Have I mentioned before that I love all things science? No? Well, I love all things science!
For as long as I can remember I have always been interested in science. In primary school I can recall that I did an experiment on training the common backyard mini beast, the Slater!!
All though high school, science was one of my favourite subjects - it was when I was able to escape into a world that I understood. When I was in Year 11, I did a week of work experience at our local Natural History Museum in the marine science department and I fell in love with the idea of becoming a Marine Biologist. This also started my love of scuba diving.
After finishing Year 12, I studied science at university and accidentally fell into the role of a Science Education Officer for the Northern Territory Branch of the CSIRO Science Education Officer.
I found my calling - developing and presenting a range of hands-on science sessions for school age children. I travelled throughout the Northern Territory and the Kimberley Region of Western Australia presenting a range of science programs to children of all ages.
Through my work for the CSIRO I was nominated and became a finalist twice in the Young Australian of the Year awards. I also received a Queens Trust Award for my work with the CSIRO.
My aim for my love of science was to spread the love of science to children. I was always of the belief, and still am, that before we can have all these amazing Australian Scientists, we need to have children who have an interest and fascination with science.
Through our Autism journey and O and L's diagnosis process, I have come to realise that my fascination with science as a child could have been considered an obsession. Science and Music were two topics that could keep me entertained for hours on end.
Now that I have my own children, I want to impart my love of science onto them. Luckily for me, O is VERY interested in science. In fact, she loves the topic!
This morning we made the spur of the moment decision to head into the National Science Week Festival to get our inner science geek on. And I am glad that we did.
Both O and L had a ball (and just quietly so did I!)
They were both fascinated by the virtual hatching turtles that they were able to view through an iPad - don't you love how far technology has come!
They are both drawn to animals, so a visit to the reptiles and the cuddly animals was a must! L becomes so relaxed around animals. It was quite noisy at the festival and while in with the cuddly animals, I could see that L had completely zoned out and was not bothered in the slightest by the noise around him.
Both O and L are fascinated with the idea that Mummy used to Scuba dive and L is desperate to be able to give Scuba diving a go. Well today, he was able to. Albeit through a virtual reality mask. He loved it. They both waited patiently for their turn and when they finally put the virtual reality mask on, their were enthralled.
L was a little lost to start off with as the gentleman was explaining what L was seeing in terms that were way over L's head. As soon as I mentioned that L had autism, the gentleman completely changed the way that he was engaging with L. Someone has had some Autism Awareness training!
L loved the mask. He was spinning in his chair to see everything that the gentleman was explaining - the virtual tour was one of the dive trips that the team from the AIMS had done. From getting ready on the boat, to jumping into the water, swimming down to the sea floor and viewing all the animals. There was also a wreck that the divers were exploring but L was more interested in the sea animals. He was getting lots of giggles as he was spinning in the chair and reaching out to the sea creatures saying "get back here!!"
They both loved exploring the variety of sea sponges and kelp that were on display. A great sensory display!
Unfortunately for my little superheroes the Festival was incredibly busy - this in its itself was wonderful to see. There were loads of young families enjoying the displays. This just made the hall very loud and very busy, so we needed to leave before my little superheroes entered into sensory overload.
And the verdict from O and L - "That was fun Mummy! Can we go again!"
They both just see a trip like this as fun and play. I see the education and therapy potential. And I get to whip out my inner science geek!!