What Does Anger Look Like?

This is a picture, drawn by Snuggles, depicting what he thinks he looks like when he's so angry that he "loses control". Scary, isn't it?

How does his body feel?

Tense and my Forehead hurts

What does he do?
Hitting things
Bad Words

What Does he say?
Cheeky (i.e. he gets cheeky with mum)

The above forms part of the page he completed, to start The Incredible 5 Point Scale that we're currently working on:

We now call this being a 5. Insightful .... Isn't it? And I'd never have known if I didn't start this with him.

We've done three sessions so far. I commenced with the "Feeling Angry" Social Story that I bought from Sandbox last year. The good news is that we had to amend it as the things that made him angry then, no longer do so now.

The bad news is, it had to be introduced without much planning ........ a sort of emergency.

We've had about three very angry outbursts in about ten days. Although short lived they were quite ferocious.

The first one happened on our third day in Legoland. I really didn't think I'd have the nerve to blog about this but it wasn't a one-off and I'm now doing something about it, so I feel better.

I had a bit of an Epiphany in Legoland that day. You see when your child "only" has PDD NOS you're constantly in doubt.

Constantly comparing him to his peers.

Constantly being told that "all boys are like that".

Constantly struggling with question marks over his diagnosis. Why do I keep doing this to myself??

So that day, our third day of walking around a theme park for 6 hours, I noticed he seemed a little giddier than usual. Just a little. ( thinking now that maybe that's being a 2?)Walking ahead of us with my cousin's 9 yr old. Kicking stones etc. Not listening when I told him to "stay in" (he has this awful compunction to walk right on the edge of the footpath....always) J listened when he was told. But Snuggles didn't. I guess oppositional was the word.

I looked at him and had a scary thought. He's acting like a bored, couldn't-be-arsed teenager. He's gonna grow up to be the guy who always finds himself in trouble...kicking stones....kicking cans....hanging out at street corners being rude to passerbys etc.

He had had a build up of little difficult situations that day. Build your own lego robot for example... then he wasn't allowed buy the HUGE Lego toy he wanted!

So, when we got back to the Hotel room they were allowed make their lego toy. While we had a must needed rest before dinner.

I really don't think it ws too much to ask for. Just 30 minutes to relax.

Well, it all kicked off 'cos things weren't working out for him. I got firm with him then ignored him (I was sooo tired).,Big Mistake.

Then I got really annoyed with him. Another Big Mistake.

It was brief and I calmed down. He didn't though .I had to prise his fingers off the door to get him out of the tiny room and into the tiny bathroom. Just to put some space between us and the other two.

God, it was awful. He screamed, hit me, called me names... bitch, worst mother in the world etc, etc.

And they heard all this.

I was so upset. So was he.

Then the storm abated. And we came out.

We all pretended it didn't happen and got on with our evening. The pink elephant that never was. It was mentioned briefly, I just didn't want to talk about it. What they made of it I do not know. But I think she , my cousin, handled it very well. She knew not to talk about it to me.... she "gets it".

The next angry outburst was over homework (maths, Division in particular being the culprit.)And the last one was whilst playing Mario Galaxy and the game wasn't working out for him. Very similar to before....saying awful things to me etc, etc.

But I stayed very calm this time.

And firm.

I imposed a 30 minute ban on all things with a screen! And policed it with vigilance! He knew I meant business!

While I was doing this I also ran around trying to gather all the bits I knew I had somewhere. I had been planning a Social Story but wasn't quite sure where to begin. Now I had no choice. This is getting serious. Straight to 5 point plan I thought. Not having the support of a Clinical Team for the first time, it's now down to me. And I have to start now...right now.

So I quickly planned how to broach the subject with him and structure our first session. All the while he was clock-watching to check when the 30 minutes was up!

He's a verbal child with great comprehension so we had a chat. I explained about anger and losing control and how upsetting it is for him and that I'd like to help him with that. So far, so good. Phew!! He seemed interested.

We did two more sessions. I planned what I would do and set up a Reward Chart.

He worked really hard for Marshmallows or Pringle crisps!

The next day I talked to his S.N.A. Angel (thanks for the term Hammie!) and straight away she did up some colour-coded cards numbered 1 - 5! I suggested and she agreed that the best way to do it is , after we've established each point on the scale we'd get him to check in with her at regular intervals during the school day. He will rate himself i.e "I think I'm a 1" and S.N.A. will remind him what he needs to do to help himself. I, of course will do the same at home.

The idea of course is that he will learn the life skills required to regulate his emotions himself. He will not be that couldn't-be-arsed-getting-into-trouble-teenager. NO WAY!

So far we've established a 5, 1 and some of 2! and our chart looks like this:

We discovered what 1 was when he spontaneously came to me and said "Mum, I feel so happy and relaxed"!! Aww!
See....he's a Sweetheart really. I so hate to see him so angry and say such awful things.
After his last outburst I told him I loved him when I was putting him to bed. The next morning he voluntarily(!) said, in his best little boy voice....."I Love you mummy"
That makes it all worthwhile.
Apart from that, I get a kind of sense of relief from him. I'm sure he doesn't want to be like that either. I think that's why he's happy to do the work. So far, anyway! The biggest thing I've learned from it is the simple, basic reason for all three outbursts.
He didn't just get angry at the Lego pieces not working out.
He didn't just get angry because he couldn't do Division.
And he didn't just get angry because he was losing the Mario game.
The common denominator in all three episodes was........ "It's so unfair....it's extremely unfair mum"
In other words A rigid sense of fairness. There ya go.
I feel vindicated.
Why do I always have to be vindicated??
C'est la.
Sin e.
I'm off to Spain in the morning (YIPPEE!!!) and I shall spend some time "observing" and establishing nos. 3 and 4!! Hope there's not too many outbursts!
Night night! xx J

Shameful Ireland: Enough is Enough

Like Lisadom, I can't ignore this. I want to write about it, I don't want to write about it..... or maybe that should read I "can't" write about it.

But I have to say something.

I've also read Sharon of the Voyage , Bock and Nick Mc Givney . All brilliantly written. As usual. Sorry for not commenting. I just don't know what to say.

I tried, really tried to read the report but I just can't. Too upsetting.

I watched States of Fear all those years ago and , was it Dear Daughter, about the Abuse at Goldenbridge? I remember being horrified at the time.

I can't watch "Magdalene Sisters" nor could I watch "Song for a Raggy Boy" last week. No way.

Saw Prime Time tonight and was mesmerised by Don Baker ( I remember watching this clip) and Paddy Doyle. Paddy remembers how it felt to be beaten from the back of his neck to the heel of his feet. He remembers the pain of it and, no doubt, the humiliation. So upsetting. I can't link you to his blog because in order for me to do that I'd have to open it .... I'm not quite ready to read that yet.

Watching Prime Time I was also horrified by the "Christian" Brother and Barry Andrews TD. How on earth can they say they're horrified, or "it's unconscionable"? They've known about it ..... and covered it up for years. When did they suddenly feel this way?? When they saw the Report yesterday? And are now trying to appear understanding and.... well....Christian?? And as for the Dept Of Education and Science? Well now, why does it not surprise me how they've dealt with these cases. Threatening them with having to pay their own costs if they dare to challenge them. Just like they do to parents of Autistic children... like the O'Cuanachains. They sure know how to hold a grudge. Against vulnerable and defenceless people.

As for the deal made between State and Church regarding funding the compensation payments? That is even more appalling now then it was when first announced. And we didn't know the half of it then. But they did. They knew all of it.

You know, I'm just sick to death of this country. We, the General Public , AKA "The Great Unwashed" (at least that's how we're treated) are taken to be fools of the highest degree.

Only in Ireland would Bankers and Developers get away with bringing this country to it's knees. Will anyone go to jail over it? Doubt it.

Corrupt Politicians get away with it too.

And serious Tax Evaders.

There is the token few who get a jail sentence. Just to appease the General Public.

Will anyone go to jail for the Systemic and Endemic abuse of vulnerable children?? How can they.... they can't even name them. And most of them are probably dead.

This, above all other things , sickens me. Enough is Enough. They should be tracked down and jailed. So should those who covered it up. They're still chasing down perpetrators of the Holocaust atrocity aren't they? Is this any different??? No it's not.

Well, actually it is. Because it happened in Ireland.

Shame on us, the citizens, if we let this go.

It's true that those we're different times, but they weren't that long ago. Only today I was telling my 9yr old boy, because he asked, that we were slapped by Teachers in school. Usually over the hand with a ruler. I told him it was worse when my parents were in school. They got such beatings. I went to the same school as my Mother and had one Teacher who also taught her. She was a sadistic bitch.

Corporal Punishment was accepted all across Ireland at the time. Indeed it was OK for parents to hit their children too. Still happens now, sadly.

The reasons children were sent to these Industrial Schools were trivial . My mother was one of 9 children, in a 2 bedroom house in Whitehall, Dublin in the 1940's. My Grandfather died when she was 4 years old. So life was very tough for them and for my Granny. She did her best. They all played truant though. The boys especially. In particular Uncle P and Uncle K. Uncle P was hiding, in the attic I think, when the Inspector came to call. Uncle K ratted on Uncle P. Uncle P ended up in Artane Boys Industrial School. For truancy.

I never knew Uncle P. Think I only met him once. As soon as he left Artane he went straight to England. He never forgave Uncle K. He also had serious misgivings towards my Granny. None of which was truly comprehended by any of us at the time. I get it now.

Uncle L was deaf and dumb (Special Needs), caused by meningitus at age 6 months. As was the general recommendation of the professionals at the time, he was sent to St Joseph's School for Deaf Boys in Cabra. At age 4. The family visited him and every Sunday the school was brought for a long walk and they paraded the children past my Granny's house. The family would all line up to see him. No contact allowed.

Uncle L I've seen over the years. A lovely man...always smiling. He too went to England, married and had 2 children. He had been given the necessary skills, in the cruelest of ways, to survive. All he says about those days is that they were very hard. Not sure if he suffered any sexual abuse there, but I've no doubt there was serious corporal punishment involved.

Uncle P on the other hand never married. He made a few visits home over the years. He died some years ago, in Ireland. He had returned here about 5 years previously, and never contacted his family. How sad. His neighbours found another uncle's contact details in his possessions and that's how some family members went to his funeral. His neighbours said what a lovely man he was. We didn't know, never having had the pleasure of his company. I dread to think of the abuse he suffered. I doubt very much that he came forward when others did.

Ireland as a whole, has a lot to do to right this wrong. The Catholic Clergy has the most work to do. The least of which is to discover what kind of person is attracted to religious life in the first place. Sexual Abuse is not restricted to the Irish Clergy. It's world wide. What makes an abuser want to be a priest or nun?? What kind of vetting is involved???

Just a simple start to a very complicated situation.

I seriously don't know what else to say. It's simply horrifying. I hope those who were abused have gotten some solace from the Report in that there can now be absolutely no doubt that they suffered serious abuse by people held in high regard in this country.

xx Jazzy

Deja Vu

From little puddles .............

(taken today)

..............do big floods come.............. .

(taken August 2008)

............ and believe me , I know..... see here.

What an amount of rain we're getting at the moment. And there's more to come. So, says the Weather girl!

That worries me.

Today I went to collect Snuggles from school. While there were dark clouds hovering when I left the house, it wasn't raining. When I got to the school, a mere 5 minutes later, there was a torrential downpour. A mini-monsoon. Just like on Aug 16th 2008. But, thankfully it didn't last as long.

But still, I was worried.

I stayed in the car for as long as I could...I'd no raincoat (for Snuggles) or brolly (for me!). When I got out of the car 10 minutes later there was a stream flowing down the road and lots of rather large puddles to get through to reach the school door. I was very mindful of my new black suede runners!

And still it poured down.

Snuggles bounded out of the school door, as only Snuggles can. Didn't even have his jumper on. Rain "excites" him.... i.e. makes him hyper! So, when I say bound I MEAN bound! I had to get cross to reel him back in!

Then I drove up the lane, past the Dart Station, which leads to our estate. There's this very large puddle that forms on both sides of the road there, then meets in the middle, every time it rains. It wasn't there when I left the house.... but it sure was there less than 30 minutes later. I had to slow down and pray to God I didn't stall going through ( I nearly did.)

I was really worried now.

Got home and did the recce up towards the Tennis Club.... where all the problems lay the last time. Looked O.K.

Checked our garden and saw the puddle building up in front of the house (see first pic above) just like it did last August. There was a small puddle in between us and our neighbours houses. Being fed by tributaries from both gardens.

Snuggles discovered another big puddle forming outside our backdoor.

Oh, God......... not again. PLEASE.

I tried very hard to stay calm. DON'T panic.

Checked the drains out the back..... our brand new drains. They were clogged with debris. I cleaned that and the water flowed fine. PHEW....... major wiping of brow here!!

Now, admittedly I am a bit of a panicker.... I do try not to. So, I was kind of reprimanding myself as I headed to the front garden to clear the puddles there, when a neighbour called. She too was extremely worried. So I phoned the Council. I'm still waiting for the return call.

The main road was O.K. I told the girl on the phone, but we just wanted the situation monitored. You see, if it happens in your garden and it's to do with how low-lying your house is ...... tough. BUT....we have two shores in our garden which services 6 other houses. So, if they burst it's most likely to do with the main drains so it then becomes the Council's problem. Well, that's how I intend to keep the pressure on. And I sure as hell ain't waiting 'til they burst!

I then went to our shed to get yard brush, bucket etc and was greeted by yet another lovely sight. You see, our Kitchen Man came at lunchtime today to collect our old washing machine ..... finally. He turned off the water and away he went.

Only he hadn't turned the water off ......... well, not fully anyway.

So, there I was all stressed out about a possible flood at the front of the house only to be met with about an inch of water covering the outside toilet in our shed!!! Oh, Holy Crap. Jaysus.

So, I rang our Kitchen Man in a well-warranted (at this stage) panic. And while I was talking to him and checking the leak, I managed to nearly knock myself out by whacking my head off the shelf!! Christ....can anything else happen here???!!

So, I basically spent 2 hours mopping the shed, clearing shite from all drains and sweeping the big puddle in front off the house into the nearest shore.....whilst holding a cold compress to my head!! I also swept the puddle from just in front of my neighbours house. She never appeared. And in the middle of all that....whilst holding a bucket of shite from the drains.... I was accosted by a door-to-door charity....who insisted in talking to me for at least 10 minutes in the lashings of rain??! It was a worthy cause.... DogsTrust. Just not today. Christ.

But, Like I say, there's more rain to come. For the rest of the week.

And I'm still worried.

Because we're off to Spain on Sunday for almost two weeks. Who's gonna clear the drains then??

We probably shouldn't be going on holidays, with all the cutbacks etc., but I insisted. I reckoned we needed the break. Particularly after all the hassle with last year's flood and building works etc, etc. It's been a long haul. We need this holiday. Can't believe we're still worried about flooding.

So we shall go on holidays! Just have to put an emergency plan in operation. God, I just knew we shouldn't have thrown out those sandbags. Think I'll get some more!

Have to run now. Need to check the emergency job Mr Jazzy did out in the shed ( he attached a hose and put into the toilet !!) and front of house!!

Fingers crossed!! x Jazzy

To Spar or Not to Spar?

I just knew we'd find ourselves at this junction! This, I think is the downside of Taekwando.... Sparring. I blogged about this issue before, see here.

Since he got his Green Belt last Feb, Snuggles has moved to the later class which suits him better. He's gone from being the oldest in the earlier class to being the youngest in the later one, so his behaviour is better.

But, the work is harder and he now has to do sparring. Well, more contact sparring that is.

From the very beginning, when he started almost two years ago, I've been concerned about Sparring. I just don't like it but am trying to keep an open mind about it. Initially they did their one-step techniques opposite each other but no contact allowed. Now, they're fully kitted out ( he's yet to get the full gear though so just has borrowed feet protectors and gloves) so contact is allowed. But how much contact is the big question.

Is it really a good idea for a child with self-regulation/anger management issues to do Sparring??

Maybe it is ..... might teach him some self-control. I mean if he's likely to lash out, Taekwando might be another way of teaching him control. They are ABSOLUTELY forbidden to use ANY Taekwando techniques outside class, unless it's for defence. So restraint is something that they learn. And that's good.

For some reason I stayed with Snuggles at class yesterday, I had been leaving him to just get on with it. Well, I did stay for the first 18 months! Don't know what made me stay yesterday though. May have been because he's having a bit of a difficult week this week (more about that at a later date!). Anyway, they were Sparring first. He was partnered with a higher grade child of similar size but with, obviously, more experience.

Snuggles is, literally, trying to find his feet in this aspect of Taekwando. Also, I'm not sure that the instructions given (re: level of contact) were clear enough.... for all students. They took it in turns to practise techniques against each other. Snuggles did make hard contact.... when he made contact! But, the other guy really got stuck in! Probably in response to Snuggles ... in all fairness. But Snugs didn't have full protective gear on. Now, I didn't want to be the typical "stage mother" and say "that boy hurt my boy".... but I had to say something!!

Snuggles was crying and started to call the other boy names... but stopped very quickly when I reprimanded him. I took him outside and we had a chat. He doesn't want to do Sparring anymore (team work, winners/losers, touch/contact) he just wants to do the Patterns (Individual work). And , he wanted to go home! We watched the others sparring and noticed that the level of contact had definitely reduced! I convinced him to stay to do Patterns because he's good at them! He liked that, so he stayed!

Phew! Problem averted. For this week. So, what to do??

Well, me being my usual, boring, analytical self went on a quest for info! Information is King, after all!

So, I looked here and here.

It would seem that when they're wearing protective gear, full contact is allowed.... but with strict limitations. I'm not sure about the face part .... I think it's just to the side of the head?? God, it sounds horrific, doesn't it?!

It is also "almost unheard of to practice Tae Kwon Do without at least doing some light sparring, as this is an integral part of your training not only in Tae Kwon Do, but in martial arts in general." Hmmmm.............. probably can't just do the Patterns only so.

It says only "partial contact" in class. So, maybe that's the same for Testing? "Full contact" is necessary in Tournaments and Competitions. But, he doesn't have to do competitions. Getting closer to a solution so.

For those of you who haven't seen Sparring before, take a look at this:


God, I've NO idea what you're gonna make of this! Some of you will be appalled, and some won't... I'm sure! Some are probably even wondering why I don't just remove him from the class.... forthwith! But, look again. It's quite controlled, they're not getting "stuck in" and they're only 5 years old!

I checked his Taekwondo Handbook, but there's very little about Sparring. I was reminded though, of the benefits of practising Taekwondo : "......will... positively affect your child's character by developing and increasing his/her confidence, self-control, self-discipline, attention-span, focus and respect level."

They believe that "Martial Art training will help with the assistance of problems which may possibly arise in your child's everyday lives outside of the Taekwondo school. Their training will provide them with the confidence and ability to handle such situations as: problems with bullies, study habits, poor attitude, and even in some cases peer pressure from exposure to smoking, drinking, and/or drugs"

You see, they're very admirable and desirable benefits. This is why I'm not giving up, just yet.

And if you read Luke Jackson's book "Freaks, Geeks and Asperger Syndrome" , you'll see that he has a lot to say about Taekwondo too! Some of what he says I've also commented on . He mentions Sparring indirectly, commenting on how helpful self-defence can be. That's important for kids on the spectrum as they may be more likely to get picked on. However, he quite specifically says "It seems to me that Taekwondo is custom-made for people on the autistic spectrum".

So, you see why I'm not quitting just yet??! Nor will I be pushing him to do something he doesn't want to do. He's already given up Football and we have absolutely no problem with that. But, he really loves Taekwondo.

I guess, I just have to find a way to make this work for him. Provided he wants to continue.

I'll talk to his very understanding Instructor next week. Step-by-step I reckon, back to (Sparring) basics. See how it goes!

If anyone reading this has been through a similar situation, particularly with an ASD child, please, please comment!!

That's all there is folks ....... I'm all Taekwondo-ed out!! xx Jazzy

Our Funny "Specsavers" Moment..... plus Tag!

I love this advert! I laughed my head off when I saw it first, thinking that it was something that was likely to happen to me!!! Although it's obviously exaggerated for TV purposes!

When travelling to the other Theme Parks we've been to, Disney, Universal, Portaventura etc I'm usually with Mr Jazzy. And he's very organised. We study the map and come up with a plan. We mark the rides we want to do and off we go! Very organised. I need to be organised as I've no sense of direction and left to my own devices I'm more likely to roam aimlessly around accomplishing nothing.

Mr Jazzy, on the other hand is quite organised and , as he's from the country, has a wonderful sense of direction. When he was 5 years old his parents brought the whole family "up to Dublin" to go shopping for the day. They were also visiting his Aunt and Uncle in Drumcondra (about 2/3 miles from the City Centre). They went shopping in Town and somehow Mr Jazzy got lost outside the landmark Clery's Department Store.

Major upset, my mother-in-law was (understandably) very, very upset. After much searching they had no choice but to go back to Druncondra, having left details with the Gardai.

Who do you think was waiting for them when they got there?? Yup.... you got it..... Mr Jazzy! How did he get there? He got the bus of course! He remembered the number bus they got and the relevant bus stops and made his way home telling the Driver he had no money and he'd lost his parents!! Isn't that truly amazing for a 5 year old? It's a skill he's had for life...he knows more about Dublin than I do.

But, I digress. On with the story.........

On our recent Legoland trip I was with my cousin. Sorry cuz...I know u thought we were doin great but....it's definitely genetic!!

We wandered around aimlessly. Even though we sort of had a plan! I just couldn't find the "lands"! When we did find them it was totally by accident!

Like I said in my last post, we'd spotted the scary Roller Coaster, which wasn't too bad really............in fairness.

We then decided to look at the Knights Castle. And we found it, no bother! Sure, isn't it lovely we commented whilst wondering what the chain-link fences were for.

When we got to the top we realised it was for a ride. Doh!

Ah, sure isn't this Grand, we said.... lets have a go.

So, in we all get. We went through the Dungeons...... looking at all the different scenarios. "It's like "Small,Small World" says the Cuz. "Nah...it's like Pirates of the Carribean but in Lego" says I.

We continued to admire as we were coming to the end of the Dungeons.

There was light ahead.

Then we noticed more track.

Twisty, turning track.

Oh Holy Crap!! It's a Bloody Roller Coaster!!! Doh! Doh!!

"Let us off!!!!"

All we could do was laugh our heads off!! Thankfully it turned out to be just a small Roller Coaster....but it could have been the scary one!

It was soooo funny!!

Well, we thought so.... maybe you had to be there!!

And now, finally to the nice little Tag sent to me by Blogdog. Thanks Clive ......

This award is ...

-as a dedication for those who love blogging activity and love to encourage friendships through blogging.

-to seek the reason why we all love blogging.

-put the award in one post as soon as you receive it.

-don’t forget to mention the person who gives you the award.

-answer the Award’s question by writing the reason why you love blogging.

-tag and distribute the Award to as many people as you like.

don’t forget to notify the Award receivers and put their links in your post.

Why I Love Blogging.........

I love the fact I've met some new friends.

I love that I've learnt more about the people I already know. And they, ahem, probably know more about me than they need to know!!

I love the sharing of information and experiences. It's a great medium for that

I think it's very cathartic and informative! Kinda like your own virtual diary!

I've found that I like to write!

I thought it would be nice to tag my new followers (fellow bloggers) to welcome them to Blogsphere!

So, I tag Tulippy, Aspie3laine ( when you're finished exams!) and Milftastic
oper81. Any followers who are not bloggers and are tempted to join please consider yourselves tagged! But only if you want to do it, of course. You might find it fun AND you get a nice badge to spruce up your sidebar!

xx Jazzy

Our Fun Trip to Legoland

Myself, Snuggles, my Cousin and her 9 year old boy (my Godson!) went away for the May Bank Holiday weekend. We had a great time in Legoland in Billund, Denmark. We travelled by Ryanair to Billund and we stayed in the Hotel Propellen, which was only a 5 minute drive from the Airport! The Hotel was also only a 5 minute walk from Legoland itself! There is a Hotel Legoland right in the Theme Park but we tend to avoid these as they're usually expensive ( in this case twice the price!) plus there's no getting away from the park....it's the first thing you see in the morning and the last thing you see at night! I like to be able to distance ourselves...... just a little!

The Hotel room was quite small but we hardly spent any time there. There was door leading down a small set of steps onto a small Terrace with a small table and 2 chairs. This was ideal for when the 2 boys were in bed asleep (by 9.30/10.00pm) as we got to sit out, in our fleecies, under the stars, sipping a glass of wine and solving all the problems of the world!! A great chance to catch up with my cousin as well as we very rarely get the chance! There was also a small swimming pool where the boys got to splash around after a busy day in the park.

The Legoland Park itself was amazing! The attention to detail was stunning ........ the miniture towns, palaces, airports NASA etc....... I could have looked at them all day!

Amelienborg..... the Danish Royal Residence

A Lego Parrot

Miniture Town with a REAL duck! Hard to tell the difference!

Sitting Bull

There were some funny lego characters about the place! Including naked men .........

and busty women! ........

and a Pirate in trouble!

There was Hans Christian Anderson too ............

There were play areas where you could build with Lego. There was a Mindstorming room where you chose what you wanted to make and were given a box with all the pieces you needed. There was also a workshop teaching you to programme your own robot (wasn't structured enough though.) And the coolest thing of all ....... a Lego Driving School!! For 50dk (€7) the kids got a driving lesson and were given a driving licence at the end ! Snuggles tells everyone he got his "for breaking two red lights!!" I think he missed the point!!

Cool Hat too .... if you look close you'll see the Lego Man attached to the top!!

There was also a small water-play area. It was a lovely sunny day on Saturday but we had no swimming gear with us. Hotel was so close we were able to go get them! So the boys had a great splash around .......

But they weren't the only ones to get wet!!........

We got soaked on one of the rides were the people on the outside get to shoot water canons at you!! All part of the fun! Sure we got to dry off later with an after-dinner drink in the Hotel Bar!!

The rides were tame enough which was good 'cos I am NO good for Rollercoasters! If there's a dip I'm gone!! Mind you, we got on 2 water splash rides and were TERRIFIED ( the 2 mums that is!) in anticipation of the drops!! They weren't too bad though.

We had spotted a Rollercoaster that was a bit scary looking so was to be avoided at all costs!

We also had a little funny moment that I will blog about seperately, so stay tuned!!

Walking around Legoland, from the day we arrived, I was struck by two things.

One was the number of (pet) dogs around. They seemed to welcome them and even provided doggy-water-bowls around the place, built into lego holders! I reckon Assistance Dogs would be very welcome . Only problem was, we had to keep looking around to see if they were real or lego dogs!!

The other thing I was struck by was how appropriate it seemed to be for Children with Autism ..... especially the High Functioning ones. I mean, most of them are (or were, when they were younger) into Thomas the Tank Engine. My guy loved Thomas... I reckon it's the train tracks. He's still into tracks.... and water features. He loves to "follow the trail".

With Lego they get to build their own creations or follow the visual instructions to build a set model. And it's good O.T. for working on their fine-motor skills. And the lego shapes are very interesting to look at.

Now, imagine you were to incorporate the lego shapes into a water feature. How cool would that be? And how calming would it be to look at? Take a look at this ................

I swear, I was mesmerised by this!! So, as expected, was Snuggles! This is part of a Clock Tower and the lego bits floated up and down inside the tubes. It was sooo cool! It would make a brilliant addition to a Sensory Room I believe.

The only problem with lego is when the child's self-regulation skills are poor. Like my guy .... gets really upset VERY quickly when it doesn't work out. That happened on the Sunday. Major meltdown. In the tiny hotel room. Only dodgy part of the whole weekend. Might talk about it, sometime.

It struck me how us parents, of ASD children bring them to Disneyland, EuroDisney, Portaventura etc, etc. And how we all enjoy it. Well, here's something a little bit different that uses their highly tuned Visual Spatial Skills and provides some fun O.T. as well! It's a much smaller park and it doesn't open all year round. This season has just started. Beware: not all attractions are open all week. We found that on the Monday the MindStorming Room wasn't open til 12 or 1pm as they had school classes. The driving school had fewer lessons and the shops don't open til 12 every day.... but that's no bad thing!! Also, you don't have to travel as far as Denmark ...... you can go to Windsor, outside London! But .......... Denmark is waaay cooler!!!

Well, that was what I thought about Legoland. Then I came home and read Lisadom's blogPost and the article in the Times about how a new Therapy using lego is being used to teach communication skills to children on the Spectrum!! Wow .... I'm not far off the mark so! How mad is that?!!

The Lego shop was cool too but we tried to limit our visits ..... for obvious reasons! That was a mistake. On the last day, with 5 minutes to spare we , or rather Snuggles, discovered the purpose of the clear Lego Bins. They were filled with different body parts, hats and visors to make your own lego men!! It was a case of how many men can you make in 5 minutes!! They made four each! And they were very inexpensive.

I was raging we hadn't discovered it earlier. It could have been used as a reward for good behaviour at the end of each day. Ah well. I think it would be a great thing for Hamleys to bring into their store though!

Now there's an idea .........

Until next time. xx Jazzy