Project 365 ~ Day 2 - 7

For those of you who are interested in photography, I have a Nikon D7000 and am using a 50mm lens for this post. Each photograph represents one day. I choose my subject and work around it. I then choose the picture that I like the most and keep it for my Project 365.

I had so much fun trying to capture Nick's fingers. They are always in motion; swiping across the iPad, clasping his other hand or gently picking away at his lip. For this shot, I used shutter priority.

Phew, I took so many close up shots of Nick's face and only walked away with two! It is actually quite fascinating to watch him through the lens; and in fact, I didn't realise how much he actually moves his body, face, hands and eyes. Always busy. Another shutter priority capture.

I laughed over the following photograph. I spent 15 minutes splayed out on the floor, head all squiff, trying to peer through my lens in order to focus on Nick's foot! Who knows what he thought of the whole process!

We spent the weekend at Mbona and the weather didn't provide the best light for any type of capture. I ended up asking Nick to sit outside for five minutes (brrrrrr); and using aperture priority, I managed to get some quick shots of his hand.

The rain and mist let up so we took a visit to a neighboring farm to spend some time wandering around their (open to the public) garden. Nick was constantly on the move AND due to his height I only managed to get shots 'looking up', hence the light in this photo is not the greatest. I am not keen on the shot, however, it was the best of a bad bunch!

Back at home and Nick is hanging out in his favorite spot. He usually spends a bit of time here with his iPad, although today, to my surprise he chose to listen to some music. Due the fast motion of his swinging, I used shutter priority.

One week down and only 51 to go!!

Project 365 ~ Day 1

I have two aims for this crazy project that I am about to embark on. Firstly, I want to use this opportunity to learn how to 'make' pictures using my lovely camera. I have a long way to go and this project will ensure that I use my camera every day. Secondly, I have decided to use Nick as my main focus. I quite like the thought of documenting his progress using photographs. Although I am not sure what my 365 days will uncover, I am looking forward to the challenge.

This photograph represents Nick's recent illness and his three days in hospital. He handled the experience with quiet dignity and coped exceptionally well. We are very proud of him.

Fun in the bath & RDI time ~ Lisa P.

I see a lot of information on the net that I find worthwhile sharing. However, the posts just get lost among everything else that is bandied around in cyberspace.  Therefore, I have decided to save them for my future reference and also share them here for those readers who are interested in RDI and tips on how to guide.

The following is written by Lisa Palasti. She is a parent of two amazing teenage boys and a certified RDI® Program Consultant.  She utilizes RDI in her own life and her professional life on a daily basis with astounding results.  You can find out more about Lisa on her website at or like her on facebook at Mindful Guide Consulting

Splish! Splash!
Fun in the Bath AND RDI Time!

Here are some ideas to incorporate RDI into your evening bath time routine. 

Exploring and Experimenting / My idea, your idea – gathering kitchen items to use in the tub. Each child / parent has a chance to gather something from the kitchen that they might want to use in the tub during bath time. Parent and child equally choose items to experiment with. Some ideas could include things like a strainer, egg beater, measuring cup, turkey baster, funnel, Ziploc bag. This also helps foster flexible thinking and problem solving as it helps kids think about familiar things in new ways.

More Exploring and Experimenting along with Anticipating and Predicting - Gather items from the kitchen to do a fun “sink or float” experiment grabbing stuff to see which item will sink and which will float in the tub. You can spotlight the not knowing as the FUN part. It’s okay if we don’t know because we can try and find out! This is really helpful for kids who are afraid of not getting it right. The uncertainty is the fun part. Do NOT emphasis whether someone was right or not in their initial prediction especially if your child is afraid to take risk in case of being wrong.

Appraisal Process - another great way to help promote mental engagement is to have your child begin to do a bit of the appraisal process. For example, is the water too cold, too hot or just right (kids might be afraid of too hot so you can do it with them and go first by modelling and testing the water) invite them to try it after you. Also when is there enough water? Enough bubble bath? Enough toys? Using self-talk is an effective way to initialize this process so you will be making your thinking transparent for your child.

Monitoring or simultaneous processing - help your child learn to better shift and divide his attention by doing more than one task at a time. You may begin to fill the bath and while it’s filling (periodically check the temp and water level) you add another task like doing simple things like lying out PJ’s, clothes for the next day, getting a towel and wash cloth, brushing teeth.

Experience sharing - Bath time can also be a great time for connecting emotionally so no expectations just chillax time. Practice your experience sharing communication. Working the moment of anticipation while by pouring water over various parts of the kid’s bodies or blowing bubbles on various body parts can be fun. Great for experience sharing gazing and warm fuzzy feelings. Hold that face to face gazing before you pour or blow as long as you can.

Or put your swimsuit on and get right in the tub with your kiddo! Great for face to face emotion sharing. I’ve done this and it a load of fun! Just wait to you see the look of surprise on your kids face when you begin to step in the tub with them.

Indirect prompts or communication effectiveness - Clean up time of toys or kitchen utensils can be done by delivering clues such as “I need the thing that I use at breakfast” or “We use this at Thanksgiving” or “I need the red round thing” - this encourages mental engagement, referencing and monitoring for communication comprehension.

Non-verbal communication - practice non-verbal communication by showing him which body part to wash next all non-verbally. So Fun! And more engaging and less demanding than telling your child what to do.

Nick's hospital experience!

Life has been easy for us of late, so perhaps we were due a shakeup! Mind you, I wasn't expecting Nick to throw us such a huge curve ball.

The order of events went something like this....

Thursday lunchtime: Hot face + cold feet = temperature
Friday lunchtime: Lots of gunk in his throat. Dr. describes him as chesty and gives him antibiotics.
Saturday: Can't get antibiotics into him as they come straight back up. By Saturday night, my uneasiness continues. We decide to take him to the emergency room at our local hospital. After an examination and x-ray we were floored when told that Nick had Pneumonia.

From there, it was a matter of finding a room that could accommodate him and me. By this time he had also been hooked up to an IV and was being pumped full of saline, antibiotics and pain killers. The following three days involved medication, nebulizing and Physio. Food wasn't an issue as he had completely lost his appetite and only managed a few apples and some cereal.

I really take my hat off to Nick. His whole world was turned upside down and he just went with the flow. The Nebulizer did cause a little bit of stress, however, we made a plan and added in some scaffolding when necessary. He was in hospital for three nights and I spent the majority of time with him, including the nights. That dodgy green Lazyboy was my bed!

I think that our saving grace was the fact that Nick was so calm, which in turn kept my feelings on an even keel (or perhaps it was the other way around). There was no rush or drama. We followed the lead of the hospital staff, and they in turn also took guidance from me.

Nick's resilience continues to amaze me.

Onward and upward!

Reasons to be cheerful

Woohoo, can you believe it? Two blog posts in one week!! Short ones, I admit..... but hey, time has been limited of late.

I have such wonderful reasons to be cheerful this week.

Number One: We have just had a weekend away (see previous blog post). This was very exciting for me as it is was the very first time that we have taken a plane trip that involved the whole family. Nick was amazing, very relaxed and happy to go with the flow. Needless to say, this is quite an achievement for my autistic teen.

Number Two: I have just completed a short photography course. I now have a fair idea on how to use my camera on manual mode; and I also have a better idea of how to *make* a photograph. There is still a LOT for me to learn and it is going to be fun practicing

Number Three: It is grown up time for me tomorrow. We are going to a 50th Birthday celebration. It starts at lunch time and ends....... I am not sure when! Kids are all sorted. My only stress is finding something to wear! 

Have a happy weekend. xx

Traveling with an autistic teen!

We did it. We did it. We did it!

Our family went away for the weekend. All four of us.

Nick was a superstar. He cruised through the whole airport and plane experience. He didn't utter a murmur over the fact that he had to share a room with his brother AND sleep in a single bed.

We took him here, there and everywhere.

He was flexible, resilient and extremely chilled.

The only time he got a bit antsy was during a long walk, up a steep hill, that involved many steps.... and it started to rain!

This is Nick's, "I have had enough", face!

Our weekend did not revolve around Nick, although we did make a plan to give him supper at our accommodation before heading out to a restaurant. We also ensured that he got some down time.

The joy of being able to have a *regular* family weekend away without any hassles is indescribable.

A huge achievement.


Ethans Escapades