Logan Osborne: Man with Autism Graduates with Masters Degree

Logan Osborne: Man with Autism Graduates with Masters Degree

It shouldn’t be a big deal that a man has graduated with a Masters degree but I am sure that anyone touched by autism will know how much of a battle it can be. Their little habits, rituals, anxieties and lack of health care and social skills make it all the more difficult for them.  Any parents would be proud that their child has a first degree, so to go on to gain a Masters is even more impressive. I have written previously about my oldest son who has Asperger’s Syndrome going to University and so it is really reassuring to hear of the success of Logan Osborne.

Logan Osborne Autistic Msc StudentLogan Osborne first gained a BSc(Hons) Geography at University of Brighton in 2013. Now he has an MSc in Geographical Information Systems and Environmental Management and is looking for a job in geographical information systems.

Logan’s parents want to give some comfort to others that with the right support anything can be achieved. They say that the University of Brighton’s Disability and Dyslexia team gave Logan excellent support. Logan said that he felt that he could always talk things over with them, including checking his work, if he needed help.

If you or your child is thinking of going to University and have a disability then it should be declared in order to obtain the right support.

The Disability and Dyslexia team at the University of Brighton provides one-to-one mentoring and specialist study support, advice and help with applying for funding. Contact: disability@brighton.ac.uk 01273 643799, and for more information go to: www.brighton.ac.uk/current-students/my-studies/declaring-a-disability-or-learning-difficulty

 

real life measuring

Real Life Measuring

One of the ways of helping bring Maths to life is by making your very own Skeleton. This exercise was beneficial to The Sensory Seeker because it was a very concrete activity. By that I mean he had a visual way of processing the information – as opposed to an abstract idea in his  head.

Real Life Measuring

real life measuringFirst we measured different things – our hands, a chair, the table. We measured them using our hands. We compared how different sized hands (mine Vs the children’s) needed a different number of them for the measurement of the different objects. We then moved onto tape measures (soft and hard), rulers etc and talked about cms and inches.

This was a fun way to introduce measuring and was much better at holding The Sensory Seeker’s Interest.

 

 

Measuring Yourself to Make a Life-Sized Skeleton

real life measuringreal life measuringThe following week we made a life sized skeleton. We did this by taking different measurements on the body and then drew the same size for each part on a piece of paper. We then cut it out and attached it together. It was good to demonstrate how something the size of The Sensory Seeker could be put together from the smaller parts. It also gave him a better understanding of his bone structure – as well as things like fine motor practice (drawing and cutting), number sequencing, attention, instructions etc. We used blue tac and a biro to make holes for the split pins.

I think it was also good for self-esteem as now we have a bony version of The Sensory Seeker proudly hanging on the back of our kitchen door. It also fits in very nicely with our Pirate theme – which really began when we spent the night in a Pirate room at Legoland Windsor.

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Proprioception – Sensory Processing Disorder: Body Position

What is Proprioception?

Our brains are very busy-bees. They receive a continuous flow of information from each of our 7 different sensory systems all day long, everyday- & the brain has to sort through it & prioritise the information to decide how to best understand what is going on & then decide what to do based on all of the information available. The sense Proprioception is that of body position, location, orientation, and movement. The information is received through receptors in muscles and joints – for example force, speed and control, about how and where we are moving in the space around us.  This is basically where each part of our body is in relation to others, and how much effort is required from each of the parts to get the desired movement. This can affect how we drink from a cup with control, throw a ball to hit a target, how to move our body to fit through 4 desks in a small space.

Proprioception - Sensory Processing Disorder: Body Position

Proprioception is probably the hardest area to really pin-point as a sensory processing issue. There’s lots of overlap with other skills (like motor planning) so the thinking part to do with making a plan about how you’re going to carry out a movement & going along with it.  Issues are to do with too much or too little information processed by our brains. Horse riding has been found to help with this sense, as swimming.

Proprioception - Sensory Processing Disorder: Body Position

Impairment of the proprioception sense is most reported at times of growth particularly during adolescence and is worse when the individual is tired.

The Sensory Seeker and Proprioception

We noticed with The Sensory Seeker that at preschool he was unable to pour something from one container to the other, as he was unable to understand the relationship between his body parts and the effort (when to stop) of when to pull back (from pouring). I think that him standing on his head/spinning etc is his way of trying to understand this – but this is my Mom theory and not based on anything scientific. We find plenty of time on the trampoline helps and taking things slowly when walking down stairs/slopes.

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Identifying Sensory Processing Disorder with Proprioception

TOO MUCH  – Can be seen by movements being stiff.

How we can help

•Have a ‘time out’ corner
•Provide slow rocking movements to help relieve muscle tension
•Allow breaks from movement activities

NOT ENOUGH

• Use way too much force with objects e.g. jerky when drinking from a cup, push really hard with glue
• Push or lean heavily against people or walls
• Might prefer tight clothing
• Toileting problems (e.g. lack of awareness of need to go)
• Drooling
• Spill from mouth when eating
• Might appear rough or aggressive, like ‘rough-housing’

How we can help
• Allow them to lean on something when sitting (compensating when already fatigued/ end of day)
• Sit on a therapy ball

Proprioception - Sensory Processing Disorder: Body Position

• Use heavy or weighted items to give more awareness about where their body is (e.g. heavy cups and spoons)
• Place something weighted on their lap while sitting e.g. bean-bag, back-pack over shoulders/ weighted products – lappad, jacket etc.
• Give them ‘heavy-work’ jobs- e.g. moving chairs, carrying books/ boxes of toys.

This is not a sponsored post.

Many thanks to the Children’s Occupational Therapy Gloucestershire Care Services NHS Trust for supply this information and granting me permission to use it.

Irish Fairy Door

Irish Fairy Door & Weekly Kids Co-op

Irish Fairy DoorI believe that every home should have a fairy. The  Irish Fairy Door company were so passionate about their belief in children that it reminded me how important my children are to me. Their belief was of the  child’s right to play, the child’s right to have some quality time with adults (even if that was only for 10 minutes); the child’s right to live without fear. And this is what the fairy can do. The Irish fairy door comes complete with a key and licence agreement, as well as access to an app and e-mail updates from Kat, Queen of the fairies, with stories and ideas (recipes/activities) to help keep believing. You get to pick a door (I went with a red one like our own front door which we had at Christmas) and there’s even help with picking a name. There is an agreement that both the child/ren and the fairy have to read and sign with rules about what to do (such as making sure the door is put in a safe place. The door comes complete with some stepping stones and a key (and vial). When the key disappears you know that the fairy has come to live in the home. They can also live outside in the garden but we opted for in the living room.

The Irish Fairy Door in our home

Irish Fairy DoorI was really pleased to see that the children embraced their Irish Fairy Door immediately. We made things to decorate around their door (from playdough), we made “fairy” cakes (even my teenage son joined in too), my son wrote notes – even asking for meal ideas to help me with my meal planning. The presence of the fairy helped the boys to sleep (well it encouraged The Sensory Seeker to stay in his own bed a bit longer and not worry about monsters); not forgetting that the fairy took The Sensory Seeker’s first tooth.

The Irish Fairy Door and LEGO

Irish Fairy DoorLEGO is a firm favourite in our house currently. It is really great for fine motor skills, social skills, imagination, creativity and attention. So it should have come as no surprise that LEGO was mentioned in a letter to our fairy. One of the notes our son wrote was asking for ideas on how to design a LEGO man – and that is exactly what the fairy (Mr Tiny) did. Our son set straight to work in finding the pieces in LEGO to match the design. I think that he did a really good job.

Verdict on our Irish Fairy Door

Irish Fairy DoorSiblings of those with Special Needs can often not receive as much attention or not bond as well. I like how our Irish Fairy Door has meant that The Sensory Seeker’s brother is able to write down any concerns he has, or simply demand some time/attention for himself. He really is a bright boy so does not even need much help with homework, etc so it is good that we can do this for him. He was a bit over-excited at first wanting the fairy to come every night. He now knows that the fairy is always around but makes time on Fridays to write notes back and arrange activities – giving him something to look forward to. It is also cementing the bond between the two brothers, and helps ensure that we do make quality time with them because we believe that play matters.

Other LEGO posts & The Weekly Kids Co-op

As I say we are big LEGO fans in this house and you can find other posts about LEGO on Pinkoddy, LEGO photography on Instagram #LEGOJoy, videos on my YouTube and I have a LEGO Pinterest board

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Top LEGO Birthday cakes for kids + LEGO Party Hacks

Baby Play with LEGO

LEGO Birthday party ideas + FREE LEGO Printables

Home made LEGO storage bucket

I received a free Irish Fairy Door for purposes of review. All words and opinions are my own.



The Sensory Seeker Progress

The Sensory Seeker Progress 5 years 10 Months

I thought I would do a progress post of how The Sensory Seeker is doing. He is currently 5 years and almost 10 months old.

The Sensory Seeker and Mornings

As long as the routine is there mornings seem to be going pretty well. Yes The Sensory Seeker  may need encouraging to eat his breakfast but generally this is happening (whether that be dry cereal, scrambled egg or he loves bacon). I even have managed to get him to have a drink of milk each day. There have been times when this has been more difficult, and at one point he just screamed and screamed. Looking back I am not sure if I was not fulfilling The Sensory Seeker’s Auditory sense.

The Sensory Seeker ProgressAlthough it was really difficult at the time I just tried to focus on the fact that it was The Sensory Seeker that wasn’t coping. That it would pass. I knew it was to do with lots of changes and possibly tiredness. Instead of punishing him for his behaviour we tried to make things easier for him (without spoiling). We relaxed our boundaries (such as a complete ban on computer games in the week) in return for behaviours we desired (such as eating all of his breakfast before school). Teeth brushing is going really well, which is a lot to do with our fairy and the fact that he has “big” teeth coming through.  He is also really enjoying playing with LEGO before school – which is great for his fine motor development, imaginative play, sharing and attention. I know at the end of the term he is getting more tired and less co-operative and so I do tend to just save the argument by getting him dressed myself. The Sensory Seeker loves scooting to school – which not only gets us there faster but is good for his gross motor, his proprioception and vestibular senses. I also have my own Microscooter* now to help me keep up with him and ensure that he is safe. Thank you to Microscooters for this kind donation.

The Sensory Seeker At School

The Sensory Seeker ProgressSchool seems to be going really well for The Sensory Seeker. I haven’t heard any concerns and he seems to be progressing at a good rate. He has got really independent at going into school and doing the things he needs to do (hanging up his coat, ticking what he wants for dinner) before slotting into playing alongside his peers. He has had a few toileting accidents (more so when there was a lot of change) but other than that I am really happy with how things are. The Sensory Seeker even seems to be trying now foods as he now has cooked dinners at school. It is good to hear him counting and reading particularly, as when he was hardly talking it was hard to imagine him ever doing these things. He doesn’t like his shirt tucked in or his buttons done up – so we are currently not forcing him to.

The Sensory Seeker After School

The Sensory Seeker ProgressThe Sensory Seeker now goes to Boys Brigade, Football club and ICT club (all with his older brother who is 7 years and 4 months): He seems to be coping well (again just toileting issues). He is able to play (mainly with LEGO) without supervision or needing things structured for him. At home The Sensory Seeker can be easily wound up – but think that’s more of a brothers thing. He is occasionally eating with his fork/spoon but mainly with his hands still. Currently we are still concentrating on the fact that he is eating, trying new foods and textures. The amount is small and we do have to barter with him a lot. Bedtimes he goes down pretty much without fuss in routine. Sometimes we relent and let him go to sleep in our bed. He is more and more ending up coming into our bed in the night and the one time he didn’t he had an awful nightmare that I had died. Other than that he’s got much better at not touching people after I have told him and even was easier to have his hair cut this time. The Sensory Seeker seems to have a much larger attention span that he used to and has developed his own interests. We recently took our Microscooters to the Forest of Dean to do the Gruffalo’s Child Trail again and he did really well with reading the words (as well as the scooting).

* I received a free Microscooter to promote the benefits of having an adult scooter on the school run. I was not specifically asked for this post but wanted to share how useful it is in this situation.

Sensory Processing Disorder Auditory Sense Hearing

Auditory Sense

Sensory Processing – The Auditory Sense (Hearing)

Sensory Processing Disorder Auditory Sense HearingWe receive lots of information through all of the seven senses. They tell us what we can hear, feel, see, smell, taste, which way up we are and movement. We then filter out which bits of information we need to make sense of things, and to tell us how to behave. Sometimes we all can struggle with which of the senses to filter out.  This post looks at the auditory sense (hearing). Think of it like when there is the noise of a tapping pen, or water dripping, and we are trying to concentrate on something/someone. We may even have to do something about it to make it stop. We may even get annoyed and SHOUT.

People with sensory integration disorder (or sensory processing disorder) have trouble registering and organising the information, making it difficult for them to learn and function in the World. For them it may not just be the noise of the pen or water but all the sounds in their immediate environment – no matter how loud or quiet. There are times when the child is over aroused and needs calming down, or maybe the child is too calm and needs arousing, and it is also normal to switch between the two.

The Sensory Seeker and The Auditory Sense

I do think that when The Sensory Seeker is upset, or I am thinking about his Sensory Diet, the auditory sense is the hardest one (for me) to remember. We first noticed that he did not like hand dryers, fireworks, motorbikes, the vacuum cleaner, or even his brother talking could really irritate him. He would cover his ears in real pain and sometimes cry out too. Other times he really likes a lot of noise, and will make up little sounds to calm himself, or be very loud.

Auditory Hypersensitivity –  TOO MUCH

Sensory Processing Disorder Auditory Sense Hearing• Distressed by sudden or loud noises
• Distressed by sounds that don’t bother others (e.g. phone ringing)
• Cannot focus/ complete a task when there is background sound
• Scared of appliances like lawn-mower outside, blender
• Seek out quiet areas
• Hear sirens, aeroplanes, cars driving past before anyone else
• Vocalise loud/ constant noises (to block out other noises or sounds)
• Might be scared of, or avoid hand-dryers or toilets
 What we can do to help
• Warn them when possible if there is going to be a loud noise.
• LABEL the source of the sound e.g. “Johnny does that sound feel loud to your ears? It is the lawn-mower.”
• Give the option of a ‘time out/ quiet corner’ if there is going to be e.g. loud music. My son likes the book corner.
• Give them somewhere quiet to eat their lunch.
• Seat the child away from the door.
• Use fan or background noise to muffle loud/ unexpected sounds.
• Teach the child to hum to block out noise.
• Provide personal ear phones where possible.
Sensory Processing Disorder Auditory Sense Hearing• Give them control – like using the vaccuum cleaner.
• Start slowly -Let them help with noisy appliances whilst they are not noisy (like unloading the washing machine), then put the machine on whilst you are with them and warn them about the sounds – maybe start with ear defenders/covering their ears, and slowly build up to them being in front of the machine on their own.
• If they have made an association that something makes a loud sound they don’t like – such as a balloon bursting – then try to get them to play with them, and show them that no harm will come to them.

Auditory Hypo-sensitivity – NOT ENOUGH

Sensory Processing Disorder Auditory Sense Hearing• Seek out all the toys on the mat that make the most noise.
• Constantly vocalising loudly
• Talk louder than other people
• Like to make a lot of noise (e.g. banging on the table)
• Crave/ respond positively during or after loud music
• Enjoy strange or certain sounds
• Might float aimlessly & not follow your verbal instructions
• Not respond when you verbally tell them instructions
• Appear to ignore others voices
What we can do to help
• Use hand gestures to help get your message across
• Touch them firmly to get their attention before speaking/ giving instructions
• Allow time for noisy play (we have a noisy toy box)
• Where possible- use learning through sound/ music
• Provide lively music in the background during e.g. bathing, getting dressed etc.
• Use extra visual supports- e.g. visual schedule, social story, stand in one place when giving instructions

Sensory Processing Disorder Auditory Sense HearingCalming

  • Consistency in noise levels
  • Quiet calm and well paced voices
  • Consistent rhythms

Arousing

  • Variations in noise levels
  • Erratic, loud or screaming voices
  • Variations in rhythms eg. fast and slow music combined
  • Sudden unexpected noises
 
Many thanks to the Children’s Occupational Therapy Gloucestershire Care Services NHS Trust for supply this information and granting me permission to use it.
Down's Syndrome - I love you Natty

Down’s Syndrome – I love you Natty #Review

Down's Syndrome - I love you NattyWhen you have your first baby there is a lot to learn. You have so many choices to make long before the breast/bottle, cot/co-sleeping, and which pushchair to get ones. From the very first moment you think you are pregnant there is decisions to make – will you tell anyone before taking the test, will someone be with you when you take the test, and so on. One of the big decisions is to whether you want to have the test discover the chance of your baby having Down’s Syndrome or Trisomy 21.

Why my babies were not tested for Down’s Syndrome/Trisomy 21

Down's Syndrome - I love you NattyI decided that I did not want any of my children to be tested because to me it did not matter what the chance was whether they had Down’s Syndrome or not as I felt it wouldn’t change anything. I certainly did not want to be asked the question if that meant I would abort my unborn child – as the answer (for me) would have always been no. A child with a disability is no less of a person than anyone else. And just because some things about them may make their lives more complicated so do they have qualities that others do not have.

I Love You Natty

Down's Syndrome - I love you NattyIf I am honest I have been putting off this post because I just do not have the words to give it justice. You see I wanted to share with you all how lucky I am to know Hayley Goleniowska from Downs Side Up. She is such an amazing woman and has done so much to help change perceptions of Down’s Syndrome. Please do check out her award-winning blog. One of the many, many things she has done is to produce a book with her nine year old daughter Mia. It is such a beautiful book introducing to a child (by a child) what it is like when their sibling is born with Down’s Syndrome. It is clear to see the bond between the sisters and the book is very heartfelt throughout. I love the part where she explains that her sister has an extra chromosome and says, “It is just a part of who she is, like we both have brown eyes.”

The family have very kindly let us into their lives in order to help others: Including using family photos, as well as their thoughts and feelings. I love how we can see that having Trisomy 21 does not mean the end of life, or having fun – and this shines through in this book.

 I received a free book just because Hayley is so lovely and said I did not even have to tell you about it. Please tell everyone you know about this book!

Valentine’s Sensory Diet

Valentine's Sensory DietDifferent times of year can have an impact on those with Sensory Processing Disorder and small changes can make a big difference. Such changes can be because of school holidays. I don’t think that a one week break affects our son as much as 2 or more but still it is good to plan ahead. The next half term holiday is around the time of Valentine’s day so I have found some activities for a Valentine’s Sensory Diet.

 

Sensory Valentine’s Ideas for the Seven Senses

I need to consider each of the seven senses which may affect how The Sensory Seeker is coping:

Visual – Fizzing Hearts

Tactile – Sand Art Bottle Vases

Gustatory (taste) – Love Cookies

Olfactory (smell) – Rose Scented Play Dough

Auditory – Valentine’s Musical Instrument

Proprioception (Body Position, muscles and joints – force, speed, control) & Vestibular Sense – Movement and Balance – Heart Hopscotch

Other Valentine’s ideas from the Weekly Kids Co-op

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Shapes More Maths Learning #KidsCoop

Shapes and Numbers Maths MonstersThis week we learnt about Shapes as part of our Maths family lesson. But it was also combined with numbers. We were explained what the different things that each year group were expected to know and I have to say there’s a massive jump between Reception and Year 1. Again the activity was able to be adapted to suit different ability levels.

Shapes Maths Monsters or Number Worms

Shapes and Numbers Maths MonstersThis week we made a Maths Monster. Well that’s what I called it anyway (I am sure it wasn’t quite as fierce when the tutor said it – maybe a number worm or something). The children had a number of shapes to pick from. At this point you could make sure they know the names of the different shapes, or talk about the different properties – how many sides, angles, and even go as far as talking about perimeters and circumferences (but not with children as young as primary I expect).

Shapes and Numbers Maths MonstersNext the children were given lots of coloured paper from them to chose from and draw around their shape. Great for pencil control, hand-eye co-ordination. I like how they have so much choice (shape and colour) as this is good for independence and self-esteem. Next some fine-motor development as they cut and stick their shapes. This could either be to each other or on another piece of paper. Arranging the shapes into a monster or worm. Again this is great for placement, creativity etc.

Shapes and Numbers adapting for The Sensory Seeker and his Older Brother

Shapes and Numbers Maths MonstersThe Sensory Seeker needed help with drawing around the shapes more than his older brother. The older brother needed just reminding to hold the shape still with one hand. The Sensory Seeker is crossing his arms across and not quite figured how to just go all the way around.

Shapes and Numbers Maths Monsters

Each of the shapes then had a number written on in a set pattern. Starting at the simple end of children writing numbers up from 1 (in ones) to making it more complex such as writing numbers in multiples (say the 3 times table). For The Sensory Seeker it was about writing the numbers the right way around (and he did do 3 backwards). I am pleased to see his progress that if I say the number he has a good idea of what it looks like. I am pretty sure that he does know the order to 10 too.

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I apologise for the lack of features from The Weekly Kids Co-op last week but I have been visiting The Toy Fair in London and just super busy. I do hope to have caught up by next week though. There were some great Heart Shape Activities linked up all ready for Valentine’s Day.

Christmas 2000 Stickers Frosty Festive and Fun

Christmas 2000 Stickers Frosty Festive and Fun #Review

Christmas 2000 Stickers Frosty Festive and Fun!

Christmas 2000 Stickers Frosty Festive and FunThis was more than just a sticker book from Parragon it was an absolute blessing. It certainly kept The Sensory Seeker and his older brother entertained on the train journey to the Panto (over an hour each way and I refused to take the DSs).Christmas 2000 Stickers Frosty Festive and FunPacked full of festive stickers some big, some small and some the same as each other (fantastic for not fighting over them) plus loads of different activities to help with thinking and fine motor skills.

Whether it was just randomly adding stickers to the pages, or thinking about which the most appropriate sticker was for the page, or page for the sticker, the boys could not have had more fun.

Christmas 2000 Stickers Frosty Festive and FunEasy to peel stickers off and place on the page (without sticking to themselves) – this book appealed to both the younger and older of the two boys (I am sure my 11 year old would have joined in too if he did not have his nose in his own new book). Luckily I took some pencil crayons as there are plenty of colouring in, drawing, dot-to-dots and trails.

Christmas 2000 Stickers Frosty Festive and FunThere was a lot for observation skills including games of i-spy, matching, spot the difference, counting and problems to solve (eg find a circle. Some of the problems were definitely aimed more at the older child (such as the code breaker) but both boys (ages 5 with a learning difficulty and 7 but very bright) really enjoyed this book.

I do not know where time goes and we are still behind with things we need to do, so are going to use some of the many leftover stickers to make Thank you cards.

Christmas 2000 Stickers Frosty Festive and FunRRP £8.00

ISBN: 978-1-4723-5041-1

Why not buy it now and put it away for next Christmas whilst it is on sale at Debenhams for only £2.40!!!

 

I am a Parragon Book Buddy and was sent this book free for an honest review.