Thursday, 27 January 2011

On the looking glass

C is 22. And only in recent years he has ‘allowed’ me to give him a quick kiss. On his forehead (if he’s in the mood to bend down) or on his nose with my finger. His terms of course – but I don’t mind. And he has never given me a kiss.
Something is shifting in C’s development. I can’t quite put my finger on it yet. It’s always at C’s pace, you can’t push him or even encourage too much him (but maybe with II we will be able to?) as he will retreat and shut down. So you introduce him to something, leave it around – maybe the same day – the next day – a month – a year – never – sometimes he does something that blows me away. Today was one of those days.

I’ve always had mirrors about the house (since getting over the stage when C used to smash everything!) – something Donna Williams said once stuck with me years ago when I read Nobody Nowhere.
6 months or so ago I noticed C looking in the long mirror in his room – a first. And over a few weeks I noticed him watching himself or the person in the mirror. And then big stimming in the mirror. C is very hyposensitive – constant motion. I joined him in the mirror and he thought it was hilarious! I put a second full length mirror in his room and he suddenly seemed to notice more of what was around him as he started tapping the walls and windows with his hands (something he does with his feet (exploring where the wall/floor starts/ends) – but never with his hands) to do with the vestibular system and where you are in space. It was if he is beginning to make sense of where he his – maybe who he is?? Or that - ‘he is’- (developing a sense of self?)

Yesterday I put a hand mirror in his room. Today I noticed it had moved. I picked it up and saw lip prints.

Yes I know he was poss just smelling it, tasting it. But my first thought with a tear welling in my eye was – he gave himself a kiss.

Wednesday, 19 January 2011

Inner self

I went on an Intensive interaction workshop
With Us in a bus

Intensive – yes

Interactive – yes


So basic, so fundamental, so obvious (when you know). Filled me with excitement. Very emotional. Hope it does the same for C.

And just as exciting, C’s service provider had listened to me and sent 4 staff on the same workshop. I could see the staff embrace it, they were also excited and motivated - empowered. We were all on the same page (hopefully improving communication between us too).

Staff left the workshop with a plan of action to start connecting with C straight away.

I want to let out an ear piercing, glass shattering, public scaring high pitched loud expression of pure unadulterated joy EEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE beat my chest and slap my back peppered with a few 3 foot high jumps from standing – as C does.

But I will have to wait till C is home so I can share his inner world with him, share C’s language, as I mirror him. Acknowledging and validating, confirming his existence, showing C I am listening, I respect and celebrate him.  This is in essence the building blocks of Intensive Interaction.

Giving C the confidence the self-esteem and motivation to explore communication further.

Giving staff confidence also.
Person centred planning at its ultimate. It’s as simple as that!

Thursday, 6 January 2011


"Chance Favours the Prepared Mind." Louis Pasteur

I recently went to a talk given by Dimensions who described transition from child to adult services similar to falling off a cliff. I would like to add when you reach the bottom there’s also an undercurrent as well which you can’t see and don’t expect.
I should have anticipated this in the light of the
I Exist NAS campaign. But I didn’t and I am struggling with what adult services have to offer from what I have seen so far for someone with C’s level of ability and challenges (no disrespect to staff as I know they are doing their best with the training they have)

C went to a specialist school. It was full on – he had access to many basic therapies, was a part of a thriving community and the curriculum was geared to him. Lots of access to different opportunities/experiences. He leaves school and we fall off the cliff. All the stress of various battles over the years - all that education and for what?

Or this is what it feels like to me. (And its not supposed to be about me. But after 16 months C is not as settled as i would like him to be)
I don’t get it. Why do the expectations change in the adult world? Why do old stereotypes ‘still’ exist? Why don't care homes seem to socially evolve? With all the new regs about dignity, equality, human rights acts etc etc why are many attitudes still so out of date?

Is this it for C?

The universe answered me in the form of an avalanche of emails from bloggers and Fb who had seen a promotional video clip (I had also seen it but am bowled over at the kindness and thought from people letting me know) in a Jessica Kingsley Publishers newsletter - Phoebe Caldwell about Intensive Interaction.

Something I had never heard of. But something I unknowingly do naturally with C. A good example is the post I wrote about C’s and my first clubbing experience. I have now read every book ever written on the subject and through googling I found a local organization that run workshops using Intensive Interaction! I went to one of their meetings for practitioners across the SE and sat there overwhelmed - stunned -  fighting back the tears listening to their stories that here were a group of people passionate about making a difference to 'pre-verbal' people’s lives.

At the same time as this was unfolding I was in talks with C’s service provider about – 'is this it for C'. And the service manager asked me what they could do – out of my handbag I produced an Intensive Interaction book. She had heard of it so I pushed my luck a bit further and produced an application form for a workshop.

They are sending 4 staff on the course. As you can imagine I am over the moon. I am also going on the course – and am really looking forward to ‘working together’ with staff and with C.

All this came about through blogging. Through chance. Something I will not leave C’s future too.
So thank you everyone. I will keep you posted how it goes.

A new year and I hope a new beginning.