Sunday 30 January 2022

Henry goes to .... Sea World

We had a HUGE day in the last week of 2021, an outing to the theme parks on the Gold Coast.

Both little superheroes were given annual passes to the Roadshow Theme Parks for Christmas. They both love Movie World so we hit Sea World in the morning and Movie World after lunch. Neither of the little superheroes had been to Sea World so it has been high on their to-visit list since we moved back to Queensland.

And again, with Henry, we had an amazing day out. There is no way that we could ever have done two theme parks in one day prior to Henry being placed with us. He definitely helped both little superheroes to self regulate throughout the day.

In terms of Assistance Dogs. Sea World do not require any prior notice that a guest will be bringing their Assistance Dog with them. The only requirement that they have is that the dogs vaccination schedule is up to date, which Henry's is.

The Sea World staff were absolutely brilliant in accommodating Henry and us. Soon after arriving, a staff member paused where I was waiting with Henry (toilet stop for the other members of our family,) and said that the dolphin show was about to start. She went on to tell me where we could wait to gain early access to the show and that she'd let the staff know that we were coming. Wow! We thought that it was absolutely wonderful that the staff member took time out of her day to pass this information on us. 

L wanted to watch the dolphin show, so off he and I went. When we arrived at the gate to wait, two other staff members struck up a conversation with us, and when they found out that Henry was an Autism Assistance dog, they told us where the best area in Sea World was for a quiet break and that we could ask any if the food vendors for water for Henry. 

One of the staff members told me that she also was Autistic, she then struck up a conversation with L about his favourite anime characters (he was wearing an anime shirt,) and L responded. On our way out of the Dolphin show, she used key word signing to say goodbye and thank you.

The initial staff member who let me know about the Dolphin show, met us in the dolphin cove area and ensured that we had shaded seating for ourselves and Henry. During the show, this staff member was brilliant in not only keeping us informed, but also moving other families with very young children from sunny seating to shaded seating. It's all the little things that make a day out just that little much better.

While we take a water bottle for Henry any time we go out, we did end up asking for water from one of the food vendors for Henry, which they gave us without any hesitation.

I've since found out from Sea World that all guests who have a disability are welcome to attend the Guest Services counter upon arrival to get a wrist band that signals to all ride operators within the park that the guest may require additional support. The wrist band also allows early access onto the various rides, and if the guest isn't able to access a particular ride at the time they would like to, they'll be asked to return a specific time to be given early access.

If we hadn't already told the little superheroes that we were going to visit Movie World after Sea World, we would have stayed a lot longer!

So thank you Sea World, we had an awesome day out and will definitely be back soon.

Saturday 29 January 2022

Fly high Ruby girl

Yesterday morning this old pup grew her wings and did zoomie helicopters across the rainbow bridge. While Ruby's mind was that of a young pup, her heart and body weren't able to keep up ❤

Ruby came to us as a rescue pup, we were to be her 5th owners in 12 months. But from the moment O and I met Ruby, I knew that we were going to be her furever family. We were told by her previous owners that Ruby was not great with children, that she wasn't great with other animals, and that she was a very boisterous dog. They couldn't have been more wrong.

Ruby and O were inseparable from the moment we brought Ruby home. If we couldn't find O inside, chances were that O and Ruby were making mischief in the backyard or they were curled up on Ruby's bed or in Ruby's kennel with O either reading Ruby a book or telling Ruby the most marvellous story.

When L arrived, Ruby knew that he was her special boy. Ruby has always instinctively known just how to calm L, and O, when they needed her most. She was definitely an untrained assistance dog.

Ruby's best fur/feather friends in Perth were a rabbit, a quail and our lorrikeet! When we moved back to Queensland, she became firm friends with Whiskers (Grandma and Dudduds old pup,) and she loves Henry. Ruby used to love watching all the native birds come and go from the garden. Popeye still calls out to Ruby, but drops food for Henry!
Ruby was as stubborn as bull Terriers come ... she'd stand at the back door barking and as soon as we'd ask "are you barking at us?," she'd turn to face the fence as if to say "no, I was barking at the fence." And dog door, what dog door. If you stare at the back door long enough, it will magically open for you!
She loved zoomie helicopters and her toys, her cauliflower ear is because she'd shake the bejesus out of her toys so much that they'd smash into her ear. Ruby believed in going through things, rather than round them. Ruby had our lorrikeet Popeye calling her, just so that Popeye could drop all the seed that she didn't like eating over the edge of the cage for Ruby to eat.
Ruby loved sharing her food with L, literally. We didn't buy dog biscuits that Ruby liked, we brought ones that L liked!! And whenever we ate outside, Ruby knew to sit next to L because he'd take a bite and then give Ruby a bite of food.
Fly high Ruby girl, you were the bestest bull Terrier girl ever.

Saturday 22 January 2022

Friday 14 January 2022

Mindful Photography

I'm going to try something new this year, mindful photography. 

We use mindfulness breathing strategies when we are feeling overwhelmed. And it actually works. Mindfulness is not meditation, it's more about being aware of how you are feeling in the here and now. 

Mindful photography can be described as not being concerned about producing the perfect photo, but expressing yourself through a photo, being immersed in the moment and having fun. Through mindful photography you can reveal to others, how you see the world. 

Both little superheroes love spotting the minute details in nature that we miss. It is a great feeling to sit and watch what they have seen. When they point something out, I'm going to take a moment with them to be in the moment. 

Could be a photo a day, a photo a week, or a photo in the moment. This will be a post in progress, so keep on returning to see what we add.

1. Water lillies that we spotted on a day out 02/01/2022

2. Waves crashing from the high tide 03/01/2022

3. A little skink that L spotted hiding in a drain 03/01/2022

4. The only orange daisy among a garden bed of yellow daisies 04/01/2022

5. Flowers we spotted while chilling at the beach 05/01/2022

6. Things that are satisfying to look at and watch, according to L 06/01/2022

The little balls of sand and tracks in the sand that the crabs make when they're cleaning out their beach burrows.
The pine leaves waving in the wind.
And the cicada casings that he found when climbing a tree.

7. Things that are fascinating to look at when you're a child .... 15/02/2022

The different colours on the bark of the paperbark tree.
The tiny flower buds.
Flowers that look like feathers.
The crisp change in colour on feathers.
Taking the time to take deep breaths to soothe the soul.

8. One perfectly round sea jelly that Henry and I found 
on his down time at the beach❤ 

9. One little daisy that looks just like the sun, the young lad I work with today spotted this lone colourful daisy among all the yellow ones 15/03/2022

10. We all need to stop and look at the world through the eyes of a child. Stop to see the beauty that is around us. 01/06/2022

The sun peeping through the clouds and tree branches.

The petals of a flower that don't quite meet, so you can see the leaves underneath the flower.

The one pink daisy in amongst the orange and yellow.


Saturday 8 January 2022

Echo, echo, echo, echo ......

L was non verbal up until he was three. Prior to using verbal speech to communicate, L used a combination of sounds and key word signing to communicate.

L was able to say a few words that he knew and used on a daily basis. There were also others that he used but it was communication through EcholaliaEcholalia is best described as repeating phrases and words after an individual has heard them.

L also used, and still does, Scripted Speech, which is repeating parts of speech that he hears in movies, TV shows and even in general conversation. Often scripted speech is used to express an individual's emotions. They may a particular phrase when they are experiencing an emotion and then on future occasions, will say the phrase as it reminds them of that emotion.

For Autistic individuals, that may also use scripted speech in play - they may act out particular scenes from movies or television shows that we watch, verbatim.

This is one of the phrases that he'll say. But I've recently realised that I too will repeat phrases that I've heard. I will these phrases when it is appropriate and in particular situations. I don't consciously say these phrases, I just find myself saying them.

Like "You're welcome!" from Moana, when someone says thank you to me!

"We're going to need a bigger boat." (Jaws)

"To be faiiir!" (Letter Kenny!)

"Tell him he's dreaming." (The Castle)

"That'll do pig, that'll do." (Babe)

"Round up the usual suspects!" (Casablanca) - when we're organising the little superheroes to go somewhere!

"Houston, we have a problem." (Apollo 13)

"Just keep swimming." (Finding Nemo)

"Ogres are like onions!" (Shrek)

"Roads? Where we're going we don't need roads." (Back to the Future.)

No matter how an individual communicates, please listen to them and respect them ❤❤

I'd love to hear the phrases that you find yourself saying.