#Workshop – #Financial & #Family #Support for #Autism, #HamONT

Back to School 3

Excited to announce the first of a new workshop series being held in Hamilton, ON called “Financial & Family Support for Families Affected by Autism”. It’s being held on Tuesday, August 19, 2014 at St. John United Church, Hamilton ON, doors opening at 6:30pm.

The first workshop is called “Getting Ready For Back To School, and Finances“. More information: 2014 August – Financial & Family Support – online rsvp.

Speakers will discuss:

  • Back to School: preparing financially and emotionally – by yours truly… 😉
  • RDSP – Melissa Greaves, Primerica
  • Budgeting – Christine Lasebnik, Primerica

Please join the Facebook group created specifically for this workshop series: Autism – Family & Financial Workshops.

#Review: #Ontario #Science Centre – #ScienceOfRock

After our drive into Toronto, which was relatively painless I might add, the kids got really excited when we finally pulled into the parking lot at the Ontario Science Centre. My daughter is CRAZY about science so she was really looking forward to this excursion all week, telling everyone we were going.

Entering into the exhibit park of the Ontario Science Centre was a HUGE ruler that represented a ton of time, with fossils and rocks that were discovered to be about each time frame. My daughter literally mauled the dinosaur fossil along this ruler.

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We weaved through various areas until we found the Science of Rock exhibit.

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We checked out the different displays that went through recent decades of music, which included the popular and new instruments and bands for each era.

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Then we found the interactive areas and had LOTS of fun!

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The kids even let me “play” too…my daughter insisted on taking the photo (sorry it’s a bit fuzzy but my daughter is still learning how to take photos):

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Considering how much “video mixing” my son does on Youtube, it’s not surprising he gravitated towards the music mixing board.

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We also found an exhibit that was all about the human body. My daughter was so excited to see all the skeletons.

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There is an exhibit all about electricity too. My son gravitated towards the train (what is it about kids with Autism and trains?!).

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My daughter was chosen from the audience for the electricity demonstration…mainly because she has the PERFECT hair for the demonstration.

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They also found a static ball, which they were fascinated with…until they went to hold hands afterwards and my son got quite the shock (he was fine…just surprised).

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We had lunch there. I was impressed that there were different “stations”, which reduced the line ups. The food prices were comparable to movie theatre prices so it cost about $20 to feed the three of us. My daughter felt the macaroni was a bit dry, but my son and I enjoyed the pizza. It even took my daughter a while to eat the MONSTER-sized cookie! It was the size of her head!

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She even wanted a picture of our hands, with the entrance stamps:

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My daughter asked me to quote her about going to the Ontario Science Centre:

It was awesome! I really liked the skeleton. It was really cool and fun. I even got to rock climb. I loved playing the drums and singing, and I really liked the cookies and garlic bread.”

When I asked my (limited verbal) son if he had fun that day, he proudly said “yes!”. I asked if he wanted to go back and he said “yes!”.

We had such a great day that the kids can’t wait to go back again. Four hours went by in a flash, and I was able to keep my son on task or within easy reach, without being worried about him taking off. There was so much cuteness throughout the day, starting in the parking lot just to get inside. 😉

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Meghan and her children were given free admission in exchange for this review. All opinions are her own.

 

My Son’s #SpecialOlympics Day was Special for #Mom Too!

About a month before the end of school, a Special Olympics day was held in town. I didn’t know what to expect but I was really excited…probably more than I should have been, but it was the first time my son and I got to attend with his class because he had been in IBI therapy for previous years.

I was amazed at the sheer number of children and schools that were in attendance. My son is fortunate to be in an Autism-specific class so my man and I met them at the school that was hosting the event. It was hard to find parking! None of the spots in the school’s parking lot were available so we had to park a few blocks away. We found my son’s class, under a little pop-up sunshade. Apparently all other students were gathered in the school’s auditorium for Opening Ceremonies. With the hundreds of children, personally, I think my son’s class was smart NOT going in there!

Soon, we heard bagpipes as all the students were starting to file out of the school to the field.

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Each of the children had “passports” to get stickers at each activity. Needless to say, the kids loved choosing stickers for each one!

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One of the activities was a race for each class. The volunteers overseeing the race lined all my son’s class and explained that they will count to three then everyone run. They counted down, and all the kids ran…past the finish line and all the staff and parents started chuckling…no one had told our kiddos to stop at the finish line, so they just kept on running! LOL! The volunteers ran after them and told them all to stop. It was so cute!

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There was also beanbag toss, “javelin” (with a pool noodle) and ball throw:

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I was amazed at the shear numbers of children, and everyone’s different abilities, both visible and invisible to the eye. It was wonderful to see all the helpers (both school staff and volunteers for the day) supporting all these children to have fun for the day.

A quick shout out to my son’s amazing teacher…I LOVE this picture of her with one of my son’s friends. I think it perfectly shows how much she loves her job, and her kindness towards our kiddos. I wish I could clone her for EVERY single one of our kiddos on the Autism Spectrum!

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New #Printables Page

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Have decided to add a new Printables Page to my blog, where I can share print-items I find useful for myself, the kids and/or our home. Would love to hear from you whether you find the printables useful and/or if there are items you would like to use. I’m hoping this will be a very interactive part of my blog.

 

First set of printables include Summertime activities:

  • in the community
  • inside fun
  • let’s get outside

 

Enjoy!

 

#YMCPhotoADay: 10:15am

The lovely Christella from Crawl The Line is the new Tech Blogger at Yummy Mummy Club. Congrats! Since I’m part of the #YMCCommunity under the Special Needs tag (go figure!), I thought it was my “duty” to be part of this…plus, Christella is awesome! Before even getting to know Christella, I was hooked by her tag line on her website: “Ruining the reputation of mothers everywhere. Let’s hug it out.”. She is definitely my kind of peeps!

 

To celebrate her birthday month (Happy Birthday hunny!), she decided to create a #YMCPhotoADay challenge for May. I only read about it this morning on her personal Facebook so technically, I missed May 1st, which was to show your purse. Since I’ve been sick for what feels like forever, you DON’T want to see my purse right now…besides unfiled receipts and my wallet, it’s currently filled with cough drop wrappers and used tissues. Ewwww! It might be easier to throw it out. Ugh. Instead, I’ll reshare the link for when I “dumped my purse” for Kelley’s Breakroom last year.

 

Today, we are supposed to share a photo of what we were doing at 10:15am. I was waiting to hear back about a Skype meeting, which ended up being scheduled at 11am so, what did I do to pass the time? What any SAHM does…well, it’s what this SAHM does when she’s finally starting to feel better (I LOVE antibiotics!!!!) and am an avid baker…started making pumpkin loaf:

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Even used eggs from my parents’ farm:

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Now, time for my first chai in weeks. Again, I LOVE antibiotics!

Stay tuned throughout the month of May for the #YMCPhotoADay challenge.

YMC Photo a Day Challenge

Some photos will be on my blog. Others I’ll post directly to Twitter or my Facebook Page so be sure to Follow Me or Like me.

 

Overnight Outdoor Education Trip (#Autism) – Guest Post from Kim

A few weeks ago, I was having a tough day so I asked people who Like my Facebook Page to share some good news. Kim shared that her son had gone on his first overnight trip with his class. Fantastic! I asked if she would be willing to share how she and her son’s Developmental Learning team prepared everything so he could participate and enjoy the 3 day, 2 night trip. Below is her story. Thanks for sharing Kim!

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The day I found out about Liam’s Outdoor Ed trip I did not panic. I went into Autism mommy mode instead.   I started running scenarios through my head. With questions right alongside. Should he go? Would he enjoy it? Can they accommodate his needs? Would he panic? Would I end up driving to get him in the middle of the night?

 

Liam wanted to go. His friend Craig* (name changed) had made it sound like fun. He wanted to be with his friends. Liam wanted to do what his friends were doing. Liam had no idea what he was in for. Without having a prior experience with mental pictures to draw from…he simply had no idea.

 

Thankfully I have a great communication system with his Developmental Learning (DL) teacher. I sent her a note the next morning letting her know I wanted to get together to discuss the trip. She of course was all for it. We set up a time for about a week later due to March Break starting. In the meantime, she began asking the staff involved for information which included a basic breakdown of the typical day at the centre. It also included a diagram of the dorm rooms. She spoke with the school principal about accommodations for Liam’s needs.

 

Sitting down to talk with Liam’s DL teacher we went through and listed what his regular morning and evening routines generally were. We discussed what foods he likes and doesn’t like; and how his food can’t touch on his plate. We discussed some of the chores he is able to be responsible for at home (taking out the recyclables after school, putting out napkins for dinner, making his bed). We made lists of special items he would be allowed to bring, and what different things he should bring. We came up with a contact plan in case of homesickness.

 

The Outdoor Ed centre did their part too. They were able to give his teacher a basic run down of what meals were generally served. They sent tons of outdoor and indoor pictures from the centre to give Liam visuals to see before the trip. They explained what sort of helping chores the kids would be expected to participate in.

 

The biggest accommodation to Liam’s needs was in his sleeping quarters. Usually all the boys share one large bunk bed room; and the girls another large bunk bed room. There are also separate rooms where the teachers and parent volunteers would sleep. Liam and one friend were given a room in this area to reduce the noise and commotion triggers for him. With just the two of them it was a quiet place to go.

 

Prior to the trip story booklets were made up. One for each day that included a schedule with picture references to keep Liam on track and to help him see “what’s coming next”. Not being to know what is coming up later creates a lot of anxiety for him. He also a story booklet about homesickness.

 

We packed according to the list the centre provided (clothing, bedding). We also packed a digital clock (knowing what time it is at all times is important for him), his ear muffs (to block noise), his mealtime vitamins (can’t break dinner routine!), a rest toy (a stuffy of choice to sleep with), his chapstick and hand cream that he can’t seem to live without. He had a separate backpack with books, toys, and such for keeping busy during quiet time. He was allowed to bring his DS, but that was in the control of the E.A. that was along. Electronics are not allowed (except cameras) but as his iPad wasn’t allowed, this was as a reward system if needed. He never used it!

 

The other E.A. on the trip also was given my cell phone number to use as a message system before bed each night (3 day/2 night trip). In the case of mid-day homesickness Liam would have the option of texting me if needed.   Only heard from him at night! This E.A. sent texts to his teacher on how he was doing during the day, which she then passed on to me.

 

All in all, he did fantastic! He loved it, he enjoyed it, he PARTICIPATED! One of the teachers on the trip took pictures and Liam was in quite a number of them doing fun things. Reports from the teachers, the E.A.’s and some of the other students (I work with some of his classmates parents) was that he had a great time, it showed, and he was just a regular kid.

 

With lots of preparation by everyone this trip was a success.   No meltdowns or tantrums, he interacted and participated with a group, he tried new things, he always found foods he liked to eat, he wasn’t lonely or left out, he was helpful to others doing meal cleanup, he actually slept – away from home, with no family member. We are all so proud of him.

 

They say a picture is worth a thousand words……pictures from this adventure could write a novel.

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Kim is a married mother of three boys, and works fulltime outside the home. Her middle son (Liam) has diagnosis of “Autism – Pervasive Disorder” and was diagnosed near the end of grade four at 10 years old. Initially, he had been incorrectly diagnosed with ADHD and medicated with Adderal XL until almost a year ago. Since the corrected Autism diagnosis, he is no longer on medication. He is now placed in a Developmental Learning class while integrated in three of eight classes with his mainstream grade 6 class. He is now catching up with social skills, his reading skills have improved, and his speech and language workers continue to work with him as well.