Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Lemonade Fractions

Cooking provides for so many learning activities. I've been wanting to introduce Lachie to fractions for a while. Although a lot of fraction work is done in grade two, he becomes confused over terms such as half which can result in upset over someone having two halves of something and him only having one whole. He has been asking to make home made lemonade for a while so I used this as an opportunity to teach halves and wholes.

  • First we got the recipe from this site Design Mom through Pinterest.  I pre-made the sugar syrup as I was not keen for Lachie to be around boiling sugar. 
  • Then we spent time cutting the lemons in half and I demonstrated half and whole.
  •  I only have an electric citrus juicer. I am always looking for fine motor development opportunities and I once saw Jamie Oliver roll a lemon to help release the juices. I got Lachie to squeeze and roll each lemon (we used 5 lemons). This is great for hand strength
  • I cut the lemons but Lachie wanted a go, I gave him a go at one while I held the lemon in place.
  • I held the lemon on the juicer and he turned the dial (he got a bit impatient at times...ouch).
  • We mixed the syrup, juice, and water and strained it as my kids are fussy with pulp.
  • He ladled his own and it tasted really nice.
Ideas for extension:
  • Manual juicing would be great for hand strength and safer for toddlers to join in
  • Different flavours could be incorporated
  • You could set up a lemonade stand and have the kids sell to their other parent and siblings.

Sunday, November 10, 2013


Today we worked on phonics and oral motor development. Lachie is really good at reading but gets confused over some sounds. We chose to concentrate on the "OW" sound in blow. It can be tricky as it changes according to the different letter blends it is paired with. For example the "OW" in Owl or Bowl sounds different to the "OW" in Blow. At least in our Aussie accents. 
  • First we took photos of Aria and Lachie blowing into a bubble blower. 
  • Second we intended on doing bubble painting but the paint was too heavy and did not produce coloured bubbles. The paper got all soggy. So after a few "experiments" with the bubble water we decided we needed something circular to print the bubbles.
  • Lachie used a small piece of pvc pipe and the moon stamps we made out of bottle caps earlier in the year.
  • Aria who is more happy than Lachie to get messy used just the bottle caps, but not the stamps.
  • Aria wanted pink paper, I only had orange card so she stamped hers onto pink paper then helped me glue the bubbles on the card once we cut them out.
  • I cut out and glued on their pictures.
  • Lachie chose the letters to spell out "blow".
  • Aria chose her coloured letters.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Letting Go of Ideals

Once I received some constructive criticism from a college lecturer that I was incredibly proud of. I was so proud of this feedback I went and thanked her. She looked at me and shook her head and smiled. At the time I was confused about her response. The feedback was that I was too idealistic. The lecturer was my college lecturer for my child care course. My ideals were that children should be free to learn in an open ended environment. I wholeheartedly believed they should never be given restrictive activities such as colouring in and materials such as google eyes and technology was a big no-no (it was the 90s though).  This kind of idealism came crashing down when I had my own special needs children. The lesson that idealism can actually restrict children only occurred to me when I began homeschooling Lachie. It has taken me 17 years to figure out that my lecturer was not  in fact complimenting my idealism.

I recently decided to push aside my ideas about natural learning (gasp, shock, horror!) and do what just works. The result  can be seen in the photo adjacent. It doesn't look like much but it is HUGE, a massive effort from a boy who would not, could not, in his own mind possibly produce a whole page of writing. Even in this style I made some huge sacrifices in the name of letting go. There is no Queensland correct script, we are learning capitals only at this stage, and there is no pressure and no erasing during the lesson.

I see the parents of special needs children grasping at their remaining idealism all the time on the Internet. I see indignation over so many of the little things. I see arguments fiercely erupt (truth be told I have been involved) over whether children are Autistic or have Autism, whether it is a condition, disorder, disease, curable, preventable......etc. Maybe we should let go of these ideals and just do what works, it takes effort and trial and error to do what works but we sure as heck are not going to find out what that is if we sit around debating all day long.  I never forget an experienced mother telling a group of new mothers that no matter what they believed, read, or wanted, ultimately the child and not the parent guides the choices you make for your child. She then went on to advise them to throw away the baby books. I think we need to go a step further and engage in the world with an open mind.

Monday, October 28, 2013

What's in the sensory bin?

We are fortunate enough to have been given some resource funding for Lachie. In particular, I really wanted to get started a sensory and fine motor bin. After a few test runs of sensory items, this is what we ended up with in the bin.

A kaleidoscope

A light ball and some squidgy squeezy things one looks like the cartoon character Blue and the others are like koosh balls, and a handball.

It is all stored in a Blue Itty Bitty Bin

Although we got the funding, on the exception of the Scooby Doo toy, these can all be picked up fairly inexpensively. It is worth the peace and quiet we have had today and he is developing his motor skills without even realising it.

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Washing Little Hands

After noticing Aria's fascination with the bathroom and becoming frustrated myself with Lachie's refusal to use a nail brush, I came up with this Montessori inspired practical living activity. The children each have a tray complete with a tub of warm water, a face washer, a nail brush, mirror, and a towel. Lachie has a container of foaming hand soap but I squirt Aria's into the tub as she tends to paint the house with it. This is the first day I had the mirrors, I picked them up for $1.50 at a new discount store. Not only is the warm water calming but it encourages self care and I don't have to hold Lachie down to scrub his nails. It turns something that is difficult due to sensory issues into a fun game. The children are responsible for drying any drips off the tray. This activity meets with the basic Montessori principle of controlling for error.

Both children loved the mirrors

 Lachie sat back for a while and contemplated the activity while looking in the mirror
 Aria used materials to clean the mirror too

Thursday, October 17, 2013

To Fight or not to Fight

Lately I have been having some conversations with a not for profit agency that are helping survivors of bullying. Through listening to other people's stories, I have  felt the feelings of injustice over the bullying my ASD children have endured well up again. Although, Gi Joe is okay for me to share his story, he does not want identification or a "big deal" made out of it. Out of respect for the space he's in, I won't go into detail. I will say though that the sheer fact he feels a need to hide what happened makes me realise how ashamed he is of what happened to him and how he is still scared it will happen again! So herein lies my conundrum, kicking up a stink might make me feel better and raise awareness but it may very well re-victimise him. As a mother, of course I want justice but it comes with a price. This is the place that bullies put the family of their survivors in. Schools, workplaces and sporting teams need to understand this. Unfortunately, the issues tend to end with the survivor leaving the school, workplace or sporting team. It should be the other way around. Early intervention with those most at risk of being bullied and being bullies is key.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

It was The Best Post in the World

Well, I follow in the footsteps of Tenacious D (without the devil and music and stuff...oh and fame). I was all poised to write an epic post and my blogger wouldn't let me sign in! I have no idea what I was going to write but I'm sure it was the best post in the world. Instead of the best post in the world, I'm just going to settle with some reflection of our term.

Some days the self doubt creeps in and I think I'm not teaching Lachie anything. I have been thinking about that and I think that's a little unfair to both of us! He has achieved so much this term and I just need to look back on these posts and see that. I read (or saw) something, somewhere on Facebook (gets a bit like that) about self dialogue. I decided to pay attention to Lachie's self dialogue (which he often verbalises) this week. I was hoping to hear that he felt he had done well this term, I was sad to hear, "I'm not a good boy" "I can't."  Who's responsible for this? Us as his parents mostly I think. I need to change it and model positive self talk to him. So no more doubts!

This term Lachie has loved The Gruffalo, The Rascal Series, The Very Cranky Bear, The Lorax, to name but a few. Through texts he liked I was able to engage him beyond what I could with a stock standard activity that he found meaningless. My approach next term will definitely be deep exploration of texts he chooses himself. He's only engaged in what he's truly interested in and I need to embrace that. After all, adults tend not to continue with something that they find boring for too long. We do have to do some things we don't like but he is a child and I need to help him to treasure his childhood for as long as possible. All in all I feel we achieved a lot this term. He's well and truly de-schooled. I'm still looking for a good school for him, I don't think he shares the same view so we need to tread carefully when we talk about school. I don't want it to be a punishment if we do send him back. We are taking it day by day at this point.

Saturday, September 7, 2013

Being THAT Exhausted

If you follow many blogs about Autism, especially ones that originate from the USA, it's difficult not to have been touched by the story of a mum of an ASD teen who attempted murder suicide. After a final blow, a withdrawal of support, she did the unthinkable. I'm not going to write a lot about the specifics of the case, others have done that.  I'm not going to harp on about the need for support, I've done that. I do want to describe being THAT exhausted. I have felt it before, especially in the younger years with Gi Joe. I have seen it before and very recently. It's inevitable.

What does it look like? Different in every person I suspect. It's often the people who you give advice to, they will come back with a frustrating, "tried that, tried that, tried that..." If that is frustrating for you, imagine how frustrating it is for them.  The ones who are numb, the ones who stop caring about themselves, the ones who over analyse their situation, the ones who cry a lot, the ones who have given up, the ones who avoid.  I have been this person and I have been THAT exhausted. Once I was THAT exhausted I thought about driving my car off the freeway, my son was in the back. I didn't because I saw an out, my partner, my other kids, the special school.  The thought went through my head though. This one thought makes me no different from those who followed through. I felt I had an out, but I had the thought. They maybe did not feel like they had an out, had exhausted all their outs. It is hard to know and something we may never know.

What do you do to get through it? In order to help parents feeling this, asking if they are okay might be a good start, but then what?  Yes people need to help themselves first before they are any good to their children.  How? If you are it? How do you take a break? I am lucky, I'm not it, I can take a break, not always straight away but it happens. I don't really know the answers. It is going to take a lot of vocal hard work to change systems, mind sets, and to promote a greater understanding of the needs of Autism families. I hope that this post might help one person to recognise THAT exhaustion in a friend.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Marble Maths

Today we trialed 10 minute "table work." Lachie has become a little bit reluctant to engage and lovely home school gurus and my aunty suggested that I do 10 minutes at a time on a learning activity, interspersed with 10 minutes of a favourite activity. This past two weeks, watching Minecraft on You Tube has been all consuming. We had 30 minutes of table work and he did great. There was complaining about the computer but he ultimately completed the activity without complaining.

This activity is effective for Lachie as he loves to describe how the marbles feel in his hands. The concept is designed to support him to get used to operators and to understand addition rules such as doubling. He loves that he can see the numeral and feel and view the corresponding amount of marbles for that numeral. He also has the extra challenge of not having the marbles roll away and there is fine motor development in the need to place each marble in the section individually.

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Smelly, Slimy, Clean

Today's sensory activity was designed to get Lachie to interact with different smells and to record his reaction to them. It seems that Lachie cannot smell his own body odour but has no issues detecting other odours which he finds unpleasant.

First I made smelly playdough, here is the recipe:

One cup (250ml) of plain flour
1/4 cup of salt
1 cup of boiled water
2 tbsp of cream of tartar
2 tbsp of oil

For smells, cocoa, rosewater, peppermint, jelly crystals. For colour, non-toxic paints, natural food colours, glitter or whatever takes your fancy!

Place the flour, cream of tartar and oil in a saucepan along with your chosen colour. If using paint I wait until the mixture is cool. Although I use non-toxic paints,  I thought it was better not to experiment with heating them.

In a jug place your boiled water and salt. Wait until salt dissolves.

Mix your salt water in with your saucepan ingredients and stir with a wooden spoon. It will look runny and lumpy.

Keep stirring until it is starting to look smoother and thicker and it comes away a bit from the sides. Remove it from the heat. Different added ingredients mean different quantities of flour, judge it by how it comes together, not necessarily how sticky it is. When it is a good consistency to pick up and knead, it will still be a bit sticky at this stage and depending on the added ingredients may not come cleanly away from the pan (cocoa is a really sticky one).

Place the playdough on a floured board or in a slice pan (this is a neater way of doing it) and knead and add flour as necessary to get a smooth consistency. Place in zip lock bags in the fridge until you are ready to use it.

Lachie was quite unimpressed by the smell. He tolerated it because he was interested in the rocks. He made different rivers and islands using grass, river rocks we bought from the reject shop for $4 and sticks. I wanted Lachie to be able to explore this activity without interruption so Aria stayed inside with Daddy.

The minion (AKA: The Me) and the Macca's man made an appearance in the play of course. We had the sensory tub set up but he wanted to use the messy mat instead.

After the activity it was time to clean the play dough off the rocks. The warm water and soap is calming and the slippery soap makes handling the rocks a challenge. This activity was also for Aria as she love to clean things.

Spot the Macca's man. As the bubbles grew so did their ideas about what they wanted to put in it. Of course, Aria engaged in the activity for longer than Lachie. She enjoyed the slimy rocks a lot more than he did.

Lachie was keen to dry the rocks and Aria got in on the action. There was a bit of push and shove here because they shared the same bucket and container but they worked it out in the end.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Back to Basics

This morning we played Snakes and Ladders and memory. I often wonder if the introduction of screens and waning popularity of these types of social experiences is impacting on our children's development. Brand name board games can be expensive but yesterday I found a range of cheap classics at Kmart for $5 each. I got Snakes and Ladders as I felt it would be good to teach Lachie maths concepts as well as give him the experience of set backs (going down the snake). Lachie at first was very upset over having to go down the snake during our morning test out of our new game. However, the game held his interest long enough to overcome his feelings of injustice and he eventually won. Apart from the obvious maths skills he learnt valuable social lessons. Turn taking and not cheating were definite challenges!

Snakes & Ladders

Snakes and Ladders from Kmart $5

Monday, July 29, 2013

Powerful lessons: Not all smiles and sunshine and not all book work!

Homeschooling looks all smiles and sunshine if you go by our pictures but it is full of hard work and self doubt. Yesterday I had to deal with a pretty bad public meltdown but I had to do it. It was worth it because no matter what it is my responsibility to teach right from wrong. The lesson Lachie learnt yesterday was more powerful than any of the book work we have done to date. He learnt mummy is no push over and just because you scream loudly doesn't mean mummy will buy you what you want. The only sad part about it was the stares and the whispers from two shocked women.

The tough social lessons being learnt are done in a way that I can control the interaction. My children do not need to be hardened through bullying and disrespect. Gi Joe is learning these lessons through the Army Cadets. He went on his first recruit camp on the weekend and we were told that he made us proud. It gives me hope and reminds me that we have to do the hard yards with Lachie to get the pay off that we have with Gi Joe. 

Thursday, July 25, 2013

A new phase

So school has not worked for both of my boys. This is not surprising considering developmental level and social functioning issues that come hand in hand with ASD. We have taken a leap of faith and put GI Jo into Distance Ed and Baby Yoshi is doing registered home schooling. I have been amazed at how many people choose this option. I had never really considered it before but so far it is working out okay. I won't say that there aren't challenges but I will say that I am willing to tackle them face on as their mother. I am fortunate in that my friends and family have been wonderfully supportive. I have met many people over the past few weeks and have received advice to ignore the negative comments. I have not had to endure any, even our pediatrician is supportive. So expect to see lots of record keeping disguised as blog posts here from now on!

Here is an example of our typical day, I have decided to use Lachie's (Baby Yoshi) and Aria's name, it's just easier.

Monday 22 July 2013

Today Lachie chose to practice the letter K. Lachie has good English skills but his writing can let him down.  Lachie worked hard on the worksheet provided but was motivated to commence his theme piece for English.  Lachie chose to recreate No-Bot the Robot.  Bernard the Robot lost his bottom so we talked about what would happen if he lost other body parts.  Lachie was able to tell me that if he lost his arms he could not touch and seemed to understand that we can use our body to communicate.  Lachie told me that ants communicate with their antennae.  Lachie is still mixing up “D” and “B” even when it is spoken and then he is supported to spell a word with either of those letters in it.

We used our new whiteboard today and even though he liked it, there were some tears when Aria rubbed off the schedule.

Lachie was difficult to engage with maths today.  Although the activity was guided by his robot interest, he was very active and left me when I was cutting out the robot.  He did engage in a game afterwards but was not really settled for the rest of the day.

Lachie participated in a science experiment.  He checked the growth of his previous plant that we re-grew using celery and he enjoyed the planting of the parsley and was able to connect it with last week’s library book, Pearl Barley and Charlie Parsley.  I lost Lachie’s attention when the steps were too long for him to write. The day ended with Reading Eggs and quiet television.  Although there were difficulties, he still managed to get the work done.

Park play is very important to Lachie and he does not understand the concept of a rainy day.  Weather visual and discussions around flexibility may help.    Lachie was unhappy that the routine changed from last Monday to this Monday. 

Montessori may allow Lachie more time to practice cross-curriculum skills.

Friday, June 21, 2013

Ranting on Facebook

So today I had a rant on Facebook. What about? The media of course! One of our national media outlets has decided to make this "let’s report on Autism week." First it was about a new "cure" that seems suspiciously like electroshock therapy. Then the advertising regarding a famous footballer’s son that sounds suspiciously like the story is going to be about yet another cure. Then, what else but the good old over diagnosis debate? Lumped right in there with ADHD and on the back of comments by an NGO that claims to be promoting Autism awareness!

I'm so tired of the way Autism is portrayed in the media. It appears if you are famous or a sports person it is okay to have a child with Autism and it is not about parenting but it is always about cures. Fact is any treatment that is reported is out of the reach of the average Australian family or is simply fraud to make that person more money or make them feel better about themselves AKA Jenny McCarthy.

Lumping Asperger's in with the ADHD debate is damaging and hurtful to those parents trying to do their best with a condition that has nothing to do with parenting. I think there are two types of the disorder to be honest, one where the child is predisposed and has a family environment that promotes the development and the child that has for some reason some biological basis to their disorder. Children with Asperger's are not "badly behaved". Actually in my experience it is the so called neuro-typical children and adults that treat people with Asperger's badly!

Saturday, June 1, 2013


I am writing this and sharing this photo to take a stand against bullying. Gi Jo is too scared to make for himself. In 2010, when Gi Jo was in grade six he received this head injury courtesy of some boys who thought it was okay to smack him into the concrete because they believed that him bending over talking to ants was weird. Before this, they had been his friends. They justified this behaviour by saying they felt "betrayed" that Gi Jo did not inform them of his ASD and it was not until they saw him in the special ed unit that they realised. This started an ongoing series of taunts and social isolation. Most of it, I wasn't even aware of until recently, when GI Jo took a drastic measure to attempt to illustrate to his tormentors what he had attempted to express through his words. His behaviour became the focus and the consequences were that he now has become more socially isolated as a result because we feel that distance education is his safest option.

When I think of what happened my mind goes to stories in the media about other young kids that resort to violence and/or suicide to attempt to deal with bullying. I do not condone violence in any way and I am saddened that some young people take their lives rather than feeling that adults can help them. However, that is exactly the point that I am making. These young people become so desperate that they act in these ways. I  can not help thinking that teachers are too caught up with paperwork, process, and stress and parents in maintaining their lifestyles and dealing with other external pressures that the unspoken cues are missed. I could forgive that, I can forgive ourselves for missing the unspoken cues with GI Jo. What I can't forgive is the ignorance of the possible outcomes. We warned both schools at various times when certain behaviour from the other young people was coming to our attention. I have the above photograph as I was forced to email it to the school to demonstrate how serious it was that no one contacted us or supported our family and our boy through this. I had to threaten to make a police complaint for it to be taken seriously, even then the school never followed through on their promised conference with the boys involved.

People becoming teaching professionals often ask me how to prepare for having children with ASD in their classes. This is what I now say: Watch closely for the bullying, don't ignore it, watch for unspoken cues that indicate there is a problem with peers, listen to the parents of the child, act before it is too late.

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

The curse of the Mummy Judgers

For anyone who has ever had a child, whether they have special needs or not, they have no doubt had the displeasure of being judged by other mothers (or worse by a know it all non-parent). Topics such as breast feeding, cloth or disposable nappies, dummies, and circumcision are sure to raise a barrage of debate. In this age of the Internet and social media, it seems those who judge most are most visible, in the written sense at least. If they are pulled up on their judgement they fire back with freedom of speech and a heap of crap about "if you don't want it judged don't write it...." *blah*.

The other day I was questioned about my choices with GI Joe. I was able to defend them in a calm and reasonable manner but why should I have to. Unless you are tying your child to a tree (the thought has actually crossed my mind) or abusing them, no one has a right to interfere with your learning process as a parent. As a social scientist I often cringe when anecdotal evidence is pulled out in an argument but I think most adults with a non-abusive childhood can pull out some examples of  their own parents' parenting mistakes but end the story with, "and I turned out okay." Two of my children have developmental delays but all of my children are turning out okay! People need to be supportive and not judgemental or I fear we may see a society too scared to take risks based on what other people may say!

Saturday, May 4, 2013

A really hard week

This week has been incredibly emotional. Not to go too much into details for GI Joe's privacy, but we were thumped on the head with the knowledge that he has not been going as well as we thought he had been. I wish that we had known how tough he was doing it. We have made the decision to home school through distance education. A hard choice and one that GI Joe is not entirely happy about. I have learnt the true impact of bullying on people with ASD, their family and the community in general. It seems we are becoming more and more educated on ASD but perhaps this is not getting passed on to our teens.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

The Little Things

It's amazing the little things that can make a difficult day better. The photo above was a day at the beach. We hadn't been to the beach much as we have runners, so it requires a quiet beach and eagle eyes. We did not realise how much Baby Yoshi would love it. I need to remember this day in times when I'm am struggling. Baby Yoshi has been particularly echolalic lately. I don't care if it is politically incorrect, whatever, but echolalia is the thing that makes me cringe when it comes to ASD. This week Baby Yoshi had a fire truck visiting school, he was anxious that he was going to miss out on the experience (may have been anxious about the noise possibilities as well). When Baby Yoshi is anxious he verbally names the object of his anxiety...over and over and over and over. After the event he had to reassure us a lot that the fire truck was okay. I went shopping and spotted a fire hat. As soon as I gave it to him he said he loved it and it must have been enough to focus his thoughts because there has been no mention of the fire truck since. Hopefully he won't expect to see the fire truck again next Tuesday! Last year, we had to put a "crazy shirt" in his bag on Fridays, every Friday for a month before he realised that crazy shirt day was only a one day event!

Saturday, April 13, 2013

The Back Story

I have started this blog with a couple of insights into my life now, but realise that there is not much of a hint of who we are, who I am and how I came to be sharing this journey.

GI Joe

GI Joe is my oldest, he is turning 15. I was a young mum, not a lot older than he is now but when I found out we were pregnant, I was very excited. He was born into the world by a Cesarean as he was determined to be different from the start (breach). As much as I adored him, there was just something I could not put my finger on. I did think I would get the magical eye contact, the gazing down and looking longingly into his beautiful big eyes and that it would be instant love. GI Joe was having none of that, he wriggled away from my embraces, arched his back, screamed and looked everywhere but at me. The only time he would gaze longingly at anything was if it was shiny. I never forget my mother in law taking him to the doctor for me and commenting later that he stared for an hour straight at a door handle. He had reflux and on more than one occasion the pediatrician queried if I had post natal depression as he like me was not picking up on a lot of warmth between me and my little man. I loved him with every fibre of my being but  every time I got close to him he would cry.

Toddler-hood came and we had a happy little family of three, in our ugly little renovator. I desperately wanted  baby number two but it just wasn't happening. I was working in child care and GI Joe came to the centres that I worked in with me. Comments from other workers about his behaviour started, "He did the oddest thing today." "Do you think he needs to be assessed." Being in full denial at that point in time, I decided that I would put him into family day care. The issues continued there for a while, until we met the most patient lady in the world, Inga. Inga, I now know could see it all along. She knew it was Autism but she knew we didn't know and at that stage didn't want to know. She looked after him for a year and during that time baby T-Man came along......

We had no choice, we had to accept GI Joe was different to the other kids. He hated T-Man, wanted to kill him, hated me for changing his routine, hated me for bringing something noisy into the world.......

One day I went to playgroup, I was tired, trying to feed T-Man and it was pack up time. GI Joe lost it, the epic of all meltdowns. A lady named Kathy (with a non-verbal autistic boy) dealt with GI Joe while another lady (can't remember her name) came over. She looked up at Kathy and said, "It's time."

"Time for what?" I asked in tears. She sat there and told me how she had watched me, they had watched me struggle with GI Joe whilst doing all the right things as a parent. She told me that I needed to go now to the doctors and get a referral to have him assessed. She told me that she didn't care if I didn't like her any more, that someone had to tell me. I agreed that I was struggling and called the doctor there in front of her. I thought the doctor would dismiss me, our doctor we had since before GI Joe was born, he didn't, he was relieved. As GI Joe was still melting down while we were there, he became concerned and called our  pediatrician, who was also relieved and who got us in straight away. GI Joe destroyed the pediatrician's office! We were sent straight over to the developmental unit at the hospital, where he bit the developmental pediatrician and ripped down the curtains in the exam room. He was assessed, had an EEG and bloods, and a  speech pathologist and psychologist saw him on the day.

Two days later we got the call and the diagnosis...Autism.

There was all the usual emotions, ones you feel guilty about but there was also confirmation that I was a good mum and his dad was a good dad, we were good parents. We have had many tough times with GI Joe but he is a beautiful boy. He is in full denial of his Autism at the moment but I watched my beautiful cousin Miss Molly ( go through the same and I know eventually, with support he will accept it.

Baby Yoshi

Well baby Yoshi's story is a lot shorter as he is only six. We picked up on his behaviour's fairly late in the game, he seemed to develop okay. Baby Yoshi has good speech (the best out of all our children) and was settled in a routine. The similarly to GI Joe a change of routine made us face that there were issues. Baby Yoshi is a lover not a fighter. Personal space is not something he has learnt. Neither is staying still. We started out with a diagnosis of ADHD but the enduring patterns of fixed routine, meltdowns in most social situations, and fixed interests (Mario Bros is the current obsession, hence the Baby Yoshi nickname) had my pediatrician querying Asperger's.  As I have a degree in Psychology the doctor was open to suggestions and my opinion. I waited some time and then called him and told him that I agreed and that I would like him assessed accordingly. The diagnosis was confirmed and we are doing the tough early years with him. I never understand the idea of early intervention stopping at six. I know we have a few more hard years ahead.

T-Man and Princess

T-Man and Princess are not on the spectrum but they are worth mentioning. I think that job of being siblings in a special needs family is a hard one. T-Man has it particularly tough so sometimes his behaviour is harder to deal with than the other two boys put together. I am sure other parents have children with middle child syndrome, but I wonder if it is as bad when the other children don't have so many challenges. He is bright, engaging, and funny.

Princess was a lovely little surprise. All of the boys adore her. I have never seen any one bring GI Joe out of his shell like she does. I hope that continues, it is the most heartwarming thing to see. I think he knows she just loves him for who he is. She's picky about who she attaches to so I think that helps him feel special and loved.

Sunday, April 7, 2013

A Break

Today I got a break, nothing special, just went to buy our little princess a second birthday present. Anyway, when I got back Baby Yoshi was in full swing. I think he thinks he owes me one for going out. I was attempting to do something with my iPhone and getting quite frustrated. I found myself matching him tone for tone, never a great thing when your children are overstimulated by sound (hey we are all human). This chaos prompted Daddy to chime in. In his usual style, he tells Baby Yoshi I have "lost my marbles." Baby Yoshi promptly began to discuss a time where he had some marbles, lost some marbles, then found them under a pile of old toys in the shed. Where can you go with that but laughter! Daddy did try to explain what it meant but Baby Yoshi simply said, "That is a silly saying, you can't have marbles in your head, and so you can't lose them from your head." He's got a point!

Friday, April 5, 2013

To Party or not to Party

This weekend and next, I have been invited to two different parties. Neither party has anything to do with Baby Yoshi, but I may need to take him to both. For most parents I guess consideration about accepting an invite is entirely based on other commitments, unwell children etc. for me and most other special needs parents, the consideration is whether it is worth it or not! I want my children to be functioning members of society, that don't get hidden away based on their disability but that takes a lot of energy. GI Joe stays home by himself as he is old enough to but Baby Yoshi is my little sidekick. Problem is he rarely stays by my side. He's a runner. Stats show that this is common in younger children with Autism. Probably the reason I am able to lose weight without gym sessions or any other exercise really! So the question remains, to party or not to party? I guess we'll have to play it by ear....Which means I am the worst RSVPer in the world :-).

Under construction

Please bear with me while I get this page layout right, it is quite difficult on iPad. This is my first post here. I decided to have a blog separate from my Cedar Beader blog as I need to share the thoughts in my head. I'm sure my rumblings will mean something to other special needs parents out there. I have four children and my youngest and oldest boys have high functioning Autism. Life is crazy and busy and sometimes I do want to bail on it, but mostly it is a good life.

The name a car full of Autism came out of a moment last night when we were in the car and my daughter was whining. Me not really thinking, said about two minutes away from home, "We'll be there in about five seconds." In a flash one of my boys (we'll call him GI Jo) started explaining how many minutes it would take to get home based on where we were in the journey and how many KMs we were travelling at. The other one (we'll call him Baby Yoshi) started counting to 5!" It was just one of those moments and I thought to myself, "Yep, I have a car full of Autism."