Saturday, April 28, 2012

Letter To Kinder Parents

This was distributed just yesterday.  I hope it goes over well.

Dear friend, 

My name is Erik, and I am in the Pink group at  ********  PreSchool.  You may have noticed that I am a bit different to my peers.  That’s because I have Autism Disorder.

Autism is a condition that affects communication, social skills and behaviour/play.  

Right now, I still can’t speak - I have no words yet.  So it is very hard for me to let my friends and teachers know what I want or need.  I can get frustrated, upset and confused.  Instead, I might try to scream, make a loud noise, push or pull someone to try and show them what I mean.  My mum keeps reminding me that I will find my words one day, so I keep trying.  In the meantime, it helps when people are patient with me, and understanding of my behaviour.

I really struggle to understand things that are new and different. I am still learning the rules at kinder, and still learning rules about life too.  I don’t always understand instructions, or how to wait for a turn, or how to sit properly for mat time or to eat.  I find it hard to share my space sometimes, and I can feel very anxious if another child cries or shouts.  My teachers and parents are helping me learn how to handle all of this, but it might take me a bit longer than most other kids.

I do sometimes like to be around other children, but I don’t know how to make friends or play a game together.  It helps when someone can play alongside me, or when an adult can show me how to play, help me share or take turns. 

The world is a big and confusing place for me, and for this reason, I don’t always realise that I am in danger.  I might try to put dangerous things in my mouth. Or I sometimes try to run out through open doors and across roads and carparks.  I can’t swim and don’t understand danger around water.  It helps when doors are kept shut and locked, but if you see me try to run away without my mum, dad or teacher, please help me stay safely indoors!

I love tickles, songs and music, and my favourite colour is red.  I love to climb, jump, play on swings and go down a slide.  I like to play ring-a-rosie, and run around with other kids.  I love puzzles, bead frames, peg boards and blocks.  I am learning how to throw and catch a ball, and I am just starting to understand how wonderful the alphabet and numbers are. I also like cuddles with mum or other people I know, even though I don’t know how to give a hug.  If I like someone, I show them by leaning against them.  

I hope that if you work in my room you can be understanding and open to my unique needs and abilities.  It might also help if you can talk to your child and let them know that I am different in some ways, and that it’s ok to be different.  Please also remember that I am just like any other child trying to find my way in the world and be happy.

Thank you for reading my letter, and I hope to meet you at kinder!



Tuesday, April 17, 2012

This Is My Life Every Day

Sung to the tune of "Spotty kind of day"

There's a toy over here
And a shoe over there
Pasta sauce on your ear
And some snot on your hair
And a lot of lego blocks
On the floor - everywhere!
This is my life every day.

Wipe a nose over here
Wipe a bum over there
Try to cook up some dinner
When there's kids 'round your legs
Then stand guard so your son eats
Without climbing off his chair!
This is my life every day.

Help with homework over here
Sign a diary over there
Fight with boy to brush his teeth
Trying real hard not to swear
And then put them all to bed
Hugs and kisses, bedtime prayers
This is my life every day.

Have some dinner and a shower
'Cause it's time for some self care
Husband comes home from his work
Enters bathroom, just to stare
Then make lunches, iron shirt
Some computer, crash in bed
This is my life every day.


Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Chocolate Mousse Cheesecake Tart

Made this on the weekend, and thought I'd share my recipe with you all. I'm not going to rave on about how good it was. I just hope you give it a try and see for yourself. All I will say is that it was a hit with everyone and whatever was left was very quickly polished off the next day by whoever got there first.... and we all tried to be first *guilty*.

A bit of a description: The base is made with oreos and a few plain sweet biscuits - makes for a yummy chocolaty flavour without being too rich. The bottom layer is chocolate flecked cheesecake - a recipe that I basically made up by tweaking lots of other different cheesecake recipes I had looked at a few years ago. The top layer is a simple chocolate mousse using half dark chocolate and half milk chocolate so that it's not too rich. Altogether it makes for a super yummy delightful dessert that really is very more-ish. You don't feel sick after this unless you have pigged out on something else beforehand.

It's not a 5 minute wonder, but it is easy to make. And once it's done, there is no baking. This is a great dessert to make the day before or even a few days before. I plan on making a double amount and using a bigger tin for this Easter weekend.

Chocolate Mousse Cheesecake Tart

150g Oreo biscuits
About 5 plain sweet biscuits, such as Arnotts Marie
125g butter, melted

Lightly grease a 23cm springform/cheesecake tin.
Process all biscuits into fine crumbs. Combine with melted butter and mix well. Press evenly into tin and smooth out with the back of a spoon. Chill while preparing the filling.

Bottom layer: Chocolate flecked cheesecake
250g packaged cream cheese, softened
1/6 cup caster sugar (I just used half of a 1/3 measuring cup)
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
150ml thickened cream
1 1/2 tsp gelatine
1 tbsp boiling water
2 tbsp grated dark chocolate

Sprinkle the gelatine over boiling water and mix briskly with a fork until dissolved.

In a medium bowl, beat together the cream cheese, sugar and vanilla essence until smooth and creamy.

Beat in the gelatine dissolved in water.

In a separate bowl, whip the cream until medium peaks form. Fold gently into the cream cheese mixture.

Fold in the grated chocolate.

Pour the mixture onto the biscuit base, spreading it gently to the edges with the back of a spoon. Try to get the layer as even and smooth as possible. Chill while preparing the chocolate mousse layer.

Top layer: Chocolate mousse
50g dark chocolate, chopped
50g milk chocolate, chopped
1/3 cup thickened cream
1 egg, at room temperature, separated
1 tbsp caster sugar

Place both chocolates in a heatproof bowl, and microwave at 20 second bursts, stirring with a metal spoon after each interval, until melted and smooth. You may need to decrease the time towards the end so as not to overheat your chocolate (ie. 10 or 7 second bursts). Set aside to cool.

Meanwhile, whip the cream until medium peaks form.

Add the egg yolk and half the cream to the chocolate, and stir to combine.

Add the other half of the cream, and fold gently through.

Using clean dry beaters and bowl, beat the egg white until soft peaks form. Add sugar and continue beating until glossy and sugar is dissolved.

Fold the egg white mixture into the chocolate mixture in two batches, until combined. Don't over mix, but there shouldn't be any white streaks left in the mixture.

Gently pour over the cheesecake filling and spread as evenly as possible up to the edges with the back of a spoon. You can shake the tin very gently to smooth out the surface.

Refrigerate for 4 hours, or until set. I prefer to make mine the day before and just refrigerate overnight.

To serve, you could pipe whipped cream around the edges and decorate with chocolate lattices, or sprinkle chocolate curls, or just serve it as is. Will yield 12 conservative serves, or 8 really generous serves.

*A couple of tips: Try to use good quality chocolate, as this will effect the taste and texture of your final product.

To avoid seizing your chocolate when you add the egg yolk and cream, try to have all of your ingredients at as similar temperature as possible when combining into your chocolate. Allow your chocolate to cool right down to room temperature, but not so cool that it begins to set.