Monday, 23 April 2018

Unstoppable - National Citizenship Services (NCS)

Just recently a fellow blogger drew my attention to a website promoting the National Citizenship Service (NCS) and their Courses for young people and asked what I thought about it.

To be honest, I thought it was amazing - the things that the course allows the young people to take part in are just brilliant, its not just a fun week away (although that is part of it) but essentially the young people aged 15 - 17, get involved in activities in their local community. sponsored via the voluntary sector (the voluntary, community social enterprise, to be precise). They learn necessary life skills and with the bad press young people generally see to receive it was great to see something so positive being done to raise the profile of young people, whilst at the same time giving them this fantastic opportunity.

I then looked at my two boys and thought how they could fit in. KC would love it - I will definitely sign him up when the time comes. But TJ may struggle, particularly as his 'world view' tends to be very literal.

But upon reading through the website, it may be something that TJ could be persuaded to take part in, particularly as the first stage involves the young people staying away from home - although I'm sure when the time comes a few phone calls may enable TJ to take part without leaving home - just a mammoth use of 'dad's taxi' i suppose. KC would jump at the chance to go away, but he is definitely the more adventurous of our boys, maybe if he has a positive experience then this will influence TJ in a positive way.

The theme for this year's NCS campaign is Unstoppable and for KC it is a great fit! If we can get TJ there, then he will definitely be unstoppable. And, to be completely honest, when you have children who may not be that academically gifted then anything that helps to improve their life chances is a God-send.

It's funny but since TJ's diagnosis I find myself examining the effect that will have on his future - the types of things he will be able to take part in. I am much more 'disability' aware, if that makes sense and my first question now is always 'What provision do you make for those with learning disabilities?' - and that will be my first question to the NCS - when the time comes.

But, looking at the site and reading their ethos makes me think they probably have something in place - so it will definitely be something we will be considering for both boys.

Take a look and see what you think. 

Its nice to have a positive post! 

Thursday, 5 April 2018

Easter Fun!

So Easter is upon us.

It was a bit of a strange, unplanned event.

Originally my brother and his family were due to come and spend the long weekend with us. But then things changed and we were then due to go up to Manchester to see them.

Then things changed again as my 94year old Grandmother moved into a new care home. So we decided to go over to the west of the country to see her, stay in a nearby hotel and then go up to see my brother and stay with him.

Then therapy happened - and the 'advice' emailed to me and cc'ing in social workers, was that our boys couldn't share a room or be in close contact with other children unless supervised at all times - especially at night. With TJ currently wandering around the house every night this was going to be impossible.

So the hotel rooms were divided with TJ sleeping in with Papa and I and KC having a room to himself. The trip to my brothers was replaced with a day out at a theme park half way between his house and ours.

Or as Papa pointed out on many occasions - a weekend that started with relatives visiting us had turned into a mammoth travel trip costing just short of £1000. Who said adoption was cheap!!!!!!

Which leads me nicely onto my next point and my newest discovery in the life that is now dominated by Foetal Alcohol, especially as I get to know more about it.

TJ cannot lie - it's not that he won't lie, he is just incapable of it. We know when he is lying (or trying to lie) as his story usually becomes more and more fantastic and involves many elements - known in the world of FAS as confabulation, I believe.

But a simple lie - that won't happen. We rediscovered this as we queued in line for the theme park tickets. TJ won't go on any rides anyway and as he is tiny for his age, he is too small to go on any of the larger rides. So paying full price for a 12 year old seemed silly. "We can tell them you are 11," said Papa, "That way you get in for half price."

"But I'm 12," came the reply in his high pitched treble voice,

"Today you can be 11," I said, "Only for a  minute, then you can be 12 again."

TJ looked at me as if  was mad.

"I'll keep him with me," I said to Papa, "You and KC get the tickets." TJ and I then stood to one side.

This seemed to work fine until the ticket seller asked how old the boys were. 'I'm 13," said KC proudly.

"TJ is 11," said Papa.

"12!" shouted out the little voice. "I'm 12, why are you lying, Papa?"The boy has incredible hearing.

"It's ok," I said, "You stay with me." I tried to move him further away from the line.

By now TJ was getting hysterical. "I'm 12!" he was shouting and the people in the queue were being 'completely' understanding and laughing at us - which really didn't help, as he thought they were laughing at him.

But the ticket seller was lovely, and quietly issued TJ  child ticket as we hurried a crying 12 year old into the park - a park he didn't want to go to anyway, apparently.

We got inside and met up with my brother and his family whilst Papa complained about the price of everything. All this followed by TJ reminding me that it was wrong to lie - he wasn't in the wrong at all - I guess we were. I think next time I'll take a copy of his DLA or diagnosis so we can show that although he is of age he simply isn't going to want/or be able to go on many of the rides anyway.

"You should have gone online last night," said my brother, 'They do an online family deal where the kids go free. That's what we did." He grinned.

I thought Papa was going to explode.

From that moment on I was caught between my brother gloating over the money he had saved and Papa telling me off for not checking the online prices the night before. Alongside TJ who managed to have one meltdown which involved him running off and my pursuing him through a packed theme park and the other where he lost his temper and scratched his brother across the face. But, that said, we had a lovely time.

Oh well, we are back home now and TJ is happy again. For now anyway. He even went on a couple of rides - even if they were for the smaller kids - but he enjoyed it and loved spending time with his cousins - which makes it all worthwhile.