Tuesday, 6 September 2016

Read All About It, Read All About It - Police Regain the B&F Cup - Match Report

East End Park was bathed in sunshine as the stadium played host to the fourth annual Ben and Finlay Challenge Cup. The gleaming trophy, donated by Fife Engineering Services, had just been engraved with the previous years’ winners and had spent the last 12 months in the safe custody of the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service. 

The build-up to the match was difficult for both sides as key players were lost to injury not least the Police’s intended player-manager Stevie Kay who ruptured his Achilles at training just two days before the game. He therefore had to resort to a manager only role propped up on his crutches in the dugout. The Fire Service lost the services of last year’s hat-trick hero Russell Smart to a calf injury.

The walk from the dressing rooms beneath the Norrie McCathie Stand always serves as a reminder of the exalted players and now legends who have gone before and graced the hallowed turf with their excellence. Jock Stein, Alex Ferguson, Roy Barry, Norrie and our own Andy Tod are just some of the faces that inspire on the walk towards the pitch.

The surface was akin to a billiard table, by far the best pitch we have played on so far and provided an excellent platform for what was to be a fiercely competitive contest. A decent sprinkling of spectators was housed in the McCathie stand and looked on as the Police kicked off just after 2pm towards the Cowdenbeath end.

Learning from last year’s demolition where the Police side was carved up through the middle of the park, the Police welcomed Andy Tod back to the centre of defence to partner the ever youthful 52-year-old Brian ‘Bambi’ Kenny. Sitting in front of them a la Claude Makelele was former Raith Rovers hero and now Dundee cop, Robbie Raeside. Bombing on either side of the centre halves were full backs Shug ‘Spuds fan’ Pearce and Derek Skene. Goalkeeper Scott Russell replaced the now retired Carley Marshall between the sticks and looked resplendent in his Fife Constabulary high visibility jersey.

Strung across the midfield were the solid Dan Greig, Duracell powered Paul Cochrane and Law Society veteran Stevie Fell. Up top, Russell Craig supported willing runner John McDiarmid.

The Police side started confidently as they kept the ball and sprayed passes around in the sunshine. Within two minutes of the start, the Police were ahead as Stevie Fell bundled home at the far post following a patient build-up. Stevie will doubtless rightly have embellished the quality of the strike in his post-match post-mortem with friends and family and put it down to his new Adidas Tiger and Scorcher Billy Dane’s boots! The truth is that it was a sclaff but they all count and the Police were ahead.

This reverse pressed the Fire Service team into probing more forcefully up front and their early efforts were quickly rewarded when (it was never) a penalty was awarded in the sixth minute for a challenge by Andy Tod. Referee Gary Kelly had no hesitation in rewarding the faint appeal from the sniper struck striker. Everyone else appeared stunned by the award but Wynn Edwards was not going to be embarrassed by the ref’s charity and calmly slotted the pen away low to the keeper’s left. Scott in goal got hands to the strike but alas couldn’t keep it out and the Fire Service were level.

The game then settled down a bit with both teams enjoying some possession although there was an assurance about the Police play and build-up largely orchestrated by Robbie the midfield anchor. The ref was doing his best to avoid producing cards despite some fairly meaty challenges.

After 25 minutes the Police regained the lead with a low struck shot by the tireless Paul Cochrane, which crept under the keeper at his near post.

Pat Callaghan, that famous Pars name, then entered the fray replacing the exhausted Russell Craig up front. The Police side held the lead until half-time and the whistle was welcomed by both teams as the hot sunshine and big, manicured pitch were clearly taking their toll.

Manager Kay took the opportunity to freshen up the Police team introducing human battering ram Eck (Robbie’s brother) Raeside up front and in midfield, Bryan Kerr, Chris Campbell and ex-Par Russell Taylor were put into action.

Within minutes of the restart, the Police stretched their lead following some neat play down the left involving full back Skene, Paul Cochrane and Big Eck. A deft flick inside by Eck played in sub Russell Taylor who took time to compose himself before coolly slotting a shot high into the net – 3-1!

As energy sapped, the Police were unable to sustain their fluency and accuracy and gradually the Fire Service took control and they dominated much of the second half possession. Trigger Tillier came on to shore up the Police defence but he also provided a welcome outlet upfront as he bombed (yes, bombed once or twice) up and down the left touchline.

The guile and experience of Raeside, Tod and Kenny were telling as wave after wave of Fire Service attacks were repelled although in truth keeper Russell was not overly busy. As the half wore on, the Fire Service pressure finally told and Chris Murphy scored the goal of the day, a 25-yard raker into the postage stamp top corner. Game on and 25 minutes still to play.

Ross Bennet enjoyed his usual cameo appearance and managed to make it off the park safely at the end despite almost being halved in his first contact with the ball and opponent. The ref never saw it!!

Despite great efforts by the fitter Fire Service, the Police defence held firm and there was huge relief when the final whistle sounded returning the Ben and Finlay Challenge Cup to Police hands.

Mark Napier, Fire Service manager then presented the trophy to Police captain Andy Tod. Robbie Raeside was the sponsor’s man of the match and he was presented with a case of beer endorsed quite appropriately (ha!) by Eric OO AH Cantona! We then took lots of photos to capture the occasion and some of these are shown below.

Afterwards everyone retired to Legends Bar upstairs at East End and enjoyed some beers and wholesome pies and sausage rolls – yum!

Enforcer Bennet took charge of the whip round and what a whip round it was! We raised a marvellous £826-69 from the participating players, management teams and hingers on and spectators.

Thank you to everyone who so kindly donated their time to play and to contribute to Ben and Finlay’s future.

This fixture is now a permanent annual feature, where each year those who struggled with the pace vow to get fit for next year! We shall see!

Finally, special thanks are due to Ross McArthur, Margaret Miller and Kevin Dawson of Dunfermline Athletic Football Club who were the perfect hosts and without whom none of this would have been possible.

The Ben and Finlay Challenge Cup will now be engraved showing the Police as winners for 2016, taking a 3-1 lead. 

Until next year………………….

Kick off in the sunshine at East End Park

Toddy accepts the trophy from a gracious Mark

Police Goalscorers (L-R) Stevie Fell, Russell Taylor & Paul Cochrane

Gaffer Stevie Kay - cheers mate!

The victorious team!

MoM Robbie Raeside

Monday, 29 August 2016

Police Squad!

Player-manager Stevie Kay has announced his squad for Sunday's game at East End Park. A blend of youth and mostly experience will hopefully mean we make a better fist of things than last year. The starting line-up will of course be kept under wraps until nearer kick off especially given the bar will be open!

1. Scott Russell
2. Ewan Pearce
3. Paul Cochrane
4. Brian Kenny
5. Andy Tod
6, John McDiarmid
7. Alec Raeside
8. Dan Greig
9. Des Skene
10. Russell Taylor
11. Stevie Fell
12. Barry Tillier
13. Robbie Raeside
14. Pat Callaghan
15. Chris Campbell
16. Russell Craig
17. Bryan Kerr

Please come along and support the boys as we attempt to win back the Ben & Finlay Challenge Cup! The game kicks off at  at 2pm.

COYP - Come On Ye Polis!

Monday, 15 August 2016

Let's Wrest the Trophy Back!

It's international weekend, Scotland are in Malta (and consequently so are some of our key players...aargh!) kicking off their World Cup qualifying campaign, meanwhile and of far more significance, the fourth meeting of Police Scotland and the Fire Service of Scotland will take place on the hallowed turf of East End Park. It's currently 2-1 to the Polis in the series.

Grateful thanks are due once again to good friend, Ross McArthur, now the Chairman of Dunfermline Athletic FC, for giving us permission to use the Pars' magnificent stadium. Dad fondly remembers the days at East End when he and Ross used to sit together in the north-west stand enjoying the finishing of legends such as Mick Leonard, Ross Jack, John Watson and Shaggy Jenkins to name but a few. Before the boys came along, Dad had followed the Pars home and away for nigh on 27 years, he still follows them now but does so remotely. It's fantastic to be able to play at the home of your team in support of the boys!!

After last year's sound defeat by a crack Firies squad, we have decided to take things a wee bit more seriously this time by having a proven manager at the helm. Leading the side will be Stevie Kay, a colleague but also manager of Dundonald Bluebell Juniors. We are in the throes of assembling a top squad of former professionals, juniors, Saturday amateurs, journeymen and clinical hackers who are currently going through their paces to make the starting eleven and seek to avenge last year's defeat.

It should be a cracking day and it all kicks off at 2pm. Entry to the main stand is free so please come along and cheer the boys on. The bar at East End will be open afterwards so we can toast the winners and tell exaggerated tales of defence splitting passes, raking drives, goal saving tackles and fingertip saves.

Monday, 8 August 2016

Tour de length of the UK!

In less than four weeks, cousin Susan and her husband Alan will set off on the ultimate cycling endurance test covering the length of the UK from Lands End to John O' Groats. They are currently training hard although the chippies and ice creams at the end of each session may impact on their pedal power!

Here is their intended schedule and route, if anyone would like to join them for part of the journey please do get in touch.

Saturday 03 September - 36 miles Lands End to Helston

Sunday 04 September - 46 miles to Lostwithiel

Monday 05 September - 65 miles to Exeter

Tuesday 06 September - 69 miles to Sidcot

Wednesday 07 September - 78 miles to Hereford

Thursday 08 September - 61 miles to Shifnall

Friday 09 September - 62 miles to Bakewell

Saturday 10 September - 48 miles to Huddersfield

Sunday 11 September - 63 miles to Hawes

Monday 12 September - 62 miles to Carlisle

Tuesday 13 September - 66 miles to Abington

Wednesday 14 September - 67 miles to Stirling

Thursday 15 September - rest day!

Friday 16 September - 61 miles to Pitlochry

Saturday 17 September - 61 miles to Nethybridge

Sunday 18 September - 73 miles to Tain

Monday 19 September - 72 miles to Nethybridge

Tuesday 20 September - 52 miles to John O'Groats. 

Big, big thanks to those who have sponsored Susan and Alan so far - for those who haven't here's the link - Donate to my Crowdfunding Page

Tuesday, 26 July 2016

Non-Verbal Autism and Other Speech Complications

Some people may wonder why with all this work on their speech the boys are not yet talking. 

Speech is a very complicated subject, most people just take it for granted and have no idea how complex the whole process can be. What we have written here is what we have learned over the years, it may not be correct, a lot of professionals have different opinions, it's just what we have learned from Google and books.

Hopefully this will explain it a little more……

Dyspraxia and Apraxia - what's the difference?

Dyspraxia and apraxia are both brain-based issues. They both make it hard for the brain to plan and coordinate movement. But there’s a big difference between the two.
Apraxia typically refers to the loss of a motor function. This is often the result of a stroke or other kind of brain injury.
Dyspraxia is something generally people are born with. That’s why you might hear it referred to as developmental dyspraxia.
The key symptom of dyspraxia is trouble imitating a sequence of movements.
Here’s an example. A child with dyspraxia can be watching carefully as his doctor taps her fingers against her thumb in a certain order. But when he’s asked to repeat those movements in the same order, he can’t.
Dyspraxia can affect many kinds of movement. This includes the muscle movements needed to speak. Dyspraxia can make it hard for the brain to communicate with oral-motor muscles such as those in the face and tongue.
Here’s where the clinical terms can get confusing. When it comes to the area of speech problems, you may hear childhood apraxia of speech (CAS) or verbal dyspraxia. Both terms describe the same issue, which is trouble planning the movements needed to make speech sounds.
CAS or verbal dyspraxia can occur on their own. Or they can be part of dyspraxia’s broader set of motor-planning issues.
We want to mention two more things about CAS. The C stands for childhood, but this can be a lifelong condition. And even though the middle word is apraxia, CAS is really a form of dyspraxia.
What's the relationship between oral and verbal dyspraxia?

Verbal dyspraxia is a condition where children have difficulty in making and co-ordinating the precise movements needed to produce clear speech with their mouths; and without any signs of damage to nerves or muscles. Children with verbal dyspraxia find it hard to produce individual speech sounds and to put sounds together in the right order in words.

Oral dyspraxia refers to difficulties in making and co-ordinating movements of the vocal tract (larynx, lips, tongue, palate) in the absence of speech. Oral dyspraxia might affect a child’s ability to protrude his tongue on request or to round his lips when copying an adult model. It may affect individual movements or sequences of movements eg moving your tongue quickly from side to side. Although it may seem logical that a child with verbal dyspraxia will also have oral dyspraxia, research and clinical experience suggest otherwise. Some children with verbal dyspraxia do also have oral dyspraxia, but others do not and may in some cases have surprisingly well-controlled oral movements when speech is not involved.

Although it is speech that is mostly affected in verbal dyspraxia, children can also have difficulty moving their mouths, lips and tongue for things like eating and can sometimes find it hard to co-ordinate their body movements. 

All very complicated isn’t it? The boys definitely fall into the category of Verbal and Oral Dyspraxia. Despite three years of Talk Tools' exercises they still struggle to say simple words we have taught them by breaking it down to teaching each sound then gradually blending them together. They can say a couple of words but are still reliant on the tactile cue prompt to assist them. They have never just said a word without it being taught using the Prompt method. They also cannot imitate simple oral motor imitations such as sticking out their tongue or rounding their lips like you do when drinking from a straw.
The boys do have a diagnosis of Dyspraxia but do not have a diagnosis of Verbal Dyspraxia.
This would be very difficult to diagnose as their main diagnosis is of Severe Autism which also complicates their ability to speak. If we had never used Talk Tools' exercises then we may not even be aware of the Verbal/Oral Dyspraxia, we would just think it was their Autism that was stopping them from talking. However, through Talk Tools' exercises, we are aware that the boys cannot move their mouths, lips and tongue to produce the speech sounds required, eg they currently cannot lift their tongue to the roof of their mouths to produce sounds like ‘N’ and ‘L’.
This will never stop us from trying to teach speech. The boys now use their communication app Proloquo2go for some of their communication but we will never stop trying to teach speech as it's obviously the quickest way for all people to communicate. In the meantime they have Proloquo2go  to support their speech. 

It is and always will be the most important thing we will work on with the boys, lack of communication is the biggest problem for children and adults with Autism. They cannot tell you when they are tired, hungry, in pain etc. This can cause huge frustration for the individual often resulting in aggressive and self injurious behaviours. 
Can you imagine your own children not being able to speak.....more importantly imagine how your child would feel if they could not speak....??

Saturday, 2 July 2016

SIGN Posting Us to a Better Future (Hopefully!)

The Scottish Intercollegiate Guidelines Network (SIGN) develops evidence based clinical practice guidelines for the National Health Service (NHS) in Scotland. SIGN guidelines are derived from a systematic review of the scientific literature and are designed as a vehicle for accelerating the translation of new knowledge into action to meet the aim of reducing variations in practice, and improving patient-important outcomes.

The last guidance for the assessment, diagnosis and clinical interventions for children and young people with autism spectrum disorders was published in 2007.

The guidance has now been updated and explicitly recommends the use of ABA techniques, this goes beyond what is in place for England and Wales. 

So, we have a Government strategy that endorses ABA and our healthcare experts are now recommending it too. Time for Scotland's local authorities to stop burying their heads in the sand and dismissing parents.

Here is the full publication -


Some relevant recommendations -