My parents just celebrated their 45th wedding anniversary last Saturday, 29 July 2017. While we, the family members preparing for the event, i myself busy preparing my mild autism asperger teen, in making sure he know what is going on and how to react on every situation.
After the celebration last Saturday, i should say its a success. I am happy the celebration has over but i am celebrating the achievement made by my son.
It bugs me when people tell me ‘biar saja‘ or ‘its okay, just let him be’. Maybe for work for other parents but not me, I don’t want my son to get too excited or too nervous which will lead to meltdown which will later regret and embarrassed him.
Autism especially asperger are no different from other typical kids, they too have feelings and dignity. They only need assistance and guidance in whatever they do.
Let me share what we did before the event last Saturday, probably this will help especially those with special needs child.
You will need at least 1 or two weeks to prepare especially if it’s a big event. Let him know what is the occasion about. When is it going to be held, how long and who are going to be there. Be specific and details as you can.
Most special needs has sensory problems so its good to prepare them using VAK (Visual, Auditory and Kinesthetic) technique to get them fully understand.
Make it visual, as for my son i just tell him when and he will marked it on the calendar. I informed my son that there will be music and it might be loud sometimes. I also informed him that he can join any dance if he feels comfortable with, also reminded him that its okay if people look at him or laugh as it does not mean it meant for him.
You can show your child a picture of their cousins or a wedding picture with crowds just to give them ideas.
Look into their eyes when you speak in making sure your child know your child know you talking to her/him and it is important to listen. Your tone of voice and facial expression are important in sending them the message. You may need to be strict yet gentle at the same time.
Each day i reminded him about the event and keep on saying ‘I know you can do it’ and ‘remember to relax‘.
I let him know all his cousins and other people will be there and possibility of weather, noise etc. I told my son ..‘the venue might be long, weather might be warm, there will be music and it might be loud…but whatever it is you must relax’.
This is the fun part. We had a role-play of whats going to happened, for example how to interact with people. We did a role-play on how to react when someone come to him and how to introduce himself to others.
WHAT CAN AND CANNOT DO
I keep a reminder on what he can and cannot do. Some simple rules such as..if he is tired..uncomfortable he need to inform me or other family members..this to prevent meltdown. Shouting.. or any unnecessary action are prohibited in public..he may need to relax.
Remember they learn by rules and they will understand more if we keep on reminding..and it may become good habit.
ON THE BIG DAY
What happened on the big day was a success. My son introduced himself and was not ashamed. The moment there were music..he was dancing and when he hears his cousin sang he actually told me he wanted to sing..probably next time as he don’t really know what song to sing either. But he dance to every music beats..I was with him only at the first songs to make sure he feels comfortable..the rest is history.
I have been using essential oil for a year now and for those having sensory problems..such scents does helps but this does not heal autism. I believe certain essential oils such as vertiver and peace & calming does helps but make sure to apply at time there are ready and in a relax mood. Never apply essential oils when they are moody or having a meltdown.
THE GOOD AND BAD NEWS
Yes you just read our achievements ..isnt it good news? it takes 50% of all hardwork, commitment for the early preparations. 20% of the reminder, standby and commitment on that day, 10% of the essential oils scents that helps him keep calm and 20% of his own commitment, focus and self esteem. Bravo my son! We can do it..you can too.😊
Be remided that autism are just full of surprises..today i might succeed but tomorrow with many things that can triggers and things that of our control i might lose the battle.
Thats how it goes..just keep on sharing to others about autism and we will never feel alone and those with autism will feel accepted.
Always be ready with plans. If plan A does not work out..there will always other plans but never gives up.
Thanks for reading!
P/S – This is a sharing from my personal point of view as a mother and may not be right from the medical perspective. Every child with autism are different from each other..my tips may not work for others but there are no harm trying.
THE IMPORTANCE OF STAYING HEALTHY
There are many reasons why we need to stay healthy. As a working mother and taking part-time studies, I have every reason I need to stay physically and intelligently healthy. Juggling between family, work and studies can be challenging. I need to stay healthy to be able to take charge of my family, do my work and studies well.
You need to analyze and understand yourself and learn ways to control and balance the eight dimension wellness (as shown below).
Figure 1 – Eight Dimensions Wellness (Resources : http://www.samhsa.gov/wellness-initiative/eight-dimensions-wellness )
PHYSICAL AND INTELLECTUAL WELLNESS
Life can be challenging and we can easily be physically and mentally exhausted. It is important to take care of your physical and intellectual wellness, as we need to be intellectually smart in solving problems and creating opportunities. When you are physically healthy you are able to perform better in any activities and intellectual health can improve your quality of life by increasing your ability to define and solve problems. Being healthy gives you the privilege to enjoy life fully.
STRATEGIES TO BE PHYSICAL AND INTELLECTUAL HEALTHY
With the work load and stress in the office, we easily get physically and mentally exhausted. In order to get you re-energize your physical and intellectual health, you need to pause, stop and analyse yourself. Starting with your body, as healthy body gives healthier mind. There are many ways to improve our physical and intellectual health and wellness, such as;
Improving physical health, you will automatically experience greater mental and emotional well-being. Exercise not only strengthens your heart and lungs, for example, it also releases endorphins, powerful chemicals that lift your mood and provide added energy.
Good diet will support your brain, improve your mental health, gives you energy and help you look better. Take healthy, nutrients food and avoid fast food.
Stress refers to two different things; situations that trigger physical and emotional reactions and the reactions themselves. (Fahey.T.D, 2005). Learn to manage your emotions. Be emotionally intelligent in managing stress and balance your mood.
You can learn by using your sensory input, for example, do some art, play with colors while listening to soothing or uplifting music and have the scent you love such as coffee aroma or lavendar to light up your mood.
GET ENOUGH REST/SLEEP
It is important to have enough rest and sleep as this will help both physical and intellectual wellness. Sleep serves to re-energize the body’s cells, clear waste from the brain, and support learning and memory. It even plays vital roles in regulating mood, appetite and libido. (ScientificAmerican.com).
Learning can improve your intellectual wellness. Continuous learning can challenge and improve your mental well-being in many ways.
Being physical and intellectual healthy will help you to enjoy better quality of life. Exercise, having enough rest and sleep, taking good diet, learning to manage stress and continuous learning will help improve your physical and intellectual health.
Powers.S.K, Dodd.S.L.,Noland. V.J (2006, 4th Edition) Total Fitness and Wellness. San Francisco. USA. Pearson Education Inc.
Fahey. T.D, Insel.P.M, Roth. W.T (2005)6th edition. Fit & Well. New York. USA:The McGraw-Hill Companies
M J Kreitzer, A Georgiou. (n.p.). University of Minnesota. Retrieved 27 July, 2016, from http://www.takingcharge.csh.umn.edu
(September 1,2015). What Happens in the Brain During Sleep?.(Online) retrieved from Scientific America. http://www.scientificamerican.com/article/what-happens-in-the-brain-during-sleep1/
- Melinda, S. Robert, Robinson. L & S.Jeanne. (June 2016). Improving Mental and Emotional Health (online) retrieve from. HelpGuide.Org http://www.helpguide.org/articles/emotional-health/improving-emotional-health.htm#