#PointShoot Week #2

28 March 2017

Welcome to #PointShoot Week #2 

Do you love making photos of your family? Do you like to record the everyday memories you are making? Then this could be the linky for you. Come and share your photo story posts with me. You can share your days out snaps or any fun, special, touching moments from your week. It can be one photo (including Instagram posts) or a series of shots with words or without.

This week's featured post comes from Suzan K Mann, it is such a natural shot of a special family moment, I loved it!

Feel free to grab your featured blogger badge!

Why I hate buffet restaurants

23 March 2017

Dear friend,

Lately we've had a rush of family birthdays to contend with. Everyone is born in February or March (or so it seems). In Holland birthdays are a massive affair. Even if you don't want to celebrate the relatives will still appear at your door expecting coffee and cake and to sit in a circle chatting together whilst you run around like a headless chicken. Every year it becomes a massive bone of contention!

This year some of the family have foregone the circle party at home for a buffet style restaurant. I thought this might improve matters but oh no I was totally and completely wrong!!

  1. The food isn't that good - it's warm not hot. I worry about the freshness of the food! The good  stuff disappears in 2 minutes. The whisper goes around there are prawns and... I missed them whilst taking child 2 to the loo. All that's left is a manky looking specimen I wouldn't give to the dog. 
  2. Greed - I always seem to end up getting sat next to great uncle Charles who makes the largest food pyramid he can on his tiny plate and drops half of it down my back as he stumbles to his chair. Hubby inevitably embarrasses me by making so many trips to the buffet he wears a path in the carpet. "One more chocolate eclair whilst I'm going to the buffet?" Oh go on. Who can resist? Not me. I spend my afternoon lying on the couch with a full tummy feeling sick.

Explaining autism as a spectrum

22 March 2017

Dear friend,

I wish I had a euro for every time someone has responded to the statement,
I have a son with autism 
with the question but he's not that bad/but he's high functioning/but he's clever?

Maybe people just want you to feel better but I think this is also because it is really difficult to explain what an autistic spectrum is. One of the most frustratingannoyingdifficult, infuriating things about having a child with autism is trying to explain what that means. I've even written about how tongue tied I get when people ask me what autism is?

We tend to hear about and see on TV and in the press the extremes of autism and this leads to people having quite stereotypical views of what it is, something that I regularly write about on this blog. But people also appear to misunderstand what a spectrum actually means.

I came across the following cartoon from Rebecca Burgess and it explains the autistic spectrum brilliantly.

I hear alot of people misinterpreting or misusing the term ‘autism spectrum’. So for Autism Acceptance week, I decided to make a comic to help explain the term and how it affects things. 
Rebecca Burgess. 

I love this brilliantly creative explanation! In our experience most problems/issues are caused by misunderstanding. People assume my son is 'not that bad' because he has learned how to behave in certain situations or they do not see all the support or hard work that has gone into helping him to cope but when things get too much and he reacts they are shocked and then are forced to reassess their judgement of him (or of us as parents) this can be extremely frustrating for him and us!

Thank you so much Rebecca for creating this brilliant cartoon. I am sure it will help more people to understand the meaning of the autistic spectrum.

How can you help?  Get the message out there.  Share.

#PointShoot Week #1

21 March 2017

Welcome to #PointShoot Week #1

I am so excited to be taking over this brilliant linky from the amazing Aby at You Baby me Mummy. Thank you so much Aby!  I have always joined in with #PointShoot since the beginning when it was hosted by the amazing Aby with the fabulous Em from Snowing indoors. Photographs have become a large part of my blog and I love making photo stories from my days out, our adventures, trips to the beach or forest, special days etc and I know that many other bloggers do too so I hope you will join me every week!

A photograph is the pause button of life.

We are open from Tuesday 6 a.m. until Monday 6 a.m. (so there is plenty of time to link up.)
You can share your days out snaps or any fun, special, touching moments from your week.
It can be one photo (including Instagram posts) or a series of shots with words or without.

Book Corner: Scaredy Boo

20 March 2017

My book corner choice this month is: Scaredy Boo by Claire Freedman and Russell Julian

Do you have a child who sometimes gets scared at bedtime? If you do then this book is for you!

It is the tale of Scaredy Boo, a monster who lives under the bed. But this monster is scared of everything, even you! Whilst all the monsters came out to play on a night Scaredy Boo was too afraid to join in, until one night Spike the monster appeared and invited him to play. Scaredy Boo with the help of Spike faces his fears and soon ends up having fun with all his new monster friends.

The book comes from Claire Freedman the author of the brilliant Dinosaurs love underpants and Aliens love underpants. 

Parenting from a Special Perspective: Rainbow Dust

13 March 2017

Ever wondered what it is really like to parent from a special perspective? Parent to a Special Needs Child? Where do you turn for help? What challenges do you face? What has surprised you? What have you learned? Every month I will be featuring one of my brilliant fellow SEND bloggers and sharing their reflections on raising a child with special needs.

Welcome Jenni to Diary of an Imperfect mum. Jenni is full time mum & carer to 4 kids – 2 with additional needs. She is profoundly deaf herself so has her own challenges. Jenni blogs to help her sort out whatever is going on in her head!! Something I can really relate to! Thank you for taking part in the series.

1. When did you first realise your child has something wrong?
When he was 11wks old and on a routine visit to the Health Visitor. I expressed some concerns on how floppy he was and by the end of the appointment HV & GP had made an urgent referral to hospital and our journey started in trying to get a diagnosis.

With my second child I was told that she had failed her newborn screening so we were referred for more testing and as the weeks went on I began to realise that maybe the test was right that she had a hearing loss.

Why sticker charts don't work for behaviour

8 March 2017

Dear friend,

Warning this post may be slightly ranty but I am going to say it loud and clear. In my opinion sticker charts do not work! I have been a teacher for over 20 years and I can honestly say I have not had one occasion where behaviour was improved in the long term by using a sticker chart. So why are we still using them? Why are parents and teachers advised to give kids a sticker chart to help improve their behaviour?

Don't get me wrong I love stickers. I have a drawer full of them at home and school. I regularly give them out. The trouble is when I give one out, I want to give one to everyone (and very often do) as I see a sticker as a reward for trying your best not for who is best.  I've also used them during potty training and they worked fabulously with my sticker obsessed not yet verbal, autistic toddler.  I am not anti stickers as you can see...

How to have successful play dates

6 March 2017

Dear friend,

How do you feel about organising play dates? Some mums love it and relish the chance to demonstrate their brilliant planning skills but others are filled with dread and panic. Having a child with additional needs I have found playdates quite daunting at times, as I worried about how he may behave in different situations and how other people/children may react.

When the boys were younger we used to attend an international play group and I would regularly invite a few of the mums over for coffee on Fridays so we could chat and the kids play. I always found that the big lad responded better to play dates in his own home and with his own things.

The Dutch have quite a laid back attitude towards play dates. The boys regularly come rushing out of school with a friend in tow asking if they can play and we very rarely say no.

The other day a friend and I were chatting as her son has just started having play dates. She was asking for advice as a recent session hadn't quite gone to plan. The blogger in me thought ha ha, that would make a great post and so here we are. My Top Tips for Successful Playdates...

Prepare your child.
Discuss what will happen on the day.

Pick a good time & place.
Work around your child’s sleeping and eating schedule (if they are preschoolers). Limit play dates to no more than 2 hours in the beginning. For many kids with learning and attention issues, home may be the most comfortable place to hang out. But if your child tends to retreat at home when new people are there, consider meeting at an indoor or outdoor playground that is familiar to them.

Pick the right playmate.
Who might your child have fun getting to know? Some children have problems playing with children their own age. Ask your child’s teacher to suggest potential playdates. Ask your child who they’d like to play with.

Invite a parent.
As kids get older, they can start attending playdates alone. But for preschoolers, it makes sense to have Mom, Dad or another caregiver tag along. With one friend mum stays for a coffee before leaving so they are settled.

Prepare activities.
Set up your play area with toys or games they may enjoy. Limit their choices to make it easier.

Make it easy to share. 
If your child has a special toy or two that they prefer to keep to themselves put these away to avoid problems.

Serve a snack. 
When things start to get too rowdy or you feel like the kids just need a break from playing, offering a healthy snack, can provide everyone the breather they need.

Stay nearby, but don't hover.
Children need some freedom, to socialize on their own. Stay within earshot so you can assist if necessary.

Problem solving 
Don't be too quick to jump in if disagreements happen. Allowing children to resolve small issues on their own can help them to develop their problem solving skills.

Saying a proper goodbye
We always see our friends to the door and say thank you for coming to play.

Talk with your child about the play date. What did they enjoy? Did they have any problems? Would they like to arrange another date?

If you have any more tips let me know in the comments and happy playing!

Photography @My_Dutch_Angle

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