3

The Ark Open Farm

We are very lucky to have a wonderful little farm just up the road from us, our flaw ithough is that we really don’t take advantage of it all too much.. and with Dylan I am always nervous of going there in-case as soon as he gets there he loses it, but our recent trip there proved to us, that we really have to go more! Especially seeing as this trip had to be cut short when he fell into a puddle and wasn’t too keen on his trousers being all wet and sticking to him! Before this happened though we were having a wonderful fun, so I thought I would share it with you =]

When we woke up it was a rather nice day, well it was cold but not windy or raining so that is always a big bonus here! My hubby was also off work, so he took little miss into school and came home and I told him of the plans for the day. We got our little monkey man all ready and headed off, I was slightly worried that as soon as we got there he wouldn’t be too happy as the smells etc are all different and I was holding my breath with my fingers crossed too that it wouldn’t be busy. It wasn’t busy and as soon as we got there we were greeted by a lovely and friendly dog. Dylan loves dogs so he was settled straight away, though he did want to just stay with the dog but with a little persuasion we got him to go off exploring everything else!

A lovely young lad came up to us when we were looking at the cows and asked us if he would like to see a baby chick.. I was a little apprehensive as we all know how rough kids can be, and just how delicate chicks are! The young lad held the chick for Dylan too see, and he loved stroking the chick and just staring at it! We were made to feel in no rush and the lad chatted away to us about the chicks while Dylan happily was stoking and staring at the chick! When he started to get a little grabby he put him back in with the other chicks and went on his way. I think Dylan would have stayed there all day just watching them walk about, he sat on my knee and was so happy just watching them all walking about, eating and having a little drink!
We then moved on to see the goats, there was some tiny little baby pygmy goats who were very young. They were so cute and kept escaping from there pen for a little walk about! They were just adorable, though my little man didn’t have much interest in them I would have happily have taken one home.. though I’m pretty sure the hubby wouldn’t have been too impressed! πŸ˜›

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We then went into the barn where they have a range of animals! Some more goats, sheep, lambs, alpacas (I think!), reindeer and some bunnies! The young lad from earlier was there and happily got out a rabbit for him to see, and he loved stroking the rabbit.. though quickly found its ears and like most, thought these looked great to pull.. so the bunny went back in, away from his grabby hands!
Dylan then proceeded to run up and down the barn (he loves big spaces to run and walk about!) until he spotted a sheep! It was love at first site! He stood by the lamb stoking it, smiling and laughing, it was simply wonderful to see him to happy and engaging with something!

After playing with the sheep he then spotted a cow in the barn! (Plastic) He swiftly took a seat on the little stool and started to try and milk the cow, it was wonderful as he was very hands on, didn’t mind the water on his hands and was having so much fun! With Dylan we have a real problem with water and bath times so it was simply wonderful for him to be having some fun with water and not having a care in the world when it got on his hands or wellies!

We then headed off outside to have a play in the park and too see the other animals outside.. completely unlike how his sister would have been Dylan walked straight through the park without even a second look and was straight down to look at the ducks and swans in the little lake they have there! It has a lovely little wooden and very safe walkway out to it and you can stand on this and watch the birds, after doing this for a while we headed back out to continue on our travels!

He found a puddle, a muddy puddle and he wanted to jump in it! There wasn’t a chance I was going to stop him from doing this because as said before water is one of his least favorite things! He splashed about in it for a while and then we carried on to see the owls, peacocks and the other birds they have outside!

 
We also headed into a wonderful little wooden Noahs Ark they have which had a giant connect four in! He played with this for a long time with his daddy, getting picked up to slot one in (working on his depth perception & engaging by going to daddy to get lifted to put the token in!). They had lots of fun doing this, everyone was all smiles and laughing! =]

We headed onward to the forest walk.. or we attempted too. Dylan found another muddy puddle and was jumping in this, but then stopped to have a look about and his welly got stuck resulting in him falling backwards and landing bum first in this lovely muddy puddle! I knew it was going to happen but just wasn’t quick enough to stop it happening! Bad mummy >.<

We then had to head home as he wasn’t a happy bunny having a wet and muddy bum, though I’m thinking he secretly planned it so we have to go back another day to see the animals again ;]

All in all it was a fantastic day out! Dylan felt lots of new textures, had fun with water, met new animals, got lots of fresh air and had a lovely time with mummy and daddy! I’m now convinced Dylan should be a farmer and I need to try and get out to lots of places with animals, as he really came out of his shell, was making vocal noises, engaging with us and the animals, accepted a person he hadn’t ever met before, smelling lots of new smells and feeling things he hadn’t felt before!

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We will be back soon and I look forward to our next trip to The Ark Open Farm!
If you are in the area I really do recommenced a visit!

WeeOhana x

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