‘I love you Callum’ said Mum. ‘I love you too!’ replied Callum…

Yep, that actually happened this morning as I gave Callum a big hug!  It reminded me of the day Callum said ‘Mum’ for the first time in years when we first visited Canada.  The joy I felt was overwhelming.

As ever Callum’s timing couldn’t have been better as it’s been a tough couple of days for Callum which I will share with you all.  It’s important to know the highs and lows in Callum’s journey as it helps appreciate the highs.

As I was driving home from work on Tuesday evening I received a phone call from my Mum, who was looking after Callum and Euan after school, explaining Callum was having another seizure.  Thankfully I was two minutes away and an ambulance was on it’s way.  This was the third seizure Callum has had since 2014 and nearly two years since his last one which was very severe.

These episodes are quite simply horrific.  As parents we are helpless we just have to make sure Callum’s safe and constantly reassure him all will be just fine. Although inside that is the last thing we feel.  Callum was surrounded by his nearest and dearest, including Euan who was very scared at seeing his brother so helpless.  Euan was incredible, initially he just sat on the stairs in the hallway with my Dad whilst my Mum and I helped Callum.  However, once the paramedic arrived Euan joined us and helped by being practical; he got the wipes, the damp towel for Callum’s head, wafted a cushion above Callum’s head to keep him cool, went out into the road to show the ambulance where to park and packed a bag of clothes for Callum for the hospital.  Being practical helped Euan cope.  He was so brave for a 9 year old who was very scared.


Here’s Callum’s older brother, Euan.

Callum and I went in the ambulance to the hospital, Hamish and Euan followed us in the car whilst Mum and Dad caught their breath before cleaning the house as Callum had been very sick.

Once we arrived at the hospital Callum recovered fairly quickly and his temperature began to come down slowly.  From further inspection it was evident Callum’s tonsils were very large and red and his left ear was red – he was poorly and this caused a spike in his temperature which caused the seizure.  For once Hamish and I could apply some logic to this episode which helped us rationalise it all.  As Callum was wheeled from resus to the ward Euan held Callum’s hand all of the way and kept talking to him by reassuring him with statements such as ‘I am proud of you Callum,’ ‘you are so brave Callum,’ ‘you are OK now Callum.’  The doctor who was walking behind them both with Hamish and I said ‘Callum has one very special big brother there’  which made us burst with pride.

A quote very apt for Euan as through a terrible experience, he adapted so very well and is certainly Callum’s hero.

As a result of this seizure Callum’s anti-epileptic medication has been increased due to his height and weight growth and he is on a new sleep medication.  We believe his recent lack of sleep was a contributing factor to this so fingers crossed this will help.  We are now back on track!

So – back to the ‘I love you too’ statement from Callum this morning – it meant the world to me and the knowing smile he gave me when I asked ‘did you just tell me you loved me Callum’ made my day!

XXX

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#unlockCallum: An Evening with Desmond!

I am very excited to announce that Desmond is going to be visiting Callum here in the UK during November to continue his treatment.  Desmond is going to host an ‘Evening with Desmond’ at Callum’s school where he will share the techniques in helping unlock Callum.

‘An Evening with Desmond’ will be held from 7-9pm on the 16th November and repeated on the 21st November at Kings Heath Primary Academy.  Tickets are available via the following facebook page: www.facebook.com/unlockcallum/ or www.ticketsource.co.uk/mrs-kim-duff

Come along and continue the journey. #unlockCallum

#UnlockCallum: Stepping Stones Program and The Davis Life Concepts for Autism Training are coming to the UK!!

I am absolutely delighted to be able to inform you that this exciting and inspirational training opportunity which offers a professional experience like no other in terms of working with children and young people on the autism spectrum is going to be available to everyone and anyone in the UK in November 2017!

As a result of Callum’s journey and the tremendous progress he has made, the interest in the methods Desmond has been accessing to help unlock Callum has grown rapidly here in the UK. Through collaboration with my friend Rachel Singer who was inspired by Callum’s journey, The Davis Autism International Director, Lorna Timms and UK facilitator Tessa Halliwell, the vision of bringing this training to the UK has become a reality!

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Here is Callum and Desmond Smith meeting for the first time in Canada after an 8 week break from seeing each other.

The Davis Autism Approach® is a non-invasive, gentle approach designed to allow autistic individuals to engage in learning and participate more fully in life – and we are thrilled to be able to bring the training to the UK for the first time. In November this year, the Davis Autism Team will bring two different training workshops to Kings Heath Academy (Callum’s school & the school I am Principal pf) in Northampton as follows –

November 15 and 16th The 2-day Davis Stepping Stones Workshop which is ideal for parents, teachers, and support professionals of autistic individuals under the age of 8, as well as autistic individuals of any age with very limited – or no language. This holistic program has been developed to assist you in helping your child/student who are on the autistic spectrum and /or are struggling to meet early childhood development milestones. The Davis Stepping Stones workshop teaches you practical skills to help your child reduce meltdowns, meet childhood milestones, and make sense of the world – all without losing their beautiful uniqueness.

November 17 – 21st The Davis Life Concepts for Autism is a 5-day workshop which shows participants how to develop self -awareness in an autistic individual and a full understanding of what it is to be responsible for oneself both in terms their interaction with the world and in relationships. Davis Life Concepts for Autism has been created to provide meaningful solutions for you or someone who you are supporting. This workshop is for professionals, parents, family members and support persons of individuals over the age of 8 with ASD and for individuals on the autism spectrum who are looking for a self-development program. In this five-day workshop, you will be introduced to the gentle, non-invasive Davis Autism Approach® and be guided on a journey to understanding the Life Concepts created by Ron Davis and outlined in the book, ‘Autism and the Seeds of Change.’

I have included flyers for each course so you can see the content more fully as well as the areas of study and the learning outcomes.

The cost for each course is £199 for Davis Stepping Stones (inclusive of the resource kit worth £70) and £399 for The Davis Life Concepts for Autism (inclusive of the resource kit worth £85). These prices are a one-off special price for UK training, subsidised by Davis Autism International.

You can also explore the Davis Autism website: http://www.davisautism.com to find out about the overall approach in more detail. The uniqueness of the Davis Autism Approach is clearly articulated on the website and through the materials. In addition, many of you will already know of “Callum’s journey” as outlined in my blog but I’ve also included this video to help summarise Callum’s journey to date!

For further information on autism the following links may be helpful:

Autism – the missing pieces

This 11 minute video holds very good information about autism and the workshops being offered in the UK are exactly what Dr. Angie talks about but are being co-presented by the director of Davis Autism International in person.

Autism and Social Integration: Why is it such a struggle?

Though this video is one hour long it provides a lot of detailed information which you may find helpful in relation to autism and social integration.

Finally, you can view Ron Davis talking about the life concepts and how they played such a key part in helping him here: http://www.davisautism.com/meet-ron-davis.html

We are all hoping by sharing this unique and powerful approach to working with children with autism in the Northampton area,  we will develop a local hub of knowledge, understanding and insight which will grow in size and efficacy over time so between us we can make better sense of our world for all learners.

To find out more please see the attached flyers, visit the website, read my blog and view the videos – these powerful tools only show you a glimpse of what is possible when the approach is made available to those with the opportunity to embed it in their own and others’ lives and practice.

Better still, I really hope you will enrol on one of these amazing workshops so the tools of the approach become part of your repertoire for working with children with autism and their families and educators.

For further information or to book a place at the workshops please don’t hesitate to contact Tessa Halliwell: info@dyslexia-leics.co.uk

BE THE CHANGE!

Here are the links for further details…

Building Bridges

Lifting the clouds of chaos

What is DAA

Awesome Work

Red Dirt and Water

A Totally New me

Canada’s Wonderland = Wonderful! #UnlockCallum

What. A. Day!! 

By Hamish Duff

Kim’s having a night off blogging so I thought I’d have a go and tell you about our great day today.

Today we went to Canada’s Wonderland an epic theme park and started off in its Splash World, awesome rides in the great weather and not too busy to start with. 

We all went down the ring rides where we could all go together, harmless enough but queues big enough for us to say “box ticked” and off to find something else!

Euan and I, went on the “Plunge” which is a tube ride where you start standing in the top of the tube and then 3-2-1 and the floor disappears from beneath you as you plunge vertically. A few seconds of getting flung down the tubes later and you are ejected at the bottom.

After a couple of hours in, we finished with us all going down the race slide, yes Callum too!! (The blue slide in the photo below) Callum loved it, I turned round to see his smile beaming across his face and he sped down, awesome! More weight was definitely an advantage here as I left the family trailing in my wake!!

Callum, with the race slide behind – mission accomplished!

We then took Callum on the Minebuster ride which looked a decent ride for his height. Well, this turned out to be an experience for all. Callum has been on rollercoasters before and just enjoyed them. The Minebuster was a bit old and looked harmless enough from the profile of the slopes.

Anyway we started off and realised the wooden structure had plenty of “give in it”, we were shaken and stirred all over, I turned to Callum at the worst part to see a look of fear across his face that he had never expressed before, a sure fire sign his awareness is definitely on the increase. 

The ride came to a stop and I just had to hold Callum and reassure him everything was fine and we’d get off now. He was fine afterwards if a little shocked and the guilt washed over me and Kim to have put Callum through this!

The Minebuster – Not a good memory!

We stopped the exhilaration to grab some pizza for lunch and a bit of downtime from a full on morning. 

Then we figure we’d better tackle the log Flume or “Timberwolf Falls”. 

Getting wet was inevitable and good to do this in the middle of the day and 30 deg C temperatures! A good proper soaking later and Kim decided it would be a good idea to stand on the bridge above the flume! Another soaking later we squelched off in our wet shoes for an afternoon of looking like we’d wet ourselves?!

Kim with Callum on the bridge – Getting wetter

By now Euan’s yearning for speed and thrill was bursting and we went on the Vortex ride.


The Vortex

To be flung from pillar to post so soon after lunch was a bad idea certainly for me and a level of queasiness was felt by me for the first time in the afternoon.

Time now for the main attraction – Euan couldn’t wait any longer for the Leviathan, a signature ride with speeds up to 90mph and an 80 deg drop to start it all off. Callum wasn’t allowed on this due to height restrictions so Kim went with Euan first. Euan loved it, he had Kim gripping his hand all the way through and she shut her eyes for most of it! 

I wanted a go so Euan came with me for a second blast, it’s an awesome ride, so fast and a real feeling of weightlessness on a few occasions. The feeling of queasiness built.

We’d paid for the fast lane passes because queuing with Callum was not easy and not fair to put him through the hour long queues. This was great as we got on the rides really quickly but it also didn’t give much time for your stomach to recover from the upheaval?!


The Leviathan – 80 degree drop! 


Euan and I off for another ride 

Onto the Skyhawk now which was on the way to the other big ride the Behemoth. 

Skyhawk looked harmless enough but you could alter the pitch of the wings on the plane as you went round which if you did it enough would turn you upside down! I had a small go at this but soon stopped when I realised I might see my lunch again if I carried on. At the conclusion of the ride I was starting to think this was all becoming a bit much for my wellbeing!


Skyhawk 

So, onto Behemoth, the last big ride. Kim decided she would sit with Callum while I did the good dad thing and took Euan on. He was hell bent on going on this ride and I couldn’t let him down. The Behemoth reaches speeds of 79mph in under 4 secs with what seemed like never ending undulations. I joked to Euan that he’d better keep out of the way if my lunch had had enough of staying down, he laughed!


The Behemoth – look at the undulations.

We set off and plunged down the first drop, the acceleration was immense as we went up and down and round and up again and down again. By now the fact that we rarely had a gap between rides was beginning to take its toll. On about the third last drop the acid reflux sensation in the bottom of my throat was a big warning sign.

We finally came up for the last time and rounded the corner as car jolted to a slower speed. By now the queasiness had a feeling of inevitability about it. Euan tried to say something to me but all I could focus on was not throwing up!

I failed. I looked down to Kim who waved and then a look of slight concern appeared as it became apparent all was not well! We turned the final corner and another jolting change of speed was enough and by this time I was jolting myself trying not to throw up in my mouth! At long last we stopped, barely acknowledging Euan I sped down the stairs, briefly told Kim I had to find a washroom and well, you can probably guess the rest!! 

That was the signal to end the day! All in all we had an amazing day. We had seen different sides to Callum’s overall awareness and how it had expanded with both fear and exhilaration on show – wonderful.

What a dude….and me.

Euan told us as we were leaving the park that he had done over 14,000 steps at that point, yet no moans about tired, achy and wet feet, just how great the day had been, and with a few more laughs at my expense we headed home – very gently.

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#unlockCallum: The power of pre-paving the way!

Something new happened today – the boys slept in until 7.30am – I cannot remember the last time this happened!!! Euan and Callum were both very settled and this is shown in their sleep patterns, I just hope/wish I can take this pattern back to the UK!

Today Desmond picked up Callum for their morning session and was full of enthusiasm. Desmond is the master at ‘pre-paving’ is aims of each day. This is very much like the strategy a successful sports person would use; they visualize every moment of their race leading to their desired outcome. They pave the way to success. This is the reason many sports stars take their win in their stride – they had seen that moment play out exactly as it happened over and over again! It’s the relatives that go crazy!! Desmond had pre-paved today with 100% commitment and I had no doubt Callum would walk into this and succeed.

You should try it, it works!!


Callum very happily went off to Desmond’s house. They had the house to themselves this morning and Desmond had a whole host of ideas up his sleeve. As ever Desmond was just going to observe Callum and pick the right moment/method when it arose to introduce Callum to a clay model of himself. Desmond was also intrigued to see whether Callum would be able to distinguish not only the clay model of himself but also differentiate it from Desmond’s. I really do enjoy hearing Desmond’s aspirations for Callum and I could not wait to hear the updates upon their return.

Whilst Callum enjoyed his time with Desmond, I took a few moments to read my book outside, Hamish watched Newcastle play football on the TV and Euan indulged in a couple of hours of ‘gaming’.

Desmond excitedly returned with an incredibly calm Callum at 11am. Callum had quite happily identified the clay model of himself and as Desmond’s Mum, Dr Cathy stated ‘This is beyond exciting. Way to go, Callum and Des!’ It is exciting because, as the Early Years Lead, Jane at school said, ‘Wow!! An identity! Fab steps.’ These two statements summarise the importance of Callum’s achievements today, Callum was recognizing himself as an individual!!

Here are the photo’s demonstrating how Desmond structured Callum’s learning today.

Desmond and I then indulged in a wonderful conversation about why today had been so successful and Desmond shared the experiment of Dr Emoto’s Rice Experiment. As I described in my previous blogs during our last visit to Canada we know Callum is able to pick up on a person’s physical actions, thoughts and energy without a word being spoken and if all three are not in harmony he will not thrive and he will show you through his behaviour they are not aligned. It harms him in a way I cannot explain but hopefully the below YouTube video will help make my point clearer.

Desmond’s explanation reminded me of the boys wrap around Daycare who run their plant project every day with all of the children. Basically one plant is called ‘no name’ and it’s ignored, another plant is called ‘Mother Mary’ and the children say kind words to it and the final plant is called ‘DawnLouise’ (the owner’s name of Omnipresence Nursery School) and the children sit still and think nothing but positive thoughts and send good energy to it. These were Euan’s words as I needed reminding of each one!

In a nutshell ‘no name’ has no leaves and looks dead, ‘Mother Mary’ looks healthy with some green leaves on it whilst ‘DawnLouise’ is thriving. This daily activity is a constant reminder to the children that our thoughts, non-actions and words can have a real physical affect on us all. This is the reason Callum feels so at home at Daycare – they get him on a physical, emotional and energy level. Omnipresence Nursery School is very special to us as a family due to the care and attention they have provided both Euan and Callum and are paving the way for how Nurseries should be set up and run. They are very unique.

Desmond explained something to me that I witness constantly with Callum and have always found it very difficult to explain to the person treating Callum in this way. Someone may say kind words to Callum but not mean them because they actually see him as ‘no name’ – Callum knows this because he feels it and this causes him so much damage! No wonder he started to retreat within himself!! This is why we feel so safe with Desmond; he understands Callum on so many levels and appreciates him for all of his qualities.

So on that note, I am off to bed to get some rest because tomorrow we are visiting Canada’s Wonderland and having a go on this rollercoaster: https://www.canadaswonderland.com/play/rides/leviathan

We cannot wait!!


xxxx

 

#unlockCallum: Happy Birthday Desmond!

Today was Desmond’s day off (although I’m not convinced he ever truly has a day off!) so we enjoyed being tourists and visited the African Lion Safari Park. Amazingly the boys slept in until 6.30am – A record in the Duff household! Both Euan and Callum just enjoyed pottering/watching movies this AM and were in no hurry to leave our room, so I enjoyed numerous cups of tea and caught up with everyone in the UK! Bliss!

Here we all are chilling out in our massive bed this morning.


 Check out how comfy Callum has independently made himself – he has only started doing this this week.


 Here’s Callum really focusing and engaging in his movie – he’s very happy and content here!


We arrived at the African Lion Safari Park and we hit the waterpark straight away, it looked way too exciting and the boys spotted it from the distance so we were the first in. We had the place to ourselves, which was perfect as Hamish and I could relax, and not fear losing Callum in the crowds.

It was a little overcast first thing so the water was cooler than normal but Callum enjoyed playing (yes I said playing!) for at least 45 minutes. Today we observed Callum wanting to try everything but he was hesitant if Euan wasn’t near. A few words of encouragement from Euan were all Callum needed and he would fling himself down all of the slides. At one point Callum was running from one slide to another and I’m convinced I heard him shout ‘slide!’ It was wonderful to see Callum really want to have Euan near him and his slight hesitation and look up for Euan were the only prompts Euan needed and would run over to Callum. The boys were playing together and it was a brilliant moment. Euan also felt chuffed to bits as Callum wanted his help!

Here are a few shots of the boys playing at the waterpark.



We enjoyed lunch whilst watching the elephants enjoying their daily swim in the lake. So graceful for such huge animals.  We then embarked on a new experience for Euan and Callum and queued for an elephant ride. I had know idea how Callum would respond to this experience but my intrigue got the better of me so we decided to give it a go. Euan sat in the front and I sat at the back with Callum in the middle of us, he was locked in safely between us and I cannot explain how I felt Callum’s whole body just relax as soon as he sat on the elephant. He was so incredibly relaxed and seemed mesmerised by the whole experience. He leaned into Euan and gave the most lovely sigh. Euan also loved this experience! 


I shared Callum’s reaction to this experience to Desmond this evening and he was not surprised at all and explained the elephant has tremendous energy and they are telepathic creatures. The way I felt Callum’s body relax so quickly was proof as to how content he was with the elephant and now I know why!

Here we are enjoying the animals in the safari park.


Desmond celebrated his birthday last weekend and tonight we were invited to join him, his wife Jo-Anne, son Tyler, daughter, Alana, Grandson, Aedan, his Mum, Dr Cathy and Dad, Ron. It was such a special evening and we all thoroughly enjoyed ourselves. We felt incredibly honored to share this special occasion with Desmond and his family. Callum has been visiting Desmond’s house everyday this week and somehow he had wriggled himself out of his seatbelt before I had stopped the car! He was so excited. He ran straight out of the car and was trying to open Desmond’s front door!

Within minutes of arriving I realized Callum’s NOIT gel pad had lost it’s stick so I took it off him. This was a bit of a risk but it was fascinating to observe how Callum coped so well without the NOIT all evening.

Callum enjoyed touching base with everyone with a gentle touch on their leg/shoulder whilst watching his favourite film, Rio 2. At one point Desmond spotted Callum look at Aedan’s toy, which was in Alana’s hand, as he walked past it as it made a noise. Callum turned his head in the direction of the noise and linked the noise to the correct toy, he was making links!!!

At dinnertime, Callum tried his food but he wasn’t too keen on sitting at the table. This was absolutely fine; it was a full table with lots of chatter and food that tasted different (although divine!) to the food at home. However, Callum was very happy to stay with us downstairs and watch his movie. He kept glancing over to us to check we were all still there which was such a change from when we enjoyed brunch during our last visit to Canada when he retreated to Desmond’s home office upstairs for most of the visit! Callum did stand on the bottom three steps of the stairs every now and then but always came back down after a few minutes. He definitely wanted to be near everyone this time round. All of this was without the NOIT!

We were all thrilled to bits with this change. Also Callum really liked being in Desmond’s son, Tyler’s space and would stop dancing in front of the TV when it was just Tyler and Callum in the living room and relax.

Here is Desmond, Callum and Tyler enjoying a hug whilst watching Rio 2.


Jo-Anne cooked an amazing French Candian dinner of Ragout de boulettes and sugar pie. Jo-Anne, thank you so much, it was incredible! The whole evening went so quickly due to everyone having such a lovely time celebrating Desmond’s birthday. We are so lucky to have you all as part of our family! xxx

Here is everyone from L to R: Jo-Anne, me, Euan, Hamish, Callum, Dr Cathy, Alana, Desmond and Ron 

 

#unlockCallum: Could Callum orientate himself without the NOIT…ABSOLUTELY!!

Yesterday evening we enjoyed supporting the Blue Jays Baseball team at the Rogers Centre in Toronto with the locals hence my lack of a daily update, it was a late night!

Prior to the Blue Jays game Desmond and Callum took Hamish, Euan and I swimming. This was a really important day for Desmond and Callum because Desmond has been requesting more of Callum’s brain and although Callum has been following Desmond’s lead brilliantly there’s been a shift and some downtime, without the NOIT was required. In addition Desmond wanted to see how Callum coped without the NOIT, would he be able to orientate himself naturally?

Here’s Desmond, Callum and Euan making their way to the pool:


When Desmond carried out his training he wore the NOIT for 8 hours a day and as a result he has a deep understanding of how demanding life is wearing the NOIT constantly. The NOIT’s main function is to help an individual re-focus every 8 seconds, this has been tremendously powerful for Callum but can imagine never being able to ‘switch off?’ It’s very intense for Callum so some playtime without the NOIT was required.
Callum stayed in the pool for over 40 minutes and although it took him about 10 minutes to settle he was so very calm and content once he did and he liked exploring the large steps in shallow water. Callum has always enjoyed the water, I think the water has always helped Callum’s body relax and today it seemed to have the same effect. Callum spent most of his time under the water where he demonstrated his excellent lung capacity as he can hold his breath for a very long time!!! Desmond pointed out how Callum really seemed to be exploring where his body began and ended. As always, once Desmond points anything out to me it seems so obvious and I could also see Callum figuring this out and he couldn’t get enough of this exploration. Callum was showing an interest in himself which is critical at this stage of his journey with Desmond.

We then went out for breakfast and both Euan and Callum were shattered. Despite feeling very tired Callum showed his cheeky personality whilst eating his bowl of fruit. Desmond was encouraging Callum to use his fork correctly instead of his hands. It was going pretty well and Callum was demonstrating how he can carry this task out but at one point he cheekily turn his head away from us and sneakily took the fruit off the fork which was by his mouth and used his fingers. Desmond saw this and said to Callum ‘are you being cheeky Mr Callum?’ to which Callum chuckled!

Callum had proved to Desmond that for two hours he had been able to orientate himself without the NOIT which represented a significant milestone from our previous visit to Canada. Callum was not able to do this during our first visit, he would bolt off or his behaviours would change instantly if the NOIT fell off! Way to go Callum!

Following our swim and breakfast we enjoyed a chilled couple of hours back in the hotel and then travelled on the train to Toronto. Callum coped really well with the crowds, noise and late night. We have never taken Callum to a sporting occasion before because we didn’t think he would sit for the time required. I am pretty certain Callum couldn’t give two hoots about the game but he was very happy to sit and watch his iPad and eat his way through the game. At one point I noticed Callum was gently swinging his legs back and forth and humming to himself as though self-soothing. When we noticed he was tired (just before the end of the game) we grabbed our bags and headed home.

Here we are enjoying the Baseball game.



A very tired Euan here!

The train was packed to the rafters with Blue Jay fans but again Callum coped – better than Hamish and I at some points. Of course we had to hold his hand constantly but he didn’t get distressed or anxious despite the crowds and his own tiredness. This was a great time for all of us to use our Davis tools; the station was really busy and we had to wait 10 mins for the train, once we got on the train it was really hot and we noticed Euan doing the ‘release’ to help him cope with the hustle and bustle. Hamish also explained to Dr Cathy this morning he used the ‘release’ during the train journey home. Just brilliant. The Davis tools can honestly help any individual be more aware of themself and cope better with any situation as a result – it really is very simple too!

We finally arrived home and following quick showers and supper we all fell asleep. Thankfully the boys slept until 7am!

Day 5 with Desmond: Friday 18th August 2017

Callum waited with eagerness for Desmond this morning and kept opening our hotel door and shouting his noises, he was ready! Once Desmond arrived in our room, Callum immediately gave Desmond fantastic eye contact a number of times and he signaled very quickly he was ready to go by opening our room door, so off we went! Whilst walking down the corridor Callum held Desmond’s hand and made lots of sounds – he was clearly telling Desmond all of his news. He barely paused for breath and it was lovely to listen to, I just wish I could understand what he was saying! Callum got straight into Desmond’s car without any hesitation. There had been a clear shift in Callum today and I am sure it was a result of yesterday’s ‘non NOIT’ day with Desmond. He needed the break and was raring to go again today!

Hamish, Euan and I drove to Dr Cathy’s office and completed our final session. We discussed ‘change’ ‘consequence’ ‘before’ ‘after’ ‘cause’ and ‘effect’. I am going to really struggle to explain the detail of today’s session because it is broken down into many parts so I am going to summarise them instead.

In a nutshell Callum does not understand any of these concepts, he doesn’t even know they exist, however The Davis Autism Approach method of teaching these concepts will help Callum understand and apply them when he’s ready. Through the clay (the visual prompt), the real life experiences linked to practical activities and the scripted verbal sentences the understanding of these concepts will be cemented in Callum. Whilst exploring these concepts I could think of so many children I work with at school who would benefit from The Davis Autism Approach, however Dr Cathy pointed out that the clay is the most fundamental part of the program as the children who need help are more than likely visual learners.

This morning’s session really helped me see how the tools are all there for Callum to understand these concepts and I felt very excited for his future – I know he will have an understanding of all of these and begin to live life to the full when he’s ready. For further information please do visit the following website: http://www.davisautism.com/davis-stepping-stones.html

Desmond and Callum met us at Dr Cathy’s and as ever we enjoyed listening to everything that Callum had achieved. Desmond explained how Callum went straight up to the box of clay when he entered Desmond’s office and started squeezing the clay in his hands. Callum didn’t pull as many little bits off the clay today, which is a change. Callum was squeezing the clay that much Desmond had to give him 3 new balls of clay as they went quite soft.

At one point Callum was squeezing the clay with one hand and had a raisin in the other. He paused and Desmond observed Callum squeeze the raisin and then look at the clay and squeeze it and appeared to be recognizing the two were different. Callum ate his raisin and then placed the clay in his mouth and Desmond responded with ‘it’s not food Callum’ and Callum promptly spat the clay out. This was a great series of events because Callum was showing he recognised they were different!

Following lunch the boys did not move off their bed and we all watched two movies – this never happens in our house but it was a very welcomed rest! We then popped out to the Supermarket for some groceries. We bought Callum some sunglasses as he really doesn’t like the sun in his eyes in the hope he would wear them, as normally he doesn’t. For the first time Callum was very happy to keep his sunglasses on but more importantly I saw Callum recognizing the path was looking different. He really dipped his head down and was staring at the path. Callum was noticing there was a change, the path was darker and this intrigued him! I don’t think I would have recognised this subtle observation and verbalise this ‘change’ to Callum had we not completed our training with Dr Cathy. It was great knowing I could help him in the right way.

Callum proudly wearing his new sunglasses!


I’ve noticed Callum becoming increasingly more independent and less reliant on Hamish and I during his bedtime routine during the past couple of nights. Whenever we have need Callum to sit still and relax his body before bedtime either Hamish or I have needed to sit with him. However, this evening, Callum lay on the bed by himself and enjoyed watching his movie whilst I put the clothes away in the same room. You can see in the picture below how content he is with himself, he did not need us to reassure him and help him rest – he was self-regulating. He’s also crossing his legs one-way and folding his arms another. I noticed he got a little bit fidgety when he got really tired but by his own accord he rested his head on his horse toy and immediately relaxed. This is such a change in Callum!

Here’s Callum calming down by himself before bedtime:

Tomorrow we are going to be tourists for the day followed by dinner at Desmond’s house– we cannot wait to see you Jo-Anne!

Before I log off tonight I would just like to say thank you to everyone who has sent their well wishes and comments of encouragement. Please rest assured that we read them all and they really do help.

xxx