Home sick

Posted by Sarah on Feb 25, 2011 in Uncategorized

I’ve got Beth home sick today. We had a school picnic last night which was fabulous, what a great school community we have. Bethie had lots of fun wandering around but she had a persistant cough and a runny nose. She came in with me last night and coughed for most of the night so I made the decision to let her stay home today. I regretfully decided that I’d have to miss art class. Then I figured that she’d probably just be watching dvds at home anyway so she could do that at Tiff’s house. She was really good so I was glad I went, I got lots done and I saw Beth open up and show a side that we often don’t see.

Beth’s always been good with Tiff and she hasn’t seen her for a while. We walked in and the first thing Beth said was “I like your hair Tiff.” Tiff had her hair cut a little while ago now but Beth hasn’t seen her in probably about a year. She notices things that nobody else does, especially not kids. She looked around the kitchen and commented how small her house was. Tiff replied that it was just the kitchen! Beth hasn’t been there before. She soon discovered where the dvds and videos were and went to work searching for what she wanted. She’s very narrow minded in which she knew which dvds she wanted, she just didn’t know that Tiff didn’t have them. Tiff’s husband Terry was there and Beth hadn’t seen him in even longer but as usual she remembered his name. She then took over the remote to put on the subtitles etc, she had a real knack for these things and often shows me where I am going wrong.

When it was time to go Tiff thanked her for coming. You could almost see the cogs turning as Beth nearly said thanks back. Then she looked at Tiff and said “Your welcome.” She then asked where Terry had gone as he had left for work.

Often with kids like Beth, I’m sure people think that they’re oblivious to what’s going on. If they seem to be absorbed in ‘their own little world’ it’s like they’re not participating in ‘our world’ at all. Beth remembers everything. She asks people about their families and their animals as well as their likes and dislikes, and stores them away. When Rod was talking about his brother at Sensational Kids Beth said “You mean Simon.” He was amazed that she remembered. That’s one of the things that makes me so proud of her. She cares enough to ask, then it shows that she’s interested because she brings these facts up. She might ask somebody how their child or pet is by name, even adult’s parents, she remembers it all.

I’ll just finish off with something that I read on facebook this morning. Don’t tell a child on the spectrum that they can’t do something that they’re already doing. If they’re already doing it then they know it can be done. You should say they shouldn’t be doing it or that they’re not to do it. They are so literal that you need to explain exactly what you mean. My Beth is great at loopholes, if there’s one to be found, she’ll find it. Sarcasm and hidden meanings just don’t work for these kids.

Have a great weekend everybody xxx


A good session at Sensational Kids

Posted by Sarah on Feb 24, 2011 in Uncategorized

Beth is coming down with a bit of a cold at the moment. She does tend to be a bit of a drama queen when it comes to being sick and milks it for all it’s worth. She also seems to get naughtier when she’s not well. She’s been doing lots of fun things such as drawing on herself or on her walls and getting the honey out of the cupboard to squeeze into a spoon. She’s also been really sloppy lately, not taking much care of what she’s doing. Stuff like cleaning her teeth and wiping her mouth on her clean school top. Or this morning, Beth had her weetbix. Her tactile side means that she keeps putting her hands into the weetbix bowl. It doesn’t matter how often I tell her not to she still does it subconsciously. She had done this this morning and I told her to stop. She then ran her hand through her hair. I told her what she’d done and she just looked at me blankly and said “What?!” She drives me mental sometimes.  I often leave her with a flannel when eating and leave the room to do other things.

On the plus side we had a good session yesterday at Sensational Kids. We saw Rod first. He got her to write a story using 4 sentences. She wrote about the Powerpuff girls. She then had to draw a picture about the story which she did, then Rod coloured it in. She did this quite well. Of course her drawing was in precice detail with the right shade of blue, the right coloured hair and bow, everything. You could ask Beth to draw a Mr Men character and she’ll do it right down to how many freckles they have, she’s amazing like that. Rod then wrote a story about himself calling himself Super Rodney! He wrote 2 sentences and got Beth to write 2 sentences. She then drew the picture. Beth did find this a bit harder and chose a superpower for Super Rod that was Violet’s superpower in the Incredibles movie. She does seem to have a great imagination but most of her things are from a movie or TV show that she has filed away. Rod explained that he likes to start out with something fairly easy at the beginning of each session so that there is a ‘win’. This sets the tone for the remainder of the time.

Whiskers has a good session too. She too focussed on the positives rather than the negatives and has formed a close bond with Beth. As she pointed out, why would you tell a stranger how you are feeling. She needed to gain Beth’s trust so that they could talk about things that friends talk about. I’m so pleased with how it is going, Beth just loves going there.

After Sensational Kids Bethie had McDonalds for lunch and I took her to get a haircut. The hairdressers that we go to is excellent. It’s called Zozo’s in Upwey and the staff there are fantastic with Beth. She loves to get her hair washed as we all do, and chatted away to Zoe, asking her lots of questions as she does. It was a good day all around really.


A quickie

Posted by Sarah on Feb 22, 2011 in Uncategorized

Just a very quick one. Sensational Kids have just announced that for bookings make from this week only 50% off initial consultations for speech therapy and occupational therapy. Appointments must fall between February 23rd to March 25th 2011. The offer ends on Friday 25th February. Please mention either my blog or that it is advertised on Facebook. As most of you know we have been going to Sensational Kids for 2 years now and the results have been amazing. Beth speaks so much better since working with Rod and her self awareness has come along since seeing the Occupational Therapist. I can highly recommend going along to Sensational Kids if you think it could work for your child too. You can use Enhanced Primary Care and the Mental Health plan, both from your doctor. You can also use the PDD initiative 20 subsidised visits available from your Paediatrician. The link to them is here. Sensational Kids.


A movie about my girl

Posted by Sarah on Feb 21, 2011 in Uncategorized

I had an email from a terrific organisation last week – Interchange. They were asking around on behalf of a church group about doing a movie about a child/teenager with special needs and a friend they had who didn’t have special needs. Instantly Beth’s friend Jessica came to mind. She’s a gorgeous girl, I’m sure you’ve heard me talk about her before. She’s wonderful with Beth and they play so nicely together. I checked with Jessica’s mum first to see how she felt about them doing the movie together. They would film them playing together then interview them each to ask what they liked about each other. Tegan asked Jessica and they both said yes! I’m very excited. We’re organising it for next Tuesday so will keep you posted.

We’ve had a quiet weekend. Beth seems to have settled in well to grade 6. She still has issues about talking about things in the future though. It’s her 12th birthday next month and I’ve asked her what she wants as a present, also what she wants to do with her friends. She turned away from me and wouldn’t talk about it. I’ll talk more with her tonight as it was in the car on the way to school and Bill and Bridie were in the back sticking their beaks in with suggestions. Hopefully she’ll talk about it if she realises that she wont have a party if she doesn’t.


Having a good week

Posted by Sarah on Feb 17, 2011 in Uncategorized

We had the research thingy at Monash Uni yesterday. It made me want to go to Uni, I love all those big campuses. Beth was really excited about going. I’m not sure if it’s because she was looking forward to the games on the computer or because she didn’t want to go to school. Doesn’t really matter, she wasn’t against going which was the main thing.

We got there early and Beth with her wonderful memory asked “Where’s Tamara” as if she’d met her before. They introduced themselves to each other and Beth started out with her joke. She does this to most people and it goes something like this : “What’s your favourite colour?” then “What’s your favourite animal?” then “What’s your favourite number” then “What’s your favourite body part?” Then she’ll start laughing (Just as Fizz from the Tweenies does when she did it originally) and say “Your favourite animal is (for example) a green pig with 17 eyes!” I did wonder whether Tamara may stop her after the 2nd or 3rd question, not knowing that it was in fact a joke, but they got all the way though it much to Beth’s amusement. As they shut the door behind them I could ask Beth asking what Tamara’s favourite movie was, which character she likes and what part of the movie was her favourite!

As the testing went on I could hear things such as a voice on the computer. It wold say a sentence and Beth would have to repeat this. I also heard Beth saying ‘no’ over and over again, getting louder and louder. Then I heard some yeses so understood that it was questions that she was answering. All in all I think it went well and she seemed to enjoy herself. We’ll get the results in about 3 weeks.


Off to Puffing Billy

Posted by Sarah on Feb 15, 2011 in Uncategorized

We’ve had a good few days. The weekend was fairly quiet with Saturday going to Bev and John’s for lunch and Sunday a bit of shopping. Paul took the kids to Knox to buy shoes and school shorts and Beth wanted to go along and get a dvd replacement for one that had broken, so I had a lovely quiet afternoon. Beth was ok with going to school on Monday morning so she must be settling in to Grade 6 ok. She did get a notice sent home saying that she had gotten 2 yellow cards last week. One was for leaving the classroom without asking and one was for going in to the new music room at lunchtime and playing without asking. We talked through the notice and she said the obligatory “sorry mum, I wont do it again.” Then she told me yesterday that she got another card for running out of the room and had to spend time in the principals office. I don’t know whether it’s a flight or fight situation, if there’s something that’s freaking her out or if it’s just her being naughty. I’m thinking it’s the latter as they’d make a few more allowances if it was an anxiety issue. I’ll have a word with her teacher when I get the chance.

The school is having an excursion on Puffing Billy today. Paul has taken the day off to go. Bridie wanted me to go but I have other plans. Last time I went on Puffing Billy I was pregnant with Beth and got so sick, I thought I was going into labour! It’s a gorgeous day for it, it’s going to be 31 degrees. I’m sure Paul with be exhausted after spending the day with a school full of kids.


My ace daughter

Posted by Sarah on Feb 11, 2011 in Uncategorized

Beth does make me laugh. As we had Sensational Kids on Wednesday she wasn’t there for the captaincy speeches nor deciding what sort of captain she wanted to be. Her teacher sat her down and asked her to choose and she decided to be the house colour Red captain. I found this a strange choice as she hates sports and rarely participates but there you go, it was her choice. At assembly this morning the principal read out all of the grade 6 captains but hadn’t been told yet what Beth’s role was. At the end her teacher told the principal and she was asked to stand up with the other 2 red captains. Most of the kids had stood up, looked around and sat down again. Not my Beth. She stood up and pumped her hand in the air with a big woohoo! Good on her. I love that about her, she’s happy for the world to know when she’s happy about something. Of course this works the other way too.

We went back to swimming last night. Beth was happy to see Paton and did really well. She seems much happier now that she realises that she likes grade 6. I think it’s the fear of the unknown. Beth’s anxiety rules a lot of her moods as is probably the case with most kids with autism. She likes her peers as well as her teacher and her aide and that’s half the battle.


Back to Sensational Kids

Posted by Sarah on Feb 9, 2011 in Uncategorized

Beth was very happy to be going to Sensational Kids this morning. It’s been so hard getting her up for school lately. She’s appeared at my bed with her pillow each night, usually about 10.30 – 11pm. I just let her in, I need the sleep too. She then doesn’t want to get up in the morning. It’s not that she’s necessarily asleep, it’s just that she doesn’t want to go to school. Yesterday she even went back to bed after her breakfast. I’m finding it very hard to deal with as Bridie is being quite difficult in the mornings too. After Beth is dressed and I give her the talk (every bloody day) about not believing her if she’s sick when she pretends to be, she seems to be ok about going. This can take half an hour or more though. With Beth pretending to choke herself and coughing, and Bridie abusing the shit out of me, I’m not enjoying myself too much! Also, my heart rate has been up some more and the more I think about it the more I think it’s stress related. I just don’t have anything much to give at the moment what with getting over the pneumonia and pleuracy. I’m enjoying my days when the kids are at school. I find it hard as we’re building at some stage this year and as the time goes on it’s clear how much we’ve all grown out of this house. It’s driving me mental! Anyway, sorry for the bitch but hey, the blog’s about our life, warts and all.

It was a bit disappointing when we got to Sensational Kids as Rod was away sick. We went for a wander to buy some magazines and coffee (me), pancakes (Beth). Whiskers (not her real name), the Occupational Therapist was still there so in Beth went with her. I didn’t go in for any of the session but Whiskers said that it went well. They worked on Beth’s handwriting this week with Whiskers doing an assessment to see where Beth’s strengths were. She’s so thorough, I’m really pleased with how it’s going. She told me that Beth hasn’t got a strong posture which makes it difficult for her to write properly. This means that she pushes down on the pencil too hard, stopping any fluidity. It’s also the reason why Beth leans on people a lot. She’s going to give me some activities for home and school to help with this.

Next Wednesday we’re off to Monash to help with a study that is being done on the effect of attention and anxiety and how it impacts on school children. As this is one of Beth’s main issues (as is probably the case with most autistic kids) I put our names down. They were pleased with us contacting them as there aren’t as many girls as boys who have autism. I’m looking forward to going as, for helping them, they can do a full academic assessment. This means that I can have something in writing to take with us when we go to High School, on top of any reports and letters I get from our Primary School. I believe you can’t have enough information. If anybody is interested in participating you can contact Tamara May on tamara.may@monash.edu Funnily enough the lady who supervises Tamara is an old childhood friend. Small world!

Our budgie Tweetie Pie died yesterday. (Original name I know.) Bridie noticed as she was playing on the computer. The poor little love was really distressed and decorated a tissue box, filling it with flowers for Tweetie. We got him for Beth’s 5th birthday so nearly 7 years ago. Beth had selective mutism at the time and we told her that Tweetie wouldn’t learn to talk if she didn’t say hello to him. She waved hi instead! Bridie and Bill went with Paul to bury Tweetie Pie last night. Beth called out “I thought he would live forever.” She then said “We’d better go and buy another bird tomorrow then!” Poor Tweetie!


First day back at school

Posted by Sarah on Feb 4, 2011 in Uncategorized

Well so far so good. I was worried this morning as Beth kept telling me that she felt sick. She has had a bit of a cough for the last few days and I wondered if she really was coming down with something or that she had heard me telling the other kids how many more days til school started. If she had her way she’d never go to school. Having said that she does love the social aspect of school. I figured once she got into the classroom she’d see that it wasn’t too bad.

Last night she was up and down like a yoyo. It was dreadful. I was up late due to all my favourite shows coming back after Christmas. It was the first Grey’s Anatomy, Desperate Housewives and Private Practice on at the ridiculous time of 10.30pm. I was wide awake but as the night wore on I realised so was Beth. Usually she’s a bit flighty but by 10.30 she’s conked out. Not last night. I kept threatening to bring her in with me and she kept telling me that she didn’t want to sleep with me. Finally at 11pm I got fed up with it. I heard her get up and I caught her going into the kitchen. I yelled at her to go to bed and she exclaimed “But I’m hungry!” Nice Mummy me replied “Tough, get out of the kitchen NOW!” I made her come in to my bed and she finally got to sleep at about 11.45pm.

As soon as Beth woke up this morning she started coughing. When in the bathroom getting ready to  clean her teeth she started to gag and told me she needed to vomit. I told her I didn’t care, she was still going to school. That stopped her. I then caught her with her hands around her throat so that her cough would sound so much worse. I explained that if she did things like that I wouldn’t believe her when she really was sick. I have told her this before and I don’t think she gives a rats arse about it but it made me feel better to say it!

We set off early so that we could get all 3 kids settled into their new classrooms. Bridie was going into the new building so didn’t even know what room she’d be in. The plan was to settle Beth then take Bridie. What I didn’t count on was the traffic jam at the Catholic Girls school on the way. Apparently it happens every year, when the new year 7’s start and all the parents want to go in with them. They park in the street and block all the traffic. We got to school just as the bell rang.

I explained to Beth’s teacher that Beth was really anxious and he told me that she had been quite anxious even at their trial time last year. She had said to him then that this wasn’t her classroom. Just after we arrived this morning she ran off to the toilet. Luckily her aide was there and I told her so that she could go and get her. I also told her about the speeches day on Wednesday, hoping that she could get out of Beth what leadership role she’d like to take. Also whether to cancel Sensational Kids on Wednesday so that she could do a speech for school captain.

I went off to art class (at last) followed by lunch and wandering around the shops with the girls. It was very busy in Belgrave, I think lots of mums had the same idea. When I went to pick the kids up they were all as pleased as punch by their day. Beth seemed very happy, holding hands with her bestie as she came out. She still wouldn’t tell me about the speech day though!


2 more sleeps

Posted by Sarah on Feb 2, 2011 in Uncategorized

I’m looking forward to talking about my kids without a moan or descriptive  words. Such as ‘bloody kids’ or ‘Bridie’s driving me crazy.’ Luckily Paul was home for most of the school holidays. I’m going stir crazy as it is and I’ve only had 2 weeks of it by myself.

Beth was especially naughty last night. She kept getting up and told me that she was trying to get Sam to come into her room for a cuddle. Sam is Bridie’s rabbit who we bring in at night time in a little cage. During the day he’s out on our enclosed deck but at nights the possums come and eat all his leftovers. I knew in my heart that she had probably got him out of his cage but I was jolted out of my sleep and just wanted to forget all about it. I ended up putting Beth in with me as she was running in and out of her room and it was after midnight. When Bill came in this morning to tell me of something munching under his bed I knew what it was! Hopefully he hasn’t done much damage. He doesn’t generally poo in the house but as the lid wasn’t off his cage, it was just opened from the top, he didn’t have much choice. It’s more that he chews on everything, in particular wires. We’re lucky he hasn’t been electrocuted, we’ve only noticed when something has stopped working.

That’s the problem with summer holidays and daylight savings. The kids stay up til all hours. We try to get them into bed between 8 and 8.30pm but it’s still light. Bridie didn’t go to sleep ’til 10 last night and she was feral until that time. I know that she’ll still be feral for a few weeks after school goes back while she juggles going back to earlier nights and tiredness from being busy all day but at least I’ll get a break.

The speeches for the school captains and vice captains are on next Wednesday. We have Sensational Kids booked in for that day but as it’s such an important part of grade 6 I thought I’d give Beth the option of cancelling SK and doing a speech or going to SK. Of course as it’s in the future and to do with the Grade 6 that we still are unsure about, she refused to discuss it. I’ll have a word to her teacher as if she wants to try out for it I don’t want to hold her back. Mind you I don’t know how she would go if she was voted in but she’d certainly have a lot of help. Even so, there are captaincies throughout the whole of grade 6 but she wont even talk about which one she thinks she’d be suitable for.

This morning she’s being pretty horrible to everyone, but then again they’re all quite snappy. I think they’re bored and tired and basically I’m just not going to entertain them! Roll on Friday.

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