My resilient teen!

"Mindset drives actions, actions dictate results"

For the last few weeks I have been mulling over the idea of going away for the weekend. In the back of my mind I had already decided that the trip would involve a plane and we would only be away for the Friday and Saturday night. I visualized sitting in a favorite cafe, sipping on the most delicious cappuccino and watching the world go by....... I then saw myself pick up the closest implement, be it a spoon or even a fork; and use it to gently stir the thick and creamy vanilla milkshake that was sitting on the table..... in front of Nick.

Crazy idea?

Or not?

My idea has come to fruition and we are taking that trip next weekend. This family of four are going to be taking our first flight together. We will be staying in unfamiliar accommodation. Nick will have to share a bedroom with his brother; and horror of all horrors, also sleep in a single bed. His meal time routines are going to be all over the place, and as for the food that he gets to eat? Well, we will make a plan!

In short, Nick's lovely comfortable daily life is going to be thrown upside down. He is going to face challenges which may go beyond his *edge plus one*. Mind you, we do have some memories to fall back on, a little bit of familiarity to encourage our feelings of competence. We did the same plane trip last year, and while it was a nerve racking experience (for me, not him!), it was also a wonderful success.

I believe that we can do the same again. Although our experience will be different from the previous adventure (same but different!), I feel confident that Nick will be fine. We will be there to support and guide him. We are capable of gauging Nick's anxiety level and will accommodate for his needs. Psssst, the iPad is a great tool for some escapism!

Thanks to RDI, our boy no longer has problems with any type of transition. He is comfortable going to new places and he knows that he can look to us for guidance. The hustle and bustle of people don't bother him and he can cope with a lot of noise. RDI has been empowering for us as a family and Nick's disability is becoming less of an issue.


I wasn't going to tell Nick about our impending trip until Monday; however, he must have overheard a conversation and has been making the gesture for "plane" since last Thursday! His concept of time is not the best so I have made a very basic schedule to put on the fridge.

In all honesty.......

I have been a bit slack of late...... and the teen has had way too much iPad time.

It is hard raising a kid who doesn't have any interest in anything other than screen time. I mean..... what do you do when you have a child who doesn't play or socialise? For goodness sake, he doesn't even like trains, not even Thomas the Tank Engine! Thankfully he loves books, especially Dr Seuss books. Trouble is, I have read each book so many times that I can recite them word for word. I have 'The Cat in the Hat Comes back' dreams, or should that be nightmares?

Another reason for my slackness is that I have been trying to readjust the balance. If you think about it, being a teenager means finding your own feet, distancing yourself from your parents, keeping secrets!!!!! My teen is still tied to my apron strings and will be for many years to come. Sigh.

So, in order to maintain some sanity, I need to become my own person again. I need to find some extra time during the week to focus on what I want to do. Whether it be concentrating on a hobby or spending time with friends, or both! The husband features in there somewhere. Oh, and the other teen who is definitely leaving home in February 2015! :)

I have to start thinking about finding some help. A person who is willing to take the time to connect with my teen and keep him actively engaged. Someone who can provide me with a few extra hours.

You see, I don't want to be just a *Mum* 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 52 weeks a year.... and so on. If my teen was following a natural developmental pathway, he could be leaving home in three years time. He is severely autistic, so leaving home anytime soon isn't an option. Don't get me wrong, I adore my boy and would climb mountains for him. However, in order to have the energy to be a great mum to him, I also need to have some breathing space. It's healthy.

Therefore, I need to find the right balance that suits us all.

And I am starting right now.

Cheerful Achievements!

My Nick is the sweetest, gentlest young man that you ever could meet. He may not strike up a conversation with you or even seek to engage, however, take the time to really get to know him and you may be surprised at his capabilities!

This week I celebrate three small achievements that made me smile. Three little moments that gave me reasons to be cheerful.

The following made my heart melt and I felt the need to share with the world, aka facebook!  "Nick came over and took my hand. Not sure what he wanted, so decided to walk with him. He led me to his Dad and then pulled me in for a family hug!"

We went away to our favorite spot for the weekend. There were lots of walks to be had; along with way too much down time! I had bought Nick a new Monsters Inc jigsaw puzzle and it sat there on the counter for a day and a half...... just waiting for some attention. On the Sunday, Nick was having a lovely time stimming on our very ancient laptop; when all of a sudden he surprised me by leaving the laptop and picking up the puzzle. He came over to me and gestured for me to help him. Silently I thought to myself that this was a great opportunity for the husband to get involved, therefore suggested to Nick that he ask his Dad. They had a lovely time together and I am thrilled that Nick chose to be with his Dad and not the laptop!

If you have been following this blog for a while, you will know that I started addressing Nick's food issues last year. We have been going slowly, taking into account the *edge plus one* concept. However, I have also been doing a bit of limit setting.... as in; he must try at least ONE piece before he eats his regular faves. It is working and Nick is now open to trying new foods without any fuss. In fact, if he sees something to his liking on our plates, he will help himself (very huge!). His diet is still quite limited BUT it has improved. This gives us all encouragement to keep moving forward.

In the grand scheme of life, these little achievements may be small for some. For us, they are huge!


Ethans Escapades

Ojos World

Bucket Talk!

(Taken by Nick)

I think it is fair to say that the role of caring for an autistic teen is quite demanding! :)

Through no fault of his own, my son requires 24 hour care. At times this responsibility can feel overwhelming. Yes, on occasion I do have a mini pity party!

I have gone through the age old process of coming to terms with the fact that my life hasn't gone according to plan. I know and accept that my long term role is going to be that of a carer.

However, what I have learned over time is that I need to stop and think about myself. I have been so busy filling my son's bucket - Rummage around in there and you will find lots of wonderful goodies to ooh and aah over. Frankly, my boy is a happy teen and very much loved. If I was to visualize his bucket, it would be a bright red receptacle, featuring a large orange sun and bright yellow happy faces. Beautiful blues and greens would be bubbling over the top and gently running down the sides. I would say that his bucket is looking very healthy!!

My bucket is more on the grey side, a bit drab and dreary! Peer over the top and you will find a few things bobbing around in there. Proud mum moments. An airplane or two. Numerous cappuccinos. Joyful memories with family and friends. Regardless of the pretty colours that come to the surface, you will notice the bucket is only half full.

The last 15 years have revolved around autism and it's time to take stock. I need to reassess and make plans to focus on my own bucket. It goes without saying that I will always endeavor to keep the contents of Nick's bucket gently bubbling at the top. I just need to tip the balance towards me and work towards making mine as beautiful as his.