Friday, February 29, 2008

My Day To Brag

Well, wow, not only is this my blog so I can technically say what I want anyways, but today I have been ASKED to write about my favorite subject - my son. Yup. That's right. Parent Blogger Network is asking us to write about our children. And not only write about them, but BRAG about them! Well, I don't think I'll have any problem doing this!

Often on my blog I write about my Son's weaknesses. He is 9 and has been diagnosed with Aspergers Syndrome and Anxiety. Having a label on your child, well, you may as well put it on a stamp on stamp it on his forehead. His weakness are huge. Huge enough that it qualified him for a disability. But you see, he is not just a kid of weaknesses. He is also a kid of strengths. Some of his strengths are solely him, and some of them are due to the disability itself. Children with Aspergers tend to have a high IQ and my son is no exception. It has allowed him to be in a self-contained Gifted And Talented Classroom. This has allowed his strengths of science, math and thirst for knowledge to flourish.

Another common weakness of Aspergers is the need for structure, sensory integration and social interaction. My husband and I have turned this into a strength however. When he was 4 we enrolled him Tae Kwon Do. He loved it. He flourished. There was structure. There was a sensory outlet. There was social interaction - but just the right amount. And he flourished. He obtained his black belt when he was just 7 and a half! Grand Master Jhoon Rhee himself sat in on his testing. I don't know the exact statistics, but there aren't too many 7 year olds getting awarded a black belt. And he's continued with it. He's right on schedule to test for his second degree in about 6 months. He's been invited onto the schools Demo Team. He's helped out with younger kids classes. He gets invited to birthday parties from other classmates. He has completely excelled at TKD and also loves attending. Not bad for a kid with Aspergers, eh?

Through my background as a special education teacher I have been able to create behavior plans and visuals to help him function to his best ability. I have been able to advocate for him at school so that he can function at his best ability there too. He has positively responded to our interventions and I can say, without a doubt, that my son gives it is all. And that to me is all I can ask for.

It's not an easy world to live in. And it can be even harder when you have a disability. We've had our share of conversations about people not understanding him and him not understanding others. About why he sees the world differently. About why he couldn't name all the kids in his classroom until he was in 3rd grade, yet started doing square roots in his head in kindergarten.

However, he is not letting the weaknesses of his disability become him. He is succeeding at school, at a sport and at his friendships and interactions with other people. He is succeeding!

And for that I am so very proud of him.

If you could met him you'd be proud too.

So, now that I've bragged about my son, you're probably asking why did PBN asked us to do so. Well, because it's part of their promotion for Jenifer Fox's new book Your Child's Strengths. I've read the review and it looks like a wonderful resource. A perfect complement to keep inspiring my child to be his best.

And, if you'd like to read about some more fabulous children, head over here.

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Thursday, February 28, 2008

My New Checking Account

Something I don't talk much about here is my own business that I recently started. I came up with a plan, a title and got it LLC'd, created a website and have been slowly advertising. That was pretty cool. But this past month I got my first check from my first client.

That meant I finally got around to opening a checking account for the business. I did that today.

I was not expecting the feeling I experienced while sitting there, signing the papers, and handing over that first check to be deposited. Then she asked me what I wanted my PIN to be. And it occured to me.

This really is real. And what a great feeling it is.

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Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Life Moments With A Child On The Spectrum #1

To Son: It's time for dinner.

Son: OK

*gets up from watching TV and on the way through the kitchen starts making those random, annoying noises. Stops in his tracks, looks at me and says:

Was that out loud? Because if it was I take it back!

Now, how do you keep a straight face with that I ask?

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Wordless Wednesday - mostly

Well, orginally I was going to take a picture of a bag of Easter Candy Corn. I was at the grocery store Monday and came across it. Never seen it before. Candy Corn is my favorite candy! It's also a gluten/casein free candy so it's safe for Son to have too. So I picked up a bag. Planned on taking a picture of it for today. But, well, then it got opened. By last night it's contents were not much. So I figured I'll just take a picture of a mostly empty bag this morning. Went to get the almost empty bag this morning. It's no longer on the counter. It is in fact, in the trash, completely empty. Guess my Son really likes them too! So, to spare you all a picture of the bag in my trash can, you get this one I found on the net instead.

Click here for more Wordless Wednesday pics!

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Tuesday, February 26, 2008

The War of the Homework

As you may remember, we've had some issues getting our son to do his homework. The battles have been waging on. Two weeks ago I decided to pull in some reinforcements.
I decided to look at this from a behaviorist's point of view vs. a parents point of view. I did a lot of reflecting and analyzing for a few days. Here is what I learned:

Son would whine, tantrum, argue etc when it was time to do homework

-We would then engage in verbal coaxing, pleading, firmness - anything to get it done and to stop the battles.
This was clearly not working. We were actually REINFORCING this behavior that was driving us crazy and allowing negative interactions and time spent.

So, I put together a new plan of action. Using Boarmaker I made a schedule for our Son. On a chart there are 4 pics - reading, math, wordly wise (a vocab word study program) and unfinished work. Then an equal sign. Then 4 more pictures - screen time, TKD, toys and outside play. On the second line are 2 more pictures. A picture of a book, equals, and screen time (extra reading equals extra screen time).

We sat down with our son and explained the new rules to him:
-upon arrival at home after school he'd be allowed 20 minutes of getting energy out
-then he would be doing homework in a room that did not have a screen (to distract him)
-we would have no problems sitting with him if he wished, however, upon the first whine, argument, etc we were leaving the room with no response to him.
-we will stick to the visual schedule.

Here's what happened:
Day 1 - no improvement
Day 2 - homework took 4 hours
Day 3 - homework took 6 hours
Day 4 - homework took 1 hour
Day 5 - homework took 1 hour
Day 6 - homework took 1 hour
Two weeks and going strong - homework takes 1 hour
*his homework is designed to take one hour

He gets home from school, takes his break until I tell him his 20 minutes are up. Then he gets out his homework and gets it done! If he needs help he asks, and nicely at that! And when he's done he comes and shows me what he's done, checks to make sure he has gotten it all done and then he's off to play for the rest of the day.

W.O.W!!! The best part is that he is learning to manage his time better, create a plan and stick with it and learn alternative, but appropriate ways for solving his problems.

Key points for those of you that want to give this a try:
-identify what is maintaining the current behavior
-identify an appropriate alternative behavior
-come up with a plan
-explain the instructions
-stick with it - remember it always gets worse before better (see Day 2 & 3)
-reinforce the alternative appropriate behavior

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Monday, February 25, 2008

Book Review

Yea, as you can tell by now I've been doing a lot of reading. But hey, that's what winter is for, right? Hanging on the couch under a cozy blanket with a great book, right?!
So, go check this one out!

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Mommy Needs A Cocktail Party

This past weekend I got to go out. And without my hubby and son. I got to go to a Girls-Night-Out Event! And, let me tell you, it was FUN!!! The event was hosted by Petroville (go check out the pics!), who was so gracious to open her house to, oh, about 45 women for the evening. The star of the show was Kristen. You NEED to go check out her shirts!! I picked up one to go with my growing collection. Oh, and did I mention the chocolate fountain?

To be honest, I was a little nervous going. I've only met some of the people there once. I'm a shy person. My sister was going to go with me originally. But she cancelled last minute. So I decided to brave it alone. I'm glad I did. I truly had a great time chatting with other DC Metro Mom writers. It's strange. Some have known each other longer than others and for some it was our first face to face meeting, but it didn't feel that way because we read each others blogs. We already knew eachother. It made me realize how much I truly enjoy blogging and meeting people. We drank. We ate. (Did I mention the chocolate fountain?). We talked. We shopped. Repeat several times. It was a fun night.

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Sunday, February 24, 2008

Book Review

Head over to Yup - Another Review Blog to check out my first children's book review!

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Friday, February 22, 2008

Haiku Friday

Taking glasses off
to clean both of the lenses
crack, snap, broke in half.

Wearing sunglasses
sure is better than nothing
for the time being.

Ice storm overnight
All schools are closed for the day
Will doc be open?

Luckily he is
Went in for quick eye exam
Need stronger lenses.

Son has been talking
about blurriness at school
His eyes are checked too.

Sure enough it seems
he needs to wear glasses too
but only part-time.

Pick out some new frames
Walk around the mall and wait
book store and some lunch.

Eye exams and frames
are, wow, so expensive, but
seeing is priceless.
Come read more!

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Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Monday, February 18, 2008

Book Review

No, this isn't a mistake - I've got yet another book review up over at Yup - Another Review Blog. Go check this one out too!

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Sunday, February 17, 2008

Book Review

I've got another book review up over at Yup - Another Review Blog. Go check it out!!

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Friday, February 15, 2008

Haiku Friday

Where has the week gone?
Haiku Friday already!
My oh my oh my!

This morning it seemed
Like last week was yesterday
Time went by too fast.

What happened this week?
Actually, not very much
But here's the run down:

We had an ice storm
Two hour delay for school.
Son was overjoyed.

The evil germs came
And took camp in my body
Strep and sinus - yuck.

Studying for class
And quizes and practicums.
It's hard, but like it.

Working with clients
Slow progress is being made
Which makes all happy.

And now it's Friday
A 3 day weekend is here
Time for family.

Starting with a date
With my wonderful husband
In just one hour.

So off I must go
As much as I love my son
I love date night too!
Head over here to see what others have been up to this week!

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Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Look - TWO Wordless Wednesdays!

We had some warm weather last week. The trees and flowers thought it was spring time. Then last night we had freezing rain. The ice doesn't come out too well in the pic, but the branches are covered in a coat of ice. It makes for an unusual sight I think.

Haven't checked out the others? Head over here!

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Wordless Wednesday

I got my sticker.
Check out others!

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Tuesday, February 12, 2008

The New Winter Diet

Want to lose some weight this winter?

Catch a cold that turns into a sore throat. You won't be able to swallow much at all, hence decreasing your calorie intake and losing weight.

Not the best way, but hey, the only actual exercise involved is moving from your couch to your bed and either turing pages in a book or turning buttons on a remote.

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Monday, February 11, 2008

Knock Knock, Any One Home?

Yea, I'm home. I'm home with all of a sudden lots of stuff to take care of. Nothing big. Just life stuff. I haven't even had much time to surf blogs to read - oh the withdrawel!!! Trust me it sucks.

So, here's a recap of my life as it is, being just that - as it is:
-Son's foot is healing fine (thanks for the well wishes). Bruise is just about gone and he can wear regular sneakers again.

-I'm taking a 600 level class (ABA). For the first time in several years I am sooo truly enjoying the class. I love taking classes and learning more about my field of work. Go ahead. Call me a geek. But, honestly, for my masters and post 15 credits since I really don't open the books and read. And I manage to get an A. But this class, although so far I have an A, I need to READ the chapters. And it's a lot of reading and time management I'm not used to having to do when taking a class. But I'm loving it

-House - we've still been looking at houses. We see some we like. We saw one we really like and really want, but it's probably just barely out of our price range, but it's barely enough it's probably not an option. I'm really getting tired of this limbo. We want to move, should we move, will we move, when will we move, maybe we'll just stay here and refinance. Ugh. Limbo

-New meds again for Son. Upping the dosage before xmas didn't work. It improved his focus alright - turned into down right perseeration on things not related to things we'd prefer him to focus on (ie: not homework, not friends, instead collecting odd things, obsessing with playstation, etc). Huge attitude. Teacher only saw negative side effects of increase too, so now we are trying a brand new med. I was so down about it. This last med had worked so well for a couple of years. Now it's back to the med game - find the right one at the right dosage with the least side effects.

-Book reviews: I have about 5 coming in the very near future, so keep your eyes out!

So, see, nothing spectacular. Just life. My life as it is. Just right now kinda same ole same ole, but all good..

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Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Wordless Wednesday

Caught taking a reading break.

To see what other are capturing, click here.

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Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Look At My Son's New Shoe!

Knocking a flashlight off the counter and having it land on your big toe will get you:

-a screaming child in pain

-a quickly swelling and discolored big toe

-a 5 hour trip to the ER, arriving back home at midnight

-an expensive shoe to keep your food immobilzed (and you don't even get a matching pair)

-a day off of school to keep your foot elevated and iced

-and exhausted Mom and Dad

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Friday, February 1, 2008

Friday Haiku

You are growing up
Wanting to play with your friends
Instead of with me.

But when the night comes
You come into my bedroom
And still want snuggles.

To join in the fun head over here or here.

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