Friday, December 3, 2010

2010 Christmas Wishlists

Jennifer writes (and David posts):

Dave is requesting a non-stuff Christmas so he'd rather get options to go out and do something rather than a physical present. If tickets, etc, seem too pricey, then a cash donation is always acceptable.

Ideas for tickets: Australian Pink Floyd Show, Hockey, plays at the NAC, etc (he tends to enjoy the classics more than the moderns), concerts at the NAC (he enjoys the pops series).

Other ideas: gift certificates to restaurants, movies, Chapters, Tip Top or the Bay.

I'll take a second ticket to an event that Dave wants to go to as my
gift (except hockey). Anything at the NAC would be a nice evening for me.

DVDs: Blindside, Connie and Carla, Easy A

Gift Certificates: Chapters, Future Shop, Addition Elle, The Shoe Company

For the boys, we're also asking for a reduction in the sheer amount of stuff that comes home with us. Alex is very much enjoying playing soccer at school and he's enjoying music, so if someone would like to help cover the costs of some lessons, that would be great.

He would love to have an iPad of his own.

Clothes: Tops: size 7/8 Pants: size 6 or 6X Shoes: size 13

Books: He's doing very well with more complex stories and seems to really like the more scientific stuff, like geography or nature books.

Interests: Sesame Street, Elmo, Wiggles, science, numbers + math

Gift Certificates: iTunes (he likes a lot of music and videos and has his own iPod)

We're asking for a reduction of stuff for both boys but for Nathan, we'd also like to skip the clothes. His drawers are literally bursting
with stuff.

Nathan really loves to dance so if anyone would like to help with the cost of lessons, that would be great.

Interests: Sesame Street, Dinosaurs, music, animals

Toy ideas: musical instruments (of reasonable quality and simple to play), toy figures or animals.

Our dollhouse has been broken in disputes and Nathan would love to get
a new one.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Halloween 2010

Jenn does up mini pumpkins or peppers for the front step (yes, that's snow on the car there):

Cosumes all made by Jenn. Featuring:

Alex wearing Nathan's Elmo costume:

Nathan wearing Alex's Captain Feathersword costume:

Jenn as Supermom:

...and Dave as Cookie Monster:

Saturday, October 30, 2010

The Wiggles Tour, Ottawa 2010

Nathan and Murray compare wardrobes:

Jeff tries to disentangle himself from Alex:

Nathan is moved by the music:

Friday, October 8, 2010

Letter from Autism

(I found this on a mailing list. Our family has been exceptionally understanding and supportive, and for that all of us are grateful. (David))

Dear Family and Friends-

I understand that we may be visiting each other for some get-togethers this year. Sometimes these visits can be very hard for me, but here is some information that might help our visit to be more successful. As you probably know, I am challenged by a hidden disability called Autism. Autism is a neurodevelopmental disorder which makes it hard for me to understand the environment around me. I have barriers in my brain that you can’t see, but which make it difficult for me to adapt to my surroundings.

Sometimes I may seem rude and abrupt or silly and out of control, but it is only because I have to try so hard to understand people and at the same time, make myself understood. People with autism have different abilities. Some may not speak, some will write beautiful poetry. Others are whizzes in math (Albert Einstein was thought to be autistic), or may have difficulty making friends. We are ALL different and need various degrees of support.

Sometimes when I am touched unexpectedly, it might feel painful and make me want to run away. I get easily frustrated, too. Being with lots of other people is like standing next to a moving freight train and trying to decide how and when to jump aboard. I feel frightened and confused a lot of the time. This is why I need to have things the same as much as possible. Once I learn how things happen, I can get by OK. But if something, anything, changes then I have to relearn the situation all over again! It is very hard.

When you try to talk to me, I often can’t understand what you say because there is a lot of distraction around. I have to concentrate very hard to hear and understand one thing at a time. You might think I am ignoring you – I am not. Rather, I am hearing everything and not knowing what is most important to respond to.

Get-togethers are exceptionally hard because there are so many different people, places and things going on that are out of my ordinary realm. This may be fun and adventurous for most people, but for me, it’s very hard work and can be extremely stressful. I often have to get away from all the commotion to calm down. It would be great if I had a private place set up to where I could retreat every time I go to get-togethers.

If I cannot sit at the meal table, do not think I am misbehaved or my parents have no control over me. Sitting in one place for even five minutes is often impossible for me. I feel so antsy and overwhelmed by all the smells, sounds, and people – I just have to get up and move about. Please don’t hold up your meal for me – go on without me, and my parents will handle the situation the best way they know how.

Eating in general is hard for me. If you understand that autism is a sensory processing disorder, it’s no wonder eating is a problem! Think of all the senses involved with eating. Sight, smell, taste, touch AND all the complicated mechanics that are involved. Chewing and swallowing is something that a lot of people with autism have trouble with. I am not picky – I literally cannot eat certain foods as my sensory system and/or oral motor coordination are impaired.

Don’t be disappointed if Mom hasn’t dressed me in the best clothes there are. It’s because she knows how much stiff and frilly clothes drive me buggy! I have to feel comfortable in my clothes or I will just be miserable. When I go to someone else’s house, I may appear crabby. Things have to be done in ways I am familiar with or else I might get confused and frustrated. It doesn’t mean you have to change the way you are doing things – just please be patient with me, and understanding of how I have to cope. Mom and Dad have no control over how my autism makes me feel inside. People with autism often have little things that they do to help themselves feel more comfortable. The grown-ups call it “self-regulation” or “stimming.” I might rock, hum, flick my fingers, tap a string, or any number of different things. I am not trying to be disruptive or weird. Again, I am doing what I have to do for my brain to adapt to your world. Sometimes I cannot stop myself from talking, singing, laughing, or doing an activity I enjoy. The grown-ups call this “perseverating” which is kinda like self-regulation or stimming. I do this only because I have found something to occupy myself that makes me feel comfortable. Perseverating behaviors are good to a certain degree because they help me calm down.

Please be respectful to my Mom and Dad if they let me “stim” for a while as they know me best and what helps to calm me. Remember that my Mom and Dad have to watch me much more closely than the average child. This is for my own safety, and preservation of your possessions. It hurts my parents’ feelings to be criticized for being over-protective, or condemned for not watching me close enough. They are human and have been given an assignment intended for saints. My parents are good people and need your support and not rude remarks.

Gatherings are filled with sights, sounds, and smells. The average household is turned into a busy, frantic, festive place. Remember that this may be fun for you, but it’s very hard work for me to conform. If I fall apart or act out in a way that you consider socially inappropriate, please remember that I don’t possess the neurological system that is required to follow some social rules. I am a unique person – an interesting person. I will find my place at these celebrations that is comfortable for us all, as long as you’ll try to view the world through my eyes!

-Author Unknown