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Posts Tagged ‘parenting’


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

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Austin and Kiwi (3 y/o Pacific Parrotlet)

See, he can be still for more than 5 minutes.

Today was very frustrating.  My son, Austin, came home from school with yet another detention.  This poor child has undiagnosed Asperger’s Syndrome.  He is not a neuro-typical child.  Yet, he is being treated like one.  When too much is expected from him he acts out and gets frustrated. And, his teachers don’t understand why he is doing this. 

 I am not trying to make excuses for my son.  Nor, am I excusing his behaviors.  I will be the first one to dole out proper discipline and I require that of other authority figures in regards to my son.  However, Austin is not a neuro-typical child.  He has a neurological disorder that requires some accommodations.  Yes, he should be treated as much like a neuro-typical child but, he needs to be given certain accommodations as discretely as possible.

Here is a prime example of what I’m talking about…

Austin had a spelling packet that was due today.  The whole class had a week in which to finish this packet.  With him forgetting to bring it home, not enough time during school, and becoming distracted; he still managed to finish the packet.  Or, so he thought.  When it was time to hand in the packet, a student that sits next to him was kind enough to tell him to check it over to make sure that it was done.  So, that’s exactly what he did.  While going through the packet, he realized that he had missed two questions.  It only makes sense that he would answer those two questions.  However, as he did this, his teacher came around to check on each student and ask if they had their packet done.  When asked, the student must tell the teacher whether their packet is done or not done.

When the teacher got to Austin, he was finishing the two questions that he had overlooked.  And the operative word here is overlooked.  In his mind, he had finished the packet and he was very proud of himself.  Unfortunately, that pride was shot down immediately.  His teacher emailed me later that day and told me that she saw him write two answers but Austin still insisted that he had finished the packet.  In his mind, not a neuro-typical mind, he had finished the packet.  And, on top of that, he had finished it on time.  This was an amazing feat for him.  He believed that he had finished the packet.  But he had merely overlooked two questions.  It wasn’t done on purpose.  It wasn’t done out of spite.  He had simply overlooked two questions.  I explained this to him and told him how proud I am of him.  That made him smile and I got a big hug from him too!  That, in turn, made me smile.

Needless to say, but I’m going to say it anyway, I’m headed to school first thing in the morning and try to work this thing out.  Austin needs an IEP (individualized education plan).  He needs to have sensory breaks.  He needs to be treated like everyone else as much as possible.  But, when it comes to him having to take a sensory break, it needs to be treated as discreetly as possible.  He never asked to be born with this disorder.  He’s dealing with it the best he knows how to and I’m very proud of him!  I’m proud of all my children and I love them unconditionally!

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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.

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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 .

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