Play – What affect does this have on you as a parent?

Play – Every child develops through play from Building Bricks where they can hone those fine motor skills to the make believe play where they make sense of the world around them – I have just learnt to stop wasting money on puzzles, board games and any toys that need putting together!!!

Having children with varying disabilities has sometimes made this aspect of childhood difficult. Though three of the girls are very close in age they have never been into the same toys. My hearing daughter has always loved muscical toys and toys that she could interact with but these toys were sometimes unsuitable for my threee girls with hearing loss. These three girlies are more about the touch and the sensation of the toys and were much more into the toys that didn’t put pressure on them to listen, sit still and concentrate. Toys such as lego which we love, Teddies and Dolls, Tea sets, Kitchens item’s that they could get their hands on and were not sitting there trying to hear what it was saying. Now of course my eldest two are 14 and 13 years toys are now a thing of the past and its all about their mobile devices which I find really sad.


For my younger two with their hearing loss, although a moderate loss I had difficulty finding interactive toys that were loud enough for them to hear properly and I became fed up with trying. I had to instead choose toys that were not only noisy but had lot’s of visual stimulation, so light’s, moving part’s and even used toy’s that moved by themselves. Books with moving parts were great or ones with puppets attached that could be used to visually stimulate and make them laugh. While this was relatively easy when they were very small, the progression of their development and their interest in particular types of toys has made this increasingly difficult to find toys that hold their attention.

Hence I became that mum that family and friends laugh about – If a toy wasn’t played with for a week it was sold and replaced with something else as it just held no interest to the girls any more.

All four of my girls have had very different interests, likes and dislikes. This meant that they are aways into different things and so hand me downs were difficult. One daughter now 12, has ADD, Hearing loss and is still very much into her dolls and teddies and pushchairs. The make believe world that she makes with them enables her to use the social skills she has been learning, allows her to explore her feelings and helps her to work through them. I very often stand outside the door and listen to the conversations she has, but also I hear the sadness sometimes when one of the dolls feels left out.

While this kind of play keeps her entertained for hours it can also make her particularly susceptible to Hyper focus. This is where she becomes very fixated and focused on the particular task at hand and it can make it difficult as a parent to refocus her, get her to come and eat or to join in with family life. There are some activities such as the older activity types like beads, making things, puzzles and board games – especially board games just do not suit our daughter, these are sometimes not even half finished before she has moved on to other things.


So really its all about trial and error and this can make the whole experience of toys and finding play ideas expensive and frustrating for any parent. The shops are full of toys that look so inviting on the shelves, even the supermarkets have them but with prices creeping up I really don’t want to be paying so much for a toy that may not get played with so I find the best place to get toys from is….. Drum roll please!!! – Carboots and selling sites. These have become my preferred toy shopping venue. There is so much on offer, second hand out there and once cleaned the toys are as good as new.  Sometimes even the toys are brand new toys just released that someone else has paid for and their child is not interested and they have cost me a fraction of the price and can then be passed on to family, friends or charity shops to help others.

What affect does play have on you as a parent?  well sometimes it can be stressful, disheartening, annoying and you feel like throwing the towel in but other times to see the amazing interaction, or the amazing effect a particular toy has on your child is priceless.

xx leanne xx


Just another day with ADD

The last few weeks have been ‘one of those weeks’ over and over. On top of normal family life, working, school changes, holiday plans having to also care for my daughter with ADD and additional needs has meant the weeks have sailed by and seems to be getting on top of me. Being a mum is a full time job sometimes I wonder how the hell I do it without falling apart……

One thing I think is true of parents who raise children with special needs and disabilities is the constant effort to do what is best for your child and sometimes these decisions can upset the normal routines and daily life. We recently took the decision to move our daughter to a school closer to us. I had been ferrying my children 26 miles in total per day to and from their current school. Add in the stress of trying to get out of the door this just isn’t working anymore the older my daughter gets. All of a sudden she is turning 10 and with this seems to be a huge shift in the size of arguments and stress. If anything in the morning routine goes wrong and I mean anything even the smallest thing then the whole school run turns into a battle of wills. Anyone relate?

It’s hers  against mine. It’s time consuming and energy zapping. Having lived so long with her in her shell, in fact I would call it a bubble in a morning she has now come to the age where she is aware of how she is different and how her behaviour can in some cases get her what she wants. Normal pre-teen behaviour I hear you say…. But it’s so much more than that. I have never known anyone who can dig their heels in so far over the smallest of things. I don’t understand it and it makes me frustrated. Be it shoes, breakfast choices, to who is sitting where in the car 😡  ADD is certainly teaching me a lot as the months, years go on. 

Even with 7 seats theres always an arguemnet

No one child is ever the same and I think that is certainly true with children who have ADD. Every child has their own quirks, breaking points, triggers. No one child has the same symptoms but an array of them making them unique. We as parents have to learn how to adapt to take care of these children. My daughter at least for me has a sort of switch between a Jekyll and Hyde that’s running on fast forward. This is increasing more apparent now for me than it ever was. She does not stop!!! Constantly flipping from one thing to another, if someone has something different she then decides she wants it and will just take it. Sibling rivalry is at its best in our house as her sister compete to keep their toys, phones and even food. I have mentioned before the ‘egg shell’ state I sometimes find myself in just to keep the peace and to try and limit the stress that behaviour associated with ADD can cause. 

There’s also the other elements of ADD like the memory problems that for me cause me the most headaches and moments of sheer annoyance and anger. I struggle as I am really an organised person to understand some days why my child forgets. Other days I feel sad for the things she looses and events she doesn’t understand as she has forgotten them. So Yes anger…. It’s there. Just because I am a parent does not mean that I don’t feel frustration and anger. I try not to openly vent in front of or at my children but it is difficult. I struggle with myself over wether I should feel this emotion and also think where it actually originates.

  •  Is it anger at myself for the way I parent? 
  • Is it anger at my child for the way she behaves? 
  • Is it born of a frustration that people who have not experienced ADD can become so judgemental and blasé about my child’s behaviour? 
  • Is it the never ending struggle to get and do the best for my child? 

Well actually it’s a little of all those things. As a parent of disabled children I feel I should be well versed in how to look after them and their needs. Mostly this is not the case some days I feel lonely and scared of what the future may bring. A diagnosis of anything is no picnic and is never a simple cut and dry case. I do feel anger at myself. I do blame myself as a parent for the way my children are. It’s not my fault I know but some days when feeling low in myself it is easy to play the blame game.We parents put ourselves through so much. We tackle parenthood head on and do everything we can to make sure our babies grow and thrive. A mothers intuition is often something we rely on and for me at least it’s always been right. The day we parents get our children’s diagnosises can be the worst. For me being told my daughter had hearing loss at 2 and ADD at 7 were days that I don’t really remember much about. They are lost to me in a haze all I remember doing is crying and then getting on and parenting as best as I could. Yes there’s help available but here we seem to have to fight for most of it, there’s information abound on the internet but it takes some searching to find reputable, helpful non scary information.  

For parents starting out on their journey with a disability I would say

  • Grill your paediatricians, doctors, sensory support for as much information as you can📚
  • Try and have a list of questions when you go to appointments in case you forget to ask something that has been bugging you. Type them in your phone or not them down as and when you think of them. It’s hard to keep on top of them I know but it could make a difference.
  • Take each day as it comes, there will be good and bad days you have to accept this and it’s hard, really hard!!!!
  • With ADD pick your battles….this is a really hard one to do, you feel you can’t give in all the time as it’s not fair and naughty behaviour does need to be kept in check but how do you do it when their memory is affected and they have already flitted to the next thing?
  • Take some me time!!!! It’s hard but having some down time wether it’s a walk, going out or getting lost in a book we need to try and do something for ourselves and recharge our batteries. I tried for so long just to get on and be a parent but eventually realised it does not make me a bad mother to say help I need some rest and relaxation!!!
  • Don’t be afraid to ask for help….again another difficult one especially when faced with people who do not understand your child’s behaviours and needs but on the flip side if we do not give them that chance to interact and experience it themselves how are they ever going to understand

At the end of the day remember we are super Mums and super Dads. In the eyes of our children we are their superheroes no matter what the days, months and years ahead bring. For all the love in the world raising our children to be loved and accepted is in my view what it’s all about. Yes I get angry and frustrated but the milestones my children complete and the characters they are will never ever make me think for one second that I wish life had been different. Our children are who they are and we have this amazing job  ❤️

from my daughter # soproud

Please feel free to get in touch, enjoy the sunshine ☀️

Xx Leanne xx

family fund – the big tea party

A ” Tea Party ” 

Everybody loves cake wether it’s chocolate, lemon or Victoria sponge. Whats yours? personally I am partial to a slice of lemon cake. So the all important question is going to be do you want tea or coffee with your cake?



On February 11th 2016 the Family Fund are organising a huge Tea Party involving people across the country. We are raising funds so that the Family Fund can help even more families across the uk.

The Family Fund even though they are funded by uk government, private donations etc still need and rely on the great fundraising efforts made by countless people. The Tea Party is just one way that you could help at home or at work.

Firstly what is the family fund I hear you say…. well its an organisation that

  • Since 1973 has helped thousands of families who are raising a disabled or seriously ill child
  • One of the uk’s biggest charities
  • Providing grants for items that could benefit families like washing machines, bedding, clothing, sensory toys, family breaks
  • By providing a wealth of information to families on other help and services that are/could be available to them locally,regionally or nationally

Families who raise a disabled child have many challenges. Some more so than others. We juggle hospital appointments, pay for childcare or after school/breakfast clubs so that we can make appointment times on time. Those of us who work have to sometimes take unpaid days off to attend appointments. We parents administer medication, we care for our children as a parent and as a carer.

The family fund was introduced to us two years ago by our sensory support teacher of the deaf. At the time we were struggling emotionally as a family with a lot of ups and downs. The family fund has a wealth of information but most of all as a family we have benefitted immensely from this amazing charity. We were lucky enough this year to be one of the 72,000 families that the family fund helped. We needed a new bigger washing machine. Due to mediation at night-time our daughter has nights of wet bedding. Our old machine was not coping and we were having to sometimes go elsewhere to get the quilts washed. A new larger washing machine which we can fit a singled sized quilt into wash has been a god send. Find out more at

I along with countless others will be hosting my very own Tea Party at home with friends and family…. So raise your cuppa and eat your cake and donate. Join us in helping to make a difference.

xx leanne xx

Mum, carer, holistic therapist and blogger