Sunday, November 28, 2010

Happy Birthday Rayyan!!!!!

Yes, Rayyan turned 4 last Wednesday!! Although we are still worried about his development, especially his speech, I want to take this opportunity to celebrate his achievements this past year, no matter how small...

* He is now toilet-trained - Although he still wears diapers outside, he can request to go to the toilet when he is at home!!

* He is now more independent - Can take off and wear his shoes independently, eats and drinks on his own, can even pour water into his own cup!!

* He can nod and shake his head - He can tell us what he wants and doesn't want and this equates to lesser tantrums!!

* His areas of interest has widened - He not only like animals now but also vehicles and lately, toolbox!!

* He is venturing into 'pretend play' - Yesterday, I saw him took a pizza (toy) and pretended to eat. When I asked him to 'feed' me, he pretended to feed me too! :))

* He can imitate some sounds - He can now imitate sounds like 'oooh' and 'aaah'!

* He can blow - I didn't realise that blowing is so important!! And I am glad that he can finally blow out his candles!!!

So darling, happy, happy birthday!! May you be blessed with good health and continue to show improvements. We love you so, so much!!!!!

And here's a video of Rayyan blowing out his candle! Actually, we had to sing and let him blow his candle for a second time because I was so excited that I forgot to take a video the first round!!!! Which is why he was kind of puzzled and wondering why we were singing again! hahahaha.. And mind you, my whole family was there and there were more than 20 people so it was really great that he didn't get overwhelmed and cry!!!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Picture Matching

I seldom let Rayyan practice his writing skills as I always thought that he is not ready so I was pleasantly surprised when his teacher at AAS told me that he can match pictures by drawing lines. I was bursting with pride when I saw him do this! Thank you Teacher Fadilah for teaching him this skill!!


Rayyan is now very good at labelling (as in pointing at the items asked) and his vocabulary is not bad for his age. Sometimes I am surprised that he knows a certain item which I have never taught him before! I guess it must be from the flash cards in his iPod which he goes through on his own.

Anyway, I am now teaching him more about the characteristics of an object. When I show him a flashcard, I usually add the attributes of the object. When I give him an animal, I will do that too. It is quite difficult for him to grasp but he is learning... Go Rayyan!!!!

Monday, November 15, 2010

Let's Go Cycling!

The sky was pretty clear yesterday morning so we decided to bring Rayyan to East Coast. Brought along his bicycle to let him practice cycling at a more open space. Rayyan was so excited to be outdoors that he couldn't focus. Kept coming down his bike and jumping around!! He also kept pushing the pedals backwards!!

How to teach him to cycle properly??? Any tips or useful strategies???

Daddy helping Rayyan

He was cycling on his own for less than a minute!!

My boys ;)

Sunday, November 14, 2010


I am currently building up resources for PECS. I have been informed that I need to do it consistently and persistently for it to be effective so I have decided to start in Dec when I don't have to report to school.

These are the stuffs that I have..

The really thick manual. I didn't buy this... it belongs to my sister who is an early childhood educator....

The PECS file. A relative went to USA recently and I asked him to get this for me. This is sold at Pathlight Mall also but it is always out of stock. You can place an order though.

These cards are sold at Pathlight Mall too. But the cards are not sufficient. Now I need to take pictures of those stuffs that are not available..

Btw, if you are interested in attending any training sessions at ARC, just check out the workshops available at the following website..

Ms Russell from ARC has mentioned that there'll be many more interesting workshops next year and I can't wait to sign up for them. For your info, if your child has been diagnosed or seen by a doctor and you have been referred to Centre of Enabled Living (CEL), you are actually entitled to Caregiver Training Grant of $200 yearly and this grant can be used for different types of trainings. I didn't have to fork out any money for the recent workshop I attended :))

Teaching Basic Communication Skills using Visual Strategies

I attended a full day workshop at ARC yesterday and it was such an interesting and immensely useful workshop that I can't wait to try out the strategies I've learnt! It was a workshop about the use of visual supports in helping autistic children learn basic communication and there were so many things I've learnt that I don't know which one to start first! And, I must add that the trainer, Ms Anita Russell, was superbly good. She's the Senior Consultant at ARC and she managed to deliver the workshop and guided us really well. She provided many concrete examples too.

Well, like many other parents, I was sceptical too at first about using visual supports because I was afraid that the use of visual supports will replace speech and stop my boy from talking. But I realised that many professionals are using them. When Rayyan was at SPD, the teachers encouraged me to use them. Now, at AAS, the teachers are using them too. And if these centres are using them, it must have been proven that visual supports are useful right? That was why I wanted to know more and signed up for this workshop. At the workshop, Ms Russell reiterated again that the use of visual supports help autistic children understand the world better and they learn best with visual supports. Visual supports AID speech, NOT REPLACE speech.

I learnt that I must help Rayyan achieve 7 basic communication skills (these are the difficulties that autistic children face)
1) able to follow instructions
2) understand the choices available
3) understand expectations
4) able to ask for help
5) able to react to changes and difficult situations in an appropriate manner
6) able to assert themselves (request/protest/ask for a break)
7) able to manage emotions

Examples of the visual supports that I can use to help him
1) PECS (Picture Exchange Card System)
2) Physical Gestures
3) Location Cards
4) Picture Schedules
5) Communication Bridge
6) Speech Bubble
7) Communication Board
8) Rules
9) Social Stories
10) Flip Work System

I also learnt the importance of planning before embarking on the use of visual supports to ensure that I use the appropriate visual supports in accordance with Rayyan's abilities and skills. And another important takeaway from the workshop... Something that I must admit that made me feel guilty. Ms Russell reminded us again and again the importance of parents' role in helping their child..... Our job as parents is to help our child have a successful life. We are responsible in helping our child achieve basic communication skills, not teachers, not therapists, not maids. Period.

Last but not least, visual supports can make a HUGE IMPACT when used consistently and appropriately. We cannot be complacent. It is not easy because it is counter-intuitive (harder than simply giving verbal instructions/prompts) but we must not give up.

Commit. Persist. Patience.

With that in mind, I am starting off with PECS for Rayyan. Wish me luck!!

Monday, November 8, 2010

If only......

I had a long conversation with Hubby yesterday. We were thinking.... if only we are well-off..we would do so much more for Rayyan. I just read a blog about a mum who sent her boy for various therapies.. The boy has ABA therapy, 5x a week occupational therapy, speech therapy and social classes. I have checked out these private centres before and I know they cost a bomb! I think the boy's therapies alone could easily cost thousands per month. On top of that, the mum could afford to stop working so that she could focus entirely on the boy. And of course, the boy has made so much improvement with all these interventions.

If only we are well-off too..... We definitely can't afford all these therapies and I often feel that Rayyan is being tragically short-changed. He has so much potential but we don't have the means to make him reach his true potential. I remember that when he was 2+ and we sent him to SPD, the teachers there were so impressed with him. They said that he was really smart, he could do so many stuffs and he was superb with the table activities. They even told me that he was 'high functioning' and I shouldn't worry because he will definitely talk!

I also remember the time when he was first assessed by a senior ABA therapist. The therapist also said that he has 'very high potential' and will show vast improvements with ABA therapy. Sadly, I had to stop his ABA therapy because it really took a toll on our finances. I also can't stop working to take care of him full-time. We just can't afford it. And because of this Rayyan is not really making any progress... or rather, his progress is slow and he is not reaching his true potential.

A few weeks ago, his centre supervisor called me to inform me of the centre's changes for 2011. They will have 3-day sessions (shorter hours) and 2-day sessions and the supervisor suggested that we go for the 3-day sessions because of his age and also because he is 'moderately functioning'. I totally agree with her that 3-day sessions would be better for Rayyan but I was somehow sad when I heard the term 'moderately functioning'. Of course I am not blaming the supervisor for saying that. I was sad because it was a reflection of what we had done for him so far.... which is definitely not enough. Rayyan is getting older but he is not making much progress.

So we really have a lot of bucking up to do. Especially so since we don't have the means to send him to various therapy sessions. We must do as much as we can, within our means, in whatever way we can....

Please help me God
Show me the way....

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Jumpin' Boy is Back!!

Yes, my jumpin' boy is back!! Still suffering from cough but other than that, he is his normal self! Yay!

And since he has been kept indoors for almost a week, we decided to bring him out. Went to Airport Terminal 3 for breakfast and we let him run around the huge terminal. He was so happy, kept flashing that sweet smile of his :D

Thank you, God!!!

Oh, how I miss that beautiful smile! :)

Doing his bit for society :)

Having fun at the mini playground which looks too small for him now!

His fav arcade game... Animal Kaiser!!

He's riding a motorcycle! Looks like a pro, huh?? ;)

Riding with Daddy

Rayyan can drive too.. hehe

Rayyan jamming away!! Woohoo!

Wednesday, November 3, 2010


Yesterday was one of the worst days of my life....Rayyan's fever was exceptionally high... In the morning, it was around 38C+.. I left work early to take care of him and I felt totally heartbroken when I saw him. He was so weak and didn't respond to my call... he was just sleeping and lying there looking totally helpless. It was really difficult for him to just open his eyes. Mind you, he has never been like this before. Yes, he has been sick but never weak. Usually, when he's sick, he is as active as ever.

We tried sponging him, we gave him Bifen and Paracetamol alternately but still the fever refused to budge... In fact, it got worse... His temperature went up to 39C to 40.4C.. I broke down in my husband's arms because I felt totally helpless and I couldn't bear to see him like that. Ironically, I just wanted to see him jump again! I usually get worried when he start jumping around non-stop but yesterday, I only wanted my jumping boy back!!

We then decided that we had no choice but to bring him to KKH again. We took some time before deciding to bring him there because we were afraid that he will be warded. We know that he will throw a huge fit if he gets warded. Anyway, when we reached KKH, he was immediately sent for a blood test and x-ray. We had to wait for about an hour for the test results and were told to sponge him to bring down the temperature. He was sent to an observation corner because they were afraid that he will get into fits.

After two hours, the fever still persisted. They wouldn't let us go until his fever goes down. His Bifen was due so he was given Bifen again and we were told to wait again. Rayyan was as lifeless as ever, he just wanted to sleep in our arms. Another hour went by and we were called by the doctor. Fortunately, his blood test and x-ray result was good... blood was normal and his lungs were clear... Phew! But due to his persistent high fever, the doctor wanted to get him warded to observe him.

I understood the doctor's good intentions but knowing Rayyan, he will be more distressed if he stays at the hospital. We told the doctor of his condition and asked for other alternatives. We persuaded him not to get Rayyan warded. The doctor then consulted the senior doctor who later came by and told us, alright, since his blood test and x-ray showed that everything is alright, he wouldn't get Rayyan warded but we were told to keep a close watch on him and make sure we give him his medication regularly. If his condition doesn't improve in two days, we have to bring him down again and get him warded. We were so relieved when we heard that. Rayyan must be relieved too coz his temperature came down shortly after.. Phew!

Today, Rayyan's temperature is back to normal but he is still very weak. He just wants to lie down and sleep and he has been sleeping since morning. I am still very worried about him. Oh God, please help my boy... please lessen his suffering... Please let him get better... I want my old Rayyan back....