I have moved over to WhittereronAutism.com. Please follow the link to find me there. Hope to see you after the jump! :)

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Superflex – is this a good program for my child?

by Stephanie Madrigal and Michelle Garcia Winner
Comic Book by Stephanie Madrigal/Illustrated by Kelly Knopp

Superflex is a behavioral program that addresses some of the behavioral and psychological issues that our children struggle with on a daily basis. There could be a number of different ways of explaining this program. The authors describe it as follows:-

Superflex®: A Superhero Social Thinking Curriculum provides educators, parents and therapists fun and motivating ways to teach students with Asperger Syndrome, high-functioning autism, ADHD and other diagnosed and undiagnosed social difficulties how to build social thinking skills. Superflex combines a book, comic book and CD to create a curriculum that develops in each student's brain their own superheroic thinking processes that can overcome the challenges in different social situations that arrive across the school and home day.

Most of us can identify a number of behaviors that are commonplace amongst our children, which may be broadly identified as inflexible and can often become major hurdles to address on a daily basis. They are often the cause of a great deal of unhappiness and angst. Rigid behavioral responses can be a significant barrier to living a full and enjoyable life. Due to copyright issues I won’t reproduce or explain the main role of the different characters involved in Superflex and the rogues who attack him, the Unthinkables, but once they have been mastered [over many weeks if not months] then it is entirely possible to invent characters who more exactly match other situations, more finely tailored to our own children.

Around here it’s a question of recognizing our own intolerance of some issues. To take a handy example we could tackle the matter of hygiene – my unwashed, filthy hands and revolting personal habits, do not spread germs nor make you ill, but you are oblivious to your own runny nose which will surely kill me. If we can both learn to recognize how our respective behaviors affect each other, then that’s progress - we need that recognition. That’s part of the flexible thinking approach. Then we move on to look for strategies to alleviate the situation.

Another [local] example would be how you cannot stand the smell of bananas, my favorite snack, but I will retch at the stench of Jif, peanut butter, your favorite snack. You need to understand that I will die, now, if I can’t banana. I don’t care how much you want to eat peanut better – it’s disgusting. Bit of an impasse really since we live in the same house and eat together in the same room. The solution is simple – you go and live somewhere else and eat your disgusting food out of my sensory range. Pity your solution is the same for me. We need a different tactic. I recognize my own feelings and someone might point out that your feelings are an exact match. It’s a startling realization. Then, it’s only a few small steps to think up different ways of dealing with the problem and finding a compromise. From that point, it’s then much easier to extrapolate from that one situation to extend it to other similar situations, especially when they are successful experiences. Unlikely as it may seem, flexibility and tolerance can be learned.

Your children may not be ready for this yet, just as mine weren’t in earlier years, but it’s always a good idea to look ahead.  You can buy it at Amazon.http://www.amazon.com/Superflex-Superhero-Social-Thinking-Curriculum/dp/0979292247/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1284309692&sr=8-1

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Mother’s and millstones

Hurtling along at 65 mph in the car on holiday:-

“Is it…?”
“Is what dear?”
“It is…unusual?”
“Is what unusual?”
“It is ….unusual dirt behind your ears?”
“Yes it is. Most people have a shower every day and scrub behind their ears. Especially if they live in a hot country like California.”
“That’s a lie.”
“California is not a country it’s a State.”
“How true.”


Later, when we’ve trucked back home after a quiet and productive afternoon.

“My! That’s very sophisticated.”
“I am made it with my Legos.”
“I can see. It’s taken you a long time to make that articulated lorry. Very patient. Well done.”
“What it is?”
“What is what dear?”
“Dah word that you are saying of?”
“Articulated. Sorry, I meant…”
“Dah other word?”
“Yes. It is being your English word isn’t it.”
“Sorry I forgot. I meant truck – honestly.”

Summer holidays give us time for other pursuits:-

Scaredy Blob's Adventures on U-Tube

All this technology makes my head hurt but I can't allow such triflings to stifle their creativity.

Sunday, August 01, 2010

Holiday love and the preface

A speech delay can be a curious thing, for both the speaker and the listener. Around here, for the longest time, my youngest son has prefaced most of his remarks with the warm up phrase –‘I am be.’ It’s the verbal equivalent of ‘um, er, well, actually.’ It’s a kind of precursor we’ve learned to live with, hardly notice. Just when we think it’s disappeared, it pops back.

After many tortuous years, our annual holiday to England, becomes easier. We have finally reached the point where my country of birth is not longer ridiculed, mocked and loathed – or at least somewhat less so. They have been won over by a few of the finer features of British life, some resurrected from the mists of time for purely artificial purposes. Archaic practices such as ‘afternoon tea,’ are welcomed. Without the actual tea, it’s a winner. A box of indulgent shop bought cakes and other nefarious dalliances. No more hand-made, wafer thin cut slices of cucumber, pre-soaked in wine vinegar with the lightest dusting of white ground peppercorns and crust-less bread, cut into triangles. I know I’m beat, primarily due to their fake, but very realistic, vomit noises – gems before minors. But we’ve made progress in other areas:-

“Tell me one new thing that you like about England?”
“I am be love dah pink meringues.”
“Great! Anything else?”
“England respects lions.”
“Oh the joys of Longleat Safari Park!” But that’s the thing about a speech delay—we bimble along the usual pathways, only to be pounced on and decimated by one perfect sentence. Frosting, glitter and sprinkles on an otherwise quite ordinary existence.
“And? Can you think of anything else? A third?”
“I am be love dah chutz.”
“Chutz? What’s a chutz? I don’t think I remember anything called a chutz?”
“They be chutz are wooden things.”
“What kind of a wooden thing?”
“Large… no small wooden things with painted.”
“Hmm. Give me another clue?”
“They are be big enough for a body to be inside.”
“A box. A coffin? Do you mean coffin? No you can’t mean that. I’d remember if we’d seen a coffin. Another clue please.”
“Sigh…No. Dey are be on the sand.”
“Shell? Rock?”
“No. No.”
“I give up.”
“It is be…for peoples.”
“Ice-cream cones, hampers, coolers?”
“No. No. No. It is be…for peoples who are be on dah beach.”
“A wooden…spade? Deck chair? Parasol? Windbreak?”
“No. No. No. No. Dey are be in dah wooden thing with paint.”
“People in wooden painted things on the beach?”
“Yes… you sayed they were be for peoples to be out of the rains.”
“I did? The rains? Ooo, you mean beach huts.”

Clearly my diction needs brushing up.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Visualization Skills

How much longer does it take the average sized, larger dog, to pass safely through a door [which closes automatically] with his tail intact, than a narrower tailless small human?

It's so easy to count to four.

Sunday, July 04, 2010

Independence Day[s]

“Can we are have Margaritas today?”
“Um. I don’t think I’ve ever made one.”
“You are make dem?”
“I can try. We’ll look it up on the web and make virgin ones.”
“Only one?”
“No several. Maybe alcoholic ones for us grown ups and non-alcoholic or virgin ones for you youngsters. Can’t be that difficult.”
“There are being two kinds of Margaritas?”
“I think there are lots of different kinds but they’re not really my kind of a thing.”
“But you are like them?”
“What’s not to like? Are they traditional for Americans on Independence Day?”
“Where did you learn that? I’d have thought they were more Mexican than American?”
“No dats Mexican Hats.”
“I don’t think anyone will be wearing a Mexican Hat in the street parade.”
“You are not being wearing a Mexican Hat.”
“No I’m not going to be wearing a Mexican Hat.”
“No! Nobody is wearing a Mexican Hat.”
“It’s o.k. I’m not arguing with you. I’m agreeing with you. You’re right no-one will be wearing a Mexican Hat.”
“I am not want to talk about Mexican Hats. I am want to be talking about margaritas.”
“I thought we’d already sorted out the margaritas?”
“No? What have we left out?”
“I’m gonna wear the Margaritas and the other people are gonna be wearing the two other colors.”
“What other colors? What do you mean ‘wear?’”
“I’m gonna decorate my hat with Margaritas coz they are being white. You’re gonna wear Mexican Hats coz they are being red and we need a blue flower too.”
“Ah! Marguerites! The flower, not the booze.”

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Very close

My children like many other people’s children, rarely, if ever, volunteer information about how their day went - it’s like pulling teeth, but every once in a while they go all verbal on me.

“D’ya know what mum?”
“What dear?”
“Today we had science.”
“Did you indeed. And what did you learn?”
“We learneded about the male body.”
“Ah. What did you learn about the male body?”
“Males are different from females.”
“How true.”
“We learneded how males differ from females.”
“How interesting. Maybe we should talk about this after dinner.”
“D’you know the biggest difference is being?”
But he’s on a roll.
“I do, like I said, later.”
He’s unstoppable.
“Females are different from males because they don’t have a bladder.”

Sunday, June 06, 2010


Driving home in the car, we parents talk over the chorus on the back seat – Goober Guy at 50 decibels times three – about how few people wear beards in the United States, or our part of the United States, very locally and quite recently, and whether or not this might differ from our old home, at a much older time, or not. Our findings are inconclusive.

After parking on the drive my daughter tells me that on my next birthday, she will be buying me a lifetime’s supply of earplugs, minus my current fifty years.

Which is when I hear the boys:-

“What is it, a bird?”
“Not a bird, they said beard.”
“What is a beard?”
“A beard is hair on your chin.”
“What’s hair under your nose being?”
“A moustache.”
“Like Mario?”
“Yes – but you can have both, a beard and a moustache, that’s called a combo.”
And the earplugs? Not a rush job.

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