Friday, October 16, 2009

Frog goes to the Ocean

Frog finally got his long awaited trip to the Pacific Ocean after a summer long home study of oceans and oceanography. He was thrilled to be going and enjoyed the hours long car ride to the beach.

We stayed at Seabrook WA, in a charming rental house that was oh so beach chic! If you are looking for a family friendly (autism friendly) rental on the WA coast, I highly recommend it:


We were three generations in one house. Diva brought one of her best friends for a girls' weekend. We had a great time and the girls loved having the loft all to themselves. We walked to the park, watched a local kids' soccer game, and biked through the neighborhood. Frog took his new birthday bike. The hot tub was a hit with all of the kids too. And we topped it off with a Harry Potter Movie Marathon.

Then we walked across the road to the beach - the woods, the water, the sand . . .Frog could have lived there!

All in all, a very successful family weekend escape - we hope to return one day soon :0)

Monday, August 24, 2009

Autistic Teen Finds Inner Voice

Here is a link to some video from the 20/20 segment on Carly Fleischmann from earlier this month. If you've not heard Carly's story check out her blog Carly's Voice.

Carly is an inspirational young lady. Diagnosed with Autism at age two, Carly is non-verbal (doesn't speak). At age 11 she began to type and is telling the world, in her own words, what it is like to live with autism - Her insight helps parents, siblings, friends and teachers have a better understanding of what life is like for kids like her. She is a hero in my book! Thanks for speaking out Carly :0)

If you know or work with Frog - please take the time to watch this video. Thanks!

Autistic Teen Finds Inner Voice – New video taken from 20/20 after the broadcast

Posted using ShareThis

Thursday, July 09, 2009

Frog at School

Ok, Ok, I know I said I'd post more about Frog's return to school - and I know its been months! But now that we're half way through summer vacation, I finally have a little time to breath. We found out that Frog's Para Educator from last year has been re-hired by the school district to work with Frog. We are beyond thrilled as she was one of the biggest reasons for his successful transition back to school.

We are trying very hard this summer to keep up all the good work Frog and Para J. did last year. He is brushing his teeth and taking on more of the chore of getting himself dressed. He is working on using a spoon - though it is still not his favorite way to eat. He is trying to learn a couple of new signs and trying to remember a couple of old ones. We are reading chapters about the Oceans and using RPM for Frog to answer questions - we hope to get in a trip to the Pacific Ocean at the end of the book (although Frog continues to insist we should visit the Arctic Ocean). Frog is enjoying music time with his Dad and having play dates every now and then. But he does seem to miss school - Summer vacation is boring when mom has to work! So here is a look back to Frog at School, courtesy of Para J. who took all of the wonderful pictures for me :0)

Thursday, April 30, 2009

Free Summer School Curriculum

We've decided to opt out of Extended School Year services with our local district because Frog's para and teacher will not be part of the program. This left me contemplating going back to home school for the summer to keep Frog moving forward. With Rapid Prompting, we have found that he can access age appropriate curriculum when it is modified to work with the system.

Another home school mom just sent me a link to Unique Leaning System's Free Summer Curriculum offer. The materials are standards based and differentiated into three tiers to suit different types of learners. It looks promising and like something that could be used during the school year too. The price is right - I'll let you know what we think of the materials when we use them.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Frog's Words

As we have been making the transition from Home School back to public school, Frog's Para Educator was coming to our house to observe. I wanted to find some exercises that showed how I use the Rapid Prompting Method with Frog and expand it into other activities. I also had a new book for us to read, Max's Words

About a boy who collects words,

then uses them to write a story.

We read the book and Frog answered questions about the story using the Rapid Prompting Method. Then I got out all of the books Frog and I have been reading and let him use his yes sign and pointing to choose words from each book. When we had a stack of words, we wrote a story and he picked between 2 to 4 word choices from his stack to continue the story as we went. When we finished the story, Frog picked between stamps and pictures to illustrate the story.

Here are Frog's Words,

For more Magic Marker Monday posts visit 5 Minutes for Special Needs.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Back to School for Frog and Mom

Frog is getting back to school and is transitioning better than any of us could have hoped. I hope to have some pictures up soon!

In the mean time, a friend of mine at Merrill Lynch sent me an invitation to participate in an online seminar on Special Needs Planning. I told her I'd spread the word - It looks like a good line-up of presenters and should cover a lot of the topics and information we always plan to look into, but never find the time for:

SPECIAL NEEDS PLANNING An Interactive Online Seminar presented by EPLiveOnline and Merrill Lynch

Thursday, February 05, 2009

The Bunny Who Adopted Us

Over Christmas break, Diva discovered a small, black wild bunny eating leaves off of a hydrangea bush outside our back door. The Bunny was very skittish - it ran every time we looked out the window. We put some food out for it, but found it very hard to get a picture without the Bunny running off. Yet, the Bunny kept coming back. It soon discovered our fully fenced front yard and decided, as long as I didn't open the front door, it was a safe and friendly place to forage. Last week the weather began to change. We've had several cold but sunny days and Frog could not wait to get back outside. To our surprise, Bunny - now named Licorice by Diva - is happy to share the yard with Frog. As long as the rest of us keep our distance, the Bunny bounces around the yard like a puppy and approaches Frog with curiosity. Here's a little video clip - It is a little hard to see, because Licorice won't let me tape from outside.

I think Frog's pet found him :0)

Wednesday, February 04, 2009

Frog's Art

Not bad for the Frog who runs from art projects!

For more Special Exposure Wednesday posts visit 5 Minutes for Special Needs

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Special Exposure Wednesday - Story Art

Yesterday's Story Art story was Mouse Paint.

Prior to visiting the art studio, we read the book at home and Frog mixed Blue and Yellow food coloring in his bath water to make a green bath.

Frog was the only one to show up for Story Art this week so he got Ms. Rosalyn all to himself.

He also got to share the story with his new Para Educator.

After the story he painted his own mouse.

We'll post mouse's picture next week after he is glazed and fired :0)

For more Special Exposure Wednesday visit 5 Minutes for Special Needs.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Overactive Immune Systems, Chronic Inflamation and a GF/CF Diet

We tried the GF/CF diet for Frog when he was two.

We waited with baited breath for the babbling to turn into words, for more eye contact, for more focus, for him to sit still. Week after week went by and we saw none of that. Month after month and little changed. When we gave up the experiment, six months in, and gave him a wheat flour filled cookie and a glass of milk - nothing. We concluded that G and C were not issues for him and went on our merry way to the next promising intervention.

Now he is six. Time and work have made significant changes in his ability to look at people, feel comfortable in his own skin, be aware of his body, and tolerate the presence of others. He is much more tuned into speech and demonstrates that he hears and understands what we are talking about. But there are still troubling, difficult issues around expressive communication, motor planing, and executive functioning.

I have been dealing with my own troubling issues involving pain, arthritis, headaches, chronic sinusitis and sinus infections, fatigue, and weight. Medical and therapeutic interventions have taken us this far, but I feel we could both feel better. I went back into my research mode and the words that pop up again and again are Inflammation and Inflammation.

I'm already taking medication for inflammation. I did a 30 day trial of prednisone last year and felt wonderful. But the long term side effects do not make continued use a desirable remedy. My current medication - hydrochloroquine (an anti malaria drug) has been working for the most part, but I still have flare ups and it doesn't address the other pains.

Current trends in anti-inflammatory treatments lean towards dietary changes. The diet that fits the bill - GF/CF with the additional elimination of nightshade vegetables, chocolate, caffeine, and alcohol, and the addition of oily fish, green leafy vegetables, fruits and nuts. So we (at least Frog and I) are going to try this once again. I'll be relying heavily on all you GF/CF moms out there for guidance and I'm picking up a new cookbook or two.

This time I'll be looking for subtler changes in both of us. Wish me luck :0)

Let him eat cake!

I was channel surfing before bed the other night and just happened to catch this clip on The Soup on the E Network. Laughed till I cried because 1. I remember once trying (unsuccessfully) to stop my cocker spaniel from eating blueberry muffins and 2. it reminded me of all the problems I have with behavior modification as a teaching tool.

Here is a link to the clip (adult content - language).

ABA by another name? - I've seen the same look in many a child's' eye when they were just waiting for it to be over already. Now do we think this dog has learned not to eat cupcakes until given permission (self discipline)? Or just to wait out the trainer (compliance)?

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Story Art

I've been looking for some activities Frog can join in the community. He is interested in other kids, but still can't play with them. It's not easy coming up with parallel play opportunities for a non-verbal 6 year old.

Our local Paint your own Ceramics shop just started a story art hour for pre-schoolers and moms. While Frog isn't wild about art projects I thought we'd give it a try. The set-up was similar to what we do at home: Listen to a story, eat a snack, do a short art project based on the theme of the story, done. Unlike the library story hour, quietness is not strictly enforced. It is also helpful that Diva is a regular at the shop and I went to high school with the owner.

The first session we attended went better than I expected. Frog spent some time rocking and singing while he took in the environment. A little boy I knew of through a mutual friend introduced himself to us, talked to Frog, and showed us his finished project from the week before.

The story was Winter's First Snowflake

by Cheri Hallwood. Frog had some trouble staying in the room for the story. Another young child wanted to play with the toy kitchen Frog was sitting in front of. Frog wanted to get to the door behind this child and leave. The third child wanted to hear the story and spent a good deal of time shhhshing the other two and telling Frog to take the toys out of his mouth.

When the story was over we moved Right on to the project. We cut our own snowflakes out of wet clay. we decorated them with stamps and painted them. Frog enjoyed the feeling of the clay and let me help him push down on the cookie cutters and stamps. He opted to finger paint his snowflake with a mixture of blue and white paint. When we were finished, we were both well painted ourselves. We left while he was still in a good mood to make sure it was a positive experience.

We did not get to go again yesterday, as Frog was in a very messy mood and had me cleaning up all morning. But Diva and I picked up his finished snowflake that the studio had glazed and fired for him.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Diva takes First Place

We are back from yet another meet. Diva took first place in the level 4, 10 year old division. She fulfilled a dream she's been dreaming for a year now - she got to stand on the podium (at the top, no less).

The team took 2nd overall and got to bring home a trophy - It was a special day for these girls :0)

And now a special day for Diva's mom and dad - we have a two week break from gymnastics meets!

Saturday, January 10, 2009


Hello everyone - I'm still here and I've been lurking your blogs periodically.

Frog gave my laptop a drink of water and it could not be revived. The new laptop is ordered (along with a phone system and a multi function machine - copy, scan, fax). The tech is going to try to rescue my data from the old hard drive (documents, pictures, e-mail, all the Stanley pictures, movies, tax information . . .)

The snow has finally melted and I spent the last week moving into the new office. Frog is still home with me - it is taking the school district longer than planned to approve hiring the one-to-one para his IEP team agree is needed. The district is also modifying a room to give Frog some space to work one on one with the para without distractions and they are making room for his beloved swing.

We are moving forward with the Rapid Prompting Method. He is getting much better about pointing rather than batting at the answers and is identifying more letters. Soma Mukhopadhyay will be speaking in Washington State in March. Frog's teacher (and maybe his para) will be attending with me. I hope this will lead to more academic content in Frog's program.

I hope to post an office tour as soon as the new computer is ready to go - Until then, I'm still out here reading your posts when I get a few minutes with hubby's computer :0) Hope everyone had a happy holiday season and are off to a great new year!