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Learning Curve to friendship <3

Amellia has been working really hard on building up her relationship with Dylan. She understands that he is a little different to others and that he doesn’t enjoy touching, close contact or really playing with her. Though I’m sure you can see how this is very difficult for a five year old to have to understand, and to follow through with. This is especially hard for her as she is basically the polar opposite of Dylan!

She wants to shower him with love and care. She wants to play with him 24/7, kiss and cuddle him and have in-depth conversations about what they are building with the Duplo blocks.. but she has slowly learnt that this isn’t going to get her very high up in Dylans popularity list. When he was building she used to go over and try and help and he would get frustrated at her and hit out, I always found this very hard to watch and explain to her over and over again. She wasn’t doing it out of badness, she just wanted to play and engage with her brother like she would other children. Whenever she then came anywhere near him he would hit out, try to bite her, scream etc at her.. and he still does now but not to anywhere near the same extent. They are both learning how each other work. She knows that if she goes and does something he can’t explain to her he is happy by himself so he will shout or do something else to show her, he has also learnt that not every time she walks past him or sits near that she is going to interrupt what he is doing.

I have seen huge progress between them recently, like all of a sudden they have clicked. They understand each other that little better and she understands why he is a little different and has accepted that she needs to treat him a little differently. Friday, was a huge moment for them. We came down in the morning when they had both awoken and Dylan was pottering about and Amellia was waking up and doing some drawing on her ipad.. when Dylan tottered over to her and sat up beside her all of his own accord. She then handed him her Ipad by choice and showed him what she was doing. She knows he really enjoys drawing so straight away he started to draw, he then took his little hand and placed it on hers. The squeal of delight out of Amellia was just magical. She didn’t want to move and declared this day to me as “The best day in her whole life” This is something that she has been waiting for, for a very long time!
img_4845They then sat like this for the next ten-fifteen minutes swapping whoevers hand was on top, while I melted with happiness for my little girl. This is the connection that she has been dying to get from her little brother since he was born and finally her dreams were coming true ❤
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I had seen that the friendship was growing rather steadily recently, like something had just clicked. She seemed to know when he didn’t want fussed over but was very quick to jump in when he was in a playful mood or was doing something she could do along side him! She did a lot of running about the house beside him before he would even acknowledge that she was there, but now he is looking for her when he starts running about, its magical.

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The other day they had lots of fun out on the trampoline together and Dylan got very upset when she got off, so she then got back on and bounced with him again! Then before she left she handed him a bit of chalk to draw with a zipped the trampoline up so he couldn’t get off by himself! This showed to me that she understood his cry was for her to come back, she then found something to distract him before she left and she also made sure her little brother was safe and couldn’t get hurt.

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This was on Thursday, she had gotten into the car beside him, and as you can see by her face, she is being careful not to touch him too much with her arm! He stayed a minute or two longer then was ready to depart and go back to the trampoline. His most favorite thing in the garden!

They are slowly working each other out, but today has been a big step in the right direction. I couldn’t be more proud of them both. When you have your sibling who understands you and supports you, it can really help you along.  ❤

WeeOhana xx

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Sensory & Sleep Fail…

I decided that Dylan was doing so great with new feelings that I would jump right in and try something.. half cooked pasta.

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Poor little blighter dived right in, grabbed a handful then quickly threw it away in complete disgust ran out of the room and sat on the bottom step screaming until I moved it.. Bad mummy! I’ll not try that again for a while.. Think I’ll have to do it with dry pasta and adding in a bit of cooked pasta at a time!

I think this day though was always going to be a failure seeing as he had me up since 2:30am.. wide awake and dancing to the gummy bear song. If you have ever heard that song.. you will understand my pain. I was slowly losing the will.
I got through the day with a tin of monster providing me with the caffeine that I desperately needed to function!

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Thank you monster for getting me through this..

WeeOhana xx

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Questions!

With it  being Autism Awareness month I decided to ask on a page on Facebook that has many bloggers on it if they had any questions about Autism. Here are the questions I was asked and my answer! =]

Sophie from mamamei.co.uk has a little brother who has Aspergers and asks
are people still struggling to get a quick enough diagnosis? “
We are currently going through the diagnosis process and it is a very long and infuriating thing. When Dylan got seen at the CDC clinic we got told that it is autism but we have to wait till he is 2 1/2 before he can even be referred across to the autism clinic and then he will be put on another waiting list before he is seen, which is a very long list. The annoying thing about this is that if they had referred him when we were first there he wouldn’t have been seen until he was over 2 1/2 anyway.  It will then be a push to try to get him into a nursery that will be able to deal with his level of needs without a diagnosis. I know a few other parents who are going through a similar thing and are having to wait for an unacceptable amount of time. One lady had her child referred to the autism clinic at 2 1/2 and he is 3 1/2 now and she still hasn’t had a letter to start the process. So; I’m not getting my hopes up for a speedy one myself.
It is very irritating because they say early intervention is key to helping, but they don’t seem so keen to provide much help until they are over a certain age etc!

Claire from Http://lifeloveanddirtydishes.com asked; What did you notice about your child that made you seek a diagnosis?
There was several things with Dylan that made me want to seek a diagnosis. One of the main things was that he was talking for a while well he said 2/3 words then about a month later he lost them and all the word sounds that he made. He tip toe walked and still does the majority of the time. He also has very poor eye contact and will not respond to his name no matter how loud you shout it! I had worries about him for a while before anyone else would accept that I was in-fact right to be worried and that he needed to be checked out by the health visitor. Even when he was a young baby I raised a few concerns with my HV, like he didn’t smile or giggle for a very long time. I also as a mum remember feeling very upset because we didn’t seem to have that automatic bond people talk about. When you were feeding him his bottle he wouldn’t look at you lovingly etc! There are lots of things about Dylan that increase my worrying about him that I spot as the times go on. Mainly though I am very eager to try to get him talking or communicating in some way so that he can let me know what is upsetting him, what he wants or what is going on in his head! This would then in turn hopefully lessen the amount of melt downs we have in a day-to-day occurrence as he could then communicate.

Vicki from Www.tippytupps.com wanted to know;  “if you have other children, how do you balance out their needs so neither feel left out?”
This is something that I am really conscious about as I have a little girl who is five years old. I am always worried about her missing out on things because of his dislike for many things. Though me and my husband work hard to ensure that she gets to do the majority of things that she wants to do and that she gets days out just by herself so that she doesn’t have to worry about having to leave if he gets upset and that she gets all the attention. We take turns once a month where we will take her out for a full day and do whatever she wants to do, be it swimming, shopping, eating, going for a walk or anything that she thinks of! During the month if there is something that she wants to do that only takes a few hours for example swimming and my husband is off work, he will take her swimming while I go for a walk with Dylan or do something that he enjoys!

If you have any questions you would like answered drop them in the comments below and I will surely answer them for you on this blog =]

If you enjoy my blog and reading about what we are going through with Dylan and would like to read some other blogs similar here are a few;

Danielle Duggins – “I  write about experiences mostly – https://someonesmum.co.uk/category/autism/”

Ann Hickman- “I blog about how our family experiences the world.. often a differently to others http://www.rainbowsaretoobeautiful.com”

Victoria Hatton- “I write about autism too, my daughter has Asperger’s and I’m an Autism specialist teacher. I write both from a teacher and a mummy perspective: Teacher: https://www.mummytimestwo.com/…/navigating-autism-from…/ Mummy: https://www.mummytimestwo.com/…/moment-knew-daughter…/”

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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! 😀

  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

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Garden Center & Play Park!

The other day we took the kids to the garden center to investigate the new play area, but we weren’t too sure what we would find! We were really shocked when we walked around the corner and saw the most wonderful little play area!
The first day we went was a weekend so we really didn’t stay that long as there was quite a few older kids and after Dylan being pushed twice I knew he was going to lose his rag soon and didn’t want to push him too far after having already had a good 30 mins playing and everyone else being happy! We let the kids choose one thing each on the way out as they had both been fantastic and who doesn’t like treating there little ones every now and then!

My little girl chose the unicorn and has named it..”Pink Fluffy unicorn, dancing on rainbow.” Not quite sure where she got the name from seeing as it isn’t even pink.. but as long as she is happy! She chose this unicorn as it is just like her little brothers rabbits that he takes everywhere! If we ever lost those rabbits there would be trouble! I am going to have to buy a few spare and swap them about so that he gets used to them.. I had intended for the second bunny to just be used at bedtimes.. but as time has progressed he has now taken a shine to them both. and he would take them everywhere if I let him!
Dylan chose the peter rabbit push along toy! As soon as he picked it up he wouldn’t put it down! I love the selection of toys and clothes they have at Donaghadee Garden Center, lovely little bits! =]

We headed back the next day as we knew there would be fewer people, or at least fewer big people with school being back! Dylan had so much fun!
We had a fantastic time! My hubby and I got a lovely little lunch, he had the stew and said it was phenomenal and I had a lovely painni! What was even better was that Dylan got to happily play while we got some food! He was so happy pottering about and exploring by himself!

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He loved this big wooden tractor a lot! You could pretend to drive it, climb all over it and move the gear stick! He had so much fun driving it, especially with our table where we were grabbing a bite to eat right beside it! He is very much a mummys boy at the moment and doesn’t like me being out of his sight! He even follows me from the living room to the kitchen!

It also has a lovely little wooden barn which has steps up one side with a little bit to explore up the top and then a slide to get down! You can also go under the barn too which Dylan enjoyed! He must have ran up the stairs then down the slide about 50 times in a row before he even started to tier!

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Another amazing thing that they have is a little ball shoot thing! You put the ball at the top and it rolls all the way down,he really loved this! So much so that I’m thinking of making one in my back-garden for him! Its a fantastic thing and so very simple to make as it is made using guttering!

I will be going back here many times, in-fact I think I am going to be a regular! A fantastic little place and undercover for Dylan to play in and quiet! It is also great because even though you get your lunch etc from inside the cafe it is closed off away from here so you aren’t worried about the noise etc annoying others who are eating!

Well worth a visit if you are ever near! =]
WeeOhana xx

 

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Rice Sensory play!

Here is another simple, sensory fun idea for you to do with your little ones!
I bought a bag of rice from the supermarket poured it into our tub from IKEA that we use for our sensory play and dug out some stacking cups that we already had in the house!

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We had lots of fun pouring the rice out of the cups, it made lots of different noises when you changed the speed of the pouring and he had great fun using the other cups to fill up the big one to pour it out!
img_3783He wasn’t so fond of touching the rice even after playing with it for a while. Though he did let me pour it over his hands and he really enjoyed that! He did sit in the other sensory play that we did,but not the rice; I’m not quite sure what was different about the rice to the others that he wasn’t quite so keen on it! I  must try to work it out and then I can try and do a few more like the rice to try and get him used to it more!

So to end this post here is a lovely little video that makes me smile every-time I see it! What a handsome little man I have ❤
WeeOhana xx

 

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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