I cannot lie. I do hit a bit of a low in the days leading up to Nick's Birthday. The day itself is a reminder of all that we are missing out on, him included. Thankfully the pity party for one fizzled out around morning tea time of the big day, and I was all happy and cheery again by the time I picked the Birthday boy up from school. Hmmm, my reason to be cheerful? Thinking. Thinking.... Celebrating that my hectically autistic 16 year old is a really easy teen. :p
I attended a photography wildlife talk last night. The presenter was really interesting and I also understood quite a bit of his technical jargon. I am loving this hobby of mine and really get a kick out of creating images. Most of my photographs are rubbish but who cares. They are my rubbish and I like them.
Hey, my Mum arrives on Tuesday! She is hanging out with us for the next six weeks. Don't really have any exciting plans for her (sorry Mum). I am sure that we will come up with a few ideas to keep her occupied..... Hope she likes little yappy dogs!
There is nothing like a little bit of respite to get the old mojo back. Raising a child with special needs is not an easy road. We all know that. No matter how much we adore our precious kids, whether they be tiny tots, moody tweens or spotty young adults...... sometimes we need a break.
We have just been on an overseas trip with friends. It was a wonderful experience and we had a lot of fun together. I ate a lot, drank more than I normally do and had copious amounts of exercise every day.
When life gives you lemons
It helped tremendously to know that Nick was being well looked after at home and that he was happy with his lot in life. Oh of course 'Mother Guilt' raised her head, although she was banished as soon as I set my foot on the first plane!
Having the time away replenished my reserves. I came back feeling lighter and ready to take on regular life again. Time out is highly recommended!
Nick was diagnosed with...."the neuro-developmental disorder of Autism Spectrum Disorder with co-occurring verbal, oral and motor dyspraxia. A person with dyspraxia has problems with movement, coordination, judgement, processing, memory and certain other motor related activities. Nicholas also has low muscle tone, no speech and requires assistance with motor planning, although he is able to walk unaided and move independently".
Quite a thing, hey?
He can't ride a bike or write with a pencil. Stairs are a problem and he really battles with walking on uneven surfaces. He can use a keyboard and type out quite a few words (singular). We are not sure of how many words he can read, although I have a feeling that we need to presume competence in this area!
I recently bought Nick an app for his iPad, called AbiTalk Sentence Builder. It has a library of sentences that can be constructed with a relating picture. It also has voice output. The aim is to listen to the sentence and then construct the sentence. The beauty of this app is that you can also create your own personal sentences and pictures.
The following were created by me and Nick. We chose a picture of the dog, then Nick typed the words as I called them out. I then added my voice to the sentence and each individual word. Nick had great fun helping me with the recording.
This second picture spotlights the problem Nick has with creating sentences. He can listen to the sentence and read each individual word, however, he finds it extremely difficult to follow the sequence and plan how to construct the sentence. #dyspraxia
With some guidance, Nick was able to create the sentence correctly. I called out each word, one by one, and Nick was then able to get them in the correct order.
This app really spotlights Nick's dyspraxia and it is a good reminder to be mindful of what to say when speaking to him or making comments. He will hear all that you say BUT what will stand out for him are the last words that you speak. For example; if I say to Nick, "I need one orange". By the time he goes to the fridge and finds the oranges he has lost the context of the sentence and invariably brings me two oranges!
Anyway, enough of the teen. Let me give you just a little taster of what you might see when you come to visit. Some words of warning ~ the weather at Mbona is unpredictable and it is possible to have four seasons in one day! In fact, if the weather is the pits, we will be spending the time huddled around the fire, glass of wine cup of tea in hand, moaning at the whiny dogs! Bring your walking shoes just in case the weather works in our favour!
Life is a bit crazy in our house at the moment. We are going away on holiday with some friends. We leave this Wednesday and will be away for nearly two weeks. Gasp. I will not feel guilty that I am leaving Nick behind. He is going to well looked after and will be perfectly happy. I will NOT feel guilty. I will NOT feel guilty..................
This is my favorite picture of the week. I only took the one shot and it is 99% unedited. My #Project365 photography challenge continues to encourage me to take out the Nikon (or iPhone) every day. So much to learn but really loving it.
My Mum arrives in five weeks and the first born will be home in six weeks. Nick turns sixteen in three weeks. To be honest, I am not sure how I feel about his Birthday. In fact, I think I will put that date on the back burner until after the holiday.
Anyway, as you can see, I have lots of reasons to be cheerful. Although it may be a bit Pollyanna (ish) it does helps to have a 'glass is half full' attitude.