Saturday, January 30, 2010


Been a while since I updated this blog... Wish I can blog more often but there're just too much work.. I don't even have time for my dear boy!! I sometimes wish I can resign or take long term leave but that prospect seems pretty impossible at this point of time... Sigh..

Anyway, with what little time we have, I try my best to use it to the fullest... And one thing for sure, I always try to read a story book with him just before he goes to sleep. And his fav story book for now is entitled 'Gallop'.. He simply loves reading this book... Or rather, he loves it when I read it to him :)

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Little Success = Big Joy

While it is pretty easy to teach Rayyan numbers and alphabets, teaching him self-help skills require lots of PATIENCE and I must admit that we don't have that at times, preferring to help him and do it for him. Then we will remind ourselves to give him time, be patient and let him do it on his own. Teaching him one simple skill may take weeks and even months.

But once he succeeds, it gives us so much joy and satisfaction. It teaches us to appreciate the little things in life.

For example, we have been teaching Rayyan to take off his own shoes. Removing the strap is easy for him but to lift his legs and remove his shoes, take some time for him to master. So we have to take his hand and guide him again and again.

And finally yesterday, he did it all by himself!!! Yay!!!! Just by taking off your shoes on your own, you have made Mummy and Daddy so happy and proud!! =D

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Let's Learn & Play!!

I finally managed to resume my lesson/therapy sessions with Rayyan yesterday. Work is still piling up and my house is in a total mess (I have been 'maidless' for weeks). But I told myself yesterday that no matter how busy I am, I must put aside time to conduct my sessions with him. This is totally crucial. I don't want him to regress and lose all the skills that he has acquired.

Anyway, he had his 'off' moments as usual during the session but managed to follow through most of the tasks. And as usual, he loves to do counting and matching. He is really good at that. Even his therapist said that when it comes to learning, he has no problems at all. But he needs lots of coaching and encouragement when it comes to play skills and self-help skills.

We also need to work on his 'joint attention'. Through his therapist and the course that I attended at Pathlight School, I learnt that 'joint attention' refers to him being connected to the people around him. That means he pays attention to what others are saying, he looks at others to check on how to react to certain things and learn how to behave by copying others. In other words, it will be a collective experience between him and the people around him, where everybody enjoys the same thing. If he doesn't have 'joint attention', he doesn't know what is going on around him, he is disconnected with his surroundings, he doesn't pay attention to what's important and this will affect his learning and relationship with others. People with autism usually lack this skill and Rayyan is not excluded. We really have to work on this by getting him engaged as much as we can.

Anyway, here is a video of him doing counting. Actually, I only had to teach him once and he got the idea on how to go about doing this counting game. This was taken about two weeks ago. My sessions are usually an infusion of ABA and FUN! I am still learning on how to make my sessions more effective by studying and applying various techniques but I will usually sing and do different actions because Rayyan likes that. I don't want my sessions to be too rigid and put him off! I want to encourage him to love learning.

Thursday, January 14, 2010


I am actually at my laptop now finishing some school stuffs but decided to take a break by surfing around a bit. Just went to the ARC website to check out the available courses for parents/caregivers. There are a few interesting and useful courses that I want to sign up for...

I think the centre is doing a good job offering these courses to parents/caregivers so that people like myself can expand our knowledge on autism and try different ways to help our kids. I was at Pathlight School for the first time last week to attend a course. Fell in love with the school the moment I stepped on the school premises. I have volunteered at APSN (Association for Persons with Special Needs) before and I have always noticed that the special needs schools in Singapore are usually placed at old school premises. Sadly, these schools also lack proper equipment, resources and manpower.

Which was why I was pleasantly surprised when I saw Pathlight School. It was pretty big with state-of-the-art facilities. Love the canteen. It looked like Starbucks with a pond at one side and there's even a DJ console at the other side!!! Cool! I have always hoped that Rayyan will go to a mainstream school but if for some reasons he can't, well, I don't mind if he studies in this kind of environment.

Anyway, I was there to attend a course entitled 'Fundamentals of Autism'. Although I already knew most of the stuffs presented, I learnt some new stuffs and it was good that many real-life examples were given during the course. An important takeaway from the course is that having autism is NOT BAD, NOT CRAZY, NOT CONTAGIOUS. Autistic people are NOT DUMB. They are just DIFFERENT. But they are also SIMILAR to us in many ways. They have feelings too and want to be accepted in society for who they are. Indeed, the course has taught me to understand my boy better and accept him for what he is. Autistic people think differently, behave differently. That is just who they are.

Another interesting fact that I found out was that..... among normal people, 1% are geniuses but among autistic people, 10% are geniuses! That is not entirely strange considering the fact that they are so intent and focused whenever they do something. Well, it was heart-warming to see autistic people being placed in a positive light. It was heart-warming to see that they are indeed a talented bunch of people. It was heart-warming to see that they can learn to be independent and lead meaningful lives.

I have never asked for an autistic child. I did ask for a healthy, normal child when I was pregnant though. But that is life. It is unpredictable. It is full of surprises. God has bestowed upon me a special child. And I love this child with all my heart :)

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Staying Optimistic

It has been a super hectic 2010 so far!!! I am so exhausted and will knock out latest by 10 every night!! And I am usually awake by 4 or 5 every morning!! And it is not only physically draining but emotionally exhausting too. Mum was hospitalised the whole of last week. Cried almost every night thinking of her... I really hope she will pull through... I hope God will give her the determination, courage and strength to face the challenges ahead of her...

And with all the commotion, not to mention the mounting work in school and the endless meetings, Rayyan was pretty much 'abandoned'. I feel so guilty but there's nothing much I can do. And due to the constraints that we are facing, we have to stop his ABA therapy sessions for now. I am stuck at work and there's nobody to accompany him for his therapy sessions at home.

We are trying to iron things out. Hopefully things will be settled soon. Meanwhile, I am trying very hard to stay optimistic and strong...

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Alvin and the Chipmunks

On New Year's Day, we brought Rayyan to the cinema to watch his first movie ever! I wanted him to go through the experience and I also wanted to see how he reacts to movies. The chipmunks seemed like a pretty good movie and since he loves animals, we were really hoping that he will enjoy it and not suffer from a meltdown.

We were actually one hour late for the movie because we had to settle a couple of things and we had to wait quite a bit for a parking space. So we sneaked into the cinema and Rayyan sat on Hubby's lap. At first, he seemed pretty confused by the dark cinema, the large screen and the large audience but didn't make a fuss. He just sat quietly, eyes roaming around once in a while. I gave him some nuts to keep him occupied and realised that it was a bad move because he couldn't stop eating! Once he finished one, he will point and ask for another! I resorted to breaking the nuts into very small pieces!

But well, the good thing is, he was quiet... watching and eating at the same time. Although he seemed to be enjoying the nuts more than the movie, I would say that it was a pretty positive experience. Mmmmm.... What shall we watch next???

Saturday, January 2, 2010


Let me begin this post by wishing everybody a Happy New Year!! May you have a wonderful year ahead of that brings abundance happiness & love... I want to start the new year on the right foot. Like I mentioned earlier, I want to be more positive this year. I have crafted out my resolutions last night and there are nine of them. Quite a handful eh?! I shall not go into details but basically, I want to be a better individual, better mother, better wife and a better teacher.... It has been a while since I made an effort to craft out my resolutions because they are usually the same each year!!! The resolutions are somewhat different this year and I really hope I can be disciplined and work towards those resolutions. Wish me luck!

Anyway, I want to feature one of Rayyan's strengths in this post and feature others along the way. Ok, I must say that my boy is pretty IT savvy. When I first purchased my iPhone more than a year ago, I downloaded applications to keep him entertained like nursery rhymes and simple games and realised that he really enjoyed them. He enjoyed hearing the songs and he enjoyed watching me play the simple, entertaining games like popping bubbles. After a while, I let him try and he was happily popping the bubbles on his own. Then I realised that there were many interesting and educational applications for babies and toddlers and downloaded many applications for him. For your info, most of my applications in my iPhone are for him, not me! There are interesting flashcards, spelling games, matching games, learning alphabets and numbers, doodling applications and many, many more. I taught him how to play and how to get his way around the iPhone. When he was 2.5 years old, he already knew how to flip flashcards using the phone, play simple games and get his way around. Now, he is a pro!!

When he went for his SPD assessment last month, I still remember how the teacher, therapist and social worker were amazed when they saw him manoeuvre the iPhone. They went like, "Waaaaahhh... He is more skilled that I am!! I don't even know how to do that!"... And that was only starting the phone and sliding the screen to get from one application to another, a skill that he acquired many, many months ago. Ok, maybe these people do not own an iPhone but really, if you see Rayyan with an iPhone you would say that he's got STYLE... many people have said so.. :)

Now, he knows how to go to the photo gallery to view the photos, he knows how to go to the video gallery and start and stop the videos, he knows how to play most of the educational games, very well indeed. In fact, he is exploring all the time that sometimes, I don't even know that certain things can be done until I saw him doing it! He is so good that my sis bought him an iPod touch for his birthday. So he is the proud owner of an iPod touch now. But I am afraid that the games are beginning to wear off on him and he is finding them too easy or boring. I must find more interesting educational games for him!

Also, I want to add that through my iPhone, we found out about his learning abilities! Well, he doesn't talk so we don't know what he knows and we don't know if the things we taught him so far got into him but when he was about 2years and 6months, we chanced upon him playing this game where he actually had to identify alphabets and numbers. For example, there is a voice command which says, "Touch the number five." There will be a few numbers shown on the screen and the correct number has to be identified. Well, I was watching him and suddenly realised that he got everything right. And it wasn't just numbers 1-10 but the alphabets too. I then took his number (1-10) and alphabet flashcards and asked him to identify the number and alphabets. He got everything right!! I found out that numbers 1-10 are no problem for him and as for alphabets, he did get confused when you put together 'g' and 'j', 'm' and 'n' but he basically knew the others very well. And since when he knew, we don't know! But we were sure glad we found out! I still remember that before we found out that about this, I was feeling totally depressed and helpless.. He wasn't talking, wasn't responding and was in his own world most of the time. But when I saw him playing that game, I just felt a ray of hope shining down on us. Thank u iPhone!! Thank u God!!

Here are two videos of him manoeuvring the iPhone.. I didn't manage to catch him playing the 'touch the correct number and alphabet' game that I was talking about because he is bored of that now. I will try to persuade him because that is really the turning point for us!

So move over Bill Gates, here comes Muhd Rayyan!! ;)