About Me

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I am a special education teacher in England, working in a mainstream academy with a centre for children with learning difficulties. I teach a class of 7 students of secondary age with profound and multiple learning difficulties. These include autism, visual impairment and sensory integration disorder. I love love love my job. It inspires ,enthuses .and lifts me and I never intend to retire. :)

Sunday, 28 July 2013

Memories of Mother

My Mother died fairly recently, just after Easter this year.She died of pneumonia in hospital and we had enough time to rush to her bedside to say our goodbyes. It seems right to record some memories of her by way of a thank you for her effect on my life
My Mum and Dad were married for 50 years, plus, and a great example of true love worked out in action. Theirs wasn't always an easy relationship having its fair share of arguments, moods and long silences.They were very different people in almost every way but their utter respect for each other meant that whatever was going on between them they only spoke well of each other to others. My Mum suffered from depression for most of her life and as someone who both has depression and has lived with someone with depression I know that can ruin the best of relationships but my parents still loved and grew in love for fifty years. On their 40th wedding anniversary , Dad made a card for Mother and had written inside "Even when I retreat into the depths of my own heart .....I find you there." That still brings tears to my eyes and seems to me to express as complete a love as humans are capable of. My Mother was not a romantic woman and I never really heard her show her love for Dad, either verbally or physically and on receipt of the card she merely said "He's alright isn't he? . I swear though I saw a satisfied and happy smile lurking , although she was at pains not to let me .!

As  a Mother she was as loving, with as little verbal or physical demonstration of it.  However in no way could I ever doubt it. I was a very nervous child, cried all the time and was a complete pain in the bum.[of course now I know I was depressed from childhood] . Along with this went frequent wetting of beds and knickers . I was used to being told off, shouted at and threatened by other kids mums ,which of course made it worse, but NEVER my Mother. She would get up in the middle of the night, change the sheets, change me , tuck me back in all without a word or even a look of reproach..When I was ill with measles she sat up all night at the end of my bed , and long after I was an adult , if I became ill I still wanted my mother to comfort me. 
In my late teens I went through a horrid phase of blaming my mum for all my many problems! I regret this now but at the time my Mother was rather controlling and strict and consequently my life was very sheltered. Since then I have become close to people who's childhoods were so horrendous in terms of neglect and abuse that I can only be thankful for my loving upbringing. I was always safe, always knew I was loved and could always turn to my Mother in any hardship. I am so privileged to have had this.

Not only did I know that my parents loved me but I knew ,thanks to them, that God loved me. They didn't sit me down and teach me about God and his love but they made their own relationship with God so real, so in the here and now that Jesus simply lived with us. We talked to him and about Him in such a natural way that as soon as I knew anything at all I knew God loved me as I was. I didn't have to be "good" or perfect to earn it .This priceless gift I thank my parents for , as well as,of course my heavenly Father.

My Mother was crazy, in a good way! Totally hilariously mad! I think eccentric is probably the best way to describe her. She had no understanding of what and when to say things and would tell complete strangers what lovely skin they had. Now this may not seem so bad but at the time we lived in the south of England where to speak to a stranger was a mark of an escaped lunatic , never mind  to make personal comments about them. She  used her hands  for dramatic effect which was an added embarrassment to a young teenager. But we used to giggle at nonsense together  and her laughter and warmth lit up the atmosphere. Her eccentricity made mother a very endearing character and she was much loved whenever we lived.

Mother was a deeply spiritual character . Not just religious as in regular church going and prayer. She lived for God , longed to be closer to him and to do His will. Of the many examples of her love in action three stand out to me. She took in every tramp who called at her door , fed them, gave them a drink and whatever else was needed and filled their flask. It was in the days when there were tramps ie not homeless people but people who chose to walk without a home and their belongings on their back. Secondly she was unfailingly generous. She got a very small pension  in later life and most of it she gave to others .:whichever person or organisation she felt God wanted her to . Lastly I was very close to a gay couple and spent much time with them over most of my 20s. My mother genuinely believed that to actively be gay was a sin but she welcomed them into her house with as much love and warmth as anyone and they had no idea she disapproved.. Now the people who read my biog will think this nothing special and indeed as it should be? I agree but Mother came from a legalistic and often judgemental religious background so I believe she was a triumph of God's grace over the hatred and prejudice of humankind.

Sadly before the end of her life Mother suffered from dementia. She also had many little ailments that made her life unpleasant and a drag.She was so grateful to Dad for his constant care but she'd  had enough. She wanted to go home. By that she meant her eternal home with her heavenly father. Non of us believed she would die first .My Dad has had a heart attack and a stroke. It seemed natural he would go first and my Mother couldn't face thought of life without him. But God heard her cry and gave her her heart's desire. Her death was peaceful and gentle .She waited til the whole family were there and then instantly slipped away and now has no more pain or tears .

Dearest Mother, I'm sorry it took me so long to see what a treasure you were. Now I do and if I am half the servant of God that you were I'll be happy. Your life was a gift to God and your death was His gift to you.xxx

Thursday, 3 January 2013

Resolutions? Not for me!

 This was a timely reminder to myself that I discovered.It brought to mind my ofttimes enthusiasm for change,in my life and in myself which then relapses into apathy :( . Timely ,as I am now writing this post and if I can write it when not feeling great,and even believe  it , then I will so much more easily live it with Gods help and strength in the coming months .

New year .The time for reevaluating and for making resolutions.Lose weight, exercise more, work harder, stop moaning? I'm not going to though.Absolutely no resolutions this year .Resolutions tend to be things to do, maybe what you want to achieve, how you want to behave in a different way.Instead, I'm going to focus on who I want to be ..I read somewhere [out there on the Internet where I can't remember and therefore I'm sorry, but I can't credit where I got it from ] about asking God to give you a word for the year ahead  A word that focuses on being, not doing,, on relationships with God and people ;that will, through prayer, become a natural part of who you are and will reflect Christ to the world in a way that is specific to you I have my word from God ...;its HOSPITABLE

By hospitable I mean so much more than welcoming visitors to my home, inviting people for meals and offering food and drink. I am currently studying t he rule of life of the Northumbrian Community as a novice and hospitality is an important part of being available to God and others . My current module describes it as not only the open door "but the open heart offering acceptance and love,it is the open mind ready and willing to listen , to receive and to exchange insight" Powerful stuff! powerful as it's challenging and exciting . I am discovering, with God's help what this means for me personally.

Mt primary calling is to be hospitable to God. It sounds strange but we do need to be hospitable to Him .He doesn't force his way into our lives. I will endeavour to welcome my Lord into my daily life, hourly, in fact by practising His presence . I will see how much of each day I can grasp for God by remaining open to His loving presence.. I will also spend quality time with Him daily.I have found that this daily time with God is the main way I can manage my depression as He ministers to me. If I leave it for a few days I quickly spiral downwards.

The Celtic Church saw all strangers and friends as the visible incarnation of the invisible Christ. They therefore welcomed all people as they welcomed Christ with Joy. As I am an introvert, who restores my energies through silence and aloneness, I can see people as a distraction from prayer. I fit much more easily into the cell of the monastic life than the open door. This is a challenge for me but one God wants me to take and I think for me even accepting invitations is part of that challenge. By receiving I must welcome the relationships of my friends. This is hospitality of the heart.

We Christians can be so bad at acceptance of others . I cringe when I consider my youth and the rules and beliefs I thought were important for others to have before they were accepted as part of our narrow group.True hospitality would never seek to burden any person with our expectations and demands as a condition of our acceptance, neither would it criticise or judge those that are not like us . God is so practical when he speaks to us in prayer at times and he told me a few months ago to stop nagging my husband about smoking. I stopped, and Alan is so conscious of God love shown through that small change in attitude. In a much bigger way I am more concerned to be a welcoming person in my relationships than to be right or get involved in a competition about what is truth. I often post articles or posters on my face book page that are anti gay bashing, and I make no apology for this. I am determined to love and accept all people as Jesus loves and accepts all people

In my hospitality I want to welcome the people God brings to my life as they are, where they are and who they are, with no ulterior motive to convert them [only God can convert anyway] or change them .I want my house, my heart and mind to be a space where others can find God and a change can take place. I want to share peoples life and listen to their story ,

All this excites me , It makes me say Yes to God at the core of my being. But then I remember without God I am nothing. I live with depression , constant ill health and exhaustion. Many times social phobia . If I am to be hospitable I must be there in prayer, be there in service to others and even simply be there with others at all. I am willing Lord .Help me and Your strength will be made perfect in my weakness.

           In the homes of Jairus, Matthew Mary and Martha Jesus was always the guest.
           At the meal table of the wealthy where he plied the case of the poor;among the religious
           where he spoke of life ...he was always the guest
           Upsetting polite company, befriending isolated people, welcoming the stranger, he was 
            always the guest

Sunday, 19 June 2011

My Dad , Neil Gaiman and lifes story tellers

I was recently reading M is for Magic by the wonderful Neil Gaiman and in his introduction he states " Stories you read when you're the right age never quite leave you. You may forget who wrote them and what the story was called .Sometimes you'll forget precisely what happened, but if a story touches you it will stay with you, haunting the places in your mind that you rarely ever visit" This resonated with me strongly .

Stories have always been to a big part of my life , due in a large part to my Dad who was a great story teller . From a very young age I remember him telling stories to myself and my brother . Each night he told me a story about little yellow night gown . As she went to bed every night there would be a tap tap tap on the window and some great dream like character would take her out into the night sky and an adventure . One night it was the seven stars in the sky who took her to the man in the moon and another night for a change it was a tap tap tap on the door revealing a hot CROSS bun with a grumpy face . Maybe its a sign of how very young I was that I never realised that Little Yellow Nightgown was me :)
My brothers stories were about life on the common [near where we lived ] and involved Pixie and slowcoach who was a snail and others I've forgotten.

As we grew older my Dad read us stories rather than inventing them . My love of books was fostered in the evenings where we sat round Dad after tea and he read the Narnia series , Lord of the Rings, Five children and It ,Henriettas house and so much more . He had an amazing ability to bring stories to life with a different voice for each character and just the right amount of emotion and drama . We had no TV so this was our family time . Dad always ended the evening on a cliff hanger and asked for eg " how would Frodo deal with this news? Where was Gandalf and why was he not where he said he would be? Find out ,in the next thrilling episode of LORD OF THE RINGS !,He followed this with a little theme tune .

Being read to in no way took the place of my own reading. I used to read while I was meant to be in bed asleep, behind the curtains , trying to grab the last bit of daylight until my eyes were straining too much in the fading light. There is no point in trying to remember all the books I loved but there were definitely some that touched and stayed with me. The Armourers house : I read that book at least 10 times about a young girl with a star crossed love for the sea and boats. As my life with stories started in the realms of fantasy I read every fantasy book I could lay hands on and the Laura Ingalls Wilder books about her life growing up in America with a pioneering Father really captured my imagination , maybe because it was real life [ and nothing at all like that dreadful TV programme Little House on the Prairie which was based on her book ]
Little Woman of course and Young Wives like many girls were my favourites at one point but the one I read 10 times in that series was Little Men. I always did like to see what happened next.

As I was exploring my relationship with God I read many autobiographies by people who God had touched and changed . The Cross and the Switchblade was so exciting to me that I read it not 10 times but 20 or more. When older , as a christian and chronologically I read Hinds Feet in High Places that has had an enormous life changing effect on me . I love the way stories don't stay within the pages of a book but become part of your own story .

Neil Gaiman , the master of fantasy . He has that ability to creatively and imaginatively suck you in and put you there,in the story , feeling what the characters are feeling and hoping their hopes . He writes stories that leave you with a feeling of loss that its ended although you inevitably finish it at 3am because just couldn't stop turning the pages . The first of his stories I read was Neverwhere , which I finished in the middle of the night and then my boyfriend read it and finished it in the middle of the night too.

So thankyou to all those wonderful story tellers and writers who have used their talents for our benefit . Its an art that I admire more than any other and am most grateful for . And thankyou to my lovely Dad who gave me and fostered in me a love of stories that has never left me and I have tried in turn to give to my own children .

I can't finish without mentioning the book I am reading now ; The Shack . Not reading but devouring in fact. I have cried and laughed , nodded in agreement and had my heart warmed by the truths in it . Its reminded me tearfully of my life's pain but has given me hope at the same time. Its a long time since a book has moved me so very much and I've had the impression I'm not just reading but the story has become intertwined with my story and at the end there won't be that sense of loss as the story will continue in my life and that of others I come in to contact with. I can't begin to describe it or explain how amazing it is ........please just read it !

If anyone wants to share their own favorite stories or suggest one I might read I would be delighted . The world is full of unread books waiting for me .I'd love for you to comment .

Monday, 2 May 2011

Changing Landscapes

Changing landscapes was the title of the Easter workshop weekend that I have just attended. Easter has has always been my absolutely favorite time of the year buthttp://www.blogger.com/img/blank.gif this last one has to be up there with the best .
It was called that as we were to explore where we've been as a community , the changes we are involved in and the future we look forward to. Its about the story of the community since its beginning and our ongoing story as it unfolds and we write it, together and as individuals . It was actually not AT ALL the kind of workshop I would have chosen having recently tried to live very much in the present. Looking back causes too much anguish and looking forward causes too much fear.But perhaps I haven't been living in the present, actually simply existing would be a more honest assessment.
I think God has decided to change that

I have , as described by one good friend ,been dealt a near fatal wound and for the last two years have become a recluse, never going out, never really engaging with anyone , and feeling a complete lack of energy or oomph. I've let friendships slip and good intentions disappear out of the window. I've stopped feeling hurt in that raw, anguished way but have actually stopped feeling anything at all much.

So I arrived at a morning of creativity and found I would explore the changing landscapes of my own life! Let me try and explain how this was done as it was a very useful and I'm sure most people would benefit in some way from doing this too.
Firstly think of the points of your life that were turning points, eg leaving home, getting married or it could be something as seemingly insignificant as something someone said that made you reevaluate your outlook or reading a life changing book .
Think of 10 to 12 such points throughout your life and draw them as waymarks across your paper.
Next , the space between two waymarks is a chapter of your life . Think of a title for that chapter and draw a landscape that descibes it. Eg mine included chapters called age of innocence, a lonely road, yahoo and shatter red dreams and the landscapes varied from a garden and a beatiful lake to a rubbish dump and a steep rocky mountain side. I found that things that at the time seemed like the end of everything didn't feature at all, and that times in my life that seemed dark actually were good overall. Best of all it revealed Gods hand on my life throughout, even when I didn't know it .The God" in whom we live and move and have our being" has had his loving hand firmly on me, even when I was doing my best to ignore him!
Next you draw your whole life in the form of landscapes joined together so you can see the overview.

I have done this sort of thing before and was entirely unemotional until the end. I had drawn the last two years as a hole in the ground. God has been in the hole with me but I had not raised my head above ground all this time. I suddenly realised that I couldn't envision any landscape at all for the future without my children. Without them there was a shut gate and nothing else. At that point we were called to midday prayer and I sat through it with tears streaming hoping no one had noticed

Later I talked to a lovely gentle friend about the experience. I explained the hole and don't feel guilty about it as its where I have needed to be. However I am a people person and one with a gift of feeling others pain and being with them in it.This is the way God has made me, its my way of being and its how God uses me to help others. I'm a "mercy person" . If you are interested read Andy Raine's wonderful book "Given for life" which you can get from the Cloisters part of the community website. It will show you how God intended you to be too. I also explained how I have felt more irritation than compassion lately and was very aware of how selfish I had become. My friend felt that I had a "blocked artery" due to the wounds I've suffered . My mercy blood has been unable to flow as I've too frightened of being hurt again.

The weekend continued with a growing awareness of The Almighty God's control over all our stories and the wonderful way He works out our future. Also the Easter message of the intertwining of pain and joy, of despair and hope of defeat and ultimate victory. The worst event in history, the death of Jesus Christ became the pivotal point of all restoration and victory for all mankind. As the joy rose in my I lost it to a terrible feeling of guilt, pain and fear. What was going on! I realised it was not my own feelings but those of a close friend I was feeling, a friend the Lord wanted me to pray for and love and listen to . I ran over to my friend who counselled me and cried " Hes unblocked the artery!" .

So I don't know what God has in store but its time to get out of the hole and start living again. I don't know the next chapter of my story or the landscape it will be BUT God and I will write it together and hopefully it will be something beautiful .

Monday, 23 August 2010

Prayer works?

I feel very uncomfortable when I hear or read the phrase "prayer works!" on a number of levels. Firstly it appears to refer to prayer as a kind of separate power from God. The power of prayer does not exist alone; its the power of God Himself who heals, creates , restores. If we pray to a pink cow would that have the power to help us? Of course not.
Is prayer a kind of list of requests for what we need and want for ourselves and our friends ? Sometimes it is, certainly , He is our father , our daddy , and what child doesn't come to their loving father and ask for things. He expects that,even wants that of us. He is the great Giver of all good things. However He is not a slot machine, we put the penny and He delivers the chocolate . Prayer is so much more than that,just as being a christian is more than believe or action :its about a relationship with God .
In prayer we come before our Lord ,as we are, no words, to know Him better. We spend time in His presence in order to change and become more like Jesus, and hopefully so we can share His love with the world.As we put our inner desires before Him He may not change our circumstances but He will change us and as we grow closer to Him He will give us the strength to deal with all life throws at us, and we'll know His love and comfort with us.
In the past year I have made many requests to God about my life. Prayers for what I want, prayers for escape from pain and bad circumstances, prayers for change.Very few of these prayers have "worked". But of course I haven't stopped praying.Because in the past year I have prayed virtually every day for at least half an hour God has been so close to me. I've known His strength, His guidance, I have listened and heard His will for me and known His peace. I pray and He answers with HIMSELF! What more priceless treasure could I have??
Because God is my Father creator, saviour, and Lord He knows better than me what is right for me , what will serve His best purpose in my life. In His presence I can learn to trust Him for the future and for all he can and will do for me and my innermost desires.When my marriage ended I prayed that God would give me my husband back and He didn't. He knew that it wouldn't be the best way for me and probably not for my husband either, and I am so glad He didn't answer that prayer. On a larger,more global scale Nelson Mandela spent 30 years in jail in South Africa. How many times must he have prayed for release, for an end to his suffering? It is my understanding however that if as a young man Mandela had led his people he would have done it in his youth and fervour and anger in a violent way, no doubt leading to no change or peace. That time in prison changed Mandela, in God's presence, to a man God could use to bring about a change for the country , south Africans and the world.

For me the question isn't does prayer work? Its do we seek Gods face or His hands? This has been His message to me for the last few weeks. Seek my face, that is God for Himself and not what He can do for you. Then as you do you can become a place of blessing for others , not in a place of blessing for yourself.

A friend of mine told me a story about how it was thought that God should be put on trial for what the Jews went through in the war and so he was: all the evidence examined , cases for and against presented , and He was found guilty. Guilty of pain death abandonment of His people. So when this shocking conclusion had been reached what do we do? Well we pray!

When Jesus was on earth and after a controversial talk people were turning away in their droves He turned to His disciples and said "do you want to leave too" and Peter said " to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life and we have believed and come to know that you are the holy one of God"
To whom shall be go indeed? I know that in my life whether prayer "works" or not I will seek Gods face. He is the only one who can make a difference, the only one to turn to, and I am happy to know that my times are in His hands.

Tuesday, 17 August 2010

Walking a mile in their shoes

I have always known that unless people have suffered from depression they don't really understand it . They may sympathise, they may have read up on it but that genuine understanding isn't there . I remember after being diagnosed with depression how much comfort I got from a friend who also had it . When I told her I wanted to dig a hole, get in and cover myself with leaves she didn't look at me as if I was mad , she said " oh yes , the need to hibernate that's normal" and when I told her I felt as if my brain was paralysed and I couldn't think or make decisions or do anything at all , that was in her experience too.

But suffering in one way doesn't seem to to help us empathise with another sort of suffering . I am certainly talking about myself here , and I suspect I am talking about us humans in general, such feeble selfish beings that we are . It wasn't until I had a divorce, that I understood the issues involved . I had always thought I was compassionate and caring to those in that situation but I hadn't realised the experience of bereavement and loss that it brought with it: lost plans , lost hopes and a lost future , as well as loss of a person who had been important enough to you to envisage sharing your life with . Again when having an emergency Cesarean and immediately afterwards , I was shocked at the strength of my trauma and distress . How many times had I felt sorry for someone, made noises of sympathy , prayed for them even, without realising what
what a truly horrid experience it was . The shock, the loss of control , the fear of what might happen . Each time I have suffered another of life's traumas I have made a mental note eg " if I know someone who this is happening to I must do such and such or say such and such.

Recently , after a horrible year of my life , it has seemed I have been ill with one thing , then another with no let up. I have spent 3 weeks of the holidays simply resting in the hope that my total exhaustion will go away . As I began to feel better I started to plan the activity of the next 3 weeks . Visiting friends , helping people, baking and cooking , planning for next term. I woke up on Monday morning raring to go and guess what ..... I had pulled a muscle in my shoulder while asleep [ yes that's right!!] and was in agony and barely able to move!

As I chuntered through the morning , moaning at God in self pity about how utterly fed up I was at never being right or healthy or able to do anything , I worked myself up into a state of misery where I felt I was a useless lump , helpless and dependant on others , no use to God or man and why why why and ended up crying for ages You can imagine it I've no doubt - not a pretty sight .lol Whilst sobbing I remembered [or was reminded ] of a lady at church who is in constant bad pain and in a wheelchair, completely dependant on her husband for most things . Also another close friend who is diagnosed with ME , often in bad pain and unable to do much without being exhausted and who cannot work or carry out an active ministry for God. It pulled me up short . I'm not saying that my very limited and temporary pain made me experience what they're going through , but in a very small way it gave me idea of what I was feeling might be like, multiplied a hundred fold .

I'm not saying whatever we suffer theres always someone worse off. Any suffering by an individual must be borne by them as best they can , without comparisons , but in future I want to use any experience of pain to turn my mind to prayer for others and my life to be one of real empathy for others in need . Also I'm praying that God will give me discernment when I meet others in need , as to what they are feeling and what they need from me that I can see with Gods eyes and feel with Gods heart .

This is sounding very depressing and miserable post , but I've saved the most wonderful bit till last. What an amazing example of love and empathy we have in our God . He didn't feel compassion for us from a distance , but in Jesus God became man . He has felt exhaustion and pain , hes been rejected and hated by those he loved, hes been unjustly accused and tortured and murdered . He understands how we feel in these and more situations . And He not only has been where we are so He can comfort us but He calls us through it to His resurrection and His purpose in us and through us will not be thwarted . !!

Ands thats a thought worth reflecting on . God bless x

Sunday, 11 July 2010

Tobacco tin or iphone ?

As a girl guide many years ago we had to carry a survival kit around in our uniform pockets, which I think practically everyone held in a tobacco tin [for ease of fit but oh so non pc now!]. I still remember what it consisted of : a 2p and a 1p for the phone [now I'm really showing my age :)], an elastic band , a needle and thread, a safety pin, a spare button,a piece of string, a plaster or 3,and something to amuse a child. The latter was left to our imagination and of course the limited size of the tobacco tin . What any 13 girl could really achieve with this collection of random items is debatable but we were regularly inspected on the contents of our tins. One guide meeting during which we were required to be out in the town, myself and 2 friends" foolishly "took our tins out and left them behind feeling they would hinder our running ability. We got a black mark from Captain when we returned as "its when we are out and about that we are most likely to need them" This was before the days of Catherine Tate and "Am I bovvvered" you understand, but I'm sure that was what our faces were reflecting.
Now, recently I was in a house with no toys and 2 very bored little girls , daughters of a friend of mine. Did I wish I had my tobacco tin? No indeed ,I have something much better, my iphone, filled chock a block with things to amuse a child . I'm sure it would have kept them amused for several hours .
Recently a friend of mine on facebook asked iphone users what they had found was the most useful app they had added and I couldn't really reply as my phone is full of silly apps that bring lots of hilarity and laughter from kids of all ages but couldn't really be described as useful. I did start looking for apps that are useful in stimulating and teaching students with complex needs so here's a brief description of what I've used so far:-
  1. soundEFX , a great sound effects app useful for bringing multisensory stories to life or encouraging sound/picture matching. Also entertains 12 year old lads for well over an hour.
  2. PyroMania ; touch the screen and firewords explode , great for cause and effect, or attending to colours and moving objects
  3. ipiper , touch the screen and explore your way up and down a bag pipe -yuk , if you can bear it
  4. bobble zoo ;this one is one of my favorites , featuring several animals and their noise and when you shake the phone their heads wobble from side to side .Such fun!
  5. smack talk. This is fantastic and defy anyone not to laugh their socks off when they first encounter it. speak to the hamster on the screen[or kitten or puppy] and they will repeat it back in a silly squeaky voice. I was delighted when one of my students really understood he was actually affecting the hamster with his sounds and became more vocal
  6. Koipond , you can ripple the water by touching it , hear the splashing sounds and if you keep your finger still in one place the fish all come and nibble it , which actually feels like a little vibration.
  7. flashlight, which is simply that, for tracking and attention work in the dark room and you can change it to colours for a slightly different experience .
  8. I have also added old booth and fat booth for my own amusement. You take a photo of someone and you can change that persons hairstyle to look from the 60s or 70s . similarly fat booth makes you look FAT, in my case like someone in a sitcom wearing a fat suit !
I have also added the"hallelujah button". You press this big yellow button and get a short burst of The Hallelujah Chorus. How very cool is that?
So leave me in a room with any young or older child who needs entertaining and I can not only play them music , I can get them laughing at the hamster , creating fireworks , pressing scream ,witch and fart sound effects. I can make them fat or unrecognisable, and if the battery doesn't die this can go on for hours .