Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Go figure.

For the most part lately Gregory has been doing good when he's at school. Yesterday his teacher told me he had a GREAT day! I wanted to scream it to the world! She said it was not just good . . . it was his best day ever! I was feeling good . . . like maybe me taking him every day is working. He really likes it. He needs his mommy to take him. I'm such a good mommy. Today . . . he had a rough day. Ugh! There goes feeling good about myself. Heaven forbid. I cannot figure this boy out! What made yesterday a good day and today not so good? That is the mystery in life. One question that may never have an answer.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Preschool update

I need to update you in Gregory's preschool. I need to do so with out saying the wrong thing since this is on the World Wide Web. You feeling me? ;)

Long story somewhat short. . . I finally heard back from his teacher a week and a half after my first email. They are willing to keep him until march 2nd evaluation under certain circumstances. One being I'm the one to drop him off every morning. I now have to change my work schedule and hire a sitter for if the afternoons. All of which God totally made possible. And other things. Blah. Blah. Blah. I get the feeling maybe they are trying to make us leave rather then kick us out.

We're really only talking about February. And a few days in march. Hopefully he'll qualify for something and if not try and find him another school. God is in control. This I know.

I'll keep you posted. He's been having some good weeks at school aside from some choking others here and there. No big deal. Right? :)

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Good morning!

It's amazing all that can happen in a morning and it's only 7:37. I know every parent feels this way. Not just a parent to a child with S. P. D.

I am now in charge of getting Gregory for school each morning and taking him. This is a somewhat easy task on the mornings I don't work. The mornings I do, oh boy!

This morning started at 4:30 when my alarm went off to snooze for 30 minutes where I would wake up at 5:00 and work out to a DVD. Next thing I know it's 5:30. I over slept. No work out again. 5:37 my mom calls to see how work out went. 5:57 Gregory wakes up. "I pee peed my bed mommy. " oh boy. He's usually not up until 7:00 by the way. 6:03 mom calls tell me what she found as a together birthday gift for my grandma at Walmart or her way into work. Gregory and I snuggle. We play "tunnel" under sheets. I attempt to get ready while playing this game. Make up and hair time. He decides to turn on I pod and dance and soon later tells me he peed his pants and it went all over tile. Ugh! More make up and hair. He then poops in underwear. Seriously?!?! He is now naked which he loves. Naked dance party starts. I dance a little. Not naked Do load of laundry. Finish getting ready. Get him ready. Breakfast time. He spills Cheerios everywhere. Second morning in a row by the way. And now I'm blogging it all thanks to my amazing I phone while he is racing around trying to be lightening McQueen.

Whew. I'll go put new cloths on him. Again. And attempt to get out the door. Watch out world here we come!

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Good to know.

9 Ways to Boost Your Child's Social Skills

April 26, 2011 by in Advice, Social with 8 Comments
When most parents think of teaching their child good social skills they think of making sure their child learns to say “Please” and “Thank you.” Others may even add in that a child should offer a snack to their friends during play dates or teach them why it is appropriate to give everyone in class a birthday invitation and not to exclude anyone. All of which are great social skills to have. For every child.
But, for parents of children with an invisible disability – whether that is Autism, Non-Verbal Learning Disorder, Sensory Processing Disorder, or even Bipolar Disorder – we think of completely different challenges when we are faced with teaching our children social skills. We think of reciprocal language, sharing control during play, being flexible, and not monopolizing the conversation (that is assuming they even know how to start a conversation in the first place).
Knowing our children have these complex challenges with social skills makes teaching social skills just a part of a much larger problem. And, often our children’s social skill deficits are compounded by other challenges – such as attention issues, sensory issues, or a simple lack of interest. But that doesn’t change the fact that most of our kids want friends.
And they need help from us to make – and keep – friends.
So how do you go about helping boost your child’s social skills? Good question!
In our house we have tried many different ways to teach social skills, from the basic skills (ask someone to play with you), to the more complex (you have to respond to their question and ask another one), and the ones that have no explanation at all (how to fight ‘fair’). And over the years, I have boiled it down to those that work.
Here are 9 tips for boosting your child’s social skills:

1. Formal Classes: One of the most beneficial things I have done is take my oldest son to formal Social Skills classes. Ours were taught by a woman with her masters in social work, but many are led by other professionals (Speech Therapists, Educational Consultants, and counselors). At first I thought this was a waste and assumed I could do it on my own – I am social, I know what to do – but I couldn’t have been more wrong. The curriculum breaks down basic social situations into easy to learn, and easy to practice, lessons. From how to have host behavior and ways to share the control of play, to how to pick and keep friends, these step by step, straightforward lessons have been invaluable to us.
2. Social Skills Groups: Once we had some of the basics down, the next step was practicing them. We attend social skills groups that are facilitated but are not ‘taught’. It is an opportunity for us to be with other children who have social challenges and practice the skills we are learning. Having me, and/or another facilitator available, allows my son to get verbal and nonverbal reminders on how to adjust behavior, or quite simply, when to ask a question.
3. Social Stories: Reading stories that illustrate social situations to a child (in pictures or in words depending on their developmental level) gives a child a better understanding of expected behavior, suggested conversation and social norms in a given situation. This is a good way to give your child some black and white information about this grey subject.
4. Video: One of the best ways I have found to demonstrate or illustrate these social situations, especially those that my son is on his own for (school, birthday parties, play dates) are through video. There are many videos out there, but the ones we have used most regularly are from Model Me Kids (they even have an iPod/iPad app!).
5. Role Playing: When there isn’t a book, or a video handy (and I don’t have the time or energy to make one!) we do simple role playing. This is a good way to address very specific issues that are affecting my children. Like, “I want to play with Johnny at school, but every time I ask him to play tag, he says no.” Role playing through this situation with my children allows us to come up with other things my son could say to Johnny, without the on-the-sport pressure. I also enlist the help of my middle neuro-typical son to participate in this brainstorming session, as his take on the situation is always incredibly helpful.
6. Real Life Practice: There is nothing more valuable than practice. Our kids have to get out there – make mistakes – and find success. Don’t stay inside, don’t avoid every party or the local playground, give it some good thought and choose a social challenge that will give your child the chance to shine – or at least glimmer a little.
7. Play Dates: Play dates are the easiest way to put your child in the position to succeed. You control the time, the location and the play. My best advice for these is to consider them like therapy: Do them every week. Each time you have one set up, plan the activities for the children. Choose activities that your child enjoys and can do with a relative ease. If his strength isn’t taking turns, don’t play board games. If your child can’t share his Legos, don’t get them out. And on the other hand, if you child shines at art, plan a craft or if he has mad-skills on the guitar, have a jam session. This is your chance to manufacture positive interactions with your child’s peers.
8. Phone Conversations: Don’t under value the need for phone conversations. Although arguably texting will likely take over for real phone conversations by the time most of our kids are teenagers, they need to know how to have a conversation on the phone now. And don’t underestimate this: it is hard. No visual clues, no way to read body language; they will have to rely on their ability to hear tone, inflection and respond to questions without a visual. It requires practice. Use play phones, call relatives, and set up phone conversations between play dates with the friends your child creates.
9. Make-Up Rules. This is kind of an awkward one – but for those social skills that don’t really have a rhyme or reason – the ones that defy laws of logic; makes up your own. Here’s an example: Gabriel likes to tell me I look pretty. He knows this is a nice thing to say. But he says it when I am done working out, or when I have jumped out of the shower, towel on my head, no makeup and ran to see why someone was screaming. Not such a good time, and with his interest in eventually having a girlfriend, I think it is important to give him some guidance. So, we have the rule, “If I am not ready to go out for the day, or with your father on a date, then hold off on your compliments until I am.” That’s a grey area, but I gave him a black and white rule to help him avoid social blunders. Same rule is applied to fighting with his brothers. I don’t know why the ‘bro code’ says you cannot hit a guy in the back, but among other places, that is just not acceptable. It is a social norm that I cannot explain. My son requires direction on these things and the best I can give him is narrow guidelines that we can expand as he gets older.


Hi there! Just thought I'd give an update on Mr. Gregory.

On February 2nd, he'll be 4 years old!!!

He is currently in love with anything relating to Fireman and Firetrucks.

He's loving Oreos. 

Getting his blood drawn.

 Being a super hero.

We had a good Christmas. New Years was bitter sweet . . . we lost Tommy's grandpa on New Years Eve but got to spend lots of time with Aunts, Uncles, and Cousins. Ü

Last week was the first week back to school and according to Gregory's teacher he did pretty good. Ü

We're in limbo right now (which I HATE) in regards to Gregory's schooling. In a nut shell, his current school doesn't really see him improving and don't feel like they can give him what he needs and are having a hard time dealing with all his sensory issues. So, we had a conference with his teacher, principal, and the early childhood specialist on campus before Christmas to discuss Gregory and other options.

We would like him to go to a Christian school but also know that a Christian school might not be able to give Gregory what he needs. So, our plan was to keep him at Christ Lutheran for the time being and get him re-evaluated through the school district to see if he qualifies for "special" preschool through the district.

We went on January 6th where we found out he needs further more formal testing in speech, self help, social skills, and cognitive. The only thing is its not until March 2nd. And then if he qualified for anything it wouldn't be until April that he'd start.

So, I emailed his teacher, principal, and the early childhood specialist letting them know all this and am still waiting to hear what they want to do. Are the keeping him? If so, I'd like to give them some tools to help them and some things to implement in the classroom. I will email them again today to see what the thought process is. Will keep you updated.

Meanwhile, OT every week is going good. We've been implementing things at home too. So fun! And I've asked for his birthday that everyone gets him a sensory integration toy. :) I see Gregory making great strides and is talking so much better lately! Its so fun!

Upcoming things . . . he'll have his yearly pediatric appointment soon and his yearly metabolic appointment. Updates to come. This summer we'll go to the PGC conference again. This year its in July. Cannot wait!

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

12 Ways to be a better parent

I found this article on a blog this morning and it was just what I needed. I was feeling overwhelmed just with life last night, and crying to Tommy about how I feel like every hour I'm letting Gregory down and not giving him the best out there because this is all so new and I don't know what the best is and as I'm trying to figure it all out, time is being wasted. I think as a parent you always feel like its never good enough. I just want to do everything I can so Gregorys needs are met and he can be the best he can be. Feeling very weary, and seeing this this morning was just what I needed! :)
Being a parent is hard.  Being a special needs parent is really hard.  I find that too many of us think that being a better parent has to do with providing more therapy for our kids, a better school, better doctors or some other tangible thing.  I don’t think that is how our kids would define ‘good parenting’, do you?
Here’s my advice on ways you can be a better parent today.  And by ‘better’ I mean your kids will like you more. : )
1. Take care of yourself. This is about as basic as it gets – if you are not taking care of your own needs, then you are over-tired, stressed and well, making those around you miserable. Imagine how much easier everything would be if you were well-rested, relaxed and parenting intentionally instead of reactively? Start by taking a shower. Build from there.
2. Listen more. Our kids have lots to say, and we all end up cutting them off because we are much more concerned about our own agenda and what needs to be happening. Take the time to truly listen to your child’s concerns. He’s trying to tell you something.
3. Plan to Connect. Instead of just planning therapy sessions, or play dates, or errand running, plan a time to just be. Time to spend with you and your child (if you have more than one, do this for each of them) and learn about each other. If you don’t, you’ll turn around and have a teenager on your hands in no time.
4. Play. This is one that is often forgotten. Play with your kids! This does not mean supervise them playing, it means that you have to actually, really, truly, play WITH your child. Let them lead, sit on the floor, make funny voices, and interact in the games that mean the most to your child.

5. Stop Parenting the Label. Your child is more than just one label or another. He is a child. A human being. Start looking at him like that. Wherever he is in his development, regardless of what he can or can’t do, should or should not be doing, parent the whole child.  As he is now. Parent that kid. It is much easier than parenting his symptoms.
6. Be Silly. This seems crazy, I know, but be silly. Kids love to laugh. Don’t you? There is nothing better than a great moment spent giggling together that the two of you will remember for years. If you can’t think of anything, tell a joke. Or, if you have kids like mine, fart humor is always a win.
7. Forgive. When you live with a child who has extreme behaviors, or that meltsdown in public, or otherwise seems to do embarrassing things, forgive him. Let it go. Often we as adults carry around the frustration of a past event for too long. My favorite definition of forgiveness is, “Giving up the hope that the past could’ve been different.” So true. Let go of what could’ve or should’ve happened. Deal with what is.
8. Cuddle. Do you spend enough time hugging and cuddling with your child? I know this is hard for many kids with autism/sensory issues, but do what works for your child. Being physically close (whether that means sitting next to each other, or cuddling up on the couch) helps build your attachment. Yes, you are attached, sure, but increasing the closeness between you and your child (especially if there is chaos during the day) is a good way to reset. Both of you.
9. Apologize. If you mess up, forget something, change the schedule, or yell too much, apologize. Apologizing for when you screw up shows your child that you are empathetic about his feelings, that you make mistakes too (no one is perfect) and that it is OK to admit you are wrong. Modeling this behavior is a HUGE bonus for him. And you’ll feel better.
10. Relax. Try not to have so many rules that you aren’t enjoying life. My mom says to me all the time when I am telling the kids they can’t do something, “Don’t punish yourself.” If I get too strict, I end up punishing me too. When I loosen up a little, without giving in, I do find that the boys are much more enjoyable to be around. Huh. Wonder if they feel that way about me too?
11. Accept. I think we are always trying to therapy one thing or another out of (or into) our kids that we forget to just accept them. They need to know that they are perfect just the way they are. A child who feels like everything about them needs to be corrected – don’t do that – don’t say that – stop – no – don’t – does not feel self-assured. So, you stop it.
12. Love. This goes without saying, sure. But with kids you actually do have to say it in many ways.  Remember to let them know you think they are great. “You are a great kid!” “You know, I think you rock!” Or my favorite, when my kids do or say something cool, I say, “I love that about you!” Self-esteem is a reflection of what our kids hear every day from us. So give it to ‘em!

Tuesday, January 10, 2012


Hey there! Check out these awesome new SPD blogs I'm following. I just found them thanks to good old Pinterest.
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