Sunday, May 23, 2010

Mud Holes and More

I noticed so many 'mile markers' today that I had to get them all down on 'paper.'
  • In the past, Andrew would never play in the mud. Today he wanted to play and make a mud hole.
  • He wanted to get me with the water hose. He did. But when I told him to stop he did. This is significant because first, he DID stop and did accept the limit but also he didn't have his implant on so he had to visually reference me to gather the information that I wanted him to stop. I contrast this with our RDA (RDI evaluation) where he was ALSO referencing me but to see how he could further 'up the ante' and gain control.
  • When we were done he shared, "That was fun!" and..."But that doesn't mean there can't be more fun later." (ie: You can have a fun time and not be disappointed when it is over. He had expectations of future fun.)
  • He was playing with the hose and getting his clothes wet and he was OK with his wet clothes. He mentioned about putting on his bathing suit and I kind of shrugged and he kept playing. No meltdown.
  • I did go in to get his bathing suit a bit later and brought it outside. I fully expected him to undress outside but he ran inside to change. I can't count the number of times I have told him to dress in private. (ie: not in front of the window or outside.) This time he couldn't even hear me to tell him yet he just did it. This mirrors nicely the handwashing progress. For years I tried charts, social stories, behavioral techniques, but when I finally just started modeling my thinking, it took off.
Why are all these things happening? First and foremost I give the glory to God. There have been a number of things we have started over the past 6 months. One of those is RDI. I do credit RDI but even the timing and our consultant are all about God. I was at a friends' house in Cincinnati last fall and Andrew had an all out meltdown. We ended up seeing her consultant. I had a list of RDI consultants I was planning on contacting and I suppose she was on it 'somewhere' but there is a more local place. She is a perfect fit for our family however and has really been a gift from God.

We also started OT approximately 8 months ago. I have observed other OTs at the center that we attend, and I can say with certainty that we have a really good fit. There are some others there that I would also consider using but I know that she was hand picked by God to be part of Andrew's team. We have also made some changes in our family and prayer life. This has certainly made a large difference as well. That is really a long post for another time.

Going to have a great summer!!

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

God's Visual Aid

I am not sure of where this was originally posted but it is so good that I wanted to make sure I had it 'forever' on my blog.


People with disabilities are God's best visual aides to demonstrate who he really is. His power shows up best in weakness. And who by the world's standards are weaker than the mentally or physically disabled? As the world watches these people persevere. They live, love, trust, and obey him. Eventually the world is forced to say, "How great their God must be to inspire this type of loyalty."

- Joni Eareckson Tada

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Awesome Strawesome

I had the opportunity to review several products from Strawesome. Their website can be found HERE and at the picture above.

To be honest, I had never really thought about the plastic that we drink through every day but we are trying to limit our exposure to toxins so when the idea of glass straws was brought to my attention I thought, why not try?! First some 'fast facts.' The straws are made from borosilicate which is a material discovered in the 1800 and is non-toxic. (Think Pyrex.) They are dishwasher safe, available in a variety of sizes and styles including smoothie and regular; straight and bendy. The prices vary from $6 on up. I really loved my Strawesome straws and will definitely be purchasing some in the future. Here is more on our experience with them.

The 'breakage' / kid factor...

I am writing this first because everyone I know seems to have a child that is 'rough' on things with their teeth. I was rather rough with the straws. I didn't 'try' to break them but I can tell you that I am generally not a 'careful' person when it comes to my dishes and nothing broke. For my son, who chews the heck out of straws, I watched pretty closely. He recently 'rechipped' his tooth on some popcorn so he was a tad skiddish about having it in his mouth but he did try it. I really like the idea of moving to this type of straw for him- if for no other reason that when I run out of straws I don't have to go running to the store to get more! The straws that I would buy for him are between $8 and $13. That is probably about a four month supply of plastic straws. If you are trying to 'sneak' in green smoothies you can get colored straws to hid the color of the smoothie. (We put our smoothies in an opaque glass so you can't really see the color.) If you do break your straw they will replace it for the cost of shipping.

The "special" factor...

I have to say it felt lovely to sit and have my smoothie in a glass with these straws. I gave up my nightly wine awhile ago (didn't agree with me) and I was thinking, what a great before dinner drink! There are some diet philosophies that say the best time to eat fruit is 30-60 minutes before your meal when your stomach is relatively empty. I did that a few nights while making dinner. I munched less and ate a smaller dinner. Yes, I could have done the same thing before but it felt like more of an 'event' instead of slamming down a smoothie.

So...why Strawesome? They list some great ideas here. My favorite is, it is the gift for the person who has everything! These are less than the price of flowers and they last longer! I love the idea of doing this for party favors for weddings and showers. I have some friends that I exchange ornaments with every Christmas. Can I just say, I'd rather have a glass straw than a glass ornament.

I do highly recommend purchasing something from Strawesome. They come in sets as well, and would be a fun way to do 'happy hour' on the back patio while you grill your dinner this summer!

These straws were given to me by Strawesome for my review.

Friday, May 14, 2010


We tried e-hub today...puppets and myth debunkers. Here are some facts (well not so much facts as a frame of reference):
  • The people who run e-hub are wonderful and accommodating.
  • The teachers are great and try and make things work.
  • The world is auditory. Even the 'visual' and hands on classes require MUCH auditory.
  • Kensington rooms have the worst acoustics of any place we have ever been.
  • Mix all that up with a child who is hearing impaired and on the spectrum and you feel like you have been hit by a bus.
I truly was googling 'hit by a bus cartoon' and found the above.. We tried puppet and myth debunkers class today. Even though both classes are hands on, they both involved much auditory. Andrew has incredible listening skills and I have the papers to prove it. He even has improved much in a noisy environment but the acoustics of a cement wall, windows, large room, an overhead fan running just proved to be too much. (He can hear in the grocery better than he can hear at e-hub.) We worked very hard for years to get Andrew to learn to listen and it proved to be the right thing to do. Just this week in a home-schooling webinar I learned how early listening skills lead to better reading and learning. I believe it. But Andrew already has a deficit in 'referencing' people visually. He doesn't look to others for information when it is needed to learn, answer questions or calm his anxieties. This is a core deficit of autism and add to that, that we reinforced the auditory track for years.. it will take some time to correct. We are working on it through RDI but it is a marathon and not a sprint. I am in no way sorry we did what we did (AVT)- but I have a complex kiddo. I love him so much but left the parking lot in tears.

We have considered an FM several times but it was so complex that we could not even get the audiologist to get it to work. Advanced Bionics came out to help but I am concerned about spending upwards of $2000 on a piece of equipment that may or may not work for one or two classes that may or may not work. I have thought about using the schools but because we homeschool, we'd have to go through the entire IEP process and even then may not get an FM for home use.

Anyway- that is our saga of the day. I feel deja-vu except I HAVE been here before, as the chicken in the cartoon.... Maybe in the fall I will get the courage to try again. The part that breaks my heart is that Andrew WANTS to go. He says, "I made a friend." But his attempt at new friendship was strange and contrived. I looked on in pain as he was bombarding a new 'friend' with questions and comments, telling him how cool his shirt was and wondering if he liked video games. (He couldn't hear the answers which again was another painful moment.) As he was drifting off to sleep he asked, "can I take myth debunkers mom?" I just don't think I have the courage to do it right now...

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Books books and more books

Several weeks ago I read a blog about books. The blogger stated that she was tossing the board books and not allowing her children to really handle the books unless they were old enough. (I read way too many blogs and don't recall where I read it or I would link it. She is an organizing consultant.) I am laughing because as I write this, my son is adding illustrations to a book on money. But as he does he is reading, absorbing and understanding and I don't have to stand over his shoulder and teach him. Not to mention that he is practicing his fine motor and using his imagination and also completing a form of narration. He respects library books- but one time he spilled something on a book and pages stuck together. We went in and paid for it. He felt so bad but I figured it was basically the 'cost' of doing the library so much. One book out of 500 isn't so bad.

So what about you?? Do you treat your books with kid gloves or love them to the end?

Thursday, May 6, 2010 Leslie Schwanbeck

Going thru my old blog.. My sissy wrote this a couple of years ago. Cheers me sweet.

Magnolias in Bloom

Hello there Magnolia,

It’s good to see you again!

I have been missing your flowers,

And have wondered how you’ve been.

You are the best of both worlds,

Being a flower and a tree.

You’re one of the first to bloom

At least the ones I see.

Mississippi named you

The great flower of their state

You come in so many different sizes,

Colors and shapes!

You must be tough

To survive being pollinated by beetles

Not sure if that is better

Then worrying about a bee’s stinging needle

I will enjoy you this warm season,

Watch and smell you bloom and grow.

And I’ll be sure to thank Pierre Magnol

Whose name you’re sure to know.

- Leslie Schwanbeck (c)2008

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Regular Moms vs. Special Needs Moms

Reprinted with permission from One Place for Special Needs

(The last one isn't true for us. As I write this DH and DS are outside playing.)

Click HERE for link

Regular moms tell their kids to wake up and get dressed in the morning. And they do it.
Special needs moms put on battle gear to get our kids ready to start their day.

Regular moms ask their kids if they brushed their teeth.
Special needs moms prompt, “Brush your top teeth. Brush your bottom teeth. Did you get the sides? Open your mouth. My God, give me that toothbrush! You’ve left half your meal in there!”

Regular moms wave goodbye as their kids run off to catch the school bus.
Special needs moms get awesome door-to-door bus service for their child.

Regular moms know the names of all their friends.
Special needs moms know most of their friends by their username.

Regular moms judge other moms when kids have tantrums in stores.
Special needs moms say to themselves, “Hmm, I wonder which disability he has?”

Regular moms complain about driving their kids to sports and recreation classes.
Special needs mom grin and bear the weekly trips to tutors, doctors and therapists.

Regular moms’ kids have a teacher.
Special needs moms’ kids have a team.

Regular moms talk about accomplishments.
Special needs moms talk about skills, as in play skills, conversation skills, life skills, social skills and vocational skills.

Regular moms relax with their kids during the summer.
Special needs moms start their second job as home teachers, therapists and skills coaches.

Regular moms think accommodations refer to hotels.
Special needs moms have memorized the top 20 accommodations for their child.

Regular moms hope their child finds a good career.
Special needs moms are hopeful someone gives our child the chance to work.

Regular moms soak in the tub when they want to unwind.
Special needs moms consider a bathroom break a luxury.

Regular moms enjoy reading the latest best selling book.
Special needs moms should receive an honorary degree for all the disability books they've read.

Regular moms go out for dinner and a movie with their husbands every month.
Special needs moms have a date night with their husbands every…wait, what decade is this?

Regular moms complain their kids won’t eat their vegetables.
Special needs moms are so desperate we consider chicken nuggets to be a legitimate meat product and throw in ketchup as a vegetable.

Regular moms’ kids go to play groups.
Special needs moms’ kids go to therapy groups.

Regular moms meet for a ladies night out.
Special needs moms get together at support groups and forums.

Regular moms have medical claim forms that fit in one file folder.
Special needs moms will tell you a small forest was cut down so we could receive our claims.

Regular moms think OT means overtime.
Special needs moms know more acronyms than a NASA engineer.

Regular moms complain their husbands sit on the couch while they do all the work.
Special needs moms...well how about that? Some things do stay the same!

Related Posts with Thumbnails