Friday, 29 October 2021

Little Stars

This photo of L came up in my memories last month. It is of O waiting patiently at the gate at his Tara School, aka Little Stars. Little Stars is one of the early intervention therapy centres run by the Western Australian Autism Association. After we received L's Autism diagnosis, we applied for L to attend the centre.

Going to Little Stars really was one of the best decisions that we made for L. He was accepted for who he was, he made so many friends, he loved all of his therapists and therapy assistants, especially his Tara. L further developed his strengths and learnt new skills.

L attended the centre once a week for three hours and he participated in his speech and  occupational therapy while at the centre. And L loved going to his Tara's School. His very first therapy assistant was a lovely lady by the name of Thara, but all of the children and staff called her Tara. From the very first session with Tara, the centre became known by L as Tara's School. L and Tara had a mutual love of Batman!!

Most importantly we learnt how to view the world from L's eyes and how to support him in the way that he needed. We learnt how to help him navigate the world around him.

Little Stars was one of the first, and big, steps in L's Autism journey that L needed.

Funnily enough it was also at Tara's School that we accidentally met one of L's former educators from his previous child care centre. This educator was so very surprised to spot L at the centre, they were there to observe another child who had recently been diagnosed with Autism. This educator dismissed our concerns about L, by saying "oh he's just a naughty boy."

Mmm, actually no he wasn't. He is Autistic! This educator looked very taken back when I informed her why L was at the centre.

It is photos like the above, that remind me just how far both of my little superheroes have come and all that they have achieved so far on their Autism journey.

Monday, 18 October 2021

Cooking with Henry

A few weekends ago, L wanted to do some cooking with Henry - he saw a clip on YouTube of someone who made dog biscuits with their dog helping, 

So L and I sat at the computer and researched how to make simple dog biscuits. We found a few different recipes and L chose which recipe to use. We decided to change the recipe just a little, so the dog biscuits would be even yummier.

L then helped to write out a shopping list of the ingredients that we would need to make the biscuits. After checking the fridge and pantry, we went shopping and purchased the ingredients that we didn't already have.

Once we had gathered all of the ingredients and the kitchen utensils that we needed, L sat down with Henry (and myself, I was the camera operator!) and started recording.

I'm not sure who had more fun, Henry or L. Cooking is a great skill to learn how to do and one that we encourage both little superheroes to have a go at. L has a food aversion to peanut butter, so it was great that he had a go at mixing the ingredients together, for him peanut butter is a big food smell to deal with.

He needed some assistance towards the end with forming the balls, so I stepped in. Henry took this as his opportunity to sneak a few uncooked biscuits off of the tray!!






And the verdict from Henry about how they tasted, delicious! He gobbled one down before I could get a photo of him with the biscuit.

L is currently looking for another recipe that he can make with Henry, but preferably one that doesn't have peanut butter in it!

Henry's Simple Dog Biscuits

Ingredients:

3 cups of wholemeal or plain flour.

2 large eggs

2 tablespoons of peanut butter (make sure that it doesn't contain xylotol)

Half a cup of chicken stock.

Instructions:

1. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius. Line a baking tray with baking paper.

2. Mix all of the ingredients in a large bowl until they form a stiff dough.

3. Use your hands to form small balls of dough, about the size of a large marble. Flatten each ball onto the lined tray.

4. Bake in the oven for 18 to 20minutes, or until lightly golden brown.

5. Cool on a wire rack and once cooled store in an air tight onta8ner in the fridge for up to 2 weeks.

Saturday, 9 October 2021

Assistance Dog 101


This is what post meltdown now looks like in our household. 

Before Henry was placed with us, meltdowns could last for hours. Now, Henry picks up on L's change in emotional state before a meltdown begins and he can usually calm L very quickly.

One evening last month, L was having a rough afternoon. He wasn't in meltdown but was very close to it. This confused Henry, he really wasn't sure what L needed. Henry was on alert, it was as if he sensed something was wrong. He would not take his eyes off of L. But once L entered meltdown mode, Henry stepped in and took over. 

Henry was nuzzling L's face to try to stop L from hurting his head. Henry was laying over L, providing deep pressure to L's legs which calms L. Henry was nudging L's arms every time L moved them back towards his face, reminding L "I'm here, pat me." And Henry lay on L until L was ready to interact with Henry and myself. All this without being prompted by myself. 

Watching just how quickly Henry can calm L when he begins to enter meltdown mode, is truly amazing. Henry's training kicks in and he takes over. 

And once L was calm and able to verbalise to me, he said "Henry amazing, he really helps me." 

When an individual tells you that their service dog is life changing, please believe them. 

Henry has truly been life changing for L and for our family.

This is a service dog in action.

#teamhenry #labradorsofinstagram #servicedog #assistancedogs #autismassistancedogs #littlesuperheroes #smartpups