Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Rant:: Stupid budget cuts in schools!

Well, as I have become more involved with my sons school I have made a new friend. And with that comes inside information.
I was notified by text tonight that the teachers aides in my son's school are being let go.
The aides are there because there are a lot of at risk children and large class sizes. Plus, you add in the autistic kids that are being mainstreamed ( like my son) and you have children not getting the help they need and deserve.
I wish every child had an IEP, a contract that ensure that the children get the attention, help and education they all deserve.
As a parent, I know that my son's IEP is his saving grace. It is his key to having doors opened for him that other children would not have because he has special needs that need to be met.
I was told that my son's aides might be spared, but its all still up in the air as to who has been cut.
When the super intendant for our area did a press confrence it was said that no cuts would be made until after the new year... But that means that the aides on staff have already gotten their one month notice about termination of employment or lay offs.
I hate it! It stinks! Especially for young kids! LEAVE THE ELEMENTARY/PRIMARY schools alone you buggers! These kids need those aides! They need them to help them develop the skills you are pushing on them! The insane schedule for " growth and learning" you have written into testing!
Yep. My kindergardener gets Education based tests to see what he is learning and not learning and to see if he is going to be grade 1 ready by the end of the year! WTF! The poor teachers are stuck with making sure that kids meet those standards, despite large class sizes and now no aides to help them!
Sure parents can help out, but lets face it: Most parents work school hours or have other children. Some just have no interest in helping out.
I know I help teach my son every day, but no everyone is as patient or as in tune with their child.
I know lots of parents who really should of taken a pass on parenting because they have a devil of a temper and no ability to relate to children. They hold the bar too high and some dont let their kids have fun at all. Its all tutors, music lessons, ect. Things that the child didnt always sign on for.
Some parents are so intent on making sure that their child is going to make great grades and get into the best schools that they forget to let the child be a kid. Get messy and play with others.
Some are drug addicts that dont care they have kids beyond the money they get for support for them.
Still, there is no excuse for what the school districts are doing to kids. There is no need to cut teachers, teachers aides and their support.
What are they going to cut next, power? This is getting ridiculous.
There are millionaires balking at the idea of paying more taxes, while children are going without the help and teaching staff and supplies that they need in schools!

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Best Tested Toys for Autistic kids 2011

Alright, as promised here it goes.

Ages 2-3

1) Sit and spin- Sit And Spin Toys R Us $20 I think this is a great self regulating toy. It gives most sensory seekers the input they need to get themselves back on track.

2)Fisher Price Learn Thru Music Game device- Learn Thru Music at Toys r us for $95 This is a great cause and effect toy. It also allows them to learn thru repetitive actions. This I would say can be used for both higher functioning and lower functioning. I put it here, because higher functioning kids will be able to do the activities themselves, where as lower functioning kids will have to have a parent or adult help them get the results.

3) Fisher Price Fun to Imagine Cash Register Fun to Imagine Cash Register $18 Toys R Us This is a great co-ordination toy. You have to put things in a slot, and push the correct lever to make the cash register make noise and work. It also is a cause and effect toy. You push the lever and the pretend money goes away. You can use this to teach colors and such as well. Very good priced toy that can be used for multiple games or therapies.

4)Fisher Price Grow with me Roller skates- Fisher Price Roller skates, $15 at toys r us I find that this is a great toy to help higher functioning kids with co-ordination and body space awareness. You will need to be present and have helmet and pads for the child, but the smiles and the laughter when they get it is well worth it!

5) Doctor kit- Kids Doctor bag $15 at Toys R Us I think this is a great gift. It can help kids over come their fear of the doctor. It can also teach emotions and bring out the gentler side of any kid. My son has one and has had one for three years now. I would pretend to cry and he would go get his kit and make me better.

6)Poppin fun Ele- poppin fun park elefun $30 at toys r us This cute little toy is great for a less functioning kid. The elephant pops the balls from their trunk, the kid retrieves it, puts it in the space with the others and voiala hours of pure giggles. Its great at cause and effect and can be used to teach colors.


Ages 4-5

1) Mickey's Camping Adventure Play set $40 at toys r us This cute little play figure set allows kids the chance to express their imagination. Act out their favorite shows or cartoons. Allows them to make believe. You can use this set to teach them social skills and consequences as well.

2)Dont Break The Ice game $5 at toys r us This is a great turn based game to teach kids the value of sharing. It also focuses on co-ordination and cause and effect. Very worth while game to have!

3)LeapFrog Explorer System $70 at Toys R us This little system is absolutely worth getting. It teaches them colors, and all kinds of good things. They get better at co-ordination. It addresses problem solving and math as well! You can connect this to your pc and it opens up a new little world that they can explore and learn with! This lil gem also allows YOU to track their progress!

4)Fisher Price IXL- IxL available at Toys R Us for $60 This little gem has saved me HOURS of frustration. It allows them to do math, is touch screen like the explorer. It does have a limited amount of games, but it is SO durable! The battery life is amazing ( my son has had this for 1 year and has only gone thru 3 batter changes and he uses it frequently). It loads MP3s, pictures from your pc. Come loaded with 1 game/book/song series on it and has some of kids favorite characters to play with as extra add ons for later! It teaches math, works on co-ordination. teaches phonics and cause and effect.

5)48 inch enclosed trampoline- available for $90 at toys r us This is a great self regulating toy for various ages. I put it here because at this age, they are starting school or pre school and might need more down time to regulate than previous years.

Ages 6-7

1) Operation game $19 at Toys R Us This works for either gender. It works on turn taking again and also on co-ordination. It also does have some sound to it to work a little bit on audible sensitivities in Autistic children. The pieces are small tho and can be easily misplaced, be sure to watch carefully as they take out the pieces.

2)Transformers- $14 at Toys R Us There are many models. These little gems help with co-ordination, imaginative play and problem solving! Most girls will not like these, most likely. But I know many young boys who do! Make sure to get the sturdy kind. They can take more abuse. If they are small and fit in your palm, please be advised that they can break and pieces can go missing!

3)Fijit Friends-$50 at toys r us These little cuties teach sportsmanship. They are all girly! Loves games,dances and responds to 30 or so commands! These are very interactive. Encourages interaction via voice or music. I think this is the cutest thing EVER!

4) Nintendo Wii- Nintendo Wii available in various bundles for around $160 This gaming system i have found to be great. It works on co-ordination. Promotes Turn taking ( if you do family or sports related games) and teaches and encourages sportsmanship. It allows them to work on their co-ordination by seeing and feeling what their body does and what the results are. There are so many wii games available. Wii sports ( the baseball, tennis, boxing one) is my sons favorite. But there are other engaging games. Be sure to look up games: I encourage Pet based games because it teaches how to handle a pet, shows that they need care and demonstrates responsibilities that any child with autism can understand. Dog is hungry, you feed dog. It's dirty, you bath it.

5) Nintendo Ds- Nintendo DS hand held gaming system $150
I think this is a great system. It is very responsive, is pretty durable, and has various apps you can find for non-verbal children with autism. It has a little more variety for learning games than the wii so far, but i think its because it a personal system.

Ages 8+

For this age I recommend the last 2 from my previous age group recommendations. Build to their likes here. If they are good at problem solving/puzzle games, purchase those for them for a gaming system.

At this age, most of the time you can usually start to go more high tech if you can. Look into things like the ipad, an android tablet ( be sure to check which brands are supported by the market if you are looking to purchase. Just because it says android does not mean you can get into the marketplace. They do have listed which brands are able to down load their applications. Some of these tablets are only able to load third party stuff. Sure they are cheaper, but not all the games/ app are available for you.) Kindle Fire, or ipod touch.
These are great ways to expand their horizons and still have therapy tools and apps for autism available to you. Kindle Fire doesn't have too many yet, but its a new device. It is great tho for reading and watching videos.

Those are my Toy recommendations for kids with autism. Obviously there are things I didn't include for lower functioning kids.
For them things like building blocks,Bounce ball with handle to ride on, weighted blankets, writing aid tools ect might be a better fit than what i have listed above.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Parents need to stand up

Ok for all of you who are saying " the occupy wall street people are wrong", i want you to justify how. Especially when everyone pays taxes, but children pay the most! Volunteer at your local school and look those kids in the face when you see them not have the support they need.
Tell them YOU don't support what would be best for them with restructured taxes.
You tell them you're sorry that they get more cuts every year because YOU don't want to pay more money to make sure they get the education YOU did!
I dont want excuses, I want action.
Go ahead. See what teachers go thru in a day.
See what supplies these kids DONT have.
Feel good about what you have now, because your kids ( unless you send them to private school) will be screwed later because you are not on board now.

I have seen the hours teachers put in! Some of them even take work home and still not get them all done.
A teacher with children with special needs needs more support. They used to have Aids to help in classrooms, now its just paras. Which will be likely cut soon because budgets are getting really tight. Even tho they are funded by the government under a different sanction.
Those teachers have large classrooms already because of job cuts and they are expected to make kids reach a certain test result or they lose their jobs! Its not fair to say they deserve it! Because they dont! Too large of class and not enough help to teach young kids ( especially those with special needs) is to blame, not the teacher!

As a parent, I am appalled at how badly my school district is cutting jobs and costs to make it work.
The " parent liaison" was cut ( they were the people who helped parents be sure the kids get the best they can, understand whats going on, and bridge language differences if need be. They were the go to person if you were having problems with your childs teacher.)
I am a member of my PTO, but even we as parents cant make up for all the jobs cut, because we too have to make a living to make sure we can provide things for our children.
I think Occupy Wall street protesters base message is right: Things need to change. Taxes need to change. The way the money is spent needs to change.
As long as the USA has only 2 parties in government, I don't think anything will change tho. Because no matter what, its about who is in power, rather than doing the right thing.
Every law or decree that has come across so far has almost always been abolished by the opposing party. Why? Because it would make the current party look good and lose them votes the next election.
There comes a time when things are bigger than politics...
Children's futures is bigger than the rise and fall of stocks, bonds and companies. They deserve what we all have had growing up. Yet, they don't get it.
I am ashamed of people who think its okay to let children pay for what they as adults could fix. No child should be forced to go without music education, art supplies, text books, writing materials, the best computer technology to help them learn at school.
They should have the aids and para's there to help them if they need it to learn.
There should not be any corners cut! Screw " No child left behind"! They should know their phonics, how to sound out words not just know them by sight!

Saturday, November 26, 2011


Sorry about the delay in my " Christmas kids list" post. I have the flu.
I do wish how ever to mention that everyone should always check Amazon for Cyber Monday deals.
The reason why I say this is: last year my list for family was about $300 ( not including my sons stuff) but I managed to find every ones stuff on amazon for $125. Same kind of thing the year previous.
I use amazon to check other sites prices against. I find a product online, take its name/model number( ect), and search for it on amazon.
I usually have good results in finding a more reasonable price on amazon. Even if its just -$10.
Plus Amazon has a great section for Autism related items! Lots of selection and wonderful things to have!
Happy shopping everyone. My list will come soon. Sorry.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Thanks Giving

As a parent, I am thankful for my son. He is the joy of my life.
Even tho he is sick, he seems to be having a good day. He is having fun watching the Macy's Day Parade!
I find the many of the traditional foods for this occasion are not served in my house. Turkey yes ( even tho my son wont eat it), but he will eat stuffing. No mashed potatoes for him either. I make Mac N Cheese for him instead! We sub Green Bean Casserole for plain beans or Corn.
So, with him being sick I am going to be glad if he just drinks lots of fluids today. Apple Juice, water, Gatorade, ginger ale and freezies here we come!
I hope you all have a great Thanks Giving.
I should have a blog up about toys by tomorrow. I have been working on it for about a week, but it isn't finished quite yet.
Let the Christmas/Yule/Kwanzaa and Hanukkah (Chanukah) shopping begin!
Find lots of deals everyone!
Feel free to share the ones you find with me here later!

Friday, November 11, 2011

Great new Site I Found!

Sensory World Link. So Fun!

As a parent of a child with Autism, I am always on the lookout for great new things to expose him to, and expand his horizons.
Today while trying to do just that I found a really cool site. It is all about sensory. Helping them be stimulated, or calmed.
Letting them create a scene just for them of their choosing by clicking on the computer mouse icons in the picture. They can edit the floor, furniture, music/sounds, lighting, and walls ( what they look like from a scene background, to a solid color).
Each room is different. Some have only a few things you can change/customize. Others let you do it up all the way, in a style all your own!
Right now as I write this I am actually, myself, enjoying the "Sensory Room" option on the site!So relaxing.
In the picture you see below, it is actually me messing around in the " Sensory room" making it into a night scene with music, lightning bugs flying around, bunnies ect.

That is all for tonight folks! Be sure to check out my older entries for great ideas on: Free apps for the Ipad, great therapy toys on the cheap or how to be very sure you are getting exactly the right kind of trained professional caring for your child!

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Review of Ipad free apps for Autism

Alright, since my son has started using an Ipad with his Nana, I have now seen a few and before I got lost in the Ipad world of Apps, I thought I would review them from the childs view point and the Parents view point.


Model Me- Going places:
This little app is handy. As a child who has limited vocabulary, it engages them with little stories about various places they might visit. As a parent, it is kind of limited and the places they show might not be relevant to your local area. Tho, on the plus side it does encourage speech and explains in a way that is clear as to what the places is and does.
The Model me series is awesome tho, overall. They have youtube videos about behavior and things they should and shouldn't do. i encourage you all to check them out!

Tom the Talking Cat:
My son LOVES this thing! It does have some interactive aspects to it and the voice that repeats them seems to engage. Yet, as a parent it does encourage the repetitive behaviors or phrases that you might be discouraging. It does have other features that you have to purchase, if you so desire ( tho i have not yet). The voice is annoying.. VERY VERY annoying if you have to listen to it long enough. Yet, it is sure to become a hit! It does encourage pronunciation I have noticed. If my son does not Annunciation his words right, it will say it and he will fix his mistake and try to say it correctly the next time.

This is an app that a child can love because it repeats after them! It has engaging pictures and makes them think outside the box. As a parent you will get to see them laugh and smile as they learn how to pronounce new words! You will see what they learn as they learn it. It has different Categories to choose from. The cards are easy to read and understand ( even if they are not high tech as far as visual color or drawing goes). I find it is a great accessory to use as a follow up to any speech therapy that my son may be using at school.

abc PocketPhonics Lite: letter sounds & writing + first words:
This works great for my son. He can use his finger or a stylus to write or learn to write his alphabet or his numbers. He loves to see his work pop up on the screen as he does it. This app gives voice instructions on how to write. I must say, once he did it a few times, and did the letters correctly, he was finished with wanting to use this app. It wasn't that interesting for that long. Too much like school work I think.

Balloons: Tap and Learn
This game is great for interactiveness. It engages by using stars as a reward. My son didn't even know he was learning anything! He just loved the balloons and how cool the experience was! While I got to see him identify numbers, colors ect. They also have a math expansion kind of thing for older kids ( late kindergarden to grade 2 I would say), where they add, subtract and multiplication using the same concept.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Interactive Virtual Environment

Link to article

After reading the article several times, I have come to a quandary.
First of all, I have been trying forever to get a community of autistic children together online, with games they can play against each-other and interact via voice/and/or text with modified content.
Most of the children are lacking in social development, not because they are not out in the community interacting with others, but because most of the time the other children don't know how to talk to or engage a child who is different from themselves.
Even if the child were in a wheelchair, the way another child reacts to them is different.
I have found that most of the time my child doesn't care what another child looks like or acts like, as long as they are willing to play beside or with him, he is okay with that child.
Most Autistic children are not the same. They have different quirks, and abilities. They react differently to their environments.
Yet, here in this article they are suggesting that MAYBE this program will help them socialize at a more appropriate level to their ages.
I have to wonder tho, if this is true, why is it just now that this program is being introduced? How long has it been sitting on a shelf out of reach of society? What are the touch-screen programs they used to base this project on?
True, a program like this used at school could show a teacher insight into the world of the child in question, but who has a 1 on 1 teacher these days? Especially with all the education cuts?
What would this program mean for us as parents? Would it mean that as a parent of a child with an Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) would be required to have and Ipad, Ipod touch or Iphone? Would this program be available to Android users? Or what about those of us who use regular laptops?
This raises more questions as I sit and think about it's possibilities. Sure they say it will be shown at a convention this month, but what will it show? It said " demonstration" but will it feature all the qualities it will have as a final, for sale program? Also, what will it cost? Will it be another $200 program that is out of the reach of many of us as parents of an ASD child?

Thursday, November 3, 2011


After a lot of up and downs, I am back blogging.
In my absence I have made two trips down to Riley Children's Hospital in Indianapolis for my son. I have lost my grandmother and endured countless illnesses between me and my son ( it seems when one of us is healthy, the other is not.)

So, I have been thinking. What does it mean to be a parent of a special needs child?
To me it means seeing all the great things about my child, the unique qualities, that other children don't exhibit. Eg: Going to the zoo is more than just looking at animals. Its looking at signs, trees, trains, cars and letters and discussing them at length because they are of interest to him. Most children might notice one or two things, but would not notice that the monkeys in the trees are making a triangle, like the sign to the left of the cage. The other children might discuss the behavior of the monkeys, but not comment on how many holes in the cage there are.
To me it means you embrace all they are and work to help them be the best person they can be.
It means standing up to other parents who look at your child and think less of them. Who dont invite your child to birthday parties because they are afraid of them, when they could simply ask you to help chaperone the event.
It means putting in more hours in therapists and doctors offices than most kids and other parents.
It means explaining situations many different ways to make sure that they get it and know how to react to situations if they cross them.

What does it mean to you?

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Music computer program for autism.

I have learned log ago that Music can play a great part in relaxing or riling up ANY child. My son being no exception to this law. At night I found that putting soft music on in the background and singing to him, he winds down and sleeps longer. Their needs are not so unlike that of a baby, where they can be lulled by a heartbeat, rhythmic waves, white noise or even classical music.
Why they just now were able to come up with a computer program that engages the child, helps them soothe themselves and teaches them things they may not otherwise know, or might be a comfort to already know.
Here's the link to the article.:
What do you think of the idea?

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Scientists Reveal That Seeing Eye To Eye Is Key To Copying, With Implications For Autism Research

Scientists Reveal That Seeing Eye To Eye Is Key To Copying, With Implications For Autism Research

After all is said and done, it seems that things I have been making my son do since he was very young is the right thing to do for him.

"In a study published this week in the Journal of Neuroscience, a team of scientists from the University's School of Psychology show that eye contact seems to act as an invitation for mimicry, triggering mechanisms in the frontal region of the brain that control imitation. "

In this day and age people are mostly found hiding behind computers or so busy they dont make eye contact during most social interactions. I was always taught that in order to talk with someone you look at them, that way they know you are listening. Just like when you talk you look at them to see if they are listening, or if its a subject they would continue further. So, I have no issue with looking at my son ( who has Pervasive Developmental Disorder, not otherwise specified.) And in turn, he has rewarded me, on many occasions, of mimicking my actions, use of words and other behaviors. Most good, but others not so good.

Not every child with Autism will look a person in the face. Yet, I have noticed that children who have had the benefit of early intervention most commonly can do so in small amounts. My son being one of those children. Now, when he does something wrong, I will call him over, gently grasp his face and look directly into his eyes and tell him what he did wrong. When it's something that hurt someone, he usually shies away from me. Yet, I have found that he does it because he feels badly and has no idea how to express that. He has trouble saying sorry, even tho he very obviously is.
Most parents would not agree that me forcing my son to look me in the eyes is good, but I have found that once he was able to be redirected or lead to do things he didnt prefer before, I could start to set some rules down. But the only way I could do that was to make sure he looked at me, understood and seen what I meant.
By that I mean I commonly looked him in the eye, explained and then acted out how things should and shouldnt be done.

I hope you all enjoy the reading material I supplied in the link at the top of the page. I think it is very very useful information and should help so many young children and adults!
If you have any subjects you would like to see me cover, please let me know.

I also know that my blog has been blank for a while now, but with summer and life being absolutely out of control for over a month, I just have not had the opportunity to write like I would like to do.
Once again, I am sorry for this and now that school is starting up again, I should be able to do so now.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Dealing with meltdown embarrassments.

As a parent, I know there have been times where I am in a store and have simply said " no" to a toy to my son and had two hours of screaming afterwards.
It is not because I am a bad parent and can't say "no" to my son but because he gets fixated on something and in his mind that item is what his whole world becomes about.
I have had someone say " You need to discipline him more! He's so rude." Well, that isn't true.
My son, like many other children with Autism have trigger items and words. By this I mean items he becomes fixated on and HAS TO HAVE or words he responds badly to. One of those words is " no". He has always turned violent and becomes very unrelenting in his screams and insistence on buying the item( if its that, sometimes its sharing the T.V with Mom.)
One thing I learned to do is carry a card detailing what Autism is and how it could effect my son.
There are some that are free and can be printed and cut out at home from card stocks, while there are some made by foundations that specialize in Autism disorders.

Free to print:

Reasonably priced cards:
1) $5 for 50 cards
2) $10 for 100 cards.

I will add more sites to this list as I come across them both for free templates and for cheap mail ones.

I hope this helps.

Joyful Mommies: Play Clay

Giving credit where credit is due. As a mom of an Autistic kid, its hard to find playdough that he doesnt go " eww, sticky" but this worked out nicely. Have a look by clicking on her title and enjoy! I know I did! Joyful Mommies: Play Clay: "Here’s a fun and different twist on traditional playdough. This clay has an interesting consistency, almost like stretchy plastic. And like ..."

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Autism products on the cheap part #2

In this blog I will be covering items for floor time. Products to help with circles of " communication". If you are unfamiliar with what a circle of communication is: They are exchanges of communication. Be it eye contact during play. Pushing a car back and forth. Or even just humming a tune with you.

I was fortunate to have a great speech therapist to help me with this with my son, because as a parent sometimes you can't see any other options for resolving problems because you are too invested in the day to day.

Here are some basic products that I find help.

Free printable pages: enchanted learning dictionary or Grocery items from online grocery stores or flyers. print on card stock and laminate ( or if you are me, take some clear tape and use that instead. Cheaper.) With this you can ask them to get items using the cards in a cupboard. Ask them if its food or drink using sign language. Get them to sort them into colors, food groups ( fruits, vegtables ect). Make a matching game.

bubbles from oriental trading company
This you can use as a reward later if they like it. I would start out getting them to pop them, chase them, blow them ect. Make it a game. If they can blow them, make it a they take a turn, you take a turn popping/blowing. If your child is a sensory seeking one, be sure to be very animated when you blow them. Pretend to be out of breath when you blow one bubble. Ask them to help. See if they come and try to blow with you. If you pop them wiggle and giggle and pretend they heavy as they land on you. Be creative about getting them involved. I will provide a blog later about common floor time practices and examples.


blocks from toys r us
These are different shapes, and textured. Best part: They dont hurt if they child throws them if they get upset. Foam all the way. With this you can make a fun game of building it up and knocking it down using balls, cars, horses, or pretend people. Once again be very animated and be silly. Kids respond the best to funny or silly things. Get them to identify shapes, colors or texture ( bumpy, smooth).

Cars: You can get matchbox cars at most stores for a buck a piece. Though, personally I like the chunky wooden vehicles.
wooden cars at oriental trading company
Here you can ask them to make the sounds the vehicle makes. Firetruck sirens, ice cream truck songs, car vrooms. Get them to pass the car back and forth. Or get them to play while you sing a song about the wheels on the bus. Every time they play with a car or bus, sing the song. Eventually they might start to hum along. Be creative. There also barbie cars that are nice. Like: doll car
This comes with figures. You could get them to give you items, ask for help and sing songs about family or places to go. Again. Be creative.

Balloons: You can get these at your local dollar store, or grocery store. You can blow them up and bat it around. You can also, if your child doesnt have a fear of loud noises, make a game out of letting it go after you blow it up. Get them to chase it. Tell you to blow it up again. Let the air blow out in their faces. Draw a face on it, and tell them its Mom, Dad, Grandma ect using a marker. This is cheap and easy. Make a big deal of blowing up, like it takes alot of air to blow it up. Or you cant do it. Get them involved. See if you can keep them engaged for longer and longer periods of time.

Build-a-contraption: This is a cause and effect thing.
marble contraption
This is usually a crowd pleaser. You can get them involved after you build it, before you build it and any time in between. Make it big or small. Get them to help build it, or tell you colors, directions using words or sign language. Get them to drop the marble in different areas. Be creative, and exaggerate things. I can't stress this enough.

Ipod/Ipad touch: There are many different applications you can use to help improve communication for floor time activities on here:
kindergarden dot com ipad/itouch apps
Applications are a dollar or so each.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Autism products on the cheap part #1

There are many different varieties of Autism. Some are high functioning ( where you can hardly notice they are Autistic) to low functioning ( where you notice they don't talk, dont interact, and sometimes have other issues).

Well I am going to share some links and helpful hints for various aspects of delay that some/most Autistic children/adults might find helpful.

In this part of the series I am going to cover some fun mouth instruments that help blow, suck, and use the tongue for motor control.. Here's the best part: They wont cost an arm and a leg!!!

Bubble blowers: I find the best ones come from the dollar store, and you can let the child/person pick it out themselves!

Water whistles: you put water in them up to a certain level and they sing/tweet. I found them:

Blowing things up is a good trick. Be it a beachball, a balloon, pinwheel or other inflatable/wind powered toy item, they strengthen lips, lungs and other facial muscles while blowing into the object.

Then there are your whistle varieties: These help them strengthen their lips, flex their tongues and also allows them to work on their diaphragm by blowing or even inhaling.
Link 1: the kind you can blow in and out of that goes in your mouth

Link 2: the kind that goes in your mouth, but works mainly by blowing out.

Link 3: The kind that you can blow in and out but does not have to be inserted in mouth, but just pressed to the lips.

Link 4: The train whistle: This is a good one because it uses lip control to be able to blow in the small 4 holes that differ in pitch.

Link 5: straws. Cups with see through sides that bend, curl and make designs are a pleaser. These novelty items show a child that when they suck on it, they get a drink of their favorite drink/food ( milkshakes for the advanced or milk for the beginner).

Whistles that work on more than just oral control are ones like the Flute slider. A flute slider has the child blow into the item ( its an insert into your mouth usually) that also has an insert that the child can pull at the end to change the pitch of the whistle. So it's a co-ordination kind of toy as well as oral exercise.
A kazoo is another example of a more complex oral toy that is cheap. The child has to make a noise and blow into the kazoo at the same time.

Fart whistle: Definately a silly toy indeed. Yet, because of the way it is made it makes small vibrations usually too the lips as the child blows into it. This for a child with a sensation integration problem is hard to do, but a toy that could help them slowly adjust to it.

Blow out whistles: These have a curled paper bit that when you blow out will straighten in a line, but usually make noise. Tho you can find the kind that does not make noise if the child has audible sensory issues and avoids loud or sudden noises.

Then you have the toys that don't make noise.
One of the options is for a child to use a toy to strengthen their jaw muscles. They give you all kinds of ideas for this, but i find that a bath toy that squeaks usually is a good option. But you put it in water instead of just letting it take in air. you put the toy in a shallow pool, have the child place part of it in their mouth and just using their mouth take water into the toy and squirt it back out.

Fun blow an item up kind items that are cool are ball blowers. They are inserted into the childs mouth, and then as the child blows harder the small balls will float, spin and often fall down. You can even make it a game if you have more than one. Who can blow the ball highest, longest or make it do the funniest tricks.

Some children find that chewing on something is soothing and will sometimes chew on anything and everything when they are feeling out of sorts. Here is a set of tubes that are also good for different textures.

Sometimes you just need to let them make their own noise and let them hear what it sounds like. An echo microphone is the best example!

I realize most of these links supply more than one of any given item, but as a parent I have learned that having multiple is very advantageous. Mainly if one gets lost or broken, you have a back up. Or if a sibling wants one too, you have enough to share. Even a visiting friend or family member might want one to play with and to prevent meltdowns I have tried to keep multiple of many things on hand.

What products have you found on the cheap that you think others should know about, feel free to share by commenting or even email me with a link and a review.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Dr blunder!

I found out today that Dr. L has a waiting list of crazy lengths for new patients, but once i researched her background I was actually glad my son is not going to her. She has no genetics backgrounds, no Developmental Behavioral Pediatric fellowships or exp to speak of, not even any history of behavioral pediatrics at all!! What makes her good? Well, when it comes to neonatology ( newborn or birth defects) she is covered!
Man, I think I dodged a bullet there!

When I think of someone working with special needs I think of someone educated in that department. Yet, the idea of this woman working with Autistic children scares me! Why? Well hmm: Her fellowship was in Neonatology, which is the study of disorders and development of NEWBORN children! So, hey if your kid was premature, or has issues from birth, she is your gal like i said! But past the age of 2, she should really not be treating children who might have more complex issues in the autism spectrum because she just is not educated or experienced in that field! When I think of someone who is dealing with children on the spectrum I am thinking of people who have done their fellowships ( at the least) in developmental, behavioral, psychotherapy,neurodevelopmental, and even a combo of the above. Someone who can help conduct neurodevelopmental/psychological evaluations of children birth to ( insert age here), and who has experience and education to do diagnosing and developing treatment plans for complex developmental disabilities, autistic spectrum disorders, language deficits, sensory-integration issues, sensory impairments, social/emotional concerns, and learning difficulties. I am so glad i am taking Michael down to Riley's in Indianapolis! Sure Dr. L has her medical degree and internship with one of the best in the country, but that doesn't make her an autism specialist! At best she is an early preschool aged child's doctor who has developmental defects from BIRTH. Ok, rant over!
Yes, I am aware that this might seem slanderous but I am truly outraged by this!
Do you agree with my assesment?
If so feel free to email with the button on the side of this page! Or if you have a story related to this that you wish to share, I am all ears!

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Night Owl Prowl.

Why is it that it isnt until the wee hours of the morning, when the house is quiet and the sun nearly ready to rise, that I seem to be able to draw inspiration?

Illogically though it might be that I am finally relaxed enough to feel the creative juices rise up, here I sit writing. Though, I suppose it could be the shows I watch after everyone else seems to be resting and I am alone.

Being Erica, Crossing Jordan, The Gilmore Girls, NCIS, or one of many CSI shows. They all draw me in. Each as different from the other, but always seem to have one thing in common.
The first episode I watch. They have to have a compelling cast, each one with a story, living personality and some kind of struggle I can grasp with a hungry mind. A mind that allows me to take in what is going on in the show, but also what is going on behind the scene. The past drama within the scripted lines of the current episode. Can I identify it?Can I put the clues together and predict what might happen next? Is there a double meaning to any of the lines being spoken by the characters? Is there a deeper story than what first meets the eye?
Strange how I can change the show, but the same questions resound within my mind.
Yet, as I sit here, writing I know that it is most likely not as strange as I think.
Every day, all day, I am constantly analyzing, finding paths, living off cues of people around me. Why should a show be any different?
I find myself looking forward to the promise of a new show this Sunday. Yet, I also am dreading it. Is it going to be just another 24? Where I watch the first season, lose interest but come back the last season and feel like I missed very little in terms of storyline and plot?
I guess that is to be determined. Tho I do know that I think they could of done a better job of promoting the show, doing the character profiles on tape and drawing in the viewers.
Seeing " Rosey's Room" is ok, but you can't actually get up close and personal. You cant open all the drawers of her dressing table. Cant check under the mattress. Yes, you can check her Vlog on her laptop, but can you read the books and papers on the desk? Why do they say you can play detective in her room, as a selling point, but limit what you can click on? Unless they plan on adding content as the show progresses? Make it interactive? Because I have to say, if they dangle this in front of me and then don't develop it later, I will likely be very negative on the matter. Also showing a collage of characters who are possible suspects, but not allowing you to click on them and get a bio on them and how they relate to the story is annoying.
Then the whole " Cast share their theories" part is a bit of a sour lemon. I wanted to hear the actual theories. Not " the killer could be amongst us" or " I stopped making theories because it could be me". I am not saying give up everything. But, why not put things to theory. A mother talking directly to the camera and audience at home, addressing HER theory as to who might of done it within the community. Or " This is my relationship with my daughter, do you think I could be behind all of this?" Create a mystery as to the motives of daily living for each character. A 30 second clip on a personal level tells us nothing about the characters.
Well, only time will tell if the show is a flop or a must watch. Telling me TV magazines and news papers give it a rave review is like telling me if I pick up the remote I turn on the television. But the question is: Will I like what is on when I do?
Good night readers. If you get the chance watch AMC's The Killing on Sunday at 9pm.
Let me know what you think.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011


Everyone has a favorite movie star, or acter/ess that they follow. I personally have a few.
Lately it seems that I see my favorites playing roles that are so out of their normal genre that I just can't find their character in the show believable!

I get that they taking on roles to pay bills and build a resume, and I respect that, but honestly: Why would a producer or director even other cast members let them play a character that is not believable? Why would you do that to a fellow acter/ess unless you want a role or find them threatening?
Honesty is the best solution.
For example: Brandon Jay McLaren- Awesome actor ( - find what he has done so far in that link. Yet, after watching a CSI- Crime Scene Investigation where he played a pimp, I find myself in disgust. I think he could of done a much better job being convincing as a pimp. I just didn't feel he was in it to win it with that character.
I look forward to seeing if he can be convincing as the teacher in " The Killing" ( ). He was okay in Being Erica.
Which was another series that I wasn't into at first, but grew on me. NOW I am totally in LOVE with the show. I await every weeks episode! I mean I find myself pondering on what will Erica do this week in her life to send her back in time to right a past wrong?

Just like I am not totally sold on the series: Parenthood. Lauren Graham, who did a wonderful job of Gilmore Girls just doesnt seem to be selling this role to me. Maybe its because I feel she has been type casted and should be able to branch out. Or maybe its the other characters she plays opposite to. Who knows, but I know I just am not into this series.

There are others I haven't named, of course, but I think you get the drift.
How many of you have noticed the same kinds of things with your favorite stars?

Well, until next blog: Keep living your life and not letting your life live you!

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Random rant

There are times that I miss Canada ( where I grew up), and for good reasons sometimes. The " sue you over everything" " I work hard for what i get, and dont want social medicine" attitudes drive me crazy.
Maybe I grew up in more prestige than I thought. I hate taking my son to a doctor appointment, paying a co-pay then awaiting the bill the month after.
Shots for children are not a luxery. They are required. So why should they cost 400? And that, my friends, is even with the " insurance company" kicking in thier part.
We are not well off, hell I would give about anything to be lower middle class!!
So, it takes us time to pay off that bill. Then, it seems that we just get it paid off and we are back at the doctor for some reason and we are back up!
The insurance companies that did away with the $500 deductable are theives! Not everyone has an extra $1000 to spend on doctor appointments and medications.
Then there is the " you have to pay up front if you go to the hospital" policies! What the hell is that about?
If you have a bleeding child, they shouldnt be caring if you have insurance, or if can pay thier $200 before treatment fee!
Who has $200 in an account sitting around for hospital fees? I know I dont!
People who think that is ok are either: better off than I am, or are worthy of a mental ward!
I find that even tho I legally live here and pay taxes ect, I miss the Canadian health care system. The one that works based on how much you make. Is it fare? You might not think so, but I have never ( as a child) been turn away for care.
Everyone hears horror stories about this, but they simply are not true!
If you are able to wait for a procedure because someone else can't, you will. If it is life threatening, then you will be taken care of.
I think people need to stop with all this finger pointing and name calling. Cuz Canada, unlike most of the USA, has health insurance and health care and gets thier medications when they need them.
Look at how many shows even show US citizens going to Canada for medications! This should be a sign to the US government that there is something wrong!
Where are the red flags?
Instead of looking to fight wars on foreign soils, why dont they work on poverty within thier own country? Where are those helping create support agencies in the USA?
Have they any idea how much a child with special needs costs? Do you know that there needs to be help in our own country first?
Stop, look around. A socialized medication system would be a blessing. You need to see that paying $250 a month to company every year to use about $600 worth the medical treatment is wrong, especially when that company dont cover emergency treatments. Especially when you have to argue most major surgeries to get them covered!
Turning away kids with Autism for disability when they require so much therapy to help them grow and prosper! Let them have it for 5 years, then re-evaluate! Even give them partial coverage! Cover speach therapy if thats what they need! Cover occupational therapy if thats what they need. Help them over come thier obstacles! Stop fighting wars that dont effect us and start looking at home.
Use your resources to find cures for all kinds of childrens ailments!

What do you think the US government should put that money to use for?

Sun shine

So, it appears that my old blog was deleted for inactivity on another site. Oops!
Oh well, this site seems to be a better fit.
I have gone back to tweeting recently as well. I think I need something new to do. Something new to try. Something that will inspire me!
I can't seem to get past chapter 2 of my new attempt at writing a book. I can't even seem to get a working title formulated!
Here is to seeing if this works at getting these creative juices flowing again!