Hey there, Delilah!
My name is Amber, and we were so excited to have Clawdeen stay with us for a night.
We met Clawdeen at Glenelg Beach, with some of the other people in the FMS PAD group from Adelaide.
Do you know what, Delilah? My sister, Jasmine, has autism just like you.
Once everyone got to Glenelg, we all went for a walk on the jetty. Clawdeen found a big circle that she could poke her head through.
Everyone watched a group of guys jetty-jumping. Clawdeen thought the water looked very deep, and didn’t want to jump off the jetty.
After finishing our walk on the jetty, Clawdeen couldn’t wait to wade in the shallow water. Clawdeen was so excited she jumped out of her boots! She started running down to the waves.
Clawdeen was about to go into the water all by herself, but it was so windy she almost fell over! She asked if I could help her to stand up in the water, and I happily agreed.
After swimming, Clawdeen was hungry enough to eat a whole plate of rare steak, but chips would have to do. So everyone went to buy chips to eat for lunch. We went to a spot near the beach to eat them. Clawdeen thought they were delicious. Do you like eating chips, Delilah? You might call them French fries.
Once all of the chips had been eaten, we had a surprise for Clawdeen. Abbey Bominable, Draculaura, Howleen and Lagoona Blue all dropped in for a chat. Clawdeen was so happy to see all of her friends, even her most annoying sister, Howleen!
After saying goodbye to all of her school friends and her sister, Clawdeen met my cousin Lulu, who had brought all of Clawdeen’s school friends to the beach. Clawdeen said “thank you” a lot of times to Lulu. Then Clawdeen realised just how many new friends she had made. She’d met Lulu, Benji, me and everyone in the FMS PAD group. That’s a lot of new friends!
Soon after, we had to leave the beach. Clawdeen said goodbye to all of her new friends. Clawdeen, Jasmine and I went to a playground. On the way there, Clawdeen saw a lot of boats. She was surprised at how many boats were in the marina.
After that, we got to the playground. Clawdeen had so much fun playing there with Jasmine. It reminded Clawdeen of playing with Delilah, and she got so excited thinking she was getting closer and closer to her best friend.
Once we’d played at the playground for a while, we got into the car to go to a place called Gumeracha in the Adelaide Hills. During the car ride, Clawdeen had lots of fun with Jasmine playing on her iPad.
When we got to Gumeracha, Clawdeen could hardly believe her eyes. There was a giant rocking horse there! Clawdeen was so excited when we told her we would be climbing it.
It was hard work, and a little bit scary for all of us to climb it, since we had to climb so high. But when we got to the top, the view was amazing!
Once we climbed back down, Jasmine and Clawdeen went over to the little rocking horse. It was a bit funny, because, although it was a rocking horse, you couldn’t rock it. It didn’t matter though, because Jasmine and Clawdeen loved sitting on it.
After we had our photos taken, we got certificates to say we’d climbed the Biggest Rocking Horse in the world. Then Clawdeen saw a signpost. It was pointing to lots of different places around the world, some of which Clawdeen has visited on her way home to you. One said ‘New York 17,594 km.’ I think that is close to where you live, Delilah.
We were all very tired after our big day, so we jumped into the car and went home. When we got home, Clawdeen was very excited to see that I had the Harry Potter books in my bookcase. She told me that she had gone to Harry Potter World at one of her stops on her way home. She knows how much you like Harry Potter, Delilah, and she was very eager to do some reading. She read a chapter of the ‘Order of the Phoenix’ before she had to go to sleep. She had a big day coming up tomorrow and she had to be up bright and early.
Clawdeen wanted me to take a picture of her sitting on top of the book to show you how big it was. Have you ever read a book as big as that?
The next morning everyone was awake really early, because it was a school morning. Clawdeen patiently waited while Jasmine and I got ready for school. While she was waiting, Clawdeen made sure that she had all of her belongings. She also remembered to get her certificate from the Big Rocking Horse and put it into her bag as well.
In the car on the way to school, Clawdeen had a last photo with Jasmine and I. I was going to my school first, and Clawdeen was going to Jasmine’s school to look around her classroom.
Jasmine was really excited to be taking Clawdeen to her school.
When Jasmine and Clawdeen got to Jasmine’s school, Clawdeen was really surprised. She thought it was awesome that Jasmine had eight students in her classroom, and even more awesome that her classroom had a glow room, which had lots of lights, cushions and blankets! (The glow room is a small room where the kids go if they need a quiet space.)
After visiting Jasmine’s school, Clawdeen quickly changed her clothes, then decided to lie down under the big fig trees in Gawler and think about all of her adventures from around the world, and how close she was getting to being back home with you.
Then it was time for Clawdeen to go to her next stop.
Thank you for staying with us, Clawdeen. It was lovely having you for a quick stay.
Love from Adelaide and all your friends.
By Amber Ryan
(with thanks to Chris Poulton, Jill Pope, Rosana Vasica-Rohrlach and Gayle Ryan for use of their photos as well as mine. And thanks to Dad for driving us around everywhere)