Thursday, 4 April 2013

Autism Awareness Month begins with a Fun Day out and monkey business .


Last week has just flown by , like many of you I had the children home and was wondering just how I would cope amusing them all with their varied interests and still keep an element of sanity in my house as I continue to box up in the hopes of news on moving before the end of the month . With less than two weeks to vacate my current home we decided to take advatage of the Sunday afternoon sunshine and took my 17 year old and 8 year old for an afternoon trip. This of course may seem stange to any of you that have followed my blogs as you know I now have 5 children living with me , but it just so happened it was my ex husbands weekend to have our 11 & 12 year old and my daughter had already travelled with a friend to Alton Towers for a Birthday break. So we seized the day.
We had lots of ideas thanks to the previous day of research using an app and headed out to try Longleat so we could all go on Safari.  The drive there enabled us to show the children one of the virtual landmarks from the app in real life and we found the age gap between the two children closed as we adventured across the roped ladders to the first stopping point to find the Lemurs which we had also seen on the app. They were snuggled in a pile and hard to see . My son asked - what are we looking at in here a Chinese tree garden? ..My husband spotted the mole hills and said , well I thought it said Lemmings back there .. then my youngest squealed with delight as a black and white baby tail came into view - conversations like these are common in our house!

It took us just over and hour and a half to get round the Safari and we had just enough time to enter the beautiful gardens and the lavish home to explore the dolls houses and many ornate rooms. The children by this stage exhausted but still taking everything in right down to sharing the ghostly tale of the haunted hallway. It made the next couple of days much easier as whilst I got on with more packing the children set about drawing discovering more about the animals and where they came from in the comfort of our cozy lounge as it was quite chilly by the end of the day. I would strongly advise you layer the kids up especially for the little train ride as it gets very windy on their ears and my son gave me his scarf for mine so clearly I felt it too!

#daisychains thumbs up from ENVIROWEALTH!
The Packing has continued along with a lot more game playing and virtual exploring. The girls spent a little time Facepainting each other . My tip having tried most facepaints if your children like mine have very sensitive skin is to try and get hold of Paradise paints , they smell of coconut oil, wash off really well and whilst normally I would make a home made batch I simply did not have the time this week . For a non water clean up a gentle make up remover like the Sei Bella eyemake up remover is great around the eyes . But I am sure most kids can tolerate a mild soap or baby wipes , mine just don't they come up all red and end up with dry patches so I learned the hard way.
 We then spent several hours playing and learning a new game called Batabanga , which have to say as a family with so many different abilites was ideal . We played a simple version until we could recognise the cards and patterns which are beautifully illustrated in Safari themes. Then we added in the rules one by one until we were playing at quite some speed with shreeks of Banga and a lot of giggles as cards were flipped over in an attempt to be the winner of the round.  The older more competitive children challenged me - I have the memory of a fish (sorry fish) . They beat me hands down and loved it.

 I managed to get some much needed rest as the older children took it upon themselves to amuse the younger ones now and then and we managed a much simpler game for my youngest which she proudly taught me just today . Fortunately there is no winner , ( she like my other has ASD and is often not willing to play a game with someone else if there is any chance she may loose and yet I was pleased that whilst this was aimed at a younger child she came to me with it after reading the rules )

 It is a lovely collaborative game in which you work together to gather the escaped chickens and get them back into the chicken coop. We played three rounds and I am sure if not for my need to get on she would still begging me for another round. I guess the key for me this week was achieveing a balance . As a family we divided up and then reunited and each showed each other and enjoyed finding out what we had been doing .

 The other interesting challenge I face was set by my 12 year old , who has an incredible reading speed of 786 words a minute on average with a 98% retention rate (she has Aspergers and of course this month is Autism Awareness month so I should point out - she is 1 of 5 that I have on the spectrum and no not all of them are super readers and none of them are the same they are all unique !) My score delighted her as it showed an average of 487 words a minute with a 86% retention rate - I blame it on my age LOL !  But here is the link if you fancy trying it yourself.

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