Temple Grandin is my favorite speaker/writer when it comes to all things Autism. She gives such practical advice. Here she shares excellent insights for the UC Davis Mind Institute’s Distinguished Lecturer Series of 2007. I highly recommend this video, as well as all of her books on Autism.Read More
Many years ago we had the absolute honor of working alongside of a Chinese Church Of The Christian and Missionary Alliance. Our Pastors were life long missionaries, T Grady and Evelyn Mangham. They had spent over two decades serving the Lord in Vietnam as well as other places in Asia. The depth of the spirituality of the congregation was impressive.Read More
For some reason or another, I happened to wake up at 5 am this morning without the help of an alarm. I was tempted to stay in bed a little longer but God must have known I would need this extra time with Him this morning. I need my morning alone time. It is how I focus and prepare for the day. The last thing I do before I finish is pray for a verse to help me through the day. I usually write it on a post it note and carry it in my purse. The verse He gave me to hold dear today was:
Sleep just won’t come. Faces and names drift in and out of my mind like ocean waves beating the sand. It’s after 2 am and all I can think about is the little boy with the broken elbow and the young man who ripped the inside of his arm to shreds. I can see the four sisters who come everyday for their little meal, and the little two year old who has been so sick with amoebas.
Then my mind wanders to the woman who came to the gate today with fresh bruises, signs that her husband is back with her this week. I pray for each in turn earnestly knowing that this is important. It is partly why we are here, to be there even when we cannot be there, through the miracle of prayer. Sharing one another’s burdens.Read More
As the mother of a special needs daughter I understand the daily challenges parents of special needs children face. Simple tasks can become such a burden and things that should take only a moment to do can take hours to accomplish. We not only have to teach our children what to be able to do but how to be able to do it. We have to be able to instill the art of interpersonal communication so that our children can survive in an ever-changing world. This is not an easy task for parents of children who do not face special challenges. It is nigh impossible for those of us who do. But Thank the Lord for tools that can help us along.
About 4 years ago I stumbled upon the concept of “visuals”. Visuals are tools that help non-verbal people communicate in a verbal world. Our daughter struggled not only in verbal communication, but because of her disability she could not stay focused for more than a few hours without tripping over into her “own world.” In her world, she was happy, loud but happy, and life would stop for the rest of us as we tried to manage the noise levels, and the chaos that ensued.
Grocery shopping would leave me exhausted for hours, as my daughter “flapped” her way nosily throughout the store, knocking cans and produce everywhere, and screaming throughout the meat and dairy section. I remember once at a Walmart, EllaBella was “flapping” and making a high-pitched shrill noise in the laundry aisle, (most special needs kids are very sensitive to smells) and the floor manager of all people, who saw that it was her, said rather loudly, “I wish the parent of whatever brat that is making all that noise would make it shut up.” My first thought was “me too buddy, if you only knew..” Yes, I did give him a small piece of my mind, in a nice way of course.
It was at this point that I found BeeVisual and after a few months we discovered our lives became more organized and peaceful. Every day I would set up her boards, use the tiles to get through the tasks, and the books when we had problems. The timer and wait boards were invaluable. However, the original boards and books were too bulky to take along on outings. We could only manage her outbursts and problems at home. Going out was a huge challenge.
Recently, I was asked to try the new app for IPhone. What a GODSEND, this was. I have an ITouch and carry it with me everywhere so this was going to make life easier for us all. I downloaded the app in seconds and was able to even take pictures and recordings of Ella doing tasks and such that are unique to our family and lifestyle. I could even make different boards for different parts of the day and different situations. She eagerly stays on task as the visuals keep her motivated. It is portable because it is on my ITouch and it comes with everything the original version does.
Here is how I use the app. I set up the boards I will need for the next day, which takes but a few minutes. The boards are reusable and you can have as many as you like. I even use this for my younger son Noah, just because it is easy to keep him on task as well. Then in the morning when Ella wakes up she gives me a hug and we go through Ella’s Wake-up Board. She has five simply things to do, go to the bathroom, wash her hands, eat breakfast, wash hands and face, and get dressed. After she does these things she can choose between to activities which are timed at the bottom of the board. Off she goes to have fun. She has learned, responsibility, she has made good choices, the morning has gone smoother because I am not frustrated trying to get her to go to the bathroom. She sees what she needs to do, the boards speak the task and she does it. So wonderful.
Visuals are not a new concept for special needs children. There are many kids of visuals as well. We are ever grateful to the Lord that our dear Ella is so high functioning and very articulate. We use the Waiting Boards and Feelings Board a lot as she has great difficulties with managing feelings and understanding boundaries. The Timer is invaluable.
I highly recommend this app for ANY parent of ANY child under age 10, special needs or no, because it is an invaluable mom helper tool. As I mentioned, I also use this for our son Noah, aged 6, who is just your normal rambunctious boy. It helps me to use this with both of them simultaneously and keep them on track, learning responsibility and interpersonal communication. I love this app! It has made my life so much easier.
Our daughter Gabriella has PDD-NOS, a form of Autism. She is incredibly artistic and very high functioning. A true creator, she is constantly designing something new and putting it on display for all to see.
All of us as parents have places on the refrigerator where we proudly hang our children’s artwork. However, Ella has so much artwork, there is no way to display it all. So in trying to accommodate all my children, I put her artwork up on a huge clip and rotate the rest. Yet, when one of her masterpieces is missing, she remembers. She remembers every piece and will go to any length to find it and display it. She marvels over each creation as if it were the first and best of all of her art.