Project 365 ~ Manual Mode

Day 32 ~ 39

I am hanging out in manual mode and spending the next few days capturing close up shots of Nick's shoe! I think I feel more comfortable with having a theme as opposed to sharing random photographs. Edge plus one, ya know!

I was lying on the ground trying to get the best vantage point for the image I wanted to create. My crazy dog came to investigate and then started licking my ear. The interruption was delightful (not the wet icky tongue!) and a good reminder to enjoy life and have a laugh. Yes, I know there is a little back box in the corner! :-)

If you think this one is boring... you should have seen the others!

I am loving a focused foreground with a blurry background.

Another image showing shallow depth of field.
If you are wondering why I left a little bit of shoe out of the image,
go check out the The Gestalt Principles

I thought it was time to bring in some colour. 
Having a lot of fun playing around with aperture and shutter speed. 
Am slowly coming to grips with marrying the two!

Hey, guess what? I took the day off! I made a plan for Nick and then went out for lunch with two 
dear friends. Had a fabulous time, although lost all enthusiasm for today's photo challenge. 
I am so over this shoe!

Took the boys out for a milkshake and captured this image of my first born. 
Way more interesting than a boring shoe! :)

Shoe + rope + slight breeze = great opportunity to practice with my shutter speed!

Have a fabulous weekend!

I quit facebook!

Yes, that's right, I quit facebook!

Last weekend I took stock of the amount of time I spend on that particular social platform and it turned out to be a whole lot more than I feel comfortable with. What generally pulls me in are the autism articles/blogs that are being shared; I feel the need to read them all, just in case I am missing out on something! I also find myself becoming irritated with the mindless drivel that gets shared. Yeah, probably some of that is also me! :)

That irritation was starting to spill over into my day. I mean, really ~ how crazy to let online happenings effect what was going on in the 'real' world. It had become a habit to keep my phone near to me. Any notification that appeared on the screen was glanced at by me, thus disrupting what I was doing. Even going out for supper with the family was turning into an issue. Picture the scenario ~ Nick on his iPad (okay, when needs must and all that). Husband checking his emails and running group chat, first born on Whatsapp, me checking my facebook notifications. It's nuts!

It all became too much, so on the spur of the moment I decided to quit.

This past week without facebook has been fabulous. No more feelings of irritation and angst. No more being bogged down and overloaded. Lots of extra time with my family. I have even started following a TV series... me, watching TV!! I am picking up my book more often than not. I am parking off in my garden and practicing my photography while playing with the dogs.

There is a downside to being off line. I really miss my Bright Side page. I love sharing about my boy and it is the one place where I can connect with other families and hear their stories. Bright Side is a great platform for my family (Hi Mum, *waving*) and friends to also keep up to date on where we are at, should they wish. As for my personal page, I am missing my scrabble games with friends. I am missing the RDI community. I am missing the ease in which it is so convenient to quickly message a friend. I missed my nephew's Birthday. Bad Aunt for relying on facebook to remind me about important dates!

There are advantages to facebook and personally I don't think I will be away for too long. However, the break has made me realise that I need to balance out the time spent on social media. I have removed facebook from my phone and iPad. I will check in no more than once twice a day from my computer.

In the meantime, before I log back on, I am going to continue with my crazy busy week that is jam packed full of social stuff. See you all on the other side!

Cheers. xx

Team work!

Nick has perked up a bit; therefore I decided to invite him to help me with some cooking. He was so keen to be involved that he was standing at the bench waiting for me to finish getting my act together!

#1  I browned the mince and onions. I also set out all the ingredients and utensils that were needed.

#2  Nick's role was to place the ingredients into the saucepan. I wanted to start off the activity with a nice and easy co-regulatory pattern to ensure that he was feeling comfortable and confident.

#3 The next step of my plan was bring in a challenge for Nick. Something that would address the concept 'edge plus one'. I thought the use of a can opener would be a brilliant challenge. It is a utensil that Nick is familiar with, although not yet competent at using.

Check list to self
No major distractions
Be declarative
Go with the flow
Scaffold when necessary
Remember that the activity is about the engagement NOT the task!

I have included this first clip because I feel that it is a good example of how I go with the flow. Nick left my side and went to get the lid. From there, we had a lovely time playing around with the lid. This wasn't part of my original plan; however, it doesn't matter to me.....

Now we are back on track. This video clip relates to #2 above. Won't bore you with lots of reflections on this clip... except to say that we are working as a team, which is what it is all about.

Next up comes the challenge......We need to open the tin. Rather than telling Nick what to do, I give him the chance to try and figure it out! Around time code 0:29, I make a comment about opening the tin. He immediately goes to get a knife. I decide to go with the flow (again!) and we have a little bit of experimentation before I remind him about the can opener. We then spend a couple of minutes playing around with the tin and can opener.

To be honest, the last couple of minutes of this clip are a bit too 'busy'. I am chattering away and providing a lot of scaffolding. But, hey, Nick was amazing, so resilient and keen to keep trying. Therefore he handled the challenge quite well. Personally, I feel that Nick's participation is 'huge' and it makes me a very happy mum.

Upon reflection, I have decided that our next planned engagement will revolve around only the tin and can opener. I will give us both very definite roles and also accommodate for Nick's motor planning issues and low muscle tone.  For example; I will hold the handle of the can opener and Nick can be the turner. The challenge for Nick can be in the swapping of roles, he can hold the handle and I will be the turner. Onward and upward!

Project 365 ~ Random shots!

Day 24 ~ 31

It's raining, it's pouring. Not a great day for using natural light. After much thought and experimentation, I placed Nick's communication device on a white windowsill and used the light coming through the window.

Another rainy day and we both have a bit of cabin fever. We head down to the beach to take a look at the waves. Nick is enjoying a bit of rock music (as am I) while I play around with some more reflection images. Too many raindrops to get out of the car!

Why on earth am I sharing an image of salt and pepper? Easy peasy ~ Nick uses them to choose what flavour milkshake he would like! Chocolate or vanilla?

It's Sunday and I have left the gang at home. It was only for a couple of hours, but hey, better than nothing! :)

 I captured a few images of Nick at school this morning. They were taken inside the building and I used the natural light streaming in through a window. However, they didn't enthrall me so I binned them! Therefore am sharing another photograph that I took this afternoon!

My dear sweet boy. 15 years old, Autistic. Pre-verbal. Gentle. Easy. Loves going out. Not keen on the dogs. Loves school. Adores his iPad and would stim on it all day if allowed to!

Nearing the end of our nebulizer muti. Nick is very comfortable with wearing the mask. He will often ask for it, although I think it is a ploy to get the iPad! :-)

Time for some fresh air!

Project 365 ~ Oh, the places we go!

Day 16 ~ 23

Hey ho, hey ho, it's off to the park we go. Nick took one look, found a seat and plonked himself down. After about 15 minutes of looking at his sad face, I handed over my phone. The dogs had a great time!

The very next day we headed away for a long weekend. Just me and Nick. I wasn't overly thrilled to find our favorite spot thick with mist and looking like a huge mud puddle. The following image was captured using my phone.

We managed to get a little respite from the weather. Not for long, but just enough to create this image of our lovely view. The rest of the gang joined us..... there went the peace and quiet!

After a horrendous night of miserable weather, we decided to break free and go for a drive. A local farm opens their garden to visitors once a year, so we spent a lovely time wandering around, admiring the many Azalea bushes. This lovely bunch was left on our car by the owner of the farm. So thoughtful and much appreciated.

Mbona can experience many seasons in one weekend. True to form, after three days of wild weather, the sun came out and it got extremely hot. We took the opportunity to go for a wee walk. With hindsight it probably wasn't a great idea. Nick was exhausted and when we got back to Durban that night, Nick went straight to the kitchen drawer and pointed to the face mask ~ indicating to me that he wanted the nebulizer. Not good.

Back to school for the 4th term. I hemmed and hawed over the type of image I wanted to create to represent the first day back. I snapped away at the school building. Boring. I played around with some shots of the swings. The background was too busy. Nothing seemed to fit well with me.... until I saw the trampoline! Win.

Nick had Speech Therapy this afternoon. While waiting for him, I planned to have a wander around the area to see what I could capture. However, I ended up chatting to our wonderful Therapist and time ran away...... Thanks to the iPhone, I still managed to take a snap during our chat. Nick's favorite books!

So, today was our very last day of Occupational Therapy. We have been seeing the same Therapist for 13 years and have build up a wonderful relationship. The guidance and support that we have received has been incredibly special and I am going to miss her terribly.

Project 365 ~ Juicing, our way!

Day 8 ~ 15

Nick loves his daily fruit and vegetable juice, therefore my once a day image for the next few days will revolve around his juice! #aperture

It wasn't so long ago that Nick would only eat sweet red apples. These days he is happy to try any
variety, regardless of colour or flavour. I also add in variation by randomly removing the peel, leaving the peel on or doing a bit of both.  #samebutdifferent

Gang, I got a little sidetracked.......

I had major plans to photograph spinach (of all things!) for today's picture. However, I took Nick
to Physio this morning and to pass the time while he was beavering away, I pulled out my camera.
I found the following reflection in a puddle. Now, how cool is that? I am so chuffed with myself,
although irritated that there is a sun spot. I need to think about getting some sort of editing program. Suggestions welcome. :)

Nothing beats having a bit of baby spinach in a fruit and veg juice! Healthy or what? 

Ever tried taking a photo of carrots? So boring... or perhaps it is my imagination! 

I think I may have bitten off more than I can chew with this crazy challenge that I have set myself! I totally understand if you don't follow my Project 365 ~ come back and check my efforts in 50 weeks! Hoping like hell that there will be huge improvement!

Chopped and ready to go. I do change the ingredients, it all depends on what I have in the fridge or fruit bowl.

And, here we have it. One glass of extremely healthy fruit and vegetable juice. Yum!

An RDI planned engagement!

It has been a while since I last shared an RDI engagement. This one is a 'warts and all' post. The video has not been edited, therefore if you want to watch it, be prepared, as it goes on for five minutes! 
The following notes are my reflections for the video footage. Please excuse sentence structure, grammar and any other glaring mistakes. The information shared here is what was sent to our RDI Consultant. I hope that you find it helpful and if you do have any questions, please feel free to ask me any questions.


I decided to try a car washing activity for this planned engagement. It has been years since I attempted this with Nick, although he has done this activity with Allan a couple of times (also a very long time ago!!). 
I planned to start off with a reciprocal pattern. Using one cloth, I would wash the car and then Nick would wash the car. I wanted to start off with a familiar pattern and thereafter bring in the challenge (the next step) of changing to a simultaneous pattern. I also wanted to revisit some referencing for info, working in sync together, Nick co regulating his actions with mine. All in all, it was set out to be an simple activity and the challenge wouldn't be too huge. I planned this purposely, as I wasn't too sure how Nick would manage. I told myself beforehand to cut back on the chat and slow MYSELF down by being more non verbal and only make the odd comment, declarative suggestion.


I observed that the planned engagement was far too easy for Nick. The video footage clearly shows how he is following my lead and also at times making up his own mind on what to do. His processing time is incredibly quick, which is brilliant. This activity wasn't a challenge for him (really when you think about it, it is WONDERFUL that it wasn't a challenge!).


1:47:  Nick accidentally got me wet, so I spotlighted the incident in the hope that he would react..... i.e, maybe do it again (on purpose). However, he didn't pick up on my cues. I am bookmarking this to remind myself to try again.... or even splash him in retaliation!

2:04: I change our pattern of working together. I feel that it is important to spotlight this as it shows me guiding Nick on what we are going to be doing next.

 2:32: I decide that I want to be very clear about what we are doing, so I start off scaffolding with saying "go" in order for us to start together. I use facial expressions and noises to indicate "stop".

3:30: I make the comment that I need some more water. Together, we move to the bucket and dip our cloths. I am spotlighting this because I love that we are in sync; and Nick is naturally matching his actions with mine.

3:40: I add in a little variation because it has been going so smoothly. We start cleaning the window and I make a comment about it being so "high", in order to invite Nick to think about what he needs to do next.......... he immediately realises that he needs to clean the area that I can't reach. 


I thought that this was a successful planned engagement........ although it was way too easy for Nick and as mentioned previously, the challenge was quite minimal. Therefore, next time we do this activity, I really need to think of something that is going to be hard for my boy AND also require him to think a bit more. Note that his left hand is not used a lot...... I also want to bear this in mind for a future activity..... get both of those hands working together. I think this video shows good examples of roles, switching patterns and problem solving in its simplest form!

Note: This footage was filmed before Nick got sick with Pneumonia. We are taking a break from further planned engagements until Nick has fully recovered.