Sunday, May 16, 2010


Like most ASD kids, Rayyan simply HATES going for a haircut. Maybe it's the sound of the shaver, maybe it's the shock of seeing strands of his hair being snipped off, maybe he doesn't like the hairdresser... I don't know the reason but each trip to the hair salon is a depressing one.. He will cry, scream and has to be held down by Daddy. He will then try his best to wriggle out of Daddy's grip. Once, he cried so bad, he vomited!

But we still have to make regular trips there because once his hair is long, he will keep on scratching his head. And it doesn't help that his hair is so thick and grows so fast!

But we are so happy that the past two haircut sessions had been really pleasant... The earlier one, in March, he whined and cried a bit, then he was quiet throughout the session. Daddy still had to sit with him though...

The latest one, two days ago, he sat by himself and didn't cry AT ALL!!! We were so proud of him! Three cheers for Rayyan!

Let's see if we can cover him with the plastic sheet for his next haircut session. He hates it but we will try. That will be our next haircut goal!

Good job, Rayyan!!

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Speech Therapy (ST)

Besides his sessions at AAS and PCS (under ICE Programme), I also signed Rayyan up for OT and ST at SPD. He used to go for EIPIC at SPD but since he was given a place at AAS, I had to withdraw him from SPD because he is only allowed to go for one EIPIC Programme at any one time.

Rayyan has OT and ST alternately which means that one week he will go for OT and the next ST and it goes on like that. I very much wanted to sign him up for weekly ST because he has OT in AAS too but due to limited slots, they can only offer ST once every two weeks. I wish that there is another centre which offers ST in the Tampines/Pasir Ris area as distance is a concern for us. I did check with the therapist at SPD earlier and she said that I can try Cerebral Palsy Centre at Pasir Ris. I will check with them but then again, I wonder if it will be better if he just sticks to one centre so as not to confuse him.....decisions...decisions..

Anyway, the session at SPD just now reminds me a lot of his past ST sessions. I remember that after Rayyan's very first appointment at KKH after I suspected that something was not right with his development, I was given a list of ST centres. I called almost all of them and most were like fully booked, too expensive or too far. We finally managed to get slots at Leo Magan and we only went for 3 or 4 sessions because the sessions there were totally fruitless. Rayyan cried for the whole sessions and sadly, the therapist didn't know how to handle him. I think that she was used to handling neurotypical children who has speech problems and didn't know how to handle an ASD child. It was totally traumatising for him and totally depressing for me that at one time, after his session, I just burst into tears when I got home. I felt totally drained, both physically and mentally... I was so, so worried for my boy..

Then came the ST sessions at CDU (under KKH) at Sengkang which were not very fruitful either because the therapist there was inexperienced and the slots were months apart! After that, Rayyan went for EIPIC at SPD and ST was incorporated as part of the programme. He enjoyed going to SPD and the teachers and therapists there doted on him. He was able to go through the OT and ST sessions there without crying and I felt so happy that he enjoyed his sessions at SPD.

Which was why I decided to continue with OT and ST there. Sadly, the therapists are different. He didn't get the therapists that he was used to but he's familiar with the place so that's not too bad. I wasn't around during his first OT session last week but I sent him for his first ST session there yesterday. The therapist who will be working with him is Lydia, a very young, bubbly, animated lady. Yes, I feel that speech therapists should be bubbly, animated, with a clear, loud voice. If not, how are they able to attract the attention of these kids?

Since it was his first session, I sat in with him. The thing is, I know that when I am around, Rayyan will be super excited and will usually not cooperate with the therapist but since we wanted him to get used to the new therapist and familiarise himself again with the place, I was with him throughout the session. There were too many distractions there... the animal posters, the cards on the table, the books... he was super excited and was running and jumping around. Also, the therapist was new and I was around, well, it was a 'triple whammy' I might say! The therapist only managed to get him to do a few tasks and then he was off running or jumping again.

Even so, I managed to tell the therapist his likes and dislikes and ways to get his attention. The therapist, in turn, taught me a few stuffs that I can do with him. These are the three that I must work on with him for now..

1) Rayyan has no problems labelling items (as in pointing to the correct items when asked) so we need to move on to 'functions' now. And the way to do that, I need to talk to him all the time. I need to give him the words. Whenever I am with him, I need to talk about the things that he is paying attention to... For example, if he is looking at an elephant, I will not just say that's an elephant but I will talk about the colour, the trunk, the size, what it can do, etc... Basically, I just have to talk a lot and fill his time with words... It doesn't matter if he doesn't respond, for all you know, he is listening all the time...

2) I must do a lot of 'modelling'... For example, if Rayyan gives me an item, requesting me to open it, I will encourage him to say the word 'open'.. If he refuses, what I can do is get another person to say the word 'open' and give the item to the person. That way, he will know that if he says the word, he gets the item.

3) Reward and praise him for any sound that he makes. If I want him to say something or if he tries to label something but it doesn't sound at all like how we say it, it doesn't matter, just reward and praise him for vocalising. This is to encourage him to vocalise more. We can work on correcting his pronunciation later.

There are others but I think I will focus on these three for now. And actually, I knew all these earlier but was too busy to follow through (guilty mode)..

So I will try my best to follow through now and I really, really hope my dear boy is on his way to saying his first word. You can do it, baby! I know you can!

Monday, May 10, 2010

Updates from Teacher Fadilah :)

Every week, Rayyan's teacher from AAS, Fadilah, will send me updates regarding Rayyan's progress there. Since I can't be there, I am very thankful to her for sending me constant updates via SMS and e-mail. She also gives me tips on how to teach Rayyan and improve on his behaviour. Thank u soooo much Fadilah! I am thankful that we have a cordial parent-teacher relationship even though Rayyan just started at AAS. He is lucky to have such a dedicated and patient teacher :)

Anyway, this is the latest update I just received from Fadilah. I decided to post it here so that I can keep track of his progress...

Teaching Time
Transiting to teaching time smooth. He know which location to go to when I gave him a card to match. (Ernie picture to Teaching Time). He knows the system well where he needs to do 3 tasks on the table before getting a toy to play.
I've also included your helper to take my place for 3 simple tasks to see if he could generalise with her as she had difficulty teaching him at home. I understand that he only wants you to teach him at home.
This is probably because he has learnt by association which most children with asd faces.
He associates that mummy plays this role and daddy or helper could not play the same role as her therefore generalising is very important. It would be great if you could include your husband or your helper during one of your teaching with Rayyan (not for the whole session but part of the task. eg. simple puzzle.)

Fadilah is right... he associates learning with me. I have asked Daddy and helper to take turns doing the teaching recently. Rayyan is fine with Daddy but didn't want to follow instructions given by my helper. We will work on this.

I asked your helper if you could bring fries for me to practice his PECs since he's requesting it at home. This is also for generalisation. Would also like if you could bring his PECs file to school too since it is his communication tool and it should be with him all the time.

I have not worked actively on his PECs yet. I need to read up more on this to make sure I am doing it right. He knows how to differentiate the pictures, pick them out and pass them to me but we have not gone to the 'sentence' stage yet.

Work Time
Work time is when the child independently does his tasks on his own independently. No adult should give any prompts to the child. The tasks given should be tasks that the child has learnt and can do on his own.(eg. puzzles/ shoebox tasks) Currently, Rayyan has been doing his worktime which is placed 3 steps away from his teaching time. The location cue which i used for worktime is a green star. Next week, I will move his work time location to the yellow table near the door.

I have not asked him to work independently yet. Not sure how to do this. Will need Fadilah's guidance on this.

Circle Time
Rayyan has been doing very well for circle time. No crying was heard and he was able to attend throughout the session. He even imitated the teacher when she did some songs with the children.

Yay!! Well done, Rayyan!

Snack Time
Transition to snack time from circle is smooth this week. He held my hands and went to the toilet together. Could you get a small snack bag for him to put in his snack and water bottle? Reason is for him to get his snack easily and independently.

Have been scouting around for a suitable snack bag. The teacher prefers a hand carry bag which is easy to handle. I found an easy-to-open and light backpack. Hope that's suitable. Will guide Rayyan in using the bag.

Learning Corner
He still flits here and there and play with the animals mostly. I noticed that he took a particular animal book and would bring it to the table and will jump ard and stim. I took the book away from him because I wanted him to read in the reading corner. He cried for a while then quickly ran off to the Rainbow corner to play with the animals. When he came back for the same book, i managed to make him sit down at the reading corner without crying. As he was reading, he heard his peers singing a happy birthday song at the Home corner. He stopped and went to look at what they were doing and went back to reading corner before clapping his hands.

Yup, I have the same problem! But good to hear that he is at least more aware of his surroundings..

Music Time
Transition was smooth from Banana to Music till we closed the Music door. He cried loudly just like how he cried the day before. I believed it was because of what had happened yesterday. He probably remembered he cried the day before and kept waving his hands. When I mentioned about the routine which i broke for him yesterday, i meant its the predictable routine that he knew. He knew after music, he'll see auntie and its time to go home. He's confused y teacher needs to bring him back to music time again. previously, this happens when i brought him to the music room with your helper during teaching time. He cried and went and look for her during the actual music time.

Like Fadilah said, most probably he didn't like his routine being changed. But from what I know, he is not the sort who is a stickler for routines. Hopefully, his behaviour will improve in the next session.

Btw, we can always borrow teaching materials (books, toys, etc) from AAS so that we can work with our child at home and Fadilah has been supplying me with stuffs to work on at home. Here are some of them...

Thank you once again, Fadilah! Will work on the things that you mentioned. Looking forward to more updates :)

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Love Animals

Even though Rayyan loves animals, he usually seems to be more interested in pictures and figurines. Nowadays though, he seems to be interested in the animals themselves. And I try to encourage him to say hi to the animals or pet the animals. He seems rather afraid to pet the animals. He will jump around the animal trying to muster the courage to touch it.

This video is one of him touching the stray cat under our block. I am glad that he is rather gentle with the cat. I made it a point to tell him to be gentle and not hurt the animal. And he was so excited, he kept jumping around it. Luckily, the cat tolerated him jumping around and did not try to scratch him :)

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Mummy's Day

The excitement of Mother's Day can be felt almost everywhere... children buying pressies and cards for their mummies, bookings at restaurants, flowers for dearest mummies....... Even when I log into Facebook, I can see proud mummies showing off the cards and cute, little handmade pressies from their kiddos...

And as I sat on my bed this morning, I began to reflect on Mother's Day and what it means to me... Mother's Day is indeed an important occasion. It is true that we shouldn't just appreciate our mums for just one day but on this day we should make a concerted effort to express our love and appreciation to our mums. For those who seems to be too caught up in his/her own activities, this is a timely reminder to put everything down and spend time with that most important person in your life.

I wonder if I will ever get a thank-you card from my little Rayyan... I wonder if he will ever give me a hug and say 'I love you, Mummy'...

But you know what, I realised that it doesn't matter at all. When I was in Facebook and saw all the gifts and cards received by my friends, I felt truly happy for them but I wasn't envious. It made me realise that I am finally accepting my son for who he is. I know his limitations and I understand it.

Indeed, I love my son for who he is... there are no conditions attached. He doesn't have to be the brightest boy to be my son. He doesn't have to be the cutest one either. Just as long as he's happy, I am happy. And yesterday, when I brought him to the airport and saw him running towards me with that huge, huge smile on his face, I just felt contented and blissfully happy.... My son has taught me the meaning of UNCONDITIONAL LOVE.

It's ok if you can't tell me that you love me, baby, I just know you do... And I love you with all my heart too :)

PS: And to all the mummies out there, especially the mummies who I know are doing their very best for their children, who tirelessly try ways and means to make their children better, who are willing to do anything for their children... you guys are the best mummies ever... Happy Mother's Day and may God bless you...

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Universal Studios

We brought Rayyan to Hard Rock Hotel and Universal Studios yesterday. As usual, he had a jolly good time at the pool and simply loved playing in the room. When we made our way to Universal Studios, it was scorching hot! And, it stayed that way the whole day!

Initially, I was worried of so many things..

Is the weather too hot for him?
Will he fall sick in this weather?
Will he throw tantrums?
Will he be too afraid of the shows?
Will he take the rides?
Most importantly, will he enjoy himself?

Later, I realised I worried too much.. Yes, it was super duper hot.. Yes, Rayyan was red and perspiring all over.. Yes, the music can be too loud at times.. But dear Rayyan was enjoying himself!

He didn't throw tantrums... He asked to be carried at times, he was afraid of some characters and didn't want to take pictures with them, he whined a bit here and there but generally, very well-behaved. We even managed to watch a 4D show and a live performance at WaterWorld where there were lots of loud gunshots and explosions! He was afraid at times but didn't cry!! What I did was I just placed my hand over his chest and kept reassuring him. And he was alright. In fact, he enjoyed himself so much that he stayed awake throughout the day! He only slept on the way back at about 7 and woke up this morning at 6. Good job, Rayyan!

And through this trip, I learnt that at times, I just have to let myself loose, relax and just go with the flow ;)

Jumping around with Rayyan in the room!

Rayyan checking out the place..

Mr Cool....yeah

Intrigued by Marilyn?!


Rayyan afraid of the hyperactive penguins!


Towards the end, he was even 'performing' on stage! lol
We love ya, baby!