Sunday, May 30, 2010

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Your Baby Can Read: Month Two

So honestly this month, mama has been sick for the better part of the month.  I have sat and watched the videos with the boys, talked them through it and have still been amazed at how easily they seem to pick up these words.  The challenge that we are faced with is that since the boys are both non-verbal, not only do we have to teach them to recognized the written word, but we have to teach them the sign and have them understand that as well.  This is a learning experience for them as well as me.  Stage Two is somewhat of a repeat of Stage One with several new words added.  The boys are such visual learners which is why I know this is something that is going to work for them.  At this point I have calculated that they are reading and recognizing more than 25 words.  I do believe that they recognize a few more but do to fine motor issues are unable to do the signs just yet.  For example, the word BIB they would sign the word eat (which they can do) and then draw a bib on their chest... unable to do that.  However, I do think that they know what the word is and what it means.

I finally figured out how to get some video on here and its not from my $500 video camera... its from my cell phone... go figure technology!!??

Here are the boys watching the video, I apologize for my froggy voice, I should have NEVER tried to sing on video with a sore throat.
Month 2 Video

And then here are some of the flashcards that the boys have mastered from Stage Two:

Month 2 Flashcards

I plan on staying on Stage Two for another week or two and then moving onto Stage Three.  Both boys watch the video at least once a day, followed by either the flashcards OR the book.  Occasionally I will sit down with them and do the flashcards from Stage One as review and Stage Two.  I am trying to show them signs daily for new words we are learning and they seem to be trying to imitate me the best they can.  I have the TSS workers working on this program with them while we are at Speech Therapy and Occupational Therapy twice a week.  The boys each have 1/2 hour sessions and the twin not in therapy sits in the waiting room and does cards and reads the book with their TSS worker.  They get very vocal and very excited when we get the cards and books out for them.  I believe that they are actually proud to show off to the other people in the waiting room and seem to flaunt their stuff extra dramatic like.

The Parents Guide suggests that children age 12 months to 3 years do Stage 2 for 2 months and children ages 3 to 5 years to stay on one Stage for one month at a time.  I will modify this a bit due to the sign language that the boys are learning too.  I will stay on Stage Two for 6 weeks and transition into Stage Three in week six.  My boys are smart guys, they are getting it, I just want to make sure they are getting the most out of the program.

Month Two Impression:  AMAZING!!!!

Sunday, May 16, 2010

2010 Garden Take One

Last year was our first gardening experience.  It went rather well.  I think we got alot of veggies harvested and other than the weeds completely getting away from us after our trip to Hershey for a few days I was happy with our experience.  Tom and I discussed it a bit over the winter and we decided to make the garden even bigger.  SO!!??  Let's see how this year goes.

All winter Tom read up on several different gardening techniques and we've decided to do raised rows.  Its going to be alot of work but worth it hopefully as far as weed control.  Our garden this year measures 57 feet x 59 feet.  Thats over 3000 sq foot of garden space people.. WOW!!

Tonight we began by playing in the dirt.  All the kids played their part very well, now let's hope that it continues :)

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The twins will do a task if you make a game out of it.  Their job tonight was to PICK UP.... PUT IN.  We all sang Pick Up... pointed to a rock, when the boys got to the rock and picked it up, we then sang Put In and they took the rock to the 5 gallon bucket setting on the side of the garden threw it in and we all clapped.  They really had fun.  They did this for about 20 minutes which was amazing and fun for all of us.  Between the two of them they almost filled 1/4 of that bucket!!!
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Then off the the swing set for a bit:
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Elijah of course had to go for the digger and rough up the land to make it easier to rake over a bit.  He too did a good job but wanted to hit the swing set with the twins when they headed that way.

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Camille impressed me the most.  She stayed down with daddy until dark when we called it quits.  She did work hard and her efforts were really a huge help.... This IS a big deal to have Camille help out like this, usually she is the last to jump into a job and actually do it, very proud of her!!

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Tristin said she wanted a work-out, we gave her a work-out.  Although we would have much rather she had shoes on to shovel, she wanted to be a bare foot farmer...LOL  A farmer right up the road brought his commercial tiller up and tilled our garden for us this year and it did an amazing job.  The dirt is nicely broke up and rather smooth so its been pretty easy to move around like we want it.

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Friday, May 14, 2010

Alpaca Mothers Day Adventure

This mothers day we did something a little different instead of the usual.  My mom has a hairdresser, De, who owns an alpaca farm called Peaceful Pasture Alpacas.  My mom told her that we had mentioned raising alpaca for the boys one day when they got older as a business of some sort for them to own.  De told mom to come out anytime to see them up close and personal and to learn a little about them.  She said they still had their winter coats on and were due to be sheared on the 13th (yesterday).  If we wanted to come see them we had to see them cute and fluffy first.  So we headed over that way Sunday afternoon and spent about 2 1/2 hours in freezing cold weather admiring these beautiful creatures.  They  were pleasantly friendly with the kids and the children all loved the hands on experience.  The owners too were wonderful and filled our brains with lots of information and showed so much hospitality to our family.  THANK YOU!!  My mom, her hubby Jim and my family all went for the afternoon on a very last minute decision. 

Ok so, photo overload time.......
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It was a great day and I enjoyed spending it with my family AND my mom.

Stylin...



Oh Dear Lord, thank you for a such beautiful daughter who is intelligent, artistic, has an amazing personality,  loves music, bright colors and to drive her mama nuts sometimes with her outfit choices.   Looks great on your honey!!!  Really?!?!  :)

C is for Cookie

I have been under the weather with a nasty virus the past three days and my hubby has been such a trooper with taking off a few days from work to take over my duties for me.  I was actually really happy that he was able to see the boys in therapy today, (speech and occupational therapies)  I personally find it so encouraging to see what they do with my children and other children with disabilities to better their futures. 
When Tom goes out without me to a grocery store he always seems to find the biggest doughnuts or cookies made by man.  Today was no different.  He brought these huge sugar cookies with M&M's in them and I laughed and asked who could eat a whole one of those??
One thing about Caleb and Isaac is that they will not eat things they do not recognize.  So I proceeded to break one of these cookies into four to give to my Isaac, which was still big for him, but no longer looked like a round cookie.  He wouldn't take it, he refused it and when I kept encouraging him that it was a cookie and he would like it and he just started gagging.. which is what he ends up doing if we try to force something on him he doesn't want. 
So I wanted to see what happened when I handed him a full cookie out of the same box....




Uh, Huh... he's no dummy and he sure has his mama trained!!!

Thanks Honey for all your HELP :)

Sunday, May 9, 2010

No Sacrifice....

Today is Mothers Day and I purchase a nice little book for my mom to read and well I have to admit,  I enjoyed reading through it first.  There was alot to reflect on being a mom but this one entry really stuck to me and I thought I would share it here as I have so many followers with children who have disabilities too.

Mothers don't even think in terms of sacrifice.  No matter what they give up to raise their children, it is always worth it.

A mother's sacrifices are many, but they are rarely noticed or even commented upon.  At every level of society, culture, or civilization, when there is  little food or water, the child will always be fed or quenched before the mother even thinks about replenishing herself.  Her hunger is to fill her child's needs and wants.  It is an insatiable state that exists from the moment she gives birth until her dying day.  She will, without exception, always put her children first.  She is, after all, a mother.

Taken from a book called Tranquil thoughts on motherhood by Kattrin Davida

Happy Mothers Day!!

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Sensory Processing Disorder

Today I attended a training titled Sensory Integration: Tools, Resources and Real World Solutions for Life with Challenging Kids.  I went there hoping to come home with all the answers to my 4 year old identical twin boys (who happen to have PDD Autism and Down Syndrome) actions that we just can't quite figure out, and I think that I may have accomplished that.  Not with a solid solution, but with a different kind of thinking that may accommodate their sensory needs.  I am one of those parents who try to STOP the actions that I don't like and find inappropriate to do out in the community.  One thing my boys do all day long is swing their arm with a closed fist up and hit their head... several times a day.  When they are over stimulated, when they are upset, when they are engaged in something and having fun, sometimes when they are watching tv, basically just all the time.  As a matter of fact, they communicate by signing to us and I can't tell you how many times people have asked us what they are signing when they pound their head like that.  "We've come up with the reply that they think your a weirdo...LOL"

Instead of taking away something that they need (sensory input to their head), I'm going to look for a new more appropriate way to give it to them.  I am considering a weighted ball cap.  I found one in a magazine they gave to us to bring home with us.  I often wondered if they made these but never really researched it.   Also, they are head bangers, this may help with that as well.  Apparently, they are not understanding where their body fits in space.  

Another thing about Caleb that I'm trying to understand is his sock obsession.  He swings them, they chews on them, he hoards them and hides them all over the house.  He will only chew on the top end, he will only hold the top end and rub that end on his face... So a solution they gave to me today was to cut that end off of a sock and attach it to a necklace like and allow him to carry this with him for comfort.  Put it in his pocket or backpack and allow him to have it as a reward to stay on task or as a motivator.

There are several types of Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD).  There is Sensory Modulation Disorder (SMD), Sensory Based Motor Disorder (SBMD) and Sensory Discrimination Disorder (SDD).  The one I found the most fascinating was SMD.

Three types of SMD:

Sensory Under Responsive Kids:
  • Low Muscle tone
  • Lacks appropriated demonstration  of pain or temperature
  • Difficult to motivate or engage in a task
  • Hard to sustain attention
  • Prefers sedentary activities such as watching TV
  • Difficulty siting in a chair, may lean forward for support
  • May eat too much because he doesn't register hunger
Sensory Over Responsive Kids:

  • Irriability
  • Aggression
  • Shut Down
  • Inability to sit still
  • Hand flapping
  • Inability to calm self
  • Changes in eating or sleeping
Sensory Seeking Kids:

  • Always making a mess
  • Can't keep hands to self
  • Likes rough housing, crashing, unable to stop talking
  • May have TV, ipod or radio very loud
  • Prefers strong flavors of foods - hot, spicy, sour
  • May lick or chew on non-food items
  • Can't stop moving or fideting
  • Bumps into things
  • Enjoys playing with things or touching textured objects
  • Jump, Jump, Jump
  • Very difficult to engage in activities such as church, movies, and the like
Honestly, my boys have lots of characteristics from each of these types of SMD.

The above information came from our power point hands outs.  Our presenters were nervous as it was their first attempt at this training, but I have invited them to come and talk at Camp Friendship in August.   I will be sure to advertise it locally here when they decide to come.  I would encourage anyone with a child on the Autism Spectrum, ADHD, ADD, Down Syndrome and/or Sensory Issues to attend.  It was worth the 6 hours we were there!!

Thyroid Issues all around :(

I had my long awaited endocrinologist appointment on Monday of this week.  I found a lump in my neck area after I had a terrible fall at the end of February.  The lump never went down, called the doctor, sent me of a sonogram of the area and set up an appointment with the endo for this week.

When I got there I found out that this large lump I have sticking out of the front of my neck is x2.  I have two enlarged nodules with one inside that is not visible to me.  The next step is to biopsy both nodules to see what we're working with.  My blood work came back all normal so he said that my thyroid is functioning normally.  My biopsy is scheduled for the 19th of May, please keep that in your prayers, its a little scary for me.

Then on Tuesday we headed off to Childrens in Pittsburgh for the boys to see their endocrinologist.  They have elevated thyroid levels that have been being monitored for about two years now.  I got the call yesterday from the doc regarding their blood work this time.  Not so good :(  He is giving them two more months before another blood draw, if the numbers do not move or go up Isaac will certainly begin thyroid therapy, which is taking a medication that will continue for the rest of his life.  He said he does not like to see numbers anywhere near a 10 and Issac is an 8.75.  Caleb was a 5 which is high normal and this time he jumped to a 6.  The doctor said he is on the fence about just starting them both because he believes the end result for both of them will be the medication.  So........  we'll see in July what's going to happen. 

Asking continued prayers for my boys and I while we go through this waiting period to see what's going to happen.  Did I ever mention I HATE waiting??  Ok Ok, have faith Stacy.. I know :)

Thanks for reading!!