Ellen has a heavy cold. It started coming out on Tuesday, the day we were booked for our RDI Annual Assessment. The assessment did not go well. Resistance levels were high and time was short. We limped through the play doh ‘warm up’ task I had brought with me but things rapidly went downhill through the ‘musical instrument’ activity (I ended up lying on the floor on my own banging a drum) and the ‘puzzle’ activity (I was not allowed to hold any pieces of puzzle). Finally at the ‘pictures’ experience sharing round Ellen threw all the pictures one by one over the stair gate. I guess she was sharing her experience. Suffice to say I felt a bit deflated. Especially as, having reached the peak of her annoyance and frustration with me, she then completed her tasks with her Dad without any resistance at all – grrrrr.
By Wednesday – the cold was in full flow, but buoyed by the idea that she was too ill to go to respite, Ellen’s mood was fairly sunny. We went along to the shop to complete our morning work and they had a new job for us – labelling the eggs. The shop has jumped into the 21st Century by investing in a new bar-code reading till and thus all stock now needs to be bar-coded. They apologised that no-one had had a chance to label the eggs in advance – obviously without a clue that this kind of job is perfect for someone with autism. They were soon educated however, as not satisfied with labelling just the two boxes which needed to be put out on the shelves, Ellen insisted on bar-coding every single box of eggs in the store cupboard! Somehow I get the feeling that bar-coding may well become a weekly feature on Ellen’s list.
RDI has made me realise just how much I over-compensate for Ellen in everyday life and not just verbally; so I’ve also started to try and extend Ellen’s practical skills. With this in mind, when we reached home after the shop, I gave Ellen the key to open the door. She got the key in the lock without any issues, but opening the door requires the key to be turned with one hand and the door handle down pushed down with the other hand. At the moment Ellen is struggling with the co-ordination, but of course she has the ultimate motivation to get in to her videos and toys so watch this space!
Despite having a bit of a temperature and being full of cold that afternoon, Ellen was still up for chips. Due to it being a busy evening without much time for cooking; we called into the local fish and chip shop and Ellen asked beautifully for the chips – although slightly getting mixed up with her usual McDonalds order – she said very clearly ‘I’d like plain chips please’. Instead of fish she decided she’d like a fried egg with her chips and suddenly perking on the way home (perhaps because of the wrapped bag of precious carbohydrate she was clutching), she suddenly started singing ‘chick chick chick chick chicken, lay a little egg for my sock’. Not quite the standard version of the song, but she thought it was hilarious and the chicken laid an egg first for her sock, then her trousers and finally for my phone. By this time we had made it home it had morphed into this little song:-
Ellen: ‘Chick chick chick chick chicken, lay a little egg for the phone’
Me: ‘Squawk!’ (in a chicken-like manner)
Ellen: ‘Chick chick chick chick chicken, I want to eat the phone’ (mass giggling)
Me: ‘No!’ (the more horrified the better)
Me: ‘I haven’t had an egg since Easter and now it’s time for tea – so!’
Ellen: ‘Chick chick chick chick chicken, lay a little egg for the phone’.
I was so befuddled by the time I got home it’s a wonder I didn’t fry up my mobile phone for her. It’s given me an idea for Easter though….