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PSG meeting

Posted by Sarah on Apr 28, 2011 in Uncategorized

Well just got home from my Parent Support group meeting, or are they called Student Support now? Either way, it was a meeting between myself, the Principal, the Teacher and Beth’s aide. I was very proud of myself as I only cried once, and even then only a little bit!

I think it went really well. Beth was happy to go to school this morning which was a bonus. She did a book yesterday on her favourite topic – Disney movies – which she proudly showed us last night. We spoke in our meeting about using her passions in her work. For example they could do an essay on the disney movies or do a presentation – Beth loves to be the centre of attention. She also enjoys looking things up on the internet. We talked about her using a laptop instead of writing everything as they say that kids with autism (or at least ones that find writing challenging) often concentrate so hard on their handwriting that they can’t focus on what they are writing about. My friend Cat says that her son who started year 7 this year is using a scribe for his maths work, therefore doing work that he couldn’t do before, simply by letting somebody else do the writing for him. I explained today that I was going to push for this in high school so it would be great to get it into practice now.

One concern I have is that Beth is apparently now trying to shut out another teacher’s voice. This is the grade 5 teacher who she had last year so I don’t know what’s happened. We’ve stopped her going to music as she had an issue with the teacher’s voice and I’m hoping it’s not going to become a recurring thing. She doesn’t know that she’s stopped going for good and we discussed today about the music teacher sitting down with Beth and talking through what her issues were with music. We think it’s from choir practice where there were lots of coordinated movements as well as singing which can be difficult to do. We thought that if the teacher explains to Beth that that wouldn’t always be the case and try to work through it then Beth may return to music at one stage, something that she used to love. It is in a different room this year and is quite echoey which may compound Beth’s sensititivies. As far as the other teacher is concerned, Beth has her for art this year and is also in the classroom next to her. We agreed that although we don’t know what the issue is we need to try and work through it. Beth can’t dictate everything that happens and I worry that if she thinks we can just remove teachers from a situation then high school will be a nightmare. We have a small school and you can’t avoid every teacher, whether it be during art or assembly or anywhere really, they all do yard duty. And she’s not had a problem with her for the last 6 years. Who know’s what’s going on in her head.

We also agreed that the teacher would keep me informed of anything they were doing with Beth such as a passion project on a subject she likes. For example they could say that she will be researching something from a Pixar movie the next day, that way I have it as my ammunition to get her off to school that day. In art they are studying Australian natives, I suggested that she take in her bug books that she loves and find ones native to Australia. Then she would have something to look forward to during her art class.

The aide was reassuring to me when she said she knew of some of the staff at the high school where we are going. She would be going to the transition days that we plan and said that they are excellent with their special needs students and are not dissimilar to our primary school in their care and concern of the children.

All in all I felt happy when we came out of the meeting. I feel that this year is about keeping Beth (and myself) anxiety free and by doing this setting her up for a positive transition to high school. By using her passions she will have a reason for going to school and in presenting it to the other children she will enjoy a bit of the limelight. It was lovely to hear her aide speak of the other kids in the class trying to encourage Beth to join in in music. She said they say things like “We miss hearing your lovely voice Beth.”
They are such a great group of kids with her, so protective. I hope we find some like that at high school.

 
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School is back

Posted by Sarah on Apr 27, 2011 in Uncategorized

Today was the first day back to school. What a stressful mornng it was here! Beth has got some sort of issue with school and just doesn’t want to go. It started on Monday as I knew it would. She woke up coughing, obviously not realising that because Easter was on the last weekend of the holidays there was no school til Wednesday. I even called her on it, saying “You’re not back to school ’til Wednesday Beth so you can knock it off” which she did. You could see the relief in her eyes.

This morning she woke up and started straight away. For about an hour she carried on. She coughed and spluttered, she told me that school didn’t start yet, she went back to bed after breakfast. I even caught her with her hands around her neck so that her cough would sound more impressive! I can laugh about it now but at the time it’s so stressful. I told her that it would be an easy enough day with it being the first day back, that there was only 2 more days left and that the Friday wouldn’t be hard because it’s fabulous Friday. It didn’t matter, she just didn’t want to go.

In the end I told her that if she kept going on and on about it that she wouldn’t be able to go on the computer tonight when we got home. I know that one of these days I’ll have to follow through with this as she nearly didn’t make it this morning. It’ll be the night from hell but sometimes you have to go the hard yards. I spoke with her teacher this morning and he spoke about easing off on Beth, saying that he knows that she can do the work so he pushes her for it. The problem is that I like that, she needs to be pushed, otherwise she’ll sit and do nothing. She did say that she didn’t want to go because she had to work. Also, I don’t know what might have happened in the past that she hasn’t liked and built up in her mind. Someone might have said something mean and she seemed to get over it but she’s avoided that place, then that area, now the whole school. She often doesn’t remember what upset her in the first place. I’m 100% sure that she’s not being constantly bullied, I’m not saying that it doesn’t happen but I truly don’t believe that it’s happening every day. I just don’t know what to do. If she’s like this in high school too then that’s when I’d opt for the home schooling but I’m not doing it this year. She’s in a safe and comforting school, all the kids know her and for the most part she’s happy there. And it’s her last year, her exciting year of grade 6. Also, we’ll be in the new house next year so I’ll feel more equipped to handle home schooling, I need to get my mind around it.

I’ve got a meeting tomorrow with the Principal, Beth’s teacher and aide. I spoke with her teacher this morning about drawing up a weekly chart with what’s happening on the following days and putting something to look forward to on there. I feel like we’re all flying blind in these situations, who knows what’s going on in her mind. I know I hated school and constantly said I was sick to stay home. Maybe she’s just like me and loves being at home with me? Maybe it’s payback for being such a shit of a kid myself?! I’ll let you all know how the meeting goes.

 
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In the news

Posted by Sarah on Apr 25, 2011 in Uncategorized

I just finished watching the movie The Miracle Worker about Helen Keller. I love a good tear jerker. Although my Beth isn’t deaf or blind it still brought forth all the emotions that were shown in the movie, how to unlock that little girl’s potential. That’s how I feel every day. Sometimes I see a glimpse of her greatness and I’m in awe of what she actually could achieve if I knew the path to show her the way.

I read an article in the paper yesterday which made me go cold. It was about a facility in the United States which used shock therapy as a treatment for autistic individuals among others. Kids lived in at this place and were subject to ‘2 second bee sting type shocks’ every once in a while to curb their behaviours. They were made to sit in a chair and be encouraged to do these bad behaviours, then be shocked when they did them. In other words they were shocked by doing what they were told. The end result was to have them sitting in the chair passively, clearly too scared to do anything else. It made me feel sick to read it. Sure, there are some behaviours that frustrate the hell out of me when Beth does them but I also know that a lot of them can’t be helped. What a barbaric way to treat autism. One man spoke of his time there, saying that people were made to get out of bed and shocked numerous times after somebody had played a practical joke and said they had left the grounds. None of the people treated had gotten better because of this, in fact many of them stayed in the facility year after year.

I did however, through my revulsion, feel such pity for the parents having to resort to these measures. They told of children who self mutilated so much that they felt there was no choice. One child pulled his own teeth out, another kept jumping out of a moving car. I know personally of children who do both of these things. I don’t know what I would do if my child was that severe. I’ve always said that I’d try anything with Beth as long as it wasn’t invasive and it didn’t hurt. How can this not be considered child abuse? If smacking children is child abuse then electric shocks must be torture surely? I can’t see anything that would make me resort to these measures. I do however have a child that in these terms is not that severe. I have family and friends who support me and medication to keep me somewhat sane, and I still find it bloody hard. How awful for a parent to feel that this is their only choice. Thank God for my Bethie.

I’ll end this post on a positive note. I forgot that when we were away in Inverloch the next door neighbour Anna popped in for a visit. I was trying to get Beth to put her pyjamas on and was very aware that there were 6 other kids in the house who didn’t want to see her starkers. My Bill hates it when she jumps around naked. I went to her room to get her pjs and when I came out she was standing there with no pants on at all, just her t shirt, chatting to Anna. After telling her that no, you can’t stand naked in company, I got her dressed and sent her off to bed. We were all having a good laugh about it. Anna said even though she was standing there in all her glory she was speaking very well, complimenting her so nicely on her glasses. It was lovely that it was completely irrelevant to Anna that Beth had no pants on!

 
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Inverloch

Posted by Sarah on Apr 22, 2011 in Uncategorized

We just got back yesterday after spending three nights at Inverloch. Just the kids and I as Paul had to work. A friend Catriona from horseriding and the HAGS (Happy Autism Group Support) has a house down there. Her and her husband have one son Jose who is 13. She also invited our friend Amanda and her 3 kids, Lachlan, Guy and Will. All together it was three mums and seven kids, three of whom has autism. What a mix! Oh and don’t forget Minka the Wonderdog.

We headed down on Monday and all met at K.F.C. on the way for lunch. We arrived at the house at about 1pm. The house slept 10 which was perfect. The kids settled in pretty quickly while we unpacked the car. Catriona had brought along four lightsabres (not sure if that’s how you spell it – from Starwars) so the boys headed outside to playfight while Beth sorted out how to use the tely. After unpacking we went for a walk to the beach. At this time of year dogs are allowed on the beach all the time. Minka loves the beach going mental when she goes in the water. Beth seems to have matured so much since we last headed off to the beach, she didn’t wander at all and sat by a rockpool for a lot of the time just checking out whatever was there. On the negative side she did keep drinking the sea water and tasting the seaweed.

On the Tuesday we went for a drive down to the town where the kids played in the playground and the mums drank coffee. Now that’s more like it! Once again I was very proud of Beth, she didn’t wander at all and listened to me if I had to call her back. I was impressed with how other mums were with her. In the past we’ve got some strange looks when Beth has been acting at her most autistic with people staring blatantly, often ending with me in tears. If I had to call out to Beth to hop off of a piece of equipment the other mums at the park would smile and say it’s ok and a couple of times engage in conversation with her. I don’t know if we were just lucky or if it’s becoming more accepted now, either way it was lovely to see. I felt so much more relaxed. We then headed down to the beach again for a little play and rolling down some small cliffs.

In the afternoon we ventured to the surf beach. Cat was very brave and went in with all the kids as the surf was pretty rough. Beth wanted to stay in for much longer than anybody else and cracked it a little bit when it was time to get out. She rolled around in the sand including on her face and hair, as payback I think for not getting her own way. She sat above us at the beach and we could hear her through the wind calling out things like “ok Beth, it’s time to go back in the surf now” in her high pitched voice that she gets when she’s not happy. To her credit though she didn’t go back in and listened to us.

On the Wednesday we did the same playground/coffee/beach thing as we had done the day before. We then went for a walk to the jetty, then back to the park for fish and chips and a little play. Beth chatted to a couple who had their dogs there. We then headed off home with Catriona and a hoard of the kids walking Minka back. It’s amazing how much you enjoy walking when you’re at the beach, it’s a whole different mindset.

We headed back home yesterday (Thursday). It had been such a good break. It was amazing how good the kids had been. They all got along so well. I think Beth had a bit of a crush on Jose. They all enjoyed watching ABC kids shows and Jose would do the voices of the shows he knew. Beth kept laughing at him which made him do it all the more. This in turn pissed the other kids off who couldn’t hear the real voices but that only spurred Jose on more which only made Beth laugh more! When it was time to leave she blew a kiss to Jose. He’s in year 7 this year and going well. He’s such a nice kid, so good with the younger ones. He played with Bill for ages and was terrific with Bridie. When it was time to leave Bridie wouldn’t go to the toilet. I heard him saying “you’d better go Bridie, otherwise your mum wont stop the car for you cos she told you to go here!” He was like that most of the time, not tough with the kids, just helping me out. He loved having Minka down there too, they had 2 dogs who mysteriously disappeared last year. They’re moving soon so will get another dog then.

Our kids have always gotten along with Amanda’s kids too. Beth and Lachlan don’t have much to do with each other even though they’re the same age. They are going to the same high school together next year so I wonder if that will make a difference? Bill and Guy are the same age, and Bridie and Will are the same age too so they’re all a good match. It was surprising how they all got along so well considering that we were all in a fairly small house together. All us mums were so pleased that Cat has suggested we do it again next holidays. I should have recovered from my exhaustion by then!

 
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Half way through the school holidays

Posted by Sarah on Apr 16, 2011 in Uncategorized

It’s the middle Saturday of the school holidays. Once again I’ve been sick this week so it’s not been a very enjoyable experience. We’ve still done things but I’ve been dragging myself out of bed to do them.

Monday we did our first trip to the movies for these hols. We went to see Rio. Not a bad flick as far as kids movies go. I’ve seen much worse. I find that the ones that combine real people with animation the worst so as Rio was fully animated it had a tick to begin with. The kids enjoyed it and we got hot chips afterwards which saved me making lunch when we got home.

Tuesday we went for a play at Bec’s house. Beth knows the drill now, she goes straight to the dvd pile and has worked out the remote controls to the dvds and foxtel. She’s a clever girl. Bill and Will are in the same year at school as are Bridie and Kasey so they went off and did their own thing. I always have a lovely time at Bec’s house, we never seem to run out of things to talk about.

Her Will also has autism and we had great discussions about schooling. Mainly because I’m still half thinking about the benefits of home schooling. Sue Larkey (a speaker who knows all about autism and schooling) put a question on Facebook earlier in the week, asking people’s opinions on home schooling. Except for me and my sanity issues (for myself) everybody else had an overwhelmingly positive attitude towards it. People spoke of how much their child had progressed when the anxiety of attending school was taken out of the equation. How their kids had learnt so much when doing one on one with them. Once again it really comes back to if I could handle it myself with no breaks. Also, I still believe I have to give Beth a chance at high school. I’m willing to change my mind if it doesn’t work out but it wouldn’t be as easy to go the other way. She has to start school with the other kids, otherwise she’d be not only the weird one, but the new weird one. It’s just such a scary prospect.

Wednesday we went for a visit to my aunt and uncle’s house. We try to catch up with Peter and Margaret each school holidays, it’s the only chance we get because they both work on weekends. Once again Beth sorted the tv out and plonked herself down for the majority of the time. They have all their favourite treats there and Beth was expecting them, asking Marg where the chips were when they weren’t on the table when she sat down! They came home laden with easter eggs and tummy aches but very happy.

Thursday we had Sensational Kids. We had a sit in Speech Therapist as well as Rod this week. She was lovely but I don’t think she got Beth’s sense of humour. After Beth trying to get info out of her for her standard joke she wasn’t sure of the punchline. Beth asks “what’s your favourite colour, part of the body, number and animal” one at a time. At the end she puts it all together. Her answers on Thursday made it (in her Fizz from the Tweenies voice – where it originated) “Your favourite thing is a green dog with six legs!” The speechie replied with “but dogs don’t have six legs so it doesn’t make much sense.” I had to explain that it was in fact a joke so not to take Beth too seriously. I didn’t say that they are also not green! She seemed lovely though and enjoyed Beth and Rods accents and burping the alphabet.

I had told Rod of my concerns with high school so he had drawn a picture of a girl being bullied by 2 boys. Beth had to help the girl and did quite well with what she said. Things such as ‘go away’ and ‘leave me alone’. She did seem to put herself in the girl’s position. After the session they went into the big gym. A boy had a Thomas the Tank Engine book which was playing the theme song, Beth jumped onto a xylophone that was on the ground and played some of it in the same tune. Maybe it’s time to try piano lessons once again.

Beth had a good session with Whiskas (not her real name) – the Occupational Therapist. They did a similar thing as was done in Speech as I told Whiskas my concerns. She made some great suggestions re aide time. She said when she was studying there were opportunities for the students to have work experience in schools helping with different students. If Beth’s aide time is cut in any way this is a possibility. It may even be a possibility for me at home if necessary. Whether Beth is part time of full time home schooled it would certainly benefit me to have assistance.

Friday we didn’t do much at all as I was feeling like crap! I had a doctors appointment in the morning and that’s it. He basically told me that as I seem to be running on empty most of the time as I had my hands full, there wasn’t anything left to give when I got sick. Basically my immune system is probably so low that there’s nothing left. I need to try and get healthier and fitter as I can see it’s only going to get harder.

We’re off to Inverloch on Monday with Amanda and her kids and Catriona and her son. That’ll equal 3 mums, 3 kids with autism and 4 ‘normal’ kids! Oh, and of course, Minka the Wonderdog! I’m looking forward to it actually, at least we get each other and the kids. We’ve already sat down over coffee to discuss our kids idiosyncracys. We discovered that they all still like little kids shows such as Playschool and Grandpa in my pocket. I did state that Beth didn’t like sitcoms or anything with laughter tracks but surprisingly this morning she’s watching them one after the other! Don’t know what’s going on there. She’s been great the last few days, seems pretty chilled out. Maybe not having to go to school is keeping her calm. She asked me last night “Mum, are you feeling better now?” Just like any ‘normal’ kid would. Sometimes she surprises me.

 
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Sensory issues

Posted by Sarah on Apr 9, 2011 in Uncategorized

We have a new music teacher at school. Beth has done choir for several years with a teacher who was very quietly spoken and Beth loved going. We didn’t have a music teacher as such before, our grade 1/2 teacher took music and Beth was familiar with her as she had been her teacher. Since getting a whole new building built at our school the old prep room has been turned into the music room. Our new teacher is a parent of 2 of the kids at school and Beth was familiar with her before. She is American and is a lovely enthusiastic woman. I anticipated that Beth would love music this year as the new teacher looks like she’s lots of fun. Unfortunately it’s gone the other way. Thursdays come around (music lesson time) and Beth is telling me how sick she is, more than usual in fact.

She first did this about 3 weeks ago and luckily she also stated that she didn’t want to do music that week, otherwise I wouldn’t have clicked. My ears pricked up as she’d told me the week before that she didn’t want to do choir anymore. I had thought it was because the choir had swelled to 50 kids, much higher than the 10 – 15 kids we had had last year. She said no, she didn’t like the new teacher’s voice. I asked if it was the accent and she said no, she just didn’t like it. Kids like Beth often have super sensitive senses and Beth’s particular one is sound. All of her anxieties relate to issues with sound and the issues snowball until she can no longer be in a room at certain times in case that sound happens again. She’s like it in the mornings when the bell rings. I think it’s the sound of the chairs being scraped off the tables but I’m not really sure. I think the music teacher has a certain pitch that Beth can’t handle. That compounded with an almost empty huge room which would have great acoustics. I can understand her issue. Two weeks ago I told her teacher and we decided to put head phones on Beth to see if it lessened the discomfort. It was reported that she had gone but had spent a lot of the time in the back corner.

Beth had an issue like this once before. When she was first diagnosed we went to an early intervention program at a local school. The lady that ran it had quite a deep voice and a booming laugh. Beth was ok to start with, she loved going there, but bit by bit it got to the stage where she wouldn’t let me leave and hated being there.  I don’t believe in letting kids dictate how we run our lives but if we weren’t getting any benefit out of the program, and it was physically affecting her, what was the point of going? Luckily we got a place at Irabina Early Intervention the next year so it didn’t look like I was ‘giving in’ to her.

I thought that the headphones would do the trick in music, she even told me that she had gone and enjoyed it. Or at least she had answered a monotonous ‘yes’ when I asked her! This week however she kept telling me that she had a rash and couldn’t go to school. When I looked and saw that she had scratched herself to make herself bleed I thought that no, it was much more stressful than I thought. I told her to wear her sunglasses and the headphones to music class. Donna Williams (the autistic author and artist) told me once that sunglasses may lessen the sensory issues. As we walked to class she told me that we were going in the wrong direction, the sick bay was the other way! I spoke with her teacher. I told him that we had been lucky, 7 years without this happening was such a bonus. It may have been different if it had been him she had a problem with but it was a teacher who she only had to see for 40 minutes each week. As it was her last year at school, was it worthwhile putting her through the stress? He was terrific and agreed, if she was actually hurting herself it wasn’t fair to put her in that situation. She could do one on one with her aide at that time doing some other work.

I don’t know what I would have done if it had happened with one of her main teachers. Being such a small school there’s often not much room for movement. In grade prep, 5 and now 6 it has been a straight grade instead of a composite, so there has been only one grade of that level. We’re so lucky that she’s not had issues with any of her teachers.

I just want to point out that there is nothing strange or unusual about our music teacher’s voice, nor about her. She’s a lovely lady and did not take offence at all about Beth’s issues. Also, Beth is by no means saying she doesn’t like this teacher, just that she can’t cope with her voice. I guess Beth has hearing sort of like a dog, she can hear pitches that others of us cannot hear. I don’t like certain sounds so I can only imagine how hard it would be to have issues with noise all the time. No wonder it’s hard for kids like Beth to concentrate at times when they can hear extra sounds or be anticipating these sounds happening. What a scary world it must be.

 
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Assessments for high school

Posted by Sarah on Apr 6, 2011 in Uncategorized

The time has come and I’m already feeling sick about high school next year. I spoke to our principal last week and to the school speech therapist and psychologist. It’s testing time to assess 1) if Beth will be eligible for an aide and 2) the level of funding that she will receive. Sadly once again we have to look at worst case scenario as far as behaviour is concerned. We also needed a score of under 70 in her speech assessment. It’s so hard to hear the results of these tests. Obviously you want your child to be the best that they can be but if their score is too high they don’t qualify. Beth was uncooperative during her testing which in the end was a good thing for our cause. What a shitty system we have where we have to prove again and again that they need help.

We had Sensational Kids today and I spoke to Rod about our schooling situation. He’s happy to do a report outlining what areas Beth needs help in as is Whiskas (The Occupational Therapist – not her real name.) She too said she would do a report showing where support is needed. I feel for the professionals put in this situation. They are almost apologetic, explaining that this is how the system works and they have to put in the reality. Nature makes people in personal relationships tread softly when talking about issues, softening the blow so as not to hurt people’s feelings. In this case it has to be blunt and to the point and basically make your kids sound almost like monsters. Unfortunately that is what is needed.

We had a good session this morning. Beth was in fine spirits and communicated well. She still finds it hard to tell stories without (we think) thinking that we know what she’s talking about. For example Rod asked her what she did on the weekend. She told him that she ate cotton candy and that we went to see Rango. She also said that we went to Hogs Breath. She didn’t however explain that the cotton candy was from the school fete. Nor that the movies and Hogs Breath were for her birthday party. She does have problems linking her thoughts with her words in this way but she’s so much better than she was when we first started speech therapy.

She then had her session with Whiskas. I don’t go in to those but from all accounts it went well. Whiskas is still building a rapport with Beth and they chatted a lot. Whiskas did say though that she’s not sure whether Beth’s answers are from a movie, or something that her friends have done, you never know with Beth.

I’ll leave you with a Beth funny. She seems to have a bit of a crush on a boy at school. Apparently she has nicknamed all the kids in the class with names from Bob the Builder. She has dubbed him Pilchard. He is going out with another girl who is a bit obsessed with Justin Bieber. When she saw this girl at the school fete she said matter of factly “Why don’t you just go out with Justin Bieber, then you can leave ‘Pilchard’ for me!” She’s so funny!

 
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A great party

Posted by Sarah on Apr 4, 2011 in Uncategorized

Beth had a lovely party yesterday. I took Bill to buy the tickets early so we didn’t have to line up and Paul brought the girls in the car with him. Jessica and Erin were dropped at our house at about 10am. We went to see Rango. It was a strange movie, not what I expected at all. I half expected a meltdown when I realised that it wasn’t the 3D version but Beth was so happy to be out with her best buds that she took it all in her stride.

After the movies we went to Hogs Breath for lunch. A friend and aide from school – Laurine – had come along too. I got some lovely photos of the girls all together having a laugh and a cuddle, as well as some of them pulling funny faces. I always love it when I get candid shots of Beth. She doesn’t always know how to act when having her photo taken and the photos often look forced or silly. It was nice to see some of her not looking ‘so autistic’ if you know what I mean.

After lunch we all came home and the girls played hide and seek and listened to some music in Beth’s room. It was great to hear them all groan when I said it was time to take them home. It meant that the other girls had had as good a time too! As girls do, they sang along to tunes on the car radio. Beth’s got such special friendships with those two, we’re so lucky in that sense. Not that she’s not worth it, just that often I hear of kids on the outer as far as friendships are concerned. Hopefully she’ll find new friends at high school that treat her with the respect and kindness that Jessica and Erin do.

 
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School Fete

Posted by Sarah on Apr 3, 2011 in Uncategorized

We had our school fete yesterday. Once again it reminded me of what a fabulous school we have. The sense of community is that of a small country school and it’s clear that students,  teachers and parents alike love their school so much.

I’ve had Bethie home with me all week. Luckily her spots are gone now as she never would have forgiven me if she hadn’t gone to the fete. We’ve also got her birthday party on today. Friday the grade 6’s had their leadership badges given out at assembly so I put Beth in her school uniform so that she could at least collect her Red House Captain badge with the rest of her class. She then came along with me to my art class again, armed with dvds and food this time. Last time I wasn’t so prepared and we took an awfully long time to decide on which of their dvds she would be able to watch.

Yesterday (Saturday) was an early one as Bill had basketball 1/2 an hour away at 9.10am. Normally Paul or myself would take him alone but as it was his last game we all went along. Bill’s team won. He got a certificate last week as he has improved so much since he started this term. It’s great for him to participate in a team sport and he really enjoys it. Bridie runs around playing with a friend and Beth leans back on me either reading or playing on the best babysitter in the world, her DSi.

After a short interlude at home we went to Bev and John’s (my inlaws) for lunch and to leave Minka the Wonderdog for the afternoon. I had to change the kids into their school uniforms before we left for the fete. There has been a long awaited new building built at our school and the big opening was yesterday before the fete. The kids all went and sat on the floor as the speeches were made, the choir sang and Bill’s class sang the school song. We then looked around at all the wonderful new rooms and artwork. Then it was time to party on at the fete.

Bill nicked off with his friends from the start as any boy would do, only coming back to ask for money or food. Bridie did this for a little while too but spent most of her time with Paul or myself. The kids had armbands which meant they could go on all the rides without buying tickets first. One of the rides was a bucking bull in a blowup ring. It reminded me that my aunty had one of these at her 60th birthday party! I think I’ve inherited her craziness because I love that idea! There were lots of jumping castle type of things with blow up slides and tunnels which Beth loved. The octopus, that she loves, wasn’t running early on so Beth was disappointed in that as she loves the scary rides.

I was on the dishes tent from 4 ’til 7. We try to be an environmentally friendly school and for the last 3 years have used reusable cutlery and crockery. My girlfriend Bree and her husband Aron organise a dishes station where they all get washed and sent back to the food court. She even made flags for yesterday with various things on them, I think the main one said it was the scrubbers tent! As I was on there Paul was in charge of the kids. He came over saying he would do the dishes if I took Beth on the octopus as he wont do the scary rides. I tried to find somebody to go on with her as I really wasn’t all that keen. I even asked the school captain Kane, his mum was on the dishes with me and told me how cute it was that Beth calls Kane ‘Pilchard’ from the Bob the Builder show! She seems to have taken a shine to Kane and he’s lovely with her. He wasn’t keen either and in the end the lovely Jessica came to the rescue and took Beth on the ride.

Today we’ve got the movies and Hogs Breath for lunch again. We’re going to see Rango this time. Beth chose Jessica, Erin and her third was Laurine who is an aide at our school and afriend. She came along last time as she had wanted to see Alice in Wonderland. Beth with her elephant memory had remembered this and had wanted her to come again. I told her that she could have a third girl and Laurine also as she wasn’t coming in our car but no, that’s who she chose. I’ll let you know how we go.

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