With Flying Colours

20140501-202721.jpg

This image came up on my Facebook feed today. It’s the kind of list I like. As the parent of a child who gets measured against all kinds of lists of skills and then classified according to his deficits, this is my kind of list!
I’m happy to say that my little boy is doing very well in most of these areas.
That makes me very proud of him and his progress towards a life rich in experiences, relationships and wonder.

20140501-202334.jpg

All You Need Is Love & Laser Beak Man

Last weekend at TEDX Sydney at the Sydney Opera House, two people I love very much took to the stage and squeezed their inspiring and uplifting story into the confines of a 10 minute (or so) presentation.

Tim Sharp is a wonderful artist who created a superhero called Laser Beak Man at age 11. Laser Beak Man is funny, irreverent, cheeky, kind and so very loveable. Tim is all those things too, but he is so much more. He also happens to have autism.

Judy Sharp is a mother. She is also a survivor. She has singlehandedly raised both her sons to be good, kind, thoughtful and generous men. That in itself deserves a standing ovation.

Tim & Judy Sharp together are a force of nature. Undeniable and impressive. This will make your day. It is hopeful and it is powerful. Their story will get you through those dark days when your child is screaming and kicking and terrified and confused and overwhelmed.

Tim & Judy Sharp at TEDX Sydney (once you click through, go to the right hand arrow to find Tim & Judy’s presentation)

Tim & Judy TEDX Sydney

Tim & Judy TEDX Sydney

Laser Beak Man knows iT!

Laser Beak Man knows iT!

 

Country Air

We shot back out of town for the weekend. It is a long weekend, so a good chance to continue our adventures before we settle into the routine of the new term.
So it was fresh air, country markets, tractor rides, bonfire building and lots of fun with our friends Karin & Chris.
Kids happy, mum happy.

20140426-184044.jpg

20140426-184053.jpg

20140426-184102.jpg

20140426-184110.jpg

Marking the Occasion

Tomorrow is ANZAC Day. It’s a big day for Australia. It’s a day when we remember and acknowledge the sacrifice and commitment of our service men & women. It’s a public holiday & we all get a long weekend.
So today L’s school held an Anzac Day ceremony. This is quite a common thing but for L’s school, it was only the second time it had happened.
All the kids were very excited and noisy. They were all very happy to have a soldier at the school and they were very interested in his medals. One of the school rules is ‘use your voice’ so the Principal asked everyone to ignore that rule for this one special time. (Good luck!!)
It was great to see the various kids from the school council participating in the ceremony. There were wreaths laid, the flag was raised then lowered to half mast, the last post was played, a short speech about what Anzac Day was about and the national anthem sung.
These are the rituals of our country. Rituals everyone can participate in.

20140424-230525.jpg

Done

Day 19
We are home & we are done!
Yesterday we drove down from the mountains & arrived back in Hobart at night. We stayed in a cheap hotel motel but it was in a fantastic location, high up on a hill, overlooking the river. When we opened the curtains, the view of the moon shining on the water was incredible.
Today we were up at 5 to catch our planes home. They both managed the journey like professionals!
The kids are very happy to be home & have fallen into the deep sleep you only have when you are in your own bed.
This photo does the view no credit, but gives you an idea.

20140419-220630.jpg

Lake St Clair

Day 17
We are definitely getting our cold weather experience here at Lake St Clair. It was freezing this morning! We set off on our morning walk about 9am and when we got down to the lake it was still completely misty.
L could not resist temptation and walked straight into the water. His shoes & socks got completely soaked so we took them off & sat in the sun warming our tropical bones. L just does not feel the heat or cold in the same way as I do. So he played in the shallows with his jeans rolled up – but ended up soaking them as well. The water temp is around 4 degrees celsius! He did not care in the least!
It’s incredibly beautiful here!

20140417-195908.jpg

20140417-195853.jpg

20140417-195832.jpg

20140417-195800.jpg

20140417-195815.jpg

Living The Dream

Day 16
Today we left the coast & headed up to the mountains to Cradle mountain Lake St Clair National Park. Before we left, I had to take a photo of the whale vertebrae which was in the hall at the old farm house. It’s an amazing thing to see.

It was a long day in the car for the kids. We finally made it in at 6pm and they were well & truly over it by then.
We played lots of ‘living/non-living’ and thanks to my dear friend Duxey my boy, who has turned into a language sponge these holidays, learned a new phrase – ‘living the dream’. This was repeated frequently throughout the day. It’s something many people say to be ironic. But today, and throughout our holiday, we certainly have been living the dream. We are having a wonderful time & L is growing & changing & learning in so many ways. It’s something I have dreamt of on his behalf but he is the one living it.

20140416-201925.jpg

20140416-201936.jpg

20140416-201948.jpg

20140416-201956.jpg

Walking & Talking

Day 15
Another great day at narawntapu. A big morning walk out onto the flatland that stretches out in front of the farm house we are staying in helped L to start the day off happy & calm. Then we went off to explore the inlet which opens out onto the Bass Straight. Calm water & a few more clouds but lovely and warm in the sun. The kids had a wonderful time. The sand was soft & boggy but the pebbles were just amazing!
L was repeating a few key phrases today ‘It’s nice. Yes, it IS nice’ said over and over. Then later, when we had been looking through the newspaper and my friend had pointed out a map of Australia to him, it was ‘Australia, it’s Australia!’
We set out at about 4.30 for a walk to see the wombats & kangaroos & wallabies who all come out onto the flatland to feed. At school L has been learning about ‘living/non-living’ so we talked about this, asking him to identify what was living or non-living. He surprised me by being remarkably accurate. We ended up staying out to see if we could watch the blood moon rise. We did see it but only for a minute before it went behind the clouds. Almost two hours later we made it back home for a quick dinner, a cup of tea, a hot shower and a warm bed.

20140415-212102.jpg

20140415-212111.jpg

20140415-212122.jpg

20140415-212211.jpg

20140415-212234.jpg

Nature Boy

Day 14
Such a great day today!
L loves to be out in the natural world. It seems that every sensory need is met in the open spaces. All the noise making, stimming & leaping about calms & he absorbs the energy of the enormous skies & wide horizons.
Plus (a big plus) his appetite explodes & he sleeps deeply.
All this makes me extremely happy.
It’s so beautiful here! Here’s our day in photos. Amazing to get so close to the wombats.

20140414-200026.jpg

20140414-200039.jpg

20140414-200053.jpg

20140414-200103.jpg

20140414-200118.jpg

Road Trip

Day 13
We hit the road today, heading north to the Narawntapu National Park.
It makes me realise what an amazing distance we have travelled in our autism adventure.
The first road trip I did with L was the most hellish 4 hours of my life! Non-stop screaming and distress – it was awful for him, for me, for everyone. Nothing could help him to feel safe and secure.
Today was a dream by comparison. He was able to conceptualise that we would be going for a drive and be happy not knowing the destination. Instead, he wore his Bluetooth headphones and played with the iPad, listening to music, playing games and enjoying himself.
We stopped for lunch at a cafe that had an outdoor garden. So he was able to have run & leap about.
More & more driving until we finally reached our destination at dusk. We are staying in an old farm house in the park. It’s used by the rangers who stay & work up here. It’s full of cast off furniture & horrible old carpet but we are having a lovely time!

We’ve got the fire going

20140413-202229.jpg

20140413-202240.jpg

20140413-202221.jpg