2 weeks in, it’s going well!

I have just got back from a “LAC” review (stands for looked after child) at Overley, where everyone seemed very happy with Sam’s progress so far. In preparation I got to visit Sam for the first time yesterday afternoon so I could see for myself how he was settling in. In short, it went swimmingly. He was happy to see me but didn’t appear to assume he would be going home with me. He looked well (and clean! and with a new haircut!), and demanded an hour and half worths of tickles, hugs and shushing. He also seemed quite happy for one of the children children to choose and put on a DVD and had no adverse reaction to any of their louder noises. He did look a little unsure when I left, but then had a good if quiet evening and knows I am going back to visit again at the weekend.

In other news, I have been sent copies of a second set of stories BBC Radio Shropshire ran about Sam. (I was interviewed about a week ago by reporter Dan Box). So here they are, courtesy of BBC Radio Shropshire =)

interview part 1:

second radio spot:

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Confirmed trial place for Sam in school!

My social worker doubled as an alarm clock on this chilly half term morning, so I picked up the phone somewhat groggily and hid under the duvet to hear his news: The Joint Solutions Panel on Friday approved the plan to send Sam to Overley Hall for a trial 3 month placement, starting on the1st of December!

I will give the LEA a chance to let the school know, then I’ll be finding out what they recommend in terms of preparation for getting Sam in there (if anything).  It hasn’t really sunk in yet that what I’ve been fighting for for so long has finally happened .. though having said that, I still don’t have a statement! Once step at a time I suppose.

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argh me plants! and yay new proposal for Sam!

First the bad news, 30 minutes having a nice lounge about out of sight of sam = loss of half a begonia plant.

begonia destruction

Begonia as Thomas the tank engine landslip.

Now the good news! My social worker came round especially to tell me that the proposal going to the joint solutions panel will be a 3 month residential assessment at Overley Hall! This is probably the best I could hope for at this stage, as this was in fact my preferred school for Sam in any case (it’s only about 5 miles away so visiting will be easy).

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Yesterday began really well, with the postman delivering a couple of wooden engines from Thomas the Tank Engine that Sam had asked for only a couple of days previously (yay for ebay!). A super happy and excited Sam then spent a couple of hours re-enacting the related episodes using brio railway in his bedroom, reciting the narration perfectly as he did so. Eventually however, custom reasserted itself and down the stairs he came to watch Thomas DVDs and write his version on the PC.

Around lunchtime he was in a DVD watching phase, and sat on the sofa with the Playstation controller so he could pause and skip the programme as he wished, while consuming the pile of toast which was all he would accept for lunch that day. Suddenly he began to moan, a sort of low “aaaaaah” noise that he uses for anything distressing, whether physical pain or something distressing him from his environment.

I dashed over, not seeing anything which could be causing a problem. The pitch increased with my arrival and he stuffed the remaining strips of toast into his mouth, virtually choking himself, then gripped the controller tightly and fast-forwarded and rewound a Thomas scene repeatedly.

He then hurled the controller across the room, spat the toast on the floor, leapt at the Playstation and tried to throw it. Attempts to intervene and herd him back to the sofa result in a wail and Sam starting to punch himself in the side of his head. I grab his hands, and now the rage is all directed against me. In tears he tries his best to bite, scratch, pull my hair. The plate that held his toast is hurled to smash against the fireplace, his fisher price camera has its bump-proofness thoroughly tested as he bounces it across the floor, his colouring pencils are hurled at me one by one, and finally as I attempt to cuddle him on the sofa and he slowly retreats from full blown meltdown he tries to spit on me and scratch my arms, as the pleading “what’s the matter Sam?” from me just seems to distress him more. Attempts at destruction, and attacks on me go on for 15 minutes or so while I slowly attempt to bring him back from over the edge.

Once I have held and calmed him slightly I move to a separate chair and start trying to find out just what the matter is. Questions on the lines of “hurty sam?”, “bad telly yes or bad telly no?”, and finally “doctor yes? or doctor no?”, eventually elicit a “doctor yes?” as a response. As Sam has refused to set foot in a doctors or hospital for over a year I decide something must be really hurting and bundle him off to A&E.

Once we have the doctor goal he calms right down and is quite happy for me to get his shoes and socks on and take him to the hospital. He lets a nurse take his temperature with an ear thermometer (he never lets me do this at home!), and only shows the faint edges of his earlier distress, hurling a proffered teddy bear and attempting to ram me with his wheelchair when he begins to get bored of the wait for the doctor.

However when the doctor arrives he allows the most comprehensive set of checks I have EVER seen him allow before, including use of stethoscope, more looking in ears, a light in his eyes, and even letting the doctor feel his teeth and gums with surgical gloves on! And they find.. nothing! So home we go, luckily we are seeing his paediatrician and clinical psychologist this afternoon so I’ll go over it all with them too, but it still leaves me with an unexplained violent meltdown of a type I haven’t been subject to for months (not to that degree anyway).

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No school for 18 months story makes it on to BBC Radio Shropshire

Last week I was contacted by the producer of BBC Radio Shropshire’s breakfast programme, who had noticed my tweets about Sam, checked out the blog, and decided there was indeed something newsworthy about a child denied any form of education for 18 months. A reporter came round to visit us and the interview was conducted with Sam playing in quite possibly the noisiest way he could have chosen, piling up Lego and forcefully driving a toy fire engine through it.  At one point he apparently decided the reporter Dan was in the way of the car he was pushing and attempted to simply bulldoze him out of the way.

I would have posted this sooner but was waiting for permission from BBC Shropshire to post the interview online. Suffice it to say, mission accomplished! This was broadcast on the breakfast programme with Eric Smith and Clare Ashford, and is reproduced here with permission!

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Diprobase skin cream, great for driving cars through, apparently.

Just a quick post today. I was interviewed by a reporter from Radio Shropshire, and that may be airing on the breakfast show tomorrow if they have got a response out of the council. I was also visited by the social worker again, to tell me that they may have some idea what to try next (can’t go into detail until they have run it past the school in question unfortunately).

In the 10 minutes between these two visits, Sam had unsupervised time in the sitting room. This is what I found when I came back in:

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Destructo Sam strikes again

Sam went up to bed fairly early this evening, asking for paper and pencils. I happily complied as this makes for a great pre-sleep calming activity. I went in to settle him later and found he had (soundlessly!) managed to snap off a large sharp chunk of 20mm perspex that OT fitted to his wall to stop him peeling wallpaper. I now have several deep gouges on the wall, and his bed has been transformed into a really awesome thomas the tank engine quarry/building site.

Adding handyman quote to things-to-do this week list.

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