Thursday, 24 January 2013

24/1 Snow and The Sun! A great combination :)

A fabulous week of snow which makes you feel like a kid again.  I discovered an activity yesterday that I can't believe I have not tried yet, jumping on a trampoline with my two boys while it is covered in three inches of snow and 30 sponge balls, and having a snowball fight.  Can't remember when I last giggled so hard.  My friend tells me her dog loves going on the trampoline in the snow, but Lucie looked at us like we had lost our marbles, and was quite happy running round the garden burying her toy bone in the snow while we embarrassed ourselves shamelessly.

So that was snow, but today we also have sun, as Lucie was featured in todays The Sun newspaper, which is also seen online here,  Click Here for Article  I was contacted a couple of weeks ago through my connection as a volunteer for the Scope charity Face-to Face scheme, as I am a befriender who supports other parents with disabled children.  When the journalist heard the words kid and dog, he got diverted and wanted to also know about Lucie.  So the article turned into an assistance dogs article, though delighted Scope got a link, as they have been a great charity supporting our family throughout.  Scope Link

I love the picture they put in.  We had a wonderful photographer, Bernard Ashton who came to our  house and set up a mini studio.  He was so great with the kids.  We are such a nightmare to photograph as between two children with no eye contact, a confused dog, and parents trying to retain calmness and control, it was not exactly your average photo shoot but I was thrilled with the results.  Taking any photos of our family is a challenge.  I hope Bernard won't mind me showing you a couple of the photos, but in exchange, I'll post his link if you are looking for a lovely photographer, great with kids and animals!

So that is another tick in the box of raising awareness of autism and the incredible work that dogs can do to help people.  Just to have a positive news story out there about disability is uplifting, and show our kids in a happy way.  I am so keen to keep sending out the message that while disability is tough, there are great things going on out there, and charities who work hard to make it easier and support you, its just making sure everyone finds out about it, and they keep getting their funding to keep going.  For me getting the message out in the media has been about trying to ensure  other people can have the opportunities we have had.  I would never have heard about Support Dogs had I not been handed an article in Take a Break magazine, so you never know who reads these things, and can be directed in a new way to help them.

I suppose the media stuff can do so much to bring about awareness, but personally I am getting more pleasure from the talks I do on autism.  Whilst it doesn't reach the same numbers, (though I was told recently I have spoken now to around a thousand people, so thats a start!), you get more depth you can share, and more direct feedback.  I think if I had to work out where I want to go next with raising awareness it would be developing the talks.  I'd love to do more in a commercial or professional setting, maybe in workplaces, looking at how ASD people can work really effectively in a commercial environment.  I seem to always be thinking of new ways to avoid doing housework :)   I should really finish my current venture writing my fiction book, which stalled a little over Christmas, before deciding what I can get my teeth into next.  I say book, its more of a long Word Document, as I doubt I will ever let it see the printer, but I highly recommend writing.  Its so relaxing, and my fingers get exercise, so that's almost being active.

Lots of snow forecast tomorrow, I wonder if there are any sledges left in the shops - not for the kids - for me and Lucie ;), that dog is a giddy kipper in the snow, I'm looking forward to the morning walk.....poor sheep, they do look at us strangely...

If you are new to this blog and would like to see some videos of Alex and Lucie meeting, and seeing Alex talking with Lucie, and their days out together, you can follow the You Tube videos below.

Wednesday, 9 January 2013

9/1 Happy New Year! No January blues here..

And finally a new post!! And a very Happy New Year to you all.  Yes, I know it has been about a month since I last wrote, but what a month it has been.  Today both boys went back to school, so now in the peace and calmness I have come home to make a lovely cup of tea which I will enjoy, listening to the total silence around me.  Well, the serenity might be slightly over stated, as it is not even 9.30 am, and I have already been up for four hours.  I have done the dishwasher, am on my third load of washing, stripped the beds, made three breakfasts, two pack lunches, dressed two boys, done some admin, taken the dog for a mini walk before the big walk later, and am on my third cup of tea.  But that is relatively serene in this house :)  Dave is away for a few days with work, so no one to blame for the mess but me.....

Christmas went very well, and I can say I don't think Alex could have been any happier and calm.  He spent most of the holidays singing away.  His language is coming on so fast, I am astounded on a daily basis, and keep having to double take to realise what he has just said.  Little sentences appearing, pure magic.  What is beautiful is you would think we would get immune to the excitement after a while as his language develops, but the truth is I can still feel as tearful and proud over a new progression now, as when he first started making sounds.  Alex is passing milestones I never assumed he would reach in his whole life, so I am just energised with the prospect of what is to come.  Well, that is the good side.  The bad side is all these new skills are also making him more challenging, and his behaviour is getting very hard to handle.  Hitting out at anyone who comes close, breaking a lot of things regularly, causing massive damage round the house, and developing a very strong will.  I tried another round of toilet training over the holidays,  which was met with a very defiant 'No!'. Great communication, but not exactly progress.  So with each leap of ability we get a mixed bag of fantastic new skills, which brings on their own frustrations and behaviours.

These pictures are from the holidays. The first is when I found Alex in the kitchen, having emptied two weeks of his prescription nutritional shakes out, and mixed with four pints of milk, leaving a nice congealed mess............and the second photo is finding him in his bedroom having done a little rearranging of his things :)

Thomas also started at a new school this week.  The last week of term was a whirlwind, and one of the many reasons I have been hiding under a rock for the last few weeks.  It has been a really tough decision to move him again, which is something I never thought I would do, but we had to weigh up all the issues, and make the call.  The phrase' damned if you do, damned if you don't ' springs to mind.  But having started him at the new school, it immediately feels a good call.  It would just be good if I didn't spend my entire life beating myself up about the decisions I make.  Its one thing fighting like hell for your children, its another to feel the confidence you are fighting for the right thing, and not even time will tell.  We call it 'Sliding Doors', after the film of the same name showing how you can never know what the other path would be in life if you had taken it.  I console myself with the thought that you make the very best of whichever path you are on, and find a way of making it work.  So I will do all I can to help Tom settle in, though I suspect he won't need my help, and will do a great job of making new friends and making his mark.  Seven year olds are far more resilient than 39 year olds :)

Lucie has been a pleasure over the holidays.  Alex keeps going into the cupboard under the stairs to pull out her jacket to take her out.  She is really settled now and fits in with our daily life with ease.  It has taken a few months, but I need to plan and think about her less now, as it all becomes second nature.  So in dog world, no news is good news.

Well, as today is my first time alone at home for a month, I have a tonne of jobs to do, so better get a plan together. No January blues for me, its all feeling rather bright today :)