Knock, knock? Who on earth is there?

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Like every other parent on the planet we trudge along the treadmill in a relentless quest for growth and development.   But for more than a couple of years we’ve also been pursuing an interest in telling jokes as someone has ambitions to be a stand-up comedian.

Sadly there are so many lessons to learn along the way: timing, delivery, audibility, diction, intonation, volume control and not falling on the fall in hysterics before the punch-line.

Generally our whole family favors knock, knock and elephant jokes but occasionally we branch out into other areas.  A birthday present gives us the opportunity to analyze even more aspects of this skill set but it is also the source of great frustration.

Gradually over a two-week period we achieve amazing progress, culminating in a small surprise for the world weary parent.

It is just after I have spent far too long modeling examples of what not to do that I have one last attempt at an up-beat demonstration of ‘how to.’

I ask him in fully operationally cheerleader mode, “What’s black and white and read all over?”

“A zebra with an explosive nose-bleed.”


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My Parent has an Autism Spectrum Disorder A Workbook for Children and Teens Barbara R. Lester

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A Book Review

This is a great book for anyone starting a journey of discovery following a diagnoses of autism.  It may seem curious at first to know that an adult, and in this case a parent, has been diagnosed with autism, but it is becoming far more commonplace than we might ever have imagined a few years ago, which makes this book especially timely.

Written with teenagers and young people in mind, Barbara writes with a casual, warm and approachable style which avoids being patronizing.  When she uses a term which may be unfamiliar to her audience, she also includes a simple definition of the word which greatly helps the flow and understanding of the reader.

The book is divided into chapters covering the primary issues which will be of interest and importance to any young person trying to understand their parent.  She writes sympathetically to both parent and child discussing many of the common concerns and worries of young people to aid understanding and empathy.

I particularly liked the style of worksheets in that they are brief and on point.  Also the idea that both parent and child work on the same questions and issues should be illuminating for both parties.

Barbara illustrates the text with examples of her own experiences with her ASD father which helps clarify the condition and provides ample proof that she has lived through, survived and thrived what many others are also experiencing.

My only issue with this book is the usual one:- how to reach the people who most need it?  In this particular instance, that may prove to be a diplomatic nightmare.

The books ends with a brief discussion about the stigma associated with autism but the finale, for me at least, was a worksheet where both parent and child can list their strengths – although there should be an extra blank page to allow for a run on : )

You can check out Barbara R Lester here.

Available from JKP.

I’m just about to try out one of her apps from itunes on depression since it’s a subject I know nothing about and have two candidates in different generations to practice upon.


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Happy Families A Parents’ Guide to the Non-Violent Resistance Approach – book review

(published by Jessica Kingsley Publishers, 14th May 2010, ISBN: 978-1-84905-084-5, ?9.99) authors, Carmelite Avraham-Krehwinkel and David Aldridge

My initial issue with this book was with the question – ‘who is it written for?’  The idea that any family could be in such dire straits  was one thing, but a book to address their situation seemed a bit late in the day.  My thoughts were, ‘if things are that bad, no book is going to help.’  So I jumped out of my comfortable holier-than-thou slippers and dived into someone else’s.  What if we hadn’t enjoyed the services and supports that we have?  What if that buffer zone didn’t exist?  What if my children were different children?  Children are all on some kind of spectrum, and most families have issues from one time to another.  Maybe it’s because our family has middle of the road autism, twice, that our choices were limited by the severity of our situation.  Even so, I can remember numerous occasions where I’ve let things slide, some issue or other I’ve dismissed, hoping it would go away if I ignored it for long enough.  Usually it was via someone else’s instigation or some other light-bulb moment, which would spur me into action, usually desperation.  But what if…

If things were different from how they are, what would I have done?  Then, this book might help.  How?  Firstly because it is brief.  If you’re in trouble you certainly don’t have the leisure time to read some weighty tome.  No.  You want something that’s easy to read, lays out the facts, provides a straightforward approach and a plan of action.

Interestingly, to me at least, is the reference to shouting, that basically this is an ineffective technique when it comes to parenting.  It’s quite a common reference in parenting books and it always amuses me when I read it.

“The authors accept that this approach is not a quick fix. It is a lot more difficult than simply losing your temper and yelling, but it is also much more affective; with patience and determination parental authority can be restored, and with it the harmony of home and family life.”

Available from Jessica Kingsley Publishers.


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An Armageddon of Aliens


Let me just say to begin with that if the first thing I saw when I opened my eyes in the morning would be an army of multicolored aliens advancing  towards me from out of the wall….

…….it would not be  good.

However, as I am wont to say, all too frequently, ‘people like and dislike different things.’

These little guys are Pikmin, not to be confused with pacman and they  have the power of positive reinforcement.  Or rather they will be once we have managed to instill the ability to send an empowering message to their leader.  Visualization is critical here as well as lots of practice.  Each wee Pikmin, will chant and cheer.  No doubt they will need to be replaced with something more age appropriate in due course, but for the time being we use what works, and what generally works best is the current fixation, [a.k.a. enthusiasm] Pikmin rule our world.

At least they’re non-violent and keep up a continuous stream of happy little giggling noises.  [Which can become irritating to grown up people who lack a sense of humor.]

The villainous Water Dumples can be defeated with their carnivorous tendencies.

You may worry, as I  do, that filling their little heads with all this nonsense, may do more harm than good.  Surely this kind of rubbish merely clutters up their brains which should be packed with more helpful information.  And you may very well be right.  However, first and foremost, they must reach the age of majority and still be alive, and hopefully happy, or if not happy, at least not suicidal.

Although we seem to being attacked by the same troubles in a couple of generations.

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