Archive for the ‘Education’ Category

If you have a child aged 1-16 years old with a ‘neurological, brain-related condition’ you might be eligible to receive a £500 voucher from the charity Cerebra to fund private speech and language therapy. Your child must not have received speech therapy in the previous six months.

Further details of the scheme can be found on the Cerebra website.


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A big first today I think. A really big first.

Archie has always liked looking through video cameras and digital cameras. He’s always liked watching himself on videos. But he’s never made the link between someone pointing a camera at him and then taking a photo. So he’s never posed. Not once. Never in eleven years.

Today he discovered Photo Booth on our new iMac.  He quickly worked out that it captures a ‘moment’ so to speak (maybe because it does a countdown that flashes up?) and he started posing. We have pencils in mouth, shoes, him jumping and waving, his favourite postcard. 15 photos of his favourite postcard.  I’ll put  one below now:

Only yesterday I was trying to get a photo of him at surfing where he posed with the instructors – no chance. We had lots of lovely shots, but no posed ones. Today he pulled funny faces. He even said ‘neee’ (cheese) with a grimace. His brother’s were grabbed. I have my first ever photo of all three of them posing.

355 photos later I made him stop. But wow. It feels like a big leap forward in understanding.

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I recently bought a new iPod Touch for Archie’s use. Well I’m hoping to get it free via a special offer from Apple but I seem to have lost the original box, and I need the sticky label from that to claim. I presume it went in the recycling.  I have the internal bits of the box, and the external packaging the box came in, but no actual iPod Touch box. Bizarrely I think I still have the box from the original iPod Touch we bought many years ago. This is typical of my life really.

Anyway irritations aside the iPod Touch is a dream. Super fast and with an inbuilt speaker it really is a super little communication aid. At the moment I have it running Proloquo2go, iPrompts and Time Timer. I love the Time Timer- it does look just like the big clocks, so very familiar, but often we do need to countdown for longer than an hour (which is where iPrompts steps in). We use it mainly for countdowns  but it’s a good little app for choices and for schedules.

I also have a little pre-school literacy app called First Words which Archie surprised me by spending about half an hour at one sitting playing on it.

I’m off to search for more and in the meantime I’m going to add an ‘apps’ category to my blog.

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Chewie our newborn puppy that is.

I’m still not entirely sure how we’re going to train him. Now he’s been born we need to start researching this. I spoke to the breeder tonight and in between playing the puppies a CD of fireworks, babies crying and hoovers she is going to play a CD of Archie shouting and screaming. She’s very dedicated- it will be quite an unpleasant CD. Of course the idea is to desensitise the pups.

After that I’m not sure. Basic training and socialisation to start of course. Followed perhaps by more specific retrieval training. A friend told me today about PAWS (Parent Autism WorkshopsAnd Support) run by Dogs for the Disabled where though  a series of three workshops they teach you to get the most out of your family pet. To attend your child needs an autism diagnosis. I contacted them this morning and received a very quick reply  with further information. I’ve decided to attend the training in Cornwall sometime in the Spring. Venue and dates to be confirmed. There are already confirmed dates and venues for workshops in Liverpool, Kenilworth, Wytham (near Oxford), Uxbridge and Evesham.

I’ve created a new category for the blog – Dog training- where I’ll try to provide regular information about our attempts to train Chewie. I don’t claim any expertise in this area. If you have any please get in contact!

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A big mystery was solved today. Archie has been waking up at  night recently. A lot. Of course once he’s awake that’s it. I couldn’t work out why. Then this morning he didn’t wake up until gone 7am and he was not happy. He’d missed the streetlamps. It was light and they had turned off. We knew he had a streetlamp thing going on at the moment. I hadn’t realised he was waking up to look at the things.

Anyway mystery solved, although problem very much unsolved. I am expecting to be woken tonight. It was not a good start to the day. It began with screaming, and the screaming continued. He was not happy. We got into a little routine like this:

Archie: nigh nigh

Me: yes lights

Archie: nar

Me: yes lights when it’s dark

This went on for hours. And hours. And some more hours. Until it got dark in fact. I did take an hour or two out this afternoon and slipped into Waterstones. I’d discovered a huge pile of vouchers I’d put in a safe place years ago so I was able to go on a spending spree without removing any money from the bank account. Perfect.

I only bought one autism book. The one shown above Motivate to Communicate!: 300 Games and Activities for Your Child with Autism by Simone Griffin and Dianne Sandler a speech and language therapist/specialist teacher combination. It’s a little gem of a book. Not cheap- I paid £13.99 for it (although it’s a lot cheaper on Amazon, especially if you buy second hand), but packed full of ideas. I often struggle to think of things to do with Archie, I’m not that creative when it comes to play, and expect to be dipping in and out of this book frequently. Some of the ideas are a little too difficult, or need more language than Archie has, but there’s enough in there to get us started. It would never have occurred to me for example to pour lentils through a water wheel, but I think he’ll love that.

We’ll give it a go.

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A useful link provided by Eric Saliers of Speech-Language Pathology Sharing.

He also writes about the iPad. I was really excited when I saw this new device from Apple as I can see it has potential to become a really useful communication aid for Archie. Both through AAC programs such as Proloquo2go and through typing. There’s also Alexicom Tech; an internet based AAC system. It apparently works offline as well.

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I’ve just come across MouseTrial. It’s computer software that aims to increase vocabulary. Can be used for fun or as part of an ABA program.

We’re not running any sort of program at the moment, but my son has a slight (understatement) obsession with various household objects and would probably really enjoy this. I think it’s something that should be at the right levels as well. I’ll try him tonight. English accents too which is a bonus for those of us in England. It costs $29 or $10 for individuals modules and you can play online or via a CD. You can try it for free.

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