Tuesday, 22 October 2013

Becoming the family of a child with special needs

Peter has been living with us for nearly a week now, and we've been spending the time getting to know each other and starting to build trust. We're trying to keep food and routines as similar as possible to the ones he was used to at his previous carers, and will make gradual changes over time as he settles in. Considering how big a change the move has been for him, he's doing fantastically well.

The hardest thing for us so far (apart from the fact that a 4 year old has lots of energy and doesn't nap!) has been nothing to do with Peter at all, it's been the reactions of others. Peter is developmentally delayed at the moment - he still uses a buggy whenever we leave the house, wears nappies, only says a few words, and using a dummy has been one of his coping mechanisms when he feels tired or overwhelmed. We're not concerned about any of this, and know that he will progress in time at his own pace, but it has been a bit of a shock to see so many people staring and giving us judgemental looks when they see us pushing a 4 year old in a buggy with a dummy in his mouth. We've even had some ignorant and outrageous comments from professionals who should really know better.

Thankfully there have also been a few lovely people, such as the lady at the soft play cafe who took time out of her day to try and connect with Peter, or the train driver who leaned out of his window to talk to us, and then honked the horn especially for Peter as the train left the station!

It's definitely a steep learning curve for us, and Peter is being very patient whilst we learn!

Sunday, 13 October 2013

Starting introductions

We had a meeting with Peter's current carers and social worker this week, and shortly afterwards he came to our house for his first visit to start the introductions. He can be a bit unpredictable in new surroundings, so both we and his carers had prepared ourselves for the first visit not going well, but we needn't have worried. He came straight in and made a beeline for the toys we'd set out, and a few minutes later he was stretched out on the floor making himself comfy and doing a jigsaw with Esmeralda. He was calm and contented for the whole visit, and even sat himself on my lap when I got down on the floor to play with him.

We have two more visits scheduled, and then he's moving in towards the end of next week. His carers brought a carload of his stuff and there's still more to come - amazing how many belongings a four year old can accumulate.

So we're now entering the mysterious world of school - packed lunches, school photos, parents evenings, planning everything around school holidays, home/school books, washing paint stains out of uniform, getting ready by 8am, PE kits... It's quite exciting but does feel strange for us to jump straight from toddler groups and midday naps to school, having missed out on the terrible twos and nursery!