Friday, 19 February 2010

Being Miss Marple

I'm always up for a bit of a puzzle. And now my rather geeky taste for conundrums is helping me out in real life.

I've touched on this before, understanding autistic children, even (or especially) for those of us who know them well can be tricky.

Yesterday Lyla smashed 24 eggs in the sink, poured all the shampoo & bubble bath in the house down the plughole and then hid my MacBook....

Now, this is nothing new, she has done all these things before (many times!), but each time there's a different reason. And that's the puzzle....

Sometimes her behaviour might be acting out something she has heard and taken literally, for instance 'Don't put all your eggs in one basket'- this is usual for autistic people.

Having asked her why she'd done it, the next day (sometimes it can take Lyla this long to process a question, or even longer), she said that she'd done it 'as a sign for me that she want's to make cakes' (?!).

Now I have no problem with us making cakes, but the egg-cracking and stirring part can only be drawn out for 10 minutes, max, so I had to think up something else suitable.

It seems that the egg-cracking & shampoo-pouring satisfies some sort of sensory deficit, common in autistic children.

So , to prevent the cost of constantly replacing eggs and shampoo (even Poundland shampoo gets expensive if it's poured away every day), maybe she might enjoy trying Play-doh again?

We previously had to ban Play-doh because she ate it in such big quantities and ground it into everything- carpets, video slots and most memorably the door lock, where it set and I had to call a locksmith to open the door.

I used the this recipe from The Madhouse and added pink colouring glitter, my special ingredient for a touch of glamour- it's the best one I've tried, although you need seriously buff biceps when it gets to the kneading stage!

250ml salt
750ml warm water
750ml plain flour
3 tablespoons of oil
6 teaspoons of cream of tartar
Food colouring

Just put the salt & water into a pan and wait for the salt to melt. Add the rest of the ingredients and heat over medium heat until it starts to pull away from the sides. Knead it for a bit, eh Voila!

And the result......

Two hours of playing (Ten minutes is usually a struggle for us!) and 'I LOVE play-doh''s all round.

Episodes like this make me think I should go away and read Jung's Man & His Symbols or make like the cheesy Robert Langdon in The Da Vinci Code and become a full-time 'Symbologist'!!

So, the unlikely solution to the mystery of the egg-cracking was Play-Doh.

Who said I shouldn't be a detective?



  1. The play doh is great too if a child has sensitive hands, like my fella does, as it helps desensitize them. Love the glitter tip, never thought of that, it would make it very attractive. Delighted it worked so well, I also have to do detective regularly so its great to get hints and tips from other Detective Mums:) Jen.

  2. Wow - you are a star! What a lot to deal with and then on top of that kneading glittery dough you've made yourself.

    A great tip though and I will try and make some for G. To get him off the computer yesterday we had to 'cook' an alien gloop on the hob full of leftovers, 'mouldy cheese' etc etc etc -anything he could get his hands on to put in the pot and stir, and he loved it!


  3. Hi there! Thanks so much for following me. Your blog is fascinating - I thought raising just one child, not on the autistic spectrum, was difficult!! I've written some features in the past on the challenges of living with Asperger's, and have a genuine interest in finding out more about Autism. I'll look forward to keeping up-to-date with your progress with Layla. X

  4. Shampoo pouring, that is really interesting because Amy has a fetish with it! I go through more shampoo bottles than anything!

    CJ xx

  5. we have to remove the shampoo and shower gel from the shower before Bob has a wash as it goes straight down the plug too!
    btw play dough is also great for kids who smear their poo...i know it sounds yuck but it can help satisfy their need for squishing something.
    Cool blog! XXX


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