Menopausal mom to 2 young adult sons (one with ASD, ADHD, tic/seizure disorders and the other with attitude).

Thursday, 19 March 2015

Foto Fun

Whenever I am on Riley’s blog FB page I can’t help but smile at the cover photo. Now I could leave you hanging or make you go to FB to see what picture I’m talking about but since I update the cover photo every couple of months…here’s the picture I’m talking about. :D

This picture was taken on our holiday this past February when we went cruising in the Caribbean. Now I’m sure you have heard the saying “a picture paints/is worth a thousand words”. I mean doesn’t Riley look happy? Well...relatively happy. And maybe even like he’s having fun?? Well my friends…in Riley World there is much, MUCH more to a picture than what is visible to the naked eye.

One of my early posts was “Autism as a Second Language” where I gave an example of one of the most challenging aspects of Riley World…language/communication. Communication is more than “talking” or “words” but for this post I am just going to give you another Riley World example.

First let me explain that this photo-op was not your usual “stick your head through the hole” setup which, as you can see below, Riley is quite comfortable with…

Oh no. This particular one was on a raised cement platform/stage and instead of stood behind the stand and aligned your head with a body. Not quite as easy as one might think and definitely "Something Different"!!  No one was around to take a picture of the two of us. No one was around for R to model after. Riley was up there on his own. He was not impressed to begin with so in order to get this done as quickly as possible I decided to direct him with verbal instructions. And as it turned out...many, MANY verbal instructions. TOOOO many verbal instructions. Verbal instructions do not work well in new situations in Riley World. Really....I am not new here.

The heads on the frogs actually dropped down backwards to allow for up to 4 people. 

Instruction 1:     “Go stand behind the board Riley so I can take your picture.”

 This should have been my first clue that verbal instruction was not a good idea.

Instruction 2:      “Riley…go aaa-round (motioning with my arm) to the back.”

He stopped just short of going around to the back. SO not happy!!
Yes…I know I should have just gone up there and physically helped him go behind the board. 
But I wanted to get this over with quickly. ;) 

Instruction 3:     “Riley…keep going aaa-round (again motioning with my arm with much bigger
                        sweeping motions). Go BE-hind the picture.” 

He made it back there but stood a little off to one side. 
So...MORE verbal instructions (4, 5 AND 6).
 Finally R was lined up with the empty frog. 
Only...he was about 3 feet back. 

Instruction 7:     “Riley move forward (motioning with my hand). Keeeep coming. (8 and 9)”

Instruction 10:     When he was finally in position…”Riley put your head through the opening.”

And that’s when this happened...

He bent down to try and put his head through the opening just. as. I. had. asked
Only....there wasn't an opening. 
He makes me smile! :D

Oh....and why do prepositions have to be so hard!

Monday, 16 March 2015

Watching from a distance...

Riley’s first Special Olympics experience was 5 pin bowling back in September 2012. Since then he has tried his hand at basketball, bocce, club fit, golf, snowshoeing, swimming and track & field. Some he enjoyed right from the start; some he tolerated in the beginning and now enjoys; some he well…no longer participates in. 

It hasn’t always been this way. Oh no. When Riley was little, going to any type of group activity meant a high probability of a meltdown for him AND an extra trip to the liquor store for me.

This weekend for the first time in a long time, I took Riley to his Special ‘O’ swimming. As I watched I couldn’t help but remember the times when I never thought anything like this (me sitting in the stands watching) would have been possible.

I watched as Riley warmed up. I watched as he followed the instructions...well…as best he could.  :)  I watched as he swam back and forth, over and over again working on his front crawl.

Sure he prefers to look forward instead of to the side when breathing. Sure he prefers to use only one arm. Sure he prefers to dive under the water when he gets tired. Sure I prefer to think he has mastered a “medley stroke”.

Will Riley ever want to compete in a Special Olympics Winter/Summer Games?  Probably not. Racing/competing are foreign concepts in Riley World. He is not competitive by nature and is quite happy to run/snowshoe/swim beside someone as opposed to in front. He's very polite you know. ;)

But…as with all things in Riley World…I will never say never.