Posted by Sarah on Nov 29, 2014 in Uncategorized

I was pleasantly surprised yesterday. I went to a performance at Beth’s school in the afternoon because she had a drum performance. It was a bit disappointing as she didn’t play the drums but hit a tambourine instead but that’s ok, she did it in time and was very pleased with herself. (and on a side note, I used to wake up with tambourine bruises on my legs from jumping up with the band at various pub gigs!)

While there I filled in the forms for next years subjects. I spoke with our middle school coordinator Deb and asked her advice. I know Beth wants her first option as Media Studies which is right up her alley. This incorporates various forms of print and visual media using information technology. Becoming aware of current news issues, layout and production of newspapers and magazines and the history and types of film, television and radio programs. Hell, I even want to do that subject!  She did some cooking on Wednesday when she went to Senior School and loved it, also doing horticulture which she enjoyed except for the getting wet part. Which, by the way, was because she was playing with the hose. When I suggested that perhaps she didn’t do that she stated that that’s what you’re meant to do with a hose! Horticulture involves using outdoor equipment (God help us) and they work in the gardens and the council gardens too, there isn’t much of a description of this on the form though sorry ! My dilemma was which cooking class to put her down for. I thought essential food studies which is teaching independence in the kitchen, preparing all sorts of dishes including presentation, menu planning, labelling and nutrition. Paul wanted her to do food and hospitality studies which includes safety and hygiene, knowledge and uses of ingredients and broadening their selection of food choices. Both good options. I think it would be wonderful for Beth to start being independent in the kitchen but Paul thought it might be a bit of a waste of time as it doesn’t lead to a job necessarily and the other one may. I figure she’s got three years, if she enjoys the essential one she could go on and do the other one. But as he is her father, I figured that he should have some say in the decision. I spoke to Deb about her opinion and she agreed with me though. She said Beth needs to enjoy her learning otherwise she just wont do it, something I’ve always known, and it would be good for her to learn the independent skills. And therein lies the old problem of – this is where we want her to be versus this is where realistically she is. While I love the idea of Beth in a working environment that she enjoys and knows what she’s doing, I’ll be more than happy if she can make her own breakfast or even cut up her own food. You can’t teach one without teaching the other first. Anyway, long story short, I got my way and put her down for essential skills!

The good surprise was the conversation I had afterwards. Deb was Beth’s teacher last year. When I went for my first parent teacher interview with her, she had said to me that she was really happy with Beth. The year before she had been watching Beth and had said to herself “I have no idea how I’m going to teach that girl.” Beth appears in her own world lots of the time, doing her own thing, digging in the garden every lunch and playtime. She leaps in the air and laughs at nothing in particular and flings herself around a lot. When Deb had Beth in her class though she had been so pleased at how clever Beth is and how funny she is and how much she can actually do. It seems that the senior school coordinator had a similar issue and said to Deb “What am I going to do with Beth next year?” She had responded with “Yes what are you going to do with Beth next year?” and had gone on to explain that she needed mental stimulation, that she takes a dictionary outside with her to read just for fun, that she’s highly intelligent and knows how to play the game. She has pegged Beth and it’s great. I’ve always said she plays people. I remember doing readers with her in class and one of her teachers being so proud because she knew all the words. I got her to read with me in front of the teacher. And. she. read. like. this. With no tone in her voice, and no enthusiasm. So I said ‘Stop being so silly and read properly like you do at home.’ So she read like this! She will get away with whatever she can and if it means playing dumb then ok, I can do that. Deb said Beth will walk past and people will talk and she’ll be in her own world. Deb will say “Beth I’ve spoken to you” and Beth will turn around and say “Oh sorry, good morning …….” She does it here too. And I do think a lot of it is her being in her world, she doesn’t ignore all the time. But she will make the least possible effort if it means she can. Way back in Irabina days (the early intervention program she did) I walked in one day and the teacher was holding Beth’s hand holding a crayon to draw. I asked what they were doing and they told me drawing a picture. They thought it was terrific. I’m sure these people think I’m such a cow but I just laughed at Beth and told her to stop being so lazy. She looked at me with one of her smirks and drew the picture herself. I think some people are scared of pushing, not knowing what reaction they will get. But don’t underestimate my girl, she’s got a lot more going on that she gets credit for. And that’s just how she likes it!



Posted by Sarah on Nov 26, 2014 in Uncategorized

Beth had her second day at the senior school campus today. We went to an evening at her school last week to talk about her VCAL options, something that her school introduced last year. I can’t believe that she’s going into the equivalent of year 10 next year! It was very inspiring and for the first time I think, really gave me hope that she may be able to work for a living doing something that she enjoys and that she is good at. I’ve always had a fear that she’ll end up either at home or doing a job that she hates. And I know what she’s like. If she hates what she’s doing she just won’t do it. If packing shelves in a supermarket she’d be found in the magazine aisle reading or doing crosswords! She needs her mind to be entertained, and she’s smart, she needs stimulation. The subjects that appealed to us were media studies and cooking. Media studies would be the best bet but it’s whether or not she gets in, they all seem to want to do that one. It appeals to Beth’s love of computers and her love of movies. They do photography and gaming and lots of other things that Beth would be good at. I like the idea of cooking, they have an essential class which is home cooking, and a commercial cooking class which is the one Paul wants her to do. Surprisingly Beth chose horticulture as her second selection rather than cooking but after doing a session this afternoon she’s changed her mind. I think it’s as simple as the fact that she got wet when watering the garden! She was happy that she got to spend time with the chooks though. (Chickens.) Today she told me she also cooked a pasta bake which she loved so the flavour of the day (pun intended) is doing cooking!

Last week she had a taste of media studies which is still her first choice. Hopefully she’ll get in to that one but as she’s going into the junior year of senior school, they get  what’s left over from the older years. They can choose a different one each year though so they get a chance to do three different ones. I’m quite excited at the idea of her stepping up a bit and surprisingly she’s really looking forward to it.

We went shopping for Beth’s middle school graduation dress on Saturday. She really wanted to wear the one she wore to her grade 6 graduation but it was too tight. I’m quite pleased actually, because we have lots of photos of her in that one and now we can see her glammed up in another. I was a bit peeved, I’d done my research, looking for a semi formal maxi dress, and found a shop at Knox that stocked several. She needs a maxi dress for her lack of elegance when sitting. We got to the shop at 4.30pm and they didn’t have all of the range there. She tried on a couple but, as she’s so pale, the cream and beige ones looked dreadful. And the problem is with Beth is that she’ll see one and say ‘yes I want that one’ even if it looks terrible, because she just wants to stop and get out of there! We went to another couple of shops, finally deciding on a lovely long orange dress which is fairly summer casual. Once they put a gold belt on it it looked fabulous, as most clothes do on my gorgeous girl. I’ll have to rethink my wardrobe now, I’d also bought a long orange dress for the kids graduations (Bill graduates the night after) and I don’t want to clash! Clearly it’s the colour of the season.


Nearly Christmas!

Posted by Sarah on Nov 18, 2014 in Uncategorized

I can’t believe how fast this year has gone. It’s been an odd year. The worst year in a long time, with Dad and my aunty both dying. Awful. And a great year for me personally with getting back to studying which I am loving. I am doing a video assignment and did a practice session with a good friend on Friday. I can really see myself as a counsellor. I am looking forward to the next stage of my life so much. Yet grief keeps coming up and rearing it’s ugly head. My Bill has taken it hardest out of the kids, we went to see a grief counsellor for him this morning. Hopefully he can give us some strategies for when it happens again. Beth is a funny one. She appears to not be terribly affected by Dad’s death yet sometimes will come out with questions. She asked me last night if I still missed him and when I said yes she said she misses him too. I wonder if she realises how final it is and if she expects to see him at Christmas…..

She’s quite looking forward to next year when she moves to the senior campus. I’m not as the parking is dreadful! Scary too, she’s half way through her high school years. God knows what will happen after that. I’m hoping that something will stand out, something that she loves doing that she can actually do for a job. I’m not expecting her to be in paid employment necessarily. Working for her pension would be fine, I’ll sort the rest. I saw a documentary in the UK about a business who employed 5 or 6 special needs adults to do data entry. They employed one person to oversea the group. I think that would be perfect. There are lots of physical jobs out there such as mowing lawns and garden maintenance for special needs teams. Beth would be dreadful at that. She’d have her period every day if she’s anything like me and physical exercise, and I know she is! I don’t know how many times she’s been in the sick bay on sports days! There are probably other places out there, and I’m sure they will increase as the demand grows. And if there’s not then I’ll just have to start something. I’ve gotten good at being proactive as far as Beth is concerned.

I’ll leave you with a Beth funny. We were lying in bed last night and Beth’s foot creeps over and touches my foot. I said “That’s my foot you’re touching.” Beth responds with “Oh, I thought it was a warm lizard!” Yes, that makes much more sense than my foot doesn’t it?!

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