted to write this post by Kate's Fun Friday blog event
on the subject of  children with special needs  returning to school. }

In July, shortly after his 11th birthday,  Benjamin left his lovely Junior school. Now the summer holidays are almost over, and he starts High School on the 5th September, (UK High School of course - ages 11 to 16).

Ben has a statement of Special Educational Needs which addresses his difficulties which include Autistic Spectrum Disorder (ASD), ADHD, poor auditory memory skills, specific learning difficulties in literacy and poor fine/gross motor skills (though these have improved hugely over recent years as we have put in lots of work).

Ben also has lots of strengths - he has a very high General Congntive Ability, and he is talented at maths. He is generally a polite and happy boy

I am really hopeful that this "transition" will go well - but it has taken an awful lot of preparation - which started well over a year ago. Here's a brief run down of the process:

1. Summer 2011 - at Ben's Year 5 Annual Review we looked at options for High School. We wanted him to attend the same High School as Megs, which would require a high level of support.

2. Autumn Term 2011 - reviewed by Educational Psychologist, Specialist ASD teacher and the Speech and Language team - new reports to inform new statement. Initial meeting with Senco (Special Needs Coordinator) at the High School.

3. Spring term 2012 - new Statement written and accepted - met with the Senco and Assistant Head at the High School to discuss how provision would be organised. Year 6 annual review to organise transition.

4. Summer term 2012 - transition programme of visits to High School - (on top of the usual 2 days with his new Form Tutor) first with his current Learning Support Assistant Miss M, then with his new LSA Ms L. He practised going in though the front doors and finding his way to the SEN Base.

5. Summer Holidays 2012 - all the usual organising of new uniform, shoes, bags, equipment etc. Next week he will attend a 4 day summer school focused on developing literacy skills and games - hopefully providing a gentle reintroduction to school.

Still to come after he starts school - monitoring his new timetable - checking he is getting the required support and the correct number of hours 1:1 - making sure that he is having the right interventions for literacy, social groups, occupational therapy etc. And I'm quite sure there will be a lot more meetings!

Thursday, 16 August 2012

To Be Honest

As always my blog is full of fun and family outings -
but "off screen" I'm spending a lot of time helping Al's Mum and Dad.

His mum, Elizabeth, has end stage Pulmonary Fibrosis
since June she has been using oxygen 24/7.

His Dad is caring for her
 (mostly at home - with frequent respite admissions - and a lot of help from family)

The background story of this summer involves
Doctors, Nurses, the Respiratory Team, Nursing Homes, Social Workers, Care Assessments, Stair Lifts, District Nurses, 999 calls, Prescriptions (changing almost daily), the local Hospice, Medications, Hospitals, Pharmacies, Phone Calls...

and a lot of organising/running around on my part.

I'm now on first name terms with all the pharmacists and the receptionists at the doctors.

Somehow I'm back in school in just over 2 weeks time.

Prayers for Elizabeth to be comfortable, and for Ken to cope with caring for her needs are most welcome.

Wednesday, 15 August 2012

Evening at West Bank

Most years we try to get out to a park every evening in the Summer Holidays.

This year we are calling in to see Nana and Gdad every evening -
 but tonight we managed to fit in a short walk and a play at Spike Island.