Tag Archives: Autism

D&D and social skills

Panda had the opportunity this Spring to get into group at her social skills center that ran a D&D group for 6wks.  It was only for kids that go to Skills in Motion.  It was run by a DM and had 6 spots available.  I jumped on that so quick that I think her head spun.  I quickly signed her up and paid the money for her to go.

I had written in the past about people using D&D to teach social skills and to help Autistic teens.

She had a blast.  She played a halfling rogue!!!  And she did a great job.  She scouted ahead.  She disabled traps.  She did take damage, but enjoyed each session.  As a group, they rescued someone from bullies(social skills group after all)  Now, due to the nature of her disability, getting any more information than that was difficult.  She does not relay information very well and is easily distracted.  But she loved it.  The DM had a modified Character Sheet for them to use.  He gave them their real character sheets at the end. If anyone knows where I can get these it would be great.

Unfortunately, it was only for 6 weeks and it ended in May.  They originally thought that they would have a second group, but the guy who was the DM got a job.

I have been trying to get my husband to run a campaign for some time now.  Pink wants to learn to play.  She has a couple of friends who are interested.   And now, Panda wants to play more.  He keeps trying to create a campaign, but work and home are busy.

Last month, we were talking with the Clinical Supervisor where Panda receives HBTS(Home Based Therapy Services for those not familiar with the lingo).  He has recently been given free reign to do club groups with the kids at the center because he is the only person interested.  He wanted to do a D&D group.  I told him about the D&D podcast where Dr. Raffael Boccamazzo talks about the benefit of D&D and how he would run the groups.  He talked with Geekdad and I about it and asked us to think about Geekdad running a group there.

But Geekdad may be taking some college courses in the Fall.  Still working on that idea and what he needs.  Plus, his work is crazy.  So I started wondering if I could DM.

I have not played D&D for years now.  Let me think…..when was Panda starting to show signs of Autism?  Oh yeah, birth.  She was a tough baby and that continued to toddler years.  We would think about starting again, but never could.  Then DDO came out and it was PERFECT!!!

But I have NEVER been a DM.  The idea of starting is quite daunting.  I pick up Geekdad’s DM guide and start reading through.  I then realized that it was actually 4th Edition.  No go.  Back the shelves.  I grabbed the Starter Set that Pink had gotten for her birthday two years ago and take out the DM Guide for The Lost Mine of Phandelver.  I start reading through it.

I then went on The YouTube(shhhh….don’t tell Pink since I am always nagging her to get off The YouTube) and searched for the Lost Mine Of Phandelver.  I found a series from Dungeons and Dragons themselves running the quest.  Greg Bilsland –  Producer for D&D Research and Design is the DM of the group.  The group has experienced and newcomers.  So far, I am on Part 3 and loving it.  I like how he keeps taking the opportunity to explain different parts of the game.  Helpful for those new to 5th Edition as the Player Handbook was not released yet during the first episode!

So tonight, we had our monthly Family Meeting with the Service Coordinator and Clinical Supervisor and discussed the possibility of the group.  I told them that I was interested in trying to DM the social skills group, but I needed to practice my skills beforehand.  The plan is for me to run the starter set with me as DM and Geekdad there to help me when I get stuck and give advice. We will use Panda, Pink, and a couple of Pink’s friends who want to learn as my guinea pigs.  I think if I bribe them with pizza and chips, I should be good.  NO MOUNTAIN DEW.  I need to save that caffeine kick for Pink when we keep her up late on raid night!

I also realized that Panda must have run part of the module as her character sheet is the halfling rogue from the Starter Set.  Good.  It will give her an edge over her sister.  The bullies were the goblins who kidnapped the knight!

I think once I get the hang of it, the 5th Edition will be easier for me than Geekdad.  His brain is still full of 1st, 2nd, and 3.5 where I just played and never really worried about the RULES……

My 5th Edition Dungeon Master’s Guide will be here tomorrow and my Player’s Handbook on Monday.  I plan on finishing this series of the videos and watching a few other groups to get an idea on DMing.

Any tips for someone starting to DM?  Videos to watch?  Things to read?

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Snowy Korthos Completed!

The youngest Halfling Commando made it off Snowy Korthos Island yesterday!!!

Panda, previously known as She who makes us Drink,  and my cleric, Geekmom Mommybot TM, took off into the explorer area to finish Korthos.  We had three quests left to do: Sacrifices, Redemption, and Misery’s Peak.  We have been running  quests on Normal.  I did not want it being difficult for Panda.  I want her to enjoy the quests and get used to running her character.

I took my laptop downstairs and positioned myself on the couch behind her while she was playing on my computer.   This allowed me to be able to hop up and help her if she needed.  It also allowed me to watch where she was and how she was keeping up.

We started off to Redemption.  She helped with the valves to shut off the blasts protecting the Cannith Crystals.  She got a bit turned about heading towards the tunnels where Heyton was hiding.  Note to self, turn up my gamma when she is running on my computer to make it easier for her to see in the dark.  We dispatched the Sahuagin quickly and convinced Heyton to help Korthos.

We moved on to Sacrifices to go save Arissa.  She helped free the additional prisoners.  I had opened the levers and had to step back and let her to do the rest.  Geekmom is a little too used to Korthos speed runs.   Got to the traps.  On Normal, they do not do much damage so I just told her to run through.  She said that she had an idea.  She timed the blade trap and got through without damage.  Go girl!!!   We ignored the Arcane skellie to avoid the Mario jumping for her.  She freed all the prisoners and sent Arissa on her way home to Daddy, the Mayor of Korthos.  Turned in all our quests and repaired.

We took a break for me to cook dinner and everyone because Pink insisted that she had no idea of how to run a cleric.  Personally, I think she is refusing anything to do with being a cleric.  We then had dinner before heading off to rid Korthos of the dragon that has been besieging it.

We met the companions at the entrance to Misery’s peak and then went our separate ways.  It was a fun romp through the tunnels.  She would kill the fleshies while I turned the undead.  Always fun to turn undead at the lower levels.

I taught her to go for the casters first, then archers, while I handled the undead.  It worked well.  Many cries of “Go for the Minions!!!!” and “Get the casters!!!”  were heard in our house.

Got to the part where you first see Aussircaex in all her glory when the adventurers get her attention.  Panda wanted to fight the dragon.  Later, little padawan.  Later.

I had her stop when we were running over the ice sheet so that I could hop until and show her Aussircaex running under the ice below.  The excitement and joy was awesome.  Those types of moments in the game make DDO awesome.  Especially when seeing for the first time.  Very cool to see through her eyes.

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If you look closely, you can see Aussircaex’s wings

Finally, we completed the run to find the MindFlayer and Dragon locked in a battle of wills.  We took our positions around the Quori Mindsunder and waited for our chance.  She could not hear the battle of wills with Darastrix Achthend.  She was worried that the sound would cause anxiety so she left my headset off.  We got the signal and destroyed the Quori Mindsunder.  We then watched Aussircaex take her revenge on the MindFlayer as Darastrix Achthend shattered into pieces.  We met up with Jeets, that tricky rogue, and then joined the rest of the group with Heyton.  We then took the Dimension Door out of the quest and got our lovely XP.

She was excited when she zoned out of the quest and saw that the splash-screen had a sunny Korthos instead of the snowy one that she was used to seeing.  She quickly turned in her end reward and took the ship out of Korthos.

I sent her an invite into the Halfling Commandos guild and took her on the airship.  She keep trying to stop at every quest giver between the docks to take their quests, but I told her to wait.

She was very happy to get off of Snowy Korthos.  I think that our next plan is to head into Cerulean Hills and visit Baudry Cartamon to help him out in the warehouse.

WOOT WOOT Panda-girl!!!!

The continued adventures of the youngest Halfling Commando.

Pink’s little sister, aka The Reason Why We Drink, took another journey into the DDO world recently.  This means, that I get booted off my computer so that she can play as her computer cannot currently run DDO.  I end up knitting on the couch which is usually fine with me, unless I was planning to play myself.  As I was.  But I was out of luck.

She took her fighter into more of the Korthos quests.  She had originally only completed the tutorial on her first attempt.  New experiences and things are very scary for her and can chose a great deal of anxiety.  We have to modulate our tones when offering her help or advice as it can increase her stress.

This day, however, she was on a roll.  She approached the quests with a bit more confidence.   I helped her find the quest givers in the Korthos Village.  She went on to run all the quests on her own!  Pink was rolling a character to help, but TRWED( got to come up with another name for her) refused all help from her sister.

She ran all four village quests on her own, including the longer The Collaborator quest.  She did ask for some help on the puzzle in  The Storehouse’s Secret.  Daddy stepped in with that.

I was very impressed.  She wants to out into the Korthos adventure!!!  She ran up to the Mayor to start the the adventure area quests, but it was bedtime.  And time for us to log on to play.

She really wants to get high enough to play with Geoff Hanna and his Gamer Girl.  I think that the open area might require a little bit of help, especially those quests leading up to Misery’s Peak.  Hopefully, she continues her interest!

Meet the newest Halfling Commando

Hi folks!!!  Not much going on in the Geek Family right now.  Quests are quests.

But recently, Pink’s little sister gave DDO a try.  She designed a character.  Halfling, of course.  I had her make a fighter since it is the easiest for new players.  She chose a great axe to be like Geoff Hanna.  What is it about Geoff that my daughters like so much????

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She ran the tutorial all by herself.  She had me help when she got turned around in the quest and when she needed to climb over for the lever.  Once I got her on track, she waved me off.

She did manage to complete the quest, but has not played since.  I think she mainly wants to dress the character…lol.  She is quite the fashion diva.

I also think that she was looking for Geoff Hanna and his Gamer Girl.  As a matter of fact, she is wearing her Ewok outfit for his Gamer Girl.   She got the shirt for Christmas from her uncle and was not impressed until I told her that Geoff’s Gamer Girl loved Ewoks.  Now, she will wear it all the time.

One of Pink’s guinea pigs was found to be dying one night while we were on Discord.  Craig had to deal with a hysterical Pink while I got to hold the dying guinea pig to give it comfort.  This left poor Amanda lost.  She was upset that Pink was crying, but unable to verbalize it because of her Autism.  Geoff, his Gamer Girl, and two other guildies were on Discord talking while we were dealing with the situation.  Amanda put on Craig’s headphones and listened to them.  She occasionally said Hello and told them what was happening.  They kept her busy and safe while we dealt with Pink and the guinea pig.  They are true friends, even through the distance.  They made sure that she never felt alone. So, she wears this outfit for them.

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Not sure if she will return to DDO, but it is a start.  Right now, she is playing MineCraft on Pink’s computer.

Still raising Geeks here……

 

Geekmom goes on a Facebook Rant

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Okay, so this is a ranting type of post.  It will most likely be my least read post. This has absolutely nothing to do with gaming, but more with being a mom.  And since I am Geekmom, it works.  At least for me.  The rest of you may want to back up a bit.  No, back up a little more…. little more….Okay, you may be safe.  No promises.

Some of you know that Pink’s younger sister is Autistic.   Geoff and his Gamer Girl, mostly of our guildies, and everyone who went out to dinner with us from DDO last year before Pax East know.

She is 11 years old.  Smart as a whip.  Cute as a button.  Devious as the Devil.  And Autistic.  Not the quirky kind either.  While she is verbal, her behaviors put her on the more severe side.

She now is just getting to understand that she is Autistic and will be for the rest of her life.  She has even wanted to not be Autistic.  And this kills me.

I have belonged to a group of women who are parents to children on the spectrum.  From all across the spectrum.  We started together on BabyCenter.  We moved to a private board when BabyCenter changed its format about 7 yrs old.  Now, we are in a private group on Facebook.  It was there that we had the following conversation:

Mom1:

Did any of you know that the breast cancer awareness “games”, the ones where you pick a random comment and post it to your wall, are now Autism Awareness “games”?

I honestly dont like them at all! Never have. I am all for awareness but why make stupid posts about it? I am sure I am the only one that feels this way. Which is fine. I was just caught off guard that they are now for Autism Awareness

As you can imagine, NOT ONE of us thought that this was a good idea, especially since this was one of the options:

Mom1: A friend posted that mayo on Reese’s peanut butter cups was good. I made the mistake and commented that is sounded gross to me. Next thing I got was a PM for participating in this game and how it was for autism awareness

PM: You shouldn’t have liked or commented on my last status hahaha. Now you have to pick from one of the below and post it as your status. This is the 2017 Autism Awareness game. Don’t be a spoil sport. Pick your poison from one of these and post it as your status.

1. Just found a squirrel in my car!

2. Just used my kids to get out of a speeding ticket.

3. How do you get rid of foot fungus?

4. All of my bras are missing!

5. I think I just accepted a marriage proposal online?!

6. I’ve decided to stop wearing underwear.

7. It’s confirmed I’m going to be a mommy/daddy.

8. Just won a chance audition on America’s got talent!

9. I’ve been accepted on master chef.

10. I’m getting a pet monkey!

11. I just peed myself!

12. Really thinking about getting butt implants!

13. Just won 700 on a scratcher!

14. We’re moving to Vermont at the end of the year!

15. Mayonnaise on Reese’s peanut butter cups is sooo good!

16. I’ve just been accepted on come dine with me whoop whoop.

Post with no explanations. Sorry, I fell for it too. Looking forward to your post. Ahhh don’t ruin it. (Don’t let the secret out). And remember it’s all for the 2017 Autism Awareness. Have fun!

Besides the inappropriateness of inviting a mother of a child with Autism to participate in such a game when this is her daily freaking life, the idea of relegating Autism Awareness to eating something gross is insulting.  Look at these options!  HOW DOES THIS RAISE AUTISM AWARENESS???

At this point, the only people who are not aware of Autism are those living under a rock or in a jungle.  Autistic people do not need awareness.  They need acceptance.  To be as they are.  Without forcing them into a round hole that they cannot fit into.

So, needless to say, I was rather fit to be tied and decided to head off anything thinking that I would be interested in this.

Prepare to get your knickers in a twist.

My Facebook post:

There is a “Autism Awareness game” going around on Facebook where you post a rather foolish statement and then send whoever posts on it a PM saying that they have to do the same. Many of you know that I have an autistic daughter. You may be tempted to include me in this. PLEASE DO NOT.
This is NOT Autism Awareness. Those on the spectrum are not a game to be played on Facebook. They are real people. With feelings. If you want to raise Autism Awareness, DO SOMETHING REAL.
Help me figure out how to not let the school system that she is in screw her over for her education. Help me educate society about her. Tell people to mind their own f’ing business when she has a meltdown in public. Help me keep her safe in society and from society. Help me know what is going to happen when she is no longer young and cute and has a meltdown that requires police. Help me when I have to call said police to have her taken to the hospital for evaluation. Help me figure out how to protect her from sexual predators. Help me figure out what she can do after high school ends.  Help me figure out what happens when I die and there is no one to take care of her, becuase this is my number one fear.
Stop playing stupid games and do something.

Feel free to share THIS!

Seriously folks, how do games like this raise any awareness of any of the conditions that it is used to “educate”?  I have seen this game for Breast Cancer, MS, and a host of other conditions.  How is this raising awareness?  Is the only way that you can think about a disease, a cancer, a neurological difference etc is to PLAY GAMES?

Read.  Ask questions. Educate yourself if you want answers.  Volunteer if you want to raise awareness.

If you want to play a Facebook game, go play Candy Crush.  As for me, I will be over on DDO and ESO with my friends and family, killing monsters while pretending them to be my daughter’s disability.

Rant over.  You can come out of hiding now.

The Sharn Syndicate

Monday and Tuesday morning in our Geek family was rough.  We were having a FA couple of days.  Those not in the know, FA stands for F&&K Autism.  My gamer child was showing some stress from it so while her sister was out of the house, I bought her The Sharn Syndicate expansion pack and took her on an adventure.

DDO has helped me reduce much of my stress from real life and I needed to give my gamer child some much needed one to one attention.  Geekdad was on a conference call.  So Off we went!

Stand Your Ground with Maxwell Statler went swimmingly on Hard.  We were both level 6 so I decided to ramp up the difficulty.  We had done all of 3BC on Normal because I wanted her to enjoy the game, not feel it was too difficult.

Next we ran over to Dirty Laundry.  I grabbed a hireling rogue to help with the traps.  She was not a bright bulb.  She liked to stand IN the trap while looking for it.  Either that or she really enjoyed the spike trap in a personal way.  But the trap was disabled.  The quest completed.  We were on a roll.

The Stormreaver Fresco was next on the list where we were betrayed by that warforged, Zircon.  That dirty rat! But we made it out of the bank without a problem.  Even on Hard.

Next up was The Bookbinder Rescue.  I had our useless hireling rogue to assist.  First fight, one of the Binders offed herself in the trap.  Thanks for waiting to be rescued.  Geekdad was off his conference call so we dragged his rogue into the quest with us.  First try, Grammah appeared in the hallway while we were in the rooms fighting.  Dead.  Take 3, we kill off everyone but Grammah Binder decided to bug and fall on top of the bookcase.  She had fallen and could not get up.  No matter how many times we tried, the old crone refused to budge and leave the house so that we could end the quest.  Sigh…..

So, that taught my gamer child two lessons.  One, quests bug.  Two, in-game support never showed.  So off we went to try Take 4.  Success.  Grammah leaves the building.  XP is awarded.  Only took four tries.

Repossession went easily.  Geekdad removed all the traps and we got maximum XP.  SWEET!

Last quest is usually my least favorite, Come Out and Slay.  But we had Geekdad and we were on a roll to finish.  Got into the tenements pretty quickly.  Bounced up the crates to run across the top and we dropped down.  By we, I mean my gamer child and I.  Geekdad was up top killing things.  He was close enough for the quest to end but died.  OOPSS.  Only a level 6 cleric so I could not rez him.  He had to recall.  Gamer child and I finished out and left Geekdad dead in the quest.  He was not on the chain anyways having only joined to get us through The Bookbinder Rescue.  He then announced,

“Dad never forgets.  Dad remembers The Sharn Syndicate”

Sorry sweetie.

We finished The Sharn Syndicate.  I had gamer child take the Nicked Longsword which she now LOVES.

The family that slays together, stays together.

Next up……Delera’s Tomb!