Monday, December 17, 2012

In Grief

The shoot out at elementary school has left me with a sense of despodency, grief, anger. A post on this blog is doing the rounds http://anarchistsoccermom.blogspot.in/2012/12/thinking-unthinkable.html


 My heart goes out to Adam Lanza mother.  There might have been many moments in her life when she must have been concerned for his future and  pondered over the now ubiquitous question "what after me"?   To shoot her, 20 children and then kill himself , it is a huge tragedy. 
           
                           The word 'mental illness' is a black box, none of us can comprehend it fully. Everything is in control , till the unspeakable happens without warning. It is scary to say the least, when kids are on medications for various issues, and suddenly something flares up somewhere. 
                       
                           How does when effectively do anger management when one doesn't know what  has provoked them, or should you know the causes but they are beyond reasoning. How much can a parent take?  In the above mentioned post, the mother has two other kids to take care of, earn a living. Sadly , even when you are burdened with these issues, there is no safety net either. Just meandering through our lives not knowing when adversities shall strike.

                             It is going to be a very dark christamas for the 27 families and the whole school.           

Friday, December 7, 2012

In a nutshell

To quote Harshita Mahajan, a mother in Bangalore Mirror, December 6th 2012 issue,

once… that autism is a zero sum game… you are either functional or you aren’t. Cognition doesn’t make the cut alone… it’s only a small part of the puzzle… a contributor to functionality. I had argued with my friend that in terms of her binary analogy that autism was a journey where we moved from the zero to the one.
But finally you have to decide whether you are at zero or at one.


                                 It cannot be surmised better. Often I think  if after so many years of intensive effort, if the final outcome is not up to your expectations , then indeed it would be a really sad story. It remains to be seen how functional Ramam would be at 20. By saying more, I don' t want to dilute the essence of those brief but powerful words.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

ALFAA:


 Recently attended the inauguration of AlFAA-Assisted living for autistic male adults. Ruby Singh the founder of ALFAA has taken on this initiative single handedly and that in itself is commendable. As a pilot project, she is taking in 5 kids in a smaller set up. She is planning to move in sometime next year around, to the proposed residential campus on 2.25 acres of land in North Bangalore (near Chikkaballapur).The campus would include

• Residential cottages

• One storey flats

• 24hrs security and health care services.



Currently she has a team of physiotherapists, spl educators and music therapists. She would be focusing on life skills. The neighboring villages would serve as a pool of employable care givers and in the bargain create job opportunities for the people of nearby villages.

As part of the pilot project she plans to take on the laundry work for the neighboring houses. This will be some of the vocational activities she plans to introduce.(Did I mention she is an army officer’s wife? And I am partial to this group). Any contributions to this trust receives tax exemption. She can be contacted on 9741418103/080-25327762.







Winds o’Change:

Manjit Kochar inaugurated her school Winds O’ change at HAL 2nd stage, Indira Nagar on the 9th of this month. Already an established, well known centre for various therapies, she has now a school running in the same campus.

My association with Manjit began when I approached her for a sponsorship for ASHA (Baswashver nagar), and she readily agreed. Incidentally she is also a huge fan of Jaishree Ramesh, the director of ASHA. Over a period of time we have corresponded by mails. I wish WOC all the very best in its new avatar. She can be contacted atManjit Kochar @gmail.com / 9845699451.

Wishing both these ladies, good luck in their endeavors. Our community has something to cheer about this Diwali.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

By default

I had written this article for the newspapers, post the movie Barfi. It never got published. One paper was kind enought to send me a reply stating that articles written only by the staff are published. So here it is , by default for my discerning readers :)-. It may be a little outdated , but what with the kids hols and everything else , I just got busy. There you go....

                       Autism is back in news, grabbing eyeballs. Thanks to Barfi, the disability is garnering the attention that has been overdue to it. The movie has stuck an emotional chord with most viewers. It has received its fair share of brickbats and bouquets. What has Barfi given us? It has given the parents, caregivers, professionals belonging to this ever increasing community of autism, a captive audience.


                        Unlike many disabilities recognized by the government of India, autism has yet to be recognized. It is not even mentioned in the census. Such is the terrible plight of children and adults on the spectrum. To many, autism is an alien Subject. There are an alarming number of children being diagnosed in India. Yet, one doesn’t see them in the general population; one never hears or speaks about them. They do not even have physical anomalies. The general public can easily identify with the sufferings of a hearing / visually impaired individual. But many wonder, what is Autism? It is so very difficult to accept that a very "normal" looking child has a major lifelong disability.

                   People on the Autistic spectrum are incapable of making themselves heard. It is one disability that everybody agrees unanimously, need a lot of support and encouragement, but it is one that is struggling to be heard. People on the spectrum have heightened or lowered sensory perceptions, impaired social, communicative and abstract thinking skills.

                  What is heartwarming is how the institutions, families that cater to the requirements of this disability have rallied around to offer unflinching support. Most of these institutions run on the will power (one has probably heard of muscle power, money power) of the management, dedicated parents and a support staff. Early interventions are known to work wonders. Over a period of time various teaching methods have been evolved to teach these individuals. Some children on the spectrum are gifted, some excel in music, math, computers,to name a few. The Challenge lies in identifying the hidden talents, give them intensive training and help them lead a meaningful productive life. Many a times it is the intuitive skills, faith and perseverance of the families involved that have bought out the potential in their children.

                     The children and adults on the spectrum need long time, intensive therapies. In addition, many of these children need dietary intervention and, medications. Abroad, some of the insurance companies provide cover for the therapies; there are many state sponsored programs. In India the costs have to be borne solely by the families. These families lead their lives by the simple rule of thumb! No day is typical. The institutions are also wanting in resources in terms of infrastructure, man power, and financial aid. There is an acute shortage of respite services. They need employment opportunities.

                       Autism is huge, and it cannot be captured on a canvass, however big it may be. There goes an old proverb “It takes a whole village to raise a child, and more importantly an accepting community to raise a child on the spectrum. Beyond the celluloid clich├ęs of the movie Barfi, there lives in a community in itself coping and dealing with autism, not bemoaning, not grudging, but whole heatedly supporting and spinning dreams of gold for their little ones. I watched Dustin Hoffman's Rain man in college, and back then; it was just another movie for me. Today, with a child on the spectrum, things are totally different for me. Please do lend your support to this community, either with your words, action, time, money. Support Autism.







Monday, September 17, 2012

Birthday gift

Selecting a   birthday gift should n't be  a problem in this day and age. Rightly so, when it comes to picking a gift for my daughter's  friends, the range is huge, and only monetary constraints apply, more so when 30 kids in her class want to have a party for their bday. But selecting a gift for a child on the spectrum is not easy, and I shall tell you why?
                       When Ramam was small and we had bday parties for him , some moms would call me and ask what is it that would interst him?And that is where your choices get narrowed down. I would give an honest reply. I would say puzzles,books....... . He was not typically intersted in cars/blocks or  any toys for that matter. At the end of the party I would have enough material to start a therapy centre. Animal puzzles,word puzzles, picture puzzles, wooden puzzles ,colouring books,........
                              Recently, I had to attend a bday party of a child on the spectrum. I was sorely tempted to call the mother and check on the child's interest. But I refrained. If she had told me Thomas and tank engine, I would defintely have  not to think further. But , I decided I will go ahead and buy what typically  fits in the age bracket.  I was happy with my choice. But the urge to pick a book on verbs, nouns and adjectives was so strong , I had to give in to it. The 'special mom" ( that's how we call ourselves) in me kept rearing up her head every now and then and could not be supressed for long.
                                 So many thoughts came to my mind as I was gift shopping.What could be possibly good gifts for Ramam now? Has there been a progress. Does he have a larger domain of interest. I thought possibly I  could gift him these now:

Cookery books,
Unlimited 3G acess for his I-pad, so he can watch cooking videos on You -tube.
A basket ball..
                          
                               Yeah, maybe his intersts have shifted ,but  the choices are limited again.But then again, the best gift you can give him probably is to spend time with him.
                       Recently , I was following a thread on autism.pdd.net. The discussion was on how a child who had begun to verbalise had also started to scream simultaneously. One parent had replied , 'Yes that happened to us too'. They were Fun times!! It is this kind of  laugh- at- life humour that gets us through the difficult times.

                          Wishing all readers a happy Ganesh Chaturthi.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Ishamisms

Yesterday, Isha came back from school and wanted to know what "interferring" means. I racked my brains for a suitable answer. I told her in a broad sense  and finally  came up with us. I told her for instance when mom and dad are having a serious conversation and you butt in every now and then, then that could be called interferring. She stopped me right there and told me Amma, but that is interrupting and not interferring. I clamped my mouth shut.
                      This is a slightly dirty one. What is a girl with a  continous thick nasal discharge called?........Nosy volcano.
                      She wears two long  hair plaits to school.Today morning , just before leaving to school, she  told me "You comb my hair real dumb"!!!!!! Amazing, where these kids pick up language?

Friday, August 17, 2012

Small Obstacles.

Ramam had his first episode of seizure attack this month.  Least expected , it came as a jolt on a Sunday afternoon two weeks back. Thankfully, his EEG and CT Scan have come normal but the worries persist.  An  addition to  a growing list of  concerns . It hit my husband very hard, as he watched it unfolding.I was not around as I had gone to call for help. Mercifully , being a Sunday afternoon everybody was around to help us out ,unlike a weekday.
                     August has been a  month of small obstacles , if I were to put it that way, nothing insurmountable  but like pin pricks nevertheless. Finding   a replacement for a domestic help,  two drivers in succession, whom we were left with but no choice but to fire.  Life continues, despite all these minor  setbacks,  with a will of it's own. We anticipated difficulties administering the anti seizure medication as Ramam was not to used to tablets. After  2-3 days of struggle, he is surprised us by popping it in his mouth with little water and swallowing it on his own.
                        Ramam had dropped the I- pad and following that we were experiencing network connectivity issues , we were cocksure ,that it must have been  because of the fall. We thought this month was jinxed. We did not bother to even check the settings. much later we realized the cellular data button was off and wi Fi was enabled. just goes to show how much our preconceived notions affect our reasoning.
                     There is so much on one's mind there is very little time to debate on what has happened , but to plan the next move. To go with the tide , rather than resist seems to make life much easier. We tried to sedate Ramam for the EEG and did not work. Finally we decided to go for lunch, and enjoyed it. It was more like a day out at Narayana Hridayalaya health city. We came back and did the EEG and scan . He cooperated much better than we had hoped for. Before lunch we were working ourselves into a frenzy, wondering why Ramam was not going to sleep.
                        I have been coming with Ramam in auto these days to school, so been meeting  parents whose children are on medication. Been lucky to get varied inputs from all them.
                     
           


                           

                          

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Out Of The Box Thinking

Ramam has begun to retrace his steps and to a large extent this is worrisome. (There are of course no immediate solutions in sight). He walks a few steps and then wants to go back and walk the few steps again. Last week I had gone with him for an evening walk. My neighbor was sitting and chatting with her friend. Ramam stopped right in front of them and began retracing his path, Up down, Up down. And this continued another 5-6 times. By then, I had become conscious of this fact. I tried to coax to move on but he just would not budge. My neighbor tried to draw him into a conversation, but then he didn’t respond. This friend of my neighbor, who was watching this silently, said loudly, “Let Ramam and amma have a race. Let’s see who wins the race”. And Ramam just bolted. He ran ahead of me and turned back to see if I was joining him. Simple, quick fix solutions. It was like he was just waiting for the cue. Now, whether this lady understands autism or not is anybody’s guess. Both I and my neighbor were acutely aware of a “problem” that he has and our thinking was restricted to solving it within the confines of this knowledge.


                  Recently Ramam met Sumathi (his art therapist, but more like a great well- wisher!) after a long time. Words would not come to him easily. He kept holding her hand, kept trying to say something, then quickly gave her a peck on her cheek. And he walked off. It is a tragedy to think at times that a child, who is so affectionate and cares so deeply for others, had to be on the spectrum.

                  Another interesting app for articulation is the articulation station. Lot of effort and thought has gone into it. I sometimes wonder why we do not have a sysytematic approach to problems.( Forgive me, I could be wrong).This app also lets you  document the progress.The "p" syllable is free for download.When, working on spellings with ramam, it is joy to hear him say c-a -r-r-y( carry). From a non -verbal child that he was ,when I started this blog, it is a huge progress.

                  Yesterday, I was just playing a game with him . I just wanted him to repond to me calling his name with  "Yes , amma". I was doing it in a sing song fashion ,varying my pitch ,the sound. Soon he was also enjoying the game. Another game ,that we play when he gets stuck on a word say "panner tikka masala,(PTM)  I say vada. Then again he repeats (PTM) I say bhelpuri. At one point , he repeats what I say and the game is over. He knows he has lost. He has begun to enjoy such games. There is a smile on his face when we play these games.


Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Aeir Talk

Aeir talk lets you make custom made noun and verb flash cards that helps your child learn new vocabulary, sentence formation and of course communication. I think Aeir talk is an excellent app for a non –verbal child to start off. There is no language barrier; one can record in whatever language you choose to, and since it is all in pictures, it is very visually reinforcing. Adding and removing cards is child’s play. Developed by Joe hill, a father with children on the spectrum, it is a user friendly app. If you are looking for an affordable i-pad app in this segment, this is the one.


Another app that has caught my interest is Pinterest. One can make multiple boards. Suppose I want to teach verbs I have to look for action words/pictures and pin them on my board. A speech pathologist, has mentioned using the app Tapikeo HD in conjunction with Pinterest. I used Pinterest for my daughter for 3D geometric shapes.

This is another good app-Language therapy. Priced at $60, the cost is prohibitive. Subdivided into various sections, such as comprehension therapy, naming therapy, reading therapy, writing therapy it has a very structured format. They have a language therapy lite, that can be downloaded for free. A good app for spellings is simplex spelling. They also have a lite version.

On the fun side, some of the G5 games are good. (www.g5e.com). Ramam enjoys anything to do with food, and cooking. These apps have go to do with assembly lines, serving customers their choice of burgers, running a supermarket, stocking up so you don’t lose customers. It lets one upgrade from the profits you make, like buying more sauce bottles, adding more shelves in an aisle. The Elfishki series of stories is also interesting.



Bringing up Isha.

Isha throws up few surprises once in a while. Two weeks back, I received a call from one of Isha’s friends’ mother. She asked me if the party is confirmed. I was a little taken back and asked her which party. She then told me Isha had invited her daughter for a sleep over party. She mentioned that Isha has also given a dress code .Sensing my ignorance; she asked me if I was aware of it. I told her, she had been planning to call her friends over. Then we mutually decided against it and agreed upon letting them play during the day on the weekend. Later I realized she has extended three invites!

Recently, she had some project work to do in EVS. We made a huge chart and she carried it to school the next day. Unfortunately, the session was cancelled. As she did want to carry the chart back and forth, she left it behind in her school. I asked her, where had she kept it in the school. Pat came the reply; I left it in the Lost and Found locker. She assured me it is very safe there. I wanted to tell her, she must be one of her kind! Sometimes she is achingly sweet.

Isha turned 7 today, 18th July. We hosted a party last Saturday for her friends. She has gone all dolled up for the day. Excited, happy, and in great spirits. We had hosted a party for her friends last Saturday. The best thing about Isha, is she is super cool . My husband was pulling her leg and asked her what is that she has achieved in the last 7 yrs, and she rattled off  a couple of things. She is equally cool about things she is not good at. She is convinced it is a matter of time and she will catch up. She is a self proclaimed artist.

Wish you a very a happy bday dear.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Thought for the day

How do they do it? Ramam has had a disturbed sleep last night, has a bad knee injury, cold,...... He is going thru a bad phase of constipation. He went late to school, but despite , rather inspite of all this , he has gone smiling with a cheerful bye - bye. I wish he had been difficult this morning!!!! I love my boy.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Back to Blogging

Back to blogging after a break.  These  summer vacations were relatively stress free, thanks to my daughter.She is the best volunteer I have had to date. I have been receiving mails from parents wanting to know more about NAET and the son -rise prog.  We do not follow any diet restrictions for Ramam after having started NAET. I think the approach where you keep the child off certain foods during the testing  towards a particular allergen or a group of them in itself must be aiding in the process.It ensures you don't overdo anything.There are a couple of centers in Bangalore. I find the one in Kormangala is slightly commercialised. As in India, as with anything else, there is  a dilution of protocols. They absolutely  do not like any kind of questioning and expect you to follow their instructions in blind faith. Right now, I go to a NAET centre in  Cox town. Her case load is lesser and maybe as  she is still starting out,  she is a lot more approachable and sincere.
                                    As for the son-rise program, Ramam is no longer exclusive in  his 'isms'  , if that is the word for it. He invites either me or my daughter to join him. Sometimes it is easier to join him in his  'ism ' (stim) rather than stopping it. His latest being to watch cooking videos on You -tube. He is so intent in watching them that I sometimes find him lip -synching with the chef. So the best way is to join him and ask him questions as what did the chef use/ what is he making. His whole body language changes, he is more inviting . He is no longer protective about the i-pad. My husband mimics Chef Sanjeev kapoor of the Khana Khazana fame, as an extension of joining him in his 'isms', ramam's face breaks into a huge smile. He also understands that he is being teased subtly. Also, recently it was pointed out to me, rather than agonise over the inappropriate behaviour and devise strategies to tackle it, it might be wiser to focus on the work skills as these behviours then come down automatically.
                                 Recently, I reorganised the apps on his i-pad, removing some, adding some.There were too many apps and it was quite cluttered. So, I basically then made it clutter free, the first principle of son-rise. Talking of apps, I came across some very good apps for speech.They are:
Go togethers
Conversation coach
Outdoor fun.
Multiple meaning library
Tapikeo HD
The tree I see
Magical concepts
Mayan quest.
SLP Minimal pairs for articulation.

                              I wonder why I never thought of looking up speech blogs  earlier, Just kept looking for blogs on autism, as usual , missing the obvious .  Twenty speech blogs might be a good point to start off with. While on the subject of language, some of us parents were discussing the  skill set required, and ths particular observation came up. I generally tell Ramam "Wear your shoes". As another mother, Divya pointed out, for the child  it could be were ,wear, or where?. Better way to put it  would be "Put on your shoes". Gramatically also, the latter one is correct. Rather than say, "See,this",  say , "Look at this". Small things, but it then makes a lot of sense. How do you overlook these things when you have a child on the spectrum with language difficulties.
                               Raising a child with autism also raises a hell lot of self doubts , as has been so in the recent past with me. Actually, one of the reasons I refrained from blogging. Everytime a certain sense of inadequacy creeps over you, to overcome it and move forward takes a certain amount of determination. The guilt of burden of having not done things right is huge. And on a more , philosophical note, the present is the only thing in your control, not the past or the future. So make the most of it. Anyways, have decided to post more regularly, till then , take care.
                             
                                   
                              
                             
                              

                         

                                  
                                                                      

Sunday, May 6, 2012

The Son Rise Phenemenon

I attended the son-rise start up program recently at Sheffield, Masachuttes. Till the age of 8, Ramam was non verbal, and at this point of time was when I was introduced to the son rise program. I began applying the principles of the son –rise program based on the material I had, supported ably by the videos on You tube. Then I saw a huge leap in his language skills, from being totally silent .The first aah’s and ooh’s emerged. The past couple of years he has been at a one-word level; stagnating. This has been extremely frustrating for us, as his parents. Another concern, being his lack of articulation. Out of sheer desperation and anxiety I went back to the son-rise website began viewing their videos again. I was somehow convinced when all other approaches have failed be it, VBA, or the speech therapies, this will again kick start his dwindling language skills. At one point, he was again becoming totally silent.


The Son –rise program story begins with the journey of Bears and Samahria’s to help their autism son, Raun to recover. The son-rise program is a home based therapeutic approach, to help children grow in all area of development with a primary focus in social development. It is a parent directed approach. It is one of THE programs where you handle the problem of autism in the most acceptable, loving, respectful manner to the child. There are the major corner stone principles of the program:

• You believe the child’s potential is limitless, what he is now is not an indication of his future. It is not about false hopes either, as you work jointly with the child to help him recover.

• Motivation, and not, repetition holds the key to learning. We uncover the child’s unique motivation to teach the child.

• Autism is not a behavioural disorder, and is a neurological challenge.

• Your children stimming or “isms”, as they call it is a doorway for you to enter your child‘s world. We join, rather than stop, the child’s repetitive, exclusive and ritualistic play. For me, this has been the most challenging aspect of the program, when in the last 12 years I have been telling him not to stim. It is not a “trick” when you join them in their isms. You are genuinely interested in joining the child.

• The parent is the child’s best resource. Setting up a playroom which is distraction free. You begin by spending 15 min in a session with your child up to 8 sessions in a day, gradually increasing it. One can also set up a team of volunteers to work with child, based on the

principles.

• Practise the three Es, Energy, excitement and enthusiasm when you are with the child in the playroom, it is what will keep the child motivated.



It is about taking responsibility, loving in an “active” manner, with all the energy and enthusiasm you can bring into their lives. In the playroom, you become the child’s biggest interest. He understands the value of bonding, joy of having a relationship and being able to continue and forge new relationships. He is present and is able to interact with his siblings, peers and other people. Lot of it is commonsensical, such as doing the right things for your child. Delight in an interaction with him; adopt an accepting, welcoming attitude, and most importantly a profound respect for your child, giving him control.

One of the major take aways of this program is the paradigm shift in the attitude of the parents’. Happiness is a choice. They call it a phenomenon and truly so, as this has changed the lives of so many children across the world impacting a miraculous transformation. Most of the professionals working in the Autism centre of America, where these program are conducted are parents themselves and seen the transformations in their own children and having been working there for the last 18-20 yrs. Of course, they have also been training more people along the way.

The success stories are huge. Your children‘s recovery from autism is a distinct possibility, once you embark on this journey. As they say, you are in it for a long haul. It is a marathon, and hence pace your self. The larger goal is to cure the child, and let not the smaller one ,distract you from the purpose.

Friday, February 3, 2012

Apps On Ramam’s I-pad

Apps On Ramam’s I-pad


Broadly I have classified the apps on Rama’s i-pad as follows. The apps on the I-pad are a mix of what both Ramam and my daughter Isha use. There was a time, when we started the diet for Ramam, I did extensive reading on it, am now doing it again for the apps. More first, on the language and communication apps. Just like you begin anything new, in the Indian tradition by invoking God, let me begin with Om Steve Jobs Namaha:

The Communication apps: The highly recommended apps for a child on the spectrum –Proloquo-2-go right from Carly to almost everybody, dealing with autism. I have already written about proloquo on the blog. The APP as, I would say. Expensive but worth it. There are also many other apps, Tap to Talk, My talk, Grace app …

The Language apps: Story builder and the sentence builder apps by the Mobile education store. I tried the story builder app first. This has three different levels of difficulty and you can suitably set it to your child’s level. For Ramam, I have set it at level 1. Simple leading questions are put to the child, what time of the year is it. The pictures are excellent. At level 3, only the picture is given and the child has to make the story by himself. You can repeat a question; choose your picture ….The sentence builder lets you scroll through a set of words to arrive at a grammatically correct sentence for a given picture.

The Milo series-Speech with Milo. I have tried only one – Sequencing with Milo, which is simple 3-step sequencing. They also have verbs with Milo, prepositions, interactive story books.

Lets name things Fun deck is also an interesting app. For example, name things at school, one has to make your own list, but it helps you to start thinking on those lines. It is an activity in itself.

There are more wonderful apps for language building, and many are on my wish list! So I shall add them at the end.

The Articulation apps: Articulation! , ArtikPix. As it was pointed out to me, it has to be highly situational. When the child demands something, them insists on articulation, repeat the word for him and help him articulate better every time. I concur with it. The good thing with Artikpix is, it also focuses on beginning, middle and ending sounds. Say for instance, words beginning with th sound, ending with th sound and word with th in between.

Spelling apps: Dolch words, Spell-A –Word, Montessori crosswords by L’Escapadou. The last one is an excellent app to teach spelling by using phonics. It has beautiful graphics, soothing background score. If you have to go for one app for spelling, this would be it. Spell a –word helps you make a word list for each child, edit it, choose from words from a set of existing heads as colors, life cycles. The problem with Spell-A –word is it hangs in between.

Math skills: Epic math, Bubbling math, For kids, KidsMath fun. These apps focus on the basic math concepts of addition, subtraction and are at an elementary level. There is also another app Fill the cup, but it is more for concepts of fractions, measurements, multiplication.

ABA apps: Apps by kindergarden.com Feature, Healthy habits, Actions.


Alligator apps Touch and learn series - which does not belong, emotions.

There are many ABA apps for teaching from your ABCs to working on reasoning skills. The good thing about the touch to learn series is they shuffle the cards, so you don’t do it by rote as with our kids. Interposing each picture with your question when working with these apps might be a good thing to do. Say a picture for climbing, various questions what is he climbing, where is the boy playing…, basically the WH questions.

Preschooler apps: Injini game suite, again one of the most recommended apps, clean up, farm animals, ABCs and me , Mouse and fish.

Books and stories: I like Books by Grasshopper apps, 29 books in all for 0 .99 cents, beautifully illustrated, Touchy books HD, The BOOK BOX stories, The Enormous carrot (Ramam love it, a story that is does in his school also), there are many many more. The problem here is Ramam gets fixated on some of them such as princess and the Pea.

Time apps: kids time fun, Jungle time

Creative skills: Skitch, Magic slate, Doodle. They also double up as black boards for teaching concepts. One such app is Educreations. I recently downloaded it .It is a white board, with markers, you can add photos from your library, internet, or take a picture. You can draw, talk ,record, simultaneously, subsequently play it like a movie. And it is free! Excellent for picture talk, story building.

Pretend Play: Play time theatre, more of my daughter. The Toca Boca apps, with simple themes as Tea party, Doctor, birthday party. Again, I have to insist with Ramam, to use language with the apps, rather than just moving the plates and tea cup around. For example with the tea party theme, one can encourage the child to use simple sentences, such as can you pass the cookies, give me more, I am hungry.…. .Ramam participates but is silent most of the time. He is finding it really difficult to elicit the sound he wants.

Apps on Emotions: The touch and learn series on emotions as already mentioned, Autism Express, emotions by Allligator apps.

Games: Just to mention a few, My play home, Hannah, Fruit Ninja, Analogies4 kids, Subway, cut the rope, dodge Dot, Crazy monkey, Angry birds, Air hockey,



On the Radar: The reviews are good but I am yet to purcahse them. The above mentioned apps have been tried by me. These are a mix of fun, language, educational apps.

Dexteria , a medical app by Dexteria, for fine motor skills,

WH questions at school, Fun Deck most of the questions , not applicable to special schools, (which house do you belong to) but gives you an idea to frame the questions.

Name that category, Fundeck.


Wh questions, Smarty ears.

Preposition Remix , smarty ears,( Age of remixes and remakes!)

Scene speak, Karma publications.

Puff-the Magic dragon.

Millie and the lost key by Mega Pops.

ABA problem solving series.

Stories 2 learn.

Cookie doodle by Shoe the Goose,

SuperWhy by PBS kids



It has been a time consuming post , will end it here.





Thursday, January 5, 2012

Work

Today, was one of those mornings that did not have a good start. As Ramam's Christmas vacation is still on, I decided to sit and work with him and not let anything bother me. Luckily,this morning he was very receptive, and we spend good about an hour and half working and not realising that time had flown. Both of us were doing a lesson from one of his books. It was almost meditative, with both of us being involved and me enjoying his responses and cooperation. It was just the two of us shut out from the rest of the world, with no disturbances whatsoever.
Sometimes you think in work lies your salvation. Just stay focussed and keep going.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Into 2012

Into the 2nd day of New Year, the euphoria of a new year seems to have vanished, one has again settled down to the routine of school and office. The charter of responsibilities remains the same, or perhaps with every passing year, it increases as our children also grow older by a year, and there is only so much time left to accomplish.


On the positive side, we had a wonderful new year’s eve; all of us were on the dance floor at the army club, Ramam also enjoyed every moment of it, the music, and the lights. Then with a pang of heart, you realize he has come a long way. He was formally dressed the first time; with formal black shoes…We started the New Year on a very happy note.

On the second, I had been with Ramam for a sathabishekam function (80th Bday). We had been invited by my husband’s school friend (a very long association!). I went late and stayed for 20 min. He was well behaved, but something stops you from letting go. The friend’s son, a couple of months younger to Ramam had to be dragged from a game; he quickly exchanged pleasantries and was back to his game. And here I was, constantly tracking Ramam, as if there was a GPS tracker fitted on me. Ramam had taken pains to dress up, he insisted on wearing the same black shoes, he wore for the New Year’s Eve. These are things that bother me, when he puts in a lot of effort to be part of the system. It then makes you feel very sad, that why did he have to be autistic. He could have also enjoyed a normal childhood. Recently at another social event, we had met some friends for dinner. There was so much of conversation going around and here this boy, sitting very silently next to me. Initially we explain the social significance of the dinner, the guests say hello to him and beyond that there is nothing. All that we keep asking him is, do you want to order something more, and is the food ok. We seemed to be doing only food- centric conversations. Sadly, others also fail to interact with them after a point of time. My daughter is playing with other children after sometime. Nobody is to blame, that is the way things are, but I should be content that he is probably still part of so many things, and is also enjoying it in his own way.

Recently, a mother spoke to me about homeschooling her son in Bangalore. When we were posted in Jabalpur and Pune, (my husband was in the army then) I used to think that when we move to Bangalore, all my schooling problems will be resolved. But, even here, parents are talking of homeschooling. Anyway, having started the New Year on a happy note, this is hoping I end the year on a similar note . Ramam should learn things in the new year that are useful to him in the years to come.







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