Wednesday 30 March 2022

Some new Memes

 Who loves a Meme? Here's a few that we've posted on our social media profiles!

[If an Autistic person is non-verbal, still include them in conversations.
You may be surprised at just how much they are taking in.]

[Meet your child where they are developmentally here and now,
rather then be concerned by where medical or education
professionals say that your child should be.]

[Stop and admire the little things in life,
the tiny details that we miss through
being busy, because these can be the most
wonderous things.]

[Be so completely yourself that everyone else
feels safe to be themselves too. Unknown.]

[Normal is not a goal for me.
Normal isn't a compliment.
Normal is too much like playing tetris,
fitting in for the sake of fitting in.
O, 12 years.]

[Neurodiversity is....
A different way of thinking.
A different way of processing everything that an individual
sees, feels and hears in th3e world around them.
A different way of communication ones needs,
thoughts and wants.]

[Remember to choose the battles that you want to fight.
But also, for your children sake,
fight the battles that need to be fought.]

Sunday 20 March 2022

Team Henry: Expectations versus Reality - Sleep

Our expectations

L struggles with sleep and has averaged roughly 4 and a half to 5 hours sleep a night since he was the age of 4 and a half months old. We were hoping that a Smart Pup would provide L with the level of comfort that he needs to fall asleep and stay calm. The plan was that L's pup would sleep in his bed so that when L woke in the middle of the night, he hopefully wouldn’t need us every night.
The Reality
We have always struggled to get L to 1. sleep in his own bed and 2. stay in his own bed.
From the moment that Henry was placed, he has slept in L’s bed. The first month or so, L would last a few hours in his bed and then would come into us, with Henry following him.
Now, we are having more nights of L staying, not necessarily sleeping all night, in his own bed for the entire night. This is a first since L was a few months old.
And when L wakes up early because he longer needs to sleep, Henry goes with him. Prior to Henry, we would tag team so that we would have alternating good nights of sleep, so that one of us was always awake with L. Now he has Henry and is happy to lay on his bed playing on a device until the rest of the house wakes up.

Friday 18 March 2022

Team Henry: Expectations versus Reality - Nuzzling

Our expectations

We were also hoping that the Smart Pup would be trained to touch, nudge or lay on L to disrupt repetitive or disruptive behaviours, in particular when L enters into meltdown mode he punches his own face and pulls his eyelashes out. We were hoping that the pup would be trained to disrupt these behaviours.

The reality
Henry was giving lap lays to L the afternoon that he was placed with us. Within the first week, Henry had begun to pick up on the cues that L was giving prior to entering meltdown mode and was stepping in, calming L before the meltdown had even begun. The deep pressure from Henry’s head and upper body on and over L’s lap is enough to calm L. Henry picked up on body cues, perhaps chemicals that L was releasing, that we missed every single time.
Henry has been trained to nuzzle L's face when he is in meltdown mode to disrupt L’s self harming behaviours of punching his own face and pulling out his eyelashes. L has since started rubbing his eyes when he is anxious or frustrated, Henry has picked up on this and now nuzzles L's face to disrupt this new behaviour. This nuzzling is enough to distract L that he stops and begins cuddling Henry.

Friday 11 March 2022

Team Henry: The Why!

We're often asked why did we choose to apply to Smart Pups for an assistance dog for L.

We had a chance meeting with a Smart Pup who was still in training in mid 2019 – I can remember that the handlers said that the pup was to be placed with a boy who was Autistic and had epilepsy. We were at Northlakes Shopping Centre to watch a movie and prior to going to the cinemas, L had entered full blown meltdown mode. At that point nothing we said or did was helping him. Cue the entry of a Smart Pup. The handlers, who from memory were foster carers for the pup, asked if L would respond to the pup. The pup, not knowing L, was taken over to where he lay on the floor and immediately went through its training and calmed L within about ten minutes. It was truly remarkable to watch this young pup respond to a child that he didn’t know in the manner that he did.

For the remainder of the year, Scott and I talked about applying to the Smart Pup program as we saw the benefit that Ruby had on L and were hoping that a dog specifically trained for L’s needs would be extremely beneficial. We applied for the program in October 2019 and were accepted in November. The rest, as they say, is history.