Great Questions.

On a trip to Newcastle last weekend our son remarked

“I know that the river is beautiful at night but just imagine how stunning it would have been without humans”. “Do you think the world is a better place for having humans?”

This slightly took me aback as I has only asked him if he wanted pizza or a burger to eat on our way home….. It’s been week after week of questions that seem to have befuddled my limited reasoning powers.

“How do you think a plant cell first adapted to include Chloroplasts?”

“Do Alice Coopers friends call him Alice or his real name?”

“Why do kids laugh at people who can’t read but don’t seem to laugh at people who can’t do art or do maths?”

“Do you think the Doughnut Shaped universe theory is right?”

“Why can some people sing and some like you can’t sing – is it your body, a skill you learn or just luck?”

“Why do they keep saying those pesky kids in Scooby Doo when they must be older than you these days?”

“Why are there so many religions?”

“Rather than always trying to be good, would I get more help if I started to behave badly at school. If I did get more help would that not mean that I would have a better chance of improving?”

“Why are paper cuts so painful?”

“I have to paint a picture for Art homework, it has to be like one by Henri Rousseau, what is his style?”

“Why do we have to grow up?”

“Do you think Donald Trump gets his bodyguards to search for his golf balls?”

“How do we really know that the colour green is actually green, or it’s just a fault in the human eye?”

“In Spongebob why don’t the crabby patties ever get really wet being under the sea?”

“Did the Astronauts have to wipe their boots on a mat when they came back to the ship after a moon walk?”

“What’s your favourite Pokemon from each of the regions?”

“The Prime Minister is old. All the people helping her are old. Why are there never any young people helping. Leaving Europe effects the young as well. Is it because they wouldn’t agree with our view of the world?”

“Why is Dinosaur Train never on TV now, is it because they are having to redraw all the dinosaurs with feathers?”

“Who decides what a swear word is?”

“If Crocodiles survived the mass extinction why couldn’t some of the dinosaurs survive?”

“Why are schools made to be so unfriendly?”

“If some mountain ranges are rising up from earth movements does it mean somewhere else has to be getting lower?”

“Why after all those years of not winning a single thing and constantly letting you down, do you keep supporting that football team?”

“Do you think Stan Lee would rather go to Heaven or Valhalla?”

“What’s your favourite Batman bad guy excluding The Joker, Penguin, Riddler, Mr Freeze, Two Face, Bane and al Ghul?

“If I lived on a deserted island and I never met another person ever again, could I just forget that I have Aspergers and Dyslexia ?”

Even google couldn’t help me with some of those questions. As I’m writing this he has just stopped watching his tablet and asked:

“If we know so little about the universe, this man has just said less than 1%, how can scientists be so certain about things?”

Thankfully this was followed up by “have we got any ice cream in?” – I can answer that one.

Captain Scarlet and the Slow Cooker

My sister phoned me last night. I can’t remember how but I mentioned that I had blog. She found this hard to believe. But when I went on to say that it’s a turned into a bit of a cooking one, she just fell about laughing. So she still doesn’t think that I have a blog. I think she sees me as her little bro who plays with his toy train set and watches Captain Scarlet. The second is correct and I’m always hopeful Santa might deliver the first.

Now that I’ve worked out that you need to turn it on, the slow cooker has been a revelation. Over the last few days the worlds worst cook has produced some very nice tasting dishes:

  • Sausage Casserole
  • Rice Pudding
  • Apple Crumble
  • Chicken Casserole
  • Vegetable Lasagna
  • Vegetable Curry
  • Leftover rotisserie
  • Lamb Tagine

So we have this blogs first ever recommendation. If you can’t cook, can’t afford a personal chef, just go and buy a slow cooker.

The second recommendation is Captain Scarlet should be made into a movie – come on Marvel and DC.

321 Quote Me – Truth

Thank you to A GUY CALLED BLOKE for a 321 Quote Me nomination.

Rules: 3.2.1 Quote Me!

Thank the Selector

Post 2 quotes for the dedicated Topic of the Day.

Select 3 bloggers to take part in ‘3.2.1 Quote Me!’

Note: Although this is the topic for today there is no specific deadline to it, meaning you can answer as and when.

Please Note I will be reblogging your responses unless you wish for me to NOT do so.

Topic For Today: ”Truth”

If it can be destroyed by the truth, it deserves to be destroyed by the truth” – Carl Sagan

“Truth resides in every human heart and one has to search for it there, and to be guided by truth as one sees it. But no one has a right to coerce others to act according to his own view of truth” – Mahatma Gandhi

Nominations

Bruce Goodman

Mom Life With Chiari

BooBooSoo

Trauffer

A lot of Autistic people find change and unplanned things really unsettling. At our son’s last school they realised this. They were really good at establishing a routine then sticking to it. Unfortunately his current school are the opposite. Change change change followed by unplanned events. Today I had to go and pick up him up – he was really upset after a series of unplanned activities.

The one thing that has always been guaranteed to settle him down was going for a car drive in the country while listening to rock music. So off we set into the country. However the car stereo now decided to play up. No radio reception and refusing to recognise any of my mp3 albums. For 5 minutes it unsuccessfully scanned tracks then suddenly success. Unfortunately the one album it would play was a million miles from rock.

On our last family holiday to Switzerland I had a mad moment and decided to buy some Swiss music. Trauffer and his band just sound like Switzerland. A quirky mix of pop, folk, alpine and yodelling. Trauffer also manages a famous family wooden toy company – I think a lot of the toy cows you see in Swiss shops are his. It just shouldn’t work but just like Toblerone (a chocolate which is designed to spear the top of your mouth every time you try to bite into it) it works brilliantly.

http://youtu.be/XPXiHGq2Ods

For the first few moments our son sat there a mixture of disbelief and horror on his face. But 30 minutes later an amazing thing happened. He was tapping his hands, trying to yodel (badly) and laughing (a lot). Often change and unplanned stuff causes anxiety and distress. But sometimes unplanned stuff can be good and rewarding. AND MOST CERTAINLY yodelling was not in the original plans today.

One of those days ….

Yesterday morning was one of those mornings. The toilet blocked. Then I burnt our son’s toast (having just used up the last slice of bread in the house). Then when I moved to the only other viable breakfast option, cornflakes, the only bottle of milk had gone off ( you know the milk that is supposed to be fresh for 7 days!!!?). So it was the balanced apple, grapes and packet of crisps option. Couldn’t find the school tie. Then we missed the school bus. So quick drive to school – completely off plan, so son upset. Go shopping but half way round and I realise the wallet is back at home. So back home.

I was in need of the strongest coffee ever before returning to the shopping. The caffeine lifted my spirits so its back to the shop. But where are my car keys. Looked everywhere. Don’t you just hate it when you lose something you have just had a few moments ago. One hour later – still no sign. Then I realised the obvious – PETS. Dog innocent. Cats happily asleep on the chair. The chair where I sat and had my caffeine fix. Now I understand. And guess what – cats lying on keys. Very funny really.

So it’s back to the shops, get to the checkout and realise (again) that my wallet is still at the house. As Pink Floyd would say “one of those days”.

I suspect the UKs Prime Minister is feeling like she is having one of those days today. At least they won’t need to provide so many teas for her government after this morning. The rate ministers are resigning she might be phoning me soon.

Home help

Last week we had a really long family chat. We tried to take stock of the current position and what happens going forward. Our son ultimately decides what course of actions we take forward. I just wanted to make sure that I am providing the right support to back up his decisions. He views Aspergers as fundamentally just being about ‘his personality and who he is’. But he is so determined to find a way of overcoming his dyslexia. He describes dyslexia as his invisible disability.

The days of allowing his care program to be dictated by people who he doesn’t know or doesn’t trust have gone. He is absolutely clear that he will only work with people he trusts from now on. This puts a greater emphasis of home development work. We have agreed that each night we will spend 30 minutes working together specifically trying out new ideas which may help his reading. I have also had a conversation with school and told them I that I expect his homework levels to be reduced to take account of this home based work. They were not happy but it is happening!!!!

The first thing we are trying is something which was mentioned by the Paediatrician. He had seen some research that undertaking activities which worked both the eye and coordination at the same time had produced positive results with some dyslexics. In effect exercising his visual processing skills. When trying to read he has to spell out each letter and struggles recognising full words. The hope is that this type of visual processing exercise may improve letter and word recognition.

The first stage was to design some simple matrix tables (see below). The first was a number grid. After a bit of experimenting we went for italic as he found this the most visually appealing. The task was to read the grid while clapping. Then reading while clapping and stamping. Then reading in time with a counter. Then reading while bouncing a ball. As an added element of fun we have timed races. I struggle to use my hands when reading so he frequently wins. I strongly suspect that I am autistic – but that’s another story.

When we first started the exercise it was clear that he read the numbers left to right then when he came to the next line he read right to left. We did the same exercise with the letters grid and he did exactly the same. We then looked at a reading book and he did the same. Reading right to left is common and is the basis of many languages like Urdu. It is also not unheard of for someone to be dyslexic in one language but be able to read in another language which is read in a different direction. What appears to be less common is for someone to alternate reading left to right and right to left at the same time.

We agreed to see if we could train his brain just to read left to right. If anything it might take a bit of strain off his visual processing. So we went back to the numbers grid and tried the same activity but this time asking him to always read left to right. This was difficult but after a few days it’s becoming a bit easier.

Today we switched back to the letters grid and he has now started reading left to right automatically. Potentially this is progress.

For the next stage we are planing to add a bit more difficulty into the exercise by adding common words into the grid. Will report back on progress.

Grid 1

1 4 7 5 2 3 8 9 0 6

0 1 3 9 7 4 2 6 8 5

2 7 9 5 1 3 8 4 6 0

3 9 0 4 2 1 7 8 6 5

9 7 1 4 3 2 6 0 5 8

4 8 7 3 5 9 1 6 2 3

Grid 2

a d e f g b d t z x u

b h I r e w q a c l m

m b v t r y o p s d a

n o e d s h l k v b n

q u y t I p s f h u e I

g h t y o p f k q c b

h r y u I f h s e q n v

Grid 3

5 2 1 6 at 4 8 9 7 3

1 9 the 7 9 0 3 2 4

6 3 9 4 2 1 5 my 5

3 yes 2 1 4 8 9 0 1

sat 3 6 4 2 1 8 9 7

2 7 4 1 9 6 3 8 no 1

3 1 4 8 7 but 9 2 4

World Kindness Day

For every person who does something kind today I just want to say thank you. You make the world a better place. Special mention to the postman who on Tuesdays always puts the bins out for some of the older residents in the village. Thank you.

Now apparently today is World Symphonic Metal day as well – so I’m off to find my Nightwish cd. Happy head banging to you.

Very Slow Cooked chicken

Let’s not pull any punches – I’m a monumentally bad cook. There is no recipe that I can’t mess up. No appliance I can’t arc weld food to. No Kitchen is safe in my presence. I am like the Arch Poltergeist of the food world. As a result so many people have recommended getting a slow cooker, they are fool proof I am told. Well let’s see.

It was the usual school morning start. Drop a heavy dumbbell on my foot. Stand barefoot on a Lego figure. Wipe up another cat accident. Try to find the missing school PE sock. Trip over the dog and drop son’s breakfast over floor. Why has the school bag shrunk – currently as full as a parachute backpack. Try to find ingredients for Food Technology (son so helpfully informs me 2 minutes before we have to leave). All while convincing son that everything is cool and going strictly to plan.

A slow cooker is purchased, reassuringly I opted for the one which said ‘the easiest way to cook great food’. First recipe – chicken stew- it’s must be a winner. All I have to do is dump the ingredients in (which is fantastic given the morning chaos unfolding around me) and let it cook on the low setting for 6 hours. Leave it to cook while he’s at school and I am out – perfect. Even our son was unusually looking forward to some edible food for the first time in years (excluding pizza deliveries).

More of a rarity, as I pick up our son from school he talks about maybe even dipping some bread in the mouth watering stew. So we both excitedly enter the house waiting to enveloped by the intoxicating aroma of high end cuisine.

Nothing no smell. Must be the really good lid sealing in those mouth watering flavours. I wish….

“Dad it’s stone cold, you did switch it on”. Followed by “What a muppet”.

So that nights fine cuisine was tinned soup and bread. That was actually option 3. Option 2 was microwave risotto – unfortunately somebody forgot to rip a hole in the top of the packet and at 45 seconds it exploded.

So tonight’s fine cuisine will hopefully be cooked and hot sausage casserole. Yes it has been switched on.

Random Acts of Kindness

Thank you MWS R WRITINGS for the Random Acts of Kindness

It’s often the simple acts that can make the biggest difference.

The rules are simple.

1- Tell who you nominate and why.
2= Copy and share the picture that shows the award, posted above.
3- Share a paragraph of something that impacted your own life in the way of receiving kindness or how you extended kindness to someone else.

Bad news, fake news, acts of aggression, intolerance, government incompetence and hatred are splattered all over the newspapers. Little positive to warm the hearts. So if anyone has some uplifting kindness tales, please share, I think we need them.

I was driving in the city on Friday and I was behind a white van. Being the usual English city – we were stuck in a traffic jam, not moving. The van driver suddenly jumped out of the van and walked to the other side of the road. I hadn’t noticed but it looked like a homeless man was sat by a wall. The van driver gave the homeless man what appeared to be his lunch. He then sat down beside him, put an arm round him and they talked. He did that for about 10 minutes until the traffic started to move again. The van driver got up, shock the homeless mans hand and got back into his van. Now that’s what I call a random act of kindness.

I just want to share one more image that for some reason keeps popping into my head today. When I was a child we had a policeman who would put the fear of god into everyone. He was described as an old school bobby. But it’s not that side of him that is my strongest memory of him. What I can remember so vividly is seeing him on a couple of occasions when a funeral procession passed him. He took his helmet off, faced the road, bowed his head and stood perfectly still. He would stay like that until the last funeral vehicle had passed. He would then get down onto one knee and say a prayer. He would then slowly get up and resume putting the fear of god into kids like me. That act of clear human respect still sticks with me all those years later.

Moments

Everyday I find a quiet part of the house or garden and just sit and think. I think about the loved ones who are no longer with us. Just 10 minutes of reflection, but it is so important to me. Just trying to remember some of the key moments we shared. Trying to reconnect. They may not be here physically anymore but in my mind they are still here, still part of my life. Today I remembered a trip to Lauterbrunnen. Holding hands with my partner drinking in the alpine air and watching in awe at the spectacular Staubbach Falls

The reflections are uplifting but are tinged with sadness.

Such a happy memory but oh so brief. Little did we know how few opportunities we would get to visit this wonderful alpine setting together. Sometimes life is hard and painful but I am thankful that I have these memories. Thankful that I had that brief moment in time and also thankful that now, a 1000 miles away Lautterbrunnen is there. The falls are still crashing down given other couples the same opportunity to create their own brief moment in time. So today on this day, this somber day I am sad but oh so thankful.