Utter Autism

March 18, 2008

Keeping the juice flowing….

Now that we’ve got our Dynavox V back from being serviced, we’ve been figuring out the best way to keep it powered throughout the day. 

The first change we made was a rather simple one.  We turned off the option to have the screen blackout after a few minutes of not being used.  This drove Adrian nuts and he would compulsively touch the screen just to have it come back up – so not a real power saver after all. 

Instead we’ve been using the ambient light sensor.  The program stays up all the time, which makes Adrian very happy and the device saves some juice by automatically adjusting the brightness of the screen to match the light in the room. 

At school we’ve found that the external battery is the best solution for giving the device that extra boost to get through the day.  The external battery itself is thin, lightweight and very easy to use.  You plug the device into it just as if it were the power cord itself….. only it’s still portable!  Adrian’s not tied to the walls, there’s no power cords to trip anyone up and if he needs to get up and go, he can.  The team at school is very happy with it.

And, finally, my insurance policy – the car charger.  Even with the external battery working so well for us, I’ve still pulled our car charger out a few times.   I’m getting so much better about remembering to bring the Dynavox V with us when we go out but on occasion I still forget to check the power or pack up the external battery.  I can’t tell you what a thrill it is when this silly little charger saves me from myself.  With as much time as we spend in the car, having this insurance policy right there next to my seat is simply priceless.

Power failures used to be a regular occurrence for us, but no more.  These accessories keep the juice flowing… and Adrian talking 🙂

March 9, 2008

Can’t Weight to Get on the Treadmill!

Adrian’s weight has become more and more of a problem over the past year.  His 11 year old male appetite is huge. But most of the foods he eats are limited to foods high in fats and carbohydrates which easily packs on the pounds. 

We’d been considering ways to cut back and had already made some changes. We swapped out the sugar drinks for sugar-free, switched from white to whole grains and tried to limit the treats.  But even with these measures, his weight was still climbing faster than we wanted. 

He gets quite a bit of activity in a day walking on the treadmill, riding the bike and doing heavy work throughout his school day.  At home he’s rarely ever sitting down.  His energy seems almost endless.  But knowing it’s going to be difficult to make further changes in his diet we decided we’d try to increase his daily activity level here at home. 

He got on the treadmill Monday afternoon right after school.  We’ve got two treadmills so I did my workout on the other.  After 30 minutes I was done for the day.  Adrian was not.  He stayed on that treadmill for an hour.  An hour!  Non-stop!  And not just walking either.  He played with all the speed levels. Pumping it all the way up to 10 and running till it slowed back down.  When the hour was up I had to force him to quit.  

It’s a relief to know he enjoys this and it won’t be a struggle to get him on that treadmill a few times a week.  Along with a few other minor diet changes, we should be well on our way to getting his weight back under control.

March 5, 2008

Feeling Very Happy

Feelings were one of the first things we put in Adrian’s original PECS book.  He only ever used it when he was prompted to do so. 

We added it to his first device and now it’s on our Dynavox V as well.  For a long time he’d only use this if he was prompted.  But more recently I’ve seen him initiating conversations by telling us how he feels.  He used it at school one day to tell the staff he was feeling ‘a little sad’.  Then earlier this week we arrived at school and he immediately told me he was feeling ‘very happy’.  

For me it’s huge that he sees value in expressing to us how he’s feeling… and that he’s got the means to say it too!

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