Caught on camera!

Joe caught me by surprise the other day, re-enacting on of his Gemiini videos in his reflection of the window. Once again, proof of the video modelling/mirror combo at work! He’s saying ‘I am going to jump, I am jumping, i jumped.’ Next video, I wasn’t quick enough as he then said, ‘I am going to walk, I am walking, I walked’ but I only caught the last two. I was barely containing my excitement as you can imagine πŸ˜† 

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Mirrors

A simple but effective tool you can use at home is as simple as mirrors! We have a full-length mirror in the lounge, one on the back of the front passenger seat for joe to use in the car and one on the wall in the shower.
It’s amazing the body awareness, facial expressions and language practice that has taken place from this simple tool. He’s got every opportunity to copy things he’s seen. To see what his face looks like when happy or sad. To see himself dressed or naked. To make sense of sensations like having his hair washed or teeth brushed. To see someone he sees everyday standing next to him in his reflection. It makes so much sense doesn’t it? If you haven’t tried it, give it a go! You’ll be amazed πŸ™‚

Our first (successful) cafe visit

My little sweetheart and I had our first successful (and extremely enjoyable) cafe outing today. He’s never been able to actually sit still long enough due to sensory issues for me to take him to a cafe. Today we sat together for 1/2hr in a normal chair

and I had to tell him it was time to leave! I can’t tell you how proud I am of this little guy x love u Joey x(AND mummy got to relax for once!!!)(BTW- he’s staring at all the artwork on the walls, just loving it! I think that’s what ultimately helped keep him occupied- lots to look at!! Lol)

   
 

Video modellingΒ 

 Here’s an example of video modelling and what it can do. In our experience anyway. I made this video for joe to show him how to push a toy. I would never have believed his reaction. Within minutes he was sitting on the floor copying what he’d seen. I think it’s because I filmed it in the first person, as he’d see it when he’s actually doing it as opposed to watching two people from the outside.  It makes sense to him to see it this way as he copies exactly what he sees. It got him off the starting blocks anyway. He doesn’t push a toy on a regular basis because of this video, but it gave him a taste of it that never have otherwise happened. He doesn’t forget a thing, and I’m sure he’ll do it again when he’s ready to enjoy the experience again. Luckily we go it all on film 😊

 
  

‘Adding to’ your child….not ‘trying to change’ them

With all the info out there about how ‘different’ our children are and even being labelled with a ‘disability’, it’s so hard as a parent to stay away from the mentality of trying to ‘change’ your child. 

Every day I work with the idea that today I’m going to ‘add to’ my sons abilities, not try and change the way he already is. He is beautiful and unique just as he is. Some of his ASD traits add to that, so why would I want to change who he is obviously destined to be? There is a lot to be celebrated about the person he is! There’s lots I don’t want to change about my little fellow in all his quirky ways, he’s definitely not a boring soul to be around! I like quirky. Always have. I’m rather quirky myself. Mainstream has always bored me personally. I’m sure my little fellow may share my view as he grows. 

No, change is not nesessary. There’s lots I, as a parent, can bring to the table though. Skills we can add and enhance. That’s what we work on, building. Not changing. Changing suggests replacing or that something is broken. It’s a negative, fearful concept to me, not filled with love and acceptance. And these children know when you’re trying to force or change them. They sense the energy is different. Gentleness is not at the forefront of your lead. ‘I love you just the way you are’ is not singing through your eyes.

There can be no other place to begin than acceptance. My sons ASD isn’t going to go away. Many times I wished and hoped it would. But then I am denying HIM. Joe is bigger than his diagnosis. The diagnosis does not really matter. It can make you miserable if you let it and miss the beauty of your child. Don’t focus on it. Focus on what they love. Focus on what makes them laugh and smile. Join in with them and mimic them, even if they’re just repetitively humming if that’s what they like to do. Joe does, so I hum with him, and SNAP I get eye contact and smiles. He loves it when I play his way. Now he likes to play my way too sometimes! Because it’s all about love and fun. No judgement. No ‘he shouldn’t be making that noise and I shouldn’t encourage him’. Poppycock. News flash: he’s going to do it anyway whether you ‘approve’ or not. So USE it. It could become your best way ‘in’. We’re ‘adding to’, not ‘changing’ remember? They will change anyway. In their own time. The more skills you ‘add’ to their bow, the less interesting the old ones become. The new ones become far more interesting in the end, as they fit more comfortably and gain more confidence. You can’t go wrong with love. To be loved as they are is all anybody wants in life. Their anxieties and fears will melt away the more they trust you and they realize you’re not out to tear their crutches out from under them. That would scare anyone. Let them drop them as they are ready. I never forced Joe to stop spinning things. In fact, I always had something on hand for him wherever we went. I knew it relaxed him. But once he’d had enough he’d pop up and look around for a while. That’s when I’d show him some new stuff. Then he’d go back to spinning. I don’t remember when it happened but one day I noticed he hadn’t done it for ages. Occasionally he’ll still get the bowls out the cupboard like revisiting an old friend, but he gets bored and it only lasts a few minutes. He’s getting his visual needs met now in other, more functional ways. Educational videos, jumping on the trampoline, a disco ball in his room, looking at pictures in books…. I’ve just given him more options that appeal to his sensory preferences and needs.

It goes back to the old saying, “If you can’t beat ’em, join ’em”. Quite literally! You won’t beat Autism by running head-long into it. But we COULD go around, it by working WITH it πŸ™‚