When my son makes this play on his iPad:
He then draws this:
Not sure why, but it fascinates me each and every time! He concentrates so hard on what he’s drawing, and is very meticulous with each and every stroke.
My son’s new after school routine (within the last month and a half or so) is to get out of the car, run to the driveway of our neighbour 3 doors down, run back, play with his shadow, and then hang out on another neighbour’s porch for a while. Some days, he can be there for a good hour or so. If those neighbours are outside, and needing to go in and out of their front door, they just say hi, move around him and head inside. They even asked after we moved in late last summer how to communicate with him! How awesome are our neighbours?!
Until now, this after school routine has been a bit difficult for me, trying to keep an eye on him while my daughter is going in and out of our home, and honestly, trying to find somewhere comfortable for me to be for the hour or so he takes for this routine…especially when it’s raining (and the couple of days it snowed). A couple of days ago however, my man’s parents gave us some new-to-us lawn chairs and table (they’re even my favourite colour: green!). While my son did his routine last night, I was able to bring backpacks and everything inside, get the kids an after school snack, and make myself a chai. I then sat down in our new chairs on the front porch with my feet up, reading my book (shocking that it’s about Autism!), drinking my chai and still being able to keep an eye on my son.
A bonus too, is the view of and lovely fragrance resulting from the bush in my front yard:
Not a bad routine to have to “endure” each and every day!
I’m happy to be speaking at Momstown Guelph on June 26th from 10am – 11am. I’ll be speaking about what to do when you believe there is something different with your child, and how to support a mom-friend who has a child with special needs.
I went to a moms group this morning that meets twice a month. This morning’s speaker (who is absolutely fantastic and an amazing woman!) spoke about picky eaters. Needless to say, the room was filled with more moms than usual. It’s obviously a huge issue. There were some great ideas and suggestions, including replacing the terms “like” and “dislikes” with “I’m hungry enough” or “not hungry enough” when asking for snacks, etc. The speaker suggested telling your kids to try new foods by saying “someday you may like that food, and today could be that day”. Expect your children to at least try a taste of whatever food so they can determine if today is that day.
We started the meeting with brainstorming what the “go to” meals are for families. I even asked the questions on my Facebook Page. I looked at the list when the room was finished and just shook my head. I WISH my kids would eat even half of the meals people listed. I can list off why my son or daughter would or would not eat most of these meals.
During the presentation, I thought they were all great ideas…however, how do I translate the suggestions to my kiddos, both of which have sensory issues? My son needs all food to be specific shapes EXCEPT for when it’s crazy processed foods like chips…of course that’s when shapes don’t seem to come into play at all. My daughter can’t handle ANY kind of spices or herbs. Even salt, pepper or italiano herb mixture is too much for her. She says pizza sauce hurts her so she eats garlic bread/Crazy Bread while her brother and I eat pizza. If I eat something with lemon pepper or other spices in it, she complains that it hurts her nose and one of us has to move across the room.
It wasn’t until my man started cooking for us that I actually realized that the 3 of us eat different versions or completely different foods for each meal. It stressed him out because his son will eat everything he makes (and sometimes bigger quantities depending on growth-spurt status!)…but it was just “normal” for me to make different things for each meal.
When the kids were really young, I mentioned my concern about my kids’ restrictive diets, especially my son’s. He spent about 2 years eating only fruit, rice cakes and pizza. That was it. The fruit didn’t bother me obviously, but rice cakes are really high in sodium, especially that my son would only eat the basil & tomato kind. The pizza wasn’t so bad because I could hide spinach and vegetables in the tomato sauce but still had pepperoni on it. The doctor wasn’t concerned because my son was healthy and growing fast so his diet wasn’t restricting his growth. I met with the dietitian at my doctor’s office too, and she was surprised to find a huge blackhole in the nutrition field specific to kids with special needs. As a parent, I know the Canadian Food Guide and I told her that before out meeting. Her research discovered that it’s not a nutrition thing, it’s a behavioural and desensitizing thing for our kids on the Autism Spectrum.
So my question still remains though…how do I incorporate some of the great ideas I heard today to increase the diet for my sensory sensitive kids?
I’m happy to be writing for a relatively new online magazine called Autism Parenting Magazine. They publish on iPad newstands, and soon will be available on Kindle and Android. This month’s magazine theme is “all things related to therapy”. My article:
I attended the local monthly autism support group this week. Normally, there has been two or three families but this week, there were nine different families; some of us who have been on the journey for a while, and two who just received diagnosis (last month!), and one who has been fighting for diagnosis for seven years (SEVEN YEARS!!) and is still fighting. There were lots of tears. Tears of being overwhelmed by the “newbies”; tears of understanding from us “veterans.”
One of the newbies is a grandmother to the little one who has been diagnosed. She has been a superstar and went through everything to get diagnosis for her grandson, while her daughter (the child’s mother) is still in denial that there’s anything “wrong” with her son. The child lives with his mom, and grandmother is very involved. Superstar grandmother!
While shedding tears, grandmother confided in the group that she’s worried about doing something “wrong” with her grandson but she refuses to keep him hidden from the world. He still needs to experience everything…grocery shopping, park, playing with other kids, etc. She asked the group what the best thing is to help support her grandson. I spoke up…love him, and get support for yourself, too.
As parents (grandparents/caregivers), we are so good at searching out for the newest and “best” therapies, tools and strategies for our children. I argue there’s something different we need to ensure is in place in all parenting plans for all parents’ of kids with special needs: Look after yourself too!
Subscribe through your iPad Newstand or click here to read the rest of the article (pages 17 and 18).