Faith, Love and Respect for ALL

Archive for the ‘Fun Activities’ Category

Pirate Princess Clown

Just a cute little share…

Ms. L took this picture of Beth during their session today. Her imaginative play gets more creative and fun everyday. As her imagination grows, so does her vocabulary. Just one of the many reasons we LOVE Play-Based Therapy.

imaginitve play

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Autism Proud – Journey With Us – by Jest Tu Positive by Dorothy Stronglove is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.

Pulling and Pushing for Peace

Not that it is anything new, but today was really bad with the girls’ sibling rivalry. They could not be anywhere near each other without meltdowns, or UFC style fighting. When they are in this kind of a mood, it is like a war-zone in our house, and I find myself constantly praying for peace, while trying to keep Henry calm.

Since I have been doing Home Therapy with my fun tools, we have discovered that the girls like to do my exercises too. My newest Home Therapy Tool is a measuring tape, which I use with the bar for their swing to simulate a pulley. I took one to work the pulley, and Henry took the other to work the resistance band. When they got too worried about what sister was doing, we switched. Although there were still some tears and yelling, it was a sensational way for them to work off some pent-up energy and aggression.

Once the pulling fun lost its peaceful effect, we took them shopping at Costco. Both girls love heavy-lifting and helping. So putting items in the cart at Costco makes them extremely happy. Anne is content to sit in the cart the entire time and watch the chaos that surrounds her. Beth on the other hand, wants to push the cart, but she settles for helping take stuff off the shelves; until after we check out, because it is not safe for her to be walking around there. Once we have the cart packed, then she gets to help push it out to the car; it is her favorite part of the trip, and she is always in a phenomenal mood afterwards.

When we got home there were still moments filled with sisterly angst, but the choo-choo-box-train quelled most of the unrest. They gave their animals rides in the train; they pushed each other, and even got rides from Daddy. It was a wonderful, mostly peaceful, way to end the day. They even enjoyed a bubble bath together, with no fighting, which is a rarity.

A picture of our day, creatively Pulling and Pushing for Peace:

Image

On a side note… Beth was so excited about the watermelons she helped Daddy pick out, carry and cut up; that she actually ate some and said it was delicious. This is HUGE, because she has always refused to taste it in the past. I am trying not to get too excited, but can’t help hoping this is a sign of good things to come, and perhaps her eating more healthy foods.

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Autism Proud – Journey With Us – by Jest Tu Positive by Dorothy Stronglove is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.

Boo’s Bubble Brigade is Stepping Up For Autism

The last two years we have participated in the Chicago Autism Speaks Walk. In 2011 we walked with our former playgroup to support the organizer’s son. At that time we were unaware that Beth was Autistic; it would be another 2 months before we would even call Early Intervention for an evaluation. We were amazed by the 15,000+ people in attendance, and it was a wonderful feeling to part of something so monumental. We did the entire route, but were one of the last families to finish because our daughter required many breaks, and by the end of the walk she was so overwhelmed and out of sorts that we headed home; passing up the opportunity to join our friends at the cool party that was at the end of the walk.

In 2012, with a fresh diagnosis of Autistic Disorder for Beth, we supported the Walk Now For Autism Speaks campaign. We planned to walk with the playgroup again, this time supporting Beth and the other woman’s son. We did the fundraising, and even had team shirts made, but were unable attend the event due to inclement weather.

In 2013, to continue our efforts in promoting Autism Awareness, Acceptance and Action we have decided to participate in a walk supporting a local organization that assists Autistic individuals of ALL ages and ALL abilities reach their God-given potential. Here is an excerpt from the Little Friends About Us page, which describes this extraordinary organization:

“Little Friends has been serving children and adults with autism and other developmental disabilities for over 40 years. Based in Naperville, Little Friends operates 11 dynamic programs that include three schools, vocational training programs, community-based residential services and the Little Friends Center for Autism”

This year, we will participate in Little Friends fifth annual Step Up for Autism walk on Sunday, June 23, 2013; which offers a fun-filled morning for families along the Riverwalk in downtown Naperville.

Having attended many seminars and trainings conducted by the staff of Little Friends, I am excited and proud to support fundraising efforts for this phenomenal organization. Even if I had not already been acquainted with many of their remarkable staff, the mission statement for Little Friends would have been enough to inspire us to support them. Here is their magnificent mission statement:

“It is the mission of Little Friends to empower children and adults with special challenges to live, learn, work and participate in the community. We believe everyone should have the opportunity for a rich, full life in their own community with meaningful work, their choice in living arrangements, an education, strong relationships, fun and laughter. Just like you and me.”

On June 23rd Boo’s Bubble Brigade, our team of family and friends, will spend an Au-Some morning helping to ensure the future availability of Little Friends outstanding services for Autistic individuals, their families and their community. We will Step Up, bubbles in hand, and help build a brighter future for everyone.

If you are in the Chicagoland area, please consider joining us, or creating your own team to Step Up For Autism. If you are not in the Chicagoland area, but would like to donate to this extraordinary organization, you can donate to Boo’s Bubble Brigade or make a General Donation to Little Friends. If you are inclined to pray, please keep this amazing organization and everyone they touch in your prayers. We pray they meet their fundraising goal of $175,000 in order to continue assisting Autistic individuals reach their God-given potential through nurturing programs, which promote Pride and Respect for ALL.

Boos Bubble Brigade Rainbow Heart Bubbles

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Autism Proud – Journey With Us – by Jest Tu Positive by Dorothy Stronglove is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.

A Day Out With Grammy

The girls and I planned a day out with Grammy today. Our plan was to play at a local Children’s Museum, then have lunch. However, nothing ever goes as planned.

The Children’s Museum was a total bust. There were two huge field-trips there, and the place was packed. Between the noise level and all the people Beth could not handle it. We stayed about 30 minutes, if that, and had to leave. She was so overwhelmed she could not focus on anything and was just running laps around the second floor.

We went to Plan B and drove out to one of her favorite McDonald’s Play-lands, where we spent two wonderful hours playing, munching, laughing, and being silly with Grammy. Although Anne could not get past the first tube, she was perfectly happy staying on that level, playing guard to the “castle” and making numerous trips up/down the stairs. After 2 hours Beth was running herself ragged, and we had to leave before she overheated or got sick. She had a massive meltdown, and obsessed about “playing” until bedtime.  Thankfully our new adventure to find chocolate (Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups), did have her smiling a bit in between her sad moments. Plus, she fell asleep for a bit in the car, which I had hoped would help her feel better; but when she woke up and found Grammy gone, that was whole other issue, and many tears were shed because she missed Grandma.

The five hours we spent at home until bedtime were rough, to say the least. Beth laid on the couch bundled up in a blanket sad and crying on/off for quite some time. When she was up and moving around, Anne could not be anywhere near her, or she melted down. Poor Anne doesn’t understand how they can be playing one minute and the next Beth wants nothing to do with her. We had some moments of happy, like when Daddy surprised us by coming home early, but even that could not pull our girl completely out of her funk.  Unfortunately, she went to bed a sad, exhausted little girl. I can only pray that she gets some quality rest tonight, and wakes up a bit more regulated tomorrow.

Most people do not see the fallout of an exciting day for us. Most people think that because Beth had fun that everything was great. Most people do not know the full extent of what the fun-time does to her. I felt bad for my mother-in-law today, because she was heartbroken to see the extent of the post-activity meltdowns. It killed her to hear Beth crying, sobbing, gasping, and choking because it was time to leave. Every time Beth sobbed: “I want to play” I saw the pain on momma’s face.  Overall it was a wonderful day, but it was followed by our usual aftermath, which for us is exhausting, but normal. For Grammy it seemed to be a sad, rough ending to a great afternoon.

Today got me thinking… How much do we shelter family and friends from seeing and/or knowing the true extent of our children’s suffering? Do we perhaps lessen the the  magnitude of sensory overload to protect our loved one’s from enduring the heartbreak we feel when we cannot comfort our children? Although I am always honest about Beth’s limitations in social situations, I think I hold back from telling people how bad it really can be; because I do not want them to focus on the negatives of Autism, I want them to see all the positives and wonder Beth can give the world.

Honestly, I envy the families who can go anywhere, at anytime and not have to worry about the effects of the day. This is not a luxury we have, we must evaluate every situation and decide if the activity is worth the potential ramifications for Beth.  One day we will figure out how to best handle the fun activities, and minimize the meltdowns that follow. Hopefully one day Beth will be able to tell us herself, what she is capable of handling without being overloaded to the point of meltdown. I am not sure when, or if, that day will come, but until then we keep trying and praying, while comforting our girl the best we can.

As is typical in our journey, today was a roller-coaster ride filled with highs and lows, but overall both girls came away with some marvelous memories of a Fun Day Out with Grammy. We are very blessed to have love and laughter in our life, and cannot let a little rain keep us from dancing under the rainbow.

rollercoaster

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Autism Proud – Journey With Us – by Jest Tu Positive by Dorothy Stronglove is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.

I’m an Oogie Mom

On Friday the 13th, we ventured out for a family first. While Anne enjoyed a day in the land of spoiled, aka the grandparent’s house, we took Beth to her first movie. What made this day even more special was that it was also my first Blogger event. We were not sure how Beth would do, but we decided it was time to push the boundaries of our family comfort zone and at least try to attend the full event. If it proved too much for her sensory system, then we would simply make apologies and leave, and do what was necessary to help her regulate.

With any event or outing, preparation is key to a successful venture, this is even more important when you have a child with Special Needs. Preparation for us is a little more time consuming because our Autistic girl has significant sensory issues as well, and her Sensory seeking/avoiding behaviors can fluctuate very quickly, so we must be prepared for just about anything. That is when the research began.

I accepted the invitation and registered for the event. We would be attending a screening of The Oogieloves in The Big Balloon Adventure, a new interactive movie coming out Oogust 29th. Not only were we going to be able to view the entire movie six weeks before its release, but the Bloggers would also have a roundtable discussion with creator Kenn Viselman concerning Quality Family Programming. I did not want my excitement over this unique opportunity to cloud my judgment where Beth’s capabilities were concerned, so I began exploring the movie.

First up was the website: www.oogieloves.com. As soon as it came on the screen both my girls were mesmerized. I cannot even tell you how many times we watched the trailer and ran the gamut of the song/video selection: www.oogieloves.com/songs-videos.html. Now at this point most parents would be running from the room screaming, but I was intrigued, and my girls were obviously interested as well. So I explored more and found something amazing, a Parent Guide to the movie. VERY Cool! If you want to learn about Lovelyloveville and its residents, while understanding the experiences Kenn and the rest of his team envision for families, please read this: www.oogieloves.com/Oogieloves_parent_guide.pdf. After reading the parent guide and watching the preview/videos many more times, I was sold and we were definitely going to this Au-Some event.

We arrived at the movie theater and there were already many families there. There was a buzz of excitement as the kids saw the displays, crafts, food, etc… Henry and I had a light, healthy breakfast snack while Beth, who never eats in such a busy environment, simply played with her ball and drank her water. Then it was time to split up.

Henry and Beth stayed with the other caregivers, kids and counselors, while I and the other Bloggers went with Kenn and his team. He told me that they could not be in the room for long periods, because it was too loud for Beth, plus she was getting overloaded from all the people and excitement. Therefore, they spent most of the 45 minutes playing and running around the theater lobby, thankfully AMC has a very cool lobby!

I spent my 45 minutes listening to Kenn and Elaine talk; I was filled with skepticism, humor, hope, etc… Although I wanted to believe everything they were saying, I could not forget that he is a marketing genius and knows how to sell his product. For all my doubt and skepticism, I must say I was won over by the end of the meeting, but decided to reserve final judgment until seeing the movie, because I thought it best to let the product speak for itself.

We collected our families and headed to the theater where we would view the movie. Beth was very excited and pretty regulated thanks to all the sensory input from exploring the lobby with such zeal. We settled into our seats, which she was amazed by; she loved that is she scooted back it would squeeze her. She LOVES to be squished; it provides great proprioceptive input for her system. She also loved the dark room, bright colors on the screen and surround sound. Fortunately this day, she was in full-on Sensory Seeking mode and was eating up all the wonderful craziness. She settled happily into her chair with her Veggie Puffs and Popcorn. Although she said the popcorn was “Yuck!” she ate the entire container of puffs in about twenty minutes. Coincidentally that was as long as she was able to stay in her seat too. So we got up and started moving around. We spent the rest of the movie going up and down the stairs, dancing, trying out new seats and just running off some steam. Amazingly enough, due to all the physical activity she was allowed to have during the viewing, the movie actually held her interest. She LOVED it! When the other children would get up to sing and dance with their on-screen friends, she would stop, then start flapping and bouncing. In case you don’t know, we have a saying in the Autistic Community, “I get flappy when I’m happy!” Several days later, if she sees her poster, she has to watch the clips online and actually says “Oogieloves” and starts singing,  which for a child who barely was able to communicate a year ago is HUGE.

I can definitely say that everything Kenn spoke about in our discussion was spot on, and he truly delivered on all his promises of pure family entertainment that is truly G-rated. This movie teaches children to make friends with peers of all backgrounds, love and accept everyone, and embrace teamwork; the characters do this and more, simply because it is the right thing to do. Henry and I really enjoyed the movie as well and talked about it most of the afternoon, it was VERY well done and the best part was every child was free to just be a kid enjoying a movie without typical “adult” rules. Kenn summed it up best in our talk when he said: “Just as it’s every parents choice whether or not to take their children to movies; it is every child’s right to decide how they will interact with that movie.”  This truly G-rated movie is perfect for children and their innocent view of the world. I hope to be able to go back as a family of 4 when it opens, because Anne would go nuts for the vibrant characters and lively music. It was very refreshing to be able to watch a movie with my EXTREMELY literal thinker and not have to worry about her hurting herself or anyone else because of something she saw in the movie. We loved it, and highly recommend it to all parents who are looking for a fresh approach to movie going and an honestly G-rated film for their children.

We went into the day hoping for the best, but prepared for the worst. I am happy to say that the day was a HUGE success, and the worst part of the day was she didn’t want to leave. So we forgot her ball, and I had to spin us in circles out of the theater, but it was actually a fun way to get to the car. Although our less than typical exit did earn us some strange looks, we were enjoying our Adventurific day too much to pay any attention. A HUGE Thank You to Kenn and his team for giving our family another first that was truly memorable and Au-Some!!

If you would like to find about more about the Oogieloves and their Sparkiliciousness, Adventurific, Scientastic approach to life, check them out on Facebook: www.facebook.com/TheOogieloves and/or Twitter: www.twitter.com/theoogieloves Their hashtags are #oogieloves and #ratedGGG

 

**Disclaimer – We were provided free tickets to the event and were compensated for our time and attendance. Please note that although we were paid for participation on that day, it has in no way influenced my opinions that were shared in this piece.**
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Autism Proud – Journey With Us – by Jest Tu Positive by Dorothy Stronglove is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.

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