Unfortunately after the week break for Halloween Dylan wasn’t as cooperative at his 5th DIS as he had grown to be in the previous ones.
He went in great, but he found it very difficult moving from the sand table which is what he always does first. After a little fussing and lashing out he then moved on to the next task which was puzzles and a shape shorter which is something that he really enjoys doing. He completed them all and after a gentle reminder to put them in the done box he did this successfully after every one he completed. He enjoyed doing the tasks at this table so much he tried to get the ones out from underneath for the next child. It was then time for the water tray.
After a very enjoyable time playing in the water tray it was then time to move onto the next table. This time thankfully he moved over great and took the object with him to match with the other object,he sat down nicely as he knew that he got to play in the lentils here and he really enjoys that. First of all she got him to do some letter matching and was very surprised that he could do this, though I had told her from the first one that numbers and letters were his up most favourite thing and he really enjoys. He then got very distressed when having to move on from matching letters but we managed to get him settled again by playing with a balloon and he then completed all the tasks at this table.
It was then over to the carpet to play with the trains before heading home. I then chatted with the lovely lady while he was playing for a short while, we both agreed that the weeks have gone so fast and she said that she agrees with everything that they have said during the CDC clinics. She said we will discuss things further next week and hopes to have her report written up by then which would be great.
Lets hope the last ones goes smoothly and the speech therapist gets a chance to pop along and see how much he has improved with once a week so that she will then hopefully see him more often.
What is DIS?
DIS- Week 1
DIS- Week 2
DIS- Week 3
DIS- Week 4
Dylan’s regression in food has made me want to do a lot of sensory play with him. We do sensory play rather regularly but I want to try to do a little more and hopefully this will aid in helping him get back to at least eating the few things he used too.
Sensory play in our house always has to be with dry items, I’m hoping that if I find something dry that he really enjoys playing with I can then start to cook a few bits of it at a time and he wont notice the change. Then he will accept the change naturally without even noticing it!
Recently we did some sensory play with red split lentils. I chose these because the orange went with it being Halloween and they were bright and colourful. I added in a few objects with simple names so that I could name them to Dylan, I am going to use the same objects in all the sensory play that we do to hopefully help him learn these words.
Repetition is key!
He really enjoyed burying the objects and finding them again, his sister really enjoyed doing his sensory play with him and it really helped them to connect a little and have fun together.
She was burying her hand and he was finding it then she was helping him to bury his hand and finding it again. I love seeing them play together, it’s a rare occurrence but a simply magical once when it happens.
I thought we were getting somewhere with Dylan and his eating.
He had added pancakes and pork mince to his very short list of foods that he would actually eat happily and enjoy, though over the past few weeks slowly but surely foods what he will eat are being eliminated.
Rice Krispies are thankfully still being eaten for his breakfast unfortunately he eats his breakfast slower than a snail, but as long as he is eating something I am more than happy.
For lunch he used to enjoy some lightly buttered toast, but as of recent he just won’t eat it. I can leave it in front of him all day and he just wouldn’t touch it. I try to encourage him by taking a bite myself and making all the positives noises, I show it to him, everything… but he just won’t eat it anymore. Thankfully he will eat just plain dry bread sometimes, so his lunch has now been changed to dry bread when he will eat it.
Dinner, now this is where we are really struggling. He used to eat plain mince every dinner time and would really enjoy it, we then got able to add in pork mince and the occasional chips too! Now though… we are really struggling to get him to eat anything at all for his dinner. He has stopped eating his mince and will only eat a few chips.
For snacks there really isn’t a great deal either. He really enjoys spicy Doritos… odd choice yes but he does really enjoy them, quavers, mini caramel squares, fruit flakes… which we have been told not to give him anymore and to cut out of his diet as they are high in sugar, I thought I was being good giving him them as they are fruit but nope. Though I will not be cutting these out of his diet or making any effort to do so, I feel that at the moment trying to cut anything out of his diet would be a really stupid thing to do seeing as it is so minimal already. The squishy fruit pouches which we have also been told to cut out because of sugar but that also won’t be happening and then his most favourite snack and anyone that knows Dylan is sure to have seen him with one of these tightly held in his hand is a digestive biscuit! He would live off these if he could, we make sure that everywhere we go we have some with us as they really do help him settle sometimes, magic buiscuits!
We are really struggling with food at the moment and many people don’t understand how distressing this is. We often get told that well he isn’t wasting away so he is doing ok, and several things along those lines… I mean obviously he isn’t wasting away and if it ever gets to that stage we would have to seriously consider our options and do what was best for him and it is something that has crossed my mind recently with how quickly he is phasing out foods that he seemed to really enjoy.
To drink he really loves pure orange juice and thankfully doesn’t notice the supplement that we now put in it to make sure that he is getting all the vitamins that he needs, though again the dietician told us to try and water this down and phase it out because it is again high in sugar and we thought we were doing great with him drinking that and getting some fruit… doh!
We have an appointment with the dietician next week, and what I really want to gain from this is a repeat prescription for his supplements as I know that she won’t have any ideas for encouraging him to eat because last time she told us that it was up to the occupational therapist to offer advice as it is a sensory issue with Dylan. I am then hoping that I can then request an appointment just with the Occupational therapist as currently we only see her with the speech therapist so if we can see her more often hopefully we can get on the road to Dylan enjoying food as much as his sister does!
Do you have any tips, ideas or pointers?! Help!
It was Dylan’s first appointment at the optometrist yesterday, and yes when the letter arrived I looked at it a little confused and had to google what an optometrist was. Basically, put it is someone who examines your eyes to make sure they are healthy and well.
It is a hard question to answer whenever we are asked if we think there are any problems with Dylan’s vision. There are several things that Dylan does that makes us concerned about his vision, but it is very difficult to tell if this is due to an eyesight problem or if it is sensory based.
For example, when he is using his iPad sometimes he will hold it up really close, this may be because he is finding it hard to see, or simply because he really enjoys the colours that close and it helps him to zone out. When we are out he will also watch everything that is happening around him on his iPad camera rather than just looking about, this may be because if he has poor eyesight his eyes strain to concentrate on things and this helps, but it may also be that he finds it a little less overwhelming when out when he can focus on the screen rather than the whole thing in front of him. (Does that make sense?)
Also Astigmatism is common in my family, this is basically where the cornea or lens of your eyes isn’t the perfect curved shape it is meant to be, this will then cause your vision to be slightly blurred or distorted. So, we want to check to see if he has this too.
I went in expecting it to turn out to be a horrible appointment considering that I had taken Amellia to get her eyes checked recently and was thinking he would have to get eye drops and someone up very close and personal. (his least favourite thing)
Thankfully though this was just the first part of the test, which is to ensure that his eyes are moving together nicely, to see that he can track something with his vision while it is getting moved around and a few other things like that.
He was able to follow a variety of objects around and the lovely optometrist was pleased with how he did in all in her test, but wants him to go on to get a further examination to find out if the worries are all sensory based or if there is some eye problems that are also causing him to do the things that raised this concern.
This appointment was a really successful one, the lady told us that she had read his information before we got there so she knew what to expect and wouldn’t push boundaries. She was extremely understanding and just wonderful, she ensured that she didn’t annoy Dylan and when she got too close to his pram he quickly alerted her by shouting at her and trying to push her away and she immediately did this when he showed any tiny sign of being distressed. She said that there is no point getting him worked up as this will then just mean that she won’t be able to get any part of the test done and will just put him in a bad mood for the rest of the day so wouldn’t be beneficial for anyone.
The next appointment which unfortunately has an approx. three month waiting list has me worrying already though. This is with a different optometrist but she has told me she will pass on all her notes and with how she dealt with him today so that hopefully she will be well informed and just as understanding too!
What makes me worry about the next appointment is that he has to have eye drops in so that they can inspect his eye the best they can. She offered for us to bring them home so that we could put them in before the appointment or told us that we could get them done at the hospital just before the appointment. I went for the second option… I do not fancy having to battle him to get eye drops in, especially if Adrian is working. Though I think even if Adrian was off it will still be a pretty hard task to get eye drops in.
Fingers crossed Adrian can get the day off work and then it means there will be three of us to hopefully help it go as smoothly as possible.
I will let you know how it goes!
I cannot get over how fantastically DIS is going. We went along expecting to be told that we would need to come back in a few months and to see if he was ready for it then, but we went and she said she was willing to try. I am so happy that she did.
We have now completed week 4 and have two more to go. Ad came along to this one as I was desperate for him to see how much he had progressed rather than me just telling him and he was in for a huge surprise.
Dylan moved from table to table fantastically today and even carried the item for two of the tasks from one table to the next. Which is something that he hasn’t done before.
Another thing that he did wonderfully was at the second table she has been trying to encourage Dylan to put items into the ‘done box’ once he has completed the task and is ready to move onto the next one. She has been encouraging him to do this by aiding him in placing them into the box with a lot of hand over hand encouragement, but today he did it himself straight away after finishing his first task and then clapped himself! He then carried on doing this after every task he finished! It was absolutely amazing.
He also did a picture match, and then went on to match an object to a picture which was incredible, he loves doing the colour matching tasks and posting ones.
Dylan has come on leaps and bounds for her, so I am hoping that this will help when he is in nursery next September. With a very strict routine and 1:1 attention I can just cross my fingers he will settle into nursery ok.
We have the education board coming out soon to assess him(blog post soon about this)and get on the right path to ensure that he gets a spot in the school that will suit him best. We already have our hopes set on one .. so fingers crossed we get it as would be a huge weight lifted once we have his school sorted!
Follow the whole journey here-
What is DIS?
DIS Week 1
DIS Week 2
DIS Week 3
Parking today was a lot easier. One of the two parent spaces outside of the children centre was free, I mean why do they only have two near the place. If they had more hopefully all the adults just going to the doctors or an outpatients clinic wouldn’t park in the children centre car park and it would make easier parking for everyone attending the children’s centre!
As we walked in today she was already waiting for us by the door, fantastic! I am ever so pleased with how accommodating she has been and it makes it a more positive experience for everyone. She gave Dylan the little spade that he uses in the sand and he ran right along to the room.. well past it a little and I had to redirect him but he was trying to find the right one. She opened the door and off he want straight to the sand smiling as she sang the little song and filling up the shapes with the sand.
Great, what a wonderful start, even better than last week. I was trying to contain my excitement as I knew the difficult part was coming up.
She then showed him a piece of jigsaw to make him aware that it was time to go do some work. He went straight over from the sand to the next table without a fuss, he was very happy to change in-fact more than happy to change to the jigsaw and posting activities. I couldn’t believe my eyes and she then aided him in putting them away in the ‘all done’ box, and by his third task at this table he was then putting them in the box himself! How incredible!
Time to move to the water tray and he knew straight away that the fish meant the water tray so he ran straight over and proceeded to soak the lady and himself but all while having fun so that’s all that matters!
He wasn’t so pleased about leaving the water tray but with little encouragement and being shown what he was going to be doing at the next table made him more than happy to cooperate. At this table he did lots of colour matching which he is very good at and he really enjoys trying to say his colours. He also played with lentils at this table and thoroughly enjoys burying his hand.
Next up was the last station before it was time to go home, she showed him the train and off he went straight to the mat to play with the trains and pop up toys. It was then time to go after that.. he found leaving the most distressing today as he was having such a wonderful time!
He was absolutely amazing at DIS today and it seems that week 2 was not just a fluke! It seems like such a strict routine really is key to helping Dylan. I also think that him being able to walk straight in without having to wait in the waiting room with others around his has been a huge help.
I can’t wait to see how the next three weeks go and then what they are going to do for him with this being such a success. I’m hoping it will mean that they will try to do some speech therapy on a lot more regular basis and some occupational therapy too.
Fingers crossed it keeps going so well and we will be offered more regular support after this!
What is DIS?
DIS week 1
DIS week 2
Soon I am going to sign-up to do some online-training and I’m rather excited for it!
I have been hunting online for a course that will help to extend my knowledge and understanding on Autism, and I have finally found one that sounds fantastic!
What I really like about this course is that is has been made and written by people who are on the autism spectrum. This too me means that it will have an even better insight into autism than the courses written by someone who isn’t on the autistic spectrum.
The course is complied of five modules which are:
- Understanding autism
- Autism and communication
- Autism and sensory experience
- Autism, stress and anxiety
- Autism: supporting families
I’m hoping to learn many things from this course that will enable me to understand Dylan a lot more and ensure that I provide him with the best opportunities that I can.
Once I have completed this course I will receive a Continued Professional Development certificate which will be a great addition to my qualifications!
I can’t wait to share with you how I get on with this course and to help broaden your knowledge about autism while I broaden my own!
This course was founded by The National Autistic Society! It is also a great website to pop along too to find out lots of information out about Autism!
This week I had arranged with the lovely therapist that we would meet at the front desk so that we did not have to go into the waiting room with other people. This works well as he is her first appointment of the day, so she can ensure she is there promptly.
We arranged this because people being close to Dylan or looking at him causes him a lot of distress, so to have this 6-week course of DIS working as successfully as we can he needs to in a calm, happy and cooperative mood.
One thing that I must say is that parking is crazy here, so even though Dylan’s appointment wasn’t until 10:15 I went straight over after dropping Amellia at school! It took about 35 minutes going round and round the car park to finally find a space! Thankfully Dylan is really good in the car and he sat happily waiting until it was time to go in.
We went in and waited for all of about 2 minutes at the front desk before she appeared, which was fantastic! Dylan was then shown the spade for the sand and he was really excited going through the sets of doors to get to the room. He really enjoys playing in the sand so this is the task that he will always do at the start so that he begins with a positive and knows what to expect… Routine is key!!
He happily played in the sand, smiled when she sang her little song and it was going fantastically! Though this went well last time too, so I didn’t build my hopes up too much though it did give me a smile! She then showed him the next item.
After a little protest he was more than happy to take part in the next few things. They were posting tasks, and this is something that he really enjoys at home and I had told her last week. She aims to put things around the room that he enjoys so it makes moving from task to task an enjoyable thing for him. After finishing the posting activities, he then had to move to the next table.
He wasn’t as happy changing to this table as he was moving to the previous activities but with some gentle encouragement and sitting him on my knee for a few minutes he was then really enjoying the activities and I was able to move away. He then proceeded to colour match on several different occasions which was fantastic!
Finally, then he moved onto the last task before a quick play in the sand and going home.
This week’s DIS was a huge success and I am hoping that all the others will all go as smoothly now that he knows what to expect when he enters the room.
I think not having to go into the waiting room was a huge help and I am very glad that she has made changes to how she usually greets the children who attend to try and enable this to be a positive experience for Dylan!
Fingers crossed next week goes as well! =D
If you want to check out what DIS is or how the first week went check them out;
What is DIS?
Before I start, if you missed me explaining what DIS is, check it out here then you will understand this blog a lot better.
I walked in feeling positive, we played in the waiting room… until another family came into the waiting room. Dylan started screaming, flapping, lashing out etc, so I took him out of the waiting room for a walk to calm him down and thankfully the lady arrived!
She showed him the spade for the sand and he was very happy, knew exactly t into the room and up to the sand. Perfect, I got my hopes up while I sat on the chair and watched him play in the sand and dancing along to the lady singing… but then it was time to change task.
She took his hand, showed him the object for the next task and led him over, kicking and screaming. She then asked if I could come and help her… by help her she meant hold Dylan still while trying to encourage him to do the task. Holding Dylan isn’t an easy task, he’s a lot stranger than he looks and when he is flailing around, screaming and grabbing at you it’s pretty hard to try and encourage him to do a task too!
She kept at it though and completed the tasks herself and kept showing him the different objects for the next task.
We got through 6 tasks like this, I’m not quite sure how I managed. It was tough, I have a very sore shoulder from battling with him like this on a daily basis but also mentally this was really hard. Having to restrain him while he is screaming to be free, having to try and encourage him to do things that he really didn’t care for, was very tough.
I had to keep telling myself that it was for his benefit, that it was to help him.
Thankfully she then brought out some dried lentils for him to play with and this settled him and he had lots of fun with these, then over to trains and some colour matching before the sand and home!
He managed to make it through 3 tasks out of 10 without having to be held and made to do them.
Let’s hope next week goes smoother.
Check out how week 2 went here!
The other day we went along to our first DIS appointment (I’ll explain what this is in 1 second!) and were told not to expect it to work out well for Dylan but they wanted to give it a shot anyway. So of course I was game to try it, I mean anything that will help him is worth a shot really isn’t it?
So; DIS stands for – Developmental Intervention Services. Basically what they try to do is help your child to prepare for going to nursery in the near future. They do this by encouraging them to move from one task to another without fuss and to sit nicely in a seat when playing.
Going from one task to another is something that a lot of autistic children find really hard and something that Dylan really struggles with. They encourage this by a lot of adult led play, and hand on hand play to encourage them to try the new things.
Also by use of an object to show to the child that the current activity has finished and its time to move on to the next one to see what this items purpose is.
They set up several things on various tables that your children like so that they hopefully find moving to the next table an enjoyable experience and not so distressing.
To be able to do the next task at the table they need to be sitting down in the seat so that they can enjoy it. At the start of this they made find this difficult but we got around this by letting Dylan sit on my knee at the start and then by gradually putting him on the chair and me sitting beside him and moving slowly away until he is then hopefully good-by the end of this at sitting down for a short period by himself.
When we went today I wasn’t sure what to expect and after being told that they didn’t think it would work to well with him, I was trying not to get my hopes up. Though I went in feeling positive and fingers crossed. He wasn’t so upset by the waiting room this time, but I think that’s because I just let him free roam and he wanted to walk up and down the hallway so I let him do that rather than upsetting him and then this having a knock on effect to how well he coped with the DIS.
As we were taken into the room we met the lovely lady who was going to be doing this with us and his speech therapist was there to aid her with him as she knows what he can be like.
He went into the room without a bother which is pretty unusual for him in an unfamiliar place, and went straight over to the sand pit! Over the summer we have spent a lot of time at the beech filling buckets and emptying them so he loved doing this task, she then moved him onto the next one with lots of adult led moving as he wasn’t very keen on leaving the sand but then settled to the next few tasks well, after about 5 minutes he then decided he wanted back to the sand so she asked me if I would try him on my knee to try to encourage him to stay on task and surprisingly this worked wonderfully.
Though again after a few minutes he wanted back to the sand, she then decided that it was time to let him go back as he had coped really well with what she had done so far!
We then got asked a few questions and asked if we would like to try him with the six-week course, and I jumped at the chance. She told me that she would be very willing to do this as long as I agreed to be her helper while we were doing this to help encourage him and of course I agreed to this!
Roll on the next six Thursdays mornings! =D
Check out how we got on here;