3

Go with the flow!

Recently with Dylan I have learned that you really have to go with whatever is working for him that day. If it isn’t something that desperately needs done that day, isn’t important, or I can wait until my husband is home then I simply won’t do it if its something that he won’t cope with. Some people may see this as a little odd, that I’m letting my son control a lot of my life, but in reality; why would I take him to do the grocery shopping when hes having a bad day, just for him to have a meltdown in the middle of the shop. Which means he is very distressed, people stare so I get upset, he gets more upset as I get worked up trying to calm him so we leave. So; why would I put either of us through that? This is why most of my shopping is done online, or when my husband is home!

Today a friend of mine had a go with the flow light-bulb moment! She is a hairdresser and has been meaning to come over to cut my little mans hair for a while, his hair is a very precious thing to him and like a lot of autistic children he finds it very difficult when it comes to haircut time! So, when I went to the yard today she was there too sorting out her horse and was chatting away to me while Dylan very happily played with the shavings when she had a brain wave.

We decided why not have a go at cutting Dylans hair while he is really happy and relaxed in a place that he loves! She headed of to her car to get her hairdressing scissors, water spray and comb! He loved the water spray and played with this for a while to get his fringe wet and get him used to her! After doing this for a while I sat him on my knee to make sure hands and fingers didn’t get in the way! She snipped away and he was happy enough for the first few snips then he started to notice what was going on! With a quick few more snips it was done and after a few minutes he was happy to restart playing in the shavings like nothing had happened! It was over so quickly and he didn’t get too worked up which lead to him happily enjoying being at the yard again in a very short space of time!

He then went on to eat some of the horses food (which to me is bizzare seeing as it is nearly impossible to get him to eat any other human food than what he has already accepted into his very small selection of food he will eat), help me fill the hay nets and empty the wheel barrow!

All in all it was a very successful day! Fringe Trim, feeling lots of different textures and a happy little soul spending time outside in the fresh air! =]

It all boils down to.. pick your battles! Pick what is worth battling over and if it isn’t and its going to make everyone unhappy. simply do it when you get a chance! =]img_4144

WeeOhana x

 

 

 

 

 

 

0

How To Make Your Own PECS!

The other night I made my own PECS (Picture Exchange Communication System) for Dylan!
There are several stages of PECS, for the moment Dylan is on stage one as he has just started using them! PECS is a form of communication that is used with lots of children on the autistic spectrum but can be used with other children too.It is where they learn to relate pictures to the items that they want.

I have seen lots of people who make these online and charge a fee for doing it then send them to you, I was very tempted to do this until I thought about how often I would need to order new ones as he got new interests, foods he likes etc. So I decided to have a crack at making my own and it really wasn’t that difficult! Took a little time to get all the things together and work it all out, but I did and I must say I’m pretty proud of myself with how they turned out =D So I am going to show you how I did it and what I used so you can make your own too! If you need any extra help/advice etc drop me a comment and I’ll be more than happy to help! =D

I already had a printer, which is the Epson Expression Home 322. I have had it for a while though so you may be better sourcing your own printer! Mine isn’t a very fancy printer but does all that I need and was a very friendly price! I then sourced a Laminator (Amazon.. my favorite place for finding everything I need/ want ;]) it wasn’t a fancy all dancing one, just one with good reviews and could do exactly what I wanted! (Click here to view it) Along with this I also ordered 100 Laminator pouches.. I’m not entirely sure why I ordered 100.. but when I see a good deal I can’t resist! ;] (Find them here) I then needed a paper-cutter as I wanted all the edges to be straight and nice! (This one!) and the last thing I ordered online was some Velcro! (Here) You will also need some paper and few bits of thicker paper too! =]

Now, I am going to try to do this in a step by step stages so it is easy and clear to follow! =] I’ll try and not waffle as we know I do get carried away sometimes! πŸ˜€

  1. To start I made lists of what I wanted to make PECS on. I started off by just doing two, Snacks and TV Programs then thought of nine of each that Dylan liked and wrote them down!
  2. Next I searched online for clear and simple versions of these images! I found when I searched to put the words “White Background” after whatever I was searching as it means they won’t get distracted by looking at the whole picture
  3. I then made a folder on my laptop for each PECS board and save the nine images of each topic into the correct folders
  4. After finding the nine images I then went into the folder and selected them all. You do this by left clicking once on the first image then holding shift and left clicking again on the last picture
  5. When they were all selected I then right clicked on the images and selected the option print, which opened a pop up.
  6. When in the pop up I scrolled down the side of it which gives you the options of how to print the pictures until I got to one called Wallet. This meant that all the pictures could be printed off on one sheet of paper and would all be the same size!
  7. Then I used the paper-cutter to cut them all out. This took a while for me as I liked to make sure they were all exactly the same size! Very simple to do though with the paper cutter recommended above as it has a built-in ruler! =D
  8. I then put them into a laminating sheet with a good distance between them so that they would all seal correctly and wouldn’t peel once laminated.
  9. Once the PECS images were done I left them to cool while I laminated the thicker paper that I would be using for the background!
  10. I then cut out the images again, making sure I didn’t go to close to the image as I didn’t want the laminate to peel off them!
  11. Next I stuck 6 of the Velcro dots onto the piece of thick paper all evenly spaced of course ;]
  12. In the middle of each of the PECS images I then stuck the other side of the velcro dots on. (I know I said nine but have only put six on the page, this is so that you can change them about, or remove some and put the other ones on when things aren’t available!)
  13. Admire your work and feel very pleased with yourself! You have just made some PECS for your child which will greatly improve communication and hopefully make meltdowns less often as your child has a way of telling you what they want when they get used to the PECS =D

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These are the ones that I did,and I would love to see the ones you have done! Especially if this step by step has helped you! =D
I wish you all the luck on your PECS journey! =]
Also remember if you have any questions on how to do this etc, Just ask! I’m more than happy to help!

WeeOhana xx

10

Our First Speech Therapy

Last week we went to Dylan’s first speech therapy, though it was a different lady who had seen him at the CDC clinic so it was a review for her to decide what she thought was the best plan of action! She has decided that he would really benefit from some joint therapy with the occupational therapist as well as the speech therapist at the same time. She hopes that this will start before Easter but can’t be too sure, so I have my fingers crossed that we hear sooner rather than later about it starting so that we can get cracking! She was a lovely lady and gave me some tips and things to try with him along with lots of advice which I am going to share with you all! =]

When we first went in she asked a few questions then played with him, tried to encourage him to do certain tasks and to see how he got on with all the things she had prepared for the day. She did a game with him which was putting some bean bags in a post box type thing, which he really loved. When this task was over and she put it away Dylan couldn’t handle it and went into full meltdown mode.. luckily enough my hubby had came along too so took him back to the car while I chatted with her about the best actions to take to encourage speech.

The first thing she told me shocked me, she said that she isn’t going to work on his speech for now.. it is all about his concentration, engagement, interacting and eye contact. To me I was a little taken back by this, but they have to be able to do these things before speech will come or speech therapy will really work for them! So I have lots of ways of trying to do this and have a long list of toys that I will need to purchase to help!

She also said that his depth perception is very bad, so to try and do lots of things that encourage climbing, pulling out chairs to sit on, and grabbing items off the floor. Lots of that sort of thing to help him, I wasn’t aware but apparently it is very common in autistic children!

The toys which she has advised me to get are lots of simple, easy toys. She said that it is better if he can very easily do the toy and it to have lots of parts. For example today I got him a ring stack. So I then sit, or even better lay on the floor with him while he is doing this he is doing this, and give him one ring at a time to put on, he then has to engage with me to get the next ring. Even if it is just him coming over and me giving him the ring, he is starting to learn that to get the things he wants/needs he has to engage with people! Another thing to do with the ring stack is that I put the part they go onto on top of the sofa and then bring him to the other side of the room with me and give him the first ring, he then has to climb on the sofa which is working on his depth perception and then come back to me get the next one etc!

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I got told as well when I am playing with him to spend a lot of the time laying on the floor behind what he is playing with, she said then that they will catch a glimps of your eyes and make very short eye contact now and then and hopefully will build up to longer periods of times! Unfortunately we have just had laminate flooring put down so it isn’t the comfiest, but needs must!

We also have been advised to buy a lot of different cause and effect toys, so that he learns when he does something it will have a reaction, and that when he wants something he has to do something to get it! I have got him a pop up toy for this, the kind where you turn the handle and a cow pops up, turn the other handle and a dog pops up etc!

To encourage him to interact with us we have been advised to only put a little bit of juice in his juice cup and get him to learn that he has to bring it to us to get more, so that way he will be engaging with us and getting what he wants back. If we only put a little bit of juice in it is then encouraging him to have to do it more often and get him used to it! Another way to encourage this is to teach him that the remote controller turns on the tv, so that when he wants the tv on he can bring us the remote and other things like that!

There are many other toys and things that she has told me to get for him, but I think he will be able to make do with what i bought until next pay day! Dam toys are expensive! >.<
Her main thing was that we keep the toys all easy and simple so that he can do them himself, doesn’t get frustrated at them and really enjoys them! Dylan is like a lot of other autistic children and likes lots of repetitive play, so if its something he can do easily over and over again without getting frustrated it is great! Especially if its working on his depth perception and even more so if he is having to engage too! =]

Here is what I ended up with today for Dylan! =]
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What cause and effect toys do your little ones enjoy?
WeeOhana xx

5

Porridge Play!

Today I decided to do another different and fun sensory play for Dylan! This time again using something that was safe to be eaten, just in case he decided to taste it or my dog got some of it! I had thought about putting sparkles in it or dying the porridge oats but then again I thought I would rather leave it safe to eat!

I made this really simply/quickly and very cheaply! We actually had all the things I used in the house already, but if you don’t it can be bought for very cheap or you can use whatever you have in the house!

I started off with a container the same one that I used for the pasta play, got out some porridge oats and filled the container so that the bottom of it had a nice layer on it, then added some diggers and it suddenly looked very cool!
img_2999At the start he wasn’t too sure about the feeling of the porridge oats though he was happy to drive his JCBs through it if it didn’t touch his hand.. though in time as he got more and more used to it slightly touching his hands he then dug in! He absolutely loved it! He was picking it up and burying his cars under the porridge oats, scooping the oats up with the diggers and then he started to used the diggers to scoop up the porridge oats and put them in his mouth! He was using the diggers like little spoons, it was wonderful he was happy chewing on it and feeling it in his mouth! He then proceeded toΒ  sit in the container with the oats and sprinkle it over his legs and his feet, it was simply wonderful to see. He was having so much fun.. Though he then decided to empty the whole lot onto the floor which I wasn’t too pleased about but thankfully with our new wooden floor down it is easy to clean so I left him too it! He was than laying in it, running through it and having the time of his life. It was simply wonderful, I am really enjoying doing all these different sensory play ideas with him! I think I will do a few more dry ones before moving onto squisy/mushy/wet/sticky kinds of things as they are the things he really doesn’t cope well it. I want to keep it as fun and enjoyable as possible!

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Do you have any ideas of different things I could try or that you have tried? =]

I have also just made a facebook page and and an instagram account where I put things on daily that we do or that have tried out and enjoyed! If you have enjoyed my blog I think you would enjoy them too, please check them out and give me a like and a follow if you want, I would really appreciate it! =] @WeeOhana << Facebook Link! =] @WeeOhana << Instagram Link!

WeeOhana xx

 

5

Sensory Pasta Play!

This morning we woke up to a cold and wet day! Horrible, especially when I have two little ones to entertain as school is out for half term!
I was trying to think on my toes of what to do with them that was a little different to the usual coloring or toys that we have! I decided on something sensory to try out, hoping that if my little man didn’t just dive in he would copy his sister and at least give it a try!

I hunted in the cupboards to see what I could find and I hunted out some pasta! Some sensory play, that isn’t to messy and wouldn’t stick to my little mans hands which is something he really doesn’t like! I had some swirly pasta and then i broke up some pasta sheets into a bowl.

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I then put the bowl on the floor and picked the pasta up and dropped it into the bowl so that it made a different noise and he came running out to see what was happening and he dove straight in! I was so happy, he was picking it up and running his hands through it all the time while laughing away. I then found a bigger container so that he could move them about a bit more and sit in it if he decided to.

He loved it, he was putting it between his toes, and even decided to take a little nibble on a bit which is truly incredible with his very strict diet and unwillingness to try anything different.

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A very simple sensory play, but it was very effective!
Next time I am out I am going to buy a few bags of different kinds of pasta and color them all different colors, so it is even more visual for him!
After a week or two of playing with the pasta I may start to put a few bits of cooked pasta in at a time, only a very small number at the start and then slowly building. I know slimy things are not his favorite and is the reason he wont eat several foods (ham,pasta,etc) so I am going to do it very slowly and hopefully he wont notice the change and will accept it very well! =]

weeohana xx

0

Small things that mean so much!

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To some this wouldn’t seem like such a big thing, to me and my family it was huge and wonderful!

My little girl was sitting eating her breakfast as normal at her little red table in the kitchen, she had decided that she wanted Rice Krispies with no milk on them. Little man was happy pottering about after having his very runny and no lumps porridge, then he walked up to see what his sister was eating. I was just about to move him away before he decided that his sister was better eating her Rice Krispies one by one off the floor but he was watching her eat them very closely so I thought I would wait and see! He then swiftly pushed her off the seat and sat down on it and just as I was about to intervene he picked up the spoon and started eating the Rice Krispies! Eating them like he had done it every morning!

I was so stunned! I was waiting for my little girl to stand up and starting shouting about how he was eating her breakfast and the such, but she stood up and started to clap and shout about how Dylan was eating proper food and was using a spoon! She thought it was just fantastic and ran upstairs to get her daddy to come and see, he came running downstairs and we all cheered and clapped him while telling him he was such a clever boy! He took no notice of us and continued to eat and eat, until the whole bowl was empty! What an incredible day, it was just simply wonderful! I couldn’t believe it, we couldn’t believe it. It has given me great hope for the future and his eating! We have to take it step by step and at his speed and he will hopefully continue to show us like today when he is ready to try something new!

It reminded me of something that I have been saying a lot recently; that every child,every adult has there own goals to meet and there own milestones. If we all met our milestones at the same time, life would be very boring wouldn’t it!
No matter how big or small your goals seem to others for you or you children, they are worth celebrating and being very proud of. Some people wont ever understand, but they aren’t worth worrying about for two seconds.

Today I am celebrating and rejoicing in my little man trying a new food, and using a spoon all out of his own choice! =D What a wonderful day!
What are you celebrating today? =]

WeeOhana x

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0

Mums & Tots!

When I was at my CDC appointment with my little man they recommended a mums and tots group that was just for children who attended the unit as they know how hard it can be to go to other mums and tots with lots of children/noise etc! So I thought I would give it a bash!

When I would go to other mums & tots he couldn’t handle the noise, amount of people, amount of toys.. everything was just a giant sensory over load so he would go into a meltdown. This would consist of him screaming/crying/throwing himself to the floor/hitting his head off the floor/running at walls/scratching at himself.. people would stare, which made me feel extremely anxious, upset, judged and many other things. The leaders of the mums & tots would come over and sing/give him toys/try to help.. but obviously that just made it worse. Obviously they are trying to help and didn’t know what else to try/do.. so I ended up leaving and taking him to the car to settle him down, I would say to myself that maybe he would like a different mums & tots, that I would try others. Believe me, I tried several different mums & tots, I think I went to all of the ones in my area, but in the end I gave up. The longest I managed to stay at one with him was 15 minutes. When we first went in, he hated it, So I gave him my phone and sat him on my knee for him to watch Morph and accept what was going on around him and hopefully join in. A lady beside me made a comment about how he should be off playing with the other children and enjoying himself like a normal child rather than sitting playing on my phone. I didn’t even bother to reply.. I picked him up and left. I made a group decision for him and me, that we wouldn’t go back to a mums & tots for a long time.

Until when I was at my CDC appointment and they told me about the mums & tots I thought it sounded fantastic, it still took me a few weeks to go to it, to get over my anxiety of the looks/ what ifs and so forth! When I went, I couldn’t understand why I had put it off!

Its a fantastic mums & tots ran by a wonderful group. When we first went in, he wasn’t too happy.. so the lovely ladies there got out the bubble machine and then went away from him. He sat on my knee for while watching the bubbles, then he got up and started popping the bubbles then ran off and saw all the other wonderful things they had. The ladies then got me stuff to fill in while chatted to me about what they did and what was going on with my handsome man.
There was only 5 other children there, in a big hall with all the toys spaced out and a wonderful sensory room. It was fantastic, he pottered about by himself happy as larry without a care in the world. It was wonderful to see, and I chatted to a few of the mums, some of them in a very similar situations to me, it was great to speak to others who are going through the same sort of thing, who know what its like to still be feeding your two year old 10+ month food.

We now go every week and when we pull up outside the hall his little face lights up and he starts flapping in the wonderfully excited way that he does! Its great, to get out of the house and for us both to enjoy ourself and relax.

Is there anywhere that your children especially enjoy? Places they really don’t like?

WeeOhana xx