More iPad ramblings!

The iPad is a really hot topic at the moment, especially for those folks who have children on the spectrum! We also got caught up in the hype, although to be honest, the iPad wasn't bought specifically for our child on the spectrum!  However, we decided to put it to good use and try it out with Nick. Initially we purchased Proloqu2go to use as a communication tool (click here to see my last iPad post!) and as you can see, I was quite adamant that the iPad was to be used only for communication purposes!!!!  Haha, that didn't last long!
Thomas downloaded games for himself.  Allan downloaded magazines, added photos, stored his favourite TV series. Me.......?  Allan kindly bought me a year's subscription to Hello magazine - very frivolous but hey, it's nice to have something mindless to read, or rather I should say, look at!!  Allan and Thomas found some lovely books for Nick (favourites being Dr Seuss and Lynley Dodd). They also discovered a few simple games that they though Nick might like! More on this..... down the page!!

Making communication boards
Nick loves books.....he flips the pages, he looks intently at each page, he is showing more awareness of what is happening in the pictures (he will reference me and then point to a picture!). He is also capable of reading many of the words. Most of all he loves us to read to him. Thanks to the iPad we are building up quite a collection of communication boards using Nick's books. Proloqu2go is incredibly easy to use and we can whip up a board in minutes.  I always like to include Nick when making up each board. He has become very proficient at helping me add comments (declarative comments!!!) and he also really enjoys taking part in adding photos or symbols. I will position the camera and Nick will take the photo and add it to the board...... If he doesn't like the photo he will delete it and take another.  His ease at finding his way around the program continues to amaze me!

Letting Nick do his own thing!
Now we come to the downside of the iPad (for me!!). Please bear in mind that I am talking about my experiences and anything I discuss does not reflect the wider community. There are a lot of iPad 'success' stories out there and that's great, we all have different needs for our children, no matter how old they are! My thoughts and feelings are for my situation alone!

As you will see from the above clip, Nick is extremely capable of finding what he wants! He is like an addict deprived of his drug of choice.  No matter where I hide the 'goodie bag file' Nick will find it! He craves both the visual and auditory input. As soon as he can get access to a favourite game he no longer wants me around!!    adios amigo     auf wiedersehen      au revoirE haere rā   ta ta    p**s off!!!!
When Nick gets into this mode, there is not a lot of learning going on. Nick will set up a nice little pattern of sound and sight and stick to that pattern repeatedly........ and he can do this for hours if I let him!

Needless to say, the iPad 'goes to work' with Dad and when Nick does get to have some free time on it, that time is carefully monitored! Yes, I know the iPad is good fun and that all kids his age love gaming. I am certainly not going to deprive him of some 'down time'....but, again, it has to be monitored! In our situation, considering the severity of Nick's autism, I think it is more important that we spend more time on 'US'........ with little bits of down time thrown in here and there (otherwise I would never be able to keep up with my Hello magazine!!!!)

I have just got back from a five day 'away break'. Nick was delighted to see me return, however, within a split second of seeing me he asked for the iPad!! See what I mean...... the kid is obsessed already!! 
P.S:  I haven't had a chance to look for any other 'interactive' apps as yet but if you have any great suggestions please let me know.  Thanks! :-)

Don't lose sight of yourself!

When you have a child with special needs, you get to meet a lot of people that you probably wouldn't have come into contact with! Each and every person I have meet has made an impact on my life. 

I can't say that all of them have made a positive impact..... best I am not speak about the Prof who called me Mummy and told me my son would outgrow his problems at the age of five!), but I digress......

Let me start again.... Most of the people I have meet over the years have made a positive impact!!  The following post comes from a blog written by a woman who I have know for many years and she most definitely contributed to my well being (nope, she was not my Clinical Psychologist!!). 

I really enjoyed reading this latest post and thought it worth passing on. I think it will be useful for Mums with young children with asd; and also a reminder to us 'oldies'!  I especially enjoyed the reminder "don't be too hard on yourself" and "don't lose sight of yourself in all of this".

Thank you Diante, for allowing me to share "Something Special"  :)


The Future!

This is such a scary topic to think about!

Autism is prevalent in today's society, we hear about it on the news, we see it in our local communities, there has been an explosion of information on the internet, mothers from all over the world link together.  There are divided opinions, supportive groups, parents sharing their stories and reaching out to others.  There are thousands upon thousands of children under the age of 15 who are on the autism spectrum.

My son is one of them! My son is non verbal. My son has many co-occurring issues. My son can't ride a bike or write his name. My son is 12 years old and on the cusp of puberty. My son is dependant on us - his parents, to care for him.............. for ever!

I am happy to care for him....... for ever!  I love my child passionately and I am sure that I will love my adult child just as passionately!  But, you see, I have a balance!  I am not so totally focused on my child to the exclusion of everyone else in my life. I have learnt to manage my time, to give myself some 'me time'. I have learnt to leave my child in the capable hands of people I can trust.  I am over the guilt of leaving my child for 10 days so that I can take time with the rest of my family, to regroup and to have some time without autism, without restrictions.

BUT......... what about the future?  I am hopeful that I can make a plan to set up a small group home for him.  I am hopeful that his brother will look out for him. I am hopeful that we will be financially secure to provide for his care.

But what happens when I die?  I don't feel so hopeful when I think about that! There are thousands upon thousands of parents like me............. 

I am not sure where this came from!  My mum is flipping through the TV channels and I am sitting in the lounge with her, supposedly keeping her company!! :)

Nick and his Nana!

Kiwi Nana has arrived and she is staying for five weeks!  

I wrote the above sentence nearly two weeks ago!!  Phew, not sure where the days have gone and I am feeling a little antsy about not having any time to myself.  My autism free, general catch up time, see friends, play online scrabble and all that other stuff we do when the kids are at school (nope - gym does not feature on my list!!) has all gone out the window.  However, it is wonderful to have my mum around (and hopefully she will forgive me if I get a bit bitchy here and there!!!). 

I am positive that Nick remembers her from the last visit two years ago.  He keeps looking at her and on occasion will give her a wave (he has the same sign for hello and goodbye). Only trouble is.... Kiwi Nana keeps thinking that Nick is waving her goodbye! I did mention to her what we really think Nick is saying and thankfully this caused a chuckle - at least I now know that Mum is ok with a bit of bad language!! Can go back to swearing at the taxi drivers....... (quietly under my breath though, because it really is not a good idea to cross swords with them!).

As you know, I spend quite a lot of time with Nick and we 'do stuff' together.  Throw another person into the mix and it is a whole different ball game. The 'do stuff' is not happening........ Ah well, it's not every day that my boy gets to have quality time with his Nana.... and I can get the boy back on track when her visit is over!

I do have a couple of things that are worth mentioning;

My boy gave me a huge surprise the other day.  He was in the kitchen (still in his pyjamas). I placed his clothes on a chair and went outside to put on some laundry. When I came back into the kitchen, he had taken off his pyjama bottoms, put on his underpants and shorts and was taking off his pajama top!!  Ok, his shorts were on back to front but WOW.  I know this sounds relatively simple, but this is big for us!

Today..... I started playing a cushion game with Nick.  He was sitting on the couch listening to music and zoning out. I came along and threw a cushion at him and this turned into a fun game of backwards and forwards, lots of smiles and great interaction. My mother was sitting at the table behind him and was keen to join in.......... so once Nick was really comfortable with the little pattern we got going, I added Mum into the mix. What really blew me away was the fact that Mum totally got it.  She caught my cushion, raised it above her head and without saying one word or giving the slightest prompt....... she waited.  She waited while Nick looked to me (I just stood there and waited).  She waited while Nick looked forward, she waited as Nick turned his head and body towards her. She waited until Nick checked her out and she then threw the cushion at him!  This happened a few times and Nick was very relaxed with the three way interaction. Way to go Mum! :)

Nana and poor sick Nick!

Food glorious food..... not!  Nick would only eat the chips! 
As of three days ago he is refusing everything except Weetbix (for supper!!!)
It is not possible to use blackmail and bribery with this child! 

It's mind boggling how he figured out the iPad! If I don't monitor the use of it then I am going to have a problem!  Sorry my boy - I am the boss!!

That's all for now folks, the male members of my family have headed off to bed and I need put the kettle on for Kiwi Nana! Too tired to check my spelling and grammar!

Thinking of my Tassie friend who is having a hectic op next week. Hope to see you online very soon. 
Will text you!
Lots of love