Archive for the “autism” Category

Communicating using Pictures

Posted on June 6th, 2012 by Tracey

For a few months now, we’ve been using more and more pictures as symbols for communication with Jovie. She loves photos/images/drawings, and using systems like PECS is commonly used with ASD kids. The only problem has been that 1. I cannot afford Boardmaker (and neither can 99% of regular families like us); and 2. I felt like some scenarios/photos were missing from our PECS folder.

So, what to do? I’m not an artist or illustrator by any means – but that’s the beauty of drawing pictures for communication. They don’t need to be complicated – just enough to illustrate an object or scenario. Over the weekend, I drew out a few pages of things we do all the time – go to therapy, go to school, blow bubbles, brush teeth & even Yo Gabba Gabba – and luckily my 4 year old (Jasper) could understand them! I coloured them in, laminated them, chopped them up and stuck velcro on the back of each card. And voila!

Not bad for a crafternoon’s work :) I’ve stuck them on a door in the hallway, and every morning we choose the cards to go up on the board today. Yesterday, Jasper was ‘swimming’, ‘cubby house’, ‘read books’, ‘drawing’ and of course ‘Mario Kart Wii’. (We also use his board to spell his name and to show the day of the week). Boards like this really help kids break down events of the day, and also serve as a to-do list for mum’s like me :P

A few lovely ladies left comments about wanting a copy for themselves, and I thought it was an awesome idea! So here they are –

I’ve redrawn 48 images last night which include – Go for a walk, go to therapy, brushing time, listening time, bath time, brush teeth, pants, shoes, socks, tshirt, kiss & a cuddle, go to the zoo, iPad/iPod, shopping, go for a swim, jump on the trampoline and eat. I’ve also added a box around each image so you have a cutting guide, and used a font instead of my handwriting for the text. There’s 6 x A4 pages to download, print and laminate.

There are two options for downloading the printable PDF file (4.6MB) –


or

Download for $6

Why two options? Because I know costs add up when it comes to finding tools & equipment for therapy, and because they add up for me too. (Hey, I’m honest!).

Feel free to share this post around and let me know if you’ve printed the pictures out and are using them :) I’m open to drawing more, especially since I know there are things you do specifically with your own kids that you can’t find a picture for. If you don’t have access to a laminating machine, leave a message below and I’ll see what I can do.

I’d appreciate any feedback that you might have – this was my first try at making them myself and I had alot of fun doing it :)

Happy crafting!

Living with Jovie

Posted on June 4th, 2012 by Tracey

jovie

There’s a small window of time, in the morning, where it’s just Jovie and I. We’re eating breakfast together at the table, I’m feeding her the usual porridge with banana while I eat my toast. Jasper is in his own world, eating his sandwich on the floor while watching videos on the iPad – whatever gets that food into his belly, I’ve learnt.

Depending on the day, I’ll have around 6 different bags to carry out to the car in a few minutes. Traffic to battle. A city to cross. An inbox burning with spam and requests. My worries have found a new home in my body, and I shake the urge to call in sick for the day. But there’s none of that for us today, for a long while yet.

Occasionally Jovie and I will lock eyes, and trade smiles. She can’t talk yet, but I know she speaks to me alot through those eyes. I think I can read her pretty well these days, and today she’s saying that it’s going to be okay. And that’s all I need to get going.

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Last weekend, I picked up a copy of Chloe Maxwell’s book Living With Max and I didn’t put it down until I was done the next day.

Since our diagnosis in September, and even during the waiting around in the months’ beforehand, I’d been scouring the internet trying to make sense of what Autism means to us now and what to expect. I don’t think I could name 1 Australian ‘celebrity’ with an Autism story to share. Finding memoirs like Living With Max (and even Bloom by Kelle Hampton) and having them so accessible is such an amazing thing for families like us. Opening up the discussion about raising a child with special needs is important – as important as anything I can think of right now. When I was pregnant with both kids, I don’t ever remember anyone discussing what it’s like to raise a child with Autism – and the strength required to deal with what comes with it.

In Living With Max, Chloe talks about her life with honesty that I admire. How life will throw everything at you whether you’re ready or not. And a frank account about dealing with it. Maybe you won’t deal with it well – maybe life will kick you while you’re down – but keep going. For your children and for yourself.

I know that the process in getting to where Chloe (and Max) is today isn’t as quick as a reading a book, but it gives me a sense of hope that there will be a chapter in our life where I’m going to be strong enough to know I’ve come through the worst of it and I’m ready for the next wave.

looking backwards / looking forwards

Posted on May 27th, 2012 by Tracey

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i won’t lie. these photos make me sad. sad enough that when i was browsing my flickr account for photos of the kids, that i literally gasped when i saw pictures of Jovie holding onto things and crawling through a tunnel. things she hasn’t done for a very long time.

they were taken when Jovie was between 7 and 17 months old – my proud display of a growing girl, hitting her milestones and being like any regular kid at that age. back then, i guess you could say we were blissfully ignorant about the challenges children can face, and that’s totally fine. i don’t want to live life expecting the worst when the situation is good – there is a space for being ‘ok’ even if you face a tough road ahead. you have to make room for contentment and acceptance or you can’t move forward.

taking photographs has always been a part of my life, and knowing that i might be taking photos today that could break my heart in the future, doesn’t make me want to stop taking these photographs. i treasure them, as every image i take creates a memory that i don’t want to let go of.