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A good week

Posted by Sarah on Jul 29, 2011 in Uncategorized

We.ve had a pretty good week. Beth has been happy to go to school as she has her ‘Disney room’ set up for her so the fear of going into the classroom has been removed. I’d still love to know what’s going on there but I doubt even she knows as it’s been going on for a while now.

We had Sensational Kids on Wednesday and as usual Beth enjoyed herself. She was full of beans so when we did speech therapy with Rod he got her an exercise ball to bounce on so as to regulate herself. The aim for Wednesday’s session was to build on the emotional side of an experience. For example being able to express emotions verbally and to explore another persons feelings or opinions by asking why they feel a certain way. Beth knows the names of all the emotions and can act these out but can’t expand on why she says she is feeling an emotion. We played a game called Elefun which is an elephant whose trunk is plastic and sticks up with a fan blowing underneath it. The job is to put butterflies in under the trunk that blow up through the trunk, we then have to catch them with nets. It didn’t work very well and not many butterflies came out. When asked what Beth thought of the game she just said ‘good’ but didn’t expand what she thought was good about it. Rod said that he was disappointed in the game and I said that  I had been bored. Rod then asked me what I found boring about the game and I told him. This was to show Beth the too-ing and fro-ing of a conversation. Beth’s engagement is always better when there is something fun going on. Rod kept putting a ‘T’ on to the end of Elefun when he spoke. Beth would say ‘elefun’ and Rod would say the sound of a ‘T’ over and over again with Beth in fits of laughter. They also had fun playing Kerplunk but determined that the winner was the one who got the most marbles instead because they both got lots. Beth got in between Rod and I but of course insisted that she won anyway!

In occupational therapy Whiskas (not her real name) the O/T showed me that they had been working on Beth’s handwriting. We talked about Beth having crushes with Whiskas telling me that Beth was talking to her imaginary boyfriend – Taylor Lautner?, an actor from the Twilight movies I think. Not that she’s seen them but she’s seen pictures in a magazine which she kisses. I said that she hadn’t done that before (talking to him) but was told that it is fairly normal for Beth’s age. We talked about Emerson and I had a little cry when talking about what things are acceptable for other kids just don’t seem to be acceptable for Beth. It must be so confusing for Beth to see other kids with boyfriends and girlfriends yet to be told that it’s not ok for her to say she fancies somebody or worse still laughed at when she says she does. I’m looking forward to her being with others like her who think in a similar way.

I’ve had several Beth funnies this week so I’ll share. I’d say some of her friends from school and her have been making up words. She used the word twitterpated. When I asked what this meant Beth reeled off the explanation as she’s clearly rehearsed it. The funny thing was the way it had been interpreted until I explained it to her. She said it was when you were walking down the street and your business was being minded. I had to tell her that the expression was in fact ‘you’re minding your own business!’ She took it all in her stride and started again with the new way of saying it. It seems to be when you’re falling in love and your eyes meet and fireworks explode in your head. For some reason she thinks that your head falls off at the end though it may be that your head feels like it’s going to explode!

Another funny was when Beth walked in the door from school last night. Paul was home early so picked the kids up for me. Beth looked at me and said ‘the girl with a passion for fashion is home Mum!’ She’s a crackup!

Lastly the cheeky bugger was trying to get me to get her a drink last night. She came in to bed with me and I was falling asleep. Next thing I heard her voice, sounding like it was trying to be a ghost. She was saying “You have to get Beth a drink of water.” I asked her why she was saying it in a ghost’s voice and she told me that it was in fact my conscience speaking! I told her to get up and get her own bloody drink!

 
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Had a lovely day

Posted by Sarah on Jul 24, 2011 in Uncategorized

We’ve spent the afternoon down at my Dad and his wife Helen’s house. They live down at Rye. As it was mine and my sister’s birthdays this week and Helen’s a few weeks before we went down there for a birthday lunch. Off we set this morning with Minka the Wonderdog, all the kids in good moods for a nice change. I was all set up for Beth, I went loaded with dvds and the trusty DSi, always good to entertain.

We had a lovely afternoon. As usual Helen put on a fabulous spread, the kids ate well and behaved themselves for the most part.Deb and Neil were there (my sister and her husband) as well as some family friends came down who we haven’t seen for over a year – Pat and David. It had been Pat’s birthday a few weeks ago too. They are like my aunt and uncle. David annd Dad are best friends and Pat and my Mum were best friends until she died when I was 13. They’re wonderful people and I couldn’t ask for a better aunt and uncle, they’ve always been there for me. It’s nice to see them with Beth, as we don’t see them often they are more likely to see any differences, good or bad.

The most obvious thing about Beth is how tall she’s gotten. She’s in size 12 ladies clothes and size 9 ladies shoes and she’s only 12! Lots of the time she was playing on her DSi but stopped to have a spa with Bill and Bridie. Our darling Minka decided to have a spa too by jumping in when we first got there! Beth kept trying to get her back in. They had an absolute ball in the spa, we didn’t even have to sit with them as we have done in the past. Bill and Bridie have a love hate relationship, they play so well together but fight well together if you know what I mean. When they’re in a good mood, especially when we’re out they are fabulous together. Today they played games in the spa that included Beth too and it’s lovely to watch the three of them interacting with each other. No games, no dvds, no computers, just three kids enjoying each other’s company.

When it was time to go I could hear Beth at the dinner table loudly saying “I’m sorry, I didn’t mean it, it was an accident,” and David laughing out loud. She’d gotten the salt grinder and probably (as I’d caught her doing it before) tried to grind it straight into her mouth. She’s good at covering her own arse by trying to make it look like she didn’t mean it!

We had a lovely day and it was great to catch up with everybody.

I’ll leave you with a little Beth funny. I’ve heard before how kids with autism don’t get sarcasm well and here is a prime example. Our upstairs toilet is my ensuite and ther kids go through my room to use it. While writing this Beth went charging in to the toilet and as she often does, forgot to shut the door. She plonked herself down so I called out “Thanks for sharing!” Beth’s response? “Your welcome!”

 
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School going well

Posted by Sarah on Jul 21, 2011 in Uncategorized

The kids went back to school on Monday. Beth was fine to get up because her picture was on Giggle and Hoot on ABC2 that morning and she was most excited to see it. She had drawn a picture of Hoot the owl and they made a big deal of it when they showed it. Beth went to school happy enough but when I picked her up I was told that she refused to go to the classroom all day. When I tried to get her back in the room to get her bag she was very forceful in stressing that she couldn’t go in there so I didn’t push it. I really have no idea what’s going on there.

Tuesday (my birthday) Beth came out of school and the first thing she said to me was that she went to her classroom so that was an improvement. Bethie gave me a lovely teapot that she had picked for me for my birthday, Bill got me a dvd and Brides gave me a nice jewellery box. We had a really nice family evening together.

Yesterday (Wednesday) was a great day for Beth. When I was at school to pick the kids up I saw the principal heading my way so I pretended to hide in the tree branches! It was however good news. She said that Beth had had the best day ever. They had made a little room between the grade 5 and 6 rooms into Beth’s room and called it the Disney Room. Beth did all of her work in there but was allowed to invite other kids in there to do their work too. She had worked really well all day, even when the other kids were there doing their own thing. The principal was rapt and so was I. I was so chuffed that she had come out to see me to tell me herself. She had been trying to call me but I had been at the dentist. I know of people who don’t even really know the principals of their schools as they deal with the vice principal. We don’t have a vice principal at our school yet we are always given the time to talk personally with our principal. I’m not the only person who appreciates how lucky we are to have found our school.

On the Wednesday I also took the reports that were done for Beth’s 6/7 review, to Emerson. As I had just been to the dentist I couldn’t talk well (which I explained) but it might have looked like I was under a lot of stress which hopefully worked in my favour! I saw Rod again briefly (the intakes officer) and explained that while I appreciate they can’t make a decision about enrollments until term four I truly believe that Beth needs to start transitioning during term three. He was busy doing his own 6/7 reviews but said to call me next week and he’ll have a word with the review committee and let me know. I was pleased at his response as it could have gone the other way with him being annoyed at me for pushing the point. I had explained that Beth is very anxious this year and out of everybody I would expect that he would understand this better than most. Fingers crossed!

 
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Holidays nearly over

Posted by Sarah on Jul 16, 2011 in Uncategorized

I’ve got a spare moment to myself. Paul has taken the kids shopping for my birthday which is on Tuesday. I’m very excited! I do celebrate my birthday each year big time and this year is no exception. I’m going to Bec’s house for an all day feast this year with a couple of the girls. Monday morning school goes back so I’m going to a friend’s for an indian head massage, Tuesday is the food festival and Wednesday is going back to Weight Watchers followed by a visit to the dentist! Happy Birthday to me!

We’ve had a good time these holidays. Beth and I went to Sensational Kids on Wednesday but I haven’t had a chance to tell you about it until now. Rod and Beth made up an alien and it was called a thalangill. Rod asked Beth to describe a thalangill. With her usual humour the first descriptive word was thalangtastic! She’s so ace! Rod showed her what he meant by writing ‘is 2 times bigger than an elephant.’ Beth then went back to her original idea of making us laugh by writing ‘silly billy.’ Then she wrote ’53 time longer than a ball.’ When Rod asked her to draw the thalangill using the descriptive words she drew an amusing cartoon like character who was really silly – which he was. She didn’t get the descriptive side of it really so to get away with not knowing just kept on trying to make us laugh.

Rod told her that the thalangill was in the cupboard in the hall and Beth ran down to look for it. When Rod told her that she had scared it and it had run away he tried to get Beth to explain why it was scared of her. She used words like ‘messy’. Rod gave her multiple choice such as 1) because it eats apples, 2) because you ran too fast and 3) because it saw your shoes. Beth answered the first one and clearly had difficulty in grasping the concept. She then snuck down the corridor to find it again and I commented to Rod that I wasn’t sure if she’d understand it if she couldn’t then find the thelangill. Rod thought that she would be ok with it and when we found her she had the solution that she was in fact the thelangill. Case closed. Rod had a good suggestion re Beth’s fear of school. He suggested that I got her a diary or worry book to write down if she is anxious about something. She doesn’t seem to be able to verbalise what is wrong so perhaps she can write it down. It can’t hurt. Beth’s session with Whiskas (not her real name), the Occupational Therapist went well and Beth made cards for her friends Jessica and Erin asking them to come over for a play.

Thursday was my mother in law’s birthday so we all went out for lunch with my sister in law and her partner. I had forgotten to take Beth’s DSi with us and she was a bloody nightmare. It just showed how much worse she has gotten as she’s got older. If she’s not having a good time she’ll make damn sure that nobody else is either. She will nag and moan and cry until she gets her own way. The problem is that I don’t like to reward that sort of behaviour so it really comes down to a battle with us as neither of us will give in. I try to negotiate but of course Beth will have none of that and starts to pretend to talk in my voice to get the answer that she wants. For example if she wants to play on the computer and my answer is “in a little while, when I’ve finished”, Beth will say – very loudly and high pitched, just to accentuate how annoyed and annoying she is – “yes Beth of course you can play on the computer, here you are darling.” I lost it with her yesterday morning as Bill and Bridie were fighting and Beth was going on and on, honestly she does my head in sometimes! Anyway we had a nice lunch for Bev’s birthday despite Beth’s moaning, then we went to visit our new Grand Nephew at the hospital. Beth was happy enough there as she found a TV Week magazine and sprawled out on the bed oblivious to anybody else!

I’ll try to make an appointment at Emerson this week to take the reports in that I got from the school in the last week of term. I will explain that I would rather transition Beth from term 3 but my gut is telling me that no matter what we wont find out until term 4. Really, it probably will be enough transition time, I guess I’m just impatient and want to know now. I would say it’s because they want to know what level of funding we will be getting from the government before they make their decision. Fair enough too, still, it’s so hard to wait!

 
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Dentist

Posted by Sarah on Jul 12, 2011 in Uncategorized

I took all three kids to the dentist yesterday. I felt very brave as going to the dentist has been my biggest phobia ever since I can remember. My babies were so good!

I had been to the doctors and spoken with them about a scheme through enhanced primary care with Medicare. It’s a special dental scheme and if your child has issues with their teeth because of their condition or disability then you can get a referral to a dentist under it and get approximately $4000 of dental work for free. Beth had lots of problems when she was younger and had to go to the dental hospital for work so I was anticipating a similar thing. She grinds her teeth so some of her top ones are quite small. The dentist commented on this but said she was probably too young for crowns. The only other things were two fillings that need doing. She cleaned Beth’s teeth for her and said as Beth was so well behaved she didn’t think that the fillings would be a problem. We’re going back in a week and a half. Bev (my mother in law) came with me and took Beth off for teeth xrays while the dentist saw Bill and Bridie. Bev said Beth was excellent with this also even though it was an awkward thing to do. Bill and Bridie went well too with Bridie needing to get seals on her back teeth.

When I went to pay I suggested that perhaps we didn’t do it through the enhanced primary care scheme after all as hardly any work had to be done. The receptionist told me that the scheme is finishing at the end of this year so if you’re reading this and contemplating using the scheme I’d talk with my doctor about it now. The dentist was so lovely that I’ve made an appointment to go and see her myself next Wednesday. I’m already having palpitations!

I’m not sure if I’ve mentioned it before but Beth loves a show on ABC2 in the mornings called Giggle and Hoot. There’s a man (Jimmy Giggle) and an owl (Hoot). They present some of the kids shows at various times of the day but we watch the morning one between eight and eight thirty. They have what’s called a giggle gallery where kids send in pictures they have done. Beth did a picture earlier in the year and sent it in and we watched and watched it to see if it would be shown. After quite a while I told Beth that it probably wouldn’t be on and that she should do another picture. As you write the child’s age (this doesn’t get shown on tv) I thought that they may look at the picture from a 12 year old and think it wasn’t very good. This time I sent a letter with the picture explaining our situation and telling them how much it would mean to Beth to see her picture on tv. Well Beth got a card from ABC yesterday to tell her that her picture would be on this Monday 18th July at 8.30am! She’s so excited. It actually finishes at 8.30 so if anybody wants to see it I would put ABC2 on at 8.20ish.

We’re off to Catriona’s today, my friend who has the house in Inverloch wher we visited in the last school holidays. She’s moved into a new house in Emerald so we’re off to check it out. Beth quite fancies her boy Jose who has aspergers. He’s totally unaware of this which is probably a good thing as Beth can flutter her eyelids and blow kisses to her hearts content and he couldn’t care less! She’s turning into quite the flirt. We’re surviving the holidays well, keeping busy works. Paul has Wednesday onwards off. Beth and I have Sensational Kids tomorrow so I’ll write more then. xxx

 
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Half over

Posted by Sarah on Jul 9, 2011 in Uncategorized

So far so good as far as the school holidays are concerned. Bill and Bridie had an absolute ball at the program at the local church, the people there were lovely and the kids felt right at home. Beth and I had a nice 3 days doing what we wanted which luckily for me involved lots of vegging at home!

Yesterday (Friday) we went to Bec’s house for a playdate. We love going there because not only do the grown ups get along but so do all the kids. Beth was asking all week when we were going there, she loves going to visit Bec’s. It may have something to do with the fact that they have Disney Channel which we don’t but it really doesn’t matter, a happy Beth makes for a happy Mummy so we all had a ball. Bree was there with her kids too and Prue popped in for a little while so there were numerous kids running around and numerous mums sitting drinking copious cups of tea and gossiping. My idea of a good day!

Beth was very cute and I thought I’d share some of her things that make her unique and our Beth. She was watching a show on dancing and was up doing all the moves. Bec has two dogs, Tyson and Lily. Tyson is old and not all that fussed about playing with Beth but Lily loves the attention. Bree pointed out how much she loves that Beth talks to the dogs as if they were people. We could hear her saying to Lily “Come on Lily, do this dance move with me!”

Bree’s oldest boy went in to check out what was going on in the lounge. Beth’s always had a bit of a thing for him, he’s a gorgeous boy and very good with Beth. Bree let me know that Beth had asked him out on a date. He’d kindly told her that he already has a girlfriend and wanted to ask his mum if it was ok to lie about this. I thought it was so sweet that he thought to spare her feelings  by letting her down gently. I then heard Beth talking to him later and thought that she was nagging him about going out with her. No though, she was trying to get him to recite lines from movies with her but he couldn’t remember any.

It’s so nice to go somewhere where people ‘get’ Beth. As Bec’s boy Will has autism there’s never any stresses when we go there. If Beth watching Foxtel for the day makes her happy and not get into mischief then that’s ok. In fact it’s lovely to sit with friends and laugh about how cute Beth is being rather than thinking she’s weird because she’s wanting to dance with a dog! Good friends are even more important to you when you have challenges in your life and I’m always grateful for them. To quote a saying from the ever wise Bree – I am rich in friends.

 
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School Holidays

Posted by Sarah on Jul 7, 2011 in Uncategorized

It’s the first Thursday of the school holidays and I’m still somewhat sane. I am attributing this to the fact that the two younger children are in a school holiday program with the local church for three days this week. I drop them off at 10am and pick them up at 4pm. They feed them too. It’s a bargain, $90 for the both of them. The only downside is that I know they’re basically eating party food the whole time they’re there but for the sake of my sanity I’m willing to turn a blind eye.

Beth and I have been having a lovely time. We’ve been having pancakes for lunch and doing bugger all for the day. She’s so easy compared to my Bridie who needs to be kept entertained all the time. Bill’s pretty easy too as he’d play XBox all day if I let him. Beth will read or watch dvds or play on the computer, when we’re home she’s not hard at all. Or at least when she’s doing what she wants to do.

We went to see Kung Fu Panda 2 on Monday. My friend Amanda came with her boys too. The movie wasn’t actually as bad as I thought it would be and Bridie and I only had to make one trip to the toilet this time so she must have enjoyed it too! I did have a laugh when we sat down. Amanda’s Lachlan (her boy on the spectrum) was picking his position and when he was asked to move wasn’t happy as he had the prime spot. I told Amanda about an episode of Big Bang Theory when they went to the movies and Sheldon did the exact same thing! It’s so funny watching that show knowing that Sheldon has so many aspie traits though I don’t think the word has actually ever been mentioned. We went for drinks afterwards but Beth was in an especially petulant mood and kept doing things like picking at the leather on the seats that were peeling or grumbling really loudly, just enough really to piss me off which she seems to have down to a fine art. But then that’s kids in general isn’t it?

Something else she does that is especially annoying is watching You Tube clips really loudly on the computer. Do anybody elses kids do this? The problem is that the headphone cord broke in the socket so they don’t work on the computer. For some reason she prefers the computer to the laptop where we do have headphones. I keep yelling at her to turn it down and she does for two or three minutes and then it’s right back up again. If I call her on it, telling her that You Tube is only for the laptop, she scrolls the page down just enough so that the You Tube title is out of sight and tells me that it’s not You Tube at all as you can’t see it anywhere on the page. She’s not stupid I can tell you!

We’re going for a play to Bec’s house tomorrow and then it’s the weekend and we will have survived the first week.

 
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A night with my girls

Posted by Sarah on Jul 3, 2011 in Uncategorized

Paul took our son Bill to the wrestling last night. Not everybodies cup of tea. I must admit though that I felt some nostalgia, I remember going to Festival Hall with the family when I was young and watching the wrestling. Also watching it at noon on a Sunday, just before Daktari was on the tely; along with our cooked brekkie and roast dinner that was routine in our house. Bill loved it and has raved about it all day today.

This left me at home with my girls. We had fish and chips before the boys left, Beth was in her usual position on the computer and Bridie chose a Blues Clues dvd that we hadn’t seen before. Beth kept getting up to watch it with Bridie. They then chose the Tweenies together and were very cute doing the Hokey Pokey and other dances together. They do get along well together and with me supervising actually managed to have a lovely night. I did have to stop Beth from saying all the words in the Tweenies, something that understandably pissed Bridie off no end but as they were both singing the songs I left that be. The beauty of the Blues Clues dvd was that Beth hadn’t seen it either and therefore didn’t know the words. She did answer questions and was quite interactive through the whole thing which I never tire of watching.

I got together with my other girls during the week – my friends – and I thought I’d share some of our observations. As many of my readers are probably reading because you also have a child with autism, you may agree with me that autism seems to be at almost epidemic proportions at the moment. Kids are getting diagnosed left, right and centre.  I do believe that there has certainly been a rise in autism, for a variety of reasons. The additives in our foods, the medical advances made to help us to concieve (IVF), to stop miscarriage, to keep kids born too early alive, all of these things wouldn’t have been possible 20 or 30 years ago. Nature weeds out the weak, medicine does all it can to keep our precious ones alive.

 I also believe however that it is too easy to get a diagnosis these days. I know they’re not all like my Beth, I know lots of kids that are nothing alike but all have diagnosis’ somewhere on the spectrum. I used to be pretty good at picking our kids on the spectrum, as is my boy Bill. He’s say to me if he thought somebody had it and often he was right, they were just undiagnosed. These days I hear of somebody having a diagnosis and I’m dumbfounded. Now obviously I’m no expert and the spectrum seems to be becoming wider and wider but really are these kids all on it?

My friends Bec, Bree and I often laugh at how many autistic or aspie traits we have. I have lots of obsessive compulsive things and on the layman’s aspie test we all score high. The average female for example would be a 14 or 16, if the score was over 32 you’d be considered to be on the spectrum. My score was 29 and the other girls were similar. There’s a little bit in all of us. I could get a diagnosis of some sort for my Bridie if I really wanted to, she has selective mutism as well as dreadful behavioural issues. She’s not autistic though, I know that but she’d be pretty high up on the list.

In this day and age of freedom to explore, to be who we want to be there are those kids who thrive, who cope well and make the right decisions and will become good citizens of the community, caring for others and not being influenced by how other people perceive they should be. There are others however who need guidance, who need discipline, who need to be told no and what’s right from wrong. There’s nothing wrong with either way of raising your children if it works for you. I’m a big believer of minding my own business when it comes to others child rearing, who’s to say my way is the right way? I overindulge my kids, I let them get away with much more than others I know. I still however am their parent, not their friend. I believe my kids are fairly well behaved, they have manners and sit at the table during meals. They get told no many times. They don’t like it but that’s tough, that’s my job. I think there are a lot of kids around who don’t have these boundaries then act up when they get to school. The parents wonder what’s wrong, what’s happened to my lovely child, they’re not like this at home? That’s because they’re not disciplined! The parents think there must be something wrong with their child, specialists are called in and a label is given. Obviously this isn’t always the case but I believe that sometimes it is. These kids don’t cope with structure because they’ve never had it. School is reality, life is about towing the line, about doing what you are told, about being told no. It sucks but there it is. We’d all like to think that life is all about us but really, it’s not. (Except of course in my case where it is!)

Anyway off my soapbox! We took the kids rollerskating this morning. I’ve learnt the hard way that it’s much easier for me to walk around in normal shoes than get pulled over by my giraffe of a daughter in roller skates. Beth towers above me, especially on wheels but she had a grand time and tried her best. Bill is getting quite good and Bridie too. It’s school holidays now so the fun begins. We’re off to see Kung Fu Panda 2 tomorrow. Just need to keep my sanity!

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