Raising little Westies, and life as parent of a special needs son

Monthly Archives: June 2011

Tiny Giants

Yesterday, again, we ventured out to the “Land of the Giants” otherwise known as “Rooty Hill” or “(the) BOP”.

We had a great day with Princess P playing in her Junior AFL game, then joining Magpie and a bunch of Auskickers for a skill training session with some help from the GWS Giants. Almost every parent there looked around at least once during the morning and said something like “it’s a waste if they leave this place unused any weekend of the year“, in no small part because it was so darn well run compared to events at random local council playing fields.

The day even started at a moderately civilised 10:00 am.

Which left plenty of room for the evil mischief genies to run riot between getting out of bed, having breakfast, and getting into the car. In fact by the time we were in the car I was starting to wonder what the devil we were leaving the house for. But the option is staying home.

It turned a bit chaotic when the kids weren’t both at the same place, back-to-back, but this meant I got to really watch how much better Princess P is now than she was last year – or even, at the start of this year. Apparently the coach noticed too, because she got a coaches award (again)! It’s great because, although her skills might not be the same as some of the boys she’s playing with, her attention to what the coach wants each player to do is fantastic, and she thinks more about her game than a lot of the boys do (who’d rather just kick the bladder right out of ball , no matter where it goes).

So there I was, with Bec having headed some other direction with Magpie (to the other field for Auskick), with BTB Fan on the side of a footy field. With no convenient play area, he did what boys do and turned some random thing into a toy.

He happened to choose “the fence” – which I’m guessing was at least 2m high. His game consisted of climbing to the top, then letting go.

Great. huh?

So I spent the morning alternating between watching footy, and assisting someone who didn’t want assistance to not fall down a fence. Then when the Junior game finished we wandered over to the skill session, which was not so spectacular for Princess P’s age group but really good for Magpie & his team-mates. This gave BTB Fan the perfect opportunity to do something that he hardly gets any decent opportunity to do: roll down the hill.

Clearly there’s some sensory seeking going on there, and I know it was the type of thing I loved doing at that age too. So why is it so unusual and why did so many people give us strange looks that he is allowed to “play“?

For anyone not already knowing: The GWS Giants are the newest team in the AFL due to join  the main competition in 2012.


Sounds like “Progress”

Some of my recurring themes around here are “define your on success” and the importance of monitoring, reviewing and evaluating if you ever want to reach that success.

Not long ago I posted about my concerns that my son was going to have so much trouble learning to read, he has now found himself a favourite book – “When I’m feeling SAD” by Trace Moroney.

So, between his book about a rabbit learning what it means to feel sad, that it’s OK to feel sad, and some things we can do to move on from feeling sad, and the flash-cards I was using two years ago with Magpie, and four years ago with Princess P, we seem to be getting somewhere. At current count, about 20 words of three letters or less that he can not only read from the flash-cards, but also pick out of a book that’s really laid out to be read to a child, rather than read by a child. And sometimes, we can even find the same words in other books, too… like Go, Dog, Go! or other Suess classics.


So in all, a pretty darn good effort for a lad who’s learning to say some of these words at the same time he’s learning to read them. Well done buddy!

Another great excuse for shin-ding!

Most my regulars already know about the fantastic web group that Nicole English kicked off over at the Autism United Ning community. Over the long weekend we celebrated not just Queen Elizabeth’s birthday, but also a certain Bogan Princess  (complete with sash presentation). Happy Big For OH!

For the second time, a whole bunch of people who usually only meet each other on-line met at Club B, bringing along a whole bunch of citizens of the spectrum. This time, the weather kept everyone indoors… which did bring about a few concerns but they were pretty minor really! Far fewer trains than last time, but they still made an appearance. It was also nice to see another bloke, not just Westie & Brian. Maybe next time at Club B there’ll be another one… or two… no pressure!

It was a fantastic evening, and a fantastic opportunity to catch up with everyone shortly after the first confirmed “in the wild” sighting of Valerie Foley’s The Autism Experience in an actual book-shop. Budding author that she is, quite a few signed copies were presented, and there was a lot of discussion of how well travelled, dog-eared, and tabbed for future continuing reference each persons copy had already become.

Oh and to the management of Club B, it seems you’re definitely in the sweet spot for the Sydney chapter of Autism United (we need t-shirts, or bag patches or something). On behalf of all the Westies, I hope you open the club to us again and again…

Well that’s over!

Yes, there has been a mighty break in this blog for the last little while. Work has been “that place you only go because they’re paying you to”, with long days and everyone wanting everything yesterday.

We have been doing HEAPS! The kids have been apparently doing fantastically considering their “new kids” status, which must have disapeared by now because everyone seems to know them. Princess P and Magpie have both been given what boil down to citizenship awards, given they have had to get settled into a new school this has been a great achievement.

Bec & I were both there to see the awards being handed out, and we were over the moon to see a boy from BTB Fan’s class going up with the kids his age to get his award too.

We already knew from BTB Fan’s teacher and communications book that fitting in with the school expectations is a very important part of being in the support classes. But rather than it all be based on losing privileges – which certainly does happen, including for some reason to our angel of a son! – it’s great to see that the support class kids have their own goals to meet, and it comes with the same award the rest of the school receives.
So now that I’m back to my more normal working hours… I will be back here more often!

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