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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! ๐Ÿ˜€

  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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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 toย  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

 

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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

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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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Shredded Paper!

Who knew something so simple could bring such joy!
I got a parcel in the post.. which obviously bought me joy, but then after taking out of it what I had ordered I had a great idea.. kind of!
We have been told to try and get our little man to do a lot of messy play/feeling different things.. anything sensory related to try and encourage him to eat better, which personally I thought was an odd suggestion until they told me that your hands and the feelings you accept on your hands is very similar to the way it feels when in your mouth! So we are hoping that if we encourage him to feel as much possible it will help with his eating! It isn’t as simple as it sounds.. as he refuses to touch anything that looks different generally! So when I opened my parcel I took out my things and noticed that the shredded paper felt a bit different, so I thought lets just see what the wee man makes of it!
He loved it! He was throwing it everywhere and by the end of it he was letting me put it on his legs without a fuss and passing it to me for me to do it again for him!
He was laughing, coming to me to engage in play, feeling something different, and trying to make eye contact! It was just fabulous. . and very simple to brush up after!
I really encourage you to use anything and everything for them to play with! Something that you think won’t be fun, or is just going to go in the bin, let your little one have a look at it! (if its safe for them obviously!) You never know what they will enjoy and learn from!

This shredded paper ended up in a fantastic learning experience for him with lots of fun too!img_2175WeeOhana xx

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Flying with a baby/toddler!ย 

Traveling with little ones is always going to be a bit of a tasks! Especially whenever you are flying as you then try to ensure that they are quiet and happy so that they don’t disturb everyone elses flight too! Having been on four flights with a three year old a three month old last month I’m going to share with you what I did and how I entertained them! Two of the flights were three hours, that was our lovely visit to Portugal and the other two were an hourish each, and that was to Wales! 

I will start with my little three month old, he was a delight to travel with! You Just obvioulsy have to make sure you have enough milk, some teething rings, a rattle and if they use a dummy one of them too! My little man doesn’t really use a dummy much at all but I took one for the take offs and landings so that his ears didn’t pop! He was such a dream to travel with, minus the extra luggage and so forth that you had to bring! If any of you are taking a little babies away I hope they travel as well as he does! 

Now onto the three year old, hyperactive little girl.. She was actually really super to travel with, which I was shocked by! I expected her to be running up and down the plane and then going nuts whenever she had to sit still! So here is all that I did to encourage her to sit still! First of all I went out and bought her, her own little suitcase! It had wheels on it like everyone elses (She loves to be the same), it also had straps on it so that if she got tired from wheeling it or we were getting on the plane it was easy for me to pick up and put on my back! I also choose one that was appealing to her, it is a lovely shade of pink with a purple front pocket and a picture of Sofia the First on it! She was overjoyed by this as Puple is her favorite colour and Sofia the First is a popular T.V show in our house! I then went about filling it with some lovely goodies that she hadn’t seen before & kept the bag hidden before the morning we went! One of the first things I should tell you is that she also currently loves, Yo Gabba Gabba so I tried to get some items that were related to this! Firstly I got her a set of Yo Gabba Gabba books that were simple and repatitve so that she would be able to join in when reading! Brightly coloured pictures in them coupled with reading them in rather stupid & embaressing voice kept her assumed for a short while & they were also great night time reading before bed on holiday! Another great thing that she has is a kids tablet, Nabi. I took this the night before we were flying and put on some new apps that she hadn’t seen before and a few movies to entertain her during the flight. This then with a pair of headphones was a charm! I hadn’t really thought about using headphones with it before, but it stopped the constant quizzing and everyone else having to listen to what she was playing/watching! It seemed to make her concentrate a lot more on it! She watched the Moshi Monster movie after playing a few apps(i’ll do a post soon with the apps we love) and then fell asleep while watching, so that was an hour of peace when I didn’t have to worry! Also in her bag was a Frozen Magnetic scribbler which attached to the bottom had a little book with a story in it and step by step pictures of things to draw! I wasn’t sure that she would use the book much and expected her to do the usual manic scriibbling, but she actually concentrated really hard to copy the pictures, similar to this I also had in a colouring book which came with colours on the front of it! My little girl also loves sticker books and finding the right place for stickers to go, so I also had one of those hidden in her bag! One thing that I had in her bag that she was too little for really was a younger verision of a tommagotchi, she played with it for about five minuites then go bored of it! The last two things that were in her bag was a much loved lalaloopsy doll and a teddy. She loved these greatly because she is a lover of role play and getting everyone to make her toys talk to her! When at the airport I also let her choose a magazine!

When on the airplane, I would advise to sit them beside the window, then during take off and landing you can look out the window with them and explain what is happening and they can see the views! Wave bye bye to your house and then Hello to the hotel! She got a ‘Snack Pack’ when on the plane too and she found this very exciting and that it was special airplane food! 

Well, I hope this has helped at least a little bit & been interesting!  If your going on Holiday, Have a fantastic time!

WeeOhana xxx