Chips and chores!

I walked through the kitchen, passing Nick, who was sitting on the sofa playing with the iPad. He looked at me and made the sign for "chips". "For sure", I said. "I need some help getting the washing off the line and then I can get the chips". Nick shook his head, "no". I shrugged my shoulders, grabbed the washing basket and headed to the washing line at the bottom of the garden.

I re-entered the kitchen with the fully loaded basket on my hip and placed it on the floor. Nick asked me again for some "chips". "Oh dear" I replied, "but you didn't come to help me with the washing".

I pause and wait for approximately twenty seconds.

Nick jumps up from the sofa, holds one side of the basket and waits for me to pick up the other side. Together we carry it to the table. I fold a cloth and pass it to Nick, indicating with my eyes where it should be put. We continue with this giver/putter routine for three items. 

When I have finished folding the washing, I give Nick a small bowl of chips.


This little story may sound a bit mundane, however, I want to spotlight our 'conversation'. 

Nick engaged with me and made a request. 

I approved his request, yet also made my own request. Using declarative language, I invited him to assist me (and dangled a little carrot chip to entice him!). 

Nick decided that he didn't want to help, which was fair enoughI collected the washing without him.

Nick made a further request for chips, however, I felt that it was important to express why I didn't think he should have any. 

Nick then had a bit of an 'AHA' moment and of his own accord made a plan to win those chips. He decided to come and help me. Smart boy.

I made sure to only fold three items, as didn't want to turn the experience into a chore.

I also didn't want to hand over the chips immediately as a 'reward', therefore I finished folding the clothes before getting him the chips.

*A simple interaction that gave me the opportunity to encourage Nick to think for himself and make his own choices. 

Adventure journal ~ Happy Heart

Traveling with this boy of ours exceeded all expectations. He was so relaxed and happy to fit in with our spontaneous plans. I am sure that having a base in which to stay made a big difference. Having the familiarity of a home, bed, sofa and surrounds helped anchor him.

We gently encouraged him beyond his comfort zone. Many a day he hopped in and out of the car more times than I can count! Experiencing four villages and a long lunch in one day was quite mind blowing. A vast difference from times gone by, when we could only do one outing a day.

Our biggest adventure was taking him on a high speed motor boat for a two hour trip out to sea. We deliberated over this decision for a few days before taking the plunge. The trip was something we really wanted to experience and there was no way we could leave Nick behind! He did find it stressful alighting the boat and then disembarking, however, he loved the ride, especially the speed in which the boat bounced over the choppy waves.

Eating out was relatively easy. He went a bit over the top on Spaghetti Bolognese or French fries, although this was more my fault then his. Europe is expensive and I didn't want to waste food or money, therefore it was best to order his favorite food. We offered food from our plates and he tried a few tastes here and there, which was huge. I always had fruit on hand for stop gaps. Funny boy tried Guinness, not just once but twice. His facial expressions were comical and gave us a good giggle. I doubt that he will be trying it for a third time! 

The iPad was a win. Nick used it at the apartment when we were all having some down time. He also used it when we stopped for food/drink. We all love his Abitalk app and together we created some fun sentences with relevant photographs. Nick never disconnects from us when using the iPad. He constantly watches what is going on around him and frequently points out things of interest or comments on what he sees.

All in all, the adventure was a fabulous success. Now to plan the next one! 

Adventure Journal ~ An Update

Greetings from Portugal.

We are so proud of Nick. He managed three flights, one of them being a long haul, with very little stress. I gave him a sleeping tablet for the overnight leg of the journey, which knocked him out for a few hours. A win. We had a couple of squeaky moments due to sensory overload, however, he responded well to some quiet reassuring words. 

He has quickly adjusted to having a new home and has already chosen 'his' couch! We have been spending our days hanging out at the apartment, visiting local areas and also venturing further afield. Yesterday was a biggie. We were out all day exploring the countryside and quaint villages. 

Today we are throwing Nick a curveball and taking him out for supper at lunch time!