Wishing we were on Boriquen with all of our family

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Winter wonderland, finally!

So here is my first post for 2012 and this is what we've been up to lately:
Shortly before the holidays ds began the Interactive Metronome Home Program. We were soooooo excited about staring this at home. He was already familiar with the program due to it being part of BB but we knew that in order to make more progress we needed to continue it at home. So yeah!
On a sad note our BB home tutor is on a break. I thought we would take a break due to the holidays but I am not sure when she is coming back. As much as I know we need to continue with the home exercises, having one less thing in our schedule is a little relief. This leaves room for other activities such as shoveling and playing in the snow!
Ds has also progressed in both swimming and karate. I've eased up on the swimming classes, but added pool time on the weekends. Both kids are having a blast just having some unstructured water time. Ds wants to go under water to fetch the rings soooo bad but just can't make his body go. I finally let him wear goggles and he is loving it.
In karate he has earned his yellow belt!
Another great event recently was receiving his first report card in over two years. Are you ready? All A's! He is working so hard.
He still needs help in mathematics which was something that was discussed before thanksgiving. So I did some research and stumbled upon JUMP math. Here's a link http://jumpmath1.org/
I was so impressed witty the studies that were done that I knew I wanted to give it a shot. Thankfully they have a home workbook and we started that sometime in December. Ds is burning through it and I anticipate that he should be done in the next month.
Now besides working on math, I've also organized weekly form drawing exercises with old testament stories (one of the focuses for grade three in Waldorf education). Beside the therapeutic benefits, form drawing will help in teaching cursive this summer easier.
Yep! You read right, I am planning for the summer. It's a little difficult in planning not knowing what he needs help with. Once I get some things done on my to do list, I'll work on the stories and form/process to teach cursive. He will continue with jump math but language arts planning will have to wait until the end of the year. I've already talked to the teacher about guiding me . Sometimes it is so hard to wait.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

End of First Swim Session

I signed ds up for swimming classes twice a week and his first session just finished a couple of weeks ago. Even though he enjoyed being in the pool, he was very sensitive about letting water get in his ears while he was on his back and of course getting his face wet/going underwater. Well I am happy to report, neither of these are an issue and he is swimming without any flotation devise. YAAAAAHHOOOOOO!
Ds actually swims better on his back than on his stomach. He looks like a little windup toy when he's on his back.
We are continuing this swim schedule for hopefully the rest of the year. He looks forward to class and I feel like he's just moving along so smoothly that I don't want to stop his momentum.
He is still doing BB home program, gfcfef diet, enzymes and karate. His progress may not be as dramatic as it was those first three months at the BB center, but he still is progressing without any regression. I figure that it will take a little while to get to where he needs to be.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011


It's been over 7 months since we started GFCF diet and enzyme therapy. In the past two months we have been a little more relaxed about staying on the diet strictly and haven't seen any significant issues for doing so. One of the hopes with using enzymes in particular is that we can eat gluten & casein again. After reading more and more, I've pretty much decided that we are going to continue with the diet for the most part. What does that mean? Well continuing to eat GF bread, cereal, treats, and drink almond milk. We will indulge in regular cheese, and eat eggs occasionally. We all really enjoy eating rice and corn products.
With this thought of staying "mostly" on the diet, I needed to revamp some recipes to make them more GFCF egg free and still yummy. That was the biggest challenge, to be yummy that even my dh will ask for more. So here is one of my success stories.
I found a chocolate chip and oatmeal cookie recipe and here's it's successful transition to being GFCFEF:
flax seed meal instead of eggs
1 cup of almond meal, 3/4 cup of Bob's red mill GF All purpose flour instead of 1 and 3/4 c of regular flour
Almond milk instead of regular milk
earth balance "butter" instead of regular butter
of course a touch of xantham gum

It was a little crumbly but ever sooooooo yummy. DS enjoyed and asked for more. dh definitely enjoyed it even when he helped me clean the tray, he couldn't help but "break and dispose"
This one is a keeper!

Monday, October 3, 2011

Sorry for interrupting, how was your day again?

Here is a report from our Brain Balance @ home tutor: "He has definitely gotten stronger and this week it seems as if everything just clicked."
So do I think that things are working out? Oh Yeah! He's loving school, he loving the afterschool activities, and his overall attitude, behavior and energy is really great.
Today in the car he was more than willing to share his day and even asked me how my day went. As I was about to share, ds spotted a field of milkweed and interrupted me to make sure that noticed them. "Oh sorry for interrupting, how was your day again? what did you do?"
It's just great to have a REAL conversation that doesn't involve some fact or character from a show/movie.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

New school year

As the summer started, I was already planning for the fall and the big question was what to do about learning/school. Knowing that ds had some serious math issues, I had some decisions to make with his learning. I could either continue trying to educate him at home, continue working with the private school we were going to part time or try a new school. The problem with keeping him home was that I knew he needed more than I could provide. The program that both I and the private school were using were the same and he was not getting it. As I researched online for other options, I stumbled upon another private school that would first evaluate his learning style, then his academic level before determining the program that would best suite him. So I called and scheduled a meeting to see if this was what we needed to pursue. After talking for about an hour and a half, the decision was made. DS was going to a new school. This is not a an easy decision to make because I so loved his old school, the teachers, the programs, the parents and the community. I found this even harder than breaking up with a nice guy. But I know I have to go with what will work for him.
Once I registered him and talked to his old school, it was on to what else we could get involved in this fall. We are continuing with the bb home program with the help of our friend and I registered him for a few after school programs. DS has 1/2 hr of karate twice a week, 1/2 of swimming twice a week and an hour of spanish once a week. A full day of school and all of these after school activities split up into four days is an intense schedule but it works. We are going into our third week and he is up to the challenge. Ds is very happy with each activity and his behavior has been pretty good.
He has already made improvements with swimming. In general he is very happy to be in the water but is not too excited about getting his head under water. This week he jumped in the deep end and went totally under. I expected him to come out freaking out, but he just bebopped out like it was nothing. He even gave me a big smile and a thumbs up! Success!
As so far as karate, we chose another school. It's closer and it turns out his new Sensei has LOTS of experience with people on the spectrum. Seeing them together is truly amazing. She really knows how to start, push him and keep him motivated.
Ds' Spanish teacher is from his summer camp and also happens to have a son with Aspergers. She TOLD me she wanted ds in her class. So you know I really don't need to say more about her other than "LOVE IT!"
Another great part about his new school and program is that ds has EVERY Friday off. Can you say "Field Trips!". Of course we will probably spend most of our Fridays helping out at our friend's farm. Both of the kids really enjoy going to the farm.
We are all really enjoying this new schedule and ds has really risen to meet it. He hasn't checked out and doesn't complain about going to any activity. I do miss him but the three day weekend really helps alleviate some of that.
Happy new school year to all parents and kids!

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Summer in review

Our summer was an absolute blast! It was filled with lots of learning, fun and great people.
Our waldorf experience was everything that I hope it would be. Twice a week ds worked with a math specialist, a remedial teacher and an eurythmist. It all was a continuation of what we were doing in the bb center. Ds seemed to have come down on his heals even more and he tolerated the busy schedule.
On the days that we didn't work with our waldorf teachers, I worked with ds at home with his math and reading. In the afternoons he went to day camp. One of the great things to hear was how steady his hands were for pottery.
I also hired a woman to do the bb exercises at home five days a week.
What was amazing to me was our family road trip. Ten hours in a car and not one peep about watching anything and no car sickness. Everyone one had such a great time that dh husband even said that we could do this again.
I could not have been more pleased with how the summer turned out. My only complaint is that went by too fast.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Measuring Success

How do you measure success? Over four years ago we started our journey in helping our son. We started first with Occupational Therapy (over three years total) and some Speech Therapy (barely one year total). With our last OT, we saw measurable improvement during my ds's two year work with her but it came in as bits and pieces. The biggest accomplishment during that time was learning to ride his bike without training wheels. This was huge! I love the fact that he physically had accomplished many things, but how did this affect other areas that were weak; Socially, Academically, Emotionally? It's hard to measure.
At the start of our Brain Balance journey, I really did not know what kind of results to expect. The doubts that I've read online about the program of course were in the back of my mind but it didn't deter me from giving it a try. My biggest concern was would my ds's change be measurable, noticeable, or concrete? The answer is YES!
Example 1: Art
With my background in art and psychology I have seen a drastic change with my ds's artwork. Before BB, his self directed artwork was basically see through figures that were scattered throughout the page. He did very well in following directions when we did our work step by step for our waldorf inspired work. Towards the end, without any assistance, he started to create wonderful and complete pieces. The characters were complete, grounded and with surroundings. (I know, I have to post his work).
Example 2: Reading
DS always loved books and being read to, but when it came to him reading, it was truly a chore. In three months of BB, he is well on his way to becoming a prolific reader. I have been catching him reading to his sister, reading to himself and he's been volunteering to read to us. He's even said to me the other day that he likes reading!
Example 3: Toe walking
We have been working on his toe walking ever since he could walk. Initially his issues with walking was due to a fallen arch on his right foot (hereditary). Then we noticed his walking didn't get better and the toe walking got worse. The big question was how to resolve it? One train of thought was to not bother with it, but with my little knowledge about muscles, I knew that this was something I couldn't ignore. So came in the stretches and constant reminder/conversations of using his whole foot to walk. This is the one thing that caught me by surprise. My DS has become more grounded.
There are other areas of improvement, but i will leave it up to my guest bloggers to share.
To me, I can honestly say that everything that we have done for my ds in the past four months has been dramatically beneficial. We will continue with the BB program home version (for now) and our waldorf summer experience. We are very excited to see what may come.