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Lion King

Posted by Sarah on Sep 27, 2011 in Uncategorized

We’ve been to see the Lion King in 3D today. I have never seen it before. As my regular readers would know Beth loves Disney movies. They’re her passion. We have all the movies that we have seen together at the cinemas, now she’s amassing the earlier collections such as the Lion King and Beauty and the Beast. I loved it though I think I was the only person crying. I even checked on my Bill as he’s pretty sensitive but no, it was just me. I was the only one in the whole cinema loudly blowing my nose!

We went with a friend from school Laurine. She’s been Beth’s aide in the past and we usually try to have a catch up over the school holidays at some point. A while back it was a trip to the zoo and we’ve been to the movies together quite a bit. It’s great to go out with a friend who gets your kids and she genuinely seems to enjoy their company too. The kids feel awfully special as they are allowed to call her by her first name when we see her outside of school!

We went for icecream and coffees afterwards. Beth never fails to amaze me. She chatted away about the movie and who starred in it to Laurine and I, asking about favourite parts and characters. On the way home she elaborated on her knowledge of Disney movies. There were quite a few characters in the Lion King voiced by people from Toy Story and other Disney or Pixar movies. When Beth gets going she speaks so well and really knows what she’s talking about. When asking the dates of the movies I don’t even second guess her anymore. Bill, Bridie and I had a lovely conversation with Beth, asking her lots of questions such as which came first, Toy Story or Lion King. She told us with great confidence that Lion King was out in 1994 and Toy Story in 1995. I had no idea that Tom Hanks and Tim Allen were in Lion King, they only played small parts but Beth has clearly studied all the information about the movie, she knew all the character names and all the people who played them. She’s so ace!

 
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School holidays

Posted by Sarah on Sep 26, 2011 in Uncategorized

It’s the first Monday of the September school holidays. I’m still awake at a ridiculous hour, 6am I woke up, it’s now 7.13am. Both the girls are awake and have been for a while. I’m hoping to get away with not doing much today, Beth and Bill would stay home doing not much all holidays if given half a chance but Bridie is a different kettle of fish, she needs to be kept busy all the time. I’ve promised her we’ll sort out her bedroom today so there goes my relaxing day!

We’ve had a good weekend. Beth has been excellent the last two days. Saturday morning I took her to get a blood test for gluten intolerance and to test her hormone levels to see if they have anything to do with her depression. She hasn’t had a blood test for years and last time Paul had to hold her down while they took the blood, even though they used a numbing cream. Our doctors are great and know Beth so had no problems letting me have some of that cream this time too. They put it in a little tub with some of those plastic stickers you put over the top on the arm to keep all the cream in. I put these on Beth an hour before going and she came along just fine. When we got in to the nurse Beth was sweating and shaking, she was so scared. The nurse asked if Beth would keep her arm still and I told her that I couldn’t promise anything but we’d try. Well, even though Beth cried out a little she kept her arm still and watched as they took three vials of blood. I was so proud of her. I told her so and she said to me that she was very nervous and scared but she had been very brave. She said as we were leaving “I didn’t die!” Poor love, I’m sure she knows in her heart that she wouldn’t because she hadn’t before but who knows what goes through her head. She was such a good girl. We went and bought a Disney magazine and a beanie kid much to Bridie’s annoyance. She soon shut up when I told her that she could go and get a needle too then and get a beanie kid!

We had my inlaws 60th Wedding Anniversary party yesterday. Paul’s brother Tony and his family came down from Canberra, our niece came back from Malaysia with her new baby Alice, we have another new grand nephew Oliver, news of another baby to be born in the new year and lots of catching up to do. We went armed with Beth’s DSi, not a terribly social tool but one that helps everybody else have a nice time relaxing and enjoying chatting without constantly worrying what Beth’s getting in to. It did run out of charge during the afternoon and Beth surprised us all by going around with my mother in law Bev meeting old friends and being quite charming. When I would go to check on them Beth would introduce me to the people she had just met. She loved the fact that there were name places on the tables so she could check the names if she had forgotten them. We had the photo done of all the grandchildren, 10 in all plus two great grandchildren. My wonderful friend Amanda came along and did lots and lots of photos for us and she assembled the kids in the foyer for the photos. Beth then delighted us by sitting on the floor with the two babies, holding their hands and talking to them as if they were talking back. She even sang them songs. Our nephew David commented on how much better Beth seemed, she was being really gentle and staying put, just being a really good girl. Everyone was chuffed at our news in regards to getting in to Emerson. It was a great weekend all round really.

 
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Sensational Kids

Posted by Sarah on Sep 21, 2011 in Uncategorized

Our family went to a grade 5 and 6 production last night at the school which was short plays on Australian History. It was really interesting to watch and I even learnt a few things! Beth played the part of Betty Cuthbert, she ran a race and won, receiving her flowers and medal at the end. She’s such a ham, she loves to entertain. She was very sweet when she came out, she spotted me in the audience and gave me a big smile and a wave. I know it’s not what she’s meant to do but I couldn’t resist waving back, she’s so bloody cute when she does that she makes my heart melt.

Beth and I just got back from another great session at Sensational Kids. She’s been in a terrific mood lately and they noticed how much better regulated she was and how much more relaxed. It seems like it’s all coming together for us. As usual our first session was with Rod the Speech Therapist. We once again did role play with Beth writing and directing a small script based on her experience at Emerson with the boy she calls Bob who she said bullied her the first week. Rod played Bob, I played Beth and Beth played a girl called Nicky who was one of her buddies for the day. Rod asked her to elaborate on what Bob had said after Beth said that he had said to her “Hello, what’s your name?” Beth eventually told us that he had said it several times which clearly annoyed her. Bob had then laughed at her and told her to do her dance (I assume this was because she jumps around) which she then had done for him. She said that he had laughed at her again. We role played this a few times then changed it around a bit. Rod did the bullying still (he played this so well!) and when being mean to me I just said that I had told him my name so I wasn’t going to say it again. When he asked me to dance I said no. This was to show Beth that we don’t have to do everything that everybody tells us. She also said that he had pushed her so I think I’ll get the book that we got when we went to Emerson with the photos of all the kids. That way she can pick him out for me and I can let them know. It’s a hard one though, was he just being annoying to her instead of teasing or did it really go too far? We want to teach her that bullying isn’t ok but we don’t want her to label somebody a bully if they are just being annoying. Beth was very receptive during the session with Rod and alert for the majority of time. Our next session is in the school holidays and I discussed with Rod taking Bill and Bridie with me and having them take part. Bridie wants to go along and I think Bill would enjoy it too, especially if we’re doing role playing again.

We then went in to the big gym and Whiskas (not her real name), the Occupational Therapist met us in there. I chatted with her about Emerson then left them to it. Whiskas reported that they had had a good session and that Beth was happy and relaxed.

I had a nice encounter as we were leaving. A lovely lady stopped me and asked if it was me who wrote this blog. She told me that it was nice to feel that she wasn’t alone and that she enjoyed reading it. Well if you’re reading now, thank you so much, you made my day! It’s lovely to get feedback from people that I don’t know, especially positive feedback!

 
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An exciting new development

Posted by Sarah on Sep 18, 2011 in Uncategorized

This wont be exciting to most but it’s huge to me. Those who read my blog often will know that I’ve spoken about Beth’s anxieties snowballing. If something small happens somewhere Beth will start off avoiding that time of day in case it happens again, then the preceding hour or so, eventually avoiding the place alltogether. If  we don’t know what the issue was to start with it’s almost impossible to fix the problem as often Beth has forgotten what it is that started her off.

The biggest and longest issue Beth has had is with Oscar the Grouch. Beth used to have an issue with the sounds that elephants make. Oscar the Grouch has an elephant. When Beth was two or three she enjoyed watching Sesame Street as do most kids. Oscar’s elephant was on it and made it’s noise, startling Beth and causing her to stick her fingers in her ears each time she saw Oscar in case his elephant was on. (The fingers in the ears is to this day Beth’s coping mechanism.) When realising how many elephants were on Sesame Street Beth eventually couldn’t watch the whole show, even though they didn’t often make the noise that had freaked her out. It became so bad that at the end of each show (and some are only 5 minutes) Beth would have to leave the room in case there was an ad for Sesame Street and in case that ad had Oscar the Grouch and if it did it might have his elephant. You get the picture. For a while there we weren’t able to watch ABC Kids at all. Once the other kids came along (and before digital TV with lots of other kids channels) I decided that we’d have to push for Beth to be ok watching ABC and she has for the most part been ok. Out of all the kids she’s now the one who still enjoys watching Playschool amongst all the other preschool shows. I sometimes catch Bill out who looks guiltily at enjoying a ‘little kids’ show at 9!

In the mornings we watch tely as the kids get ready and they watch ABC Kids until 8.30am which incidentally is when Sesame Street comes on. If it happens to be on in the bedroom and in the lounge Beth freaks if somebody doesn’t turn it off on the tely she isn’t watching. Well…… yesterday I walked in on her at my inlaws house and she was sitting there watching Sesame Street! We normally turn the TV off during lunchtime but I asked if just this once we didn’t, I was so excited that Beth was watching it! Oscar didn’t play a part in yesterday’s episode so I couldn’t see a true reaction but Beth was watching the rest very happy. This morning she was in bed with me and watched it again. I stayed with her so as to calm her for if and when Oscar came on but he didn’t. Beth did go to stick the fingers in her ears just in case and I said to her that she’d be ok, she’s not scared of Oscar anymore. She told me that Oscar’s elephant had died anyway! I’m doubting that information, it is a kids show after all! Funnily enough Beth isn’t scared of elephants anymore, she got over that fear at about six. I’m so hoping that Oscar will be shown again soon so that I can see if the fear really is gone. I know it’s a little thing but in the world of Beth it’s huge, one of the biggest. To me it signifies that the new medication is working, that her anxieties are lessening again. It’s school holidays soon, let’s see how Beth goes when she can watch Sesame Street every day.

 
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A happy girl

Posted by Sarah on Sep 15, 2011 in Uncategorized

Beth’s been in a good mood lately. Our principal has mentioned how Beth has been talking nicely and not snapping and I’ve been noticing it a bit at home too. She’s been quite chatty. We had our son Bill’s First Communion on Sunday and Beth was excellent in the church even though it went for over an hour. We went out for lunch afterwards and she sat at the childrens table eating and drawing on the paper table cloths. She was good as gold, no yelling, no spilling anything. Usually I have to whip out the trusty DSi but we didn’t need it on Sunday. I don’t know if it’s the relief of enjoying her new to be school or if it’s the medication starting to work. I’m thinking the medication as I wouldn’t imagine one day a week would effect the whole week as far as school moods are concerned. Hopefully the anxieties are going to lessen at primary school soon so that she can enjoy the rest of her last school year there. School holidays are at the end of next week so we can have a nice break and hopefully be ready for term four.

Beth’s been a funny bugger lately. She’s taken to sleeping in with me as the bunk bed that we bought for her and Bridie ended up not suiting her. She kept hitting her head and now wont sleep in there. We have no room for other beds so she’s sharing the big bed at the moment. They’ll all have their own rooms at the new house and things can hopefully go back to normal. Anyway, Beth’s been studying me and doing commentaries. I keep falling asleep watching the tely and as I snore, she keeps making loud noises to wake me up. It’s horrible as I keep thinking something has happened! She’s also talking about me. For example I will wake up to her prodding me and saying things like “she’s breathing again, she’s not dead!” Good to hear! Glad to see I amuse my child.

 
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WE GOT IN!!!!!!!

Posted by Sarah on Sep 13, 2011 in Uncategorized

I’m feeling very excited and very relieved right now. Beth got in to Emerson!

We started the day well, I dropped the other kids off to my friend Bree’s house, picked my friend Liz up to go to the Dandenong Market and set off for Beth’s second trial date at Emerson. I said to Liz on the way that I didn’t want to get my hopes up, surely it couldn’t go as well as last week had. Liz commented at how well Beth went in with barely a goodbye. I said that yes, it was great that she felt at ease there, it also showed however how trusting she is and how dangerous it would be at mainstream high school.

This afternoon I went to our primary school to pick up our principal and Beth’s aide who were coming with me for a tour and to pick Beth up. We had a good look around the school and were introduced to the vice principals. The lady showing us around – I’ll call her Clare – was talking about consequences for bad behaviour and was talking about suspensions and she commented that Beth wouldn’t be suspended as she wasn’t that type of kid. I was pleased that she was talking as if Beth was in with a chance. We discussed the work experience areas and spoke with the teacher in the mechanic workshop. I love the school so much and was pleased that our principal and aide seemed to be impressed. Clare told me that Beth held her own today, standing up for herself again and making a new friend.

When it was time to leave I asked where we would be going from there. Clare started to say “We’d like to ask you back…” and I thought that she was going to say next week but she said ‘next year!” I couldn’t believe it! Clare said that Beth has fitted in so well that they didn’t need any more trial days, she seemed very at ease. She asked me if I wanted to take my time and get back to them. I of course said that no, I’d say yes then and there thankyou very much!

Beth came out and seemed so happy to be there, showing us all her work and talking happily about art class and science, it seems like such a good fit. Our principal and aide were commenting on the way to picking Beth up that her mood seems to be lifting too, maybe the medication is starting to work. It seems like things are finally looking up!

 
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Good reports

Posted by Sarah on Sep 8, 2011 in Uncategorized

We had Sensational Kids yesterday. Beth took her first zoloft tablet in the morning which at the time seemed fine. We dropped the other kids off at school then headed off to Ormond. I went to get a coffee and Rod said that Beth had told him that her head was feeling a bit funny. She asked if they could go in to the big gym. While in there she climbed into a big hammock that is hanging but with it’s ends together so that it is like an enclosed swing. Beth loves it in there and Rod swung her or spun her when asked. All of a sudden Beth dry retched and we grabbed a bin so that she could be sick. Rod said it might have been the combination of the new medicine and the swinging. They continued on with playing a few games such as basketball but Beth’s heart just wasn’t in it. When it came time for Occupational Therapy Beth said she just wanted to go home so we decided to do just that.

On the way home Beth reminded me that I had promised to let her choose a dvd if she behaved herself at Emerson the day before. I had some of those sick bags that you get at the hospital in the car so I took one in with us just in case. She chose a Bambi 2 dvd and a top to wear to a family event on Sunday. Obviously whatever had been wrong with her had gone as she was fine for the rest of the day.

When we got to school this morning I spoke with Beth’s principal, teacher and aide and told them what had happened with Beth being sick. I just wanted them to be aware that it had happened at 10pm and that I had given her the tablet at our usual breakfast time. Hopefully it didn’t happen again today.

I had spoken to our principal on the phone to tell her about how well we had gone at Emerson on Tuesday. When I went to say goodbye to Beth this morning I found her sitting on the friendship chair in the sun with the principal holding hands. They were chatting about what Beth had done at Emerson and as I had the work that she had done I showed it. They talked about the moon and other work Beth had done and our principal kept telling Beth how very proud she is of her, it was just so lovely. I went out for coffee with friends this morning and when I got home there was a message from our principal. She had told me that she had called Emerson and too was told that it had been a positive experience. I was a bit worried that it might be a different story but no, they were happy with how it had gone and were pleased that Beth found it such an enjoyable day. Of course we all couldn’t be more pleased with how it has gone so far.

 
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3rd post for the day

Posted by Sarah on Sep 6, 2011 in Uncategorized

Wow it must be a record, posting three times in one day. Often I can’t find enough to fit in to one week!

Seems like today went really well. Paul came with me to pick Bethie up as he hadn’t been to Emerson before. Clare showed us around and I think Paul was as impressed as I was. We spoke to the Vice Principal and both he and Clare told me that Beth had had a great day in the classroom. There had been a bit of bullying but nothing that seemed to bother Beth too much though she has mentioned it quite a bit since she came home. She is being matter of fact about it though instead of worried about it. Apparently she told one girl to F Off! Not sure if it really happened as Beth has never sworn before. Another girl was asked why she wasn’t playing with Beth and she said it was because that’s what Beth had said to her. When I asked Beth about it later in the car she firstly said she didn’t and then admitted to it. I don’t know if it was just to shut me up or if she really did it but I’m sort of glad that she stuck up for herself when people were being mean to her. When I apologized to the staff they said not to worry, they were pleased that she coped well with being teased for being the new kid. They said as they didn’t see it anyway it’s just one child’s word against another. Another child was having a trial too and I think he was the one doing the bullying as Beth said he didn’t have a school uniform on.

Despite this Beth seemed to have had a good day. She really enjoyed herself and has talked about her new friends quite a bit. I feel fine about sending her back again, if they’re on top of any bullying and Beth isn’t worrying unduly I think it’ll be ok. It will happen wherever we go to start with, that’s the nature of kids. Especially ones like Beth, there’s no censureship at all, they just say what they mean. And here I was worried that Beth would insult somebody! She loved music and told me that they listened to tv ads then she played them on the drums. They did science and she came home with a bag full of goo. She told me about Neil Armstrong on the moon and showed me pages of work that she’d done. She loved it! When her new friend Fiona brought her out Beth hugged her as she said goodbye. It was so cute!

When we left I tried to assess when we’d know if we’re accepted. They want Beth to have a few more trial days so she’s going back next Tuesday. It’s really all about if they think she fits and it seems that she probably does. The vice principal was as enthusiastic about the trials as Clare was so let’s hope it’s a good sign.

After Emerson I took Beth to her paediatrician’s appointment. I explained everything we had discussed at school about the possibility of depression and emphasised that she is just as miserable at home. As Beth had clearly told me about being bullied today I didn’t believe that that was what was happening at school, oherwise she would tell me. Dr Chin suggested that we had a gluten intolerance test. This surprised me as when I brought this up years ago the doctor scoffed at my suggestion! I suggested that as we are doing a blood test anyway we should do a hormone test which he agreed to. In the end he decided to change her medication from Lovan to Zoloft over a week. He said Lovan is more for obsessive compulsive anxieties whereas Zoloft is more for anxiety that comes with autism. It’s also an anti depressant. He also suggested going to see a adolescent gynacologist who sees autistic kids which I think is an excellent idea as Beth’s out of control moods started along with her periods.

All in all an excellent day. Still have to be patient as I know I wont know for a while about Emerson but I feel so much better than I did last week. I’m so glad that I pushed for them to see her at their school, otherwise I don’t think she would have gotten this far. Let’s hope we’ll be as lucky with this school as we have been with our primary school.

 
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So far so good

Posted by Sarah on Sep 6, 2011 in Uncategorized

Well this morning went better than I could have expected. Beth was her bubbly charming self, saying “Good morning Sir” when she saw a man walk her way. She was excited to be going to Emerson and was in a wonderful mood. When we got there she addressed the lady (who I’ll call Clare) who we had seen last week then we went through to where Beth’s class for today would be.  They were outside and we were introduced to the teacher and the girl who would be showing Beth around. Beth did get distracted as somebody had a young dog there but it showed that she was social as she just got in the middle of the crowd to pat it.

The girl with Beth was gorgeous and kept smiling at Beth so Beth in turn had big smiles for her. When asked if Beth likes music (as that was their first class) Beth replied “Oh yes, I love music.” When I left them they were walking off together with another girl chatting as if they’d known each other for years! Beth spotted a hopscotch grid so was jumping along on that while they were walking. Clare asked me if I was relieved to see how well Beth had gone. I replied that yes I was but that I was more concerned with how they felt about Beth. I had hoped that Beth would be ok as she copes well in new situations. Clare replied that it was like looking at a different child. She was very happy with how Beth had just fitted in (so far) and told me not to worry, they’d be fine today. Well so far so good, I haven’t had a phone call yet! I’m not going to get my hopes up too much but at least I feel more positive than I did. I’ll let you know how she went.

 
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Trial day

Posted by Sarah on Sep 6, 2011 in Uncategorized

We have a trial day at Emerson today for Beth. I’m feeling quite ill about it all at the moment. I don’t have a good feeling about it after their visit last week. They suggested that maybe she is ‘too autistic’ if she runs off. Well she is autistic, that’s one of the traits of autism after all, in some kids at least. I hope they see the positive side to Beth, the humour and the warmth. It’s been lacking a bit lately, at home and at school. I want my bubbly Beth back. We’ve also got our paediatrician appointment tonight to talk about depression. Hopefully things will be looking up soon.

 

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