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.