Sunday, January 30, 2011


It has been almost 2 months since Rayyan started his speech therapy. He attends ST twice a week and we have to ensure that follow-up is done regularly.. We have to do facial massages, get him to blow different instruments, suck different straws, chew different tubes and get him to practice different sounds.

So how is he progressing so far? We have come to realise that speech (or rather, sounds) doesn't come easily to him. He has great difficulty connecting sounds he hear and sounds that he produce. It takes days and even weeks for him to master a single sound. Sometimes when he has mastered a sound and moves on the next one, he forgets the earlier sound!

So we have to really learn to be patient. We tell ourselves not to expect miracles and just guide him along. If he forgets a sound that he has learnt then we have to go back and start again. Just guide and spur him on. Don't expect miracles and don't ever give up, even if the journey is long and arduous.

And you know what, he has learnt to say 'mmmaaaa'!! Yay!!! It feels really, really good when he looks at me and call 'mmmmaaaa'!!! Only thing is...... that is the only word that he has mastered so everything is 'mmaaa' to him now... hehe.. But it's ok, we will never give up and hope that he will master more words!!! You go, Rayyan!!!

And here's the 'mmmaaa' journey.. a long one but so worthwhile nonetheless :))

This one was taken in early November last year when I wanted him to produce the sound 'mmm'.. I was getting frustrated then and just didn't understand why it was so difficult for him to produce the sound. Now, everytime I look at this video, I remind myself to be patient and not get frustrated so easily!!

This was taken a month ago... he just started ST and has learnt a few sounds... I had to print my pictures and he has to say 'ma'... He can say 'mmm' and 'aaa' separately but had difficulty combining the sounds.

This is Rayyan now... saying 'ma' so effortlessly!!! Go Rayyan, go!!!!!

Monday, January 24, 2011

Special Bond

Now that Hubby is taking care of Rayyan full-time, I see a much stronger bond between them. Not many fathers enjoy such a special bond with their sons and I am glad Hubby appreciates every minute he spends with Rayyan. I see that Hubby is now more confident in taking care of Rayyan and he is trying very, very hard indeed. As for Rayyan, I know that deep down, he appreciates every single thing that his Daddy does.... They are inseparable, I tell you and I must admit that I am jealous at times. But oh well, these are the sacrifices that we have to make... I am just so glad that Rayyan has somebody that he can count on every single minute of the day :)

So this entry is especially for the two special boys in my life.. I am so grateful to God for blessing me with both of you... May the special bond that both of you share lasts a lifetime.. I love you Daddy.. I love you Rayyan..


Always ready to help the son..

Trying to figure out what is making Rayyan so engrossed...

Joins in...

The inseparable pair... And I love both of them sooooo much..


Rayyan's cycling skill has improved :)) The last time we put him on his trainer bike, he could barely stay on the bike for more than a few seconds!!

So we decided to go back to basics and let him practice on this kiddy bike instead.... and well, he is getting pretty good at it... Well done, Rayyan!! :))

Shall let him try his trainer bike again soon ;)

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

My name is Rayyan....

I have made a book about Rayyan to teach Rayyan about Rayyan...make sense?? Hehehe... I did this book to increase Rayyan's self-awareness... I wanted him to be more aware of his name, gender, age, things that he like to do and things that he like to eat... And I ended the book with a simple praise ;)

I also made the book more interactive by getting Rayyan to fill in the missing words.

Rayyan simply loves his book :))

Monday, January 17, 2011

Bye Bye GFCF!!

We have been thinking about this for quite a while now and finally, over coffee and toast at Ya Kun, we decided to take Rayyan off the GFCF diet.

I have blogged about this in detail last two months I think but basically, our reason in making this decision is simply because till now, we are not sure of its effectiveness, we are not sure if it works on Rayyan at all. And so, rather than play guessing games, apart from the rather excruciating waiting game, we have decided to focus our energy on strategies that produce tangible benefits.

So we have decided to make this work FOR us rather than against us. And by strategies that produce tangible benefits, we mean...

1) Food is a really strong reinforcer/motivator in Rayyan's case... Let's face it, GFCF food tastes really bland... During those short periods where we take Rayyan off GFCF food, we can see that Rayyan really enjoyed the food. So we can make him work really hard to get the food that he likes... biscuits, bread, curry puffs, cakes, fries, etc... There are so many things that we can teach him by using food as the reinforcer/motivator...

2) We can now teach him more social skills because we can now bring him to functions without worrying endlessly about the food that he eats. We can let him eat the food that the rest are eating and not feel left out. We can even let him share food with others...

3) We can let him try various food with many different textures. With GFCF diet, the variety of food that he takes is limited. Again, the taste doesn't help at all in encouraging him to try different types of food. So now we can let him try soft, hard, spicy, bitter.... all the different varieties of food without worrying about the ingredients. And this is really important for his oral development. Rayyan's speech therapist wants him to try different food because this will help in the development of his oral skills.

4) The money spent on the expensive GFCF diet can be channelled to other tangible benefits like speech therapy, occupational therapy or other interventions.

There are other benefits too so.... there you go!! I feel so much better after blogging about this! Phew!! So, we really, really hope we have made the right decision... We really, really hope this works for us.... We really, really hope there'll be more pros than cons.... We really, really hope this will in the end, be more beneficial for Rayyan.

Wish us luck!! :))

Sunday, January 16, 2011


Rayyan really, really loves to swim... Whenever he sees a pool, he wants to get in immediately and it's very difficult to get him out!!

He's a natural and he loves to be in the deep water in his float, where he gets to kick around..... No baby or kiddy pool for him...hehe

I remember an incident last Dec when we were at the Sentosa Villa.. When he saw the pool, he wanted to get in and kept pulling Hubby's hand. Hubby then placed him in his float and then Hubby went to get changed. I wasn't dressed for swimming so Rayyan was all by himself in the pool... The pool was about 1.2m so you can imagine how worried I was! I was so afraid that he would just slip out of his float and get himself submerged into the water! Kept shouting at Rayyan to be careful and kept shouting at Hubby to get changed quickly!! lol

So there I was shouting away like a paranoid mum and there was Rayyan... happily kicking away, full of confidence, looking like a real pro.. oblivious to the fact that I was shouting away!! haha.. Hubby then scolded me for being too paranoid.. Hey, what if he really accidentally slipped out of his float??????!!

Anyway, the next week when we were at Malaysia, I had more confidence in Rayyan when he was at the pool (of coz the Daddy must be within a safe distance..hehe).. In fact, everybody was praising him for looking like a real 'pro' in the water...kicking in the water with his float to get here and there... I was super proud of him!!!

So Hubby and I plan to enrol him in a swimming class one day... If anybody has contacts of a swimming instructor who can teach ASD kids, please let me know :)

Here's a video of our water boy at the Sentosa Villa ;))

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Foundations of Successful Communication Skills

Hubby and I attended another interesting and useful workshop conducted by Ms Anita Russell at ARC today. She taught us the basic foundations of successful communication with an ASD child and shared things that we can do to get an ASD child to communicate with us.

The three most important things I learnt are..
1) To use the child's interest, fascinations and preferences as a form of motivation.. For example, even if the child loves to spin objects, we can enter the child's world by imitating the child and then lure the child into our world by expanding on his interest..

2) We have to be a good communication partner. Good strategy is.... LOW, SLOW and SHOW..
LOW- use low voice volume and low partner position
SLOW- use slower rate of speech, key words, allow processing time and resist repeating (wait 10 seconds before repeating the instruction)
SHOW-face the child, use gestures and visuals

3) We have to create communication opportunities. Any time of the day, anywhere, we can create communication opportunities. For example, during meal time, we can seal his lunch box so that he will ask for help to open his box. And we must always remember that the child will not communicate if he doesn't have a reason to. If everything is provided for the child, then there is no reason for him to request for something. Therefore, creating communication opportunities is very, very important.

I have indeed learnt useful strategies this afternoon. And not only do I learn more, these workshops usually make me feel so INVIGORATED that I am more motivated to do more for my boy :))

And so, when I got back and saw Rayyan playing bubbles... I decided to try what I have learnt.. I took the bottle and created an opportunity for him to request for more bubbles. I taught him to say 'MORE' and the next round, I didn't give it to him until he said it. And yes, he did say 'MORE'!!!! Wasn't a perfect 'MORE' but it was really close!!! Well done, Rayyan!! You have made Mummy sooooo happy!!!

PS: Btw, we met Teacher Fadilah at the workshop earlier.. Good to see you Teacher Fadilah!! hehe

Update, updates.....

It has been about 2 weeks since I updated this blog... Well, school has started and I am back to my super hectic schedule...sigh..

But I must say that I am really, really glad that Hubby is taking care of Rayyan full-time... I am finally able to gain some peace of mind when I am at work because I know that Rayyan is in good hands. And Hubby is doing a FANTASTIC job!! He has his share of frustrations of course, sometimes he tells me that he gets really frustrated when things don't go his way or when he feels that he is just not doing enough... I simply told him to be patient and not to expect miracles... just celebrate the small successes..

For me, I am just glad that he can bring Rayyan to school and AAS, to learn more things on what he can do from the teachers... to bring Rayyan for his ST lessons and do the necessary follow-ups... to just play and teach Rayyan when he is at home... it is not easy, especially for Hubby but he is trying very hard and I am extremely proud of him... You go Hubby!!!

And Rayyan is doing very, very well too... Apart from that first day at PCS where he cried for a while, he doesn't cry at all now!! He loves going to school and sometimes, didn't even want to go back!! And wearing the uniform is no longer an issue... I think that he feels a sense of belonging, that he is just like one of the children there and not like an outsider (he used to wear home clothes there..).. Of course there are certain things that we need to work on but generally, I am very happy with his performance :)

Same goes for AAS too... I was afraid that he wouldn't adjust to the fact that he won't be with Teacher Fadilah this year but he was totally okay with that. I am glad that he adjusted well to his new teacher, Teacher Geraldine, whom Hubby said is experienced, helpful and nice... hehe.. He did very well the first week... I think it was due to the fact that he has not been there for a long time and missed the school... This week though, Hubby said he is a bit challenging and more 'mischievous'..wanting to do more play than study... Hmmm... which child prefers to study more than play???? Well, I am sure Teacher Geraldine and Hubby will work that out...

Anyway, I am really happy at how things are turning out so far... Let's hope that 2011 will be a really, really fruitful and memorable year for us, full of sweet and pleasant surprises :)

Monday, January 3, 2011

First Day of School

Today is Rayyan's first day of school and I felt the jitters since I woke up in the morning!! I was feeling so anxious! I was afraid that he would cry the whole day, I was afraid that he would be very uncooperative, I was afraid that he would just give everybody a difficult time!! I kept praying in my heart that everything would go smoothly..

And yes, another thing, I was afraid he wouldn't want to put on his uniform!! When we sent him to a childcare centre when he was 2+, he hated to wear the uniform! He would cry and shout at the top of his lungs every time we made him wear the uniform that in the end, we let him go in his home clothes everyday!!

When we first bought him the uniform from PCS, we were afraid that the same thing would happen. And we were right!! When we got home and put the uniform on him, he started wailing!! (Btw, sorry Ms Lina, didn't have the opportunity to show you a pic of him in uniform in advance!)

So what happened this morning? He didn't even cry when we put the uniform on him!! This boy is really puzzling us I tell you!! We thought it was the material that put him off but since he didn't cry this morning, it can't be the material right? Perhaps it's just something that he's not familiar with and he doesn't like to put on something that is so unfamiliar? Actually this is true but with uniforms, he is super, super sensitive!! We'll see how tomorrow goes...

Anyway, his Daddy sent him this morning because he would usually cry when either one of us sends him and if the both of us sent him, it would be worse!! And since Daddy is going to send him everyday from now onwards, we wanted him to get used to it too... So you can imagine how anxious I was at home.. Kept messaging Hubby and asking for updates!

Hubby told me that he cried when he reached the school, wasn't too happy when he realised that the clothes he was wearing was the same as everybody else and wouldn't let Hubby go! But Hubby handed him over to the teacher and left immediately. Ms Lina later told us that he cried for a while but after that he was alright.

Hubby actually waited at the opposite block and at one time, told me that he saw the children walking around the block... Ms Lina was holding one of his hands and another girl was holding the other. Rayyan was walking around quietly with the girls by his side and Hubby said he looked really cute! How I wish I was there to witness that!

When Hubby picked him up, he asked Ms Lina about Rayyan's behaviour and she informed Hubby that he was alright throughout.... there were two glitches though... First, he didn't want to keep the toys and second, he didn't want to eat during mealtime...

The first glitch, well, we must work on that... and the second one, we couldn't figure out why he wouldn't eat.. maybe he was too overwhelmed.. We'll see how he behaves the next couple of days..

So, all in all... We are really happy with his performance on his first day of school :D

Well done, Rayyan and thank you soooo much Ms Lina for guiding him!!!! And yes, when he came out, we made sure we gave him a huge hug and loads of praises!!!!! I even bought him his favourite drink :))

Rayyan's school bag and bottle...
I pasted huge labels so that it's easy for him to find his stuffs :)

Rayyan in his uniform!
I was beaming with pride and joy when I saw him in his uniform!! :D

The reward for doing so well!! Gooooo Rayyan!!

On top of the world :)

First of all, Happy New Year everybody!! May 2011 brings great health, wealth and abundant happiness and love! And may 2011 also brings significant milestones and improvements for our kiddos ;))

I seldom make resolutions because they are usually the same every year.. hehe.. but there are 3 important things that my husband and I want to take note of this year...

First of all, to make conscious, consistent efforts in helping Rayyan. I must admit that I can get side-tracked at times, especially when things get too busy at work or when I am too involved in other personal stuffs. I must make the conscious effort to stop spending time or at least reduce the number of hours spent on things that are insignificant... like watching tv or surfing the net...

Second, my husband and I must make the conscious effort to take care of our health. We need to be healthy and we need the energy to take care of Rayyan. So we must watch our diet and exercise regularly.

Third, we need to save money for Rayyan. Our savings is almost entirely wiped out because we need to fork out quite a sum every month for Rayyan's therapy, school fees and diet. We realised that we must make a conscious effort to set aside some money every month for Rayyan's future.. it might be for his education, for him to buy a house or for him to start a business if he can't find a job...anything for Rayyan... With Hubby not working anymore, it's not going to be easy but we will try our best..

I really, really hope that we can achieve our goals for 2011. The road ahead is not going to be easy but with determination and perseverence, we can do it!! Jia You!!!

And let me share with you how we spent the first two days of 2011... We spent the first two days on top of the world... and we are referring to Marina Bay Sands! With the superb, gorgeous view, you will really feel like you are on top of the world!!! lol

Actually, my sis got a room there so we went and took the opportunity to enjoy the facilities there as well :))

Here's Rayyan enjoying the fantastic view from the 46th floor of MBS :))

Me and my darling.. I was so happy he made the conscious effort to SMILE :))

Yay!! We made it to MBS!! :D

The gorgeous, gorgeous view from the rooftop..

All set to swim!! Peace!! And how did I get him to do the 'peace' sign?
By telling him to show us the number 2!! :D

Father and son at the Infinity Pool.. Totally PRICELESS :)

The three of us marvelling at the view from the edge..

Me having fun with Rayyan... with the city skyline as our backdrop ;))


Relaxing at the jacuzzi :)

It felt really, really good to be this high..

We're all geared up for 2011!! TOGETHER, we can!!!