IAHP Visit – Traveling Day – Friday


IAHP Visit - Traveling Day - Friday

IAHP Visit – Traveling Day – Friday

Friday, August 4th, 2017… The day we had been waiting for. We were heading to the airport to start our journey to bring Little Z man to The Institute for the Achievement of Human Potential. Today is what I have dubbed our Traveling Day.

11 months after my first journey to Philadelphia. It was almost like a dream. Never in a million years did I think we could pull this off.

But thanks to the help from a wonderful organization, The Elks of Canada, we were there at the airport. Starting our journey to the IAHP in Philadelphia.

I had to say I was completely nervous to be traveling by air with Zakari. He’s not one for crowds and we had a layover in Chicago.

Waiting to check our bag.

We arrived at the airport 2 hours early like they recommended. Then we saw the line to check in. We had tried to check in the night before online, but it said we had to check in when we arrived. So we got in line and waited our turn.

We started getting nervous when the line wasn’t really moving. Were they canceling flights. We had taken a chance and flown United Airlines. yes they had bad publicity lately, but we figured they would now be on their best behaviour since the world was watching.

We finally reach the check in desk and everything was fine. They let us check our bag and off to security we went. Thankfully we were the only people going through security at the time.

The people who were running security were amazing. I quickly explained to them that Z has autism and that I could not let go of his hand. They were very compassionate and kind. They had us remove our shoes. We were told that Z could keep his on, but then they noticed they were light up shoes, so they said he had to remove them. Well Mr. Z was more than willing to comply.

From that point on he was convinced you’re not suppose to wear shoes in the airport.

They let me carry Z through the metal detector. We quickly gathered our belongings and made our way to customs. We had 2 back packs, Z’s car seat and 1 carry on because Hubby thought that it would be worth the money to check a bag. Boy was he right! I could not image trying to juggle an extra bag. While the carseat was a pain to drag around, it was a blessing to use on the plan.

We found a little alcove in the waiting area and Z climbed on the couches and got all his wiggles out. They kept changing gates, so we just stayed there till we heard they were boarding our flight. The Winnipeg Airport is very small so its easy to just stay put and move to where you need to be when its time.

We got in line and when we made it to the front the flight attendant said she had called us to board first. We must have missed her call. She said because I had called ahead to let them know about Z’s special needs they wanted to make sure he was taken care of.

Mr Z’s first time on an airplane.

  When we got on board, Hubby helped me install Z’s car seat. I have to say, if you have a busy child, make sure to bring your child’s car seat on the plane. Z knows when he’s in a car in his carseat, that’s where he is expected to be.

Take off went well. I was worried he might freak out about his ears popping, but he just plugged them. I had brought ear defenders, but he was not interested in using them.

When they came around with snacks and drinks, they brought him one of those squeezy apple sauces, which he enjoyed. But of course in total Z style, he managed to dump my glass of coke on my lap. Thankfully I had already drank half of it, so I was only a little wet.

The biggest challenge for me was preventing him from kicking the chair ahead of us. He is use to traveling in a van where he has lots of legroom.

Luckily the person in front of him had no one sitting beside him, he was able to move over. That being said I made my best effort to stop him from kicking the back of the chair.

About 30 mins into the flight Z decided that he wanted to go play outside. Try as I might to explain to him that we are thousands of feet in the air, he still wanted to go play outside. This was one of the many times this trip this poor guy’s mom rained on his parade.

After our 2+ hour flight we landed in Chicago. We waited for the plane to empty out and then we uninstalled his car seat and made our way off.

There waiting for us was a United Airlines employee with a wheelchair. Z needed the opportunity to stretch his legs. But the employee invited us to put his car seat and bags on the wheelchair, and escorted us through the airport to our next terminal gate.

I was so grateful he did! Boy oh boy is the Chicago airport huge! Because he escorted us, we were able to have time for a bathroom break as well as get Z some popcorn to snack on on the next flight.

Because we were right by the gate, we were able to board first. United was able to upgrade our seats so Z had more leg room. Z snacked on popcorn and watched a few episodes of his show I had downloaded from Netflix to his tablet. He started to doze off to sleep just before we landed.

We are in Philadelphia! Posing for a silly picture while Daddy gets our bag.

Once again we let the plane empty out before we gathered our belongings and got off. There waiting for us was another United employee with a wheelchair. We thanked him very much, but told him we knew where to go as I’ve been to the Philadelphia airport before and Z needed to stretch again.

We made our way to the baggage claim. Grabbed our bag and made our way to catch the shuttle to the Alamo, the car rental company.

By now it is Saturday. Z is tired, and a giggling mess. As I waited for Hubby to finalize our car rental, Z is jumping from couch to couch in the empty waiting area.

A few people in line were staring, but frankly I didn’t care. He was not disturbing anyone. It’s after 1am and my kid is right on the edge of having a party or having a meltdown. I’m wanting to mark this up as a good traveling day, so I’m voting for the party option. I could handle the dirty looks, those would disappear as soon as we got into our rental car. The meltdown however would follow us to the hotel.

A few minutes later we were away from the dirty looks and cruising to our hotel to check in.

35 mins later we arrived. I had made arrangements with Expedia to be able to check in at 2am. But when I went in, the front desk needed 45 minutes to reboot the system so that the sign in would count as a Saturday check in. So back to the car I went, and off we went to look for food.

A quick trip through a drive through, we still had a bit of time to kill. So Hubby ran into a 24 hour Walmart and picked up some supplies we were going to need in the morning. I waiting in the car while Little Z slept. Of course just before Hubby was about to come out of the store there was a torrential downfall. By the time he got to the car with the bag they were both soaked.

Now I made a huge mistake, while waiting for Hubby. I went and rechecked the hotel we were staying at’s reviews. When I had booked this hotel, the reviews were ok. Now since I last check there was a terrible review. I went into panic mode. Do I call Expedia and try to get into a different hotel? I’m tired and sleep deprived at this point and a bit irrational.

We head back to the hotel and when we arrive there is a sign, “Back in 15 mins.” Are you kidding me? I’m tired and it’s now almost 3 am. I start praying, is this a sign we should find another hotel? I get on the phone with Expedia and am put on hold. As I wait the woman come back to the desk and removes the sign. I hang up the phone, I guess this is where we are suppose to be.

A few minutes later we are parked near our hotel entrance. I’m panicking. Maybe we should check it out first before we bring in the bags and Z? Nope, Hubby wants to bring everything in in one trip. I put the card in the door and slowly open it…

Much to my relief, it looks nice and clean. A quick examination and I’m feeling a bit better. Z immediately makes himself comfortable and takes up a whole bed.

Here we are, we’ve made it. Finally able to kick off our shoes and get cleaned up from our first Traveling Day.

Our Adventures have just begun after our first Traveling Day.

 

Bed! After a long day traveling.

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Cure Autism : A Child’s Journey out of Autism(Updated 2017)

A Child's Journey out of Autism. Cure Autism

A few months ago I sat down to read “A Child’s Journey Out of Autism: One Family’s Story of Living in Hope and Finding a Cure” By Leeann Whiffen. Now everytime I hear that someone’s child has a diagnoses of Autism, I recommend that they read it. It is a perfect fit for families fighting to cure autism.

There are enough books and articles that make it out that there is no cure for autism. It is so refreshing to find a story where a family has found a path to cure autism that has worked for them.
The book is a story about a mother who pulls her son Clay out of autism and saves him from being trapped in his own little world. Her story truly touched me, I could not put the book down. I myself was in the process of setting up an ABA program for my son and I really truly felt the emotions she was writing about.
I feel blessed to have read her book because she helps mothers like me see that we are not alone. She gives us hope that we to can save our children. It is amazing that she puts her heart and soul into the pages she write, her pain and suffering, and her great successes out there for us to read.
I think its important that people with children who have autism, and heck even parents with typical children learn that it is our responsibility as parents to protect our children. Not everything the doctors and specialist say are right for your child. I had one specialist telling me that the gluten and dairy free diets would not help my child. That his digestive issues were not related to autism. Well we did it anyways and poof, I have a whole new happier child.What I’m trying to say is educate yourself, ask questions, and follow your gut.

I combined a lot of therapies and make them work. My son:

  •  attends a full time ABA program,
  • attends daycare full time,
  • is on the gluten free/dairy free diet,
  • has an at home Doman program,
  • home schooled in the evenings,
  • has a good pediatrician,
  • sees a naturopathic doctor,
  • a speech therapist
  • and an occupational therapist.

All these programs as contradicting as they may seem all have there time and place. I am very involved in every aspect of my son’s life. I’m sure let him live his life but all these people know that I have high expectations out of all of them, and if they fall short and fail my son I will be following up with it.

I also pull my weight with this, I research, provide materials and make sure they have what they need to help my son. This has put me thousands of dollars in debt, but the window of opportunity is closing a little everyday. I will have years to pay off my debt. Right now I only have 10 months left till my son goes to kindergarten.
The author helped me realize I have to fight to save my son and it is possible to cure autism. She had the strength to challenge people and the fight to prove them wrong. Even when they told her there was no cure for autism.

UPDATED 2017:

Now this book might not sit right with everyone. Some people get very upset when people want to cure autism. While I agree we should love our children how they are, I love mine too much to leave him where he is. The reviews I have read about this mother have broken my heart.

In 2012 I had another amazing son, and in 2014 he was also diagnosed with Autism. However in 2016 we also found out he was diagnosed with ADHD and anxiety.

People that say I’m a terrible person for wanting to cure autism have clearly not been beaten and attacked by their own child. Are you arms covered in bites, scratches and bruises?

However, do you know what is worse than that? When you see your own child hurting himself. When he knuckle is so swollen from chewing on it. He is trying to hold back because he doesn’t want to hurt you. But he has to do something. Or his poor forehead when he headbanged against the floor so hard he either has a bruise or rug burn.

Christmas celebrations are particularly heartbreaking for us as we typically spend the holiday confined to the basement instead of being surrounded by family and friends. I do my best to create a meaningful holiday experience for him; we watch a “Charlie Brown Christmas” together and Grandma brings his presents downstairs to be opened separately. Even so, he understandably wants nothing more than to be upstairs with the family but to do so results in an almost immediate meltdown. The boisterous conversations, laughter, music, and hustle and bustle of people are just more than he can handle.

When I say I will always want to cure autism, I don’t want to change my son’s personality. I love his wild personality. He is one of the toughest and bravest kids I have ever met. Never in a million years do I want to change his strong spirit, even though it can be a pain in the butt from time to time. None of this is autism, it is who my son is.

What I to do is help stop his body from running in overdrive from the time he gets up till the time he goes to bed. Not because it is hard on me. But because he cannot sit down long enough to do the things he loves. Read a book, watch a TV show for more than 5 mins.

My youngest loves birthday parties. But 9 times out of 10 they are too much for him. He gets overstimulated and we have to leave. Never does he wants to leave, but he has no choice.

So before you judge a parent for doing they do. Before you criticize them for changing their child’s diet. Or spending thousands on therapy that you don’t believe in because the doctor doesn’t believe in it. Think, what better suggestions do you have for that mother and father?

This review was originally written in 2009. But was updated in 2017. The opinion expressed is that of my own. I was not offered any compensation for this post.

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11 Ways to Build Your Child’s Home Library Without Breaking the Bank // STUDY SHOWS: MORE BOOKS IN THE HOME MAKES KIDS SMARTER!!

Can a child have too many books? The answer is no according to a study done at the University of Nevada. Having more books in the home makes kids smart. Whether you living on a minimum wage income or are in the high income tax bracket. Or live in the United States or China, illiterate or college graduates, parents can help their children by have books in the home. This 20 year study says that this simple act can increase the level of education their children will attain..

Read this study HERE

For years, educators have thought the strongest predictor of attaining high levels of education was having parents who were highly educated. But, strikingly, this massive study showed that the difference between being raised in a bookless home compared to being raised in a home with a 500-book library has as great an effect on the level of education a child will attain as having parents who are barely literate (3 years of education) compared to having parents who have a university education (15 or 16 years of education). Both factors, having a 500-book library or having university-educated parents, propel a child 3.2 years further in education, on average.

Anyone who has been to my home knows that I have a love for books. Especially kids books. I have shelves and shelves of book bins in my daycare area along with a rubbermaid bin of board books. Boxes of chapter books put away for Z when he is older, and each child has 50-100 books in their bedroom at any given time.

When I read this study back in 2010, we had just moved from a tiny apartment to a more spacious townhouse. Reading this I knew I had to grow my son’s home library. However, even though I had a great job, at $4.99 and up a book, I knew it was going to be a long process. Especially since I was planning on quitting my good paying job to open up my own home daycare.

During this time I was part of a online forum called BrillKids and was constantly on Amazon or Chapters adding recommended books to my shopping cart. It was starting to get pricey. One day I met up with another mom from this group who happened to live in a city 30-45 mins away from me. She introduced me to this thrift store in her town that had an amazing used book section. Up until that point I was a bit of a snob when it came to buying stuff used. But when I saw I could get my son books for .10-.75 cents a piece, I got over them not being new pretty quick.

Over the years I have figured out many ways to buy books for my kids and expanded our family library without breaking the bank. Of course their are still times when I will pay full price for specific books. My oldest son loves graphic novels and comic books. He’s not as big of a bookworm like his younger brother and sister are, but he will pick up and read a graphic novel on his own. So in this situation, I have no issues, ordering him full price books off of Amazon.

Before someone asks, we don’t use our local library often. I am terrible with due dates. I often forget to return books and the late fees we incur get down right embarrassing. One thing I don’t like is to be rushed with a book. I like to go back to a book and have it available to me. So while this is a great for a lot of families, I can’t seem to get my act together.

11 Ways to Build Your Child’s Home Library Without Breaking the Bank

Over the last several years I have found a few ways to expand our home library without breaking the bank, here are a few ways I’ve done so.

1) Hit up your local thrift stores.  Parents are often shocked what they find on those shelves. I often drool over the Usborne Catalog. I have yet to place an order. Why? Because I have managed to find so many Usborne books at my local thrift stores. Many people go to Usborne parties and feel obligated to buy something. And well, what happens when you don’t really want something? Yep, it lands up at the local thrift store.

What about those Leapfrog Leapster Pen (formally known as Tag Pen) books that retail for $9-$15 a book? Yeah I don’t buy those new anymore either. I can find them at our local Value Village Thrift store for $1.29 a book. Of course you have to have patience, but after a year or two we have a very large collection of these books. The plus is since I have also been able to find these pens for $2-$5 at the thrift stores as well, when we are done with these books, I can bundle them in lots and resell them. I should be able to easily regain what I spent.

2) Garage Sales. As soon as the snow is mostly melted in my area, we start seeing garage sale signs popping up at the usual corners. This can sometimes be a bookworms paradise. I have picked up full box sets of chapter books for my kids for $5-$10. However be sure to pull each book out and quickly flip through them. A month or two ago I was so excited to find the Little House on the Prairie box set for $5. I was about to go pay when I thought I should check them out. Good thing I did, 2 of the books apparently had something split on them and the pages were are stuck together. Needless to say I left them behind.

A lot of people just want to clear out their kids books and will sell them for .25cents to a few dollars. Know your prices! I have seen people selling books for nearly full price. Or selling a book for $2 that has been widely circulated and can be found every other time at the thrift store for a quarter. However because I’m well aware of the prices of graphic novels, I’m willing to pay up to $5 for some of them.

If you find several books at one garage sale that you want to buy, try haggle down the price a bit. A lot of the time people just want to get rid of stuff as soon as possible.

3) Kijiji and Craigslist. When shopping on these types of sites I prefer to buy lots of books as opposed to individual books because I have to factor in the cost to drive to pick up. Many homeschoolers clear out their homeschool libraries as their children outgrow them to make more room for age appropriate materials.

Also remember you don’t always have to pay the posted price. Some people post their items for more than they think they can get to give wiggle room for haggling. Just make sure you are being respectful when making an offer. Nothing is more insulting when you’re selling something for $20 and a person offers you $5.

4) Library Book Sales. Our local library often has books for sale. They are usually withdrawn books, or books donated to the library that are no longer needed. This is a great place to get DK Encyclopedia type books, kids chapter books, picture books, even graphic novels for CHEAP. Where I live they charge .50 cents a book or a reuseable bag full for $5. Be sure to carefully look over the books for water damage and missing pages.

I love getting board books here for my daycare. Lets be honest, my daycare kiddos are all learning how to respect books and like a pack of wolves a little rough with them. If I have spent $5 on a bag of books and have to throw a few a way from time to time, I can live with that. If I had spent  $5-$15 on that same book, I find that a bit harder to swallow.

5)Hand-Me Downs. Maybe your mom saved a box or two of your old kid books?  Maybe a friends with older kids is looking to get rid of some of their kids old books they have outgrown.

When I was maybe ten years old, my grandma’s neighbour called her and told her to send us over. Turns out she had several subscriptions to the Archie comic series, and over the years she had boxes and boxes of them. She could no longer read the small print, so she had not renewed her subscription. She wanted to make more room in her apartment for other things and sent us home with hundreds of the comics. Irene may have passed away a few years ago, however her memory lives on, my oldest 2 kiddos are now working through those books she gave me and my brother all those years ago.

6)  Birthdays. When my kids birthdays come around, friends and family often text or call me to ask what the birthday boy or girl might like. This is the time that I sometimes suggest books that are harder to find in the thrift stores. Or my step daughter often asks for giftcards for Amazon or Chapters, so she can order books she has wanted.

7) Advent Books. Ok this is more of a suggestion on how to give books to your kids. But that being said, instead of buying those expensive $40 Lego Advent calendars, go to the local thrift store and buy 24 books. If your child is young, look for Christmas theme picture books. Wrap each book up and write a number on it. Each night before bed allow your child to unwrap one book and read it together.

8) Amazon or Chapters Book Market. This is a good option if your looking for specific books that are a bit pricier. This year we decided to use the curriculum BookShark(the secular version of Sonlight). But the complete kit would have cost me $500+ Canadian with exchange and shipping cost. Instead I ordered the Instruction Guide and went on the Amazon Market and bought used copies of the books for much less. While it was cheaper for me to buy a few of these books new, most were purchased used and I saved $200.

9) Mcdonald’s Kids Meals. While we try not to eat fast food, I have noticed that instead of getting a toy with your child’s Happy Meal, you now can request a book. That is something that will typically get a lot more use than a dinky plastic toy that will likely land up in the donation bin in a few months.

10)Create books for your child. Since following the Glenn Doman method of teaching my son to read, I have created hundreds of books for him. This way I can control the content, font size, and positioning of the words and the pictures. You can either do these by hand on cardstock, or create them on Google Drive. I prefer the Google Drive method, because this way I can share them with other parents. My thoughts are if a group of 10 parents each made 10 books, and everyone shared them, each family will land up with 100 books. Many hands make light work. 

I find my son enjoys books about the characters on shows he watches on Netflix. However I find with these books, a lot of the time are why too long. Not to mention they have itty bitty writing. Licensed character books are often easy readers with limited vocabulary and next to no story line. By creating my own books, I can take books he already owns, scan the pictures, and change the story. I can summarize and make a book that’s too long appropriate for him. I can also take those lame readers with no real story and make them more exciting.

If you want to see more about how I create these books easily and cheap, check out my video called “Glenn Doman IAHP Program.Make Materials to Teach Your Child For Cheap”

11) Sell the books your child has outgrown. Has your last child has outgrown those phonics reader? Their princess storybook collection collecting dust? Sell them and use the money to buy more age appropriate materials.

Of course you’re going to want to keep your kids favourites. Pull those ones out and put them away for their kids. But all the rest sell online, at a garage sale, etc. Clear some room on the old bookshelves and fill the space with age appropriate books that will be used .

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Is it important to you for your child to have a large home library? How have you grown your family library?

 

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IAHP VS NACD – Autism Treatment Options

IAHP vs NACD Family Led autism treatment, which is better?

Debating between programs to help your child with autism? Family led autism treatment are a great option. But which program is better? Two that come to mind are Institutes for the Achievement of Human Potential aka IAHP and National Association for Child Development(NACD).

I should mention right now, that my family has been involved in both of these programs. We are still involved with one. This article may seem bias to some, however it is strictly based on my personal experiences and feelings. Others may disagree, and they are entitled to their experiences and feelings.

I’ve known about The Institutes for the Achievement of Human Potential for years. But I had it in my mind that Philadelphia was too far away. I could never put together enough money to make that happen. Right?

The National Association for Child Development

However in 2014, I heard about a program run by Robert Doman Jr, Glenn Doman’s nephew. It was called the National Association for Child Development(NACD). A few things intrigued me about this program. They could conduct their assessments via Skype and I did not have to travel to start. Also if we did want to see them in person there was a chapter in Minneapolis about 7 hours south of Winnipeg.

I don’t want to say that they mislead me, but I was sold that this was a better, more modern version of what they do at the Institutes for the Achievement of Human Potential(IAHP). I guess I believed this because of what a speaker at a homeschooling conference years ago had also told me about the IAHP, when he had suggested that I skip the IAHP and go to yet another program called The Family Hope Center.

Over the years I had heard stories that the IAHP was like a military camp, everything was their way or the highway. I was led to believe that if you could not commit 10-15 hours a day to running IAHP programs, you were not good enough for them. These other treatment centre are sold as if they understand families, and they can help you and your child in the amount of time your family has available.

I should also disclose that in the past I have been quick to drink the kool-aid when it comes to helping my boys. I can be easily swayed on and sold an idea if there is hope that it can help my boys. You could say I have curriculum coming out the wazzu because others have said it was amazing. Over the last year or so I have become more selective of what I jump into because I realize I might be wasting money that could be better spent on proper treatments.

As we got more involved with the NACD, I started feeling like it was not what I signed up for. The monthly fee of $260 US dollars a month started to really hurt when the Canadian dollar took a dive. This wouldn’t have bothered me so much if I felt the money was well spent. However I just didn’t understand what these programs were really doing to help my children.

I was also told we would have a coach available to answer all my questions and be in constant contact with us to help us stay on track. While my emails were answered when I emailed my coach, the constant contact we were promised was just a Monday thru Friday mass email. Nothing personal, no checking up on how things were going.  If I didn’t email them, the only contact I got was this mass email.

I guess the straw that broke the camel’s back was when one Skype evaluation, our evaluator suggested we make some changes to Little Z Man’s diet. When the report came back with all the program changes, there was no mention of the diet. When I emailed to ask for more information I was told it was not actually part of the program. She suggested that we avoid processed foods and simple carbs, but besides that if I wanted more guidance I would have to set up a consult with one of their doctors for the fee of $250 US dollars. This was on top of the $260 a month I was paying for their support, and the extra $250 4 times a year when we had reevaluations.

I felt with the money I was paying, and the fact that the gut is the second brain, this should have been a more important part of the program. Eventually due to the lack of understanding why I was doing the programs, and the constant need to spend even money on subscriptions to programs, apps, mp3 lectures, CD programs we discontinued treatment with the NACD. The minimal changes in the boys was not worth the kind of money I was spending.

The Institutes for the Achievement of Human Potential – IAHP

Eventually I started connecting more via Facebook and phone conversations with a mom who had attended the Institutes for the Achievement of Human Potential course for well children. She started getting on me about having to go and take the What To Do About Your Brain Injured Child course. I agreed with her, but I didn’t really believe I would.

However she become ruthless about it. She cleared up some misconceptions that I had about the IAHP, and kept telling me, “Monique, you just need to make this happen.” Make this happen? How does one just make something like this happen. Money doesn’t just materialize when you need it.

Okay, maybe money doesn’t just materialize. However it is amazing that when you make up your mind to make something happen, you can make it happen. I decided I was going to Philadelphia and I put down my deposit, and made the rest happen.

On that early September morning on the way to the airport, I had butterflies in my stomach. This was really happening. I had been dreaming about stepping foot onto the campus of The Institutes for the Achievement of Human Potential for 9 years. Now after 5 months since deciding I was going, I had made it happen. It was surreal.

Nearly 10 months since taking the What To Do About Your Brain Injured Child Course(WTD course), life as we know it has changed forever. The programs that I learned to implement are making a HUGE difference for Little Z Man. We have in a general sense, to treat his whole body, physically, intellectually, and physiologically.

I realized that knowing WHY you are doing a program with your child is just as important as HOW to do the program. The staff at the Institutes made me realize that without knowing WHY you are doing something, I am less likely to be motivated to do it. This is why the NACD programs did not work for my family. The short 10 minute videos and 1-2 page write ups about their programs did not answer the WHY for me.

Notes and charts from the IAHP course

The literature available to me all about the programs available from the IAHP helps guide me on my journey and helps refresh all that I learned at the WTD course. After completing the course you can always find on my night stand or kitchen table my binder full of notes, What To Do About Your Brain-injured Child, How to Teach Your Baby to Read , How Smart Is Your Baby? and How to Teach Your Baby to Be Physically Superb(the newer version is called Fit Baby, Smart Baby, Your Baby!)

 Honestly when I was sitting in that course I realized a lot of the information was available in the books, however the course explained to me in more detail the WHYS and the HOWS in a way I could really get. Without the history of the program, the science behind how they figured out the brain works in children with brain injury and the experiences of other family who were successful, the books did not have the same power as they do to me today.

These books are also not the type you read once and put away. I’m always coming back to them and rereading them and referencing them. Everytime I read them something else jumps out at me. Something that we were not ready for the first time I read it and I forgot about jumps out at me and gives me new ideas.

I kept hearing that the IAHP is super secretive cult, and unless you are part of their Intensive program you can’t access their wealth of information to help your child. I have learned this couldn’t be further from the truth. The IAHP honestly wants to help as many families as physically possible. They are doing what they can to do that in a safe responsible way, such as:

  • Free webinars on Youtube
  • The What To Do About Your Brain Injured Child book. This is a must read for families, and the prerequisite to all of the other programs.
  • The Home Program Consultation- After you take the course you can do with with your advocate via Skype
  • The What To Do About Your Brain Injured Child course
  • Public Facebook group available to all families of special needs children thinking of taking the WTD course
  • Private Facebook group for families who have already taken the WTD course. Several staff members frequent this group.

There is one program that the IAHP seems very hush hush about, that is the masking program. However this is for good reason. The masking program is only prescribed to children that have had a complete medical evaluation. They must be found to be fit for this program. If done on a child that is not a candidate it could be very unhealthy for them. It has nothing to do with the IAHP wanted to keep their methods secret. It’s about protecting children from well meaning parents without the proper information.

That course is enough for many families to change their children’s lives without ever having to go back to the Institutes. However for myself, to keep my momentum I need to continue to learn. I need more, but that is just a personal thing. I have seen so much change in Little Z Man. Even so I feel like I need the staff at the Institutes to do a thorough evaluation on him. They will help me come up with a more personalized program for Z. I’m the type of person that will take on too much and not get anything done. I feel that having the staff guide me will keep me on track.

Next month we are jumping on a plane and the staff will be getting their hands on Little Z Man. Through the power of answered prayer and determination we have made another trip to Philadelphia possible.

Conclusion

In order for any program to work, not just therapies. It could be a diets, financial plans, etc, the WHY is as important, maybe more important than the HOW. I need someone with the heart of a teacher guiding me through the process. It is very discouraging when I’m promised a coach and a whole program to find out that parts of the program are not included. Let alone only come at yet another fee.

For me, the IAHP is the tried, tested and true path for my son. They have 60+ years of experience and data to back them up. Yes of course they do have their cases where they cannot help that particular child. After taking the course I can now see that the kids they cannot help are not forgotten about. Actually the opposite is true. Those are the kids on the back of their mind day in and out. Pushing them forward to find new techniques and programs to solve that problem.

 

You can read a bit about our journey with NACD in there past post:

Prepping for the NACD

What My Two Year Old and I Read Today. Mini NACD Update.

NACD Early Learning at 32 Months Old

NACD With My Nine Year Old. Helping Your Child with Reading Comprehension.

You can also read a bit about our journey so far with the IAHP in these post

Little Z update. Starting IAHP

UPDATE BEFORE LEAVING FOR THE IAHP

Day 1&2 Of My Trip To The IAHP

Monday- IAHP What To Do About Your Brain Injured Child

IAHP Nutritional Update

 

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How the Elks of Canada’s Children’s Charity Helped Our Son

Elks of Canada's children's charity. Our story how the elks helped our son with autism/adhd

This summer we will be flying back out to Philadelphia to go back to the IAHP. This time I will have my hubby and Little Z Man in tow. Z will be going for a full evaluation and a complete program custom made for our Z. I will also be taking the Lecture Series 2, which is a continuation to the course I took in September.

As you can image this will not be cheap. We have to fly to Philly, stay in a hotel for 7 days, rent a car to transport us, and then the actual cost of the evaluation and lectures. I started looking for grants and financial assistance. Last year I found the Elks & Royal Purple Fund for Children.

So I decided to contact their head office last year. They put me through to our local lodge. A man named Dave from the lodge came and met with me and Z. But since we were not going to be going till August of 2017, and the lodge was closing down for the winter, I held on to the paper work till April. Honestly it took me a while to get the letters I needed from different doctors.

Come April I tried to contact Dave, but he was still out of town. So I was put in contact with a man named Dave. He took our application to the local lodge and they voted on it to see if our cause was something they wanted to sponsor. I was so excited when I got an email back saying this was something they wanted to back, and we moved on to the next step in the process.  Dennis then helped me get the paper work to their head office and gather up other documents they required.

While I was really hoping we would get the financial aid, I was mentally preparing myself that we might not.

Then one day I got this email from Dennis:

Congratulations Monique we were successful when the cheque arrives we will make a formal presentation to you and Zakari. no doubt with our regalia on.
We will have pictures taken for our Elks magazine and when you get a receipt from Achievement of Human Potential we will require a copy for Agnes.
We wish you a successful trip to Philadelphia.

I was over the moon thrilled. All our hard work and determination had paid off. A weight had been lifted off my shoulders. The Elks of Canada were paying for our evaluation appointment. We had managed to get an amazing deal on our flights, accommodations and car rental. We had saved and were able to pay cash for that part. The fact our family did not have to go into more debt to get our son the help he needs was just amazing. It lifted such a burden off our shoulders.

When the cheque arrived, we went down the the local lodge’s bi-monthly meeting. It was so nice to meet all the people who had stood up and backed up our son. I was nervous about the whole meeting, because sometimes Z gets worked up in a group of people. However I was super proud of him. He said “hello” and thanked them for helping him. He did spot a box of Tim Horton’s donuts from across the room, and ask for one. Of course they told me he could have one, but they didn’t offer because they don’t know about allergies and stuff. Of course we declined as Z is gluten free and wouldn’t feel well afterwards. Since it was so close to bedtime, I was worried he was going to hit the ground and have a full force tantrum. But I told him we had gluten free ones at home and he was fine with that. However it was one of those “Out of the Mouth of Babe” moments. Here they wonderful people are giving him thousands of dollars for therapy, and all he wants is a Timmie’s donut.

Everyone there was so welcoming and kind. They asked questions about our journey. Also about the program itself. They also seemed so happy to have been able to help us. I could tell that helping children is truly a passion for this group of men and women.

They are now part of our journey to wellness. In the future, when Little Z is completely well, we will look back and show him this picture and tell him these are only a few of the people from the Elks, that helped you get the help you needed.

So in 17 days, we will be jumping on a jet plane and starting a whole new adventure. I have such high hopes for this trip. This life changing step towards wellness.

Thank you to the Elks of Canada, especially Winnipeg Lodge No.10. To our family, you are angels with purple wings.

Check out the video below. This was after we visited the Elks meeting.

 

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MACHS Homeschool Conference-Heidi St. John

Wow! I can’t believe it has been well over a month and I still have not not written about our local homeschooling conference. I originally wanted to wait until the materials I had ordered arrived, and then life got in the way.

A local Christian Homeschool group, MACHS, puts on the Homeschool Conference here in Winnipeg every year.  Back when I was homeschooling Wes I also attended. You can read about my past conference experience in 2011 HERE. It is such a great way to get motivated and inspired. As usual the event was 2 days long. I closed my daycare and took a personal day on the Friday to attend on my own and scope things out. Then Hubby and I attended together on the Saturday.

The Friday was a great time for me to reconnect with other homeschooling moms. We were able to eat lunch together and chat about our kiddos, what was working for us, and what wasn’t.

Saturday was a great time for Hubby and I to explore our options. We were also able to talk about what we really wanted for our son, and what we didn’t want. We spent the session before lunch that was biblically based at the vendors as hubby is not religious. It was nice to see what we think will really work for Little Z Man and what likely wouldn’t be a fit.

The keynote speaker was Heidi St.John, mother of 7, grandmother of 2, author of The Busy Homeschool Mom’s Guide to Daylight and blogger for the blog The Busy Mom. My friend was saying that all the women in her co-op were super excited to hear her speak. Tracy and I had no real idea who she was.

Now I can say I follow her blog and social media accounts. She was an awesome speaker. Some of what she said was not what we wanted to hear, but it was the truth. There is no sugar coating things in the way Heidi spoke.

I heard her speak on the topics:

  • Fearless Homeschooling: How to Ignore the
    Critics and Do What’s Best for Your Child
  • Real Life Homeschooling
  • The First Three Years: A Workshop for
    Homeschool Rookies

We also sat in on three sessions by other speakers:

  • Learning Disabilities, ADHD, and My Homeschooled Child – By Ross McCallum
  • Homeschooling 101 – By Stacy Fraser
  • Hands on Learning Fun! By Debbie Mogilevsky

The vendors. Oh the vendors. It is amazing how one could get lost in the 2 vendor halls. I could also spend our life savings. Heck, I could even miss all the speakers speak, because it so easily get lost in the shopping aspect of the conference. I think of my first conference, before I started blogging. I spent so much money on curriculum I didn’t really need.

The vendors are not evil. They are actually very helpful, but you have to remember to keep your wits about you.

Before you go to the conference, try and keep these things in mind:

  • Look at what you already have at home, how are you going to use it?
  • What are you hoping to accomplish next year?
  • What do you have missing to do just that?

Now you know what you have. How your going to use it. What you want to do, and what you still need to get.

Now when you get there and you see this amazing phonics program, and the sales pitch sounds unbelieveable, you can really decided if it’s necessary. Oh yeah, you have two other phonics programs at home, and they seem to be going well. Why fix something that is not broken? But now you have the name and contact information for a different phonics program, should you hit the wall with the ones you current own. You just saved yourself from buying something you may not have needed.

Answering the above questions also keeps you focused. If you love anything to do with Language Arts, and are not too drawn to Math, but you need to find a math program for your child, this will help you say no to the unnecessary stuff. You can now keep reminding yourself to focus on finding a shiny new math program that hopefully you and your child will enjoy.

So what did I buy? Isn’t this what all homeschool moms want to know. Well I’m happy to say we didn’t go crazy. I have A LOT of materials from when we were homeschooling Wes. We also are going to be going back to the IAHP(If you’d like to hear more about that, check out the video below.), so I know they will have an entire, intensive program for us. I do not want to buy materials, only to not have time to work on them.

I decided that this year, besides the IAHP program, we are going to focus a lot on fine motor skills. So we decided to start with Handwriting Without Tears – Get Set For School – My First School Book – Pre-K Activity Book. I already have the wooden blocks to work with back from when Wes was little. We will also be spending some time on the wonderful brachiation ladder my dad built the boys to build hand strength.

 

 

Now while Z is already reading, and has a solid understanding of phonics, I grabbed Get Ready for the Code A (Explode the Code). The main reason I grabbed this book was to work on following directions and another way to work on penmanship. I thought if I used a subject he was strong in(phonics) to work on a skill he needs practice in(fine motor skills).

 

 

I was really impressed with the whole Akeba curriculum. However Little Z’s level in different subject areas varies too much to follow an all in one curriculum. However I did pick up Readiness Skills K4 – A Beka. It is a great resource for skill appropriate activities for Little Z Man to work on those fine motor skills.

As you can see, I wasn’t kidding when I said fine motor skills are really our main focus.

One other thing that I will be sure to plan ahead for next year is to bring a lunch on Friday when I’m there without my Hubby. I found the lunches they served to be small, and overpriced. The food was good, but $9 for a small chicken salad sandwich, a few carrot sticks and a bag of chips was too much. I could have gotten the same at Subway and have been full.

The prices of the conference has gone up, but the price now includes a one year membership to MACHS(Manitoba Association of Christian Home Schools) as well as access to the video/sound recordings to all the sessions presented this year and last year for one year. This is great because there were times were two sessions were happening at the same time that interested me. But now I can listen to the second one at home and not have to miss either of them.

The one thing I always dread about the conference is its location. Calvary Temple is a beautiful church, however it is located right downtown. Traffic is horrendous during rush hour on the Friday.  Parking is a nightmare, and quite costly. So to hear the conference is moving to the Victoria Inn with unlimited free parking was amazing news!

What are conferences like in your neck of the woods? Please leave a comment and tell me all about them. Feel free to ask any questions. 

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Goodwill Homeschool Haul

Goodwill Homeschool Haul:

If you follow me on Youtube, you might have noticed there was a long break in between my haul videos. I love collecting books for my kids, and find the most affordable way to do so is to buy them at thrift stores. But since September after my visit to the Institutes for the Achievement of Human Potential(IAHP), I actually switched my focus to making Z’s homemade books. I didn’t want to keep collecting books if we were not going to be reading them right away.

Well over the last few months Little Z attention and focus have improved so much, that he can sit for longer story books. My collection to date has been more short, one sentence per page stories. But now that he can sit so well I have been trying to include 15 mins a day minimum of reading from commercial storybooks.

15mins?!?!?! That’s it? Well not really. We read a lot more than that. Little Z and I usually read 5 homemade story books, 2 times a day. This is just on top of that.

So far my favourite thrift stores to hit up for books are Goodwills and MCC thrift stores. As well, come this spring and summer, you can bet I’ll be hitting up garage sales as well.  While Value Village does have a great variety of books, at .99 cents to $2.99 a book, even with the buy 4 get 1 free deal, that is a bit rich for my blood. Especially when I know I can grab books for 25cents to 50cents at the other stores. I may bite the bullet in the next few weeks and start looking at Value Village kids books again, when my Bookshark Instruction Guide arrives in the mail. We will be using Bookshark to homeschool Z in September, however with the exchange, it was cheaper for me to buy the books individually and I’m hoping to find some at the thrift stores as well. I will blog and vlog about this in more details in the future once I get myself organized.

If you’d like to see my newest Goodwill Haul video, check out the video below!

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Home Daycare Series: Why a Daycare Contract Is So Important

Over the last nearly 7 years of running a home daycare, I have found that a well written contract is the best way to run your business smoothly. A contract not only protects you if things go south with a client and your need proof to present in small claims court, but it prevents miscommunication between you and your daycare families.

When I first started my home daycare, my contract was maybe three pages. Even then it was more thorough than others I have seen in the past. However over the years, I have tweaked it to be very detailed, and is now about 8 pages long.

A contract should explain what services you are willing to provide, what is expected from your daycare families, and what happens in certain situations if the agreement is broken.

Contracts are an easy tool to use to avoid conflict. It is much easier for you to correct a family from taking advantage of you by referencing the contract. This is better then try and remind them about the conversation you had during the interview a year ago. If you are in a verbal agreement, it is easy for a family to say, “Oh I didn’t understand or I would not have agreed to that.” You have a much firmer upper hand if you can point to where it says it in the contract and where they signed in agreement. This goes too for parents, a provider can promise you the moon, but at the end of the day it is what is in the contract that will be enforced in small claims court.

Contracts can also help providers weed out potentially troublesome families before they even start. I always send out my contract to my families before I have them come for the interview. If they were to message me with concerns about late fees. I let them know that late fees are only a problem if they are late for pick up. I have had potential families then tell me that my hours of operation are very tight for them. They are concerned they maybe “a little late, from time to time”… Well right there I can make the choice. I either take them and set in my contract an extra small charge to stay open late or cancel the interview.

Another red flag for me is when people do not want to put a deposit down. My deposit is used for their last month of care should they give proper notice. Also it is non-refundable should they decided they really don’t want the spot. They may still be shopping around, but don’t want me to fill it before they make their decision. This helps me screen and not waste my time with people who are not serious about the spot, or who don’t want to give proper notice when they leave.

So far I have only talked about how a contract protects the provider, however it is very powerful for a family as well. I would never put my child in a daycare without a contract. I want to know which days I’m expected to pay? What happens so my deposit if the daycare closes? What is the policy on discipline, etc.

A contracts protect parents from providers that are constantly changing the rules. It give you a point of reference if there is a conflicted. You as a parent can look back and refresh your memory, “Did I really agree to that?”, “No that is not mentioned in the contract” or “Oh yes here it is, I must have forgotten that.”

Contracts allow families to plan according to an actual agreement. A contracts allow providers to provide full disclosure of the daycare rules. Contracts help avoid conflicts. However should conflicts occur, contracts are there to make sure that in small claims court the actually agreement will be honored.

Check out my video on The Importance of Daycare Contracts

As a provider what is the most important part of your contract? As a parent, what are you looking for when you read over a contract?

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Breastfeeding Tips. The Cold Hard Truth…

Breastfeeding Is Hard!! Breastfeeding Tips. The Cold Hard Truth...

It’s hard to believe that simply feeding your baby can be such a hot topic among moms. Everyone has an option or breastfeeding tips. Also the pressure placed on Moms is unbelievable.

Breast is Best!

Fed is Best!

Formula is Best!

The never ending battle is on.

I follow a few Mom Vloggers on Youtube and one mom shared her experience breastfeeding on her channel. It got me thinking that if more mom’s shared their experience, how awesome would that be for new moms? So I felt I needed to share my story.

When I was pregnant with my first, I had a lot of pressure placed on me from my now ex-in laws to breastfeed. I was made to feel like they had all breastfed their babies, while washing cloth diapers in the river, in the middle of a snowstorm barefoot. So since I had a 1 year maternity leave, and nothing to do, I should have no issues. I mean breastfeeding is what all GOOD Moms do, I wanted to be a Good Mom right?!?

Honestly no one  had breastfed in my family. So I had no exposure to it growing up. So how hard could it really be?

OMG! It was hard! It was terrible. I hated it. What was suppose to be a close bonding experience quickly turned into a nightmare. I felt used.

Looking back now, I realize I was suffering from postpartum depression. I had a terrible, traumatizing induction, labour and delivery. Let’s be honest, considering that I got pregnant at 19 years old, and should have had a healthy pregnancy being so young, it was anything but healthy.  This all wore me down.

I mostly remember being alone during this time. My baby needed to nurse so much, but because I was shy, I was often in a bedroom nursing. I desperately needed to be with people, yet I was locked away in a room with a child I felt was just using me.

This was affecting my bond to him. I didn’t want to hold him, he might want to nurse. I didn’t want him to keep using me. This was all really new to me and I was really struggling to share my body with someone like this.

After 3 weeks I had enough and couldn’t do it anymore. I remember calling the public health nurse and asking her how to stop breastfeeding and switch to formula. I could tell she really did not want me to do this. She told me to replace one feeding with a bottle of formula for a week, then after that week replace another feeding. I told her that was going to take forever, she had no sympathy and said if I didn’t want to get mastitis(infection of the breast tissue) this is how it needed to be done.

At this moment I was beside myself, I couldn’t do that! I wanted this over now. So I called my doctor and he got me in for an appointment right away. I told him what was happening and what was suggested to me. He told me that wasn’t necessary and I could just switch one feeding nurse him, the next breastfeed him. After a day or two do 2 bottle feedings and one breastfeeding, then just stop. Following this advice I weaned him in a week.

My now ex-mother in law worked at the daycare centre in our local town, she slandered me to my friends who had children there. I was so selfish she told them. Implying that I was a bad mom, because you know GOOD Moms breastfeed. My family on the other hand completely supported my decision, so for that I was so grateful.

After all this I swore if I ever had another child I would not even try breastfeeding. I was going straight to formula.

Then a month shy of 7 years later I had my next child.

Over this time I had been exposed to more moms who breastfed their children. It actually started to become the norm. After some research my positions softened up on the subject. My oldest dealt with a lot of allergies and I wanted to do everything in my power to help my youngest to avoid this experience.

I made a deal with myself. I’d commit to it for 3 months. From what I read online after the first 3 months, typically breastfeeding becomes easier than bottle feeding.

The first few weeks were tough. My son was 5lbs 15oz at birth and 5lbs 8oz when we left the hospital. His mouth was so tiny that the newborn soothers I had brought for him were way too big for his tiny mouth. Luckily I made connections with this wonderful nurse’s aid, she snuck into the NICU and got Little Z a preemie size soother. But because his mouth was so tiny, it made getting a perfect latch difficult. So it was a bit painful to nurse for the first little while.

I think it was my second night home, I remember crying on the couch in our living room on the phone with the breastfeeding support line at 5am. My son had started breastfeeding at 10pm and at 5am was still nursing. He would not allow me to pull him away from the breast. When I had to stop to use the washroom he would scream until he was put back on the breast. As any mother knows he cry of a newborn rips at your soul. Finally he stopped and allowed me to put him down. I found out that this was quite normal as he was helping my milk come in.

However things were different this time around. While feeding him while we were out I no longer felt isolated. While I would leave the group and move to another room, I didn’t lock myself up in a room. Welcoming people to come sit with me and keep me company. I know I could have just nursed where I was. It was less distracting to be in a smaller group.

I remember one of hubby’s little cousin’s who was about 6 at the time asking to come with me when I went inside to feed the baby. I covered him up when we sat on the couch and started nursing while we talked. Then suddenly she asked me, so when are you going to feed the baby? She thought I was going to feed him with a bottle. I told her I was feeding him. “But how?” she asked. Just as she asked her mom came into the house. I told her I’m sure her mom would be happy to explain it to her. Her mom explained I was feeding the baby like cats feed their kittens with their body. That was enough of an explanation for her.

As expected nursing became easier and easier. The thought of the added hassle of washing bottles, buying formula, mixing formula, and actually having to get up in the middle of the night and mix a bottle first seemed like such a hassle. It was so much easier to reach over and feed him while we were still both half asleep.

3 months turned to 6 months. 6 months turned to 12 months. My ultimate goal was to nurse till he was 1 years old. Thing is when he turned 1 I could not image stopping. Then I read the World Health Organization(WHO) recommends that children be breastfed to 2 years old and beyond. So that became my new goal.

I want to recommend though that you are careful what you refer to nursing as with your child. When my youngest was about 16 months my friend showed up to pick something up a few minutes after he had woken up. I was holding him at the door chatting with her and suddenly my son started tapping my breast calling and yelling “BOOB!!! BOOB!!BOOOOB!!!” He was not interested in our conversation, he was hungry and he was hungry now! So make sure you call nursing something your comfortable with your child screaming for in random places.

At around 17 months, nursing got hard again. My son started biting me. I’m not talking little nips, he drew blood. Everyone around me it was ok to quit. But I couldn’t, the boob was the answer to many problems.

  • You’re tired? Here’s a boob.
  • You’re hungry? Here’s a boob.
  • You fell and hurt yourself? He’s a boob.
  • You’re sad? Here’s a boob.
  • Something scared you? Here’s a boob
  • You’re grumpy? Here’s a boob.
  • You’re bored? Here’s a boob.
  • I want to sit down and I am tired of chasing you around. Here, have a boob.

I was not ready to give up something that made my life easier!

So I called the La Leche League Breastfeeding Support line. The coach who called me back was so helpful. She was full of many breastfeeding tips. This was so encourageing me so much. She told me how awesome it was I wanted to work this out even though my son was already past a year old. I was also given me some great ideas, like dream feeding.

What is dream feeding? Dream feeding is when you feed your child when he or she is already asleep.

We figured that the bites were happening because he was now discovering his environment and got excited when something new came in in sight. He also was sensing my apprehension and anxiety and that is why the bites were continuing. So I started waiting till he was napping or asleep for the night and I would feed him then in the dark. Nursing was so second nature to him, he did it with ease. This allowed me to relax while nursing again, and my anxiety levels decreased. Eventually the biting completely stopped.

Then he was 2, and neither of us were ready to stop nursing yet. This was shocking to me, while I accepted that other moms breastfeed past 2, I never expected to be one of them. Each to there own, but I had felt at this point that is enough. I guess I didn’t really understand breastfeeding and the bond that it created.

We continued nursing till one night 2 months before his 3rd birthday I put him down to bed and he didn’t ask to nurse. When I sat down I realized that he didn’t ask and I forgot to offer. Then I thought about it more carefully and realized, he hadn’t asked in a long time, I was just offering.

Maybe he was ready to wean? I was so torn. Were we ready? I went straight to the local Facebook attachment parenting group I was part of at the time. I explained my story and asked for advice or extended breastfeeding tips. The response was pretty much the same, they felt he was naturally weaning and I should accept that. There seems from others experience to be a sensitive window when they are willing to self wean. Other mothers talked about missing that window and now their children are 4 and not wanting to wean, and mom is done. It has become an ordeal for these little ones. Now I’m sure this is not the case for everyone, but I wanted this breastfeeding relationship to end well, so now was the time.

I honestly cannot believe the differences in my two experiences. Who knows though, if I ever were to have another child (WHICH I WON”T!! Just making that clear lol) it may not go as well as it did with Z. I have know babies to self wean at 6 months old, never able to latch, etc.

Do I feel guilty about formula feeding my oldest? Originally I did, But not anymore. It was what was best for us at the time. He was fed, he was held, he was cuddled. I held his bottle(then cup at 7 months old) for him till he started daycare at 11 months. I was a single working mom. I’m not sure I would have had the energy to nurse as long as I did as well. Maybe I could have. But like I said, I’m not ashamed.

Feel free to watch my youtube video on my experience, and share your experience. Your breastfeeding tips, opinions and comments are also welcome below.

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Benefits of Montessori for ASD Kids by John Bowman

Benefits of Montessori for ASD Kids

 

Montessori learning materials, whether used in a Montessori school or at home, have a host of benefits for all young children, including ASD kids. The younger the child, the greater the benefits.

All development in early childhood, especially from birth to around 5-6, centers on brain development. Differences in the brain development of ASD children have been identified as early as 6 months of age.

Young children open as many as 700 new brain nerve pathways every second. By age 5-6, these pathways organize into the Brain Nerve Architecture that we use for the rest of our lives. Clearly, the experiences children have in their early years can dramatically affect the brain nerve architecture they are building.

Around 1905 Maria Montessori, by carefully observing children use hundreds of special learning materials she created, saw that young children develop their brains through movement, sensory experiences, and purposeful, independent activity. The learning materials and methods she developed for encouraging and supporting this process blossomed into a worldwide movement that now includes over 20,000 Montessori schools. Many parents now do Montessori at home.

Here are some of the positive things that happen when young children, including those diagnosed with ASD, use Montessori materials:

Concentration & Repetition

When given appropriate, hands-on materials to use, young children can focus their attention for significant periods of time. Montessori observed that repeatedly focusing concentration has a host of benefits for young children. They exhibit more joy, less anxiety, and increased sociability. They also become better able to learn anything in the future. Montessori materials are self-contained to help focus concentration. They are designed to be freely chosen and used for as long as a child wishes, including repeating favorite activities numerous times.

Sensory Integration

Young children are acquiring millions of direct sensory impressions of the real world. This is required in order to eventually consider the world mentally, using abstract thought, like older children and adults. Montessori materials support this process. They engage a child in manipulating objects with a purpose, having all kinds of sensory experiences, and using sensory information to compare, contrast, and organize objects based on their sensory characteristics.

Positive Self-Image

Montessori Practical Life materials, all of which are easy to create at home, allow children to master real life skills in a positive, sequential way. By doing this, a child acquires a positive self-image as a confident, capable person who can master challenges, succeed by applying effort, and act independently in the world.

Motor Skills

Practical Life and Sensorial materials help children develop both gross (large) and fine (small) motor (muscle) control and coordination. They guide children to naturally develop a proper writing grasp. This happens at just about the same time they become interested in learning to write. Motor skills help a child understand her position in space and succeed in challenging skills such as dance, swimming, gymnastics, and sports. These further reinforce a child’s self-image as that of a confident, successful person.

Independence

Maria Montessori stated that the goal of a Montessori Guide (or a parent using Montessori at home) is to help children achieve successive levels of increasing independence. This benefits all children, including ASD kids. Independent children learn accept themselves as they are and manage their own education and lives.

Reading, Writing, Math, and Science

By developing excellent, efficient brain nerve architecture in their formative years, young children using Montessori materials typically learn may skill. Like to read, write, work with numbers, and understand science concepts at a young age. They enter school with these vital skills already in place. Which sets them up for early and continued success in that environment.

ASD children have some built-in challenges in life. Montessori materials, whether at a Montessori school or at home, can help them optimize their development. Also make the most of their innate potential.

 

John Bowman is the author of:

Help Your Preschooler Build a Better Brain: Early Learning Activities for 2-6 Year Old Children

Teach Your 3-7 Year Old Math

Teach Your Preschooler to Read & Write

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