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The Horse Course

file000978822164 (4)I cannot rave highly enough about this course, which our son was lucky enough to gain a place on via a social services referral.The course involves working with the horses to gain their trust, and understanding and empathising with them to enable them to do certain movements and tackle obstacles. The website explains all this much better than I am doing. http://www.thehorsecourse.org It is designed to help children and adults with additional needs such as ASD and has had a hugely beneficial effect on those who take part.

Watching my child working with these beautiful animals in a very calm environment was a wonderful thing. He had not worked with horses before, but quickly learned to interpret their body language and respond appropriately. He gained hugely in confidence in the week, and gained empathy and  better understanding of how others display emotion, and how to respond to this. His self-regulation improved, along with his focus and posture.

He also gained a certificate in horsemanship, for which he had to be videoed and tested. He took this totally in his stride, whereas normally any reference to tests would have had him tearful and refusing to take part.

A huge thank you again to those who work at the project, which I believe is now rolling out to other parts of the country.

 

 

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30 Days Wild!

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Can’t believe it’s nearly the end of 30 Days Wild!

We have been following the Wildlife Trusts 30 Days Wild Campaign, and despite the seemingly never ending rain this month have managed to pack in a great range of activities and had a lot of fun along the way. It’s not too late to join in, or  why not extend the challenge into July?!

As well as bike rides and bird spotting, we have done archery, fishing, and been learning how to strim, and mow the lawn – can’t recommend this one highly enough! We also dog sat for a day and did some new doggie walks!

What Random Acts of Wildness have you been up to/ want to try? #Stay Wild

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Help my special needs child wont read!

Spring - Autumn 2012 312This was us, head in hands, for many many many years! Not only that, but books given as presents remained unopened, rudely rejected, and school reading was a constant battle.

But not anymore. Why not? Because we have finally cottoned onto the fact that non fiction of a certain genre is irresistable to our son. What is it, I hear you shout. Once again I feel I should stick my head in my hands, but no, my child is reading happily and prepared to do the unthinkable, “silent reading”. My friends, our son, along with many of your children out there, loves MINECRAFT. In fact love is not a strong enough word! My sister in law sent the Diary of a Minecraft Zombie for Xmas and when it was eventually opened there was less of the usual hoo- ha.

Presented with it in reading time our son started tentatively, but was soon laughing… yes laughing, and pointing out all the funny, and even ironic bits! Instead of being flawed by difficult words he takes them in his stride, and I have to ask him to stop and bookmark at the end of reading time.

Needless to say I have developed strong feelings of affection for the author, even though we have never met. We are now on Book 6 in the series of many, and long may they continue!

I do not tell you this to promote Minecraft or Minecraft books, and I do realise that they are not on any syllabus, (yet!), or necessarily in the same league as Shakespeare or Michael Morpurgo. However, I do strongly recommend  finding books that are connected to your childs special interests if you too have a reluctant reader.

Miracles do happen. I have seen one!

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Burnt out parents!

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I had it all planned out. An extended Easter break. We were all very tired and needed to re-charge our batteries. We had a week in Cornwall, a week with family and last week my son was on the Horse Course (more of this fab scheme later). We had plenty of sunshine, too much chocolate, caught up with friends, and relaxed?….well no, not really. Continue reading

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My home school kid is anxious.

file0001682378985My home school kid is an anxious one. When we started home schooling him, his anxiety decreased on a daily basis, by keeping to timetable and a clear structure, with plenty of breaks for processing and snacks!! He has also been hugely helped by taking well regulated medication.

However, it doesn’t take much for that anxiety to ramp up again, and sometimes spill over into angry rages. A few too many changes in a day, or a trip to the GP or hospital will definitely do it.

He has had a lot of support from Camhs, but nothing that has been very effective. Here are my top 3 strategies that have worked, and that you can incorporate into your home school day: Continue reading

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Do home schooled kids miss out on socialisation?

Books on the shelf at local library.

This was probably our biggest concern when we took our child out school, and the one raised the loudest by our nay sayers!

But you know what I say now? WRONG! RUBBISH! AND ACTUALLY VERY WRONG!

Because our child was so tired before, during and after school, due to the stress of managing at school and holding it together, he really was not able to socialise much at all beyond school, except a little at weekends. Sound familiar? There was also the hair tearing out, and screaming pressure of trying to insert homework into his precious evenings. Continue reading