Friday, 14 March 2014

Motivation - encouraging your child to go out!

Join Roar on her "great big expedition".

Use Roar the Little Dinosaur as a motivating role model to encourage your child to go out and play, visit familiar and new places and discover what's going on outside the home.

Find out more about the Roar books at

Happy motivating!
Hazel Reeves

Thursday, 19 December 2013

It's got my name on it!

I went crazy at the weekend and made loads of Gingerbread men. I took some to school and gave them out to the children I share books with. I'd put them in individual bags and stuck Christmas labels on them: "To … from Mrs Reeves."
The reaction from the children was really special and quite significant:

One little boy, who's on the Autistic Spectrum said: "You've got a surprise for us. Oh Thank You Mrs Reeves." The little chap, who finds it difficult to give eye contact and often whizzes around the classroom, gave me an impulsive squeezy hug.

"Did you make them for us?" said another little girl, who finds it quite hard to concentrate in class.

"It's got my name on it!" shouted out one little boy, with great delight and amazement.

I nearly didn't put name labels on them. It would have been easier to hand out gingerbread men unwrapped. The children would have eaten them and that would be that. Their reaction has reminded me of the deep need within us all to be called by name. To be known by name and to be recognised as an individual is a powerful affirmation of who we are.

The Christmas songs and stories tell us that "Santa Claus is coming to town" and that he's bringing gifts to us as individuals.
The prophet Isaiah delivered a message from God that said:

"I have called you by name; you are mine." 

The Message translation of the Holy Bible puts it like this:

“Don’t be afraid, I’ve redeemed you.
    I’ve called your name. You’re mine.
When you’re in over your head, I’ll be there with you.
    When you’re in rough waters, you will not go down.
When you’re between a rock and a hard place,
    it won’t be a dead end—
Because I am God, your personal God.

Happy Christmas, if you're celebrating.
Best Wishes
Hazel Reeves

Tuesday, 29 October 2013

Author in Residence - in a pop-up tent!

On 2 afternoons a week I'm having great fun sharing books with children in Class 1, using my puppet buddies. We sit in a rather small pop-up tent in the book corner and share picture books and listen to individual children read. The joint sharing of books is so much more than just 'listening to readers'. The children love using the puppets to look at the books, talk to me and take the puppet to find the next child.
I'm being presented with hand written 'invitations' for the puppets, lots of 'mark making' on scrap paper and lots of chat about the picture books and other unrelated bits of information they wish to share. I'm in great admiration of the teachers who plan meticulously and use their creative minds to teach young children a vast array of for me and the puppets...we just love sharing books!


Watch out for upcoming news of the Roar puppet and next 3 books for 2014 at 

Best wishes
Hazel Reeves                                                                                                                   

Friday, 27 September 2013

Oats in the carpet.

There are oats scattered across my carpet and oats across the kitchen floor. There have been tears before school and tears before bed-time. Term time has started and I watch with admiration how my daughter bravely faces each day. She cares about the minute details of her friends lives, the perfect presentation of each piece of homework and she feels the need to get it right every second of the day.

Sometimes when the pressure rises inside her she feels the need to release the tension and rips up paper and scatters it on the floor. Today it was her breakfast oats!

Cleaning the floor takes a few minutes. Keeping a balance between positive and negative mental health is a life long learning process. I love her and her ways, so off I go to clear the floors.

Best wishes
Hazel Reeves

Wednesday, 21 August 2013


The sun is shining, our plans are made, we're packing bags, it's that time of year when everyone asks you if you're taking a holiday. This year we can say yes, we are taking a regular summer holiday like other families. We've learnt some things to avoid and we are taking a huge risk and making a change from our usual unseasonal holiday in a remote spot! We're still heading for a quiet destination with minimum fuss but there will be other people there and lots of cars on the road and we're travelling further than 3 hours away from home. Will it be ok?

Good news! My daughter has packed a bag full of everything that may be needed on a car journey and for a holiday by the sea.  I didn't need to worry as she has now taken on the role of chief organiser and activity bag packer. When we got to our destination we were upgraded to a different self catering lodge. This took some time to adjust to and it was a close thing if the bags were going to be unpacked. I held my breath, took several steps backwards and let dad deal with this hitch in our carefully laid plans.

The next day when it was apparent that other families were staying at the same location, I heard a voice saying: "They shouldn't be here!"
We met another family with a little boy with autism. As he sat in the tea rooms listening to music through his headphones and laughing to himself out loud, my daughter looked up from her book. We got chatting to the other family. Neither of us felt so alone anymore! We met near the shower block and shared stories of our days out. He'd disappeared and runaway from their tent. They found him hiding in the farmhouse porch. Our daughter had found it hard to return to our lodge after a day out. The transition from car to holiday lodge was overwhelming her. "What do I do?" was the anguished cry. Thankfully she rummaged in her large bag and found one of the many activity books she had packed!

The sun shone, we swam in the sea. We had delicious food and much that was the same as at home but...we went on a summer holiday to a new destination, at a busy time of year and we not only survived but we may even go again!

Happy Holidays!
Best wishes
Hazel Reeves

Saturday, 8 June 2013

Small World

There is a whole world of little animals living in our hallway. They come in family groups and have their own homes, boats, caravans and shops. Their food is tiny, their cups and plates minuscule and you can brush the hedgehogs hair with a hairbrush the size of my little finger nail!
Here's a world to escape to when everything gets too noisy and busy. You can ask a special friend to join in and even invite them to bring along their small world of animals to meet yours.
Ordering a small world of little animals brings realignment to my daughter's mind and many other children who crave structure and serenity in a chaotic world full of sudden changes.
Fears can be played out, family groups behave as required and rehearsals taken for the big events in life. I must admit I rather like brushing the hedehogs hair and ordering tiny pizzas from the squirrel who sells them and offers a free delivery service on his little bicycle!

In fact, I'm just off to visit this small world of animals who have most recently moved into the dolls house. I feel like a giant peering through the tiny window and am wondering when it was that we, as adults, stopped playing and forgot the importance of play!

Best wishes
Hazel Reeves

Thursday, 2 May 2013

Beach Prayers

I was walking along the beach yesterday. The long awaited spring sunshine warmed my face.The familiar sea breeze had lost its harsh winter edge and I felt privileged to be alone with my dog in such peaceful surroundings. I've walked this beach many times over the past decade. Sometimes harmoniously, frequently in despair. My cries of inadequacy competing with the crashing waves and icy winds. I have always returned a little lighter and somehow more able to deal with my daughter's autism. This isn't magic but an age old wisdom that let's my spirit cry out, be heard and the ancient mystery of prayer bring about a change in my daily situation.

I think that many of my prayers went like this:

Prayer for Wisdom

I'm all out of ideas, words and inspiration,
This little person's got me running, sighing, inwardly crying,
I don't know what she needs or how to find out.

Take me to the right door, lead me through it,
Let me feel your presence, your breath, your wisdom,
I'm screaming out to you, holding out to you,
Help me carry on, give me a new way through.

Everywhere I go I'm meeting people who know someone living with or working with children with autism. Prayers for wisdom are going up each and every hour. The biggest answer to my initial prayer was to know that it wasn't my fault and that I wasn't alone. Maybe we can be an answer to someone else's prayers. Let them know that they are not alone and share the strategies that have worked in little ways at various stages of this long and difficult but surprisingly rewarding journey.

I'd love to hear about the little things that help you.
Please do post a comment!

Best wishes
Hazel Reeves