Well apparently it is Thomas the Tank Engines Birthday today and it is also National Train day. It must be so busy on the Island of Sodor with a lot to celebrate.
It's so lovely that after all these years these engines still bring joy to all children around the world but they have also had a special place in the hearts of our children with Autism. I have constantly asked myself what it is about the Thomas and Friends and the link with Autism. I wondered if it was the faces, the stories, the music but I suppose it's a bit of all those factors. I have asked my son what it is he loves and never got a straight answer, and that's ok, he tends to just think I'm silly for not knowing. He finally gave me the answer I have been waiting for and he says....it is because he can go on the adventure of his life just like in the story.
How lovely is that? He can enter into a world where he feels safe, happy and where he can have fun. A world so different from this one but one that may be easier to engage with. I can understand that now and from his Autistic point of view that is just my Thomas. Of course he has to come away from Sodor and the engines and engage in the 'real' world shall we say but his comfort is there with the engines.
He is fastly approaching his 18th birthday now and my natural instinct was to try and move him onto something that was more age appropriate but why should I? If this is his sanctuary and his 'happy' place then I'm not going to change it. It has fulfilled him and been the way to go for so many years that I always say 'if it ain't broke don't fix it'.
So a huge Happy Birthday to Thomas the Engine and if you are a big train fan then I hope you have had a great National Train Day. Toot Toot!!!
Thank you for reading today, join me tomorrow for Pass the Remote Sunday.....for now though......
I had a great experience with my son this week whilst shopping in town. I'm working on a few life skills with him so we are learning to use a bank card and he's trying to get his head around using PIN numbers and when to just use contactless. All confusing stuff when in fact the important thing for him is just to get home as soon as possible and un box his new train or rip the cellophane off a new dvd.
So his purchase went over the £30 and we had to result to the PIN number option, I showed him how to pop the number in and got the last two digits wrong. He then shouted at me that in fact his last two digits were....... and then referred to two engines from Thomas and Friends.
Well I was bowled over, fancy that! Putting the numbers he wants to remember and matching them to his engines. Genius! one of those Autism moments that makes you think 'I wish I'd thought of that'. I've always been so useless with numbers and remembering phone number, passwords, PIN numbers etc and doing simple arithmetic so this is just a revelation.
I suppose it helps if you are a big Thomas and Friends fan and know your engines but for him to link his special interest and make it pro active to functional stuff in life, blooming brilliant I say. I now know my pin by the engines and I can remember my new car registration number thanks to this method.
So although I'm doing my best a a parent to guide my son in the right direction, life with autism just goes and kicks you up the arse and makes you feel a bit daft. Love it, all I could do on the way home is tell him how amazing he is......I always will, because what ever his limits and through all his struggles I will be there and do my best by him. I feel though things might reverse the other way around some of the time and he will just continue to give me the bright ideas.
So there ya go, I thought I would share that special moment with you. A funny, amazing and proud moment. Good aren't they when they happen? Simple to the rest but are a huge deal to us Autism families.
Thanks for reading today.........join me again tomorrow for Pass the Remote, for now though.......
Yesterday saw the release of the brand new Thomas and Friends movie 'Journey Beyond Sodor' and of course we had to be there. My son still loves Thomas and all his friends even at 17, so I think we may have been the eldest there at the cinema but who cares. I absolutely loved this and that's a revelation really because after years and years of watching episodes, movies and the. being repeated a hundred times I thought I would have been a bit tired of it by now.
It really is a lovely little film and as always it contains a special message regarding friendship and conquering problems to get through, regardless of what ever may hold us back. I know deep eh? I do think there are a lot more adults that could learn a lot from these films. It contains a bit of drama, quite a few laughs and new characters. Yes more to collect!! Beresford is the funniest crane I've seen and you don't come across many slightly clumsy, needy cranes with a Jamaican accent, my favourite in the film.
Journey Beyond Sodor introduces new characters called 'experimental engines' which include engines to give children with autism a character they may be able to identify with. This cast of engines all have extra parts, cogs, funnels and run slightly different to the other engines. They lack a bit of confidence and are unaware of their capabilities and don't quite realise what they can achieve until Thomas shows them. James initially starts the story by being very self absorbed and thinking he is the best until realising that maybe he's not and everyone is just as important as each other. This is strong stuff. I was feeling the love by the end.
Thomas and Friends has been a massive success for children with Autism with the engines being given easy to read facial expressions, colourful paintwork and also the stories being short, concise and so easy to understand. On numerous occasions over the years we have used these characters to enable my son to achieve goals and help him cope with life. When he started creating these stories, I don't think the Rev W. Awdry ever thought that his work would create such a powerful set of tools to use as therapy in the way his stories are used today. Everyone of all ages has enjoyed these stories at some point in their life. Personally I don't know what we would have done without them.
So we can certainly recommend this film if you have some Thomas fans yourself. We actually watched this without paying a penny. Thomas has a CEA card so as his carer I get free admission and we had some Odeon points saved which covered his ticket. Bargain!
The CEA card is provided by the Cinema Exhibitors Association and it gives the chance for any carer who cares for someone with a disability to receive free admission when purchasing a ticket for the person being cared for. It costs £6 for the year to cover administration costs and is available to you if you are receipt of certain benefits including DLA/PIP. It is worth applying for so to check criteria and apply online go to:
I hope you enjoy it, tell me what you think of it. The songs are just brilliant and I think we may be singing them for a while yet. They seem to create such happy catchy tunes that just stick in your head. I too admit to singing along with Thomas, its addictive and most of all FUN!!!
Thanks for reading today, join me tomorrow for Pass the Remote.
Take care for now.........
Every Saturday I will be talking about Autism and will review any useful information which may have been highlighted at any support groups in the week.