Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Archive for the ‘Family Living’ Category


As most of you already know, my 12 year old son Austin has had a difficult time in school.  He has been kicked out of two schools and was made to go to a behavioral specialty school before being mainstreamed back into his old school. 

 At the age of six, he was diagnosed with ADHD.  I’ve always known that there was something more to his behaviors than just ADHD.  Over the past year I have been researching Sensory Perception Disorder (also known as Sensory Integration Disorder), Autism, and Asperger’s Syndrome.  I know that he has Sensory Perception Disorder (SPD). But, I also believe that goes hand in hand with Asperger’s Syndrome.

I spent the last four months trying to find a family doctor for my children.  I finally found one and got Austin in to the doctor yesterday.  The doctor agreed to sign an outpatient prescription for Austin to be evaluated for SPD.  Yeah!  I couldn’t be happier!  After what seems like an eternity, he is finally going to get some help.  I filled out the intake form for the Children’s Development Center, enclosed the outpatient prescription, and mailed it this morning!

I called the Children’s Development Center and spoke to the intake receptionist.  She told me that the Occupational Therapists usually schedule their own evaluations.  She also told me that it should only take a week or two to get him in for his evaluation.  I will keep you all updated on Austin’s progress.  Please keep your fingers, toes, and everything else crossed.

Thanks,

Erica

Advertisements

Read Full Post »


First and foremost, I would like to start off by saying that tantrums and meltdowns are two totally separate things.  How can you tell the difference? 

Typically, a tantrum starts with the child begging for an item, food, or toy.  If the parent refuses the child this item, the child begins to cry, stomp their feet, or scream.  If the parent gives in and allows the child said item, the tantrum comes to an end and the child has learned how to get what he/she wants.

If you have ever seen a child have a meltdown, you know the difference between a meltdown and a tantrum.  With a meltdown, the child has become either over stimulated or under stimulated by his/her surroundings.  It may be flickering lights, too many people, multiple sounds, someone touching him/her, or some other stimuli.  When the child goes into a meltdown, there is nothing that you can do or give the child that will make the meltdown end as you might with a tantrum.   A child or an adult, for that matter, going through a meltdown may not be able to tell you what the problem is while they are going through the meltdown.  The only thing you can do is to wait it out and ensure that they are safe and not going to injure themselves. 

With that being said, I’m sure that you can see the difference between a tantrum and a meltdown.  The latter is exactly what my son, Austin, experienced yesterday.  I think that Austin may have caused his own meltdown.  It was early on in his first class.  The kids were on a bathroom break.  As he walked into the bathroom at school, the lights were off.  So, naturally, he flicked the lights on.  As he dropped his hand from the light switch, he inadvertently shut the lights off again.  So, he turned them back on again. 

The children in his class told the teacher that Austin was flickering the lights in the bathroom.  When the teacher confronted him, he said that he didn’t do it.   He instantly became angry and started throwing his books, screaming, and banging his head on the wall.  There was nothing that anyone could do to get him to calm down.  The principal finally got him into the office and immediately called me at home.  When I got to the school, Austin was in the principal’s office crying and talking angrily to himself, as he usually does towards the end of a meltdown.  He was still at the point where he couldn’t talk to me and tell me exactly what happened.  I told the principal that he was not going to be productive at all for the rest of the day.  He allowed me to take Austin home.  It took Austin another hour before he could tell me what had happened.

I’m not sure if the flickering lights are what set him off or not.  But, it could stand to reason that that might be the cause of yesterday’s meltdown.  I can only hope and pray that today is going to be a better day.  I truly need to get some professional help soon.  Waiting for our insurance to come through is frustrating.  Especially when I see him getting worse and nobody understands him.  Yes, he may appear to be a normal neruo typical boy.  But, he’s not and he needs a little understanding!

I welcome any and all comments or advice.  If you have had a similar experience with your child, I would love to hear from you.

Read Full Post »


My eleven year old son, Austin, was diagnosed with Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder (ADHD) at six years old.  Since then, he has been kicked out of two schools due to his behavior and many teachers don’t “understand” him.  Many of his symptoms mirror those of Asperger’s Syndrome which is on the Autism Spectrum.  Austin has trouble with sensory integration.  People, especially children, within the Autism Spectrum do well with a sensory room.  Since Austin shows many of the same symptoms as a child with Asperger’s Syndrome, I have undertaken the task of creating a sensory room for him. 

To list just a few of his problems with sensory integration:

  • Austin makes me cut out the tags from all his clothing. 
  • If his socks aren’t adjusted just right he’ll spend the next twenty minutes fixing them; whether he’s going to be late for school or not. 
  • Cannot wear turtlenecks or anything else close to his throat.
  • Prefers to only wear his boxers around the house.  He usually strips down to his boxer shorts as soon as he walks in the door.
  • He overreacts to sudden loud noises or too much noise at one time. 
  • He talks excessively, loudly, and without concern of the other person’s interest in the subject. 
  • When he’s bored or aggravated he swings his arms or spins in a chair.  It seems to calm him down. 
  • Whenever he tells me or someone else what he likes he then turns to me and says, “right mom,” even though he has stated this multiple times.  He needs constant feedback and redirection.
  • If things aren’t done a certain way he becomes easily frustrated.
  • He doesn’t like to be hugged unless it’s from me.  However, it’s limited contact.
  • Does not like to be around a lot of people.
  • He loves vibrating or strong sensory input.

Okay so it’s a longer list than you expected.  That’s only part of the list.  There’s so much more.  But, I’ll spare you any further details.

A sensory room is very good for children and adults with sensory processing disorders.  It is usually tailored to an individual’s sensory needs to either calm or stimulate them and usually includes equipment or items that calm or stimulate the 7 senses (listed below).   A sensory room should NEVER be used as a form of punishment.  It is intended to calm the over stimulated or to stimulate the under stimulated individual.  If discipline is needed, do not use the sensory room for this.

Senses and things to include in your sensory room:

1.   Vestibular–  swings, slides, balance boards, tubes to roll in, rocking horses, hammocks, or a sit and spin,etc.

2.   Visual– Controllable light source, no fluorescent lights, Christmas lights (that don’t flash if it bothers individual), play tents, lava lamps, tabletop water fountains, etc.

3.   Smell-  Scented oils, scented candles (is safe for individual), scented markers, scented playdoh, potpourri or sprays.

  • Calming scents- Vanilla, lavender, peppermint, and jasmine.
  • Stimulating scents- Cinnamon, floral scents, spices, and strong sour or sweet scents.  

4.   Taste–  A variety of foods, liquids, gum, or textured food is a great activity to include in your sensory room.  Use supervision depending on the individual.

5.   Proprioception-  Anything that allows the individual to be “hugged” or comforted via pressure works well.  Examples include: bean bag chairs,  weighted vests and/or blankets, squishy beds or sofas, therapy balls to roll on top of them, etc.

6.   Touch- Many things have texture; playdoh, funny foam, textured balls, textured wallpaper, textured puzzles, coloring over textured materials, finger paints , koosh balls, using various materials such as  satin, carpet swatches, silk, lamb’s wool, washcloths, cotton balls, etc., massagers and vibrating kids toys.

7.   Auditory– Soothing sounds CD’s, nature sound machine, white noise (ie. Fans), classical music.

I hope this information will help you or someone you love and/or care for.

Read Full Post »


Being a mom is one the toughest jobs that I have ever experienced. It is also one of the most rewarding jobs I’ve ever experienced. But, why is it that society sees moms as the June Cleaver type? If you don’t meet society’s expectations as a mom then you are labeled a bad mom. Real moms in the real world, however, know that they are great moms and that they don’t have to be June Cleaver.

As most of you already know, I’m a mom of four children ages 19, 17, 13, and 11; two girls and two boys. Wow, I’ve been a mom for nearly two decades! Moms are the glue that holds the family together. We are supposed to do all and know all. In fact, we are supposed to be super moms. Where in the Constitution does it say that MOMS must establish justice, insure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty?

Exactly! Nowhere! Yet, we do it anyway. Why? Not because the Constitution or society says so. We do it because we love our family. A real mom would go to any height, depth, or scale any mountain to protect, provide and care for her family.

Sometimes, we get frustrated and exhausted. When this happens to me, I use comic relief to de-stress. I found a great site about real moms called, go figure, Real Mom! This mom is a fellow Pennsylvania mom, like me, who writes a column for the Reading, Pa Eagle newspaper. Please take the time to visit her site and let me know what you think.

This is how I describe a “real mom.”

Real moms know:

  • that it’s okay to look like a slob sometimes.
  • that a hug means more than anything in the world.
  • that saying “I love you,” can ease an aching heart.
  • It’s okay to leave dirty dishes in the sink.
  • the house isn’t messy, it’s lived in.
  • it’s okay to have your own opinion.
  • that sometimes the marshmallows are the best part of the Lucky Charms.
  • it’s okay to look like a fool while sword fighting in Toys R Us with your child.
  • that breakfast for supper is not only okay but awesome!
  • It’s okay to be frustrated.
  • That cold pizza for breakfast is yummy.
  • You don’t have to volunteer for the PTO/PTA.
  • It’s okay to have your own tantrums once in a while.
  • When there’s snow outside, then there’s going to be snow inside too!
  • It’s Ok not to shower everyday. (provided by one of my favorite moms on the web LizAnn)

Read Full Post »


Last night, my twelve year old son, Christian, and I spent the evening writing poems.

We spent over two hours composing, editing, and rewriting haiku ’til our hearts content.

“What is haiku,” you might ask.

In English, Haiku is written in three lines with each line having an exact number of syllables. The first line contains five syllables, line two contains seven syllables, and line three contains five syllables.

In Japanese, Haiku also has three parts, but can be written as one line. And instead of counting syllables, the Japanese count sounds.

_____________________________________________________________________________________________________

I found a haiku prompt on the internet and we went with it.

The prompt was:   How would you describe Satan?

 Here are some of the haiku we came up with for this prompt.

1

Beautiful presence            

Disguises all his evil

Through machinations             

2

Stairway to heaven

Leads the way the dark angel

Has fallen from grace

3

Perfection is born

The serpent entices Eve

Perfection no more

______________________________________________________________________________________________

I grew up in Vermont. There’s nothing more beautiful than the colorful leaves of fall in Vermont. I love all of New England.

1

New England in Fall            

Kaleidoscope of colors            

Falling to the ground            

2

Dark maple syrup

Drizzled over fresh new snow

Yummy Vermont treat

3

Winter time is fun

Go ice fishing on the lake

Walking on water

_______________________________________________________________________________________________

This next one is very dear to my heart. My fifth child, Sierra Cheyenne, was born on January 18, 2001. She only lived for 6 hours and 5 minutes.

1

Tiny hands and feet                    

A beautiful baby girl                    

Sierra Cheyenne                    

2

A baby girl cries

A baby born months too soon

A baby girl dies

3

New year and new life

Celebration died with you

Now you’re my angel

______________________________________________________________________________________________

This is just a little bit of what we wrote together. It was a really fun way to spend time with my son. Kids are amazingly intelligent.

It was wonderful watching him so enthralled with counting out syllables and having it make sense. I recommend trying this with your Children and see how much fun they have.

Read Full Post »


Co-parenting 101

This morning I visited a website that deals with co-parenting. As a divorced and then remarried mom of four kids, I found this site very informative and helpful.

When Michael Thomas and Deesha Philyaw’s marriage ended, they say that they “became poster-children for divorce” amongst their friends. They are not advocates of divorce. In fact, they see divorce as the last option. But, when it became apparent that there was no other alternative, they learned to co-parent very well. Well enough, in fact, that they started the website Co-parenting 101 which helps divorced parents raise happy, healthy children. Many divorced couples find it very difficult to parent their children properly, or should I say safely, without creating emotionally traumatized, angry children. It is possible for divorced couples to raise healthy, happy children.

The article that caught my eye was:

 Co-Parenting Dad to Girlfriend: “My Kids Will Always Come Before You”

One woman recounts her experience with a divorced man with two little kids. She is concerned about his devotion to his children not allowing room for her and their life together as a couple. This account reminded me of what I told my husband when we started dating.

“My kids come first, and they always will,” I told him.

His response to me was, “I wouldn’t have it any other way.”

That’s when I knew that he was the right one! I was very upfront with him from the start. My kids do come first and they always will. I didn’t say this to be mean or to push him away. I was just being honest about what kind of parent I am and how important my children are to me. But, that doesn’t mean that he can’t be a part of putting the kids first too.

Over the next three years of our relationship, he definitely proved that he puts my kids first. And he always puts them first in everything. Not in a spoiled brat kind of way, mind you.  Their needs are always put before ours and their wants are taken into consideration and mulled over extensively.  Add some “hands-off” discipline and we have a great family.  My kids may not be his biological children, but, he treats them as if they were his own.  

 

To add to our success, we both have a good relationship with my ex-husband and his wife, if you can imagine that.  Most people are flabbergasted when they find out that we actually enjoy our time with my childrens’ father and his wife.  It’s all about the children.  If you work together for the childrens’ sake, then there are no losers!  Our family is not perfect.  No-one’s is.  We have our differences every now and again.  But, for the most part, we’re a happy family.

 

If you are having a difficult time of co-parenting or you are dating someone who is co-parenting, please go visit the Co-parenting 101 website. I know that you’ll find the help that you need. Don’t be afraid to ask questions!

 

Note: Michael and Deesha are not counselors, licensed or otherwise, nor are they able to provide legal services .

Read Full Post »


Raising 5 Kids With Disabilities And Remaining Sane Blog

 Raising 5 Kids With Disabilities And Remaining Sane Blog

Rave Review!!!!!  Two thumbs up! 

5 Stars!   A must read blog!!!!!

 

Last night I found the most wonderfully caring, amazing, intelligent, funny woman on the internet.  Not that she was lost.  I think that, until I found her blog, I was the one that was lost.  I was so inspired by her blog that I just had to share it with all of you, my cherished readers.

Lindsey Petersen is a 50+ mom and author of Raising 5 kids with disabilities and remaining sane blog.  In her blog posts she recalls her memories of growing up in New England with an architect father that was very money conscious and a very loving, upbeat, optimistic mother whom she just recently lost.  She discusses much needed topics such as children with disabilities, adoption, dealing with stress, and so much more.   Her most inspiring blogs are about how she and her husband raise with 5 kids with disabilities.  Reading Lindsey’s blog, I laughed and cried and then laughed all over again.  There are so many things that I can related with.

Lindsey uses her positive, upbeat outlook on life to keep herself sane.  Much like, I imagine, her mother did.  Let’s face it, being a parent in this day and age is no picnic in the park.  Being a parent of children with disabilities is like being on a roller coaster ride.  We have our ups and downs but, by the end of the day, we’re satisfied with the ride.  On a daily basis Lindsey and her husband deal with such disabilities as ADHD, anxieties, Autism, blindness, OCD,  deafness, Dissociative Identity Disorder and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.  I’m sure that I’ve missed a few diagnoses somewhere.  For that, I apologize. 

I related with her because, I too, grew up in New England.  I recall my Nana’s house being so hot that I couldn’t breathe.   The downstairs was sweltering hot and as my sister and I ascended the stairs for bed, the temperature drastically changed.  We would slip into an ice cold bed and shiver for hours until we finally fell asleep.  Mornings were the worst.  It seemed that the woodstove had slept while we did and, come morning time, required someone to re-stoke the fire.  My sister and I lived with my mom and stepfather.  My mom was a cook at our elementary school for over 20 years.  My stepfather was a landscaper/carpenter/painter. 

 I’m a mom of 5 kids.  I have Fibromyalgia, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, OCD, and anxieties.  I’m also a mom of children with disabilities.  My youngest son has ADHD, OCD, and anxieties.  My oldest daughter, now 19, has shown signs of Bi-polar disorder since she was a child.   That was one very long roller coaster ride.  My last baby girl, Sierra Cheyenne, was born in January of 2001.  She died six hours and five minutes after she was born.  Had she survived, she would have been severely developmentally delayed.  I would give anything to have her back even though I know how difficult it would be to care for her.

I will never get enough of Lindsey’s blog.  I visit it on a daily basis.  I beg you, my dear sweet readers, to head on over to Lindsey’s blog,  Raising 5 kids with disabilities and remaining sane blog and enjoy the words that  I so very much cherish.  There is no way that you can leave her blog without being inspired and/or comforted.  Her blog has become a part of my daily dose of reality, sanity, and comfort.  I now feel that life is going to be okay no matter how hard that it seems.  Lindsey has become my sanity and peace of mind.

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »