Saturday 27 August 2022

Just a weekend giggle for you!!


Your weekend giggle, courtesy of L .... this is an incident that happened a few weekends ago when we were out as a family. L always keeps life interesting!!

Things we say before getting into a lift...

Us ... L what aren't you going to do?

L ... Get my arm stuck!

Now the back story.

Up at Sunshine Plaza, we all get into a lift on level 3 to go down. At level 1, Scott, O and Alaska get out of the lift as I say to Henry and L "let's go," to which L says "I can't."

Me ... what's wrong?

L ... I'm stuck!

Me ... wait, what??

L ... My arm is stuck.

Me ... (thinking to myself) WTF Of course you are!

Then I saw where his arm, elbow actually, was stuck ... in the gap between the bar and the wall. By now Scott, O and Alaska are out of the lift, standing with people wanting to get into the lift in the middle of Myers, yes Myers! Me? I'm starting to giggle quietly but to the point that if I talk, I'll PMSL, so instead of calling out to Scott to tell him that L is stuck, I try to hit the open door button but am too late. Door closes to go down a level. Okay, we're in this now, let's get L's elbow unstuck!

So I try to get L's elbow out, all the while Henry is sitting and staring at L as if to say "what the fluff, how you stuck boi?" 

The door opens on level G in Myers and a lady comes into the lift, nope we're not getting out, we need to go back up to level 1. As the door closes to go back up, I get L's elbow unstuck and I'm at the point that I'm trying really hard not to laugh out loud. 

L ... thanks Mum!

Cue the door opening on level 1, Scott, O, Alaska and everyone who was previously waiting to get into the lift are all staring at us.

I'm now at the point where I physically can't speak because I'm PMSL very quietly. I can't even apologise to those waiting or explain to Scott what happened.

As we walk out through Myers, O keeps asking "are you okay?" and "what happened?" I still can't talk, so L says "I got my arm stuck!" At which point I can't contain my laughter.

Scott and O's response to L ... Of course you did!

No child was physically harmed or injured, just a little embarrassed!! But a lesson was hopefully learnt, don't stick your elbow in the gap between the bar and the wall!

Oh and the photo was taken on the second lift ride!!

L keeping life interesting since 2012.

Friday 19 August 2022

We need to chat!!

Let's have a chat about this!!

It seems like every month, nay every week, yep it happened again yesterday, that someone says the dreaded words "I just can't see their Autism," or a different version of it.

This statement is not okay to say to anyone - unless you are a walking MRI machine. And unless we have some android humans walking among us, this just isn't possible!

Saying "I just can't see their struggles," or "They don't look Autistic," or "Are you sure they are Autistic?" or any other version of this statement, you are implying that you don't think or believe that my children are Autistic.

It isn't a compliment. It isn't polite.

You are, in fact, questioning their ASD diagnosis. You are also failing to recognise that every Autistic individual is unique. You are also dismissing all of their struggles and the obstacles that they have overcome to get where they are today.

If you have an idea of what Autism is meant to look it, how an Autistic person is meant to behave, how they should sound like, please do a data dump from your brain, and get to know the Autistic individual that is in front of you.

There is no one look to Autism.

As the saying goes, if you've met one Autistic person, you've met one Autistic person. 

If you've taught one Autistic student, you've taught one student.

Every Autistic individual is different in their own way.

Saturday 13 August 2022

Independence: Learning about Money

*** Please note that we do not receive commissions of any kind in regards to this post. The product mentioned in the post is simply a product that we have found useful. ***

In raising children, regardless of if they are neurodiverse or neurotypical, all parents just want their children to learn the skills to become independent as an adult - well that's what we want anyway!

One of the skills that Daddy Superhero and I are constantly teaching both little superheroes about is money handling skills.

As with most children, both little superheroes struggle with the concept of money - how to earn money, spending money, budgeting and saving money, and the fact that money doesn't grow on trees! 

A few years ago we introduced the concept of superhero bucks, and while both little superheroes seemed to grasp the concept, the superhero bucks just wasn't teaching them the budgeting skills that they both need to learn.

Early last year, we purchased a game called "Pocket Money." It is a little like Monopoly, but all themed around spending and earning money. The game box includes the game board, a dice, game pieces and pretend coins and notes that are similar size to the currency in Australia.

When we first introduced the game, both little superheroes immediately loved playing the game - and over a year on, they still love playing the game.

For L it's more about recognising the value of each of the coins and notes and that money values can look different, for example $4 can be made up using different monetary  denominations. We also work on his maths skills.

For O it's more about beginning to learn budgeting skills, as well mental maths skills in calculating how much change O would receive when "spending" money in the game.

And because we have fun while playing the game, neither of the little superheroes realise that they're actually learning and practising skills while having fun.

Friday 5 August 2022

Fidgeting: the dos and don'ts

Recently I blogged about movement breaks and how they can assist an individual to self regulate. A few years ago, fidget spinners were introduced on the market, then bubble poppers and now , any time you go to literally any shop, you will find many different types of fidget gadgets.

Fidgeting is a form of a self regulation tool that many Autistic individuals use as a means to self regulate their emotions.

We all fidget, regardless of whether individuals are neurodiverse of neurotypical. But how does fidgeting assist us?

Fidgeting promotes movement of the fine, and at times gross, muscle groups as well as provides tactile input, or a sensory input, to an individual.

Fidgeting is one strategy that O has in the sensory tool kit to assist O to focus on a task. As O has said numerous times, "when my feet are busy moving, my brain can stay still to focus."

When used correctly, fidget tools in the sensory kit assist O to become a better listener. Fidgeting assist O to focus attention on the task at hand. Fidgeting assists O to slow down the body and in turn calm the mind. Fidgeting assists in cutting out the extra sensory information that floods the brain.

We have worked with both little superheroes to assist them both to identify when they need to use their sensory kits.

Many schools have now banned fidget spinners and other items that are classed as fidget tools as students become distracted by them. But there are a few points that can be taught to children so that they know when to use their sensory tool kit.

1. Be mindful of what is occurring around the student - if in an exam, using a sensory tool that has the potential to be noisy may in fact disrupt the class. Both little superheroes have a range of items in their sensory tool kits, so they can choose the item that best suits them in which ever environment that they are in.

2. Only use the tools to focus or calm down. This is a point that we make sure their teachers are aware of as well - you will know if a sensory tool is doing what it is intended to do, if either of our little superheroes begin to calm and focus, the sensory break is needed. If it has the opposite effect, the individual becomes even more distracted or unfocused, then a movement break may be needed, or the individual just doesn't want to do the work!

3. Don't use if they become a distraction to others or interferes with others. This goes back to point number one! If those around the individual are becoming distracted, then choose another quieter item from the sensory tool kit.

4. Once the sensory tool has been used and the individual is calm and able to focus, put the item back into the tool kit. Both little superheroes have a large pencil case to keep all their sensory items in. In the past, if an item hasn't been pout back into the pencil case, it has often been misplaced or taken by another student. This has then caused a severe anxiety attack for the little superheroes. They both know now, through losing or misplacing items, that they need to put items back where they belong.

5. If all else fails, and the sensory tool kit isn't working, a movement break is definitely needed. Movement breaks work on the gross motor muscle groups and provide a much more intense sensory input then the fine motor muscle groups.

And as with movement breaks, if you notice that you, or a child, is not focused, please give them a discrete reminder that they may need to move.