Contact Sports and Waiting Games


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Cleanliness and Hygiene

clorox wipes101

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Independent, voluntary success


blog present

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Growing Pains


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Sensational Socks

Let’s face it–socks are a curse.

They’ve always been a problem around here although we’ve absorbed the American way and refer to the issue as ‘a challenge.’

Fighting about footwear is pointless and flinging the offending foot-covering may be viewed as a bid for freedom, bucking the trend, but it only gets us so far.

Seamless socks are a boon, but expensive, especially for four feet, five times a week. I’ve lost count of the number of hand-made socks I’ve created over the years, but there’s only so much help a young man can accept.


So we stick with the cheapies with those distinctive grey toes and heels.

Dull, but functional when flat, which is fine until you pick it up:-



And then it’s less obvious which bit is which, very uncooperative.  You put it on and the grey bits are scrunched.  So how can we remember the uncomfortable importance of getting this right, to avoid irritation throughout the day?





The alternative perspective is so much better to keep the elephants at bay.




Well, it will work for this week at least.

I foresee the future–a generation of men free from brogues and trainers, bounding about barefoot with their hairy twinkle toes and un-clipped nails–but I’ve been wrong before:-



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The new fashion fiend

Generally, clothing of any kind has been largely superfluous to our lifestyle. Originally, the only thing that mattered was texture.  Anything else was immaterial. But recently, priorities have changed.

“I can’t wear that one–it makes me look fat.”

“This one’s jolly don’t you think?”

“I can’t wear that one– it makes me look ugly.”

“This one’s nice and soft, here, feel it.”

“That one makes me look like a dork.  I want this one.”

“No dear. You can’t wear that one–it’s ripped.”


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How to make your own mouse

Tackle It Tuesday Meme
Try This Tuesday

You will need;-
A 12 inch square of felt
Another scrap of felt for the shawl
A scrap of thick yarn for the tail [knot both ends]
Two small buttons for eyes [optional]
Sewing thread and needle
Scrap of fabric for the skirt

Cut out the shapes in felt from the template
Sew up the back [curved] seam
Insert the stuffing
Stitch the circle on the base inserting the yarn as a tail and check that the mouse stands upright

[Understuffed will produce a concave base which is much more likely to remain standing]

Sew on the buttons [or stitch eyes in place so that it would be safe for a baby]
Stitch the whiskers and ears [folded]
Hem, join and stitch a drawstring runner through the top of the strip
Gather the strip and attach to the middle of the mouse
Cut the scrap of felt into a triangle and snip the edge to make a fringe, stitch in place


A Tale of Foolishness:-
The why? Why bother to make your own mouse when you can buy a dozen from Petco at $3.99?

Well as you may recall, currently my son is still at the ‘part cat’ stage of development but loathes the smell of catnip. Anyway whilst we were at Longleat in England he fell in love with a very similar mouse, a mouse manufactured for the princely sum of many pounds sterling. I resisted the purchase and a great pall of gloom descended upon us. The only reason I managed to extract him from Longleat at all, was the faithful promise that I would indeed, given time, produce a mouse. It was so tempting to indulge him especially as he mewed so pitifully but apart from anything else, Longleat’s version was a doorstop and hence it was weighted down with a hefty rock inside, not ideal for international travelers with a weight limit!

In addition, we endure a daily craft during the summer holidays. In this instance we were able to introduce the concept that a sewing needle is not necessarily an instrument of torture but may indeed be the means of achieving the current motivational goal, a mouse. Fine motor skills limitations meant that he was an observer rather than a sewer, but he managed to remain within the same room and peek through his fingers at the scene. Clearly most crafts can be adapted to suit the individual needs of any particular child, but if we achieve joint attention then we’re on a winner, which indeed we did. He was quite happy to stuff the mouse so we did have a little hands on experience.

Of course, if I had been more sensible I would have saved myself a whole heap of bother by not going into the shop in the first place. This is one of the reasons why so many parents of autistic children become hermits, it’s just easier that way. However, we continue to venture forth as the easy option is not always available.

Lastly, I know that this kind of parental indulgence frequently evokes criticism, maybe you have been on the receiving end yourself? All I would say is that people who criticize, [usually ‘Anon’] generally do not have first hand experience, long term with autistic people. If you actually live with an autistic person who has no interest in anything, or maybe only one or two things, to the exclusion of all other things, then part of a parent’s job is to help expand those interests, gently and gradually. Our job is not to eliminate the one or two special interests, that would certainly be a mistake, unkind and probably cruel. No, instead we offer all and everything that we can think of to tempt them into other things. Given time and encouragement there may just be a tiny little spark and it is those little sparks that ignite us into action, no matter how trivial or obscure. I tell you truly, it’s worth every effort.

This design is available in an out of print book called “My Learn to Sew Book.” It is a bit dated but has easy to follow instructions.

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Two differing viewpoints

When faced with fresh, lightly chilled, extremely juicy and sweet, seedless watermelon:- one of my sons, the “former neophobic,” has very low facial muscle tone which makes eating a strenuous business, my other son, who eats more or less anything [except bananas] displays a remarkable dislike for this most innocent of fruits.

“I am called it an ‘aqua jaw breaker’ coz of dah watery and hard to biting.”

Or…… to eat watermelon without using your hands.

On the other hand……his brother:-


For yet another alternative view of watermelons, zip over to my pal “Melody” for a quick “slurp” and spit out the pips.

In a last note, it may be that you too are enjoying a thoroughly delightful life, but others, sadly, are not so blessed.

Maybe you could help out a smidge, or visit to see the devastation for yourself so that we can all thank our lucky stars.

Best wishes

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How to make a moss stick

Tackle It Tuesday Meme

Devil’s Ivy is an attractive plant with dark green leaves with yellow streaks and marbling. It’s real name is Pothos [Epipremnum aureum] but commonly known as Devil’s Ivy or Golden hunter’s robe or Ceylon creeper.

Whilst it hales from the Solomon Isles, it is also the most common houseplant around. I am reliably informed that it is only toxic if eaten in very large quantities.

Most people cultivate it by allowing it to cascade down from a high point but since it is really a climber it will really thrive given some support in the form of a moss stick.

As it turns out, moss sticks are unheard of in my local Home Depot, so that made for another very curious conversation for another time.

All you need for this tackle, apart from the plant is a bag of moss and an interesting stick, freely available from most wind blown beaches, string and elastic bands. It’s a good idea to check the source of your moss to make sure it hasn’t been raped from your local rainforest.

Wrap the moss around the stick and secure in place with string in the same way that you would truss a joint of meat.

Try This Tuesday

As some people may already know, string is one of the many tools of torture around here and hence this task can easily be modified for those averse to string, knots and tying anything, by using elastic bands. Elastic bands are also hideous, but slightly less hideous, just slightly less hideous enough to allow tentative digits to come in contact with moss.

Lastly, do not permit a moss stick to have house room if you share your accommodations with a dog. A stick, even if covered in moss, is still a stick. It’s like a present: a tantalizingly wrapped stick.

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Snack on a stick – why the fox wears gloves

There is no end to the variety of food that you can pop onto a popsicle stick. Many may ask….. ‘why would you want to put a snack on a stick?’ to which I would reply, ‘why wouldn’t everyone want to put their snack on a stick?’

A snack on a stick is the perfect solution to two major issues:- people who need to keep their fingers clean on pain of death and people who like to cook things to eat. It’s the neophobic OCD equivalent of ‘physician heal thyself,’ or so I like to think.

I would go as far as to predict that sometime in the not so distant future, a certain young man will come into his own as an entrepreneur. He’ll set up as a sole trader in these unique snacks, unless someone else pinches his idea first. Even if someone else gets there before him, this will still be all well and good, as millions of people who currently suffer from digitalis will be relieved and set free.

[Double click on the flower for a reality check]

I need to do a little research here, as thus far most snacks on sticks seem to be made of venison for some bizarre reason that I can’t quite fathom. Thereafter there are lollies [UK] and corn dogs [US] but otherwise there appears to a vast gaping hole in the market. We don’t plan to exploit this gap, rather we hope to plug all the little bleeding hearts and open mouths with delicious yumminess without risking dirt and damage to digits.

A while back we investigated snacks in cones, the cones that you usually use for ice-cream, which seemed like a cunning plan. However the texture of the average cone is not conducive to those who suffer from tactile defensiveness.

Another underlying issue is the difficulty some people have with physically holding either a stick or a cone. Some people cannot manage the pincher grip or if they can, do not have the physical strength to maintain the grip for very long. Other people have a grip that finds it hard to discriminate, such that the cone crumbles due to over-grasp. Either of these conditions can spell disaster to the potential snacker, although practice may help improve the situation.

I detect a certain level of incredulity creeping in here, so I shall repeat a tale of yesteryear for demonstration purposes.
[mainly because I cannot find that particular posting]

Not so long back we had a young visitor for a play date. When it came to snack time I put out chocolate chip cookies for four children and a bowl of goldfish crackers for my son. The visitor was horrified that my youngest child was being discriminated against. I explained that he did not care for chocolate chip cookies, without any further details. At that time he could only eat ‘single’ foods, Goldfish crackers, raisins, Cheerios [with a spoon so that there would be no physical tactile contact, due to the dusty crusty nature of the average Cheerio, and no milk]

Our young friend knew that I was a liar, that all children, indeed, probably all people, love chocolate chip cookies. He took matters into his own hands, on the sly, and sacrificed one of his own cookies to offer it to my son. His subterfuge failed due to the ear splitting scream of horror that thundered from him as he ran from the room at top speed.

I can still remember the expression on that little boy’s sweet face, a combination of disbelief and supreme surprise. That kind of mystification has haunted many a child who has witnessed similar behaviour on occasions too numerous to mention. An early introduction to cognitive dissonance, where two accepted facts vie for the same ground. Now if that cookie had been mounted on a stick, who knows how much faster we might have arrived where we are now?

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