Thursday, March 17, 2016

Starting a new journey.... homeschool

Well, things have been mighty tough on the school front here.  After a lot of trying different things, and thinking about it I decided to homeschool my kiddos.  Here are the individual reasons why.

Alexander:   Alex was the driving force behind the decision.  He has had a very tough time in a classroom environment his entire school career.  He has always required many accommodations and a lot of one on one time to remain minimally functional in the classroom.  When he moved to middle school it just got worse. Expectations were higher, as well as the differing social dynamic, and puberty.  Long story short, he spends his days in school completely shut down.  Many days they can't successfully get him to eat lunch.  He has been sent to the hospital in restraints, eventually he was put in an out of district placement with a room size of 6 children, a behavioral placement.  Even in this setting he isn't successful, and he just plain isn't being educated.  So Mom is going to do it at home! I know him best, I can provide the one on one he needs and the visual and tactile teaching style.  My boy is so smart, he just doesn't have the coping skills, so we will be focusing a lot on coping skills and life skills as well.

William:  William is on the other end of the spectrum from Alex.  He is profoundly autistic and completely nonverbal.  My feeling for him is that he goes to school and is just being swept under the carpet.  I rarely get papers back, and when I do it is clear he did not perfectly draw and color that detailed robot.  I feel like he has just been written off, he can't talk... so he can't learn.  Which is not true! You should see the amazing things he has learned in his ABA, and he communicates with us without words all the time.  I have been to 6 IEP meetings this year, trying to get them to raise the bar a bit for him.  Focus on alternate communication, add in some more academics.  They just aren't cooperative, and I feel like if I fight the fight and get the stuff put in, it probably will be implemented with least effort anyhow.  So again... Mom is going to do it!

Lillian:  Which leaves Lily, my little ray of sunshine.  I don't mention her a lot here since this blog is about our autism journey.  She was a micropreemie, she weighed 1 lb 13 oz when she was born.  She is a living miracle. She has naturally had developmental issues since birth.   She is still undiagnosed, but she is having a complete neuropsych evaluation in the near future so see if there is a learning disability affecting her. She is tenacious, works so hard, never gives up.  She is always happy and loves to learn.  Despite this however she still has great learning difficulties.  She has an IEP and gets resource.  As well as a ton of tutoring outside of school and she is struggling still.  She is a slow learner, and the class just moves too fast for her to keep up.   I've already decided that homeschooling the boys is a necessity.  It just makes sense to educate her to her particular needs as well, so she can excel instead of struggling to keep up.

Long story short, my kids aren't typical, they do not learn typically, and they need to be taught the way they learn.  they deserve nothing less. As an award for reading all that ranting.... here is an updated photo for each kid.



Friday, February 26, 2016

Topic board...... 5 senses!!

So I made an activity for the 5 senses and a whole ton of PECS to go with it, I probably overdid it, but I usually do!  It is ten pages!


Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Bedroom safety.... Night time safety.....

So I posted this message on various autism facebook pages and forums, I thought I would post the replies here for anyone else who might be needing this info.

BEDROOM SAFETY!!
    I am posting this plea for  help on every autism page I know, I apologize for those of you who see it more than once.
    My boy William is a non-verbal non-compliant non-whatever_else_he_can_come_up_with autistic child. He's cute as a button, and quirky, but can be challenging to keep safe sometimes.   Especially at night, His room was devoid of everything but a mattress on the floor, and the heavy duty step 2 toybox with some favorite toys.  He has always been a little crazy at night, we hear him running into the walls, and jumping, and sometimes laying on his back and kicking the wall, he likes the way it sounds or feels or something, he just giggles and kicks. I dread the day he figures out how to open the child locks on the door knob. We find one dangerous thing he does, problem solve and another crops up, its never-ending.  His newest thing is the baseboard heating.  He starting ripping the metal off. I sliced my finger pretty badly cleaning it one day, so I am petrified of him doing the same. So we moved a dresser into his room, kept it empty, but used it to block the baseboard. He still removed the metal except he just bent the parts he could reach around the dresser!!
    I researched safety beds, but the only affordable option (nickel bed tent) appears to no longer be made. The next cheapest option is 3000 dollars!
    So talk to me oh wise autism parents.... How do you address bedroom/nighttime safety in your house? I HAVE to sleep sometime.........


Here are the most helpful replies I got!

Christy - I'm not an autism parent (I have high-functioning autism, myself), but I'm pretty sure there's foam stuff you can stick to the wall that also sound-proofs things. It also might help to have something to distract him from these dangerous habits. I used to scratch myself all the time whenever I felt uneasy, to the point where my skin would be bleeding all over the place, but then I started carrying a notebook or sketchbook with me, and I draw whenever I'm nervous. Maybe William is a little nervous or antsy at bed-time. Something that used to help me was one of those constellation projector things. I'd get so lost in looking at my own little version of the sky on my ceiling that I forgot about scratching myself.

Bonnie - I had these same kinds of issues when my son was younger, and I know another child who is similar. Her mother put up a pair of the clear plastic baby gates one over the other in her daughter's doorway and discovered that the child (2) was able to squeeze herself through the gap that allowed the doorknob to poke through so the door could shut. She fell hard the first time she did it and her mom thought she would refrain from doing it again. Instead, this clever clever child emptied her tub of stuffed animals through the opening to cushion her fall when she squeezed out again. This had the added effect of muffling the fall so her parents couldn't hear her escape. My point is, kids who don't observe boundaries and are also nimble and bright are wicked hard to stay one step ahead of! So BREATHE, first. Then think about the real problem. Does your son really need to have a bed frame or would a mattress on top of a box spring with no frame be a safer option? Can your base rays be shielded with supplies from the hardware store or the edges blunted with duct tape so if he does tear them off he at least won't be injured? Can you put one of those magnetic alarms at the top of his door and windows in case he does figure out the child locks? My son slept on a mattress on his bedroom floor for years. I used duct tape to secure my vent covers to the floor after he realized he could pick them up and throw them at me during a meltdown. And those magnetic locks were super helpful when he decided he was going to leave the house while I was in the bathroom.

Lisa - We stripped his room of all furniture but a mattress. (He was flipping over dressers, bookshelves, and storage trunks.) Is there any way to cover his heater? I know they make covers for certain baseboard heaters. Maybe go talk to someone at a local home improvement store.

 Wendy - I used a tent and put his bed in it it worked well for a yr then he unzipped it then I just started laying with him at night until he fell a sleep

 Karen - Consider consulting with a behavioral specialist on this. It sounds like he is looking for any type of stimulation he can get while suffering insomnia. When we had nighttime safety issues, we kept our son in our room at night.

 Sian - Loneliness is a big issue. is he like this if you take him into your bed.. Iam lucky in one respect I have 2 Autistic boys they share the same room the only time we all get a good nights sleep.. We did though, when they where much younger, a week of Phernergan ( Heavy duty antihistamine that makes people drowsy) to promote a good pattern in sleep..My youngest when he was 3 was also a self harmer break everything smash everything get into everything. had grommetts done changed his diet and all settled down.. still have moments when his is like this mainly when he is sick.

Caroline - I know this is very old school, but does he have a teddy or anything he snuggles up too? My son is 18 and still goes to bed with his cuddly dog..... It might not just be loneliness maybe try a night light with stars or something if he hasn't already got one, but yes Karen's idea of consulting a behaviour specialist is an excellent idea too! There is nothing worse than disturbed sleep x

Joy - I'm so sorry frown emoticon I know how hard this can be, and trying to do anything on sleep deprivation is even harder. Have you talked to your OT, PT, or pediatrician? My daughter's bed like this was paid for through her insurance. I've also seen families post one on GoFundMe if insurance is going to be too slow or deny the request. Some families find that placing the mattress inside a tent that zips from the outside is enough to ensure safety and they make some special for this.
Both of my kiddos take medication to help them sleep because they struggle without it and are so much happier with a good night sleep, and so that is something that can be discussed with your pediatrician as well. We also saw a sleep neurologist who helped brainstorm other things that could impact their sleep hygiene.
I would also see if your therapists or school team can help you brainstorm ways to address supporting independent play and communication. Our kiddos are not really "nons" -- they are just "not yets" that need help to find the right path for them, I think. Behavior expresses a need, and building communication means they can help us cut down on some of the trial-and-error that seems to take so so so long.
I hopes something in there was helpful. My heart goes out to you and your family... Worrying about your kiddo's safety is not a place any mama wants to be. Hugs.


Robbie's mom - Robbie jumped on his bed all the time and broke many box spring mattresses. We bought a big, red car bed and piled a couple mattresses on it. It was pretty much indestructible.
I would have put a dresser in front of the vent too. Maybe you can replace the vent with something else more like plastic, non metal?


Rain - An indoor trampoline comes to mind to keep his legs busy. The ones with the nets around them. I would have that in his room along with his mattress. He can sleep where he crashes. As far as the baseboards..is there a way to replace, seal so they can't be tampered with? I have baseboards & ours are very heavy, thick metal. I do see one end that can come off for access & am assuming that's where your problem started? 

There were also many messages that recommended starting Melatonin with him, I think it would be redundant to post them all, but many swore by it.

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Topic board.... LEGOS

Who doesn't love legos, our house has an amazing amount of legos. I put some in a small box on the therapy shelf so I can use them with William. Here are a few pecs I made to go with them, and a few RBW cards too.



Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Speak for yourself AAC app Icons

Since I am am starting high tech AAC with William, I started making icons to use with whatever app works with him.  That way the communication app matches his pecs at home!  We are currently using Speak For Yourself. Which has words that never move so the children can develop motor planning for each word.  This is why this was my first choice.  I made icons for every word on the front page!   I posted them on a dropbox account so that others can use them too, for speak for yourself or any aac app that lets you choose your own photos. I think the continuity is so important!

There are 96 by 96 size icons for SFY, there are larger size plain color icons. and there are larger size icons colored according to the fitzgerald key.

For those of you who are using paper pecs, these are all individual boardmaker pec icons!
Here is a screenshot of Williams front page! Of course he only has 7 of these words open....



https://www.dropbox.com/sh/y7w1fxd2iwctkqu/AAAyM_FIARTrGG9Uy4bcywUFa?dl=0

Monday, April 13, 2015

I love my daddy adapted book.

I found this awesome book at savers, "I love my daddy" and my daughter loved it. So I made some pecs to adapt it.



Sunday, April 12, 2015