Monday, October 27, 2008

The Shire Spring Fair

The Shire council puts on a couple of really good parties each year for its rate-payer hobbits, like us. One is the Christmas party, and the other is the Spring Fair. This year, the helicopter ride was the highlight:

I love the colour of the ocean around Perth! Alex was more interested in the control panel.
Back on the ground again, and these flowers are created from used plastic drink bottles:Alex holding a snake - something I couldn't do!

Friday, October 24, 2008

Tom Thumb

This is Tom Thumb, made from a kit and pattern I got from Bear Dance Crafts I've made a few dolls from these kits. They always challenge me to learn new skills.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Remediation Through The Arts

The following activities aren't done just to fix my son, I also enjoy them! Some researchers claim that autism is due to too much connectivity in the left side of the brain, and not enough on the right (or is it the other way around?), and with minimal connections between. I'd like to think what I do helps, but even if it doesn't we have fun anyway ...
Narrative: I'm still working on this with my son. I taught him how to start a story with a main character, a goal and some obstacles. I demonstrated how most stories have a first and second "turning point". He can't write, but he dictates stories to me, and I create little "books" out of them. He also likes to try to pick the turning points in movies and stories. What does this do for autism? I think it helps them understand patterns in social interactions and activities.
Art: This is definitely not my son's strength! But I bought some of those lovely Lyra colored pencils and we sit and draw a picture together sometimes. He will only draw trains, so often I'll turn the train into something else, or create something humorous about it, ie have it skiing down a mountain, or have flowers growing out of the window. I try to open his mind to new possibilites. Also, we play a game where I do a squiggle and he has to make it into something, and we swap over. Great for increasing non-linear thinking.
Literature: Good literature is my passion! I'm sure this also infects my son as well, as I love reading to him. Currently we're reading Story of the World by S Bauer. Stories enhance the imagination, which is lacking in autism.
Theatre: We love all the plays at Spare Parts Puppet Theatre: they are amazing quality production. Our favorite so far is The Arrivaland its coming again in November. See my previous post about The Arrival here
Time: I recently realised that my son has no ability to perceive "time". I've just started on trying to teach him visually, ie by drawing a plan of the day divided up into hours.
Drama: This would be good, but still haven't done much about it ... Great for "putting yourself in another's shoes".
Theology: I help in the Sunday School class each week. Great compass for kids with SNs who might find themselves disorientated in a world of moral relativism. Also teaches kids that it's good to be good, not for a reward.
Karate: Not "arts" per se, but exactly like the DORE program, except that it's super cheap, by comparison, and a lot more fun. Plus you interact and get different colored belts!

Monday, October 20, 2008

Size Doesn't Matter

... at least to the child it doesn't. Customers often ask me what is the correct size for a doll, and shouldn't baby dolls be in proportion to the size of the child? This dilemma is a purely adult one! Children don't think of proportion in the same way as we do. In fact, they often like extremes: teeny tiny dolls, or huge enormous ones. Here are some examples from my son's toys. This family has a mother half the size of her twin boys, and a pet dog bigger than all of them: In the book The Doll People(see my previous post on this book),the family of dolls had a baby three times the size of the parents. This is mama doll telling Annabelle doll about their doll family: "(Baby Betsy) was very big, bigger even than you, Annabelle. She must have come from a different doll set. We didn't mind, of course. We already loved Baby Betsy very much ... We knew Baby Besty was meant to be ours." There is a picture of mama and papa doll carrying a giant baby.
So, even though some waldorf books out there preach about "correct sizes" for dolls for children, I don't believe there are any rules, and neither do the children. The only rule I go by is "fun"!

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

The Bear Who Lost His Song

More photos of crafts coming soon. In the meantime, here is a story my son dictated to me. I did edit it slightly for clarity, but didn't add anything to it:

"Once upon a time there was a gummy bear and he had a song that went like this: "oh I am a gummy bear". But one day he couldn't remember his song. So he looked all over the whole world for it. He went to a puppet theatre. He drove in a car. He checked inside a trumpet. But he still couldn't find it! So he thought and thought and thought. One day he saw a fairy, and she said with her beautiful voice I will give you your song back to you, IF you go conquer the wicked giant of the east who is conquering the trains of the railway musuem in Bassendean. So he walked all the way to Bassendean and he found it and there was the giant waiting for him; he was on the traintrack. But that wasn't good because he was conquering the whole Mandurah lines. The mandurah line trains were big. Then the gummy bear took over the train and put up its electric bar and ZAP!! the giant was dead, and the gummy bear got his song back again."

Sunday, October 5, 2008

5" Frodo

Here is a tiny 5" Frodo I made today. The patterns come from Winterwood's bendy doll pattern book: except for the cape, which was just guesswork. The wooden dolls also come from Winterwood. Next, hubby is going to make a wooden Hobbit house, which I'll post pics of when it's ready.