Breakfast Menu

Sophia asked me how I was this morning and I told her the truth, that I was having a hard day emotionally, but that I would be ok.

We allow our kids to know that we all have rough days and it is ok to allow yourself to feel and work through your emotions, whatever they may be.

She gave me a hug and told me she loved me and that she would go do her work now.

She toddled off and did her workbook and then I saw her start drawing something.

A short while later, she walked up and handed me a menu and asked me what I would like to order.

I played along of course, and then before I knew it she had cooked me a lovely breakfast.

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I asked her why, and she said, “I know you miss your Mom, so I want to make you what you ate with her, to make you happy.”

She had listened when they read my letter to mom at the celebration of life. In it, I mentioned things I missed, and one of those things, was having burnt toast and scrambled eggs together. She has made this for me a couple times since. It really warmed my heart and we had a lovely breakfast together.

Whomever it was that claimed Autistics lack empathy, was sorely mistaken.

What she displayed today was complete selflessness and compassion.

It turned my whole day around and transformed my sadness into gratitude.

 

Goomy, Leafeon and an AJMV -Radioactive

In her science book today we did some pretty cool science visual illusions and experiments. It was interesting noting how her mind can only pick up certain shapes and the others must be pointed out, but even after pointed out, they disappear again to her if we turn the page and go back. (We will do some more of these to see if she increases the ability to spot the other shapes with repeated exposure to new ways of seeing.)

Somehow I forgot to post a picture of ‘Goomy’ (a Pokémon) that Sophia did last week.

goomy1ajartstudioThis art was created using the Paint programme in Animal Jam. Isn’t it glorious?

Today, she drew a Leafeon (another Pokémon) but tried something different using SAI Paint Tool. She decided to lighten the opacity of the outlines and it looks amazing. She has developed a new style again, and it is pretty cool to witness her developing art style.

This character is based on Leafeon and she calls it Fern. She will be trying some other positions and backgrounds while she is developing this OC.

Also today she finished an AJMV (Animal Jam Music Video) she was working on. It is a remix of the song Radioactive by Imagine Dragons (one of her favourite bands.)

Here is the link to it on her YouTube channel.

This AJMV was done using Screencast-o-matic to capture the green screens from Animal Jam, and Camtasia Studios for putting it together.

I think she did an amazing job with her colours, concept, wording and keeping the rhythm.

I also love the way she is moving the character around on the page and adding more large wording.

She had a missed typo (cathing instead of catching) but she knows, and will be editing that.

She is upstairs doing more artwork, so I will just let her continue with her creative flow.

Sophia is in the creative zone today, and that is great for me, because I am too.

 

Waffles, Mini Golf and Wings of Fire

We had a great family day yesterday.

It started out with this cutie reading the rest of her book she got out yesterday.

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Then because she was so cute in her “Will wake for waffles” jammies, that I decided to make us all some Gluten Free Waffles -which made her very happy indeed.

We did some things around home as Daddy had lawns to mow and then he surprised me by washing my car.

Sophia was so excited by sight and the noise of the water, that Brent kept spraying the window and she would squeal and hop around.

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I ended up with clean windows and front porch as well from their antics. Plus we had one very excited and happy little Kit.

After lunch, we went and collected Max from his mother’s house and Brent surprised us again; this time by taking us to mini golf.

I have not been to mini golf since I have been in New Zealand and I think Sophia was 3 the last time we went, so it was a great surprise.

We have an amazing little course here in town, so it was a great local experience. I loved all the landmarks in the course and the little lessons Max and Brent had about each landmark.

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After Riverland, we went to get ice creams from the dairy to cool off. Ice cream is just so much more delicious from the dairy.

After we got home Sophia and Max played on their bikes while Brent and I did some reading and relaxed.

When Sophia came in, she started on the second book in the Wings of Fire series.

A really awesome day was had by all.

Here is a bit about the book she finished today from Sophia’s Goodreads page. As you can see, she gave it five stars!

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Sensory Overload

This post Sometimes it is best to say nothing at all! by Bill Nason is excellent and so true. To read it, just click on the pink title. Below is my reaction to it, how it is useful to us and a bit more about my own sensory issues throughout my life.

For both myself and Sophia, voices become like fingernails on a chalkboard when the sensory system is overloaded. Sophia and I both have this sensitivity and sometimes we just need space and some quiet time.

I have built up coping mechanisms over the years, but she is just learning, so it is good that I understand exactly what she is experiencing and can help her build these mechanisms up slowly.

Even if in the middle of a lesson, when one of us has had enough, we simply take a break and come back after we feel better and then it is smooth sailing. Often we will take a bike ride together without speaking, or draw or read for a bit and then we are fine.

Pressing on when in this state does nothing but lead to a full shutdown or meltdown. This is one of the things I love about home educating, is allowing her to feel and know her own limitations and learn to self-regulate before it gets past the point that she can.

I went through life not knowing what was happening to my mind and my body, and I don’t want Sophia to have to be afraid of, and distrust her body and mind, like I did for far too many years.

Now as an adult in my late forties, if I do too much and ignore my signals, I shut down and my body literally makes me unable to move and I usually must sleep at least two hours to recharge.

This has changed over my lifetime; when I was younger my mind would go blank and I would stare off into space and rock, or I would lash out in anger. I had no idea where the anger came from but I felt it start in my stomach and flow out all around me.

When I hit puberty, I would just pass out. Everything would start to get dark and my hearing would go and I would just drop on the ground. I was really scary, especially if I was not fast enough to sit down before drifting out. I passed out a lot as a teenager, and I know now it was because of all of the activity going on around me. Especially at school or places where there was multiple sensory over-stimulation.

The grocery store or shopping when it is busy has been the worst throughout my life especially in my late teens and twenties. I would have to sit down right where I was to avoid passing out and hitting my head on the ground.

Having someone yelling at you, or expressing their displeasure with your actions is not helpful, in fact it makes it worse especially when they just leave you sit there because they are embarrassed.

So you find yourself not in control of your body, scared, vulnerable and alone. Then strangers either try and help, by talking to you and asking if you are alright, or touching you, while you can’t respond; only pull away or push them back. Or others ridicule you, make snide remarks or assumptions about drugs or alcohol or say mean things about you because they are ignorant.

I am better know, but some days it hits me. Usually, I can tell when I am getting overwhelmed, because I start to get angry before my mind goes blank. Thankfully I have an amazing husband who does all the grocery shopping. But more than that, he also understands me, so when we do go together, he knows the signs and helps me out by gently taking my hand and leading me through, or getting me a cart to hold on to when my knees start to buckle.

The other shoppers may see my knuckles turning white from gripping so hard, or they may wonder why I am leaning over the cart; it is to keep myself from falling.

Often people who know me, will try to talk to me in the store when I am in this state, and I feel bad because I have to keep it short or I am not really there, sometimes I don’t even remember speaking with them. Often I don’t even recognise them in that moment, until a coupe days after; when my brain is clear.

In my twenties and thirties, when overwhelmed I would get uncontrollable tremors and I would be in a fog and I would feel far away and couldn’t respond, or just close enough to respond in one word sentences. I spent many breaks in the bathrooms at my jobs over the years trying to regulate myself before this point and sometimes I would fail and have to sit there for a while until the tremors stopped and my mind became clear, and I was functioning enough to leave or get picked up.

When you are in a work environment, hypersensitive senses are simply impossible to ignore for too long.

The people smell; the overwhelming smells of colognes and perfumes, body odours, deodorants and shampoos, lotions and make-up, shoe polish, what they cooked for breakfast and their breath are just a few that overpower me.

The environment smells; the smell of the papers and tapes, glues and copy toner, air fresheners, a variety of foods (some quite pungent), cigarettes and cigars, the fresh cut grass and flowers on people’s desks or outside the door, chemicals used in cleaning, etc. all affect me.

The constant noise; of office machines (copy machines, 10-key and keyboards typing, computers humming, scanners, etc.), paper crumpling, people writing (yes I hear the pen go across the page), the constant buzz of the lighting, the air conditioner blowing or heater humming, phones ringing, and not to mention office chatter and gossip, make it so hard to maintain an equilibrium within that type of environment.

I even hear what is outside, birds chirping, trees rustling, the wind howling, trucks and motorcycles on the freeway, lawnmowers and leaf blowers in the spring and summer, and wood chippers and chainsaws in fall and winter, bugs buzzing, airplanes, helicopters and jets, etc.

It is especially difficult when in a position where many personnel speak with you (often before you have quite focused on them and they have your full attention) and they get way too close and are just so loud.

Empathic and psychic sensitivities are also a huge issue. I can feel other people’s emotions, I know who had a fight with their spouse (and usually what/ or who it was about.) I feel their despair, hopelessness, feelings of being trapped, the need to leave the situation, how hard it is for them to hold it together everyday and their sadness.

I know who will be divorced or separated by the end of the year. I know whose partners are cheating, whose kids are thieves, liars or drug addicts and who has addictions or is abused. I know who has issues with control, with manipulation, who is passive aggressive, or has low self-esteem, who was molested or beaten as a child, and on more than one occasion who was close to death.

I also feel people’s physical ailments and pain; broken limbs, backaches, headaches, earaches, toothaches, stomach ulcers or constipation, period cramps or women’s issues, bad lungs and heart issues, etc. I feel them all in my body.

I feel all of this with my non-physical senses, on top of trying to maintain my physical senses. Up until a couple years ago, I had no idea why, and it was much more difficult trying to discern what was me or mine and what was not. At that point I was unaware that others did not have these sensitivities.

That is why I ended up on medication, in order to fit in to the 9-5 work life and be like everyone else. However, the tremors did not stop (only lessened) and my mind was still numb -but now all my emotions and all of my senses were dead as well; the good along with the bad. I had to slowly learn how to regulate my senses in order to be off of medication as I loved helping people and I was no longer available to do that while being numb.

This is just a small glimpse into how sensory issues have affected my life and maybe it can help you see how it affects you, or someone you love. I am glad to be able to use my experience to not only help my child, but hopefully other parents who may benefit by us sharing our journey.

If you want to know more about ASD and sensory issues, I encourage you to check out more of Bill’s posts or purchase his books, as they are very helpful and insightful.

As for us, we are learning every day and we all just do the best we can. Some days are harder and some are easy, but they are all necessary for growth.

Please feel free to leave any comments or questions you may have and thank you for taking the time to read our blog.

Rainbow cupcakes!

Today, after book work, Sophia decided she wanted to do some baking.

She wanted to try and make some gluten free, pastel, rainbow cupcakes… so we did.

It was really fun seeing how excited she was by the whole process.

I make our recipes colour coded and it works great for her to be able to do it herself. Here is the recipe: (although for the cupcakes we use one tsp of each mix then either swirl a kebab stick through to blend a bit, or just leave it for deeper colour effects.)

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She loved mixing up the colours she wanted and putting the mix into the cups form each bowl.

She was especially delighted at how they looked when they were all cooked and decorated.

We even sent some with daddy at lunch time to our friend (and daddy’s co-worker) Emma.

From what we hear, she was pretty happy to get them too. 😉

I love baking, it is good for yummy treats, creating memories and building friendships… plus it makes math, art, health and science much more memorable!

Mom’s Gardenia, St Brigid’s Cross and Imbolc

Today was a different day.

Sophia has been doing really great. We did our bookwork this morning, quite quickly with no argument or struggle.

I had my tattoo appointment as well, so Sophia went to visit Nana. It is always a bit of a worry leaving her with others as she can get a bit overwhelmed in a new setting.

She did well while I was gone but was ready to come home when I got there.

I got the tattoo as an early birthday present from my husband. It is a gardenia in honour of my mother who passed away on 29 Dec 2016.

My mother and I share the same birthday, so this was my birthday gift for her as well as myself. I have a great tattooist, Eve Marie and I let her come up with a design based upon the image of my mother wearing a gardenia that we used for her memorial.

 

Se did an amazing job and I know mom would love it too. I love how she incorporated the stripes into the image.

When we got back home we learned a bit about Brigid and Imbolc. We read the following and watched the videos.

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After this we made our own Brigid’s Cross together, to hang in our home.

This was especially dear to me as this is our heritage, so she learned more about where our ancestry comes from.

A very good day all in all.