My journey with autism from nursery to school – Kiki’s story
Where do we begin with telling a story about our son Kiki. Ever since the day Kiki and his twin sister Martha were born our lives were filled with so much joy and happiness as they were our very much longed for care fertility babies.
As a toddler we always thought Kiki was doing well and every check up from the health visitors never said anything different. He walked, he ate, he made noise and he loved to play with his toys and loved a good cuddle. It wasn’t until we moved house just before his 3rd birthday and had a couple of visits from our new Health Visitor that his level of progress was noticed.
It wasn’t until it was brought to our attention that we started to notice things about Kiki that were different. We always thought it was just Kiki being his own little personality. He would never acknowledge you if you came into the room or if anyone ever came to the house he was never interested in them. His speech or lack of speech was very delayed and we noticed that the few words he did say had stopped and he became more and more frustrated. We quickly learnt that Kiki was struggling due to his lack of ability to communicate his reasons for being upset or because he couldn’t tell us he wanted a juice or biscuit so he started to hurt himself several times on a daily basis. If he was upset he would find the hardest possible surface and he would headbutt it. As a parent this was so upsetting to see as we just couldn’t stop him from doing it and his forehead was constantly sporting huge bruises.
At around the third visit our HV said that she thought he may have some development issues and speech and social communication issues and that she was going to refer him for an appointment with our local paediatrician.
After roughly 3 months we had our first appointment with our Dr and she observed Kiki in his play and advised us she thought Kiki might be Autistic and have a social communication speech disorder.
It was a very long road of numerous appointments and tests but in December 2014 Kiki was finally diagnosed with Autism and social communication disorder. We were referred to NHS speech and language and very quickly found out that it was going to be impossible to get Kiki speaking with their service as the visits were only going to be one hour visits every 6 to 7 months. So we decided it was time to find our own help for him, after trawling the internet I found Julie and let me tell you, that was the best thing I have ever done for my son. Kiki was a lost little soul who was locked inside his own body. He was frustrated and couldn’t communicate with his peers so he would live his daily life in his own little bubble and play alone and wouldn’t allow any child to come near him and if they did he would hurt them.
From our very first meeting with Julie we felt relief to be told of the progress she had made with other children who were like Kiki and she gave us hope that our little boy would one day finally be able to talk and that we would get to hear his little voice finally speaking words and saying our names and for his frustration of not being able to communicate to be over.
Julie visited Kiki whilst he attended nursery and gave the nursery help on how to work with him on a daily basis. Julie gave them valuable methods of communication to help ease his frustration so that it wasn’t so hard for him show his carers at nursery what he wanted or needed, he had the aids to communicate with them with picture cards that she had created.
Julie helped us with his transition to mainstream school too and this was extremely valuable to us and to the school as they had never had a child like Kiki before so they were a little lost with how to deal with Kiki and what the right and wrong things were to do to make Kiki’s school day easier.
Julie continues to do weekly sessions with Kiki at school and offers assistance and advice to Kiki’s one to one teaching assistants. Since starting school it has been Julie who has brought Kiki’s sensory issues to our attention, Julie made contact with his NHS SLT and she got us a referral to occupational therapy and we were advised that Kiki has a sensory processing disorder which explains his need for rough play and sound and light sensitivity and him not being able to cope with supermarkets or shopping centre amongst other things to which the list is endless.
The day Julie started working with Kiki he barely spoke a word and at first the sessions were very hard work to get him to participate but with the help of Julie improvising with leg and a wing and a little strawberry and apple bribery she has worked miracles with him and he now craves what he calls “Julie time”
He can talk using short sentences and ask questions and tell us what his issues are. He has picked up some habits along the way but with Julie’s help and simple tricks we can help him lose these habits. He has a very long was to go but with the continuation of Julies weekly sessions he will catch up with his peers and talk as freely as they do.
Julie has taught us so much since she started working with Kiki and every single week she keeps us updated on his progress. I can safely say that if it wasn’t for Julie there is no way that Kiki would be talking the way he does now, he would still be our lost little boy.
Julie unlocked our little boy and gave him his voice and there isn’t a day that goes by that we aren’t thankful for what she has done for Kiki and that she continues to do for him, there aren’t enough words to describe our thanks and gratitude to Julie, she is our very own super woman and she is in our hearts and part of our special family. Kiki is a cheeky happy, loving and confident boy who has a whole school full of friends and he loves to join in with activities and actually asks people to play with him, even on a bad day he still smiles and tells us he is happy and beams his beautiful smile. Every night before going to sleep he climbs into bed and gives us a kiss and says….
“Good night Mummy and Daddy I love you, see you in the morning” and that is all down to Julie and the amazing work that she has done with Kiki.
Julie Clarke the most amazing woman in the world! THANK YOU