Monday, 30 July 2012

Independence Skills at The Co-op

Well, I figured if I start Alec young, he may be able to do some useful shopping on his own by the time he's twenty.

So he was in charge of the trolley. This he enjoyed, particularly giving it a hard shove and seeing how far it could make its own way down the aisle. After regaining control and putting the shopping assistant upright, he counted apples into a bag, hunted down the Cheerios in the cereal aisle, selected bread and made a number of convincingly cute noises next to the chocolate.

Yep, it's quicker shopping on your own, but to see the look of pride on his face as he wheeled the trolley out to the car (slightly dicing with death as I charged after him) was very rewarding and this I'd say was a fairly successful trip. Maybe next time we'll use PECS cards to help him locate stuff as well.

Do stuff small, do it gradually and who knows what in ten years time might feel like second nature?

It's All Fire and Ice

Of all the things that Alec's learnt, how to puff has probably been the most difficult. You can demonstrate, you can blow your cheeks out you can heave, but still it's a bit of a leap of imagination to actually copy it. And Alec only learnt how to copy about a year ago.

His speech therapist came up to me at school the other day. Full of excitement, she said they had given up on bubbles (he tried to eat them) and instead tried light pieces of paper. Eventually, after a few 'huh-huh-huuuuuhs' his mouth formed the correct shape and he blew. A few days later, he'd remembered it.

I'm so glad she told me this. We've got a five-week holiday and it'd be a tragedy if a new skill this important were to be lost through lack of practise.

I know that school has health and safety limitations, but I don't, so I got out a box of matches this morning. It was quite simple, blow out a candle - get a biscuit/piece of banana. Alec will do anything for food. About ten matches later, he was feeling quite pleased with himself and was also fairly full of biscuits.

He did try and set fire to himself a few times, but I was on hand to prevent it. That's Al. If I counted the amount of potentially life-threatening situations he got himself in, we'd be here all day. Only last Friday he decided that the Chinese Musk/water mix in our decorative oil burner looked like a distinctly great tipple. I reckon parents in situations like mine probably need an award for every month their kid fails to make an appearance in A&E.

Bobby filmed the whole thing on his camera, offering some encouraging 'Well dones!' Bobby later took his Nintendo 3DS to me and said he'd been hunting for some 'blow games for Alec'. Since you can actually blow to work certain games on the DS, this wasn't half a bad idea. He eventually found a nice keyboard game that he thought Alec would like, made an 'Alec' folder and persuaded me to pay for it. Now that's brotherly love.

Meanwhile Alec's discovered that those cold cubey things he likes to crunch on are found in the top compartment of the freezer where he can get his mitts on a whole tray of them. So I've been teaching him how to close the freezer door after himself. Small steps...

These Entries Are Short for a Reason...

After writing this with Bobby, found Alec in the bedroom munching on a couple of my earrings whilst swinging the beaded curtain tieback casually in one hand. Alec is an Olympian in a different sense - he is world-breaking in the field of finding new and interesting ways of trying to kill yourself.

Can I Be in the Olympics Now?

By Bobby:

I can do all the events now. I can do the hammer throw (demonstrates by spinning around 20 times and throwing comfort blanket). I can do the triple jump (jumps up and down three times) and I can do shooting. I can do ANYTHING. Exclusively, did you know that a Rabbid was doing the 100 metres dash and fell into a hole when he tried to run? Can I do active things now? I'd better get dressed...

ps New word from Bob: 'Olympical', meaning Olympics-related. As in 'I want to visit all the Olympical places and do all the things that are Olympical'.

Saturday, 28 July 2012

Helpful Summary

Bobby: Do you know how I get to sleep? I count Rabbids...I thought the opening ceremony was great. And I played Mario and Sonic at the Olympic Games with Thomas Tidman.What did you think about the James Bond Rabbid clip?

Me: I liked it.

Bobby: What does the Rabbid say?

Me: He said Da da da daaaaaaaaa da da da danana naaaaaaaa da da da...Can we talk about the Olympics now please, Bobby? This is supposed to be an Olympic blog.

Bobby: I think the Olympic events are about 100% I saw dancers and fireworks and everything.

It was impressive. Did you know a Rabbid ate the ball of the hammer and then threw the hammer with the rabbid up in the air...DAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAH!!!

Friday, 27 July 2012

I'm Not Staying Up for Opening Ceremony - DAAAAAAAAAAAH


Me: Bobby are you going to watch the Olympic opening ceremony?

Bobby: Is there Rayman Raving Rabbids in the Olympics?

(Rayman Raving Rabbids is a Nintendo DS/Wii game involving shouting, mad bunny rabbits. Bob is obsessed).

Me: No.

Bobby: Yes there is, the rabbids say 'BWAAAAAAAAH' (this bit was carefully typed by Bobby).
I will watch the events but not the opening ceremony. Because it's a long time. But I'll watch the events. And I'm hungry.

Me: You've just had your supper

Bobby: Yes but the thing is my tummy is half full

Me: Why didn't you eat more at supper time?

Bobby: I did eat more at supper time. BWAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAH. DAAAAAAAAAAAAAH.

Me: The Olympic Opening Ceremony cost £27 million. What do you think of that?


Me: There will be animals in the opening ceremony - cows, sheep and horses. What do you think of that?

Bobby: Of course if Rabbids were in the opening ceremony they'd say DAAAAAAAAAAAAAH. I'd watch it then.

The Official Start of Bobby's Olympic Blog

The start of Bobby's Olympic blog (with a little help from me) was delayed by negotiations over pay. Bobby eventually agreed to 50p per entry, to go towards his Rayman Raving Rabbids games fund. We started with an interview ahead of the opening ceremony, which Bobby is staying up late for.

He tried this with the Eurovision Song Contest and gave up at 9.30pm after he'd finished his popcorn. Mind you, who could blame him.

Here is our Olympic interview:

Bobby: I am going to be late for the Olympics!!
Me: What do you mean?
Bobby: I want to watch the events of the Olympic games! And can I watch the opening ceremony?
Me: Yes. Are you excited about the opening ceremony?
Bobby: Yes
Me: What do you think an opening ceremony is?
Bobby: I don't know.

Me: The opening ceremony is like a big party when the torch comes in to the stadium and all the athletes enter and it marks the start of the Olympic games.

Bobby: Oh wow just like our opening ceremony in sports day!

Me: What are you most looking forward to ?
Bobby: I am most looking forward to my favourite event, the long jump.
Me: Why is the long jump your favourite?
Bobby: Because I practise it a lot.
Me: Do you think Rayman Raving Rabbids take part in the Olympics?
Bobby: Yes I think they do, I saw some images of them!
Me: Have you got any more to say about the Olympics?
Bobby: No.

Friday, 20 July 2012

Bobby's Sporting Diary

It's always best, but not always possible, to understand autistic kids through their own words. Until now, you've been relying on me to get to know Bobby and Alec. But the other day, Bobby's Olympic Book came home. Now Bobby's not usually the most prolific writer. In fact, can't be arsed is the most accurate phrase.

But Mario and Sonic at the London 2012 Olympics had inspired him to such an extent that when it came to sports day, there was untold excitement in the Elley household.

Not only that, but Bobby faithfully recorded all the action in his very own diary. This was all dictated to his learning assistant M'lanie over a number of days. For anyone who doubts that he wrote this on his own, I've only one thing to say. You couldn't make it up.

I'm going to try and ask Bobby for more diary entries as excitement over the Olympics grows (his, not mine, I'm afraid I'm a bit blase at this stage). Until then, it's interesting and fun to read how an 'obsession' can be turned to advantage. Over to Bobby:


Dear Diary on Sports Day I got dressed quickly. I was so excited because it was sports Day. After I got dressed I went downstairs for breakfast. I got to school early Daddy took me. We are doing   literacy right now so I will continue later.

Hi I’m Bobby I’m back. I have been training for months for today, especially basketball and football. (mum - not that I'd noticed. I think that's what we in the trade call an outright fib). I really, actually LOVE the long jump. I feel great!!! Excellent really about my long jump. I think it is better than running because I always come last in that. I will continue later.

Hi, I am back again. I expect to be the winner in every event. I won’t feel bad about it though if I lose. Mummy and Daddy I expect will shout Go Bobby, Go Bobby, I will feel excellent, proud really, whatever. I imagine the chair passing event it’s children standing on the chairs passing the ball. They won’t be wobbling hopefully. Continue later, by Bobby Elley.


Hi it’s Mario. Well when it was sports day, well the afternoon, the hockey event was first. It was great for me. I scored a goal, or two, or three, mum and dad shouted good luck Mario. I felt shy but I called the event the ‘Sonic the Hedgehog Goalie’ then I didn’t feel shy. My favourite ones were basket ball and the chair ball passing game.

I loved the basketball one I called it ‘Super Mario Bro Basketball’.  You had to get the ball in the short or the long pipe. I got it in the short pipe I scored about six balls in the pipe. That was good I think.

The chair ball passing game I called it ‘Super Sonic Chair Pass’. You pass the Sonic ball to the next player, when it gets to the last player you have to run to the front. Next was the hurdles, I called it ‘Super Mario Course 1-1’. I ran like the characters of Mario and Sonic at the London Olympic Games. I ran so well and I did a spin jump too. Mum and dad shouted Go Bobby Go. Then dad said well done Mario, I felt wow! Continue later, I am off for a piece of sports day, I mean toast.

I’m back. Next was the balance beam. I called it ‘Mario Course 1-2’. You had to balance and walk and jump your way along the balance beams. I did great but not the jumping because I did not have enough balance. On the relay course I called it ‘Mario Course 1-3’. Daddy had gone back to work by now because he was worried he would be late. Grandma just took photos of me.

After the relay we had a rest. I watched all the other children do their events. I waved to Jayden doing the mountain climb, he was doing great. Go Jayden I shouted. We did the golf target, you had to swing the golf club as hard as you could. Even though you tried really hard you didn’t get any points. I thought I did really well though. At the end of the day, the last thing of the day, throwing the bean bags into the rings. Like Olympic rings but no black ones. I called it ‘Sonic Bounce’.

The results were:

3rd Japan,

2nd Jamaica,

1st Italy.

I felt so disappointed we only came 5th. But I won a gold medal for doing so well in every event. I wore it. I got a Hungary flag too. It’s not the winning that matters it’s the playing that counts and taking part too. My friend Jahmyrie, is in Jamaica. I got another special prize, a Mario figure, a standing up Mario figure.

I felt great when I got in bed last night. I listened to Horrid Henry’s sports day. Wait a minute; oh! that’s the end of my diary now.