Missing boy

Posted by Sarah on Oct 30, 2009 in Uncategorized

As soon as I heard on the news tonight that a boy was missing I didn’t even need to hear that he was autistic. I did hear that he tended to wander and had climbed out a window and that he had an obsession with water. That’s all I needed to hear. It gave me absolute chills because straight away I knew he must be autistic. It was the same when the boy went missing and was hit by a train a couple of years ago. He got out of his hiding place to watch the train coming and was killed. I just knew.

It’s a horrible realisation to know that I can pick when a child is autistic just by hearing about how they have been killed or gone missing. It fills me with dread cos it could have just as easily been Beth. She had a bad habit of wandering off and still has no traffic or stranger danger. She is also quite obsessed with water. Now that she is older she’s not so bad but still can’t help herself at times if it is there, it’s just compelling to her. That’s why we’ve always insisted that she learn to swim, at least if she falls in somewhere she should be able to get herself out of danger. The problem is though that she may not know she’s in danger if it happens. When younger she’d just climb into water wherever we were, no matter what time of year or day.

When we had mothers group Beth was the one that could never be found at the park. She’d be out the gate in a flash and sitting at somebody’s table eating their food. I still can’t to this day understand why, when there’s so much to do and look at in a playground or even at somebody’s house that the sole aim that she had was to escape. It frustrated me, infuriated me but most of all it scared the hell out of me cos she had no idea what she was doing. I constantly had to be on my feet watching where she was and in the end (when I had a baby in arms too) we just stopped going to places like that, it was too nerve racking. That’s one of the reasons that we were lucky enough to find Menzies Creek. It’s one of the only schools I know that is off the main road.

I feel so bad for the parents of this missing boy Christian, I pray to God that they find him safe and well.

Postscript : the body of Christian was found last night in the lake opposite his house. My prayers are with his parents


A fairly quiet week

Posted by Sarah on Oct 29, 2009 in Uncategorized

first school day 073We’ve had a pretty quiet week this week. Beth’s been mostly behaving pretty well. There’s been a few of her obsessional behaviours like insisting that she’s going to her friend Jessica’s house for a sleepover. It’s been a bit like the glasses and the camp incidents. We’ll be at school having an after school play and she’ll see Jessica leaving so she’ll call out “Bye Jessica, I’ll see you tomorrow at your house.” A couple of nights she’s gathered up her pyjamas or dvds and when I’ve asked what she’s doing she’ll tell me that she’s packing her case to go to Jessica’s for the night. Most likely what has happened is that Beth has heard Jessica inviting a friend over for a sleep and Beth figures that if that friend can go then she can too. It’s hard to reason with her because it’s like she really believes that it’s going to happen. I’m not really sure whether she does or not.

We had a similar thing with a girl called Megan from her school. We were having Megan over about once a week or once a fortnight and she’s a lovely girl, really good with Beth and with Bill and Bridie too. But then Beth started to obsess about her, crying if for some reason she was late for school or if she couldn’t come for a play at any time. And when I started to ask other kids for plays instead I learnt quickly not to ask Beth about it in front of them because she’d say things like “No I don’t like such and such, I only like Megan.” I tried to explain that that’s not a nice way of putting it, that I understood that she liked Megan more but you have to phrase it differently but when she’s in a meltdown moment I’m talking to deaf ears. I’m sure a lot of you can relate to that.

I’ve had some lovely feedback recently about my blog so thanks so much to those that have sent me emails, I really appreciate them. I went to see Julie and Julia last night with some of the HAGS girls last night which was great fun. In that movie a lady called Julie starts writing a blog about doing every recipe from a Julia Childs cookbook. It was a great movie and really inspired me to continue on with this. She eventually turned this into a book and then consequently into the movie. Please feel free to leave comments on here, I love the idea of an interactive blog. And if you know anybody that may be interested, please send them a link so that they can have a squiz themselves. Ok, enough of my self promotion, what’s this blog about again?!

Bridie had her first proper transition day on Wednesday for school. I took photos of the three of them in their school uniforms, she looked so cute! She’s a real girly girl. I remember when I found out that I was having another girl being worried that I would be always comparing the 2 and wishing Beth was more like Bridie in her ways but it hasn’t been like that at all. As all parents know, all your kids are individuals so even if Beth wasn’t autistic her personality traits would more than likely still be the same. She likes to wear dresses too but doesn’t know the meaning of elegance so will lift it up over her head or sit with her legs apart. Thank goodness for bike shorts is all I can say! In assembly this morning she was at the front of her class and while singing Advance Australia Fair was jumping up and down and swinging her skirt around, very excited she was!

We’ve got horse riding again tomorrow so we’ll see how she goes there. It’s not as good without Marion there, Rick does his best but all the volunteers seem to have dried up so the whole atmosphere had changed a bit.  Then we’ve got Halloween at Amanda’s tomorrow night. She puts on a great night, living in Canada for a while they celebrated Halloween each year so she has a stack of stuff so it should be good fun. I think there’s 4 hags and families so a full on night awaits. Speak again soon xxxxx


Plodding along

Posted by Sarah on Oct 27, 2009 in Uncategorized

Not much has been going on really. We had a pretty crappy weekend behaviour wise with Beth, lots of tantrums and crying when she didn’t get her own way. She was pretty tired, I think camp took a lot more than we know out of her. Beth’s a pretty social girl and would have loved the fact that she shared a cabin with 5 others. I know she had a fabulous time on camp and Helma said that she wrote a great story about it on Monday which was good for her, especially after being all over the shop the 2 or 3 days before.

Being at camp for 3 days with lots and lots of people would have been exhausting. They say with autistic kids that being at school is twice as much work for them because they not only have to do the school work but they have to try to read the social cues that are constantly there for them. Beth for example used to get right in kids faces when they got hurt and laugh. She didn’t think it was a funny thing but knew that an emotion was required and wasn’t sure which one. Sometimes when she jumps up and down laughing people giggle and think “ooh something’s funny” but it could just be a release of tension or frustration or confusion. I like to think that it is happiness and excitement and more often than not it is but we have to read the situation, something that she basically can’t do.

That’s why you almost have to read their minds, I need to know what has triggered a meltdown in Beth so that I can reassure her that it either wont happen again or desensitise her to the situation. Sometimes she’ll realise it isn’t so bad, sometimes it just can’t be fixed such as her Oscar the Grouch fear.

I’m not really sure how the treatment is going that we’re doing. I did see quite a big difference in Beth after the Mercury detox but during the flaxseed oil phase that we’re currently in I haven’t really noticed much difference. Since being home she’s been terribly vague to the point of incredible frustration for Paul and I, like going back to the days when we wondered if there was something wrong with her hearing. And her tantrums and stimming have certainly accelerated but Richard Malter says that that could be the virus coming out of the liver inadvertently so we can cope with that. Her communication, when with us, is good.

For example when we went to horseriding a boy called Adam who can’t talk was there. Beth said (of course within earshot of his mum) “Adam doesn’t talk very often does he?” I thought that was an excellent observation and told her how well she had used her words but perhaps not so loud around others as she had also commented on the grunts that he made quite loudly too. Of course his parents didn’t really mind, that’s the beauty of places like that, all have kids who are special in one way or another so they’re accepting of others. She’s being very good with others too, always asking questions of people and quite chatty at times. When she’s like this it’s lovely to see, especially with kids that know her and take the time to answer back.

So I guess we’ll just plod along and see how we go. I’ve had several independant people tell me that I’m on the right track with Richard Malter. We’ve still got a couple of weeks until we go back to see him and we’ll see what he says then. I’ll be interested to see how it effects her when the liver virus starts to come out in earnest. I think it will make her feel so much better but I know she’ll be bloody hard work while it’s happening. Still, what choice have I got, I am a mum after all and will try anything that wont hurt if I think it will help my girl.


The girl is back!

Posted by Sarah on Oct 23, 2009 in Uncategorized

The whirlwind came back from camp today, gee it’s been a couple of quiet days.

Wednesday morning we had to be at school for 9 for the bus to leave at 9.15am. It was all running quite smoothly though I didn’t start packing until that morning, sure that it would all be fine, then running around like a chook with it’s head cut off at 8.45! We got to school on time and Beth turned to me to say “I will miss you Mum.” I thought this was very appropriate and very sweet until she went up to another mum and told her she would miss her too! She then proceeded to tell most of the mums in the line the same thing. Thanks very much!

We stayed for an extra long play at the school Wednesday night, we were there til about quarter past five cos it was such a nice day and a few of us were chatting. It was strange at home without Bethie and we were all a bit unsettled. Bill confided in me that he liked it when Beth was gone but also that he didn’t. When asked what he meant he said that he liked it cos it meant that he could sit in the front of the car but he didn’t like it cos he missed her. I liked that answer!

Bridie missed Beth too and wanted her to come home. It was lovely to hear that from the kids because they could easily have said that it was so nice without Beth for a variety of reasons, not just because she’s autistic and hard work but for things as simple as more computer time or dvd choosing but none of that way mentioned.

Thursday was much the same, Bill had karate after school then home for a quiet night. We decided to save the usual pizza after karate night for Friday for when Beth was home tonight. Note to self : La Collina is much nicer on a Thursday night than on a Friday! Very disappointing after looking forward to it so much.

This morning started off well. I caught Bill flipping the finger to Bridie so big trouble there! Very indignant he was cos I caught him out, he couldn’t lie his way out of it. Off to school we went. Assembly was very quiet without the grade 3’s and 4’s. Tanya was back and spoke about the kids (and teachers) on the flying fox and the big swing. She said that there was another school there on camp too and that that accentuated how well the Menzies Creek kids behave, also about how caring they are as kids. The other school must have been buggers! We have got a lovely school I must say, all the kids are nice and polite and always smile and hold doors open for you, people often comment on what a happy bunch they seem.

Anyway, 3pm rolls on, time for the bus to come in. Beth is the first one off, straight into my arms. I was only saying this morning to Karen and Bree at school about how nice it is with these kids that they don’t have any inhibitions about being affectionate in front of their friends. I’m such a mean mum to Bill, I (and others like me ha ha)  take great delight in embarassing our kids by trying to give them kisses and yelling goodbye. Beth does it right back at me and even though I know she does it because that is what people do so therefore you do it, I still get such pleasure from it, believing that she also does it because she wants to give mummy lots of loving. She’s also the one who in the middle of singing with the choir or sometimes getting an award will spot me in the audience and give me a big wave.

Beth looks a little sunburnt and quite tired and (bad mummy) I realise that I didn’t pack her belt to go with her red checked pants so she has a fabulous builders bum going too! Shelley got off after her and told me that she did indeed have a wonderful time at camp, they did paddling at the beach (only up to knees, yay) and even went rollerblading. I had visions of a giraffe on roller skates at this because Beth is very tall and gangly and (like her mother) quite clumsy on her feet. She did love it though so I’m anticipating more sore backs for me and trips to the roller rink. Great!

They had a night where they watched a dvd and Beth fell asleep, they were loath to wake her up and it took 4 of them to carry her off to bed which would have been a sight. I wonder if there’ll be any workers comp claims coming up! She didn’t try the flying fox or the big swing according to her, I think she’s getting a bit of a fear of heights which I don’t really mind as I used to be afraid of her jumping off balconies. Maybe she’s getting more danger awareness which has to be a good thing.

She went off to bed tonight nice and easy. Bridie wanted to sleep in her sleeping bag on the floor next to Bethie’s bed. Beth read to Bridie and they took Minka in with them and both were asleep at 10 when I checked. All my brood are tucked up in bed and asleep. Just where they should be. xxx


Look out Portsea

Posted by Sarah on Oct 19, 2009 in Uncategorized

Bethie’s off to school camp tomorrow, very excited she is too! She’s been talking about it for ages, trying to convince me that it’s happening sooner than it actually is. Sometimes I’m sure that she figures that if she says something enough times it’s really going to happen.

An example of this is when she decided she needed glasses. I picked Beth up from school to take her to her swimming lessons. She got in the car and said What time’s our appointment at the optometrists?” She’s very good with her words, always using them appropriately and often asking what a word means when we’re reading. My response : “Who got new glasses today luvvy?” I can’t remember who it was but I knew that somebody must have got new glasses cos otherwise where would she have got it from.

I replied that no, we had been to the optometrists only a couple of months before and he had informed me that Beth didn’t need glasses. (If we hadn’t I probably would have made an appointment cos I really didn’t have an “out” otherwise!) I said that we were off for her swimming lesson, something she really enjoys. Beth then says that our appointment must be after swimming then. I tell her that no, but I had bought her one of her favourite Total Girl Magazines to read in the car if she did really well at swimming. She says that’s great because she can read it in the waiting room when we get to our appointment.

This goes on and on. We were going down to Rye that weekend so I thought I’d change the subject and talk about that instead. “Is that where our appointment is with the optometrist then?” It didn’t matter what the subject was changed to, it always came back to the fact that Beth wanted her glasses!

The school camp has been the same as the glasses. Two weeks ago we were driving to school and I got told off cos we hadn’t packed up the bag and sleeping bag. “You’re not going to camp for another 2 weeks Bethie”. “Yes I am, it’s today and I don’t have any of my stuff!” All the way to school we had this. The last of it was when I was kissing her goodbye in the classroom after the bell had gone. “See you tonight” I said. Her response : “I will miss you mum, see you on Friday!” She’s like a dog with a bloody bone!

Beth’s aide Shelley went with her last year and said she had behaved really well so I hope she’s as good for Shelley this year. The first sleepover for school was in grade 2, 2 years ago. Beth ended up being sick most of the time. Luckily Laurine (her aide for that camp) was with her all the time anyway so she didn’t have to come home. Last year she was much more prepared and was very excited about going. I think she was probably sick the first year because of the fear of the unknown. Once she had been she realised that it was good fun and she loved it.

We borrowed Lachlan’s sleeping bag from Amanda this year cos the only one we have is a Dora the Explorer one and now that Beth’s in size 14 clothes I don’t think it would fit her. She wanted a character one but they don’t have older character ones and they’re not very warm anyway. Plus I think Bridie would have been most put out by what she now considers to be her sleeping bag going on camp with Beth. Amanda brought it to pilates yesterday so I popped it in Beth’s room in the afternoon. When she got up this morning she was like a snake, wiggling out on the floor in the sleeping bag. She must have slept in it last night.

I’ll miss my Bethie while she’s away. She is a handful but she’s my handful and I do miss her dreadfully when she’s not with me. I know she’ll have a fantastic time though and she is growing up so what can I do. It’s only for 2 nights after all.


A challenging weekend

Posted by Sarah on Oct 18, 2009 in Uncategorized

Beth’s been quite a challenging child this weekend. There’s nothing especially that’s gone wrong, she’s just been really argumentative and getting herself worked up to the point that it needs to escalate for it to be over. It’s awful to see, you know it has to get to the peak and you’re helpless to do anything about it. It doesn’t happen often these days but it’s a bloody doozy when it does!

We’ve had a fairly quiet weekend for a change. Normally Beth has horseriding on a Saturday morning but it was too wet for riding so it was cancelled this week. Bill has swimming lessons at the same time and Bridie goes in for a swim so we all went yesterday and Bethie had a swim too. Paul goes in when Beth’s in cos she acts like she owns the pool, not realising that anybody is really around her she spreads herself out or swims under the water wherever she wants, totally oblivious to anybody that she’s blocking or even kicking along her way! Normally we would go to Paul’s parents for lunch but we were to go today (Sunday) as Bev was going to do a roast lamb for dinner. Beth generally is ok with routine change but as she’s in a particularly oppositional mood I’m guessing that put her nose out of joint a bit.

We stopped at Safeway on the way home to get some of those yummy bake at home rolls with little hot dogs which went down ok, then we did the terrible parenting thing and said one could watch a dvd, one on the computer and one onthe DS. Beth opted for the dvd but of course we couldn’t find the one she wanted. She’s very single minded is out Bethie and when she wants something she bloody well wants it NOW. After turning the house upside down we finally found it in her case that she has packed just in case she ever should go somewhere overnight. So on goes Happy Feet. The problem with Beth and dvds though is she’ll just skip over bits that she gets either bored or doesn’t like and God forbid anybody should sing along (unless it’s her of course!) So people who may want to watch along only get to see the bits that Beth decides make up the movie that SHE wants to watch. AND I’m constantly having to yell at her to sit down cos she just stands right in front of the tv half the time.

After the movie it was her turn for the computer but she keeps insisting on playing a particular My Little Pony site that has a bit in it that doesn’t work properly. Usually this happens just as we’ve got the kids settled with their electronic babysitters and we’ve sat down for 5 minutes to read the paper or watch something ourselves. I’m sitting with my coffee on page one and I hear “it’s working, it’s working” and I think “great, here we go again”. Actually I think much more graphically than that but didn’t think I should write it here for family reading. Out I come and explain for the umpteenth time that no, it’s not working and yes, I’ve sent an email to the My Little Pony people to explain that it isn’t working, shall we try something else sweetheart? “No no no no no, I want this one”! Eventually we may go onto another website, sit down after warming the coffee and hear “it’s loading, it’s loading.” Here we go again!

That’s really been the gist of the weekend. We didn’t end up going to Bev and John’s today cos Bev had come down with something and we’ve all got colds so that didn’t go down too well. Beth loves her bouncing and our trampoline’s round there, she also plays the computer in their lovely warm study so was most pissed off that we weren’t going. I decided that we should take them to see Astroboy to fill up the day so off we trot to the movies. Of course we didn’t take enough popcorn or maltesers which were all eaten before the movie began! The movie was pretty good though Bridie cried most of the way through it.

Back home and tried the My Little Pony website. Of course not working still. Not happy Jan! Just little bits and pieces but enough to put her and me in a bad mood. Not listening to anything I’m telling her and me starting to escalate too. Add to that an incredibly moody 4 year old and a 7 year old boy who keeps wanting me to do the hard bits on his DS games, or telling me everything that people were saying on the shows he was watching and you might just get a picture of my weekend. Oh and a husband who’s under the weather. Don’t have to say anything else there do I! Roll on Monday!


Always good for a giggle

Posted by Sarah on Oct 15, 2009 in Uncategorized

Just had to share this one with you all as I do believe that at times Beth makes me laugh more than anybody else I know!

We were at school assembly this morning and Beth received a certificate for excellent work on her volcano poem. This was fabulous because earlier in the week she came home with a sticker saying it was the Principal’s award for doing her rainbow words so well, she showed me this work and yes, she had formed the letters really well, I was very happy with her. She’s clearly concentrating better in class and knuckling down to her work better.

Anyway, off she goes up to the front of assembly and Tanya says how well Beth has done but jokes that she needs to stop growing! She is now clearly taller than Tanya so we all had a bit of a chuckle at this. As Tanya was getting ready to read the other kids out who had the student of the week awards Beth starts to peer over her shoulder to see who is next. In good humour, Tanya gently pushed Beth away so that she could get to the next person. But Beth is so tall that she kept coming back and towering over Tanya’s shoulder trying to get a look! By the end of assembly poor Tanya almost had to have the certificates bent the other way around to try and stop Beth from reading them out. It was so funny, I was trying not to laugh but I kept looking over at Helma and Shelley, Beth’s Teacher and Aide, and they were laughing so hard that I couldn’t help it. She really does crack me up.


Mainstream school versus Special School

Posted by Sarah on Oct 12, 2009 in Uncategorized

Before Beth started going to kindergarten and we were at Irabina Early Childhood Intervention one day a week I had decided that Special School was for her. I hated the thought of her sitting on the sidelines, not knowing how to join in and not having any friends. Irabina convinced me to wait until she had done mainstream kindergarten and even kinder was a scary proposition for me. I resisted 3 year old kinder and as in Australia we don’t get any funding for 3 year old anyway the decision was pretty much taken out of our hands.

I went to look at Tecoma kinder cos it was a local one and because my niece and nephew had been there. Meeting the teacher Emma, I knew I had made the right choice. She made me feel so welcome and said that though she hadn’t had an autistic child in the kindergarten before she would welcome the chance to teach one, it would be a wonderful learning experience for her. I booked Beth in straight away.

Beth absolutely loved kinder. There were a few issues she had but all in all she loved it. In fact she hated going to Irabina. Once she had been with so called “normal” kids she just flourished and they were really good with her. When at Irabina everybody had issues so it was overwhelming for her. Still, we continued on there as it was all we had for her “autistic” side and decided that mainstream was indeed for her after all.

I went to several schools and found it very disheartening. One was across the road from a milk bar and when asked if Beth would be supervised during lunchtimes was told “maybe she wouldn’t run off if she was playing with her friends.” “There’s a bloody big picture of an icecream in that window” I wanted to shout but silently ruled them off the list. (I still can’t understand why primary schools are nearly always built on main roads.) Catholic and Private schools were out as the funding was about 10% of what public schools could get.

When we went to Menzies Creek it was like when I first when to look at Tecoma Kinder. I only went there because it was off of the main road, I had never heard of it before! Glen was the Principal at the time and Tanya was the Vice Principal (now our wonderful Principal) and when I told them that Beth runs off was told that that was great because we can apply for more aide time due to danger. Woohoo, that’s what I wanted to hear! As I’ve mentioned before it has been a wonderful school, so warm and welcoming and all the kids in the whole school not just aware and looking out for my Beth but also for each other.

Last week I was reading Melbourne’s Child magazine and came across an article written by a Principal of a Special School. It really hit a nerve as now that Beth is is grade 4 I am already assessing (and have been for probably about 2 years now) what path to take with Beth for high school. To tell you the truth the whole idea scares the crap out of me! It’s bad enough for any “normal” teenagers, let alone one with special needs. There were no autism specific high schools around and the mainstream schools are all so big. I did look at one school that was smaller and a bit of an eclectic mix of individuals which I had initially loved but then when Tanya kindly offered to come with me to my next appointment to ask about the academic side of things we found that usually their “special needs” students go on to do life skills at tafe in years 11 and 12. In other words they didn’t really cater for them in the later years. That’s fine if that’s the choice, don’t get me wrong, but the whole point I wanted to send Beth to a mainstream school was so that she could get an education, I want to aim as high as we can, not set the bar low a good 6 or 7 years before it’s going to happen.

In this article it speaks about how many parents believe that all schools should have integration units and that there should be no special schools at all. That special children will learn appropriate behaviours only when around “normal” children.Others are quite accepting of special schools and appreciate the comfort they can get knowing that their child is like others that are like them. It goes on to say that as the child gets older in a mainstream setting often it is more obvious that they are not like the other children and so often feel left out by their peers. Beth is now 10, most of her friends have made their best friends so invites are usually reserved for them, and birthday parties are no longer for the whole grade so only a select few get invited. It’s often painful to see when she realises that she hasn’t been invited as she doesn’t understand the choices that have to be made, she just sees that it’s her friend and therefore she should be invited. I understand that i’s difficult for parents too because I know they’re not sure how to deal with Beth, and truly I really do get that but it doesn’t make it any easier.  Don’t get me wrong, Beth has some lovely friends at school, they are just wonderful with her but as she gets older it just gets a bit harder.

At a special school the kids can be at ease with each other and make friends with others like them. We went to our first party with just autistic kids a couple of years ago when I met my friend Dom in the park with her daughter Chantelle. We were on the list for our companion dog Minka and they had their companion dog Zia with them so we got chatting. Actually I was trying to recruit her to the HAGS group! (of which she has now joined.) She kindly invited us to Chantelle’s party and it was the first time I had seen Beth interact with other auties. (When she had been at Irabina she was non verbal.) She called them silly names and they just answered to them! It was great, they all just did their own thing and nobody cared how silly they might have been at times. The Principal in the article was saying that after being in her job for a few months she saw how happy and accepting these kids can be, I really think we can all learn a lot from the way they are. If Beth is excited about getting to school she’ll run and jump and make funny noises whilst going in. Sometimes I’ll do it too, just to show how much fun it is!

There is talk about one of our local autistic primary schools expanding into a high school which would be fantastic. The only 2 issues are whether it will cater for the higher functioning kids as the primary school does not, and if it will be done in time for Beth to start high school. It is ridiculous that numbers rule whether a child is eligible for a special school but unfortunately that’s the system. Beth has no intellectual disability yet she could run out in front of a car or go with a strange man just because. I have a friend whose son climbs on roofs and used to run away down the middle of the road from school but because his intelligence is too high he doesn’t qualify for special needs. It’s pathetic really.

The statistics are that 80% of autistic girls are sexually abused. That’s right 80%. Unbelievable isn’t it? After much soul searching I have now decided that if Beth does qualify for the special needs high school but it’ll be more than 2 years then I will home school her for the interim. Tanya has also suggested that we could repeat grade 5 if we need to if it’s only an extra year which I think is a terrific idea as it will give her a chance to get up to speed with her peers. Mind you if it’s only 2 years then I’ll probably just send her on. I’m dreading the teenage years with periods, sex and temptations with drugs and drink. Beth is so compliant, I like to think that I could teach her but I’m not so naive to think that she wouldn’t be taken in by somebody who offers to be her best friend if she would take this pill, or be her boyfriend if she would do other unspeakable things. And hopefully we’ll have one up on the queues waiting to get into the school because she’s a girl and there’s not many autistic girls so they’ll want their numbers up. If we don’t qualify I’ll use the fact that she’s a girl in our defence, that and the vulnerability.

And if that doesn’t work looks like I’ll be home schooling. I know that wouldn’t be the choice for many people but I believe we have to make the choice that is right for our own individual children and I feel so relieved that I have made it. Hopefully it wont come to that but I guess we’ll have to wait and see.


Horse Riding

Posted by Sarah on Oct 10, 2009 in Uncategorized
Beth now has a lovely posture when riding

Beth now has a lovely posture when ridingBeth in her saddle club gear

We went back to horseriding today after a few weeks break. We’ve had school holidays and Beth was sick on the last lesson of term. Things have changed there which is a shame, Marion who had been Beth’s teacher has resigned so they seem to be at a bit of a loose end at the moment and had Rick teaching. Let me set the picture for how it has been for the rest of the year.

Beth had been doing riding with Riding for the Disabled for over a year at Officer when we heard that the RDA at Lysterfield was starting to do lessons on a Saturday morning. Officer would take us about 40 minutes to get to and Lysterfield only 15 minutes so we jumped at the chance. Marion was a fantastic teacher and always came up with a theme for the lessons which was great as Beth gets bored and does whatever she can to get off or disrupt what she’s doing. For example, I take her to the toilet as soon as we get there, then put her shoes and hat on and away we go. I’ve had to tell them that she’s been to the toilet because if she gets a bit bored she’ll tell them that she needs to go. Of course they would let her off and set the horse up again ready for the arduous task of putting my long legged girl back on. I’d send her back in and off she goes again so now they generally don’t let her get off. Or she’ll say she wants to do round the world which is what they used to do at the end of the lesson in Officer. Round the world is where you swing your leg over and sit side saddle, then over again so you’re sitting backwards, then over again the other way, then round back to the front. Well they did this for her and even let her ride backwards for a while which was terrific until she tried to say goodbye and there was still half a lesson yet to go! Honestly, just as well I can read the little bugger’s mind cos she’s a hard one to figure out at times!

Anyway, Marion always had a lesson plan. One week it was an aeroplane trip to Queensland. They had to pretend to go up the runway, leaning forward as they went, then back at another time. As they took off they leaned back again then got ready for their refreshments, riding around all the time. She gave them warm cups of milk to hold then when they were finished she gave them books to read. Of course, getting the book back from Beth was a challenge in itself! They went through turbulence, then landing. When they got to their destination they went swimming but the crocodiles were in the water so they had to try all different strokes to get away! It was just brilliant, they get a real occupational therapy session as well as the enjoyment from riding. Another time they had to make a cake, going to one end for the ingredients and down to the other end to tip them into the bowl on the ground (all from up high on their horses.) After all the ingredients were added they had to mix it all up then the muggins mums had to taste it! I just closed my eyes and hoped that nothing else had floated in there!

For fathers day Marion had set up mini stalls so that the kids had to do fathers day shopping. She said that it was Bunnings at horse riding, she gave them all $5 and they had to count and pay at the end. Her lovely husband Bill even did a sausage sizzle! And she had showbags the week the Melbourne Show started.

Rick was always the grumpy helper.  Rick was the one when we first started that suggested that Beth use a roller. This meant that she had no saddle but just a big girth with handles that went around the horse which secured a sheepskin rug that Beth sat on. This meant that to stay on she had to sit up straight and it worked too. She only had to use it for a couple of weeks and most of the time she just sits up straight automatically now. There was a little girl at Officer who when we first started was in a wheelchair. She was placed lying face down over the saddle with padding, first one way, then another. By the end of our time she was almost at the stage when she could sit up (aided of course), it was so heartening to see. You can’t underestimate the physical benefits of horse riding, it’s almost works like pilates in the sense that it relies on your core muscles to get you through it. It’s actually called Hippo Therapy quite often. Dopey me who thinks quite literally at times (must be MY autistic tendencies) was picturing riding on hippos when first told of this!

I’ve always been a bit scared of Rick because he’s quite gruff and rough but at the same time I think his hearts in the right place.

So there we were this morning with Rick doing the lesson. He’s waving his arms about pretending to swim and doing all sorts of things, trying to be upbeat all the time. And to his credit he really did do a good job of it, but of course all the kids wanted to know was when was Marion coming back? Beth was pissed off too cos usually there’s a few young teenage girls there so she gets to talk about their favourite movies and what character they like in films such as High School Musical. Today there were 2 dads walking around with her who had no idea how to talk to this funny girl who has a memory like an elephant and needs to know everything about you to store in there! As a little bonus, she learnt how to take off her helmet too. Crescent, the horse she rides on is huge and Beth is so tall so of course she has to get off to get her helmet put back on. I’m sure she’s storing that one away right now. “OK, try the toilet trick, no that one wont work, ask around the world, no not that one, I know, take off helmet! Dadaaaaa, got em again!” Let’s see what little tricks she’s got up her sleeve for next week’s lesson!


3rd Appointment with Richard Malter

Posted by Sarah on Oct 9, 2009 in Uncategorized

We had our third appt yesterday with Richard and Alan yesterday. They seemed quite pleased with Beth’s progress so far. I was a bit worried as to how much of the virus had come out as the only thing we haven’t done is buy a flat screen tv, something that would cost us money that we just don’t have, especially not long before Christmas time. If it hadn’t worked though that was what we would have to do.

Richard checked the levels and said that 2/5 of the virus was gone. I thought he’d ask me what I was doing wrong but he was really pleased, he said that it meant that the treatment was working and to keep it going. He’s going away for a couple of weeks which meant that we couldn’t come back and see him for 5 weeks so we’ll just keep up the flaxseed oil and magnets on the fingers for that time. The good things about the fact that we’re still going on the brain instead of moving on to the liver is that there’s still 3/5 room for improvement. Whilst I and others have certainly noticed improvement it hasn’t been as big as I had hoped so I was glad that he hadn’t just said that that was all they could do as far as the brain is concerned.

I asked Richard about Beth’s irratibility as her and 2 others kids that we know are all doing the same treatment and all have had some moods escalated. In the book that I read about others doing a similar treatment as ours and it says that it can be like turning the volume up on the autistic traits so that some are quite extreme so I was interested to get Richard’s take on this as he hadn’t mentioned anything in his previous appointments. He hadn’t heard of this before but did say that as Beth does have the virus in her liver also, which we would be treating next, that some of the flaxseed oil would have inadvertently gone to the liver. He tested this area and said that yes indeed the numbers had gone down a bit here, he said that as the stomach is such a sensitive area that we will have some issues with Beth’s moods while this is being healed.

So all in all I was quite pleased. We popped in to see Pat and David, my adoptive aunt and uncle, and Pat commented on how much better Beth seems to be getting with her speech. She also behaved pretty well, often when we go there I’m constantly having to watch that she’s not running out to the road or down to the creek but she settled in well, playing with the dog or down in the sandpit.

We’re off to horseriding this morning so hopefully that will go well. It’s a beautiful day today so it should be lovely. I’ll let you know how we go. xxx

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