Think Autism ~ start small...

When Nick was a little boy, he was highly anxious and very insistent on extremely rigid routines. As mentioned in previous blog posts, he could only cope with going to school, staying at home..... and at a pinch, going to one local coffee shop.  

The following information shared by Elisa from Think Autism spotlights the start of our journey.  By starting small and implementing little variations, we began to help Nick become increasingly flexible with change. 

Nick is now extremely happy to go out into the community, take plane trips and visit new places!


As you may be aware all learning occurs best through experiences and so we need to provide opportunities where we can guide children to develop positive memories of being able to cope with dynamic situations. We need to start small in order to establish competence with this each child will vary in where they are at with this and how they can cope.

4 steps to gradually incorporate more complexity and a slow introduction to dynamic systems:

1 - Start small; within your existing activities even if they are very static add in very very slight differences, only just noticeable.

Working example - back and forth ball play. Say something different each time you pass the ball, make a different sound, a different response, a facial expression or gesture.

2 - Add variations to an activity
Working example - back and forth ball play. Pass the ball differently, roll it, throw it, kick it, underarm, overarm, or throw and clap.

3 - Try the same thing but differently
Working example - back and forth ball play. Add in more complexity like another person playing the same game. Do it in a different room, or outside.

4 - Do something different but in the same way
Working example - back and forth ball play. Apply everything you have done in a ball game but to something else such as pouring a substance (e.g. water, sand, lentils, marbles etc) back and forth into each others cups. Essentially the pattern remains the same so there is some familiarity but its transferred to a new or different activity.

Developing dynamic intelligence and flexibility may not be an easy nor a quick thing to do BUT it is possible and it is easy enough to add in variations to contribute towards learning experiences that impact dynamic intelligence and flexibility.

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


This morning, as I tied an apron around my son's waist, I felt extreme sadness that he is profoundly disabled.

I am thankful he is not aware that he is missing out on all the wonderful things that life has to offer. I am fortunate that he is the most sweetest, gentlest young man who is happy within himself.

My son is the rose and my feelings are the thorns. He grows and blossoms, and on occasion one of those thorns gives me a sharp reminder of what I am also missing out on.


Reasons to be cheerful ~ February

I am thinking about today and reflecting on my reasons to be cheerful..........

In fact, today is full of wonderful reasons. Except for the 4:30am wake up. Thanks, Nick!!

I met some lovely friends for coffee early this morning.

Nick's wonderful school facilitator did some overtime which gave me an extra couple of hours of *me time*.

I went out for lunch with some more lovely friends. We chatted about our boys who are now first year university students. We decided that we are not pining away for our kids and we accept that this is a new chapter in their lives as well as ours. If they are happy, we are happy.

I had a bit of spare time after lunch before I needed to go home. So.... I headed for the beach to dip my toes in the sea. I misjudged a wave and got soaked. Went home with a wet dress and sandy feet. Bliss.

It's my husband's 50th Birthday and we are going out for supper. There will be Champagne.

Onward and upward.