Wow. It's 2023 and that means it's almost been 2 years since I last posted. I think to date it's 22 months looking at the dates of the posts. And, to start a line with and... , there has been a lot going on, at least in the last 12 months at least.

Life is full of twists and turns and life has had them, but in relation to this site, things have changed in our lives. Firstly, we have ASD diagnoses for both of our kids. Little Mr is now also diagnosed with ADHD and his school setting decided that they can no longer offer him all his needs.

This last one has been the result of lots of going back and forwards in 2022 and probably 2023. But lest back up a little.

January 2022

A year ago little Mr's school setting asked us to do an emergency EHCP (education health and care plan). Generally, this happens early, like his was, when they are going to push on the fact that the student needs to find a new setting. Generally, it's usually when they can no longer fit his needs.

This became the truth for us. We sat with the school going through the details with them saying they could no longer meet all his sensory needs and that it was time to look for a new setting.

The Search For A School

Where we live there are a few SEN schools but not so many that can help manage his sensory needs. But so started the search along with our local authority.

Now, those that have been through this process, will know it's not easy. For a start, your child's introduction is their EHCP. So, a number of schools said no just by reading that. However, these were not schools we felt were right anyhow.

We had our minds set on 3 schools. These were schools that seemed to have the facilities we wanted. To cut a long story short, getting into these schools is difficult. Difficult to the point that for 2 of these schools, it has taken a year to get to look around (the 3rd one we did mid-last year). It's also taken a year just to start to get them to come out to evaluate little Mr in his current setting.

To say the least, if you are to go through this process, it is slow.

If they feel they can meet his needs, it will still be the end of 2023 or 2024 before he can even go to that school.

But How Do You Get Into A New SEN Setting

At least here in the UK, it does rely on you having an EHCP (generally naming the school on it) and for most a diagnosis. One of the 3 schools will only take children with an ASD diagnosis. The process simply is, to get your EHCP and use your local authority SEN team to approach and look for schools.

You still have to put in a lot of effort getting your SEN team to manage and chat with schools, at least in our case.

Get out visiting schools. Getting in front of the head teacher for example. Getting your face known. Push push push really.

So, this last year has proven to be a lot of work. If you are starting this process then the best advice I can give is to make sure your EHCP has everything details that they require (section F apparently needs to be detailed). Then get out there, visit, and chat to teachers and the head teacher. Push push push.

Of course, this is just a brief bit on our search and may be different for you. And any other updates I will try and share any, though hopefully not sharing too many boring details.

If you are going through the same pain, why not share as all info is great to help each other. You may have some key info that helps us all.

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It seems a little odd that I’ve not really updated any posts since the Christmas time one. The truth is, I’ve been a combination of busy and lazy.

I’ve been busy through the day time with work then looking after little Mr and not so little Miss. Then I’ve been lazy, in that I wanted to rest, during the evening. I’ve been reading my writing muscle and am now ready to try flexing it again.

Lot’s has happened

The be honest, a lot has happened during the time I’ve not written. Quite a bit I can’t remember.

For a start, there was home schooling since the Christmas and New Year break. Not so much for little Mr as he is on a discovery curriculum which means the work we have done with him has more been learn through play still.

Not so little Miss though went up to secondary school last year - so this lock down was more sitting at her desk for the day, doing live lessons and assignments. We were monitor and teacher, along side me working from home also.

More recently, myself and my wife had our first vaccine jab. That was fun. Well, the jab was fine and perfectly painless - it was the side effects the day after...

There have also been less significant things such as my purchase of a better lens for my camera which I hope to get out with once all this lockdown restriction stuff is done. I’m looking forward to seeing if we can get out to Portland this year.

We also cancelled an April break to the Isle Of Wight. We had originally booked for last April, then moved to this one. We didn’t want to move it to next years April as just going on and on. So, also hoping we can book a short get away later this year.

The most recent thing we have done is go through the ECHP for little Mr. This year was certainly different as involved calls with teach to talk through targets and a Teams Meeting to do the actual ECHP. I’m not sure if better or worse. We got more time talking through targets but on the teams call it seemed to rush through. Definitely different.

As I say, lot going on. Sure everyone reading this can say the same.

Post lockdown

The current though now is post lockdown. As schools have now been open for a few weeks and plans been told about the opening of shops and other ventures. The thought of getting out and about is digesting in our minds.

Add to that the fact that the company I work for is now introducing work from the office in rotations starting April. It is going to be 1 week in office, 3 at home. I’m both looking forward to it, but at the same time having been working out of home (well working bug also out of work around this time last year) for a year - it’s also an alien thought - actually going into work.

Again, I know many of you are thinking - I’ve been working in the <enter place of work here> for most of the year - but not me.

So it is going to be another adjustment. Especially seeing I decked out my home office with a UltraWide Monitor, 4K webcam and custom keyboard for less stress on fingers. Though all of that stuff will still be used in my writing (even if I am doing this from my iPad at the moment).

So there you have it...

There is me since the last post. I’ve not going into the nitty gritty of things such as going out for walks for exercise, little Mr’s 3 time a week evening drives, all the work we have started to do in the garden and all that.

To be honest, these last 3 months have gone quick and I do think to myself - what did I actually do. Again, I believe many of you are thinking the same.

I just wanted to share a post t show I am still here. I’m also hoping to continue revamping this site this year - I started to rebuild it using Oxygen Builder. So more on that to come.

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The fridge is certainly full. We had pre-ordered our food for Christmas Day and picked it up today - Christmas Eve.

Santa looking fir his dinner

The last few years we had spent Christmas away at Butlins and last year at Christmas we thought we would do it this year at home. That said, just before Butlin's decided to close for Christmas we did look at some amazing and tempting deals - but we would have needed to go yesterday and missed out on our lovely food we ordered.

When we decided to not go this year, and decided to order food, we thought we would splurge and buy some nice M&S Christmas selection. Though I have to say that when we went out to the local Lidl last night we thought we could have go the entire Christmas Day dinner for less than we paid for the Turkey Crown - doh... But it was a little treat to ourselves after the shocking year of 2020.

Christmas 2020 has to be something to remember and enjoy. A nice Christmas lunch followed by a lovely walk - if not wet and raining. Just incase we all end up in a lockdown.

But, this all means that for today our fridge is just chocker - full to the brim. Full to almost falling out. In fact, after I took the image for this post, we added another 4-5 items. It's like a game of jenga each time we go to the fridge.

Now, I know this is not technically a ASD post. I just wanted to do a quick post and say - jeez that fridge is full.

One thing I can say is, that, we all went out for a lovely hour at the garden centre before our food pickup and little Mr loved the time out - looking at a few of the decorations - though more enjoying the juice and cookie.

Anyhow, my real intension here is to say I hope you all have a lovely Christmas 2020 and a brilliant New Years.

Let us hope that 2021 brings us all a little more fun and joy.

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Ok, so it shows that I've had a bit of a free day from work today, though free is probably the wrong word as busy with the family. I've had some fre thought and came up with a self challenge of writing this post on my mobile phone.

It's not the greatest idea for a post as it is literally about "can I write this post on my phone"!

Now. I'm pretty sure that in the past I've written posts on my previous phones but I'm unsure. I'm unsure if I wrote some, all. Did I create the featured image? There are lots of if and buts rattling around - so I thought dedicating a post about writing a post on the phone while writing the post would be good symmetry.

It also means I can write it as it happens. Real time, well for me, writing.

What's the typing like?

In the past I've written posts on an iPad which is great as keyboard is big, well compared to a phone. See, I suffer with chunky-finger-litus... I don't have small hands ans certainly not small fingers.

I often find that my texts to people contain strange words. Words were my fingers mistype and the phone calculates the word to something strange or out if context.

Do, I do find myself being a little more careful while typing a full post on this tiny keyboard.

Don't get me wrong, I have a Samsung phone with something like a 6.5in screen, so the keyboard is quite big compared to phones in the past. It's still easy to mistype.

However, this issue is proving to be a bit of a bonus because I am taking more time abs actually reading what I am writing.

So, type wise it is a little slower and there are some miss types. Over all though it's not a bad experience.

That said, the real challenge would be typing with little Mr pulling at me.

Next challenge, the featured post

Typing done, well not quite. Next challenge is making the featured post. Now I use a service I paid for to do mine, but it is easy enough to use canva or similar on the phone.

If you were going for a photo then you could just do with the phone camera dynamically, just when you needed it.

However... this is why my challenge failed. Now, if I were using canva I could have created the image, infact I should have, I may even do. I use a service called RelayThat. I use them because I bought a life time deal and it is easy and simple to create featured images all the same.

However, RelayThat says it does not support smart devices when I try to edit an image. Fail!

If I were to rely on it for my post image creation I would fail any challenge. If I only had my phone to write posts then I would fail. Which is disappointing as today's phones are just powerhouses for computing power.

This phone is so much more powerful than any of my computers last century. Just sounds better when say that way. I had many including Intel based systems and this phone would leave them in its smoke.

As it turned out, Canva worked well.

So, the answer is yes

Yes I can create a post on my phone. It is possible to blog on a phone, though designing your page maybe a little beyond capability at the moment. Though I'm sure its not too far off being completely mobile capable.

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I have always found that, when I've completed some fixing type task, a bit of DIY, I always feel just that little bit manly.

Why it's quite strange is that I didn't start my work life working in an office. I started by doing things with my hands...

When I left school

When I left school, so many years ago, I started work in a YTS in the building trade. 

For those that don't know, YTS stood for Youth Training Scheme. Now, I can't say when they stopped doing YTS (or maybe they renamed it). What I can say is, that, I started one at the end of June in 1986 - just a couple of days after my 26th birthday (everyone getting calculators out to work out my age??).

I applied to 2 courses at the time, one in computing and the other in general building (I say general because you learnt all aspects of building from plumbing to brickwork and beyond).

I chose building because some of my friends back then were also doing the same course. I honestly wished I had waited out on the computing - but my history in that is a different story that starts several years after this.

Anyhow, back to the story. I started in a YTS on building and proceeded to spend the next 4-5 years working in a few areas of the building trade. After that, all finished (was lots of hard times back then for companies) I worked in a factory or two. 

My story of very manual work started to end when I started working in a computer shop - but I had spent several years up to that point working in roles using my hands and fixing or doing things.

These days I tend not to - unless it's a bit silly money to get someone to do for me.

Fast forward to today

So today it was down to one of those things. Last week the element went in our oven. Before just thinking of buying another, I decided to both check how to replace it and also phone a few repair shops.

The part on the very large online retailer that begins with an A and end in n come to just £9.99. The repairers wanted 10 times this amount to do a repair... Mouth Open Wide.

So, £9.99 lighter, 20 minutes of work and the oven was working again. Made me feel good to actually do something again. My wife referred to it as making me feel manly - which I liked.

The faulty oven element after I replaced it

So, today I accomplished something....

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To be honest, saying just one thing is not true. I've actually learnt a lot of things in lockdown.

I could continue with the list to be honest, there are many things I have done. There is also a list of things I never managed to do, or learn. A list of things I would like to have accomplished.

That being said, I'm not going to go negative for this shorter post - well, try not to...

As I was saying, one thing I learnt

So, as I was saying. I learnt 1 thing. To be honest, it was quite an obvious one - and to say I learnt it is wrong - it was more of a realisation coming back to hit me again.

As little Mr is now getting older, he turned 8 in October. I'm the one who does his personal care - in regards to changing etc - at home. He still requires support in all aspect. As he is getting older, I need more time here to help support that.

Working from home has made me realise just how much more there will be a need for this. When you work in an office, you don't see or realise so much. Working from home (and the time I was out of work) really gave me the insight into just what needs to be done.

Now, for the moment, at least until after Christmas and the New Years, I will be working from home. In the New Year though, we may or start to get back to the normal - everyday working routine.

When this happens, I am not sure just how much my current employer (I would say new having been there just 3 months, but up until mid last year I had worked for them for 6 years - so not so new) would allow for working from home.

I really need a role where I am working from home every day.

This has me wondering what other people in the same situation do? That's really one of the reasons for this - more personal natter of a post. I'm really looking for ideas one what to do, what everyone else does.

Making sure that the kids needs are catered and care for is first. Doing that is partly about earning money for food, housing and so on. Though with the needs of little Mr (soon to be not so little Mr the way he is growing) ever increasing - the proprieties change.

What I need to do is win the lottery. Next possible, if I don't win the lottery, is to be in a role OR start something up, where I can earn but also be at home.

All suggestions and thoughts, please leave below.

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So, the great thing about it being my blog is, that, if I fancy a moan I can, and today I fancy a moan...

So, I find myself sitting at the dining room table, laptop open and typing away a post to your all.

It often gets to this time of year and we find it very difficult to do things with little Mr. See, her is an outdoors person - so having only indoor activities is not so interesting - even less as he doesn't really play with many toys.

So, when we get bad, crap weather - it becomes more of a stressful day as he is trying to get out. Not so little Miss on the other hand enjoys spending time in her bedroom, chatting with her friends and playing Roblox and Minecraft (must be that pre-teen thing to do these days).

Yesterday was not so bad

Yesterday was not too bad. It was sunny, not so cold and more importantly, it was dry. We went out for a lovely walk, where I took a few lovely images such as the one on my Flickr account below.

Ships Heading To Poole Port

However, today the weather has hit us like a lead pipe - smashing all plans we had for outdoor fun.

However, we will find something to do.

We always get days like this - thing time of year for sure. The time of year where weather is unpredictable. The type of weather that is wet and cold. 

Sometimes we grit and bear it, so the saying goes, and we dress up in wet and warm gear and go out to somewhere like The New Forest and go out for a walk in our wellies.

Other wet days we simply try to keep little Mr occupied by playing games with him - he is more of a spin and jump and tumble and .. other physical activities type of person. He would rather be climbing onto the sofa and jumping onto your back to pull you over - than play a game with toy cars. So, it's certainly physical activities.

But, walking in the sandy, woody and just other outdoors areas that he enjoys the most. So do I. Certainly, time to try and take photos too...

So my moan is..

So, my moan is, go away wet, horrid weather. We don't mind the cold - you can dress up warm for the cold. But getting wet from rain is never nice, especially if it is also 0 degree centigrade or close to that outside.

Go Away Wet And Cold Weather!!!

Ok, moan done. Time to finish this sitting in front of my computer, make a coffee, and choose another activity to do with little Mr - who is sitting nicely for the moment watching some TV - which normally lasts no more than 5 minutes.

Right, speak to you all later - hopefully next time with a more positive message.

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