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(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.

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

The National Association for Child Development

However in 2014, I heard about a program run by Robert Doman Jr, Glenn Doman’s nephew, called the National Association for Child Development(NACD). What intrigued me about this program was a) they could conduct their assessments via Skype and I did not have to travel to start, and b)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. 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, but 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

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.

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.

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 and 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 and 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, its about protecting children from well meaning parents without the proper information.

That course is enough for a lot of 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, but I feel like I need the staff at the Institutes to get their hands on him with a thorough evaluation to help me come up with a more personalized program. I’m the type of person that will take on too much and not get anything done, and 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 therapy but diets, financial plans, etc, the WHY is as important, if not more important then the HOW. I need someone with the heart of a teacher guiding me through the process. I find it very discouraging when I’m promised a coach and a whole program only to find out that other parts of the program are not included and come at another extra 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 they do have their cases where they cannot help that particular child, but after taking the course I can now see that the kids they cannot help are not forgotten about. Actually it is the opposite, those are the kids on the back of their mind 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

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 2017 Homeschool Conference in Winnipeg- Keynote Speaker 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. We were able 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. I could get lost in the 2 vendor halls. I could also spend our life savings. I could miss all the speakers speak, because I can 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

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 Well Written 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, then it is to 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 and they are concerned they maybe “a little late, from time to time”… Well right there I can make the choice, 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 and are still 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.

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. 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 Is Hard!! My Experience x2. The Cold Hard Truth…

It’s hard to believe that simply feeding your baby can be such a hot topic among moms. 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. I remember 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. I really struggled sharing my body with someone like this.

After 3 weeks I had enough. I 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.

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. I always allowed 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. I remember 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 encouraged 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. She gave 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. 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, opinions and comments below.

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Guest Post: 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 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 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. Using Montessori materials, whether at a Montessori school or at home, can help them optimize their development and make the most of their innate potential.

 

John Bowman is a lifelong Montessori Advocate and the author of:

Montessori At Home!

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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Book Review: Love in a Time of Homeschooling

I am so behind on blogging. There has been so many wonderful books, products and experiences I have wanted to share with you guys, but life has sucked up my blogging time. For some reason I find vlogging a lot easy, however I know that many of my long time readers much prefer the traditional blogging method over vlogging. So I’m trying to mix both of them together.

This summer I read this awesome book by Laura Brodie called Love in a Time of Homeschooling. I stumbled upon it at our local library. It is a journey of a mom and daughter who decided to homeschool for one year.

What really hit home with this book was the fact Laura was so honest. She did not try to paint their experience as perfect and flawless. It was far from. Her daughter and her were constantly butting heads. She also had to come to realization that sometimes you can come up with an awesome curriculum and lesson plans, but have to let it go because it is not a fit for your child.

Another point that was made in this memoir was it is ok to homeschool short term. They looked at this year as a sabbatical. They were able to have one year to reboot and experience a new type of learning.

This whole story was very eye opening to me. It allowed me to view my own children in a new light. I have to adapt how I teach my children so they understand. To try and make them adjust to my type of teaching is the wrong approach for everyone involved.

If your interested in hearing more about this book from my perspective, check out the video I made about it after finish the book this summer.  However I strongly suggest if your contemplating homeschooling, are homeschooling or afterschool your child, look for this book at your local library.

 

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LeapFrog Leaping Letters and All About Spelling

Little Z is not an easy child to shop for at Christmas time. Before the holidays, my mom had me on the search for some gift ideas. While we were shopping we landed up in the LeapFrog section of the toy store. Little Z had really wanted the My Pal Violet plushie toy to match his My Pal Scout. When were there we noticed this game, LeapFrog Leaping Letters.

Basically this game is like the game Perfection. Except instead of an assortment of shapes, this game requires the player to put the alphabet in order. There is also a second part to the game, level 2 I guess. You instead a card in the indent of the board and start trying to build as many 3 letter words.

I love that the timer is quite long. I mean the game is designed for 3-6 year olds, so I appreciate that they actually have a chance to complete the task. How frustrating would it be for Little Z to never be able to complete the game. However I do love that as they get older you can give them less and less time to complete the game.

I do have to say, keep your receipt when you purchase this game. The first one we got was a dud. We sat down to play it with Z and the board would not click down. We landed up having to take it back to the store to exchange. The second one works great, and we have had no issues. However I wanted to be fully transparent as I would hate to mislead my readers.

I originally thought it was just a great game for fine motor skills and focus. Z already knows his alphabet and his letter sounds. However, this week I realized this game will be a perfect addition to the All About Spelling curriculum I plan to use with Z in the future. One activity that is required is learning how to put the alphabet in order. I think this game is a great start. Parents can talk to their child when they are looking to put the letter in its correct spot, “What comes before Q?” or “What letter comes after V”. It is a great tool to facilitate these types of conversations with with child, without them feeling like they are being tested.

Check out my Youtube video review:

What are your thoughts on this product?

Disclaimer: My son received this game as a gift from my mom. We were not paid or compensated in any way by this company to share our opinion. I just thought what an awesome addition to our homeschooling curriculum and wanted to share it with my readers.

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Stigma of Early Learning

Two summer I uploaded a vlog to my YouTube account all about homeschooling babies. Apparently this was very offensive to some people as I lost a few subscribers.

You can check out the video here if you’re interested.

I’m not sure why I was shocked by this. I wasn’t offended, I know I have subscribed to channels and then realized the Youtuber was changing the direction of their channel and it no longer was something I was interested. But I see now that this is the story of Early Learning. I will never understand it.

When Wes was about 18 months old, I was sitting at work bored out of my mind. My coworkers were gone out of town on a business trip. We had just gone out of town and during that time Wes had begun to walk. After missing that milestone I decided I no longer wanted to go out of town and volunteered to stay back and man the office. Since I was a orthodontic assistant and not a receptionist, besides answering the phone and dealing with patients when they came to pay their bills there was not much for me to do. I while clicking around online, I somehow landed up stumbling across a book call “How to Teach Your Baby To Read” by Glenn Doman. I called the local bookstore and they had a copy available. I went and picked it up right after work. This opened the door to the world of Early Learning for our family.

I couldn’t get enough info. But I was shocked when I tried talk to my friends with young children about what I found, they didn’t want to hear about it. I couldn’t understand why a parent would not want to do everything possible to help their child get ahead. I was starting to understand that babies and toddlers were capable of so much. Reading, math, learning music, the sky’s the limit with these amazing little humans.

So if you are new to this whole Early Learning phenomenon, don’t let others lack of interest or disgust stop you from teaching your child. The reason other parents don’t want hear about your journey usually falls into one of these categories. 

  1. They honestly are not interested in learning. Even with mainstream parenting concepts, (like not putting your baby to be with a bottle of milk because it will cause cavities, or babies should be rear facing in their car seat till at least one, ideally two years old) are ignored by parents. I’m not saying these parents are bad parents. Just prefer to do things like they always have. So when you introduce something crazy like early learning they are just not interested.
  2. They think young children are not capable. To them this is just a simple parlour trick.
  3. They think it will steal their babies childhood away from them.
  4. It’s not their job to teach their children, it’s a schools. Or they will be bored in school.
  5. They don’t want to put in the work to organize materials or spend the money for materials.
  6. They don’t want to do the work, but are jealous that your child, whom you have been working with knows more than theirs. This one kills me because these are usually the same people that call you up when their kid starts school and are struggling. They want to know what to do, not realizing your child’s success is based on years of early learning. It’s not a quick fix or a remedial program.
  7. The are choice to spend their time and resources on other interest with their children.

 While I was in Philadelphia this past fall, in one of Glenn Doman’s recorded lectures he said something very very powerful to me. Tell them once, if they not interested, do not waste your time trying to convince them. After hearing this, I tell people what we are doing once. If they are not interested I don’t waste my time trying to convince them. Chances are you won’t. Just keep doing what you know is best for your child.

On thing I also do to screen people that ask me about the method I’m using to help my boys is recommend the book, What To Do About Your Brain Injured Child. I also recommend they watch the videos on the IAHP Youtube page. If they do this and are still interested, I know my time will be well spent sharing my experiences. However if they never do that then I know I have save my time. Also prevented myself from being frustrated.

Why is this important? Why am I being selfish?

I don’t look at it as being selfish. I am preserving my precious time. Better running our IAHP programs, making materials, regular parenting and housekeeping tasks, running my business and maintaining relationships with important friends and family, my time is very valuable. I don’t have time to spend hours on the phone sharing what we are doing, and leading them to all the right places if they are not committed.

So if someone starts slamming your program, trying to convince you that you are wasting your time, they are right. Well partially… You are wasting your time trying to convince them you are not wasting your time. Just change the subject. Don’t allow them to poison your passion.

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