Day 63 ~ 70
Day 55 ~ 62
My Nick is pre-verbal, however, he is quite capable of using other methods to communicate!
I was walking Nick into school and happened to see this on the driveway. Snapped using my iPhone!
I organise a coffee morning four times a year. It is for mothers who have kids with special needs. Predictably, I always choose the same venue, purely because it is one of my favorite haunts and I love the ambiance. It is fabulous to meet up with others who walk a similar path to mine.
Hah, after taking a few pretty pictures using my Nikon, I ended up preferring this image that was captured on my iPhone! Just goes to show that you don't need to have a fancy camera to enjoy photography!
Another iPhone snap. This one is to commemorate my son's *final* school commitment.
Three more exams to go and then life as we know it will be over!
I had such fun capturing this image (I took at least 50!). Nick was aware that I was very close to his swinging feet and thankfully I didn't get a whack. Both dogs kept interrupting me and caused a bit of mayhem... it's not often that the 'boss' is on the same level as them! :)
The day is a bit wet and overcast, therefore no nice opportunities to practice outside. Back to the sink I went. Lots of lovely light coming in through the kitchen window, although I still need loads of practice perfecting this type of image.
I am a big fan of the facebook page called Think Autism. Elisa is an RDI consultant in the UK and she generously shares her knowledge to the wider community.
Elisa has graciously given me permission to share her many posts. I am sure that you will find them as helpful as I do!
Recipe for a good quality of life
After attending the Autism Show this weekend at the Excel in London, it has inspired me to remind people what we are doing and why we are doing it! The majority of stands at the show were for ABA related interventions, residential care and sensory equipment. There were some other stands too but what I found that it wasn't truly representative of everything that is available to parents, and the biggest thing that was missing was developmental approaches to autism. When we work on developmental approaches we are doing much more than just treating the symptoms and behaviors, we are helping to guide children to find their way back to a typical developmental pathway and this means a better quality of life, and this is what we are aiming for in family. Here is my recipe for a good quality of life:
Friendships / Relationships
For you: surround yourself with people that understand how great you are and support what you are doing in life, and have FUN!
For child: as they develop and address core difficulties, friendships and relationships become easier, more enjoyable and are people you can count on to have a good time or when you need support.
Find pleasure in everything you do
For you: move away from ‘must get this done’, ‘once this is finished…’, ‘when that is over…’, and ‘I can’t because….’. Instead, head towards enjoying what you do and understand that the journey is more important than the destination.
For child: Share the experience rather than complete the task.
For you and child: a healthy lifestyle is a balanced one, aim to find balance in everything you are doing.
Time for you
For you: Do something for you daily, even if you have to start small, it will help to refuel your energy.
For child: Allow time for independent play and down time.
Believe in yourself
For you: you can have, do and be anything you want in life, just believe it.
For child: Develop their level of competence to help them believe that they can interact well, achieve success and develop resilience.
Elisa Ferriggi is dedicated to empowering parents to feel competent in raising their child with autism to improve quality of life. By addressing the core deficits of autism and unlocking potential children are able to develop milestones required to connect with others and establish true relationships. Elisa Ferriggi has been involved in the autism field since 2003 and is trained in the following approaches Relationship Development Intervention (RDI), Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP), Holistic Approach to Neuro-Developmental Learning Efficiency (HANDLE) Screener, The Listening Program (TLP) Certified Provider. You can learn more at www.thinkautism.co.uk
Day 47 ~ 54
This morning was a period of time that was spent alone, yet with people. A wonderful experience of watching Heidi Shedlock at work. An opportunity to practice using my camera. Time away from responsibilities. How did I feel? The words 'lightness of being' spring to mind.
Having dogs is a whole new responsibility. They need attention, love and lots of walks. Thankfully, we have a suitable field only a 2 minute drive away. The dogs have a blast and I get to have a chat with other doggy people. Not the greatest image to share, but hey, it was on manual. Practice, practice, practice!
The local supermarket had a few pots of roses selling for a reasonable price so I ended up bringing one home. I don't have green fingers, so it won't last for long. :-)
Well, I have reached #50 of Project 365, therefore decided to share this image of Nick.
You may wonder why my other images in this post are not about him. It's all about balance ~ in order to give him my all, I also need to think about myself. Each image represents something that was for me alone, even the grocery shop! :)
This time last week I received the sad news of a friend who had passed away. On that day I shared an image of a Protea. Today I attended my friend's funeral and I share the same Protea. We are both feeling a little tattered and tired.
A friend of mine has two Cocker Spaniels and they produced a few puppies three and a bit weeks ago. Needless to say, my first born and I were extremely keen to go and visit them. They are so cute and it was very hard to leave without taking one with us!
As I put the harness on my dog, I noticed that he kept licking his leg. On closer inspection I discovered a long deep gash. I dropped everything and raced him off to the vet. Two hours later I have a very drugged up dog with numerous stitches. I don't know how he managed to get cut.... but it was very sharp and also went into some muscle. The experience certainly put me off getting another dog!
I was trying to get some close up shots of my lunch time smoothie, however, my other dog kept bothering me. I had to smile as he certainly made my image a lot more interesting. There is a ball just in front of his nose!
Whenever I plan an activity with Nick, I always keep in mind the concept, 'edge plus one'. Yeah, I know I keep banging on about it! However, since starting RDI, Nick's progress has not regressed or plateaued. His progress may be slow but this concept enables us to continue moving forward.
A couple of weeks ago, I invited Nick to help me with some cooking and I introduced a new can opener. You can learn about our experience right here.
The following video clips are a follow on from that experience.
I wanted to go back a step and focus on operating the can opener. Simply put, we would both have clearly defined roles. Nick would take the easiest role first. I would hold the handles together and he would turn the blades (taking him to his 'edge'). When I felt the time was right I would bring in the challenge, which would be to swap roles. I would turn the blades as he held the handles (his 'plus one').
This clip shows how much Nick has progressed since my last blog post. He is putting in some muscle and doing his very best to open the tin. I am thrilled with his determination and resilience. Success.... and he is definitely ready to move onto the challenge.
In the following footage, I introduce the challenge to Nick. Even though this is his 'plus one', I don't want to set him up for failure. He does have low tone and major motor planning issues, therefore I would prefer to guide him slowly and help him out where necessary. I also keep this part of the activity short, ensuring that we don't go into 'task mode'. I want Nick to feel comfortable trying new challenges, without getting stressed over the fact that I may be pushing him too far out of his comfort zone.
You can see that Nick didn't understand the concept of changing roles; therefore I spend quite a bit of time explaining what needs to be done. *Note to self: Don't talk so much; simplify my language a bit more.
It gets a bit confusing, so I pause.... and spotlight, "I know it is tricky". I then spend some more time scaffolding the activity for him. He really doesn't have the *feeling* for squeezing the handle firmly, therefore he is going to need a lot of practice. Eventually I assist by also holding the handle and we end on success.
You may be wondering why I am bothering to teach Nick how to use a can opener! The fact is that the activity is so much more than the can opener. It is about working together in a co-regulatory way. It is about my guiding and Nick learning from the experience. It is about trust, resilience and relationship. It is about connection, competence and progress. It is about adjusting my style of language to give Nick opportunities to 'think for himself'. It is about slowing down and being in the moment. It is about believing in my child.