Saturday, October 29, 2011
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
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
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
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
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
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
Monday, June 6, 2011
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
* 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
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
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
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
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
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
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
Monday, April 18, 2011
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
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
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
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
Friday, April 1, 2011
Friday, March 25, 2011
Tuesday, March 22, 2011
Friday, March 18, 2011
Thursday, March 17, 2011
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
Inflexible thinking: Only in transitions
Lack of imagination: Far from it
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
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