Wishing we were on Boriquen with all of our family

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