Happy New Year 2015-
After a relaxing festive break Ruben returns happily back to school. Ruben continues to make progress with his grade 2 braille and over all seems very happy within himself. Ruben has also started to make friends and talks positively about his school days J.
Ruben is still reluctant to interact with the puppy Axel but is enjoying having him around the house and is looking forward to taking him for a walk.
January 9th – Ruben attends Big friendly Giant @ the REP
Ruben attended the BFG with Mom & Dad as part of the actionaires group. There was a descriptive tour of the theatre and a chance to meet some of the cast. Ruben enjoyed the show and was happy to sit through with his ear phones on listening to the audio description. However when it was half time break Ruben was reluctant to go back in as he was aware that it was Friday night and was wanting to get home for the start of his Friday night dance off with Marvin Humes which is Rubens thing at the moment! Every Friday night Ruben is fixed on listening to Marvin Humes playing his set from 7-10pm which Ruben enjoys having a little dance too or just enjoying listening too!!! However this is taking over a little as it seems wherever we are he is adamant that we leave to get back for this, so we are trying to encourage Ruben to listen to it on our mobile so we are not restricted when we are oût!!!
February – Ruben attends football training with WBA
We have managed to find out whilst out and about with Theo playing football that there is blind football training taking place on Saturday mornings at West Brom, so we are encouraging Ruben to take part in this training as this would be great for his mobility and also socially to make friends. Ruben seemed to enjoy his first training session and looks forward to returning each week J
Ruben is now bonding with Axel and is enjoying taking him out for walks on his lead! We are also taking Axel training lessons and Axel is the star of the class!!
Ruben continues to work hard in school and is due to get his Braille note which he is extremely excited about,
Ruben continues to attend his football training sessions at WBA which is great to watch and is a fantastic opportunity for Ruben, however Ruben can be easily distracted and loose mhis concentration very quickly. Having spoke to the coaches they said that it was an age thing and that it was more about him enjoying it and hopefully he will soon get the enthusiasm to listen and train.
April – Ruben attends the musical Shrek at the hippodrome
We were fortunate to get tickets with the actionaires to watch the musical shrek. Again we had a tour of the theatre and had the chance to meet the actors and feel some of the props which was great , however Ruben did get a little restless and found it difficult waiting around and at times became vocal but overall we enjoyed the show which was fabulous!! May think about just turning up for the show next time as Ruben tends to get impatient and can become restless.
May- Ruben attends his first big concert The Vamps O2 arena London christmas presents!
Ruben was very excited about the whole event from the journey down there until the start of the show. Ruben was overwhelmed with the whole expereince and we was not sure how Ruben was going to cope with the whole sensory overload, being the volume and the arena! Ruben coped really well with teh crowds and was happy to sit most of the way through the concert, however towards the end got extremeley tired and was happy to venture back t o birmingham, overall a fantastic expereince had by Ruben :)
June- Trip to oxford to meet Jess & Ross, Family & friends
were invited to meet up wiith our friends whikst they were camping at a farm in Oxford. We had a great time meetign new freinds sitting around the camp fire esating roasted marshmallows and having a sing song! Ruben enjoyed time out around the farms meeting all the animals and driving around on the tractor! all in all a great day out with beautiful freinds
July - Holiday time Eygpt hurgada
the time had arrived for our 2 week holiday for the beautiful resort of the Steingenberger Aqua Magic in Hurgada. As usual Ruben was very excited and had packed and was on count down leading up to the big Date!! We had decided to stay in Hotel in Manchester the Travel Lodge the day before so that we could relax and unwind and be prepared for our flight. We had a great stay enjoying an evening meal and a great night sleep before driving to our designated car park. On checking in point at the air port we realised that Ruben had left his comfort blanket at the hotel tucked up still in his bed! whilst Ruben , Mom & Theo waited in the lounge at the hotel Dad went back to the hotel in taxi to rescue the blanket!! luckily he arrived back and we were ushered through the airport to ensure we never missed the flight!! great start to our holiday ! finally we were on take off and all relieved that Ruben was happy and settled and holding on tight to his blanket!! after a great flight we arrived at our hotel which was huge. We were a little taken back by the size and having been taken to our room and looking around at the beautiful views we were delighted. The hotel room was located on the ground floor around the pools and few resturants the room was very spacious and clean having two bedrooms a bathroom and a lounge area and an area to sit outside. the hotel had many options to where we could dine being Ialian, chinese and we managed to try them all out. The staff were very welcoming and accomidating for us all. The pools were great and Ruben had a great time daily swimming and meeting new freinds. Theo was very popular with freinds and was off most days having fun! the beach was nearby which we were able to catch a mini bus or walk which was 10 mins but being extremely hot we opted for the bus! the sea was very warm and shallow making it perfect for Ruben to play and enjoy the sea. There was also a restuarnt on the beach and a bar free to use. The staff were exceelent and would get to now your favourite drinks and would bring you some of your favourite cocktails including the childrens cocktails! Ruben enjoyed listening to the water sports on the beach and was very interested in the jet ski which was a sport where you were starpped up in harness with a jet pack on your back and then lifted off and up flying over the sea! Ruben finally plucked up the courage to go for it & was very brave and enjoyed the whole flying experience that much he wanted to do it all over agian. we also wenet on a boat trip to another island which was a great day out and Mom went scuba diving fro the first time in her life which she really enjoyed seeing lots of different wild life under sea. The staff at the hotel were aware thet Ruben had never experienced a ride on the big slides and they wanted to make this a positive experince for Ruben so they planned for Ruben to go down a big slide with their staff when the ride was closed for lunch. Ruben was very excited and the experience was fantastic and we were very grateful to all the staff for making this happen for Ruben. we also hired a speed boat with friends Tanya and her daughter Lohan, we hired this privateley and had a beautiful day out which was a great day had by all, Ruben had a chnace to drive the boat, swim in the sea, visit an islnad in the middle of the sea and experinec the fast speed of the boat. overall we had a great experience and met some great people one who was very close to Ruben named Mina who was a swimming guard and waited daily to play with Ruben in the pool. A great holiday and lot,s of happy memories.
August - Trip to london on Virgin first class!
Ruben and I mom wenton a trip to London to visit friends Siobahn and Simon and Kiera, We had a special treat travelling doen first class on virgin train, which was a great way to travel. Ruben was very happy! we had a great time staying with friends, visitung the Science museum and travelling underground whcih was Rubens first experience on a tube., He loved it and really liked the buses where they are Audio and informs you of where they are stopping which is a great waqy to travel for Ruben.
August - Trip to western Super mare
Ruben , Mom and Nanny Graham joined up with action for blind to go on a trip to western super mare. we met in the city center and travelled down by coach. when we arrived we enjoyed a play on the beach riding the donkeys and enjoying the fair rides and then we went on the train to cross over the grand pier and enjoyed a lunch time snack. we enjoyed the whole day out and was able to meet new families and friends on our coach journey back.
September- Trip to Cadbury world
Ruben, Mom and Dianne enjoyed a day out at Cadburys chocolate factory. Ruben really enjoyed exploring the factory and listening to the machines whilst at work. Ruben enjoyed the ride and was given the opportunity to have a go at making chocolate and thought this was great !
September - Back to school
After a long 7 weeks holiday Ruben was reluctant to go back but once he got back to school with his friends and got back into his routine he was happy and settled agian.
October- Avon croft musuem
Met with Rachel and went to the Avion croft musuem in bromsgrove, The theme was based on halloween and therefore everything was spooky and pumkins scattered around everywhere! we enjoyed a tour around and never stoppped laughing, we went and explored the big windmill which Ruben was very interested in. Ruben was facinatde in the different tyoes of phones used in the past and even was able to use them to call other phone booths himself. We had lunch out and overall even though the weather was against us we had a great day out and laughed through most of the day with the funny Rachel !!
November – Happy 8th Birthday Ruben
This year Ruben asked if he could have a birthday party as he had never had one and liked the idea of it! So we had a chat of who he would be inviting and so he produced a list of all his school friends that were in his class and Cade, Sean, Julie. We talked about the different venue options and decided to opt for monster mayhem @ Star City. We chose this venue as it was central for everyone and because of previous experiences which we had there which were very positive. The day arrived and Ruben was very excited. Ruben had a portable DVD player for his Birthday which he was very pleased with, and some of his favourite James bond movies. Rubens birthday party went really well all of his friends turned up with lot,s of lovely presents and everyone seemed to enjoy themselves a lot. The staff were very accommodating and very friendly and made Rubens special day a day to remember. Ruben had an amazing cake which was made by Sally and this consisted of a train on a track which was all edible and made up of all Ruben,s favourite sweets and cake, which was very yummy! Sally,s husband Phill had even added sound to the cake which was amusing to al the children. After a successful Birthday party we came home where Ruben enjoyed opening up all his presents and we then got ready to meet more friends & Family @ Rubens favourite curry house, Thania Spice. There we were joined by Nanny & Grandad Graham, Becky & Sian and baby Alfie, & Dianne, we all had a lovely meal and again finished off the day on a high singing again Happy Birthday, Ruben had a fantastic birthday and was grateful to all that made it very special for him.
December- Ruben, s first session of echo location with Daniel Kish! :)
We received an email off Daniel Kish to inform us that he was working in the UK and would have a few days to work with Ruben should we wish, we were delighted that we had finally got to the stage that Ruben was going to get the opportunity to learn Echo location by the leading expert of world access for the blind. This was an exciting time for all off the family especially Ruben. I informed Ruben that Daniel was coming and that he would be working on echo location which Ruben was aware of, however had never used it. The time had come and Daniel arrived. Ruben was very excited and as soon as Daniel started to talk to Ruben in his American accent Ruben remembered Daniel straight away from the first ever experience when he was just 18 months old! Immediately Ruben warmed to Daniel and they spent quality time chatting and having a giggle between themselves, as Daniel read through Rubens Braille books to him. We had a relaxing evening planning the weekend ahead. The first session was home based where Daniel worked on how Ruben would use the click, explaining how the sound will bounce off objects and echo back too the ear. They both practised different types of clicks and Ruben was ready to start work, starting off with different sized tins.
It was amazing to see that Ruben was locating the tins almost immediately. Daniel was pleasantly surprised how fast Ruben was getting this! Swiftly they moved through different objects, shapes, sizes and it was clear that it was time to get out and explore the outdoors. We talked about familiar places and unfamiliar and planned to visit local park and a park that was not local finishing off the weekend with Rubens favourite pace to visit and a great way to use this new technique ! “ the airport”. We set off for our local park whereby usually Ruben would use his cane but would still need to hold my arm for reasurance. This time would be very different as Daniel started this activity by telling Ruben to let go of my arm and walk beside him to the park, reluctantly to do so Ruben let go and followed Daniels instructions. It was fascinating to see Ruben confidently navigating his way to the park using his long cane and for the first time ever the click “ echo location “. Finally my dream of Ruben being given this opportunity had finally happened, the time had come that I had been dreaming of since I first met Daniel when Ruben was just 6 months of age! This was a moment that I will treasure for ever, the first time my boy lets go of my arm and confidentially explore his surroundings with the president of world access for the blind, a very proud moment for any mother, similar to your child's first steps I guess!! but more.... when we reached the play equipment Ruben was able to locate the slide, climbing frame and even started to clap his hands to try and get auditory feedback from the houses in the far distance. WOW moment, Ruben enjoyed a little play at the park before moving onto unfamiliar grounds. We decided to try a park which Ruben was unfamiliar with which by this time Ruben was confident to walk alone and at times was leading his way! It was inspiring to see both Daniel & Ruben both exploring the environment freely. Having explored the outsides we agreed that it was time to look at indoor environments, and there was no better place for Ruben than he,s favourite pass time being Birmingham Airport! We arrived into the car park and as Ruben was entering the main entrance he stopped, and he stood still clapped his hands and listened intently which straight away I realised that he was copying something that Daniel had done whilst in the park earlier on this day, and it was to locate the actual building of which Ruben was able too , excited by this Ruben manoeuvred swiftly to the building using his cane to and hearing to locate the entrance. Ruben showed Daniel how independent he was by instigating the escalators and shouting this way Daniel!! this environment Ruben was familiar with as this is a place of many sensory experiences that Ruben likes to spend to of his weekends exploring. Ruben was telling Daniel all about the train station, lifts, air rail etc.. we decided to go and check out the new Genting arena. This was a place that was new to us all. We explored around the arena and in and out of all the shops, stopping off at the lindt chocolate shop whereby we all treated ourselves to something nice to eat :) As Ruben grew in confidence he was off through the airport alongside Daniel swiftly swiping his cane and clicking at the same time, which did attract a lot of attention. For what was to happen next we just was not prepared for.. the media got to hear that Daniel was working with Ruben in the UK and they were very interested in seeing and hearing what this was all about. Having a good chat with both Daniel & Ruben we agreed to an interview with ITV central news as we felt this would be a fantastic opportunity to raise awareness of echo location but to also raise awareness in the importance of early cane use, as there had been several issues across parts of the UK for blind & visually impaired children having their canes taking off them I n school due to health & safety reasons which was causing up roar, and so this positive press would help support these issues. the day had come and ITV were coming out to interview Ruben, myself & Daniel and i could not believe how nervous i felt! Ruben was very relaxed as was Daniel but i knew i had to do this for Ruben and i was so much wanting to raise awareness and share my wonderful experience of meeting Daniel Kish and showing othetr families that there is more what we can do to enable our children to become confident and more independent travellers. The day arrived and Lee Comley and his crew turned up, Lee had a good chat with both Daniel and Ruben and Ruben was happy to demonstarte his technique that he had picked up very quickly by Daniel Kish. Lee was amazed to hear and see for himself how Ruben was locating objects thriugh sound and even identifying the objects such as one being a cushion and the other a tin. We were all interviewed and overall it went really well, Ruben was fantastic and came across very well, it was a very proud and emotional moment :) . Within A day Of recording the interview it went live & for what was about to happen the day afer we was not prepared for!!
We had several calls from news agents wanting to hear our story, we had phone calls from GMTV wanting us to go to london the following day to go live, we had the one show , the phone never stopped. I ended up getting a news agent to act on our behalf and liase with the news as it was getting ridiculous with the high volume of calls i was receiving. With careful consideration i believed it was not approprate to take Ruben out of school and put him through interviews live on GMTV as it had already been a little busy and overwhelming for the family. We did talk with Ruben and ask if he would like to do more interviews at home which he was happy to do so we agree d that we would do an interview with the Daily Mail and we agreed to a live interview with GMTV.
The day the daily mail agents turned up they bought a batman out fit with them, and we asked why. They said that this would be a great eye catcher for readers and due to the fact that Daniel Kish was sometimes referred to as batman they fet that t his would be a great story to name Ruben Batboy! Our inital thoughts were simply "No! and i felt that this was making it out to be made to look a joke and therfore we would not go ahead. Ruben actually told them straight that it was strange as he agreed that bats are blind but batman is not blind and can see!!! which at the time was hilarious, but Ruben was not too bothered about wearign the costume as he was feeling like he was a super hero !! Again we spoke with Daniel and asked hs thoughts and he was not surprised by this and said that it was harmless and would be Rubens choice, and again reminded us that it was all about getting media attention and how this would visually attract peolpe to read the story. Again for us is was about raising awareness and we agreed. Following this story we were advised to set up a Fund for Ruben to support us to raise funds to help towards more sessions in echo location with the possibilty to take Ruben to the States one day. We had never gave this a thought but due to the fact this was specialist teaching and came at a cost we were advsed that we would be surprised how peolpe would like to support this cause, and so we had a day to set up a fund me page which we did and therafter te agents were able to add this information to the stoty that was being published in the news papers. A week passed and the story was full middle pages of the Daily Mail, it was also in the mail, the sun, the mirror!! in fact every newspaper i was picking up Rubens story appeared in it, I was blown away. Following this GMTV came out to interview Ruben and the Lovely Katie Rickett was so good with Ruben. They talked to Ruben about his hobbies and the love for James Bond and with no time Ruben and Katie were out at the local park pretending to be on a secret mission, and wwhilst doing this Ruben was demonstrating his cane skills and echo location around the park, which was fun and a really nice piece of footage to watch. Now it was time to rest and look forward to christmas and over the folloing days ahead Rubens Go fund me page was rising and rising and we could not believe the positve praise and respnse from friends and strangers. We now had a start to raise funds to one day get Ruben to the states with Daniel to build on his skills and meet lots of other children in similar situations who were also learning this skill, which would be encouraging and inspiring. I am excited to see what the future holds and i am so lookimg frward to seeing Ruben progress and become an independent traveller just like Daniel kish as i ahd dreamed of for many years :),
December- Festive time :)..
Ruben was very keen to get the Christmas tree and decorations out and up! But this year we will be looking at getting a new Christmas tree as our musical snowing tree has worn out, Ruben was quite sad to see this go however was excited about the new Christmas tree! We decided to surprise Ruben with a modern Christmas tree which was very pretty, however when Ruben was shown he was not at all happy with it, telling us it felt like a twig! Ruben was quite upset with our choice of tree and we could see that this tree was just very visual but actually it was not at all a nice tactile experience. Whilst Ruben was at school we wanted to cheer him up and decided to move the twig tree into the hall way which fitted lovely and seemed the perfect place for this tree. Nan & Grandad Graham got to hear about the tree fiasco and kindly offered to give us there previous Christmas tree which was a beautiful bushy tree, so we appreciated this so much. We put the tree up ready for Ruben,s return from school & Ruben was very happy with this tree. We spent the evening decorating the tree and putting up the trimmings! The house now looks very festive and we are all very happy with both our new Christmas tree,s !!
December – Happy Christmas Eve Ruben
Ruben was very excited that it was soon to be Christmas day and all he wanted to do was go to bed! We spent the day chilling watching some classic Christmas movies and towards the end of the day we needed to to spread the reindeer dust over the back garden, put out some carrots for Rudolf and sort out a nice drink for Santa with a nice cake to help him on his way! Once we had completed our chores it was time to settle down and wait for the big day itself !!
Christmas Day- Merry Christmas Ruben!
Surprisingly Ruben did not wake until 8 but was very eager to get down stairs to see if Santa had been to our house. We all went down stairs to see two sacks one which was for Ruben and one for Theo. But there was something very big wrapped up hidden in the corner by the Christmas tree, as Ruben frantically opened his presents he was wandering if he had got the one present that he had asked for which was a trike bike! Looking a little disappointed we informed Ruben that there was something big by the tree, and Ruben was ecstatic to reveal that it was his trike he had asked for on his wish list, Ruben was very happy. We were very excited to see that Santa,s Alfs had decorated our Table ready for our Christmas dinner! Ruben went out on his trike whilst the dinner was being prepared and nan & grandad Graham joined us for Christmas Dinner. We all had a lovely Christmas day and had lot,s of lovely presents, Happy 8th Christmas Ruben x
New Year Eve/ Party time!! – Happy Birthday Theo 14 today! And A Happy New Year Ruben
its that time again that not only will we be bringing in a New Year but also celerbarting Theo's 14th Birthday. Theo decided to go into town with his friends for lunch and he would then meet up later with family and freinds at our gathering in the evening. As usual we had an open house for freinds and family to come and have some food and drinks and celerbrate Theo;s birtdays as well as bring in the new year in as we do each year ! Again we had a full house with lots of laughter and Dancing until the early hours, Ruben enjoyed spending time with Cade which both of them enjoyed dancing and having a very late night which ended up in a sleep over... happy new year :)