Tackle it Tuesday – Try it Tuesday – a gallery of awards

Try This Tuesday
You have nothing to lose by going green

***

Everyone needs a pat on the back sometimes. As the nights draw in and the schedule comes under pressure, it can be hard for children to stay on track. This is where motivation is key. We all respond well to praise, recognition and rewards and this is a way of helping our children realize that we not only notice their efforts but we appreciate how hard they're trying.

First it's important to narrowly taylor your reward to your particular child. For example, many struggle with homework. It may be that you want to award them for completing their homework in a timely manner over a period of time, such as a week or a month. However, that may be setting the bar too high. Maybe an award for their best efforts is more appropriate or perhaps an award for remaining calm and having a better attitude towards homework time.

The awards can be configured to fit your family, different ages abilities and talents. The most important element is that each child should be able to achieve a realistic goal, otherwise the whole exercise will bring further disappointment and discouragement.

Once you have narrowed down who will be rewarded for what, it is then time to make the awards. It may be that you can encourage your children to take part in the creative process so that they are more involved if they participate positively. Hopefully, making the awards will provide a crafty play time for at least one of your children on a rainy afternoon and perhaps a little one on one time.

Currently, everyone is strapped for cash and some of us are trying to 'go green' at the same time. Whilst it would be fun to see if we can create our own green backs and get away with it, it is probably safer to stick to materials that we already have in our possession.

Under no circumstances should you go out and buy anything new, instead troll through the piles of broken toys and tat that you already have piled up in every corner of your home, or maybe that's just us? You may, however, buy additional supplies of glue.

Assemble your creations and add a blob of Velcro to the back. Aim for lightness so that they will be able to remain in place in a vertical position. Attatch the opposite Velcro blob to a sheet of poster board and arrange your awards. Fix the awards board to a wall in a prominent position at a child's eye level.

The beauty of this project is that you can include private family jokes that mean nothing to the population in general but will tap into your own child's perspective adding an extra layer of insight. For instance one of my sons is very keen on drawing Y-fronts on his figures. No matter what he draws there is always someone lurking in the picture sporting a pair of Y fronts.

Hence:-

I do hope you get the chance to try this one out and reap the rewards yourself!

Cheers dears

Backstory

It is difficult for a parent to actively treat children differently in some situations. For example, when a child has achieved a new goal it is natural to praise them, you can't help yourself. However, some children react negatively to praise. Some children are so enraged when they receive praise that they destroy the object that they created.

The reasons for such a reaction are complex. Some people, myself included, find it very difficult to button a lip and not praise the achievement, especially when the praise flows to the other children. Such differential treatment seems absurd. I would note that this is not the sometimes fatuous praise, a general touchy feely, no content kind of praise, but a specific identifiable praise in the nature of 'you did a great job with that straight line,' 'I really like the colours you chose,' 'his expression is really funny.' Since positive words provoke a meltdown, I've learned to curb my words, remain silent and bite my lip. I could expound at length but I have yet to find someone with similar experiences.

Your award ceremony can be as elaborate or as simple as you choose. For us, the weekend is the best because I am better able to pick a time when they are more receptive.

Involvement and active participation is key but also difficult to engineer. We need a time where there is nothing else more interesting competing for their attention so that they are better able to engage in the here and now. Joint attention to one communal activity is more likely to be successful when other needs are met, other distractions have been eliminated and there are no other impending interruptions waiting in the wings to derail their attention span.

As with all things around here, this project has been brewing for a long time and was broken into small steps. Preparation in advance was primarily concentrated on 'this is what will be happening in the future / this will be fun.' Some children take longer to adjust to new concepts, they cannot be hurried or harried, they need time to adjust. The 'gallery' transition was in the summer. The awards appeared over two months ago. The 'ceremony' was a last week.

Scatological jokes are always appreciated.

Once the awards were made, we placed them in a prominent position for a couple of weeks, discussed, examined and handled them until they became more familiar. We would admire their gallery of pictures and debate which award seemed most appropriate to which drawing. This was in part to gauge their own expectations to see if they had already decided which picture matched which award. By being better able to match their expectations it became more likely that we would able to pick the correct award for the right picture during the 'ceremony.'

This helps address another on going hurdle, the issue of choice. Without getting buried in the details, every positive choice necessarily means a lost opportunity, if you choose one, you lose the other[s]. Choice therefore induces stress and anxiety. It is one manifestation of OCD and perseverance over missed opportunities. Or, to put it another way, the pleasure of one positive choice is wiped out by the stress induced by all the ones that you have not chosen which might be better. Hence an extended exposure to the new thing, makes it less new, less valued and therefore sometimes easier to choose as the 'cost' of making a mistake is lessened. The trick it to time the exposure so that the new thing does not become so familiar that it merely blends in with the wallpaper and has no value at all.

Of course some other children would experience a long period of exposure as more anxiety inducing, longer to agonize over, longer to perseverate upon, as there is usually an equal or opposite effect with any one issue.

Since words can still be a little hit or miss, physical involvement, eye tracking and the kinesthetic connection helped reduce stress, increase their personal investment and advance them to a point where it was possible to try out the ceremony. For our children, we kept this as low key as possible because around here, quite often, actions speak louder than words.

What, if anything, might this mean? For me, this gives me some perspective.

When my children were first diagnosed, the kindly experts told me that they were unable to give me an accurate prognosis for the boys' future. Being of a fundamentally pessimistic nature, I took this to mean that the future was dire. Being of a fundamentally contrary nature, I also set out to prove them wrong. As a direct result, I have actually inadvertently proved that they were right.

I should have listened to my pal, “It’s all Okay,” not “look through a glass darkly.” Suffice to say that this is a tremendous leap forward.

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Road Trip

From a couple of balmy weeks ago
Glorious Summer Holidays

If I do not go to the shop today we shall all starve.

But that's the real trouble with holidays. If push comes to shove, and it might, I may be able to drag something out of the freezer, kicking and screaming. But if they won't eat the defrosted victim, I shall be no further forwarder. What good are hot dogs without any buns?

No.

A trip to the shops is a must. A trip to the shops with all my lovely children, and Nonna will be a bust.

There are the usual calculations to be made. Interesting shop where I might be able to contain them or boring shop where everyone will run away. A shop with electric doors will ensure that I'll be able to find one escapee. A shop without strip lighting, as the flickers lead to fleeting. A shop with no freezer section because the buzz drives one batty.

Then there's timing. Sufficiently after breakfast so that they're not too hungry. Not too late in the morning, so as to have a better chance at a curb side parking slot, to minimize the chance of death by traffic.

One list for each child. One list with three essential and preferred items each. Ensure that my handwriting will pass muster for the perfectionist. If it's cursive, make sure it is sufficiently curly not zig zaggy. Who in their right mind would hold a piece of paper with those jagged angled zags?

I really need an aide memoire, a little check list pinned to the door for all essentials. Mustn't forget the huge blanket this time. I certainly won't make that mistake again, the fire dance in the car park! 20 minutes shopping with the car parked outside in the heat. A toasty little furnace. A metal box absorbing heat atoms. At the height of summer, in California, in America, airless and still. How could we survive without a thick fleece blanket? Not only do I need to remember to take it, I need to remember to cover the seats.

Forget the dogs:- no-one wants hot buns!


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Special exposure wordless wednesday

5 Minutes for Special Needs

Or if that doesn’t work for you try this link “here” for the last days of “summer.”

p.s. have your ‘volume’ on medium, wouldn’t like to squirt your ear drums without a warning!

Alternatively, I do have a few words over here on “alien” completely free of spittle, or some other words over on “Sandwiched Genes.”

p.s. a few people have asked which camera we used so here is a link to it = the Sakar 26692 VGA underwater digital camera, sorry it’s commercial but there are no details on the camera itself and we recycled the packaging, don’t forget to read the ‘ratings’ bit.  Although it does technically hold loads of photos if you want good resolution…..er……clear piccies then we used the setting that limits you to 26 photos.  Don’t ask me anything more technical than that, I’m at my limit.

p.p.s I lied.  On the camera it says ‘made in China.’

Cheers dears


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Prickly pairs

After a long career in the Navy, my parents decided to buy a house and remain in one place.

It was a three story terraced Victorian house and I loved it before the ink was dry on the contract. At the back of the house, leading to the tiny strip garden, was what my mother called 'the conservatory.'

The conservatory was a four foot square arrangement of glass and wooden shelves, an entrance way or exit, a distance of three paces. The previous owners has neglected to remove some of their plants from this area, predominantly “cacti.” They were a dull grey, with lots of prickles but otherwise quite unremarkable, apart from the single startling iridescent “bloom” stuck on the side like an afterthought. I stroked it to make sure that it wasn't plastic, as the 1970's were the heyday of fake flowers. Although my mother was keen to clear the place out, the cacti were reprieved.

Her delegation of duties had me hooked on responsibility.

I was immediately derelict in my duties as I trudged off to boarding school. I certainly would never have survived without water for three months, but cacti are so much more forgiving. They thrive on neglect. My arrival home was their rainy season when I would drown them with attention for a couple of weeks.

“Wear my gardening gloves,” my mother would advise, but I was of the filthy species of child. They were too big for pudgy little hands, far easier to dive in with naked digits. The huge prickles were easy to avoid. They broadcast their dangers. It was the little fuzzy ones that were my downfall. Their deceptive fur would burrow little barbs into the flesh to leave hairy fingertips. Easy to see but impossible to remove with stubby nails.

All these years later, it seems that both my girls have the same filthy gene, the 'climb a tree,' 'dig a hole,' 'am I really plastered in chocolate?' gene. My eldest son is graduating to the same genetic heights but climbing is still a struggle, as co-ordination of body parts is a challenge. We should all have been born with a coating of Teflon.

My youngest son on the other hand, lives life with as little use of his hands as is humanly possible. Tactile defensiveness, or how things feel, means that he will go to great lengths to avoid touching anything. He tucks his hands in pockets or armpits, clasps them behind his back out of danger or protects his fingertips in his mouth. They are all default positions for hypervigilant people.

We have been in this particular groove since the beginning. I might call it desensitization but it still looks like torture from his perspective. Time and maturation have helped but it's a predictable path. In earlier times we worked to persuade him to write in shaving foam with his finger, buried plastic dinosaurs in sand, sunk Thomas in a washing up bowl full of suds, hid Pokemon in playdough and used any number of other devious means to tempt those fingertips into our tactile world. We should not discount the psychological cost of such treatment. How does the average three year old feel when you pour cement over their precious security blanket? For me, to witness his terror was offset by his determination and instinct to rescue despite the personal pain.  It’s a question of balance and I think I was off kilter.

These days he's more malleable and sometimes he surprises us with his bravery. He's also learned to adopt his own safety strategies to help him cope with the onslaught. We own more woolen, cotton and disposable gloves than any other family in a five mile radius of our home. He's more willing to use tools, even though they're difficult to manipulate because it means that he is saved from the agony of touching something worse.

They're nothing if not inventive, children that is to say.

“I am need!” he squeals at no-one in particular.
“What do you need dear?”
“More.”
“More what?”
“More armour.”
“Armour?”
“Yes I have be one but I be need more nine.”
“Nine what?”
“Nine armours.”

It’s always best to expect the “unexpected.”


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Autistic Caress

Some bloggers have sitemeters.

Some bloggers check their sitemeters to see who is searching what subject, if they are brave.

Occasionally I am brave and check. What follows are three pieces upon subjects that three people researched via google. This is the second topic.

Caressing

I wonder what the searcher wanted to know? For current purposes I shall assume that we are in the realm of touch.

I have two different perspectives to offer.

My older son often appears impervious to pain.

My younger son is on a different spot on the spectrum. Any touch by anything is 'felt' almost before contact, especially the area above his shoulders. It is as if he has a force field around him,

To read on click “here”


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Other people's irritating habits

I feel that Obsessional Compulisve Disorder gets a bad press. General opinion would have us believe that the behaviours that manifest themselves as a result of this condition, are immutable, whereas this appears to be very far from the truth.

With luck, it soon becomes apparent what these kinds of behaviours are for any one individual. Whilst they will play havoc on your daily life that's not the end of it.

Having identified the issues and developed coping mechanisms, you may feel that all is well, that you have achieved 'steady state,' or equilibrium. Although they've not been eliminated, they're under 'loose' control. This may lead the unwary parent into a false sense of security.

I hoover [translation = vacuum] with the thoroughness of an American dental hygienist, prior to the arrival of the new sofa. I am careful to wind the cable back neatly on completion, so that it is all ready for next time, especially when 'next time' may be only minutes away. Due to the inferior engineering standards in America, I threw caution to the wind, and purchased Superhero Hoover. Although I am mathematically challenged [translation = thick as a brick] even I managed to work out that the annual expenditure on a hoover to replace the broken hoover, was not a sound investment.

I find it interesting to note that for the past few years, I was prevented from using this domestic appliance when junior was in the vicinity. The noise would send him into apoplexy. Hoovering at night seemed like a solution. It wasn't, which meant that this domestic job was limited to junior free hours only. Since he was the youngest, that was infrequently.

It just goes to show how far we have progressed, into a whole new era really. As long as I warn him first, get the eye contact, hunker down on bended knee before my six year old, he grants me permission to hoover. Now, having given him this warning, 'mister clean' has sufficient time to go and was his hands and then hide in his room. Curiously, he no longer hides from the noise. Instead he hides himself from the mental image of the contents of the hoover cylinder.

I knew it was a mistake to tell him that most of the dust was really skin cells, but that's progress for you.


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Tactile Defensiveness

Well what do we think about this concept? In a nutshell! It's a right pain in the bottom, or more accurately, in the finger tips, especially the preferred hand's index finger, the imaginary balloon that encompasses his head, from the shoulders up, and particularly the mouth, both exterior and interior. That is quite a high percentage of body to avoid.

I mean, if you have to be a wimp, why can't your sensitive spots be located somewhere more convenient? How about in-between the shoulder blades? Not much traffic there. That would be ideal, especially if you are male and won't have to fiddle with bra closures later in life.
Who could have arranged this design fault?
Who can I complain to?
Where do I send the relocation request?


There again, it's not just the sensitivities themselves, more his reaction to them, or rather the over-reaction. I'd be happy enough to deal with reasonably articulate objections; “mother dearest, I'd just like to mention that this new T-shirt has several flaws that I'd like to draw your attention to, in the hope that you will be willing to assist me in minimizing, not to say eliminating, their annoyingness.” I would also readily accept the American version of the same request, since we are a bilingual family: “Hey mom, ken yer fix this T-shirt? It's really buggin me!” Though why insects feature quite so prominently in American conversations, is quite beyond me. But I could deal with that. No problem, only too happy to help. But no. Instead of a logical treatise, we have a fit of the screaming ab dabs.
[translation = …….I await your input?]


Part of the problem is the misleading label. The 'tactile' bit, might suggest that you are defensive about things that you touch. This is true. To 'defend' yourself, you simply do not touch things, any things, ever. However, there is the flip side – things touch you. You can defend yourself from things that want to come and touch you, by explaining that you would prefer not to be touched. When the non-verbal become less so, and begin to be more proactive, you can see this clearly demonstrated, when he takes the stance of a question mark and screams expletives at the wind that is ruffling his hair. Difficult to explain to the casual onlooker, but we're used to that in any case. Perhaps he should be renamed Canute?

There again we are trying to keep
away from monarchical
references now that we are citizens.

At least I know that not ‘all’ of him
is similarly afflicted!

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