Wednesday 28 August 2019

Who is the family behind Raising My Little Superheroes?

It's been a while since we've done this and we've just hit 5000 likers on one of our social media sites! So who is the family behind Raising My Little Superheroes?

My name is Jenni and I'm a mum of two gorgeous little superheroes. Well, we think they're gorgeous, but then again we are biased. O is now 10 and L is now 7. My husband is Scott. But at times I do wonder if I have two or three children!

O is thriving at school and loving life in general. Over the last three years, she has become more and more articulate in describing how she feels, thinks and views the world. O's intense interest is still anything and everything to do with space and she has added science to her interests as well. This year, she was accepted into the Australian Girls Choir and she absolutely loves it. O is very creative and loves to express herself through song, so the Australian Girls Choir is perfect for her.

L is also thriving at school, he's still not a fan of going to school but he is thriving. In 18 months L has worked his way from below average academically to on average with his peers. We've always said to both O and L, that their grades at school really do not worry us. As long as they both put as much effort as they can into school, that is all that matters. And boy, have both O and L put in a lot of effort at school. L is still into all things superheroes, and probably always will be. 

It has been over three years since we started on this Autism journey. But our journey really started when L was born. From the moment that L arrived on earth side, we knew that he was a different baby. He was completely different from O and also from other babies that we met at our local playgroup. Scott and I knew that he was different, but didn't exactly know what the difference was. We did question many professionals in the medical and education field as to whether he could be Autistic and was told that no, "he's just a naughty boy, he's being a typical boy, it was our parenting style, he's just slow because he has an older sister who does everything for him ...." and many other reasons. None of which made us as parents feel good about ourselves.

L was non verbal until the age of three. At three, he spoke a grand total of roughly 20 words. At three years of age, I took him back to our GP and was in tears because L was having a meltdown and I couldn't help him. L was having a meltdown over not being allowed to play on the busy road outside the surgery. Our GP agreed that L was different than other children his age and immediately referred us to our pediatrician. Much to our relief our pediatrician agreed that L was different and gave a provisional ASD diagnosis. We received his official diagnosis of a DSM V level 2 ASD in 2016, L was three and a half.

Thus began our Autism journey.

While going through L's ASD assessment, Scott recognized a lot of L's traits in himself so off he went to be assessed and low and behold, Scott was given an ADHD diagnosis in 2017.

O at this stage was 7. As a baby, O reached all her developmental milestones early. We knew that she was academically gifted but we didn't suspect that she was on the spectrum. She was, and still is, a very anxious child. After L's diagnosis, we began to see some ASD traits in O and each time we questioned as to whether O was also on the spectrum, we were told that she couldn't possibly be because she's very social and makes eye contact.

We were however referred to a child psychologist for her anxiety because we were struggling to help her manage her anxiety. During her second session, her psychologist said "you need to get O assessed, she's definitely on the spectrum."

So off we went on the assessment path again. Low and behold, six months later O was given a DSM V level 2 ASD diagnosis! We were expecting the diagnosis as all the way through her assessment, the speech therapist and psychologist told us that yes O is on the spectrum. Her DSM V level floored us as we'd missed all her traits. O was and still is a master at masking her ASD traits.

During O's ASD assessment I realized that I could have been answering the questions about myself. O is my mini-me. I broached the subject several times with the professionals who were doing her assessment and was told "I can spot an Aspie a mile away!"

As well as ASD, both O and L have sensory processing difficulties, anxiety (O was recently diagnosed with Generalised Anxiety Disorder,) and a myriad of other health conditions.

I haven't pursued a diagnosis for myself because other than getting a piece of paper that would explain my childhood and how I felt as an outsider up until quite recently, it really wouldn't benefit me. I'd prefer to put my efforts into assisting my little superheroes on their journey. Also three out of four in our family have a diagnosis!!

I started my blog on the 28th of August 2016 (yep, we're also celebrating our third blogiversary!) as a means of clearing my thoughts, writing for me is my therapy, but also to spread a little Autism awareness and acceptance. We struggled to find support when we first began on this journey and I wanted to let other families and individuals know that support is out there. 

I don't want to see children, or adults, being left behind because they're different or quirky or don't fit into the mould that they're expected to fit into.

If you've read this far, thank you for joining us on our journey. It can be crazy, fun filled, coffee injected ride, but it's our life and I wouldn't change anything for the world.

Friday 23 August 2019

Apps that we find useful - Review

**** Please note that we do not receive commissions of any kind for this post. These are simply Apps that we have found useful. ****

Over the past few years, a number of Apps have been recommended to us by both O and L's various therapists to assist in developing different skills and also to assist in providing strategies to manage O's anxiety. Just recently I have been asked by numerous people what Apps I would recommend for other families to download to assist their children so I thought that I would dedicate a blog post to discussing these Apps.

The majority of the Apps mentioned in this post are incredibly useful and a few of the Apps are just for fun Apps! In writing this post, I spoke with both O and L to get their input and asked them to rate the Apps that they used out of 5 stars. With any App that we download onto either the phone or other electronic device, we will always test the App first, just to make sure that there isn't anything untoward in the App. So all of the Apps aimed at children mentioned in this post have been used by myself or Daddy Superhero prior to O and L being allowed to use them.

Please keep in mind that a number of these Apps are useful in providing strategies that can be used for anxiety and other medical issues. The following Apps are not meant to treat any illness or replace the need for professional medical care or professional therapy services. If you feel that you or your child could benefit from medical treatment or therapy for any condition, please speak to a trusted medical professional.

Strong Minds

Recently O was diagnosed with Generalised Anxiety Disorder and was started on an Anxiety medication. We wanted an App in which we could assist O to track her thoughts and feelings each day. Strong Minds is an App that was recommended to us by one of O's therapists so that O could start to track how her anxiety was making her feel each day. Strong Minds is a free App in Google Play which provides the user with mental health tools through the use of interactive stories, visuals and guided meditations.

One of the great things that we love about this App, is that there is a section in which O can record her daily thoughts and feelings. Within the "history" section of the App, O is able to record how she has been feeling, the strategies that she used throughout the day and any other information that she wants to record down. This has been great for O to be see just how much happier and calmer she is feeling each day.

Other sections of the App include a stories area in which the user can learn how thoughts, feelings and actions are connected through reading several illustrated stories. Find your feeling assists the user to identify what emotion they are feeling through the use of facial expressions. This section also has explanations of different emotions and possible strategies that the user could use. There is a section with meditation audios for the user to listen as well.

Out of 5 stars .... O gives this App  stars!

Breathe, Think, Do with Sesame

Breathe, Think, Do with Sesame is an App that one of L's Occupational Therapists recommended several years ago when we were working with L on his emotional regulation skills. This is another free App that is available in both Google Play and the Apple Store.

This particular App is aimed at children between the ages of two years to five years of age and uses Sesame Street characters throughout the App. The App itself teaches children skills such as problem solving, self control, planning and persistence. The App is part of Sesame Street's Little Children, Big Challenges initiative which aims to provide children with tools to help them build resilience and overcome the every day challenges that they may face.

As the user progresses through this App, they will help a Sesame Street monster friend calm down and solve everyday challenges similar to challenges that the child may face such as not being able to dress themselves, first day of school, becoming frustrated while playing and so on. The App is interactive in that user needs to tap the screen to progress through the sections of the App - tapping the Monsters tummy, tapping the monsters thought bubbles and then helping the monster to chose which plan to use to solve the problem that the monster is facing in the App. The narrator in the App is encouraging towards the user and prompts the user as to what step they should take next, for example "pop the bubbles."

L loves the animations in this App and as he uses it, he is able to relate what he is learning to real situations that he has found himself in. 

While this is aimed at younger children, O loves to play this App too! One of the other great aspects about this App is that when L is using it, he thinks he is just playing a game! The power of play!

Out of 5 stars .... O gives it  and L gives it !

Toca Pet Doctor

This is an App that has been recommended to us by several of L's speech therapists over the last few years. It is another free App that is available in both Google Play and the Apple Store. Primarily this is just a game but we were initially using it to teach L problem solving skills, planning and persistence skills. In this App, the user meets 15 animals that need some some help as well as love and care. It is an interactive App in which the user has to complete several steps for each animal from looking after their ailments, grooming the animals and then feeding them.

The artwork and animations in this App are very appealing to children, L goes back to this App time and time again. It is an App that is aimed at children between the ages of 2 years and 6 years of age. And again through the power of play, L is developing his executive functioning skills in having to think about steps he needs to use to help each animal.

Out of 5 stars .... L gives it  stars!

Doctor Kids 
(developed by M by Bubadu)

This is yet another App that has been recommended to us by several of L's speech therapists over the last few years. It is another free App that is available in Google Play and the only complaint that we have it is that there are in App purchases available and it does contain some advertisements for other games and products. Again, primarily this is just a game but we were initially using it to teach L problem solving skills, planning and persistence skills.

The idea behind this App is that children are coming into the doctors clinic with various injuries and ailments. The user needs to appoint the patients to the correct doctors office by matching symbols on the child to those on the reception desk. Once the patient has been redirected, the user becomes the treating doctor and treats the patient. The user then needs to follow the steps to treat the patient. It's almost a series of mini-games with the main game.

The artwork and animations in this App are bright and colourful and while L hasn't played this game in a while, it is one that he goes back to every now and then. This App is aimed at children between the ages of 3 years and 8 years however O still enjoys playing the games. And again through the power of play, L and O are practicing their executive functioning skills as well their fine motor control in manipulating the instruments in the app.
Out of 5 stars .... O gives it 
 and L gives it !

Super Slime Simulator

This App we stumbled on quite by accident when O and L were looking for a new game to download onto my phone. It is a free App that is available in both Google Play and the Apple Store. And as the name suggests it is all about slime, but without the mess! There are in App purchases, however by playing the game, you earn medallions that can be used in the game. 

Again this is more like a game within a game as there are lots of little mini games in the App. Each day there is a new surprise pack to open which will contain two items - a new slime type, a new colour and a new decoration to add to the slime. The combinations of slimes, colours and decorations that you can make, really are endless!

You can make slime and then stretch it, squish it, knead it and pop it. Both O and L love this game and more often than not, they'll be on this App when they are allowed screen time. Daddy superhero regularly gets messages from the little superheroes when they send their virtual creations to him!!

I discovered quite by accident that this App assists both O and L to calm when they are in sensory overload. As both little superheroes have said "making and playing with the slime is very satisfying." For them, playing this game is very similar to the effects of when they stim - playing with slime helps them both to calm when in sensory overload.

Out of 5 stars .... Both little superheroes rate this a HUGE  stars! They honestly love this App.

Smiling Mind

This is an App that was recommended by O's psychologist when we were looking at using alternative strategies to assist O to self manage her anxiety. We were starting to introduce mindfulness and this App is all about mindfulness. It is a free App available in both the Apple Store and on Google Play.

Smiling Mind is a unique web based and App-based program that has been developed in conjunction with psychologists and educators to bring some balance to peoples lives. Smiling Mind is a 100% not-for-profit organisation and their aim is to make mindfulness meditation accessible to everyone.

Smiling Mind has various tiers within the App aimed at different age ranges of children, teenagers and adults.

This is an App that O consistently goes back to when she is feeling overwhelmed.

Out of 5 stars .... O gives it  stars.

Left vs Right: Brain Games

This is an App that I originally downloaded for myself when I wasn't studying so that I could keep my brain active! It is a free App that is available from both the Apple Store and Google Play however the free version only has limited access to the games. If you subscribe to the App, you gain full access to all of the games. If you're like me and not into subscribing to Apps, you only have partial access to the App however it you are really keen and watch the videos in the App you can then gain access to some of the VIP sections!

Left vs Right has a total of 50 games that test and train your brain in six different areas - Awareness, Adaptability, Reflex, Reasoning, Precision and Patience. There is a section in which you can see your progress in each of the six different areas however this is a VIP section but if you are patient and watch a short video, you do gain access to this area.

O has become a fan of this App in the last twelve months. As she says "I like to test my brain to see what it can hold and to see what my brain is capable of."

Out of 5 stars .... O rates it  stars. I give it a  out of 5, even with the videos to watch to gain full access!

Migraine Buddy

This is an App that I use to track my migraines. It is a free App that is available in both Google Play and the Apple Store.

Put very simply this App is an advanced migraine tracking journal. It was designed by Neurologists and data scientists and it really is a very useful App.

Within the App you can record the onset of migraines, the triggers, migraine symptoms, medications that you used to help with the migraine, migraine frequency, duration, the pain intensity and location and other lifestyle factors so that you can gain insight into why your migraines may be occurring. Once all of these details are entered, you are given an easy to read summary report on your migraine. The reports stay in the App and can be exported so that you can take the details to your GP if needed.

I have found this App incredibly useful to record details of my migraines as well as what works and what doesn't work. There is also a sleep tracking function within the App.

Out of 5 stars .... A very definite ★★★★ stars.

Skyview Free

One of O's intense interests is all things space. A few years ago we were given a telescope as a gift so that we could search the night sky with O which she absolutely loves but at times it simply isn't practical to get the telescope out. Last year one of our friends suggested that we download Skyview. O loves this App as she can open it and find stars, constellations, planets, the moon, galaxies, satellites and other celestial objects day or night! 

We've used to track and locate the International Space Station as it flew overhead. We've also used the App to track the progress of a lunar eclipse last year. And I often many, many screen shots on my phone of celestial objects that O has found interesting! One of the reasons that O loves this App so much is that no matter which direction the phone is facing, even down towards the ground, O can see where everything in space is!

It is a free App that is available in both Google Play and the Apple Store.

Out of 5 stars .... O rates this a very definite !

Sky Map

Like the App mentioned above, Sky Map can be used to find and track stars, constellations, planets, the moon, galaxies, satellites and other celestial objects day or night! It is described as a hand held planetarium for your mobile device! It is a free App that is available in Google Play.

O will swap back and forth between this Sky Map and Skyview but she does prefer to use Skyview.

Out of 5 stars .... O gives this  but only because she prefers Skyview! Sorry Sky Map!

Helix Jump

This is another just for fun game that is a free App available in both Goggle Play and the Apple Store. It is an App that has ads in it but nonetheless, L loves it. It is one that will keep him occupied as we wait in specialist reception areas.

It is a game of skill where the user needs to bounce a ball down through a helix maze. L has said that this App is also satisfying to play so it is another App that can bring calm to sensory overload.

Out of 5 stars .... L says that this one can get ★★★ because he likes the slime game more.

How to Draw Cartoon
by Creative Apps 

This is an App that we recently downloaded for L as he wants to learn how to draw his favourite cartoon characters and other superheroes. This particular App is available for free in Google Play. There are in App purchases but L hasn't discovered them yet!

There are dozens of characters to draw and when the user chooses one to learn to draw, the App takes the user step by step through the process. There is also the option to colour the picture once the user has drawn it. L loves this App and will practice drawing in the App before drawing the character on paper. It is definitely assisted him in his confidence in being able to draw his favourite characters.

Out of 5 stars .... O gives this a ★ rating and L gives this ★ as he learnt how to draw Dragonball Z characters!

And don't forget to check out O's tutorial on how to create stop motion animations as she mentions a few different stop motion Apps!

Thursday 15 August 2019

Let's Talk About .... Gender Dysphoria

So there is a bit of a backstory to this post, so bare with me.

A few weekends ago we had a very interesting development occur in superhero headquarters just before midnight on a Saturday night. We have a pet lorrikeet, named Popeye, and there were some very odd and strange noises coming from his cage. As Daddy superhero said, it sounded like Popeye was trying to poop out something rather large. It turns out that our lorrikeet was laying eggs. Say what now?

Now here's the twist. Popeye is a boy. Well we thought he was until she started laying eggs late one Saturday night!

We got Popeye almost three years ago as a hand raised baby lorrikeet. The bird park in Perth where we got Popeye from, DNA tested him prior to us bringing him home and we were told that Popeye was a boy. So for the last three years, we've been referring to Popeye as a boy.

Well clearly that isn't the case because we had two little eggs in a makeshift nest in the bottom of Popeye's cage!!

We now know that Popeye is in fact a girl and she was very proud of herself for laying two eggs. She had no idea what to do with them and the eggs aren't fertilized, much to the little superheroes disgust as they wanted to see some baby birds, as she's never been in contact with another lorrikeet other than her parents and her brother three years ago!!

L thought it was hilarious, went and tried to wake his big sister up so that she could share in the excitement. L was quite disgusted that O wouldn't wake up so he woke her friend G who was sleeping over. Then very early the next morning, L and G told O the news about Popeye!

Later on that morning the questions started ...

L ... Mummy, how did Popeye be a girl and lay eggs when she got boy blood?
Me ... Well buddy, turns out Popeye was a girl the whole time.
L ... So she got girl DNA and not boy DNA. The bird shop got it wrong.
Me ... They sure did buddy. And how do you know about DNA?
L ... I heared it somewhere!
O ... So we thought Popeye was a boy but she just wasn't able to tell us that she wasn't a boy. Popeye told us in her own way when she was ready. A little bit like E, when she wanted to be a girl and not a boy anymore.
M ... Good remembering O, yes a little like E.

Both O and L have not had any issues in now referring to Popeye as a girl, to them it's just a matter of fact that Popeye is a girl and she lays eggs.

This conversation got me thinking. A few years ago when we lived in Perth, one of the little superheroes carers built up the courage to come out to those who knew and loved her, that she no longer identified as a male. She explained that she had gender dysphoria, identified as a female and wanted to be known as E.

We'd just started on our Autism journey and I honestly had no idea how O and L would react to the news that one of their beloved carers was not only changing their name but also changing genders. At that point in time, we were still learning how to adapt our life style so that L was able communicate with us and those around him so the thought of introducing both little superheroes to the concept that sometimes people feel very different inside, was very daunting.

But you know what, it was a very simple process. We sat down with both little superheroes and spoke with them that their carer felt very different inside, that she didn't feel as though she was a boy and that she wanted to live life as a girl and be known as E from now on.

O's response was "Oh, so E wants to be a girl? As long as she is happy that is all that matters," and that was it.

The very next day when O saw E, O embraced E before running off to play.

In O's mind, E was still the same person, the only difference was that E now dressed like a lady and had a female name.

Children really can teach us adults a thing or two about being accepting no matter what the circumstance.

O has since asked more questions about why people change from being a girl to a boy or visa versa so we have had chats about gender fluidity as well as gender dysphoria.

Transgender and gender nonconforming people are gaining more and more visibility as they find the courage within themselves to come out and live publicly as the most authentic versions of themselves. So it's important to have these conversations with our children when the circumstances arise. Children are naturally curious and naturally accepting. It is us adults who are, at times, not accepting of those who are different from us or different from our beliefs.

Gender dysphoria is the condition in which an individual's emotional and psychological identity as male or female is opposite to their birth gender. Gender fluidity on the other hand refers to an individual who prefers to remain flexible about their gender identity rather than committing to a single gender. An individual who is gender fluid may fluctuate between genders or express multiple genders at the same time.

When we lived in Perth, it was suggested to us that we read the book "Introducing Teddy," which is written by Jessica Walton, to our little superheroes. This book introduces children to the idea of gender identity in an easy to understand manner. Both O and L loved reading this book and it just cemented to them that no matter what another looks like or how they feel inside or who they identify as, we should accept them as they are.

*** Popeye is a cross breed between a Rainbow Lorrikeet and a Scaly Breasted Lorrikeet. Occasionally when these two sub-species breed, they can have olive coloured chicks. 
Hence the name Popeye!! And unlike a few other animals, 
Lorrikeets are not able to change genders! 
We've since found out that DNA testing birds when they are chicks can be a little unreliable!***

Friday 9 August 2019

Progressive Muscle Relaxation

*** If you believe that you or your child may benefit from Progressive Muscle Relaxation, please speak to a trusted medical professional. ***

Several years ago, I came across a book titled The Angry Octopus by Lori Lite in which the reader is introduced to relaxation techniques that they can use when experiencing BIG emotions. As the reader progresses through The Angry Octopus, the characters encourage the reader to tense and then relax their muscles starting at their feet and gradually moving up their body ending with their face. This is one book that even after three years, O keeps going back to when she is anxious, sad or frustrated.

I was recently talking with one of O's therapists and she mentioned the term "Progressive Muscle Relaxation," and my brain clicked that this is what The Angry Octopus is all about.

Essentially The Angry Octopus is a story about, well, an Octopus that is angry. A sea child who notices the angry Octopus, teaches the Octopus how to be the boss of his body and his anger, how to calm down and see things more clearly through simple muscle relaxation.

Finding a sense of peace and calm in our day to day lives can be difficult, especially for children. There are many, many different relaxation techniques that we can use to relax our bodies and minds as well as to manage anxiety and other mental health issues. These can be anything from breathing exercises to meditation, mindfulness to gentle physical activities such as yoga, Pilates and Tai Chi. Progressive Muscle Relaxation is yet another strategy that we can use to assist in the relaxation of our body and mind.

The aim of Progressive Muscle Relaxation is to reduce the feelings of tension that we all feel at times. In turn relaxing our bodies will lower our stress levels and assist us to feel much more relaxed.

One of our bodies natural reactions to fear, anxiety and stress is muscle tension. From experience, when I am feeling stressed or anxious, my neck muscles begin to tense up and I usually end up with a migraine. If we are in a potentially dangerous situation, this is a good thing as our bodies are preparing to fight or run (flight) away from the situation. However in this day and age, we will rarely need to fight or run away but the primitive part of our brains still kick into action. During times of stress, you may not even realise that your muscles are becoming tense - you may just clench your teeth slightly so that your jaw feels tight.

When practising Progressive Muscle Relaxation exercises, you tense up particular muscle groups and then relax them before moving onto another muscle group. You may start at your feet and move your way up your body to your face, one muscle group at a time.

With any new relaxation technique, learning to relax can take a little bit of practise. But the more you practise something, the more helpful the technique will be in the long run. The great thing about Progressive Muscle Relaxation is that it can be practiced anywhere and anytime, it can be learnt by almost anyone and it really only requires ten to twenty minutes of practise a day.

The benefits of practising progressive muscle relaxation are that you will learn how to relax your body and mind, and you will become more aware of how your body and muscles respond to stress and tension.

So what do you need?

A quiet area, preferably with no music or other sounds, think no television or radio, and you should try to minimise the distractions to your other senses as well. Think low lights, not too busy areas. You'll need something to relax on, a bed, yoga mat on the floor or a comfortable couch even. Make sure that where ever you chose to sit or lay down, you are truly comfortable and able to relax every part of your body.

You'll also need to set time aside so that you are able to relax. When you do, truly allow yourself to relax and slow your breathing down. We do Progressive Muscle Relaxation on a regular basis with O. I find that when we do this together, O relaxes even more. At times, we will go from her toes right up to her head and face. On other occasions, we may only practice a few areas on her body. It really depends on her mood and how much time we have.

When you are ready to begin, tense a group of muscles, one group at a time. we find it useful to start at our toes and gradually move up towards our head and face. When you tense the group of muscles, hold the tense for 5 seconds and then relax for ten seconds before moving onto the next group. When you tense a muscle group, make sure that you can physically feel the tension but don't tense too tight that you are in pain. When you are tensing a muscle group, breathe in and when you release the tense, breathe out.

And if you have any existing injuries or medical conditions, please seek advice from a trusted medical professional before practicing Progressive Muscle Relaxation.

This is a general run down of what we do!

Feet - Curl your toes downwards like you're trying to make a ball with your feet. O then likes to push her toes upwards like she's trying to reach the sky.
Lower legs - Tense your calf muscles.
Upper legs - Tense your thighs and quads.
Hips and Buttocks - Squeeze your buttocks muscle.
Chest and abdomen - Breathe in deeply and fill up your lungs and chest with air. Then slowly breathe out.
Hands and forearms - Make a fist and squeeze as tight as you can.
Upper arms - Bring your forearm up to your shoulder to make a muscle.
Shoulders - Tense the muscles in your shoulder as you bring your shoulders up to your ears.
Shoulder blades and back - Push your shoulder blades back as though you are trying to almost touch them together.
Neck - Do this movement carefully and slowly. Bring your face forward with your chin trying to touch your chest and then move your head slowly back, as though you are trying to look up at the ceiling.
Mouth and Jaw - Open your mouth as wide as you can as though you are yawning.
Eyes and Cheeks - Squeeze your eyes shut.
Forehead - Raise your eyebrows as high as they will go, as though you are surprised by something.
Finally, relax your entire body and allow every muscle in your body to let any remaining tension out.

When you have finished and are ready to keep going for the day, allow yourself a few moments to stay seated (or lying down) until you become alert.

I would love to hear your thoughts on Progressive Muscle Relaxation. I would also highly reccomend The Angry Octopus as a starting point in explaining Progressive Muscle Relaxation to children.

Sunday 4 August 2019

Our Autism Organiser

When L was diagnosed as ASD in 2016, we started to amass a huge amount of reports, funding plans and other supporting documents. We initially kept these in several folders but I found that it was difficult to keep track of where everything was.

During one of L's therapy sessions, his then key therapist mentioned that the early intervention centre had an Autism Organiser and would I like one. Ah, yes please!

The Autism Organiser that I was given was brilliant and meant that everything pertaining to L, his Autism and his medical issues, were now kept in one magical folder. This orgainser became our Autism bible.

This is the folder that we take to IEP meetings, new therapy providers, NDIS planning meetings, specialist appointments and any other meeting or appointment in which we may need any of the information in the folder.

Prior to O being given her ASD diagnosis, I was able to get my hands on another Autism Organiser. 

Each time that we have pulled out the Autism Organisers during meetings, people have commented on how useful they organisers are as well as how organised the folders are.

Over the last three years, I have added sections to the original Autism Organiser that we were given. I've added new forms that we use to add new information or when we are leading up to a NDIS plan review. And every year, our two Autism Organisers are updated with larger folders to accommodate the new documents that we gain.

Recently I created a new version of the Autism Organiser and I would like to share it with you all.

So what do you need to create your very own Autism Organiser?

A plastic folder of some description. We use two three ring plastic binders, one for each little superhero.

You'll need to print out a copy of the Raising My Little Superheroes Autism Organiser, which you can download here!

I have laminated each of the section pages so that they easily stand out in the folders. For each section, we then use plastic sleeves to keep all the documents in one place.

The Autism Organiser contains the following sections - Participant Information, Diagnostic Information, Funding Information, Service Provider Agreements, Service Provider Information, School/Education Information, Personal Information, Education Resources and Important Contacts. Each section has a little blurb about what we have found useful about that section and what you might want to include in the section. In the Personal Information section I have created a form that we found useful when planning for the little superheroes NDIS reviews.

You can download your copy of this Autism Organiser here!

I have no doubt that over the foreseeable future, I will be adding to this organiser, so stay tuned for updates!