Words with school AGAIN

One of the more noticeable traits our son has becomes more apparent when he gets excited. When he gets excited he flaps his hands. It’s something he has always done. Flapping is seen as one of the potential early Autism signs. Technically it’s classed as Stimming. Stimming is short for Self-Stimulatory behaviour. In people with autism it often manifest itself as flapping, spinning, rocking or repetition of words. The exact reasons for it occurring is still not completely agreed upon. Could sometimes be about self calming, sometimes could be self regulation, could be something else. In our son’s case his Paediatrician thought it was helping control sensory overload.

Whatever the reason for the flapping the most important thing is our son’s view. He sees it as just part of his personality – who he is. As a result it happens and we accept it. For what’s it’s worth the Paediatrician has said that it’s best to view it as just one of those things and just leave it alone. He did say that if our son specifically wanted to try to stop it then he could try to arrange some specific therapy.

Over the years it’s never been an issue.

Now we come to school.

During a lesson, something happened which was really funny. As a result our son got excited and flapped a bit. The teacher went up to our son and told him sternly to stop that immediately. I wonder if the same teacher would have sternly told someone to stop biting their fingernails. Or twiddling a pencil.

DEEP BREATHS

When will people start embracing rather than trying to remove human differences.

I have told our son he didn’t do anything wrong at all. Hopefully he now thinks that it just shows the low level of training teachers receive currently in autism. Conversations have been had with the school. I have been assured that this won’t occur again – I’m not convinced. We move on.

Old Photos

I was trying to find my birth certificate this morning. It’s funny that we are supposed to live in the joined up digital world and yet …… we still need to find a bit of paper which is many years old to try and sort stuff out with the government. Grrrr.

So countless shoe boxes later, still no birth certificate (haven’t seen it in years) but I did find some old parent photographs. Black and white photos just have a special quality to them. Feels like history in your hands. Our son can look at them for hours. Tonight he will sit and drink all the history in. The sadness is that I won’t be able to add much detail to them.

It’s still hard to imagine that my dad took part in the Second World War as a young man. I really wish that I had asked more questions. Now our son if he had the opportunity would have been fantastic, he would have probed every little detail from his grandad.

But we still have old photos as our little gateway into the past. The one below is his grandad with the platoon taken during the war in Iceland.

Different takes on the world.

Came across a photograph taken probably 5 years ago. Oh how the world seemed so different then. Every Sunday in Switzerland we had the same ritual. We would take the first boat across Lake Thun to Interlaken. We would immediately head for this hotel and drink hot chocolate outside – regardless of the weather.

I also vividly recall sitting here when one morning my son’s different take on the world (to myself) became clear. I noticed sports cars driving past. I remember saying something like

“that’s a Ferrari and that’s a Porsche and wow that’s a Maserati.” Don’t get many of those in Yorkshire.

I remember turning to my partner who said without raising a glance “that’s nice” as she continued to scan the food menu.

Looking at our son he was excitedly flapping his hands. Not at the cars but at a bird flying above us.

“It’s a vulture.” Don’t get any of those in Yorkshire.

Now that my son has educated me. I realise which view is more stunning. Which view should be treasured. Now I would say “Wow that’s a stunning big bird, son what is it and I wish those noisy dirty cars would sod off”.

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.