Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Communicating with Mars


Communicating with Mars has its difficulties...sometimes Mars seems so far away; there are faulty lines, static, echoing, and outages. It can get a tad frustrating. Then there's the question of language. Am I using the right terminology. Is it getting lost in translation. Confusion and frustration reign for both of us.

For the last 2 days I've been at a basic training course for PECS (picture exchange card system). You have to think of the pictures as words.

I am feeling quite pumped up with the possibilities for my favourite little martian. I feel like I've been given a key to a map that may lead to the greatest treasure of all, my son's mind.

One important thing I learnt was that if a typically developing child can do "x" at a certain age then an autistic child of the same mental age is capable of that level of communication (even if it isn't the spoken language). Given that I was told Liam was not ready for speech pathology for so long, I found this information interesting, especially as the presenter's youngest 'client' had been a 15mth old child with autism. So why had I been told that my child wasn't ready?

I certainly have to thank the speech pathologist I had in group this year for demonstrating PECS to us.
Even us "normal" folk need visual demonstrations at times
to get it :) She also recommended I do this course.

The course was fascinating, it offered real hope and solutions, the presenter was entertaining and knowledgeable. Points were demonstrated with anecdotes, videos and contrasts with a typical situation often with humour (never making fun of the "student"). I would certainly recommend doing this course
For instance don't ever take a picture away because you don't want the child to ask for something as you cannot stop a verbal child from asking for something by removing that word from his vocabulary. She gave examples of behaviour deteriorating if it was decided "he doesn't need this." Imagine someone taking away your ability to communicate, you might want to throw something too.
An anecdotal example of this was a PECS book being removed so a child couldn't ask for chocolate, he found his old one and used that to ask for chocolate (so that book was removed). Finally he gave his mother a fridge magnet that said " Give me chocolate now, or someone will get hurt".

Socially it was good too, I met a lovely lady (Nathalie) who also has an autistic son, a couple of lovely speech pathologists also doing the course and a couple of people I already knew. And best of all I got a lovely kiss and cuddle when I got home. He was watching a favourite movie he didn't want to miss, so he would run up to me, put his arms up, give me a kiss, then wriggle like mad to be put down so he didn't miss his movie. Isn't that just too adorable.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Jackie's Birthday Giveaway

Over at Canton Village Quilt Works, Jackie is celebrating her birthday with a giveaway. To be in the chance to win one of her presents go here.
She has a 2 jelly rolls and a couple of books to win.
Be sure not to check out her older posts. I've just discovered this blog via my friend Vikki's blog
Jackie has lots of lovely eye candy on her blog...her paper piecing is magnificent.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Wish Quilt peeks

These pics are from my version (WISP) of Bronwyn Hayes' "The Wish Quilt" which features in Australian Homespun magazine (Vol9. Nos.7-9)

There you go Debbie (She told me how to crop my pics)...is this better? :). BTW have fixed up the other photos on previous blogs too :)

As you can see I've changed the houses on Bronwyn's quilt. They are a cross between her houses and those by Piece of Cake Designs featured in their "Welcome to the North Pole: Santa's Village in Applique" quilt (which I am yet to do). I also used my favourite variegated stranded red cotton by Anchor; hence the variegated reindeer :)

When I showed my son Simon and his fiancee, Beth the quilt I mentioned I could add more names to it. "Are you trying to tell me something?" he cheekily asked.
Well I had presented him and his older brother with a new brother at the ages of 19 & 22 respectively, but that was almost 5 years ago now!
"No, I am not having another baby, I'm leaving that up to my sons and their wives" I grinned.
He laughed.

Hugs n Kisses giveaway

If you want to be in the running to win this lovely Christmas BOM by Helen of Hugs and Kisses go here. Which reminds me, a couple of years ago I made Liam Helen's Santa sack (still haven't done the label as I ran out of time that particular Christmas). Its a gorgeous design and I love the quirky Santa (another one is in this BOM). Liam loves the bells on the sack most of all. I must take a photo of it and post it on my blog soon. In fact its the only bag or 3D object I've made. Admittedly I had a little help from the Linda at Missy Moo.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009


These are designs by Natalie Lymer of Cinderberry Stitches. It calles "The 3 Sisters". As I am one of 3 sisters i thought it appropriate to make and give to my sisters. The top one is Debs and the bottom one is Jens. Also fittingly as they were both instumental in me taking up sewing.
I also thought I'd show them as we went to another set of 3 sisters birthdays on Sunday. More on that later. I need to download photos (ie get Kris to do it or show me how)

In the meantime, I'm happy to have found fresh supplies of ENSURE, but if it hadn't been for Mum I would have been dangerously low by now, especially as Liam has been sick recently. The only thing he ate on Sunday was his egg-free, dairy-free, nut-free chocolate cake, but at least he had had his supplement.

Also I have been a tad obsessed with reading lately. Fittingly there was the book called Addiction, Dear Fatty then Kate Morton's latest. Then I got the twilight series of books by Stephanie Meyer for my birthday. They are sooo addictive and I am not generally one who reads books with vampires...but Vikki & Beth & Nikki all loved them so I thought Why not? Kris is less impressed with my obsession and Liam keeps sitting on me, though I also caught him with the one I'm reading at the moment. I wonder what he thought?

But I have finished sewing on the houses and stars on The Wish Quilt (pics also still on camera).
Oh well....

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Visit Home

Adam & Naomi
Adam & Liam

There's a warm contented buzz in the house when the boys are home. There is laughter and chatter, hugs and comfortable silences. Liam is also much more animated. Brothers pick him up more and swing him around, though he's getting too heavy for some of the rougher stuff he, but they may no longer enjoy so much. Its less airborne than grounded now, but he persists. And he does reward them with gleeful sounds, snuggles and the odd kiss.
Then theres the dogs to see, autumn colours to enjoy, letting your Dad overdo it at tennis, tennis with Simon, inlaws, parents, grandparents, funky new shoes for Naomi as she starts xmas shopping in the city and then the real reason for this trip south.
The Thomas girls are celebrating their 16th, 18th & 21st birthdays respectively.
Teachers had asked for them not to go to Melbourne, but they were the guests of honour...so no school for a week on their return to Canberra (in case of swine 'flu). We have watched these girls grow up and we have stayed with their family in various locations in the country, though the boys didn't come to Darwin with us. The saying that friends are the family you choose perfectly expresses how we feel about them.

Mum to the rescue

Thank God for Mothers....where would any of us be without them.

Liam relies on a dietary supplement for his health..when he is ill it is often the only thing he will have. He has been quite ill lately and with Ensure (his supplement) in short supply and seemingly unavailable, my wonderful Mum managed to get some through a little local pharmacy who ordered it in for her, from a supplier that had some left. Hopefully the situation will soon be rectified. Anyone with dietary and health issues knows how important these nutritional supplements are.

Love you Mum

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Can't wait: Kris has gone to the airport to pick up Adam & Naomi.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Double Birthdays

Kris & Adam at Adam's & Naomi's wedding
The Newlyweds: There is little more special in life than to see your child so happy
Adam & Simon (our angel & our imp) 1987: brothers and best mates.
Adam 5months

Kris and I had a lovely day. We dropped Liam off at kinder and went to see a film (we had just enough time). Kris said it was like going on a date and we hadn't been to the cinema for about 18 months. It did feel quite decadent. Our little gorgeousness smelt a rat though, and was reluctant to let us go at Kinder even though he loves Kinder. He's not stupid...the rhythm of the day was different. Then in the evening Simon came round.

Adam, our eldest son was born on his father's 21st birthday. Kris has always said he was the best birthday present he ever got. I came close with Simon though, but he was a few days early, but at least he got to take us home from the hospital on his birthday. He must have been pretty excited too, because he forgot to bring me shoes and we ran out of petrol on the way home LOL.
Mum rang the hospital shortly after Adam was born. Kris was so excited he said "hes got little toenails and fingernails and eyebrows...My first impression was overwhelming rush of love...I was so surprised as I didn't think I possessed a maternal bone in my body, but here I was instantly in love with my son. Even with a broken heart you can love someone new...and Dad would have adored him.
He used to do the most gorgeous pouts as a baby...maybe he still does LOL...and the "Oh Mother " looks I used to get. Apparently I am the most annoying of his parents.
Adam was the ideal first-born. He was sensible, diplomatic, took himself off to bed when tired and has a wonderful attitude to life. At times I've thought he's more sensible and mature than I am. Though he also gave be one of my biggest frights. Imagine waiting to catch a train. You hear it coming and move to the edge of the platform only to see your son streak across in front of it.
When he started going out with Naomi he took the precaution of telling her all the embarassing stories about himself he could remember, he figured it would be much more embarassing coming from us. It didn't remember them all though hee hee hee.
Though I will never forget the interminable questions as to where every car was going, to which I eventually replied I don't know.
"But, Mummy" he said "you know the alphabet".