Alice’s journey

Back in 2019, my daughter Alice started showing Obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) behaviours, touching my face, asking me if it was “actually me”, and always wanting to do things her own way, which caused conflict.

When COVID hit, she couldn’t do schoolwork by herself and when she went back to school, I noticed she was going downhill academically. Her anxiety and OCD behaviours got worse. She has low mood but didn’t know why and I wasn’t sure how to manage this, which would end up triggering her. This caused more extreme behaviours like throwing water on my laptop and shining a torch into my eyes.

During our assessment, I was shocked to hear she had traits of ADHD; we thought she might have autism due to lack of eye contact and she was unable to follow conversations or respond in an appropriate way. Our therapist explained more about ADHD, and I learnt how different this can be for all individuals.

Had I not gone to bibic with my daughter, I would not have picked it up at all with my son. He only has the inattention aspect of ADHD, which meant he was able to sit under the radar. He struggles to show his emotions and he is also better at masking than my daughter, which is why I wouldn’t have noticed. This journey has been very difficult; partly because, in between my daughter and son getting diagnosed, my husband and I were diagnosed with ADHD. We now realise all the difficulties we’ve had all our adult life, and why.

Two years ago, I thought my family was one way, and now we’ve found out we’re all neurodiverse, which was overwhelming and quite lonely, too. It also created a lot more to do and another level of support needed for my family.

Before coming to bibic, it was horrendous trying to deal with something when we didn’t know what was going on. As a family, it has massive impacts; it felt like it was impossible to seek support for what we were going through. The support from bibic has been amazing. The assessments feel full and helped me know my children individually and what I can do to support them.

Thinking about the future, I feel ups and downs but after coming to bibic, the positive thing is really seeing my children’s strengths, the areas that they need support in, getting that clarity and understanding them better. I can already feel my perspective changing. bibic gives you an ability to see strengths and utilise them and I’ve learnt everyone with a neurodiversity is different.

Being a mum is the best thing that has ever happened to me, and the most important thing in my life. Getting to know my children as individual people and helping them to achieve their potential is the most rewarding.

I remind myself when things are hard that I can see my amazing children’s potential, and I’m passionate about nurturing and loving them to reach it.

For privacy, photos and names have been changed.

Amy’s journey

“I cannot tell you how life-changing the whole experience has been”

We suspected Amy had autism when her sibling was diagnosed. Unfortunately, Amy was unable to get a diagnosis due to a lack of understanding about masking at that time.

A few years later her difficulties impacted all areas of her life. Her meltdowns became daily, lasting 6 hours at a time, where she would shout, cry, trash her room and so on, nonstop for hours and hours. This would then turn into shame, embarrassment, and guilt, which made her feel even more rubbish, making the situation even harder for her.

We didn’t know where to turn. She was on various long waiting lists for support, but we needed some urgent help. That’s when I found bibic.

We had the two day assessment, and I can honestly say it has been the best thing that we have ever done.

On the first day, Amy had lots of different assessments that were planned from the information discussed in my parent history phone call prior to the appointment. The assessments were done in such a way that they were fun, and Amy felt safe and comfortable, meaning she was able to show her true self. Our bibic Therapist was kind, engaging, validating and obviously incredibly observant; she picked up on things that only people who know Amy very well notice.

We were told the results and were able to ask any questions we had. Our Therapist was very clear on areas of strengths and difficulties (some confirming what we already thought and others that hadn’t even crossed our minds but made complete sense once pointed out). She also gave comprehensive advice about how to support her and suggestions for accommodations school could put into place. This was also given in a therapy pack to take home to refer to later. The following six months of support meant we could check in and adapt what we were doing to make it even more effective.

I cannot tell you the impact coming to bibic has had on Amy. She understands herself; she feels validated, and she knows what she can do to make things easier for her to manage in different situations. At school and at home, we now know how we can support her and adjust the environment to meet her needs, all while facilitating her independence as a teenager.

As a result, we are now supporting Amy much more effectively, and as we are able to meet her needs, the frequency of her meltdowns have drastically reduced as well as hugely shortened in length of time. It’s now more like one or two meltdowns a week for half an hour or so. Such a huge difference! Her confidence is improving every day.

I highly recommend it to everyone. It has made a huge difference to the whole family. I cannot thank bibic enough, and I know that the experience will continue to benefit us all for years to come.

For privacy, photos and names have been changed.

Eleni’s story

We suspected Eleni had difficulties at around year 3 at school, she would talk about words and letters jumping or moving on the page. The symptoms seemed to improve, but in hindsight, I think she just got better at managing them, and it became so normal she just didn’t mention it. However, it has meant that reading has been a slow and frustrating activity for her, always being worse at times of stress.

It was noticed that Eleni would struggle to read for long periods of time, would read quite slowly and guess words or phrases to mask the difficulties she was having. At school, this would mean that she sometimes completely misinterpreted a question, which would pose problems with exams and tests. Reading from the whiteboard in the classroom could be tricky, particularly photocopied sheets and exam papers, meaning it would take her longer than others to take in the information, causing her stress.

As Eleni found it tricky to copy things from the board, she would find that her understanding of the information was lacking because of the trouble reading and processing it. Her difficulties also significantly impacted her enjoyment of reading, particularly books for fun, as they could be a struggle for her.

After having our Irlen assessment, Eleni says she felt relieved and grateful learning about Irlen syndrome at bibic and that the overlays have made a huge difference to her reading, both for pleasure and in school. She has been enjoying reading books over the summer and finds processing written and printed information in class so much easier now with the overlays.

Eleni is now more relaxed about her reading and doesn’t stress so much about having to read information in class, particularly under exam conditions. It has certainly removed one of the weights that was pressing on her young shoulders.

Eleni used to struggle a lot with headaches, and these have decreased. When she forgets her overlays, you can really see a difference, both with headaches and tiredness. She reads quicker, more fluently and makes far fewer mistakes. They really helped her during her recent mock GCSEs at school, where she found it easier to understand and process the questions.

If you want to find out more about coming for an Irlen Syndrome assessment – click the button below!

William’s story

William has always been quirky, even as a baby. He met his early milestones but always in his own way. When William was three years old, our health visitor raised concerns about his expressive communication and his pre-school highlighted his behavioural issues.

William mainly struggles with his auditory processing issues. He finds noises at certain frequencies painful and instinctively wants to react. Unfortunately, some of these noises are common ones – e.g. coughing and laughter. He is very scared and sad much of the time, due to his emotions and behaviour relating to his auditory processing issues.

We have arranged a lot of support for him from other experts over the years, implementing their recommendations and seeing some improvement. We were particularly keen to help him with his auditory processing difficulties, which had worsened with age, and only one suggestion was outstanding by the time he was eleven years old: Johansen Individualised Auditory Stimulation Therapy (JIAS). We had tried it when he was approximately five years old and he didn’t enjoy it, so we stopped it on the advice of the therapist overseeing the Programme at the time. We decided to wait until he matured enough emotionally to request it, which he did at the age of eleven.

We heard about bibic from a parent carer group and were interested because bibic looks at the whole person. Other charities and professions look at aspects of a condition and we wondered if this was the right route. We wanted to be sure that JIAS was appropriate for William.

We contacted bibic in February 2020 and explained our situation. William first came to bibic for a two-day assessment with Chelsey in September 2020. Chelsey asked him to complete various tasks and initially gave the same recommendations, including JIAS, as every other expert. We explained that he had done all but one of them, with limited improvement. Chelsey then consulted with the rest of the team and recommended we research retained reflexes and reflex integration before committing to JIAS. We followed her advice and thought it worthwhile to pursue this angle before JIAS.

After William had completed reflex integration exercises, we contacted bibic again in April 2021 to book a JIAS assessment. William returned to bibic for this appointment with Chelsey in July 2021 and began JIAS. His ability to manage his auditory processing issues has improved dramatically as a result and he has also made progress in other areas due to JIAS. He improved so much, because of JIAS, that he agreed to Chelsey’s recommendation of continuing JIAS with an optional, sixth CD.

William has insisted on persevering with JIAS because he recognised the positive impact on his auditory processing difficulties.

The real test of JIAS’ effect came at the end of September 2022, when we all caught a cold. The symptoms were mild overall but we had terrible, lingering coughs. Before JIAS, William would have hidden under his duvet and been reluctant to emerge even for food and trips to the bathroom. This time, he could cope much better with our coughs. He still found them painful but led his normal life.

We finished JIAS in December 2022 and returned to bibic for an optional re-assessment, to measure his improvements. We are all delighted that our opinion the progress was supported by the results of the re-assessment!

bibic supported us so much through their expertise, kindness and subsidising assessments/JIAS. We are really grateful to bibic for their help between 2020 and 2022 and would recommend bibic to other families seeking a holistic approach to the needs of children.

Jack’s journey

At about the age of 2 Jack was very different to his brother, we saw lots of meltdowns and quite a bit of coercive behaviour from him. I was already feeling very frustrated and anxious because I could tell his behaviour was something over and above what I might have expected.

Over the years he became very anxious about problems in life and he could see he was very different from some of his friends. He wasn’t grasping the same concepts in the same way that his friends were, and although he was very outgoing and sociable, he became the class clown at school. He wasn’t as focused as the other students, but was still super dedicated, absolutely wanting to get everything right but struggled to know how he could do that.

The challenging behaviour got significantly worse and more difficult with additional challenges that life threw at us. We were at the point where we were really struggling not knowing where to go and what to do about it. He was very oppositional, it didn’t matter whether something was right or not, he had to be in control of everything that happened in his life, to him, with him, for him and he really struggled with that. We saw a lot of frequent meltdowns and he would get home from school and would be absolutely shattered from masking.

I felt at a complete loss, as to where to go, who to turn to or what to do. I had already formed some thoughts in my own mind from working as a Teacher, so I could see there were differences and where they lay for Jack. I felt despite practicing lots of therapeutic parenting techniques with him it still wasn’t making enough of a difference to soothe him and calm him. Jack was trying to put labels on himself as well but was floundering. I would often end up in tears, just not knowing who to go to for help but knowing he had so much potential.

We had been to some therapy and it was definitely helpful, however it wasn’t providing us with any of the answers and it wasn’t helping Jack to develop his sense of identity and understand who he was within all of those difficulties and challenges. He didn’t feel he could celebrate the positives about himself.

When I found out about bibic it felt like the answers to all my prayers and that it would give me the opportunity to explore what was going on. From the moment Jack stepped foot in the door at bibic, he felt understood, he felt heard, recognised and he felt celebrated, which was so important to him. I’m so grateful we found bibic, it’s made such a difference. Jack was heavily invested in the assessment – I wondered how he would cope, but he did incredibly well. bibic’s support has given him the confidence to be himself and know that it is okay to have a few differences. It’s allowed him the opportunity to celebrate the things he is good at.

Before bibic’s support Jack was at risk of his school not being able to accommodate his needs due to his challenging behaviour however after visiting bibic, he was chosen to be deputy head boy which shows what a difference bibic’s support has made, it’s huge, I couldn’t be more grateful. I honestly feel like the weight of the world has lifted from my shoulders and I can now just breathe and relax and know the outcome is going to be okay.

The most rewarding part of being Jack’s Mum is seeing him grow, there was a point where I didn’t feel he was going to have the motivation to do that for himself, and it was going to be a constant struggle to just give him the space to grow.

bibic’s support has meant so much to us. Thank you.

Lori’s story

“When I first reached out to bibic I said “I don’t know what to ask, I’m just hoping you can help us”. Lori was trying her best at school but was falling behind. Interventions weren’t really helping and were adding to her stress. We had stopped showing Lori the scores on her termly reports as it was upsetting her; she was trying so hard, but this wasn’t reflected in her results. She struggled with informal play and making friends and she generally spent playtimes alone.

“Family outings and trips could end in her getting distressed, seemingly at random, and we couldn’t understand why. Her ability to recall facts and scores from the TV show Strictly Come Dancing was astounding, but from about 9am on a Saturday our day would involve constantly reassuring her that we would be home before the Strictly music started.

“Lori had a great time at bibic. She saw it as having some fun activities to do and a very nice lady to chat to and play with. She and I were both really listened to. We came away with a folder of information and ideas that were tailored to her, which would help both at home and at school. When she went back into school she had “a spring in her step” and she kept that boost in confidence for the rest of the year.

“The school implemented bibic’s suggestions in the classroom and it made a huge difference. They even made Lori her own separate desk that bibic gave a design for – she used this when she needed to concentrate.

“At home, things she had been told at bibic meant that Lori was able to understand and articulate when and why some things were bothering her. This meant we could do something about it before she got too distressed to tell us what was wrong. Because bibic had taught us a lot about how her mind worked and how her perception of the world was compared to ours, we were also more receptive to what she was telling us than we might otherwise have been.

“A few years on and she is thriving in secondary school. She has outgrown a lot of the initial recommendations but, importantly, has been left with the confidence to articulate her needs. She has a lovely group of close friends and her termly reports have been outstanding.

“At bibic’s suggestion, she also joined the Girlguiding movement. She threw herself into this and has signed up for every activity, trip and weekend away since she started! Lori has also shown herself to be a brilliant baker and independently creates something new every week in the kitchen.

“Lori has met or exceeded all of her academic goals in her end-of-year school report. She’s also taken up rock climbing, passing the first stage of her indoor bouldering qualifications (NIBAS) and is currently working towards more.”

Jaime’s Journey

Jaime’s journey has been a long rollercoaster ride filled with highs and definite lows. bibic have been the one constant for us throughout the years.

I always saw Jaime as quirky and shy, a lot like me when I was younger but I didn’t think much of it, as far as I was concerned it was his personality developing.  We moved from the Midlands to Somerset when he was 3 and he began nursery.  This was when his traits and ‘quirks’ became more apparent.  The daily battles began, I would go to bed dreading what the next day would bring.  Life was tough. We were constantly butting heads, he was angry and frustrated, despite being bright there were things he could not handle – you name it I was dealing with it. It dawned on me that he may have Autism, no-one wanted to commit to helping because of his age and because we were new to the area no one knew him well enough, even our health visitor was reluctant to refer us because he had always smashed his milestones.

I saw an advert for bibic, emailed in an enquiry form and the rest is history! We have visited four times with Jaime and we are currently scheduled for our fifth visit as he gets ready to transition to secondary school.

From the first moment I had contact with bibic I felt at ease. I was concerned that Jaime wouldn’t co-operate and that would end our time there. I was told all behaviours added to the assessment, that they would work around Jaime and not to get stressed out about it.  I shouldn’t have been worried, Jaime still to this day ADORES bibic. The building, the toys and most importantly the staff.  We were immediately put at ease and Jaime was involved in creating a visual timetable for the day. As his parent I spent the morning talking to his therapist and going over his history, lots of tears were shed but it was a huge relief to have someone listen and understand my position and difficulties, I’d spent so long being rebutted I’d begun to think I was a terrible mother and it was all in my head. Jaime took part in the assessments on the first day and it was truly fascinating to watch.

The second day was feedback day and so many more tears were shed. It was emotionally painful but validating. He came out with an amazing base IQ but it showed there were issues with his language processing, his ability to process emotions and a very high probability that he had Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD), all of this meant his daily life was filled with frustrations as his IQ and ‘abilities’ didn’t match. I’d never heard of SPD before so that was a steep learning curve. All of a sudden all of his struggles and anger made sense, his behaviours were a communication and it was one I hadn’t understood until then. His therapy plan was amazing and it finally felt like there was light at the end of the tunnel.

Our relationship literally changed overnight. He understood we had visited in order to help me understand and help him. So many things were easy to put in place and made such a difference. We found a different way of being with each other and I firmly believe without bibic I would not have the child I have today or the very close relationship that I have with him. I owe them so much.

We revisited about a year later and he was specifically screened for Autism Spectrum Disorder. He came out with a very high probability of having what was classed as Asperger’s then. It took me until Jaime was 10 to get a formal NHS diagnosis but we got there eventually, and all our visits to bibic helped support our position.  We have been back a few more times to get support for Jaime as he has grown and behaviours have changed and as previously mentioned we are rebooked in for the huge transition that is primary to secondary.

I have so much faith and belief in what bibic do, as a teacher turned private tutor, I often recommend bibic as a first port of call with families that are struggling. We have even been back with Jaime’s sibling this year to confirm, once again, that I am not imagining things, he has a 99% probability of having SPD and ADHD. Again their report has been the push for our GP to reach out to the paediatrician and start him on the assessment pathway for ADHD.

bibic have been absolutely instrumental in forming the family unit and life we have now.  I cannot ever thank them enough.