Monthly Archives: May 2014

Are we in need of a digital detox?

             My family and I decided to have a lazy Sunday. On these lazy Sunday’s we each have some electronic device on, whether it be the TV, computer, phone, iPad or tablet. We might leave the house to do something or other but lazy Sundays are definitely days where you do things on your own and have lots of “me time.” So our lazy Sunday started and we each went on our way doing our own thing. As the day went by we decided to touch base with one another via WhatsApp. Hours went by with brief check-ins and then suddenly someone dared to ask, “Where are you?” Simultaneously the rest of us replied, “At home.” There was a brief pause for each one of us and then there was a sudden rush to the living room. The looks on our faces were priceless! The shock and horror of how oblivious we were left us speechless for a good five minutes. As we sat in the living room wondering how we all could have been in the same place and yet not know it left us to ask the long awaited and dreaded question, “Is our family in need of a digital detox?” The answer to that, as hard as it was for any of us to admit was, YES!

            The following weekend our family sat down and decided how we would go about working on a digital detox. After four hours of tense debate we agreed to start small and work our way to our final goal, which was to only use digital devices when there was a need to. We decided that in April we would have a board game night every Friday from 9pm to 10pm and during this hour all electronic devices must be kept in a box and placed under my mother’s bed. In May we decided that every Saturday morning would be a no technology morning where anything electronic is on “lock down.”

            Whether we want to admit it or not, this small digital detox has truly brought our family closer. Yes, I agree we were forced into it, but we have each realized that technology should not overpower the times we spend together. Now, instead of having to multi-task between a conversation and the electronic device in front of us we are actually putting our phones, iPads or tablets away and are actually laughing and joking about events that happened in our lives or during game night. Our family is slowly starting to understand the true meaning of quality time. These days quality time is definitely looking at a person and actually listening to what the person says instead of having some device capture our attention during most of the conversation and later saying, “You never told me that!” My family is definitely getting some control over our electronic devices and I hope by reading this you will ask yourself the question, “Is my family in need of a digital detox?”

 

                                                                      digital detox

 

Hilary Craig’s Book Launch!

 

Small Steps, Big Differences: A Toolkit for Parents of Children Who Fall through the Cracks

Each one of us learns in a different way. Traditional teaching approaches don’t always suit the variety of different ways people learn-a conflict that can damage confidence and sometimes lead to failure. The key question that faces parents and teachers is how to help those who learn differently find long term success. In Small Steps, Big Differences: A Toolkit for Parents of Children Who Fall through the Cracks, author Hilary Craig challenges this question and offers parents strategies to help. The resources provided within this toolkit are framed around the core belief that all children can make progress, even if traditional learning and teaching methods in the classroom are inadequate for the way they learn. This toolkit provides support to those parents who recognize the unique abilities and talents in their children and who want practical tools to enable them to learn and succeed. Hilary Craig’s experience, insight and strategies for helping children learn effectively, provide a valuable resource to accompany classroom learning. In this toolkit, she also addresses the four essential skills for effective learning: memory, listening, attention, and social skills; and strategies to develop each of these, with the final goal to build confidence. Small Steps, Big Differences is an invaluable resource for parents to help their children increase their chances for learning success.

 

 

Meet the Author

When: 10am & 12pm, Saturday 24th May 2014

Where: Hils Learning, 13-1 Jalan Solaris 4, Solaris Mon’t Kiara, 50480
Office : +603 6203 0029  H/p : +6012 307 6590

RSVP: Lina Jalil at lina.jalil@hilslearning.com by 20 May 2014

The book will be available for sale at the launch, but it can also be purchased from theHils Learning website (Malaysia only), Amazon.comThe Book Depository, and Barnes & Noble

We hope to see you there!

He’s not being rude. He has Aspergers. by Robyn Campbell

We came across this wonderful blog by Robyn Campbell. Robyn is a mother of three boys who are all on the Autism Spectrum. “He’s not being rude. He has Aspergers.” is something that we can definitely identify with.  

 

 He’s not being rude. He has Aspergers.

Imagine for a moment that in your entire life, the only book you had ever read was an encyclopaedia. The only knowledge you knew, were facts. For every situation in life, you would need to search through your database of facts and derive an appropriate response to a situation. Welcome to the brain of someone with Aspergers Syndrome.

My first eye opening experience of this was when my oldest son was in his first year at school. One particular day the class was being too loud for his sensitive over stimulated mind. Casey stood up at the front of class and said, “Shut up you F&*KING idiots!” One of his classmates ran to tell his teacher that Casey had said a rude word. So the teacher asked Casey, “Did you say a rude word?” “Yes, I did”, replied Casey, who also has no concept of lying. Calmly the teacher asked him to repeat what he said, so he did.

Casey had heard those words at a recent play at a friend’s place (first and last play with that child) and although he had stored it on page 2394 of his encyclopaedic mind as “What to say when people are being too loud” he had no concept that it was rude. He didn’t even know what a swear word was. But thanks to his ability to mimic and repeat a phrase, with exact wording, my son was in trouble for swearing. Not a lot of trouble, just some quiet time in the teacher’s office. Mostly quiet time, until another teacher wandered in and asked him why he was there and he repeated his rather colourful phrase to her as well.

We’ve since reworded page 2394 in his encyclopaedic mind and added page 2394a of appropriate responses to loud children. Turns out there are a lot of supplementary pages that need to be added. This week my eight year old told me “You’re fat.”  Although it was a correct observation, it was not a very appropriate one. My response was simple, “Yes, I have fat on my body but here’s the list of why you should NEVER call a woman FAT!” It was a long lecture. Long, but hopefully effective. I think I wrote pages 3940-5800 of the encyclopaedia of appropriateness that afternoon.


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I recently enjoyed an evening with Kathy Lette, the popular author and comedy guru. Kathy’s son Julius has Aspergers Syndrome and inspired her to write her recent novel, The Boy Who Fell to Earth. Julius is also known for his ability to say inappropriate things at school. Kathy shared the time where her son “asked his intimidating headmaster what he wrote on his driver’s license for hair colour, being completely bald?” There was also the time he “enquired of a leather-clad bikie if he’d ever noticed that his chin looked like upside-down testicles?” Both questions are completely valid to a curious mind. Valid, but highly inappropriate.

Appropriate and inappropriate, thankfully can be taught. I recently injured my back. For my eight year old that meant that he must bring me a glass of water. I have no idea where that concept came from. For my husband it meant that he wasn’t allowed to complain when the washing wasn’t done and he was out of underwear. There is very little empathy in my house. 

My Three Aspies have a Manny, (male nanny) James, who also has Aspergers Syndrome. James has been taught in many scenarios what are not only appropriate responses but empathetic ones too. I saw a ray of hope when I told him I injured my back and his response was “Oh no, that’s no good, I hope it feels better soon.” Kudos to his Mum, she has taught him well, and inspired me. I enjoyed a few moments of sympathy; then did the laundry.


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In May of last year our 17 year old pet cat Ripley died. Ripley had been with us for a long time and was very dear to us. My husband and I found her outside when she hadn’t appeared for breakfast. We where devastated. After some time I managed to compose myself and went in to tell the boys. Casey’s response was immediate, and he started reciting phrases that he felt were appropriate, although somewhat theatrical, and crying. Archie looked to Casey for his response and copied him. Bailey was playing a game on the Xbox so decided to build a robot car and call it Ripley. And get me a glass of water.

Bailey’s complete lack of emotional response was interesting. A friend of mine whose son has aspergers told me a story of her son’s reaction when his Grandmother died. He put his arm around her and said, “I see you are crying, I’m sorry I can’t cry with you.” Other children with aspergers dealing with loss have been noted as asking, “Why is it raining in your eyes?” or not responding at all for fear of saying the wrong thing.

I am yet to find a book that explains every life scenario that can be added to my boy’s encyclopedia of facts. Social skill classes and books about Aspergers Syndrome, aimed at their ages, do help. Learning to use their words in tactful well-crafted ways, as opposed to shooting random arrows of thoughts, will help them in the long run. Teaching those skills to My Three Aspies is a never-ending task. Thankfully most of our friends, and their friends, understand them enough to know that.


Our new author Hilary Craig!

Small Steps, Big Differences A Toolkit for Parents of Children Who Fall through the Cracks By Hilary Craig

Small Steps, Big Differences
A Toolkit for Parents of Children Who Fall through the Cracks
By Hilary Craig

 

Have a look at what some readers have had to say about the book!

 

By Rhonda C. Scott on April 10, 2014

Never again will you consider your child to have a learning disability but a learning difference. This lovely author devotes time and energy into the education process and highlights what every parent and educator needs to know. A must have!

 

By fabiana cavalcanti on April 7, 2014

This is a must have book for anybody who wants to go beyond the traditional methods of teaching!
It is a very good tool to assist mothers and teachers on the great journey of education! I congratulate the
Author for teaching the readers so many fun and easy activities with very simple instruction!

 

 The book is available for a special pre-order price & free shipping click here.