Wishing we were on Boriquen with all of our family

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.

Saturday, July 2, 2011

I haven't forgotten

I know that it's been a while and many things have happened since my last entry. I don't have much time to do a real good posting but I just wanted to write a few lines. Yes we finished our first BB sessions with success. We have been traveling and vacationing for the past few weeks and will be hunkering down to a good rhythm and a fun summer. So when things start to slow down and become more predictable, I will update on our bb experience, what is next, and I will even have a guest posting from one of my MIL who is a special education teacher. Have a GREAT day!

Monday, June 6, 2011

exhausted and excited and it's only Monday

I have no idea how I ended up exhausted and excited in one day, but I managed somehow. The day started out with some resistance from my ds but definitely better than it has been in the past. I just borrowed from our library the book on CD The Indian in the Cupboard which we started to listen to on our way to our bb center. After arriving a little early, ds created a beautiful drawing based on what we listened to. This is the first time he has ever produced something with a ground, a sky and figures that were not see through. It was his first complete image that he created from scratch WITHOUT any help or couching from anyone. the indian was complete and grounded. THIS is HUGE!!!!!!
So then by the time I got home I was exhausted and had the task of whipping up something for dinner. Thankfully there was enough leftover that it made it easier.
My spirits were boosted when I received a call from the remedial teacher about this summer. I am so excited. We get to have our own waldorf experience without the extra stuff that would be stressful for our ds.
This summer is stacking up to be a great one!

Monday, May 30, 2011

Camping Experience

My wonderful husband took our son camping for one night. The last time he took him camping, so many things truly interfered with both of them having a good time. I am happy to report that both of my men came back refreshed and happy. Here is what my dh has to report:
* Our ds did not have melt downs. The last time he melted down especially about movies. Since our removal of shows and movies, it didn't even phase him that the six hour car ride would be without a movie.
* Ds was present to the people and his surroundings. The last time he was almost completely lost in his imagination.
* He was cooperative
* He played with the other children
What more can a parent ask for.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

in between

Ds just spent another Friday morning at his school before our journey to bb. Due to time, I couldn't really have a long discussion about his morning, but one thing did come up: His conversation about movies/shows has lessoned. This is great! I know that most kids have a sense of relatedness when discussing these topic, but this was my ds's obsession/forte. It was so bad that most people who didn't know how limited we are about the television thought he watched it everyday for hours.
The most interesting thing happened on our way home from bb. I was facing heavy traffic and a very emotional kid (he wasn't his best at the center). Ds calmed down and we talked about the issues. After a mile of silence, I realized he was falling asleep. He was out for the rest of the ride home. The last time he fell asleep in the car was after a 12 hr car ride home from visiting relatives. It was a tough day and my boy worked very hard.
Another interesting thing is that we are starting to see our conversations about behavior is starting to sink in. Before I felt like our coaching was going nowhere. Now, at least at home, he seems to see himself and his behavior. He is also recognizing his accomplishments more.
The joy in his eyes are more about a shared experience, and that is simply wonderful.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Cream Puffs vs Carrots

Now let me start with the fact that I am a sugar FREAK! Yes, I'll admit it. For most of us the access and excess to junk food is our biggest downfall when it comes to living a healthy lifestyle. Now as an adult, I realize that some of my tendencies that I believed that i could "control" are more in control of me. How did i come up to this conclusion, well my children have followed my lead. Granted my ds has aspergers, he took my lead of the love of media and ran a muck with it. I essentially let him have a choice between "junk" activities (watching television/playing on the computer) and nurturing activities. As much as we read to him EVERY NIGHT, the exposure to media unraveled any benefits that the former had created. The one thing that we always gave into was the love of books and reading stories. With the amount of books that we have and borrowed, you would think the our ds was a prolific reader. Well until a 1 1/2 months ago he was not.
NOW, I can honestly say that with the removal of ALL media exposure, my ds is well on his way to becoming a prolific reader. Does he struggle with reading? Yes. More importantly, has he become a better reader and enjoys it? YES!!! (I hope that you get my drift). This is HUGE! My ds is running around with either a book in his hand or trying to read things around him to figure out what is going on or trying to write about what is going on in his drawings. Granted his resistance to doing his chores/exercises has made things very difficult, the ends results of this new love far out way any obstacle that we have faced as of yet.
Looking back, he had a hard time concentrating, being present, and then of course when he was present he over-reacted to things. NOW, all of his beautiful attributes that glimmered before are now shining. I wish that I had removed the exposure to media sooner. It's truly a wonderful gift.
So cream puffs (television/computers) vs carrots (books) were both on his plate. For this aspie kid, it wasn't until the removal of the junk that he could choose and flourish with what is good for him.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Little things

We've beefed up our bb exercises at home and ds is following through with things he resisted at the center. He's doing very well with the diet as well. One thing that I did notice is that he may have a sensitivity to apple juice. The other day I gave him a cup of apple juice then drank it in one gulp right before we did our bb exercises. His ears got real red and he started to complain so much that it interfered with his performance. True, true and unrelated or is this something more. Needless to say, apple juice was not on my grocery list this week.
Over all I believe that he is coming out of the fantasy world of television. He hasn't really mentioned the tube much. He's been very busy playing, drawing and reading. YES, reading! Somehow we started this reading agenda that goes along with our weekly bribery book. We've always had the magic treehouse books in our house, and we've read the ones we have to him; but this is the first time he realized that it was a collection. I told him that I would be more than happy to continue to collect them if we read them in order. Now ds is requesting to read our latest Magic Treehouse books multiple times a day so he can be done before the next bookstore run.
Another interesting thing we noticed is that without asking or reminding, he occasionally walks down the stairs alternating his feet.
Our biggest battle to date is transitioning from one activity to the next. One day it may be very easy for him, the next is met with resistance. The sour face, the "I don't want to", the whining and complaining could drive anyone over the edge. So what do you do? Well I'm just trying to keep my cool and make it so that he has to move on with me.
This week I will make a valiant effort to have more academic structure. This has been very hard for me to do, but now that my mother is with us, I am very optimistic that we can accomplish a lot. I am looking forward to see what comes up when we return to learning full time.

Saturday, April 30, 2011

Improving slowly but surely

We just had another meeting with our BBC Director. I know that the last one was just a two weeks ago, but this was the first opportunity that my dh could come with us. It was good timing because the results of our blood and urine test came in.
The short of it, ds has improved in some areas, but there are a few that remain shows no improvement. So we are working on many new things at home in hopes that it will help.
What is interesting that both my dh and I thought that something must have clicked in the past few days. We saw a change with his concentration, patience, and drawing (will post a couple photos). Ds even is more willing to read. His weakest area academically is math (not a surprise). Maybe with some of the areas that he is having difficulty in sensory motor improve his math will improve.
In regards to homeschooling, we have been a little relaxed. This week, we worked on form drawing, reading and math. He seems happy with the rhythm we have.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Pushing him a little more

My ds knows how to play people that do not know him very well. I am not sure where or why, but he seems to resist new things that many feel uncomfortable pushing him.
Of course I am not one of those people.
This is a consistent issue that I have encountered throughout the years. Example:
When he was taking Karate, his sensei would do the stretches with him. With the butterfly stretch, I knew that he was more flexible than he presented himself in class; even after being told to go farther by both the sensei and myself.
His recent resistance was toward some of the BB exercises at the center. So I strapped on my thinking cap and thought how was I going to help him to do this exercises in a positive way. When all else falls, bribery works. I simply stated that we needed to do these exercises to get better and if he does them without complaining, we will go out to dinner (with my dh coming with us, I was planning a dinner out anyway).
Now I know what you are thinking, why are you resorting to bribery when it comes to getting your child to do anything? I only use this tool as a last resort. For most things, he is willing to change, advance or evolve. Ds has done most of the exercises without resistance. He's even advanced to higher levels of the exercises on his own will because he's interested in getting to do more advance moves that he thinks would be cool to do. The other thing that helps with the exercises is that he sees us practicing what we preach.
By the way, Dr. Melillo's next book, Reconnected Kid, is out. I have just begun to read it and am very excited about it.
Have a wonderful Friday!

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

No Television Review

After having the television on for all of his life, how long does it take for a child to come out of media addiction? As I have blogged, we've reached a plateau. But why? Having gone through an intense weight lose program, I've learned that plateaus are not bad. I believe that the reason we have plateaued in our Brain Balance program is due to withdraw from 8 years of media interference with his development. I'll come clean:
I've used the television as a crutch. Since he was an toddler, we've had the television on. First it was the wiggles or some other Disney show. Then is was Animal Planet shows and movies. Many of the daycare providers used movies. At one point he was watching over 2 hours per day at such a tender age. I can only say that it got worse before it got better. In the past three years I've worked on decreasing the hours. During that time we've noticed how much media consumed him. He behaved like an addict when he didn't get his fix. We also noticed that he became a true consumer. Not only was he sold on any toy that was advertise, apparently I needed whatever was advertised too. Man do those advertisers do a good job.
In the past four years we've decrease the tube time gradually. It wasn't easy but we managed to do it. In our recent decrease, we went from four to five hours in course of 3 days on the weekend to none. Zip. Zero. Zilch.
How did we get there? Again, I am not above bribery. When dealing with such fierce competition that gives such pleasure, how else do you transition from little to no television without serious withdraws. Between the weekly trips to a book store to purchase one book per child and the distraction of grandparents, our tv withdraws are somewhat painless. I couldn't have timed it any better.
So for now, I am blaming this plateau on media withdraw.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

He asked the big question

From the beginning, my dh and I have talked about most of ds' issues in front of him including the asperger syndrome. So after having many conversations with friends and family in front of him, the question finally came up. After dinner ds asked us what asperger was. I am so glad that my in laws were here to help answer the question. We first asked what he thought it was; then gave him a brief explanation. We talked about how different parts of the body work differently or they don't work as well. Thankfully between the three of us we came up with various examples of our body not working the same as others. MIL needs glasses, FIL had quadruple bipass, I am lactose intolerant. Then we briefly stopped back on the asperger syndrome topic. Ds was happy with the explanation and we were happy to give it.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Another thing...

I had the most wonderful talk with an old friend. I've made many friends throughout my 30 some years and many I hold dear. You know, after a few minutes of catching up, it feels like home. I had that type of talk with someone who I haven't talked to in over 8 years. This was a woman who I went to school with from 1st until 11th grade. I am amazed that even though we had several years without communication, we are standing in very similar points now. She too is homeschooling her son who has ADHD. Reconnecting with my dear childhood friend was amazing. Without my prompting, she discussed what I just blogged about; seeing and celebrating our sons' accomplishments even though we have a down day.
Here's one accomplishment that I didn't see until I presented my FIL ds' nature book. As I was showing him ds' writing, we looked at the worked he did before diet change and enzymes. WOW! What a difference. (pictures to come). The before was messy; while the after was amazingly different. Even dh was impressed.

Sunday, April 17, 2011


This week has been truly a test for me. By Friday evening my patience was worn thin. I was tired and ds fixation just pushed me. In addition, we've reached a plateau in both his homeschooling and bb.
Overall, as a homeschool mom, I've learned that patience is not what I need. You need patience when watching a snail move across the garden. When it comes to homeschooling a special needs child, patience only gets so far. Humor, flexibility and creativity are your best friends when working with children, especially special needs children.
My lack of humor, flexibility and creativity put me in a little funk. Whenever I get down, I try to sit back and reflect.
This is what I came up with.
Whenever parents begin a journey, be it homeschooling or some type of therapy, they approach it with high hopes with a touch of doubt. The hopes comes from all of the research, reading and talking; knowing that doing something is better than doing nothing. The doubt comes from all of the critiques or experts that you run into along the way.
In those rare and frustrating moments like I had on Friday, the doubts seems to rule. I let my doubts and MY failures take over and I lose focus.
As I was searching for the word of the first draft of this blog entry, I stumbled upon a realization. All of these doubts and frustrations overshadowed all of his accomplishments. My father in law came into town earlier in the week to help us out. He reminded me about all of ds's accomplishments. How could I forget what he's done?!?! I was on such a high from the previous weeks that it made a regular week with one bad moment feel like a failure.
This coming week will be so much fun because my mother in law has joined us. Until next week....

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Week 3 in review

This week was more of a roller coaster ride than any other so far.
Last weekend we had dinner with another family. In the past I usually am stressed out about ds behavior. He is so excited about being with other kids that he has a hard time self regulating and relating to them. He gets very physical where I find him hugging or rough housing too much. When left on their own, they usually start off play fighting which evolves into a brawl. So needless to say I am always on edge making sure that no one gets hurt and reminding ds to calm down. He also has a hard time following the dialogue. When we leave, I usually feel sad or worn out about refereeing the entire night.
This time was a little different. Ds was calmer; he got a little fixated on a dinosaur book then he started to play. They played some action star wars games with toys and he was right there with the dialogue (no play fighting/wrestling). They also spied on the girls. He seemed to respect his friend's personal space too. For the first time ever, I left feeling great.
We see that he is playing with his little sister differently too. Usually ds is running around in his imaginary world and his little sister running after him, begging for him to play with her. Or if he played with her, it was a game of chase and tackle. A few times this week he was interacting, playing with his ls. It was nice to see.
Ds has for the most part kept up with the homework exercises. A couple times this week, his body seemed to have forgotten how to do sit ups. He was frustrated but I helped him move on. He was also a little off with his lessons. That frustrated me more than him; ds reminded me how to bounce back.
In homeschooling this week, he had his first eurythmy class and started the evaluation process with the math tutor.
With this week being the end of our language art block, I used a couple of animal stories from Puerto Rico. He was already familiar with the stories and we had a lot of fun acting them out. Here's his MLB drawing: (photo to come).
In waldorf education, be it at a school or homeschool, it is highly recommended to have no tv/screen time. Our family has been one that have put on the tv for our kids from the beginning. I know, bad parents. One of the previous day care had a movie on daily in the summer. Even when we limited it, some of the babysitters would undermine us and put on the tube, just so they could ds would be calmer.
Well we've come a long way. After having the tv on almost every day, the tv was on only 3 days a week: Friday night movie night, Saturday & Sunday mornings two 1/2 hour shows. And maybe a nature show in the evening no more than one hour long. With the help of Netflix, MOD and itunes, we cut out the commercials that the regular programs are bombarded with. It was truly amazing how much of a consumer ds became watching commercials. It was not only "wow mom. I want that", but also "you should get that for yourself". It was also very disturbing how much he talked about shows/movies even when we limited it to less than 6 hours/week.
We have officially made it to the next step; NO TELEVISION AT ALL. This will be a true test to our endurance and creativity. OK, OK and a little bribery doesn't hurt either. So I've planned out that every Friday, on our way back home from bb, we will stop by the book store and each child can pick out a book. I told ds that we will continue this new treat if he doesn't complain/ask about the tv all week long.
I believe that the rehabilitation from the television will definitely help him; I am curious to see what comes out of it. Thankfully his love for books and music will help ease the pain a little.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Why am I doing this?

Whenever you embark on a journey, you have to step back and figure out why you are doing things. As a parent searching for ideas, solutions and answers, I've stumbled on many answering the same question of why they are or are not doing things for their children.
I will have to admit, first and foremost, my ego comes into play. So many times throughout my younger years as a parent, I couldn't help but compare and then got upset because ds wasn't doing this or that. Or I got upset when I observed he wasn't playing/interacting like others.
I've learned that there is a level of acceptance that he will be different. The hardest thing was to sift through all of the issues and try to see who he really is. He has the same humor as my dh and I, he is hungry for knowledge, sensitive, kind, affectionate, and he loves our family.
The main reason why I do all that I am doing for him is because I want him to be able to have a full life. It is my job as a parent to prepare him for life because I will not be around forever. I don't want him to be just like little Joe next door (just a saying), but he needs the skills and abilities so that he will be ok without me. If I never pushed him, if I just let him be in his own little comfort zone, he would have never experienced all that he has; accomplished all that he has. After all of the frustration, the tears, and the laughs, my ds is a happier and more confident child.
More and more of him is coming out with the assistance of the supplements, homeschooling and BB. I am so thankful to be able to witness such a thing and to spend all of this time with him and my dd too.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Beautifully done

I just wanted to share a blog post from one of the blogs that I follow. She is a homeschooling mom who's son has aspergers. Today is Autism Awareness day and her post is so well done that I couldn't have done a better job myself.
With her permission, I share it with you:

Friday, April 1, 2011

Week 2 in review

Wow! What another amazing week. My main focus this week was to get into a rhythm that would incorporate everything we needed to accomplish without getting lost in the process.
After looking at our schedule and reflecting on the rhythm of breathing I figured out how to proceed with this week.
We continued with Language Arts using animal stories as the vehicle. (photo to come)
I purchased math music to listen to on the way to the bb center.
My biggest struggle of course is with the next block: MATH! I was using Right Start Math happily for the better part of the past two years but felt that something was missing. I tried to go use the waldorf method but I was missing something. Then I realized that ds's aspergers and processing issues, Math was going to be difficult. I needed help.
Of course, like all others searching for answers, I turned to the internet. Usually when I do a search, I would find wonderful answers, but it would be out of reach somehow. This time, this time, I was in luck! I found a math program @ our local waldorf school that could help. So I met with this wonderful math tutor. She is going to help! yeah! The cherry on top is that she introduced me to the Eurythmy Teacher who also does therapeutic eurythmy. OF COURSE, we signed up!
As a waldorf inspired homeschooling mama, this is a dream come true.
This week's Brain Balance experience has also been wonderful. Ds started off the week with "leveling up" in three different areas; reaching the main conclusion, making inferences, and I forgot the third one. He also won two medals, one on Monday and one on Wednesday. These rewards are not given lightly. (photo to come)
He has also improved with his bb homework. Ds is now able to do push ups and sit ups. Egg rolls are a breeze.
This week's accomplishment: SELF CONFIDENCE.
Mens sana in corpore sano

Friday, March 25, 2011

Week 1 in review

First with a brief homeschooling note. We are in the middle of our Language Arts block. This week ends our Saints and Heroes and next week we will use animal tales. Ds really enjoys the stories and is looking forward to next week. I enjoy this as much as he does. Here's a couple of photos from this week's ML
As so far as BB, everything feels like clockwork. Both children enjoy going to the center and the center makes an effort to help us feel welcome. This is not only in regards to the staff but the other parents/grandparents as well. I have enjoyed the various conversations and interacting with the other children.
Our parents are so excited about this adventure and look forward to participating.
Of course the question that everyone has asked is "do you see any change?" HELLO! It's only week one and not a full one at that. We didn't start doing our homework until Wednesday. I am just happy that ds is not totally resistant to the whole thing. His only beef is with some of the core exercises and having to wear ear protection.
As so far as the enzymes and the GFCF diet, we continue on. I am so thankful that there are some pretty yummy products out there that help make to sticking to the diet so easy. Our favorite pasta is made from quinoa.
He is taking the enzymes with every meal. I found that ds will take it rolled up on a slice of turkey. I will try the chocolate melts recipe to help make it more portable. Again, do I see a change? It's too early but he does seem to be more present and talkative. But it's still too early and hard to measure. In a few more weeks, after some research of course, I would like to try adding probiotics into his diet.
Two things that I noted prior to starting the diet were his bad breath and some serious build up on his teeth despite his good oral hygiene. DS also has notable bumps on his sideburns and the back of his arms. I didn't think anything of it until after reading information about the GFCF and enzymes. Would this change of diet and supplement help with these issues too? Time will tell.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

So Resilient

We had an incredible start to this week. 2 hour drive, 1.5 hour lunch at PF Changs (winning!), 3 hours @ BB, 2 hr drive back. We reviewed of all of the tests, what side is imbalanced, and the plan of attack to help ds. Then we decided to stay for our first session. We met some wonderful people, both young and old. We didn't drill ds with questions about his first session and plugged them into a movie for the trip home. Got home, ate dinner, then off to bed.
Today was filled with some more driving and reviewing the results of the formal evaluation that was done by the psychologist about 6 weeks ago. Some great information and I am glad all of this was done.
As the day went on, I found myself unraveling. My two children, on the other hand, have proven that they are far more resilient than I am. They didn't whine or complain at all through out the adventure. This proves that even with a two days of monkey wretches thrown at them, good planning, great support and a regular schedule otherwise, they will flow with it. (this time).
Another good note was from ds's Speech Therapist. At the end she commented that he had the best session yet. Trying not to look into this too much. Too early to tell.
Tomorrow we are going to our next BB session. Only 35 more to go.

Friday, March 18, 2011

A little more detail

Here's an ADD checklist that I found:

Inattention (must meet six of the following to a degree that is "maladaptive"):

  • Often fails to give close attention to details or makes mistakes in schoolwork; Most of the time
  • difficulty sustaining attention in tasks; Sometimes
  • seems not to listen; Sometimes
  • fails to follow instructions or finish work; Sometimes
  • unorganized; Sometimes
  • difficulties with schoolwork or homework; Sometimes
  • loses things like school assignments, books, tools, etc.; Yes
  • easily distracted; Sometimes
  • forgetful about daily activities. Sometimes

ADD with Hyperactivity (must meet six of the following to a degree that is "maladaptive"):

  • fidgety in a squirmy sense; Sometimes
  • doesn't stay seated; Rarely
  • runs or climbs excessively (or feelings of restlessness in older children); No @ home
  • difficulty playing quietly; Rarely
  • often "on the go" or acts if "driven by a motor"; No
  • often talks excessively; I wish
  • blurts out answers to questions; Sometimes
  • difficulty waiting in lines or waiting turns; Sometimes
  • often interrupts or intrudes on others. Sometimes
The above list I got from http://borntoexplore.org/whatisadd.htm.

I wanted to elaborate on some of ds's issues that we hope will improve:
*He walks down the steps with his right foot leading.
*He is very eager to be with other children/people but has a hard time regulating himself once there. Ds is either too much and isn't able to process his friends' reaction/needs fast enough or completely turns off. I often find him needing to retreat into a safer activity, such as looking at books in the middle of a visit. He still wants to be there, but choses a calmer activity that requires less interaction. This is one of his coping mechanisms.
*He has a hard time transitioning from one activity to the next most of the time. His reaction has improved a little and the time it takes to shift gears has lessoned.

It will be very interesting how these issues evolve. It is so hard to read and watch the testimonials about Brain Balance and not have high hopes. With such intense therapy, I do expect that his coordination and body awareness will get better.
Sound body, sound mind.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

The List

So what are we working on? Here is the list of things that ds needs to work on:
(I got the list from Asperger-Advice.com)

Poor communication such as:

Speech and language peculiarities: Yes

Overformal speech: N/A

Taking everything literally: not all of the time

Word repetition (echolalia): at times it may be a song/line from a movie/show

Long monologues: N/A

Inappropriate remarks: what 8 y/o doesn't

Inability to take turns talking: sometimes

Inability to listen to others: sometimes

Speaking without any pitch or tone: N/A

Unable to recognize figure of speech or sarcasm: somtimes

Difficulty initiating conversation: N/A

Flat, cheerless demeanor: N/A

Loud voice: only when he is REALLY excited

Doesn’t respond to name very well: N/A

Non-verbal communication problems such as:

Inability to pick up facial expressions: N/A

Not able to notice body language: this one may be a little difficult

Does not pick up subtle changes in someone tone of voice: N/A

Avoid eye contact while communicating: rarely; this has significantly improved.

Unaware of personal space ( invading it!): most of the times

Few facial expressions: N/A

Unaware of unwritten rules: sometimes

Impaired social interaction such as:

Social withdrawal: rarely

Lack of interest in other people: N/A

Eccentric personality: what 8 y/o doesn't seem eccentric

Preoccupied with their own agenda: sometimes. It interferes with transitions

Socially non-adapted personality: I'm not sure about that

Urge to correct people in their speech or behavior: Witness this first hand in the classroom and home

Limited interests: N/A

Unusual preoccupations: N/A

Need for sameness: N/A

Repetitive routines or rituals: N/A

Engages in highly repetitive play: Yes and combines with his stimming

Excellent rote memory: only with things that he is interested in.

Lack of empathy: N/A

Single-mindedness: N/A

Aloof: N/A

Inflexible thinking: Only in transitions

Lack of imagination: Far from it

Indifferent: N/A

Rigid thinking: sometimes

Lack of make-believe or imitative play: Far from it

Fear of changes: age appropriate

Poor motor skills such as:

Poor coordination: YES

Clumsiness: YES

Uncoordinated motor movements: YES

Hand flapping: N/A

Head swiveling: N/A

Mirroring: Yes. From shows/movies/book on tape

Stilted Doesn’t have a strong response to pain: N/A

Extreme dislike of certain noises, textures or situations: Only when he is frustrated with the situation

Easily over stimulated by sounds, crowds or lights: Only when he is frustrated with the situation

This is our starting point.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Beginning of Journey

So, here we are. At the beginning of a new journey.
After a lot of reading and research, our family is in the process of trying a couple of things to see if they would help our ds with his aspergers.
We started with the Gluten Free Casein Free diet at least three weeks ago. I tried this before (not as full heartedly or as informed as I am now) but didn't see much come out of it. This timed, armed with much more information, I believe that there is some change. I mainly noted it when we deviated from the diet. One night, I ordered pizza which he happily ate for both dinner and breakfast the following morning. He was not "present" during his lessons. He seemed to have completely forgotten/lost what he learned and had been practicing for weeks. It was so disturbing that I was in tears by the end of the lesson. With this experience, we decided that we needed to continue with the diet.
My only concern was that I've read that so many started on this journey only to find that they had to keep eliminating other foods and the list seemed endless. I didn't want to be on that road when I have a child that would eat almost anything. Ds is NOT a picky eater. I mean the boy eats asparagus, anchovy stuffed olives, and even sushi without any complaints. We are not talking about just california rolls here (which took a little convincing to keep the avocado in). I mean raw octopus!
After doing more research, I found that a lot of parents went the enzyme route. So I figure why not do both; We are keeping the basic gluten free casein free diet and have started on the enzymes as of this past weekend. We are still in the introduction stage so it's hard to tell.
As so far as therapies, I've found great resources locally but stumbled upon something that struck a cord with me: Brain Balance. During my online research, I found another mother who is blogging about her son with aspergers (she's in my list of blogs that I follow). She mentioned something about exercises that she is doing with him and I emailed inquiring about what program she was doing. She informed me about the book Disconnected Kids and the Brain Balance program by Dr Melillo. I purchased and read the book (along with Enzymes for children with autism and other neurological disorders) and thought we would try this program at home mainly because the closest facility was two hours away.
WELL, my MIL (who is a special education teacher in SC) just happened to get an invitation to an information session near her. Both my FIL & MIL went. They called us immediately after to tell us of the session and how they think ds would benefit from such a program.
DH went to an information session the following week and we have since signed up (yes that means we'll be in the car A LOT). We just finished the initial evaluation and are going to the report/findings meeting on Monday.
The long and short:
*Homeschooling using a waldorf inspired curriculum because we find it to be the most
therapeutic curriculum out there.
* Enzyme therapy using Houston Enzymes AFP Peptizyde
* Brain Balance Program

I will update to share how things are going.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

New Journey?

Our camera is still MIA, but many things are happening. Ds has gone through a formal eval and the preliminary diagnosis is aspergers. We are still waiting for the formal to come in.
In the mean time, I've been busy. Homeschooling, investigating, reading and scheduling. I have found a few great resources and are expanding our therapies.
One of the things I stumbled on was Brain Balance. Ian and I have read the book Disconnected Kids and through family discussions we decided to go forward. Open house this week and have scheduled the initial evaluation. Will keep you posted and wish us luck.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Math issues with possible solutions

Sorry no photos. Our camera is still MIA and of course I haven't bought another one.
We are in the middle of our math block. Ds did well with addition and subtraction, but is having having a little problem with multiplication even though it's his favorite squirrel. It's totally my method. It's not moving and he's resisting.
After researching, reading and thinking, I think I have the solution. I have to tap into his imagination. I need to make the forest come to life inside (due to the fact that it's cold and icy outside). Thankfully we are big collectors and I have just enough pine cones to help create our forest. The only thing I need are the squirrels. I know, I know. This should have been ironed out before we started. This is what happens when you jump in with out a lot of preparation. Wish us luck.
It worked. Significantly less complaining. Yeah!

Monday, February 7, 2011

So you thought I fell off...

We are still here, living, learning, moving. I've taken pictures but somehow misplaced the camera. No really, I had it one moment and now I can't seem to find it. So guess who gets to go shopping?!?
Another thing to write about joyfully: we have completely surrendered to homeschooling the waldorf way. In September, we were trying to work with a private school part time but it just wasn't speaking/moving us. It wasn't miserable. I love the philosophy, the concept, the people, but when we just looked at the experience as a whole and compared it to our waldorf experience; Our days were happier and more relaxed. The most interesting thing was my ds was begging for my stories. So if he is asking for more, why not follow his lead?