1

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

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

14

Being Positive is Tough!

As a parent you are expected to always be positive, happy go-lucky and love everything that you do in your life that involves your kids. When you are with you kids or even around other kids, or any human really you are expected to have a smile, have lots of gossip to share and happy stories. Is parenting really all positive and great fun though? A simple answer no; no it isn’t.

Being a mum, a parent is really tough. I am currently a stay at home mum and  it is really tough, tougher than most jobs. You have to have a smile, willingness to do arts & crafts, answer 1000 questions, wipe bums, make snacks, do baking, colour, read books, play pretend, cook dinner, recook dinner as they changed their mind, and many other things.. all on a daily basis. You have to do all this while doing a dance or singing or whatever other thing your child enjoys and when they eventually go to bed and fall asleep you’re so mentally exhausted from keeping up this positive persona that you yourself are exhausted or you end up just sitting watching some mind numbing program on T.V.

Then when you see friends, especially friends who have children you are expected to gush to each other over how wonderful you children are, what new things they have learnt and just why they are simply amazing. All while showing them the latest pictures you have snapped of them, for your friend to then tell you how beautiful and wonderful your child and you do the same to them about their child. Just being honest here, but as much as I love my kids, I would love to not have to gush over them especially if I’m with a friend. In-fact I would love to be able to be open and tell them how I am really feeling, the struggles, share the lows as well as the highs. Recently though anytime I have mentioned a low to anyone they always come back with “Oh it will be fine”, “You never know, it will all be OK I bet” and all that positive cack. Now, I am one for trying to keep upbeat about all that I have going on but some-days I want to have a moan and a cry about how tough it is, and I want to have a friend who will talk to me like it is real life; For them to help me accept what is going on in my life. To help me accept it rather than fill my head with fluffy nonsense and denial.

I’m going through a lot with my family at the moment and I have really realized who is there for you and who just wants to be your friend when it suits them. I have lost several friends recently, but hey. There loss right? I told a friend once we had been to the CDC clinic about Dylan how it had went, that they would need to discuss special schools etc next time we went back as he was too young .. her reply “Can we please talk about something positive?” … I know right! Well I just didn’t reply. It really upset me, when I needed a friend to chat to and really let my feelings out too, they blew me off. Acted like I was complaining about a stubbed toe or something. There we go though, that’s another example of why being positive and why being expected to be positive is tough. I’m sure any parent could see how this would be a hard, upsetting and life changing thing for me, but yet my friend still expected me to be positive? I’m sorry but that just doesn’t make sense to me.

So next time you see a friend,your partner, your parent whoever it is you normally talk too, tell them how it really is.If your finding something tough tell them, if you need someone to rant, rave or cry at. Do it! Please do not hold it in. If you don’t have someone you feel comfortable to do that with, I’m here. I’ll be your someone to rant,rave and cry at. Don’t be afraid. Head to my Facebook page and message me and I’ll get back to you as soon as possible. I hate to think of people holding all there true feelings in, these emotions and words that need out; let them out. Your mental health is very important, and if you go around always being positive, one day it will catch up with you, trust me.

I asked a few of my blogger friends; Why do you think being positive all the time is hard? Here is how they answered! =]

Amy who blogs at The smallest of things said- “Because sometimes they push me until I’m hanging over the edge!! 😂😂
(kids sure do have a good knack at doing that don’t they! They always know the right (or wrong buttons to press)

Jemma who blogs here said- “It’s just so draining. It’s like wearing your fake smile for people you don’t like. You only have to do that for a little while if you see them, but with your kids it’s 12 hours a day-non stop!
Don’t get me wrong there are genuine positive moments but the majority aren’t true and soooooo tiring!
(I couldn’t agree more! That fake smile has to constantly be there. It isn’t fun always having to play pretend!)

Samantha at Porridge and Parenting answered- “Because it’s impossible to be positive 24/7. You could be the happiest person in the world whose glass is always half full but that is unsustainable all day every day for the rest of your life and essentially you are a parent all day every day for the rest of your life.”
(Too right, it is impossible! One day it will wear you thin if you keep up the act!)

Helen from mumatron says “I think it’s hard because it’s unnatural. It’s more normal to show a range of emotions.”
(It sure is! We were given emotions to show them, not to try and disguise them as this wonderful happy, positive person when we are feeling quite the opposite sometimes!)

Sarah who blogs at Whimsical Mumblings replied with- “I broke down into tears the other day in front of my children, and felt SO guilty. It’s hard not to show these emotions as well as they good ones. I honestly don’t think we should hide them though! Show your little ones it’s ok to express your emotions.”
(Don’t feel guilty Sarah, like you say yourself it is important for our little ones to see all the emotions that we have and understand that we can show them whenever we need to)

 

Do you find there is anything you feel you have to be positive about when you really don’t feel that way all the time?
WeeOhana xx

 

 

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! 😀

  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

0

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

 

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 to  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