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An Unconventional Christmas List

‘Ohh Christmas is coming,  have the children written their lists yet? Any ideas for them?’

Well, yes absolutely well meaning  family member yes,  2 out of 3 yes. No problem. 

Dylan however is always the stumbling block with ideas for gifts. Be it on his summer birthday or in the colder Christmas months none of the seasons lend a hand to solving the mystery of a suitable gift for this growing young lad. 

What can I suggest to these well wishing relatives? Well here it is. 

Dylans true interests/gift ideas for 2016

1- A really hard pumped leather football and to be allowed to continually boot it at next doors fence. Nowhere else, just the forbidden fragile fence put up by the best neighbours in the world.


2- DVDs – favourites include Bob the Builder,  Postman Pat, Thomas the Tank engine. Maybe a little Sponge bob Square pants when feeling mature. These need to be on a loop. For days.

3- A covering. Like a duvet but that you can move about in without smashing stuff up either side of you when wearing it on his head around the house. Like a heavy blanket meets hoodie that is acceptable for wearing out of doors. Not because Dylan gives a toss about what he looks like out doors but because Dad and I could do without the constant questions from strangers about why our large son is hiding under layers or brought his duvet to the shops. 

4- A neverending pump of full fat, full sugar Coke. He loves the stuff to excess. We’re working on reducing his consumption but to hell with it; this is Dylans list and this is what he would like! Failing that. Same idea but with hot chocolate 🙂


5- A ping pong (tabletennis) table. A newly discovered skill of Dylans. He will bat around with a partner for over half and hour calm and requesting more. Sadly we don’t have the room but held love one!

6- A selection of hoovers and floor cleaners. Not to use but to hold and look at the manufacturers stickers and logos from a variety of angles. 

Whenever we visit an appliance shop or the supermarket it’s always a real treat for Dylan to be able to look at the hoovers. I often get them off the shelves for him and hold the bottoms up so that he can have a good look at the sticker and model number. Maybe I could make a book of photos of the stickers for him but I don’t think he’ll get the same feels from a book as he does from the real life objects.
7- Shampoo. Dylan loves to wash his hair and will lather up over and over again often using a whole bottle for one bath. He would love to have his own stock so that he could use it all without me policing that there’s enough left for the rest of the family.

So that’s about it. I’m sure if we circulated this list to our nearest and dearest they would do their absolute best to provide Dylan with all of his desires. 

But attempting to seek out hooded heavy yet lightweight blankets and a vessel for never ending Coke would be such a headache and lets be honest, no one needs a headache this close to Christmas!

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Making purchases: week 2

​Week 2 – making purchases.
Today I got to see this in real time.
It’s a long video but an eventful one. 
To summarise.  Dylan joined the queue,  you can see him distracted by the sound of a crying baby within the shopping centre. It’s a sound in the distance at first but you can see Dylan squirming and although he remembers to look forward to concentrate on the movement of the queue he keeps looking out to see the source of the noise. 
At 00.42 Dylan leaves the queue to come to our table,  his increasing anxiety is palpable but we gently encourage him back to the queue. Maybe he should have his ear defenders with him but they are such a barrier to others communicating with him we tend to leave them off on these occasions (despite the fact he can seem to hear fine with them on!) 
At 02.38 off canera Dad and I gesture to Dylan to move forward in the queue as a member of the public walks straight into the gap between Dylan and the person in front of him,  she genuinely missed seeing that he was waiting. Dad and I are continually throwing Dylan positive support of thumbs up and big smiles to reassure.  
The situation intensifies on the arrival of two gorgeous but slightly tired/ hungry toddlers in  a double pushchair. At this point Dad and I are considering pulling Dylan out of the queue. Dylan has always  been anxious around smaller people. It’s the noise and unpredictability which rattles him. He begins to hold his ears in anticipation of the noise as the children grizzle and babble next to him.
By this point Dylan is aready being served so he ploughs on. This time he orders cake and a milkshake; he hasn’t made a double order before and these are totally new items that are open for interpretation.  

He might be asked about drink size or number of cakes. 

Additional items we haven’t planned or prepared for. 

To sit from a distance and watch it pan out is nail-biting. 
By now Dylan has been queuing/ordering for over 7 minutes. The waitress has got his cake but missed that there was a second item on the request. She speaks to Dylan using a beautiful range of gestures, positive reinforcement and gentle suggestions for a drink.  Dylan agrees to hot chocolate. 

Dylans seen this waitress a couple of times and she knows he doesn’t want marshmallows but offers them anyway giving him an opportunity to communicate this to her. Despite the strain on Dylan to function within the increasingly stressful environment he holds it together and communicates with her beautifully. 
There’s an element at the end of the video when it gets too much and Dylan gently removes himself and comes to the table for a bit of a breather.  

Self initiated. 

No meltdown. 

No pushing or running. 
It’s too much but he knows he can come away for a bit.
After this at the end of the video Dylan returns to the counter to get his tray and I rush over to assist him. Dad and I have visions of there being a child shriek or a clatter of plates to startle  Dylan and he’ll drop his tray of hot drink in an effort to cover his ears. Tray safely transported to table and Dylan’s as pleased as punch.
He’s done so well and it’s still early days.
So so proud 🙂

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Week 2: 29th Nov- making purchases.

Today I got to see this in real time.
It’s a long video but for Dylan its an eventful one.
To summarise. Dylan joined the queue, you can see him distracted by the sound of a crying baby within the shopping centre. It’s a sound in the distance at first but you can see Dylan squirming and although he remembers to look forward to concentrate on the movement of the queue he keeps looking out to see the source of the noise.
At 00.42 Dylan leaves the queue to come to our table, his increasing anxiety is palpable but we gently encourage him back to the queue. Maybe he should have his ear defenders with him but they are such a barrier to others communicating with him we tend to leave them off on these occasions (despite the fact he can seem to hear fine with them on!)
At 02.38 off camera Dad and I gesture to Dylan to move forward in the queue as a member of the public walks straight into the gap between Dylan and the person in front of him, she genuinely missed seeing that he was waiting. Dad and I are continually throwing Dylan positive support of thumbs up and big smiles to reassure.
The situation intensifies on the arrival of two gorgeous but slightly tired/ hungry toddlers in a double pushchair. At this point Dad and I are considering pulling Dylan out of the queue. Dylan has always been anxious around smaller people. It’s the noise and unpredictability which rattles him. He begins to hold his ears in anticipation of the noise as the children grizzle and babble next to him.
By this point Dylan is already being served so he ploughs on. This time he orders cake and a milkshake; he hasn’t made a double order before and these are totally new items that are open for interpretation.
He might be asked about drink size or number of cakes.
Additional items we haven’t planned or prepared for.
To sit from a distance and watch it pan out is nail-biting.
By now Dylan has been queuing/ordering for over 7 minutes. The waitress has got his cake but missed that there was a second item on the request. She speaks to Dylan using a beautiful range of gestures, positive reinforcement and gentle suggestions for a drink. Dylan agrees to hot chocolate.
Dylan’s seen this waitress a couple of times and she knows he doesn’t want marshmallows but offers them anyway giving him an opportunity to communicate this to her. Despite the strain on Dylan to function within the increasingly stressful environment he holds it together and communicates with her beautifully.
There’s an element at the end of the video when it gets too much and Dylan gently removes himself and comes to the table for a bit of a breather.
Self initiated.
No meltdown.
No pushing or running.
It’s too much but he knows he can come away for a bit.
After this at the end of the video Dylan returns to the counter to get his tray and I rush over to assist him. Dad and I have visions of there being a child shriek or a clatter of plates to startle Dylan and he’ll drop his tray of hot drink in an effort to cover his ears. Tray safely transported to table and Dylan’s as pleased as punch.
He’s done so well and it’s still early days.
So so proud 🙂
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Week 2- 22nd November

Independent purchases.
A long wait in line today. Dylan is visibly becoming overwhelmed with the noise, with the waiting, people either side of him and the anticipation of having a treat.
When over stimulated Dylan will screech and giggle. Although appearing happy externally this often is Dylan’s way of internally overriding the sensory stimulus.
Favourite bit is at 00.36 when if you listen really hard over the noise of the coffee machines a waitress can be heard calling out ‘Hi Dylan’
They know his name and are calling out to greet him. Inclusion at its best 🙂
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Week 2 – 23rd November

Independent purchases
This week has been less nerve-wracking. The staff at the cafe have become more used to Dylan and so Dad and he took advantage of the lack of queue to take time to work through the full routine including the ‘thankyou!’
Prompting is still used to a high level but the anxiety levels for Dylan l are reducing. The prompts will be faded out over time.
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Independent Purchases – Week 1

The independent work has peaked this week. For four days Dad has taken Dylan out to practice his taught skills of waiting, requesting and paying for items.

Although making great strides and clearly enjoying the buying of fizzy drinks everyday (Dylans biggest motivator) there is a definite need for further teaching in regards to keeping up with moving queues, to stand still to avoid knocking into people accidentally and remembering to put his money/card away after purchase.

Dad is taking videos of Dylans progress daily and sending them to me while at work so I don’t miss anything.
I look forward to my daily updates which, due to the large volume of video, are shared here on the Facebook page: with a hop, skip and a jump.

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Day 4: independent purchases -buying hot chocolate.

Today Dylan went for a hot drink. The queue was longer but Dylan wanted to go ahead and try. He needed a lot of gestures to prompt him keeping up with the moving queue and to remain focused on paying and listening out for the staff to speak to him. He frequently seeks Dad out for reassurance and I really think that the social story could give him the confidence boost with knowing what the next move is so he can plan his interaction.
Last part of the video Dylan needed Dad to intervene; the staff put marshmallows on his hot chocolate which Dylan didn’t want so he kept pushing the cup back to her and wouldn’t take it to sit down. We have now put marshmallows on the iPad so that Dylan can say for himself if he doesn’t want them in the future.
Once Dad explained that Dylan doesn’t like marshmallows the staff kindly apologised and gave him a fresh drink. Dylan handled the situation well and waved bye to the staff on leaving.