How we buy clothes for Mr. D

We don’t know if Karan understands or appreciates the clothes Mom and I buy for him, but we certainly enjoy it. As you can see, we found a t-shirt that said “Mr. D” on it and I knew then we simply had to buy it:

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I’ve transferred my love for buying t-shirts with phrases on them to when I buy Karan’s clothes. I don’t think we’ve bought anything for him (t-shirts i.e.) that are plain blocks of colour. There’s always something happening on his t-shirts…a graphic, a phrase, a combination of both! Like these t-shirts:

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There are a couple of restrictions though, as Karan has a couple of requirements for his comfort. The fabric should not itch him, especially around the neck, otherwise he starts scratching himself, so cotton is a good choice. In addition, we don’t buy shirts for him. It’s not easy for him to button things up and we just feel he’s more comfortable in tees…and we’re worried he’ll nibble the buttons off! The only shirt he owns:

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With regard to trousers, he doesn’t have any jeans. They don’t allow him the mobility trackpants do, and again, it’s simpler for him to pull the trackpants up than wearing jeans, zipping it and then buttoning it up.

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He doesn’t wear caps because he doesn’t like anything or anyone touching his head. Lately however, we’ve trialled putting caps on and seeing how long it takes before he whips it off and throws it across the room.

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Shoes are another consideration. His fine motor abilities, while improved over the years, are not that developed for him to be able to tie shoelaces. Velcro shoes work best. I must tell you though, it’s quite hard for us to find adult shoes that have velcro on them! But when we eventually do, we snap them up! So he wears sports shoes or sandals with velcro, which are easier for him to wear.

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Clothes shopping for him is not without limitations, but even within that, I think he looks rather smart, doesn’t he? 🙂

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Autistic children get trial run for air travel

I think this is a brilliant initiative, and I urge authorities in the UAE to look into the same.

 

PHILADELPHIA – At 8 p.m. on a recent Saturday, Southwest Airlines Flight 2149 was poised to push back from the gate. Flight attendants gave fasten-seat belt instructions, and First Officer Peter Hayes announced, “There’s 25 minutes of flight time until we touch down in Philadelphia.” Capt. Todd Siems said the Boeing airliner was cruising at 37,000 feet. And after he turned off the seat belt sign, the young passengers were served complimentary Sprite, cranberry apple juice and airplane-shaped crackers.

Flight 2149 never left the gate at Philadelphia International Airport, though. It was a practice exercise for children with autism and their families to become familiar with air travel – carrying bags, getting boarding passes, going through security, waiting at the gate and sitting on the plane.

“I’m going to China, but we won’t really,” said an imaginative Gena Catanese, 5, of North Wales, Pa., accompanied by her parents and sisters Isabella, 6, and Emma, 3.

Just 18 months ago, Gena had a traumatic travel experience on vacation in Orlando. She expected to pre-board the plane with her family, but the protocol was she could pre-board only with one parent.

Gena became agitated and “over-stimulated,” her mother, Melanie Catanese, said. “There was no way she was able to fly home that day.” After receiving a frantic call, Gena’s pediatrician, Wendy Ross at Albert Einstein Medical Center, phoned and faxed letters to the Orlando airport.

“I thought, ‘This can never happen to one of my families again,’ ” Ross said. She contacted Philadelphia airport and Rick Dempsey, head of the airport’s Americans With Disabilities Act review committee.

“She wanted to bring a simulated airport experience for children with autism and their families,” Dempsey recalled. “The committee thought it was a great idea. The TSA bought into it. We even got an airline, Southwest, to buy into the idea.” Since then, there have been three “mock” flights.

“We asked the crews if they would mind sticking around for 30 to 40 minutes and go through a mock turnaround on a flight, as if we were flying somewhere,” said John Minor, Southwest’s local station manager.

“We let them know that autistic children are very literal, so we don’t want to say, ‘We’re flying to Disneyland,’ ” Minor said. “We just say, ‘This is a test run.’ ” Frontier Airlines plans to host a simulated flight for autistic children Dec. 11, and US Airways Group has one planned for January. British Airways also has expressed interest, Dempsey said.

In the spring, Ross trained 130 airport and airline employees about autism, a condition diagnosed in one in 100 children annually.

“It’s not something you outgrow, but if you get really good therapy you can cope better, compensate better,” Ross said.

Philadelphia Inquirer

 

 

In the front seat

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Mom sent me this picture today. It’s showing Karan sitting in the front passenger seat of Mom’s car. If you look at the background of the photograph, there’s a clothes-stand in the backseat, which meant Karan would’ve been extremely uncomfortable sitting at the back. He normally doesn’t sit in the front because…well, he gets excited because it’s new for him (we’ve done trials in our quiet neighbourhood), and loves stuffing his face near the AC vents and we’re just afraid he might get upset and grab Mom while she’s driving on Emirates Road (she has to drive from one end of Dubai to Sharjah to take him to school and back).

But this day, she had no choice.

And this is him after they arrived home. He apparently sat all the way really happily, staring out the window and did nothing untoward. Fingers crossed he’ll keep this up. It’s a real milestone for us, that he sat from Sharjah to Dubai, on a journey that takes a minimum of 45 minutes (if there’s traffic at the National Paints roundabout, all bets are off…it could even take up to 3 hours). The only “problem” was that he got annoyed that the sun was bearing down on his hands. In the back seat, he doesn’t have to deal with any sunlight and sits happily in the shade. What a princess! 😀

So here is our darling Karan, in all his glory, in the front seat of our car.

Congrats sweetheart!