Monday, 16 May 2011

Greenwich For Time and Space

We visited Greenwich today with another home ed family. We visited the Time Galleries including GMT. The kids learnt about longitude and latitudes, time and Greenwich mean time. Greenwich has started charging for entry to the time section of the museum which was annoying. However, my friend managed to get us a teachers pass for free by showing her Education Otherwise card.

The Royal Observatory seems to be more interesting for the kids. They have a fantastic hands on Astronomy galleries where you can watch how the universe was formed, touch a 4.5 billion year-old meteorite, guide a space mission and unravel the mysteries of the universe.

Sunday, 8 May 2011

Mountain Boarding - Our Most Successful Trip

We went mountain boarding at Redhill Ride The Hill Mountain Boarding centre. It was one of the most successful trips we have done. We all had a wonderful day learning to mountain board and socialising with the other home educating families.

After the disastrous archery course I felt nervous about taking the kids on a large home education trip. Owen can't cope with large noisy groups and can get aggressive and fractious. Initially, when we arrived Owen was quite anxious. He didn't want the other kids to know that he was a beginner as many of the other kids has already had a mountain boarding lesson. However, the instructor was fantastic. He used loads of positive language even when we made mistakes. Owen gets very anxious if people in his group progress faster than him. However, the instructor kept the pace the same for all of us. He was flexible in allowing kids to go of an take a break or have something to eat as and when they needed to.

Britain's Got Talent: James Hobley - Autistic Homeschooled Dancer

Saturday, 7 May 2011

Social Stories

My last post has prompted me to add some more social story resources:

Jealousy In Children

We started our archery course today. It was NOT a success! When I booked I decided not to tell the organiser Owen was autistic as the goal is to find a hobby that brings out the strengths of his autism and not its weaknesses.

During the lesson, Owen became frustrated and impatient when being shown how to shoot. He became fixated on the two other groups that were progressing faster than us and having their target moved further and further away. He was crying, telling the instructor to shut up, getting cross with me for missing the target and saying he had a headache (which usually occurs when he get too stressed). (On a positive note he did say sorry after saying shut up). The instructor did ask Owen not to speak to his Mum so rudely. The instructor would have been more sympathetic had I told them about Owen autism. I usually do tell people as I think it helps them understand why Owen behaves as he does. I left feeling embarrassed, confused, upset with Owen. When we got in the car I gave Owen my usual lecture on why he couldn't have tried harder to behave and that I felt embarrassed, what must they think of us etc etc. What cut me short was Owens utter silence. After almost 1 hour of silence Owen said "when will they invent a machine to take away emotions". I asked him how he was felling and he said "jealous". I asked him why and he said because the other groups were better than us and he wanted our target moved too. I was almost unable to respond firstly because it broke my heart but more importantly that he was able to identify such as complex emotion that had resulted in the collapse of Owen being able to cope with the lesson. We spent the remainder of the journey discussion jealously, how to cope with it and what is an acceptable and unacceptable way to respond to the emotion.

Social Stories for Jealousy

I Feel Jealous (Paperback) (ISBN: 0750214058 )
Brian Moses

Jealousy and the Theory of Mind Connection

In neurotypical children, that is, children who have no underlying neurological disorder such as autism, self is seen as a separate entity. There is an understanding after the preschool years, that others have thoughts and feelings that do not necessarily match your own. Some empathy can take place, because there is an understanding of feelings that others have, even if that understanding is rudimentary.

In autism, there is a marked difficulty in identifying and recognizing others’ feelings. It can be hard for the child with autism to put himself in someone else’s shoes, because he doesn’t even realize that person has shoes that are different than his own. This is why many children with autism overreact to imagined slights. They aren’t being difficult. They really believe when you accidentally hit them with your elbow that you meant to do it.