Autism and Pokemon

Autism and Pokemon

Something that myself and Jack have wanted to do for a while, is a post about Pokemon. I’ve not been sure how to do it, but decided to look at the relationship between autism and Pokemon in general. And look specifically at Jacks complete Pokemon obsession. The cartoon itself and the games are obviously fun, I am just about young enough, to remember when the cartoon first came out in the UK.

I enjoyed it at the time, but soon grew out of it and didn’t collect the cards or anything like that. A fun fact that I only learned recently is, the creator of Pokemon Satoshi Tajiri is autistic. The idea for Pokemon came from his obsession as a child for collecting bugs, and playing video games.

Pokemon Go

The real game changer though, was when the Pokemon Go came out in 2016. It was a big craze when it came out, but has calmed down to the big Pokemon fans. The good thing about the game for an autistic person like Jack, is it encouraged getting out in the fresh air and exercise.

Getting Jack to go for a walk wasn’t easy, now he can’t get out the house fast enough, so he can catch Pokemon. Also there’s the social side to it, if you don’t know the game. There is a need to have in game “friends” to complete tasks and compete in raids. I joined a local group (I have my own game account) so I could do this with Jack. Then there’s the conversation topic, if anyone mentions Pokemon (or even if they don’t) Jack can talk all day about it.

I have to say I enjoy our walks “Pokemon hunting” as Jack calls it, we have spent many hours out there catching or battling Pokemon. It has been fun, but it is something Jack takes very seriously. Jack has trouble distinguishing what is real and what is fiction, and a game like Pokemon Go blurs the line even more. That is what I want to talk about next regarding autism and Pokemon.

Jack’s Pokemon obsession

Autism and pokemon

Anyone who has ever met Jack, very quickly gets introduced to his “obsessions”. The 4 main ones are Pokemon, Minecraft, Secure Contain Protect and Lego. He will try and start a conversation about these things with anyone he meets. Which can be interesting when you’re stood in the queue at Tesco.

Currently he spends a lot of his time playing Pokemon Go, or various Pokemon games on his Nintendo Switch. He is determined to collect all of the possible Pokemon, and become the greatest Pokemon trainer who ever lived. It’s all good fun, but when people talk to him about it, they often don’t realise it’s not “just a game” to Jack. Saying that gets Jack very frustrated, to him his Pokemon are very real. Being able to tell the difference between reality and fiction. Is one of the big issues we face with Jack, and his ability to be independent at the moment.

Jack recently told he wants to travel the world to research all the Pokemon. A fun idea of course, but how to you make that a reality? I’m in a difficult place at the moment. Should I be trying to get him to see things from the “real world” perspective? Is that even possible for him? Should I just let him live in his fantasy world? Sometimes I wish I could live there. It’s so difficult to know what to do, as Jack also talks about wanting to get a job, have a girlfriend, get married and have a family. Some autistic people are able to function in the “norm”’of society, and some cant and need to be looked after their whole life. We still don’t know with Jack, it’s like he’s in a grey area in the middle at the moment.

Getting creative

Autism and pokemon is all about creativity, and it’s not just computer games and watching TV. Jack uses Pokemon to express his creative side as well. He is really excited to show you what he has been making, and we will start with his homemade Poke balls.

Jacks got some polystyrene balls, and decorated them using markers to looks like poke balls. The other thing he has been doing, is making his Pokemon book. Which is a a4 lined pad, which he is putting in Pokemon related stuff. Like drawing and colourings. It’s still very much a work in progress, and he is having fun doing it.

book

That’s all from this post on autism and Pokemon, the subject will undoubtedly pop up again at some point. As always, thank you for reading.

Dad Does Autism

Chocolate chip loaf cake

Chocolate chip loaf cake

The latest recipe we tried from our top 20 easy bakes for kids, is the chocolate chip loaf cake. I personally love loaf cake, it’s my favourite kind of cake. Lemon drizzle is my favourite, but the kids wanted chocolate chip. The kids always win!

Ingredients & Method

  • 250g butter
  • 250g caster sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • 250g self raising flour, sifted
  • 100g chocolate chips

  1. Preheat the oven to 180 C / Gas 4. Lightly grease and flour a 900g (2 lb) loaf tin.
  2. Beat the butter and sugar together in a bowl until light and fluffy. Add the eggs, one by one, mixing well after each addition. Mix in the sieved flour, then stir in the chocolate pieces/chips.
  3. Pour into greased loaf tin and bake for 50 to 60 minutes, or until a knife inserted into the middle of the cake comes out clean.

Fun to make

Lily had a great time making this, as with all these recipes. The idea is that they are simple enough for Jack and Lily to make, with minimal involvement from me. I helped with weighing the ingredients, breaking the eggs (as Lily gets very anxious about getting shell in the mixture), and putting in and out of the oven.

Like I said, Lily really enjoyed making the chocolate chip loaf cake. It’s a pretty big mixture so takes a bit of work to mix, but Lily had some music on to keep her motivated.

Lily sieved some icing sugar on the top of the cake to finish it off. It turned out pretty well, all of the chocolate chips seem to have sunk to the bottom half of the cake, but I like the texture of the cake. And in my humble opinion it tasted awesome.

chocolate chip loaf cake

This was number 9 of our top 20 list, we are getting through them slowly. We all hope you enjoy these posts, and they inspire you to get baking. As always, thank you for reading.

Dad Does Autism

Simple homemade cookies

Simple homemade cookies

It’s time to try another of the recipes from our, top 20 easy bakes for kids post. If you haven’t already seen that post, click the link to see all 20. Simple homemade cookies are what we have in store for you today, and who doesn’t love homemade cookies?

This was another one where I sat back and Lily did most is the work by herself, perhaps because it’s been a while since we last did some baking. She was very enthusiastic about making these. Weirdly this was the most difficult one so far, to find a simple recipe for. It seems like everyone to make their cookies extra fancy, personally I just want a good old fashioned chocolate chip cookie.

Ingredients

  • 112g butter
  • 55g caster sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 112g plain flour
  • 100g chocolate chips

Method

  • Preheated the oven to 180°C (gas mark 4). Line two baking trays with baking parchment.  
  • Cream together the butter and the sugar until its light and fluffy. Add the egg and continue to beat.
  • Sieve the flour and mix in with the butter and sugar.
  • Once you have your cookie dough, divide to make the number of cookies you want. It depends on the size of cookie your after. We got 10 medium sized cookies out of it. Place onto baking tray and press the mixture down slightly.
  • Bake them for 8-12 minutes. When they are cooked leave them for 15 minutes on the tray then transfer to a cooling rack.

Simple homemade cookies

Simple homemade cookies
simple homemade cookies

And there you have the finished article! Lily piled in some extra chocolate chips, so these are a bit extra chocolatey. I think I left them in the oven a little too long, I’m a bad judge on when cookies are ready. A couple of them were a little burnt, some still had that chewy texture you want. They all tasted nice which is the main thing!

They must have been good enough, as they didn’t last long. I’m hoping we will do another couple of the recipes from our top 20 bakes post, that we haven’t done yet. In the next week or so. As always, thank you for reading.

Dad Does Autism

Cardboard box Dog House

Cardboard box Dog House

Today I finally get to show of some of Jack’s creativity, which doesn’t involve technology. He has made a cardboard box dog house, for his stuffed dog Jasper. I’m really pleased to finally have something to show from Jack, as there’s a lot more stuff from Lily on here at the moment. As she is always busy making things, whereas Jack has to be in the right mood for it.

When Jack makes something, it can’t just be your average “normal” thing. This dog house comes with pizza walls and floor. The reason being his 3 stuffed dogs he has with him at all times. Known as the Snuggly’s, that you can read more about in this post by clicking here. They don’t eat dog food, they eat pizza. So Jack wanted to make sure Jasper always has plenty of pizza to eat. A very caring thought! I wouldn’t mind a permanent supply of pizza myself.

Cardboard box dog house

Making the dog house

This is a really simple thing to make, Jack just used a old cardboard box. Then for the pizza, paper plates and red and yellow crepe paper. Cut pizza slices out and stick to the walls. He also did a lovely drawing of Jasper, which you can see inside the dog house. Then he made a sign for the top of the dog house that says “Jaspizza”.

Dog house sign

Can you see the Jasper drawing? Purposely placed in that last photo by Jack, to show how cheeky Jasper is. This is a fun little glimpse into the mind creative mind of Jack, that I just wanted to share with you all. As well as this cardboard box dog house, Jack has been working on lots of Pokemon stuff, that will be coming in a post very soon. As always, thank you for reading.

Dad Does Autism

Simple Rocky Road Recipe

Simple Rocky Road Recipe

The latest trip into the kitchen, sees myself and Lily making this simple rocky road recipe. This is number 7 of our attempts to make the recipes from the top 20 easy bakes for kids list, that we came up with. I’ve eaten plenty of rocky road in my time, but this would be my first time making it.

One thing that stuck out to me, as I was looking online for a recipe to follow. Is just how many slight variations there are to a Rocky Road recipe. In the end I picked one, and made my own slight variation. This is quite similar to the chocolate digestive fridge cake, that we have already made. The main difference is that you want to break the biscuit into much bigger chunks this time, and we are adding more ingredients.

Ingredients

  • 200g milk chocolate
  • 100g dark chocolate
  • 250g butter
  • 200g digestive biscuits
  • 2 table spoons Golden Syrup
  • 75g mini marshmallows (for mixture)
  • 25g mini marshmallows (for decoration)
  • 25g raisins
Ingredients
ingredients (minus the butter that I missed out)

Method

  • Great a baking tin.
  • Melt the chocolate in a heat proof bowl over a pan of boiling water. When the chocolate has melted add the butter and golden syrup. Stir regularly until its all melted and combined.
  • Mix the biscuits, raisins and the 75g of marshmallows in a bowl and pour in the chocolate mixture. Stir until the biscuits and marshmallows are evenly coated.
  • Pour the mixture into a tin and refrigerate. After 15 minutes remove from the fridge and top with the remaining marshmallows. Then return to the fridge.
  • Once the chocolate has set, remove from the fridge and cut into pieces.
Simple Rocky Road recipe

And there it is, another easy one that require no baking. Our simple Rocky Road recipe. It was a team effort this one, as we wanted to get them made quickly, so they would be ready for a picnic in the garden. It went quite well for a first attempt, I thought the chocolate mixture was a bit too runny, and was worried it wouldn’t turn out right. But they look okay and they tasted nice, and that’s a win in my book. After a couple of easy ones, we might have to do some real baking next time! As always, thanks for reading.

Dad Does Autism

Lily’s homemade cards

Lily’s homemade cards

Today I just want to share something with you that Lily did as a surprise for me. She made me a card. Lily loves making homemade cards, and there doesn’t need to be an occasion. She will just make one for people, she does it all the time for us at home. Her friends at school and other family members. She just loves being creative, and sharing it with people.

Regular readers will know that Lily loves to get creative with arts and crafts. You will also know that I like to bang on about it continuously, like any proud father should. As a young autistic girl, she is finding so much of life really difficult at the moment. When she sits down with some paper, card or whatever else, and is just allowed to be creative. It is such a beautiful thing to see, and makes me so happy.

Lily’s card

Homemade cards
Lily’s card

So there’s Lily’s card, and I can’t even express how much that I love it. A little picture of Lily she printed out, on top of a ladder made out of ice lolly sticks and matchsticks. I love how she found a photo of her reaching up, and it’s then positioned towards a moon. Then in the speech bubble it says, “love you to the moon and back”. It is just so cute, and it melts my heart. Then you have Lily’s creativity coming out with the night sky. So many colours going on, and then some stars stuck on. I think it’s incredible, but I’m obviously biased, so what do you think?

Homemade cards are always great for birthday’s Christmas, and whatever else you celebrate. But you are probably expecting a card of some sort already. To get one for no particular reason, other than the person giving it to you wanted to make something for you. Is really cool, and something I’d recommended doing, either yourself or something to get your kids to do.

If you’d like to see some more of Lily’s creations, click here to go to Lily’s Art Gallery. Her little gallery is slowly growing, and there’s quite a few cool things in there now. As always thank you to reading.

Dad Does Autism

Simple chocolate digestive fridge cake

Simple chocolate digestive fridge cake

Next up on the bakes we are trying from out top 20 easy bakes for kids post is, the simple chocolate digestive fridge cake. This one is not strictly baking, all you need are 4 ingredients and a fridge. A bowl and a spoon, plus a way to melt some chocolate and you are good to go.

Ingredients

  • 200g chocolate (any you like, we used Galaxy)
  • 225g Digestive biscuits (crushed)
  • 125g butter
  • 2 tablespoons of Golden Syrup
Ingredients

Method

Melt the butter and golden syrup in a pan. Add the crushed digestive biscuits and mix. Break the chocolate up and add to the pan. Mix as the chocolate melts. Once it is all mixed together, add to a lined cake tin and put in the fridge.

Completed mixture
Mixture before going in fridge

After an hour or 2 the mixture should be set, and ready to take out of the fridge. Take the cake out of the tin, and cut into squares/rectangles.

simple chocolate digestive fridge cake
the finished cakes

This is one of my absolute favourite treats, these ones tasted so good. Then considering how easy they are to make, for me nothing beats them. Simple chocolate digestive fridge cake, easy to make and taste great. If you’ve never tried this before, you need to give them a go. They probably aren’t good for the calorie count, but as an occasional treat, they are lovely!

If you haven’t checked out our top 20 bakes for kids post, you can do so by clicking this link. There is a wide variety on there, and this one if possibly my favourite. It certainly is that we’ve made so far, but I’m looking forward to making the cherry Bakewell cupcakes. Let us know what your favourite is, or even any other baking ideas we could try. As always, thank you for reading.

Dad Does Autism

Why you should frame your child’s art

Why you should frame your child’s art

If this isn’t your first time to this blog, there’s a good chance you will know, that my daughter loves art. Today I want to talk about, why you should frame your child’s art. I believe if your child has done a nice piece of art, and they are really proud of it. It should be put on display, in pride of place. You can put drawings or painting on the fridge using fridge magnets.

Something we did with Lily a while back was put one of her paintings in a frame. Then put it on display in the living room. She was so happy and proud to see her painting on display like that. It is a really simple thing to do, and you can get a simple plain a4 frame for relatively little money.

The benefits for the child

You get a nice centre piece, perhaps for the fire place or a windowsill. But what I really want to talk about is the benefits for the child. This relatively simple gesture, not only shows them you are proud and happy with their work. It shows them support, and for someone like Lily who really enjoys art. It encourages her to do more, and to do it with confidence.

As an autistic girl who has really struggled in her first year at junior school, Lily’s confidence and self esteem has taken a massive hit. She is working 2 years behind her expected level for her age, and gets really frustrated, and at times calls herself stupid. Finding ways to boost her confidence and self esteem, have been really important.

Lily did a lovely painting of a flowers in small pot/vase, and we decided it was time for another frame. We have a small back window in the living room, which is where we put the painting.

Why you should frame your child’s art

You always want to let your children know that you are proud of them, and do what you can too boost their confidence. That is why you should frame your child’s art, it is the gift that keeps on giving. Their painting will be on show as a constant visual reminder of your pride and support, and keep giving them little boosts of confidence. Then when visitors come around, it’s their for them to see, and bound to draw some compliments. Giving them another boost.

Give it a try

If you have children I strongly recommend doing this, especially if they enjoy art. Even if they aren’t particularly arty, even something like colouring in a printed picture. Is perfectly good enough, after all this isn’t about how great the picture is. It’s about making the child feel good about themself.

If you enjoyed seeing Lily’s painting, you can see lots more of her arts and crafts by clicking this link. That takes you to Lily’s Art Gallery. As always, thank you for reading.

Dad Does Autism

Nature Art for Kids

Nature Art for Kids

This latest post was fun to do, it is about nature art for kids. Basically we went out for a walk around our local nature reserve, which is great in its own right. This time though we took a box with us, to collect things off of the ground to use for an art project. I’m very much a believer in leaving nature alone, so only things on the ground were to be taken.

The kids were happy with this, as they both like to look after nature anyway. The ground was literally covered in sticks, so there wasn’t going to be a shortage of material. We had a nice walk around, and myself and Lily collected lots of material for the art project. Jack just wanted to walk around.

Time for the nature art for kids

The walk was fun, but once we got home it was time to think about the art project. We had a really good haul of stuff, so it was time for Lily to decide what she wanted to do.

Nature art for kids

This is what Lily decided to do. She cut out some printed letters, to spell Mummy, Daddy, Jack and Lily, and stuck them on some paper. She then drew some pictures. For the record, the drawings are of the Pokemon Bulbasaur (for Jack), A motorbike, a candle (form mum) and a bouncy car like you get on a play area.

Lily wanted to make a frame for the picture, and decorate it using the sticks that we found. So what we did was cut 2 pieces of cardboard to A4 size, and stuck the drawing onto one piece. Then cut the middle out of other piece of card, leaving a frame roughly 2cm thick. Lily stuck that onto the drawing, which left the sticks. Lily had a great time glueing then around the frame, with some PVA glue.

It left the finished article looking like this….

Lily was really happy with how it turned out, and I think it looks great. There’s still plenty of stuff left in the box too, so if anyone has any ideas of things we can do with it. We are very open to ideas, please leave a comment below. To see more of Lily’s arts and crafts, visit the Lily’s Art Gallery section.

Dad Does Autism

Marshmallow Rice Krispie Squares

Marshmallow Rice Krispie Squares

Today is the latest instalment from our adventures baking in the kitchen. Another very simple, but messy recipe. Marshmallow Rice Krispie Squares. I much prefer the marshmallow to the chocolate version, but I can’t remember ever actually making any myself. So this was a first for me, and I didn’t realise just how sticky the mixture was going to be.

Ingredients

  • 45g butter
  • 300g mini marshmallows
  • 180g rice krispies
Ingredients
Ingredients

Method

  • Melt the butter in a large saucepan on low heat. My advice is the largest saucepan you’ve got, for when it’s time for the Rice Krispies.
  • Add the marshmallows and cook gently until they are completely melted and blended, stirring constantly.
  • Take the pan off the heat and immediately add the cereal, mixing lightly until well coated.
  • Press the mixture into a greased square tin, and the flatten. The mixture is incredibly sticky, which is either fun or a nightmare, depending on your persuasion. We only had small tins, so spread the mixture over 2 tins.
  • Let the marshmallow crispy squares cool completely in the tin and then cut them into squares.
Marshmallow Rice Krispie Squares
Pink Marshmallow Rice Krispie Squares

There you have the finished Marshmallow Rice Krispie Squares, a great treat from just 3 ingredients. You might notice a slight pink colour too ours, as we used pink & white marshmallows. Lily was particularly happy with the colour, I was happy with the taste! These really are one of my favourites.

We are really enjoying making cakes at the moment, so myself, Jack and Lily are getting a list of possibly 20 of the best cakes. That we think we can make, and will make it a post, eventually making them all. So there will be a link to the recipe of each one, that’s the plan. Sounds easy when I say it. If anyone has any recommendations of good bakes to do with kids, we are open to suggestions. Leave a comment below.

Dad Does Autism