Thursday, November 29, 2012

Traquil Thursday: Elusive End

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Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Taciturn Tuesday: Insight

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  The Converse of Perfectionism is Reasonableness

Monday, November 26, 2012

Decoding Comprehension: Info and Apps

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After Sensi's school conference, we agreed that we are going to need to work hard on Sensi's paraphrasing skills. Sensi's Speech Therapist explained to me how this all works. Sensi can decode words and read aloud above her grade level, but she has trouble retelling the story since (we think) she feels that she has to retell a story verbatim rather than in her own words. It is important you drop the reading level below 1-2 levels below decoding level when using this approach.
The way to do this is working with simple sentence stories: Tommy went to the grocery store on Saturday to buy some milk. 
Now to paraphrase using "wh" questions...

Who went to the store?
What did Tommy do on Saturday? 
When did Tommy go to the store?
Where did Tommy go on Saturday?
Why did Tommy go to the store?

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Of course there are apps for this, but it can be done just as easily with pencil and paper as long as you follow the form.  Person did something on a certain day at a certain place to do a task. Sally went to the post office yesterday to mail her party invitations. Right now we are doing this with the book "Olivia Counts Down To Christmas."

You can find apps for this at the Super Duper Publications App Store, here are a few: 
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Super Duper StoryMaker: There are free and paid versions

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Wh Questions Cards: Who, what, why, where, what. 

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Sensi's teacher also found a story telling app, StoryBuddy : 

Also there are apps based on the six stages of language development from PRC App lab, here is a link to their page explaining the concept, 
The ones I will be getting for Sensi are: 

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Direct Phrases: Have fun directing activities. 

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-ing words and Prepositions: Helps with forming complete sentences and the use of prepositions.

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Simple Sentences: Building on the -ing words app, encourages more complete grammatical sentences.

We have lots of work to do, but it can be creative and fun too. I hope you have fun with your story telling and "wh" questions with your own kids.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Monday, November 19, 2012

Special Needs Parenting While Depressed

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It is that time of year for me when the wind goes out of my sails. It feels like I have a wet blanket draped over me and everything takes extra effort to get it done. I suffer from Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) and have chronic depression. I have been afflicted with depression since I was a teenager and have had enough episodes that I am on antidepressants pretty much permanently. My last major episode was 9 years ago.
I have to manage my depression so I can take care of my kids. It is a awful struggle sometimes.
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 Of course I always head into winter with plans of how to handle things. It seems as if life always has a way of thwarting those plans. I am overwhelmed by just basic stuff and I have now some extra concerns that have me to the point of just wanting to give up. 


That's the rub, when you have special needs kids you can't give up. You may want to, but really you can't. There is always some battle to fight and you have to muster up the resources to meet the challenge. Because if you don't some of the progress you may have gained with your child may be lost. 

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Add to that the every day bumps and you get some pretty grim realities. I am writing now because I am avoiding cleaning up the basement after the sewer backed up on us this weekend. I also have the back yard to rake, the grocery shopping to do before the stores go haywire before Thanksgiving and just maintaining the house. Add to that the news that they plan on disbanding Sensi's school to farm out the teachers to the separate busing zones and you have me on the verge. 
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I can take a little time to freak out, but then I have to get back on course to find out how to get Sensi and Random the things they need to be successful. The problem is it falls to me, if I don't do it, (write the letter, ask the hard questions, do the research, make the appointment,) it won't get done and my kids lose out. 

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So here I am stuck in low gear. I have a calendar to keep track of must do appointments, a Daily List of 3 to get done house-wise and a weekly list of how ever many to take care of school issues. I have my weekly counseling sessions, walking club once or twice a week and have yoga once a week, so I am doing my best to keep my "me" appointments. The Daily List of 3 consists of things like doing laundry, vacuuming and taking out the garbage. That is where I am at, I have to make a list to ensure I keep our house livable, my kids have clean clothes, and the house stocked with food.  So for the next few months I am going to do my best to keep blogging, but it is not at the top of the list, even though it is a "me" activity. 
So even though I have antidepressants, exercise, a SAD light and my friends for support, the wet blanket is still here. Managing my depression is the best I can do until it lifts.


Friday, November 16, 2012

Three Months Post AIT

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Things have started to normalize with school. Sensi has a new speech teacher in school and we had a meeting and hopefully we have an understanding now. 
We have had no more ear infections or waxy buildup causing pain in her ears. So I am hoping the cue to use flat hands to protect her ears is doing the trick. She is still giving herself wet willies when I am not prompting her. She picked out the fluffiest, puffiest pair of earmuffs last time we went to the store and wears them around the house.
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I asked her teacher how she is doing and she reported improvements. Some of the improvements have been variable, but she related that to our going on vacation for a week last month. There has been some regression in her behavior in her writing class.
She reported Sensi has improved in participating in the mainstream classroom, but has had some back sliding with our trip and her helper being ill these past weeks.  She is able to follow directions with prompts from her helper, stay relatively still and quiet and stay seated during class. When we returned they had started writing a letter for the next assignment. Since Sensi started on the assignment late and wasn't there for the initial instruction, she is lacking in enthusiasm for the project.

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 I got a report from her other classroom helper that she is able to participate in calandar math and has been doing well. He is thinking of moving her up to the next level with another student. She was upset when it came to change the month over to November. That one is a mystery, aside from November contains Thanksgiving, one of Sensi's least favorite holidays. He also accompanies her to lunch. He said she has eaten pizza and chicken with rice. Aside from those meals she puts her tray on the table and turns her back on the food. We decided that he is going to prompt her to take one bite of her lunch before she can get up and go back to class. We will see if that works out, if it is explained as a rule, we might get some cooperation.

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One of Sensi's favorite paraprofessionals in class is Ms. E. She was in class last year when Sensi started kindergarten at her new school. Ms. E. says that the difference from last year is like she is another child. She reported that Sensi will sit with her during circle time, and even lean on her while they are listening. She isn't screaming, she isn't upset and she actually listens to what the teacher is saying.  Part of it is just a function of growing up, but I think part is due to her being less defensive sensory-wise in class. 

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Her speech continues to improve. Our tutor came for a visit to test out some apps with Sensi. Sensi was involved with one app and her tutor wanted her to stop and try another. Sensi said" Give me a minute!" and pushed tutor's hand away.  I am so impressed with her spontaneous response. She is also correcting her Qubo show promo scripts. There was one line that went "We should hide." For the last month she had been saying "Wish I..." This morning waiting for the bus we were following the promo script and she said it correctly this time. Little victories.
Her Speech Language Pathologist reported that when doing her assessment for the insurance company that for the first time Sensi tried to  answer almost all the questions. She only had some trouble with synonyms.  Overall, Sensi continues to improve, with some set backs. I am still pleased with the progress. Her speech is getting better all the time.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Taciturn Tuesday: ZEN

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photo by Rachel Gittman

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Taciturn Tuesday: Wolf Ridge Environmental Learning Center

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Monday, November 5, 2012

Using Unproven Therapies

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The subject of using unproven therapies has come up at our home. Sensi has had some toileting regression this past month. Both with constipation and with soiling her pants. I talked with her Theraplay therapist about options. We can't use Mozart for Modulation as we have done in the past, since she is supposed to refrain from listening therapies after AIT.  We decided to try a two week brushing/joint compression trial.
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I have looked and I have found no proven studies that brushing works. When it was suggested by her Occupational Therapist (OT) the first time, way back almost a year ago, I just ignored the suggestion. I figured we had other things to spend our time on, rather than trying to fit another therapeutic program in our schedule. Sensi's tutor and I have talked at length about unproven therapies and how many people still try them anyway. AIT and brushing are both unproven, but when I look at the idea behind the therapies they both made sense for Sensi at the time.

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I chose to try brushing since our choices are limited by the previous AIT and the trial is limited.  I figure it can't hurt and if it does help it is worth the time. I also know that there are very strict guidelines on using a brushing protocol for sensory defensiveness. We are not following those guidelines. We are doing what works for Sensi and our family. This entails twice daily brushing her body with a soft brush and then following that with joint compressions. I have both the deluxe brush and the cheap "nail" brush that is found at discount and dollar stores. Sensi has shown no preference for one over the other, but I do give her a choice of brushes before we start. That choice makes her more open to being brushed. I talked with her OT in school and they said that in the course of the school day the staff could fit in a daily brushing session too.
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The aim is to make Sensi more aware of her body so that she pays attention to the need to go and uses the bathroom promptly when this occurs. She has had a history of ignoring her body's needs to void and has been a variable eater. She has no set pattern to her toileting, like some other children. It has been very difficult to toilet train her mostly due to this inattention to her insides. This sensation of your internal organs and awareness of them is called interoception. Apparently, she has a lack in this area and we are trying to help her be more aware. 
We are a week into the two week trial, and I can say that there have been days that I missed a brushing session here and there. That being said, I have seen an improvement in her toileting. I will let you know if there are any huge breakthroughs. Although as you all may know, many of the gains our children make are small and slow. It is when you look back over a month or a year that you see the real progress being made.


Jessica Davich U of Wisc. Stout studies:
An Examination of Brushing Program for a Child with Sensory Sensitivity
A Comparison of Interventions for Children with Tactile Defensiveness


Thursday, November 1, 2012

Tranquil Thursday: Meditation Oasis

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