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All posts for the month October, 2012

David Cameron’s “Rehab Revolution” – #Politics

Published October 23, 2012 by mandzmagee

After sitting watching the news tonight I seen an article about how David Cameron wants high risk prisoners to be given support and education to help them turn their lives around.  He claims that this will be a “Tough but intelligent” approach to make the prison system work, help offenders stop re-offending.

It’s clear to everyone that the prison system is not working and something does need to be done to tackle our over populated prisons.  Is the answer not in the sentencing that is being administered instead of education I wonder though.

For the law abiding citizens of the United Kingdom who are living through this recession that the country is in very few can afford to go into education to better their job prospects.  For that matter there’s very few that can get a job to pay for further education at the same time.  In my opinion the education is being offered to the wrong area of the community entirely.

Mr Cameron went on to say “”We’ll never create a safer society unless we give people, especially young people, opportunities and chances away from crime.”.  Yes Mr Cameron this is entirely true – however taking away the front line youth work in the areas where these young people grow up isn’t exactly giving them the opportunities to be educated and kept away from crime before they’ve even considered committing any is it?

I feel that his targets need to be shifted firstly by making prison seem more of a threat, don’t sit these prisoners down to give them education, get them doing the jobs of maintaining the prison gaining work experience and references to say that they’re willing workers and get sentences to be recognised as something to be feared.

Secondly if the young people are who you want to be educating and helping in the communities, educate them before they’re given the chance to offend, get better youth work provisions put into place especially in areas of deprivation, this will get the young people off the streets where they can be tempted into crime for something to do and give empower them that they can commit themselves to something worthwhile in their life.

It’s important for young people to realise what they’re capable of and what they are able to achieve at a young age, instead of having a label that they get judged over after spending time in a prison in my opinion.

Progress Charts – #Autism

Published October 21, 2012 by mandzmagee

We’ve used progress charts and behaviour charts for years now, for everything from pointing out inappropriate behaviour to toileting, I’ve found a great website today giving out “Free Potty Training Charts” with a range of characters for to suit to your child, as I find more websites that are relevant I’ll keep posting them up!

 

Behaviour Charts

http://www.supernanny.co.uk/Advice/-/Parenting-Skills/The-Reward-Chart.aspx (I particularly liked the place matt reward charts for eating times!!)

http://www.netmums.com/activities/pictures-to-print/reward-charts-to-print-and-colour-in

 

Toilet Training
http://www.pottytrainingconcepts.com/CTGY/FREE-Potty-Training-Charts.html (There’s reward certificates on there too!)

http://www.kidpointz.com/printable-charts/potty-training-charts/

#PECS and how they’ve helped Theo – #Autism

Published October 19, 2012 by mandzmagee

From an early age we’ve had to incorporate PECS (Picture Exchange Communication System) into his life which on a day to day basis he’s still using now – At home he doesn’t really need them unless his routine is changing however at school they’ve a picture for everything!

In the beginning when we started using PECS with Speech and Language support, we kept it simple to introduce the cards to him, if we were going to the park we’d show him the park card, if he was going for a bath we’d show him the bath card so on n so forth.  Trying to get him to focus on the cards to start with was a bit of a nightmare but he clicked that if he showed me the card of what he wanted to do he was rewarded with the task that the card showed (the park card was deffo his favourite!).

Once we’d got to grips with using cards for EVERYTHING we started using it to schedule his time.  We got a laminated card and stuck velcro down the middle, Laminated all the PECS cards and stuck velcro to the back of them also.  This way the reward for Theo was taking each picture card off with the completion of the task and it showed that he was finished with that part of the day!

In this picture we’ve got “Bath”, Pajamas” and “Bed”, this was organising his bedtime routine!  He knew that he wasn’t getting TV before bed, so he wasn’t expecting it!

When Theo had gotten used to using the cards as a routine guide we started giving him the option of two cards for a task that he’d like to do.  He’d get the option of “Toys” or “Books” or “TV”.  Theo loved this because he knew when he’d done something that we wanted him to do he was getting rewarded with a task he’d chose!

The only problem that we came across with the cards was that when he was going through his colour obsession if the card didn’t match the colour of the object he’d refuse to take part or it’d cause a meltdown!  Say the packet of crisps for snack time on the card was green and I was handing him a red packet – he’d refuse, scream, throw them away etc.  However I found the way to get round that was to print the picture out in either an outline or a grey scale picture!  Problem solved – Thankfully!

I’ve found a couple of sites online that do free cards/samples which I’ve listed below, before spending a fortune on software that you can print out speak to your Speech and Language Therapist they’ve always supplied ours so we’ve never had to go to the expense! Also its always worth a google search!

 

http://visualaidsforlearning.com/

http://www.practicalautismresources.com/printables

Toilet Training A Toddler With Development Delays

Published October 19, 2012 by mandzmagee

My guest post for http://www.wrigglyrascals.com

I’d already been through the whole toilet training process with Theo’s older brother Alisdair four years before hand, which had been an experience to say the least! This time round I was absolutely terrified of toilet training as I’d only had Theo diagnosed with Classic Childhood Autism when he was two and a half. I was still coming to terms with the ins and outs of the disorder and we were at least nine months to a year behind all the other toddlers at the Baby and Toddler Group that we went too.

Theo really wasn’t into social settings, to be honest neither was I with the Baby and Toddler Group. I was so jealous of all of these mothers bragging about how well their children were developing, the words they were beginning to put together but most of all how they’d managed to go several days without any accidents at night. The more I listened to them week after week the more the realisation was setting in with me that with Theo’s delayed progress he was yet again going to have his Autism completely standing out to other people and singling him out for people to be talking about him being so different.

To continue reading  http://www.wrigglyrascals.com/blog/2012/10/toilet-training-a-toddler-with-developmental-delays/

When you have read why don’t you take a couple of minutes to see if you can offer advice to help this Mum?  http://tiny.cc/wriggly149c

About Wriggly Rascals

Wriggly Rascals was set up by Shona Motherwell, a frustrated mum of twins Mhairi and Archie to get mums together to share pregnancy, baby and toddler advice via quick surveys to get the facts about what other mums do. Our mums pass on loads of great tips to mums who have asked for help. If you would like some advice, get in touch at http://www.wrigglyrascals.com

Theo’s Education #Autism

Published October 18, 2012 by mandzmagee

Before we moved to Washington Theo’s schooling was an absolute nightmare.  He was stuck in a mainstream school that had a Learning Centre that was for children with additional needs.  He had a one to one support worker called Mrs Herries, she was an angel with invisible wings!  He really took to her and stopped having anxiety attacks leaving me because he loved her company, she lifted such a massive weight off my shoulders it was unreal!  The head teacher of the Learning Centre however was her absolute opposite, I call her “The Battle Axe”, (I called her it to her face so I’m not being two faced!).  This woman wouldn’t accept help from Speech and Language Therapists, Occupational Therapists, Sleep Therapists, no one and nothing was up to her extended knowledge of children who were needing additional support.  Her idea of a school day was for Theo and his angel to go walks as soon as he showed signs of being stressed – normally this was spending five minutes in her company!).

The Battle Axe told me nothing other than “Theo will never do this”, “Theo will never accomplish that”, negative, negative, negative! The best line she ever came out with was “Miss Magee is such an incompetent mother, it’s the lack of parenting skills that has stunted his development.”, I couldn’t speak to her at the time, I couldn’t trust myself not to bite her head off and stick it where the sun didn’t shine!

He was only there for two years, then Stuart and I decided that we were moving to Washington, it was killing him being away from his son for as long after being used to seeing him every day.  When we made our decision that we were going to move my eyes were opened up to see what a different educational life Theo was going to have.

After we’d found a house and got all the moving dates sorted out we had a meeting education for both Ali and Theo was next on the agenda.  Alisdair was going up into secondary school – massive step for him that was coming several months early with the difference in the education systems in Scotland and England.  Alisdair was a bit nervous about it – he knew he wasn’t up to the same levels of learning because he was basically missing a year out.  He coped with the move fantastically though, the support that they were giving him for his Dyslexia was amazing in comparison with Scotland!

Theo on the other hand was going to be starting a specialist school for children on the Autistic Spectrum.  I met with the Head Teacher and his Class before he started and I was absolutely amazed at the school.  The head was very proud to tell me that the school was one of the top five in the country, I completely understood her pride!  I went onto be introduced to the Speech and Language Therapist and Occupational Therapist who were based at the school.  I had to double check that I’d heard that right and it was true, they were infact based at the school!  We’d only received a letter from SALT at the beginning of the school year to say that Theo was on a waiting list for SALT in Dumfries as he wasn’t a priority.  To actually have this support on site, every day he was at school, absolutely amazed me!

Theo’s class was fantastic, there was him and seven other children in his class.  One teacher and three – yes three learning assistants!  Each one of them were amazing, not one of them questioned Theo’s Autism, they were all filling in his home to school diary with all the positive things that he’d achieved, what they were going to be trying to do with him next, I genuinely couldn’t believe there wasn’t a system put into place like this in Dumfries with the amount of ASD children there is there!

The activities that the school were involved with amazed me too, horse riding every week, swimming every other term, football coaching from the professional coaches and players at Sunderland Athletic Football Club, just to name a few!!

Over the past three years both Theo and the school has completely blew me away.  Nothing is ever negative, I never hear what he wont achieve, I never hear what he’ll never be able to do.  If there is something that is becoming an issue the school consults with me then we as a team put a strategy together for to try and help him.

Today I received his school review and it’s been very tear jerking to read!  He’s made phenomenal progress, when I sit and compare the difference between the two schools where there’s only just over 100 miles between them it astounds me the differences.  Even the differences in him, he is now a much more confident little boy, has learned self calming techniques so he’s able to participate so much in other things that before were just never possible!  He’s truly amazed me and does so every day!

#ThankYouSoldier

Published October 15, 2012 by mandzmagee

I’ve come across a fantastic website run by volunteers which passes on messages and support to Great Britain’s armed forces who are serving throughout the world.

I think this is a fantastic idea, two minutes of our time can boost the confidence and morale of someone thousands of miles away that’s serving on the front line! We’ll never be able to imagine the losses that they’ve suffered, the sights that they’ve had to endure, the loneliness of being away from loved ones. Some of the guys n gals won’t even have loved ones that can write to them so you can imagine how much of a boost that message/mail would be to them!

Have a look at the site and either drop them a message or an email – make the day of someone who’s keeping Great Britain great!

http://www.thankyousoldier.co.uk/messages.php

https://twitter.com/thankusoldier

#WaveOfLight – 15th October 2012, 7pm GMT

Published October 15, 2012 by mandzmagee

The candles I lit at 7pm GMT

It’s important to keep this wave of light going for the strength and support that families need – Keep the light burning!  For more information see http://www.october15th.com/

I burn mine in remembrance of my daughter Faith Magee born 06:16, 3rd September 2007 – 18:16, 30th October 2007.

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