Friday 29 November 2013

Week 5 Day 1 of C25K plan, manicure and shopping

This arvo I headed out for my run because it was raining fairly heavily earlier in the day.  I wouldn't mind running in the rain but have no wet weather gear so its quite unpleasant getting completely soaked.  Week 4 is a big jump.  Day 3 is 20 minutes non-stop running.  I'm not scared of that but am a little fearful of any injuries.  Bring it on!

A great day overall.  I dropped the twins at preschool and the lovely teacher's aide listened while I unloaded all of my concerns that had kept me up to the early hours of this morning.  We worked together to get a few chill out activities for T1 (puzzles, colouring etc) to do in the afternoon, where he has struggled to stay calm and the teachers are fairly occupied.  Also some of his behaviours aren't all his fault so I had a good talk to the aide about that and felt so much better.  Of course, today he didn't need any of the strategies!!
The colour is Moonlight Shelack

Then I headed to the shops to do some initial Christmas shopping and bought our new Christmas tree.  We've had our old one since we've been married and so last Christmas was its last.  Then I got a manicure and pedicure in preparation for a date night with my husband next week.  I took a photo of both but then thought better of posting my feet (although the colour is great- coral)!

Tonight watching Community on DVD with the fam - hurrah for Fridays!

Thursday 28 November 2013

C25K Week 4 bonus run, Santa photos & High Tea at Swissotel

Another couple of busy days but I managed a morning bonus run for Week 4 of the Couch to 5km plan and am now ready to move onto Week 5.

On Wednesday, I picked up my eldest son early and the whole family headed into the Sydney CBD.  We walked through Hyde park, which is always gorgeous with its avenue of trees and came across a guy making giant bubbles.  All 3 boys loved it and the man even blew a bubble over their heads, then we headed to David Jones to look at the Christmas windows.  Funny enough T2 liked these the best while T1 seemed unimpressed.  Then we headed up to the christmas section of DJs.  It was pretty good, with cute displays of Elves at work and a talking tree and free balloons.  Next stop was Myer which was very disappointing. Usually they have a little train but it had broken down and wasn't expected to be fixed until the weekend.  They boys coped really well.  Besides the train there was nothing much else.  So we headed for the Queen Victoria Building to check out the Swavokski Christmas Tree and hopefully a successful Santa photo.  This Santa was lovely and had real beard and beautiful fairy helpers.  Usually you have to book but we turned up just before Santa's sometime and got in immediately.  It was a great photo and the boys were given Haig's Santa chocolate from Santa.  I was very impressed with the QVB.  But the staff told me that weekend booking have to be made up to 5 HOURS in advance!
Beautiful Hyde park

Window at DJs

Window at DJs

Window at DJs


Talking Tree at DJs

Clock in QVB

Swavoski Christmas Tree in QVB
Dome in QVB - so beautiful

On Tuesday night my husband, eldest and I saw Hunger Games.  We treated ourselves to Gold Class.  It is cheaper on a Tuesday night so we always book then.  We all really enjoyed it.  I thought it was better than the last one.

Finally while the twins were at preschool my mother-in-law and I went to the Swissotel for High Tea.  It was wonderful, as usual.  I used a Groupon voucher.  The food is always very fresh and the chairs very comfortable.  When you walk in the hotel the staff really welcome you.  Its one of my favourite high teas and its worth buying a voucher for.
lobby at Swissotel

Dining area at Swissotel
These scones were SO delicious
So fresh!
Love these teapots

As you can tell I like to go out when I get the chance.  Parenting kids on the Spectrum is stressful and challenging even though there are many highs.  I enjoy planning activities to look forward to and spend time with my eldest son, husband and mother-in-law.  My addiction to discount vouchers doesn't help- I just can't help myself!

Monday 25 November 2013

Week 4 C25K, Tumbalong Park, Sea Life Aquarium and Injury Prevention

Week 4 Couch25km complete.  T2 woke up at 5.55am so I thought I may as well go out in the morning.  I was feeling a little stiff so I won't run tomorrow and will do a bonus run this week.  I found the book I mentioned yesterday.  If you are interested the link is here .

My mum is an ambitious person.  She wanted to take the twins into the city for a day of "activities".  This made my blood pressure and anxiety levels rise for so many reasons.  Firstly, parking - ahh!  Most people take public transport but with a full day of activities planned I needed a quick escape incase it all got too much for T2.  Thankfully I fluked a handy park, but still had to walk 10 minutes to the car, which is pretty good for Sydney.

First stop was Tumbalong Park, Darling Harbour.  The boys loved this place.  T2 loves water and had fun lolling around and they both went crazy in the water squirters.  The water section is a really clever design with a series of dams that the kids can pull up and release and other interactive pumps etc.

Unfortunately it started to rain after about half an hour so we headed to the McDonalds next to the park for an early lunch.  Not the healthiest option but I do get it for the boys when we are out as on top of all their other issues they have serious allergies and at least I know the ingredients at McDonalds.

Then we walked around to the Aquarium (Sea Life).  Unfortunately there was a 15-20 minute line and it wasn't even peak time.  If you take kids on the spectrum I would definitely preorder tickets online to minimise waiting time.  I even overheard adults complaining.  Thankfully the boys were good during the wait (hurray for the waiting program in the first year of ABA!).  My other tip is to obtain a discount.  We used the Entertainment Book vouchers.  It is an expensive outing so its worth looking for a discount.  Once we were in the boys really enjoyed looking at the sea creatures.  The sharks were a favourite, of course, but the penguins were great too.

Then it was time for a train ride, which are always a favourite with the boys.  But at $5 for adults and $4 per child, again it was relatively pricey.

Then we went back to the park as the rain had stopped, had a 30c cone (the best use of 30c I can think of!) and went home.

I'm not sure about the boys, but I am completely wrecked, but happy.

What are your favourite injury prevention tips?

What are your tips for successful outings with kids on the Spectrum?

Sunday 24 November 2013

C25K Week 4 Day 2 & successful outing

This morning was a picture perfect morning in Sydney.  A lovely quiet Sunday morning run.  When I return from my runs I do 5-10 minutes of strengthening and stretching to prevent injury.  I think it helps.  Especially the knee exercises.  I used to be prone to knee injuries until I started doing these knee exercise I found in a book.  I'll see if I can find it and post a link.  Basically you just flex your knees for 5 seconds and then turn legs outwards for 5 while still flexing and then back to centre.  Repeat x5.  It has made all the difference.

Then I did an ABA session with T1.  His program is focussing on dealing with emotions.  He is pretty indistinguishable from his peers now.  He just comes across as a bit aggressive and angry.  Yet, other times he can be a sweet little angel.  I spent some time trying to get him angry e.g. winning games, correcting him etc so we could practise regulating his emotions but he didn't get angry - such an angel today.

We went to my husband's uncle's 80th birthday tonight.  I was worried - it started at 5.30pm and there were a lot of of kids and older people around.  T1 played footy and mixed in so well.  He controlled his emotions really well.  T2 played baby toys with the family toddler and played ball with the boys.  I'm glad he played with the big kids too.  They held it together for 3 hours.  At 8.30pm T2 started to lose it so we came home.  I was so proud of the them.

Saturday 23 November 2013

Busy Day but no Run

I woke up secretly hoping that it would rain so I didn't have to coach Milo cricket - but it never does and once cricket actually starts I really love it.  It gets easier every week and I'm starting to get to know my little team and get used to running the activities.

After cricket was Soccajoeys.  The boys were quite good today.  Not their best day but they did all the activities and I think I do expect a great deal from them these days.  I wish T2 would run harder after the ball.  I know he can run faster but I have to work out how to get him to do it in a soccer game.  T1 is the opposite and always scores at least one goal.  Looks like T1 got all the competitiveness.

Then I did an ABA session with T2 while another Junior did a session with T1.  T2 was great today -really focussed and got great scores.  In applied behaviour analysis (ABA) data is taken for every skill to assess competency and progress.  He did want to colour the alphabet for a reinforcer and I caved in. Unfortunately he wanted to carry around the piece of paper afterwards which I didn't allow and he kept asking for it.  If I let him perseverate on the alphabet the obsession becomes increasingly stronger so I really limit his time on it.

Then I popped up to the shops for a few things and that was it.  Unfortunately no run today but I'm planning an early one unless there is a thunder storm - there's no way I'm running in one of those.

Thursday 21 November 2013

Week 4 Day 1 of C25K program & privacy

Woke up to an electrical storm this morning. Pretty cool really, we don't usually get them in the morning.  When I was a kid Summer days were hot and storms cooled everything off.  I truly believe climate change is affecting the weather.  Anyway, its forecast to storm again late this arvo so I set off for day 1 of Week 4.

My run was good therapy for me as I discovered that there was a breach of my kids' privacy from inquisitive (interested? nosy?) parents of kids that will be starting preschool next year.  They noticed my son had a shadow and thought it appropriate to ask questions.  Unfortunately they were answered.  I am happy that I was notified immediately and it wasn't covered up.  I don't know why I'm upset, maybe because unfortunately people with a disability don't seem entitled to any civil rights here in Australia.  Anyway, as you can tell I'm still abit cross.  Maybe its because I was told of their reactions when the big A was mentioned or that another mother asked T2 a question and when he didn't answer she apparently pulled a face and walked away.  I feel so powerless when my kids aren't in my constant supervision.  Anyway, deep breaths and a run helped today.

Its Friday - have a good one everyone!

How do you handle questions by parents about your kids diagnosis? Are you completely open or not?  I'm still figuring it out. 

Week3 C25K bonus run & Waterbar at Blue Woolloomooloo

I did a repeat of a week 3 run today.  Tomorrow I'll start Week 4 of the Couch to 5 km running program (C25K).

Last night my husband and I went to the Waterbar at Blue hotel at Woolloomooloo finger wharf.  It was a fun night.  It was a Scoopon voucher.  I have a weakness for them, especially the High Tea vouchers.  This was an evening Mad Hatters High Tea, which I've never had before.  My husband kept wondering why we were having High Tea at night.  A good question that I had no answer for.  It was a really comfortable and beautiful atmosphere but to be honest we were still hungry after the High Tea so ordered some mini burgers with chips.  I forgot to take photos before we tucked into the High Tea (we were starving!).  I did take a couple of photos of the venue.  It was very quiet, being a weeknight and I avoided getting any people in the shots.  We are really lucky to get to spend regular time together, just the two of us.  Being parents of kids with ASD, it can be easy to neglect quality time together and I know in some instances it can be impossible to get childcare but if you can its worth the effort.  I'm so glad we get the time to focus on just us.  It makes all the difference and gives me something to look forward to.

Today we watched Bridesmaid on Foxtel together as my husband had the day off.  The kids were at preschool/school.  It was hilarious.
 alcoholic cocktail in teacup - it was very sweet!
 I forgot to take a photo before we tucked in, but took one as soon as I remembered.

 Still hungry, so we ordered these mini chicken burgers - delish!

 Verdict:  I'd definitely return, even for pre dinner drinks before heading to one of the fancy restaurants on the wharf.
Rich kids toys and a gorgeous view

Tuesday 19 November 2013

Week 3 C25K complete and Autism Live

A beautiful afternoon here in Sydney so I finished up Week 3 of the C25K while my husband minded the kids.  I never used to like running in the afternoon but am really enjoying it lately.  I've decided I hate running down hills.  My poor knees feel like they're going to pop.  There must be a proper technique that I'm not aware of.

I want to share with you my enthusiasm and support for an online autism program I watch called Autism Live.  It is hosted by an autism mum called Shannon Penrod.  Before this program started Shannon used to host a weekly radio show on autism.

When my twins were first diagnosed I was left without any hope that they would speak properly, or function independently at all.  It was by far the darkest time in my life.  I was searching for answers and some hope that the doctors never gave me when they were diagnosed.  Luckily I plugged the words autism and miracle into google and up popped the website for a show called Everyday Autism Miracles.  That's what I was looking for - a miracle.  What I learnt was miraculous but also costly in every way.  I discovered ABA - applied behaviour analysis.  Within weeks of the boys being diagnosed my boys were accepted into an ABA centre and were doing full weekly programs.  I had found what I desperately wanted - hope.  They began to talk, I could manage their behaviour, I was no longer a prisoner in my own home.  I trained to be a junior therapist and my husband did too.  None of it was easy.  Doing therapy with your own child is really hard but completely worth it.  I'm lucky that I found some wonderful Junior therapists and had one of the most experienced BCBAs working in Australia working with us.  And it was and still is financially devastating.  Would I do it again? Yes - in a heartbeat.

Shannon went on to host Austism Live.  Its inspiring, encouraging and real.  As you know it can be very isolating being a parent of a child on the spectrum.  Sometimes I feel that is even more so in a mainstream environment.  Sometime I feel like an alien parent listening to other preschool mums at coffee mornings.  This show really charges the batteries when it gets too much.  Check it out here or here.

Last week I emailed a problem I was having with one of the boys and was really excited that it was addressed by Dr Doreen Granpeesheh, founder of the Center for Autism and Related Disorders (CARD).  She is one of my Autism 'heroes'.

Saturday 16 November 2013

C25K Week 3 Day 1, cricket washout and grumpy

Luckily I decided to knock over my run early this morning because its been raining ever since.  One more day left of Week 3, which I'll do tomorrow.  Doing 3 consecutive days really works for me.  It stops me getting lazy and if I get sick (like last week) it means I've already done the work.

I was looking forward to watching my oldest play cricket today.  As soon as we arrived it started to rain so I sat there for 2 HOURS waiting for the game to start.  My son seemed to be happy enough mucking around with his friends but I found it really frustrating.  Luckily it was a home game so my poor husband is now watching while my dad and I came home.

So now I'm cold and grumpy at home.  At times like this its time to dust off the Kindle and rip into some Anthony Trollope (one of my hobbies is reading English Victorian era literature).  Its also time for multiple cups of tea.

Thankfully T1 is happy watching Tom & Jerry and T2 is totally obssessed with my iphone at the moment.  Sometimes its best to chill.

What do you do when you're grumpy to make yourself feel better?

Friday 15 November 2013

Week 3 Day 1 C25K and Milo In2Cricket

Week 3 Day 1 of C25K program complete.  I tackled a horrible hill as part of my run, but it wasn't as bad as I thought, though it was pretty steep.  Hills are a mental battle and I plan to include the hill into my runs from now on.

A busy Saturday morning here.  Every Saturday morning T1 and I head off to Milo In2Cricket.  Its a great program that runs for about an hour.  Parents volunteer as coaches for between 5-10 kids and we rotate around about 6 different stations.   At each station the kids practise batting, throwing or fielding.  For example today we had continuous cricket at one station, a fielding game at another station, throwing balls at the wicket and the pull shot.  It focuses on fun.  I volunteered as a coach this year as I wasn't sure how T1 would go and I like to be involved.  I didn't have to be worried, he is doing so well and besides being slightly over-competitive is indistinguishable from his peers.  T2 on the other hand would really need me to 'shadow' him the whole time.  Now that I know what its like, next season I'll enrol both my boys and focus on helping T2.  Today was a bonus because my husband, Mr Sporty was on hand to be assistant coach :-)  I reckon that many kids with ASD could be accomodated within this program, with the right support (and possibly some enticing reinforcement).  I'm really looking forward to including T2 in our Milo cricket mornings next season.  For more info click here

After that it was off to Soccajoeys for both boys.  Originally they both were in a Special Ed class but are now in the mainstream program. T1 is a superstar and T2 does pretty well but spends some time daydreaming (we really need to work on those attending in a group skills!).

This arvo both boys had ABA, though T1 is winding down his program.  This gave me a chance to do my run and do abit of study (I'm doing an online uni course).

Tonight my husband and I are having dinner with a friend while my lovely Mother-in-law minds the boys.

Do your ASD kids play any sports? Any tips to make it successful?

Do you love or hate hills?  Is going up better than going down?

Thursday 14 November 2013

C25K bonus run and small wins=big wins

So I thought I'd ignore the sore throat (yes, I'm still abit sick) and repeat one of the Week 2 days since I had yesterday off running.  And although I didn't really enjoy the run I feel alot better now.  The Betadine gargle and Nurofen may be partly responsible, but hey, whatever works.  Tomorrow I'm going to start Week 3 of the Couch to 5km (C25K) program.  I'm looking forward to the longer blocks of running because I don't use the app and have to keep remembering when its time to walk and time to run.  Why don't  I use the app? Well, I don't really need anyone telling me what to do on my run :-).  I need some peace.

This morning the twins went off to preschool.  They really love it and I hope they love school just as much.  The birthday cupcakes were a hit with the kids and apparently T2 didn't cry when the class sang Happy Birthday - phew! You ASD mum's know that small wins=big wins in our world.

Another small win=big win is that T1 can now put his own seat belt on and he does T2's for him.  It makes such a difference.  Instead of bending down in the back seats and sweating etc etc (it an get pretty damn hot in Sydney), I just get the twins in and put my own belt on, turn around and check their belts are on and we're off.

Right now I have the house to myself - its so quiet and.....blissful!

What are your some of your kids small win=big win moments?

Wednesday 13 November 2013

Autism Mums aren't allowed to get sick!

Damn it ...we're just not.  I suffer from migraines.  I first started getting them a few years ago.  Until then I'd hardly ever had a headache.  They really do suck.  But I'm feeling alot better today and will do a bonus run tomorrow morning (as I've already completed Week 2 of C25K program).  T1 and T2 turn 6 next week so while they were at preschool I did some last minute birthday shopping and am all organised for their birthday now - except the cake.  I'm praying the cake topper will arrive on time (but my hopes are fading fast).

Since I get these headache a couple of times a month I usually know when one is due.  I've tried so many things to get rid of them.  I was reading that exercise and mega doses of B2 can help prevent them.  So I might try the B2 and hopefully running the training will help too.  I diarise (is that a word?) my migraines so I'll be able to tell if there is any improvement.

The twins took cupcakes to preschool for their birthday.  I'm hoping T2 doesn't cry when the class sings happy birthday - maybe its just when I sing happy birthday that he cries?:-).  He has a long history of dramatic behaviour when Happy Birthday is being sung to him - fingers crossed!

Any tips for surviving/avoiding migraines?

Tuesday 12 November 2013

C25K Week 2 - complete, ABA overlap and Thor

Today was a big day.

I knocked over the last run for Week 2 C25K.  I dodged the rain this morning and am looking forward to a sleep in tomorrow morning.

Later on my boys' BCBA came over and did an overlap session with myself and my son (T2).  An overlap is where the BCBA can supervise and help run any new programs.  As always when his BCBA is around T2 was beautifully behaved and did some really beautiful pretend play.  A BCBA is Board Certified Behaviour Analyst who has done many years supervised training and completed a Masters in Behavioural studies and passed exams

My lovely mother-in-law minded the twins tonight so myself and my hubby and our 10 year old went to the movies and saw Thor.  It was a great night.  My favourite character is the evil Loki - such an annoying brother!  One tip if you go and see the movie- there are TWO extra scenes at the end so don't do what we did and leave after the first credits.  Stay until the very end.

Have you seen Thor? Did you like it?

Monday 11 November 2013

C25K week 2 day 2

I slept in this morning (if you count 7.30am as a sleep in) which is an amazing feeling because T2 is a very early riser and rarely wakes after 6am - but he did today!  It was also raining here so I skipped the morning run and did it this arvo instead - I got into my running gear, thought the rain was easing and took off...and got very wet.  But it was kind of cool.  There was hardly anyone on the road, even in cars..a bit eery at 5.15pm.  Then when I was jogging around the bay it was just me and the rain hitting the water.   I actually really enjoyed it.

Many of you with kids with ASD may find that they have trouble sleeping.  Our BCBA designed a sleep program for the boys when they were 4 and we followed it to the letter.  It worked beautifully for T1 but T2 failed the sleep program.  I'd read about melotonin for getting kids on the spectrum to sleep and thankfully with a quarter of a 3mg tablet he goes off like a dream and usually sleeps pretty well - just gets up pretty early.  So on the rare occasion he sleeps longer I lap it up.

Today was an additional school orientation for T1 and T2 and they both behaved beautifully.  We were taken on a tour of the school.  Met alot of the teachers and the boys sat in on library and Kindy for a while.  Kindergarten were doing some testing where they had to write numbers consecutively up to a 100!  My guys would love that - the only problem would be stopping them :-).

Later today we went to the therapy centre the boys used to attend and met up with our former Senior therapists.  Amazing, capable people who I will love forever.

Do you have trouble getting your kid to sleep or stay asleep?  Any tips?

Saturday 9 November 2013

Week 2 Day 1 of C25k and rain at last!

Woke up to rain this morning.  I then spent awhile debating whether I'd run or not.  And eventually decided to get my but out of bed and just do it.  So I did and it was great.  It was sprinkling but really nice and cool after the scorching weather we've been having.  I'm happy to run in rain and showers but I've never had the guts to step out into pelting rain - maybe one day.  So Day 1, Week 2 - complete.  I know I should be spreading the days out on the C25K program but I'm worried I'll get lazy.  So I'm doing the 3 days back to back and then trying to fit a couple of bonus days in.

My ABA session with T2 went beautifully.  He was so happy and attentive. If he behaved like that every day life would be a dream in this household.  I did another session with him today and he was great until the very end.  He threw my older son's ipod in the toilet and its now wrecked:-(.  So now T2 is banned from devices unless an adult is sitting right next to him or if he is in the therapy room.

So glad this rain has come to put out all the fires.  And all the asthmatics can take a deep breath again.

So, do you run in the rain?

Has your kid ever thrown anything in the toilet (grrrrr)?

Friday 8 November 2013

Rest Day

Running: Rest day today.  Tomorrow I'm going to start Week 2 of the C25km program.  Baby steps.

A very hot day here in Sydney.  I can't remember the last time it rained here.  Every morning you can smell bush fires.  T1 and T2 have asthma (along with the ASD, allergies, eczema!) so they've been taking ventolin every couple of hours as well as their preventor and a couple of nights they had to have Redipred as they both had a croup attack this week.  I've also revved up the Vicks humidifier.  Some people don't like them but I was desperate to stop them coughing.

Yesterday arvo,  I did an ABA session with T2 because one of his therapists was away.  It started off pretty rough, with about 20minutes of pretty severe behaviour.  After that he settled down and I was able to run some mastered programs and do lots of play.  For those of you don't know what ABA is, it stands for Applied Behaviour Analysis and is based on the principles of behaviour and reinforcement to increase desired behaviours.  If any of you have taken your puppies to puppy school the principles are pretty similar.  T1 and T2 have been doing ABA for over two years and it has saved my sanity and taught my boys so much.  Its a tough journey.  Financially and psychologically devastating but its all worth the blood, sweat and tears (literally and figuratively!).

I'm scheduling another ABA session this arvo as another therapist is away (its uni exam time for many of our team-members).  Hopefully I'll have time to update how it went.

Thursday 7 November 2013

Couch to 5km week one -complete

Ok, Its going to be a long journey to a marathon, but one has to start somewhere.

Weds - Day 1, Week 1 of C25km (complete)
Thurs - Day 2, Week 1 of C25km (complete)
Fri (Today) - Day 3, Week 1 of C25km (complete)

For those Aussies who run in kms rather than miles the Couch to 5km running program can be found here.  There is also an app, but I kind of like peace and quiet so I look at my watch (actually my iphone at the moment).

The twins are at preschool (peace and quiet!) so I managed to get some birthday shopping done for them.  I remember when they never played with anything.  Thankfully those days are pretty much behind us thanks to early intervention.  Still, T2 wanting the Peppa Pig train and rocket for his 6th isn't exactly "typical".  T1 requests what any almost 6 year old would  - sports gear, DS games, Lego, Ironman, Skylander toys (phew).  T1 requested a Turbo cake (ahh...ok) and I think I'll get a One Direction cake topper for T2.  I was hoping to buy tiny Turbo toys to put on some cupcakes as there is NO way I'm making a Turbo birthday cake - I wish I was that talented.