So back in December we took the plunge and signed up with NACD, which stands for The National Association for Child Development. I decided that with Wes’s ABA coming to an end, and the waitlist for ABA for Z being 2 years long, we needed to do something. The beautiful thing about this program is there is really no waiting list. We signed up at the end of October and had our assessment done by the beginning of December. The only reason it took so long was because we wanted to be a part of the Minnesota chapter, as Minnesota is only about a 6 hour drive south. This Chapter had their assessments scheduled for December.
In December our evaluator spent almost 2 hours per child. Testing the boys, talking to me. She listened so carefully to each thing I had to say. But the real kicker for me was that she had an explanation for each and every thing that was going on with both boys.
At the end of the day she concluded that Little Z has a communication disorder. With some hard work, it is completely reversible. A few days later I had access to several programs tailored exactly to Little Z’s needs.
Another thing I needed to address was Little Z’s digestion. We had been depending on the fruits in his morning and afternoon smoothies to keep him regular. He always had a bloated belly
So this is what a typical day of programs looks like for Z:
1) We have to give Little Z 10- 1 step directions. We help him follow through and then praise him like crazy.
2) 20 Spontaneous scripts. This has been a hard program for us but useful at the same time. The way I use this program is, I have little white boards I bought from the dollar store all over the house and in the van.
If Little Z is whining or fussing about something I write down on the whiteboard what he might be feeling. Like if I’m putting him in his carseat and he is fighting and resisting, I might write, “But I don’t like buckling up!” Then I will take his finger and read what it says(ideally he would read it to me, but you know two year olds…) Then I respond to it like he told me that himself. “I know you don’t like buckling up, but we have to be safe. We are going to Mama and Papa’s then I will unbuckle you.” A lot of the time putting his feelings in words he can see helps him sort out his feelings.
But to just spontaneously come up with 20 things a day got to be difficult. My mind was drawing blanks and I felt like I was always repeating myself.
So I also started to use these scripts while we are reading. I will ask him a question and have the answer reading to go on the board. So I’m helping him realize what I expect him to say when I ask him a question. Best part! He answered himself last week without the board prompting him!
3) Another program we are working on right now is what I call the Modified Encyclopedic Knowledge program. We flip through either an Kids Picture Encyclopedia or a Kids Picture Dictionary and read random facts. As soon as we got our programs I ran to the store and bought a copy of Firefly Encyclopedia of Animals
The point of this program is not to read the dictionary or encyclopedia from cover to cover. But to flip around and read random facts. This will teach Little Z that we can learn from reading. That words have meaning and they are not just there for him to play with.
4) Imaginary play 2 times a day. This is another one for me that is hard. Playing make believe. Making animals talk, etc. *Sigh* I was SOOOO good at this as a kid. But I think that part of me died or something. I have a really hard time getting into it. My hubby is SOOOO much better at this than me. Confession time! When I hear him doing imaginary play with Z I get giddy knowing I can check that off as done on my list and I avoided it for the day.
5) Little Z still puts stuff… ok lets be honest, EVERYTHING in his mouth. For this we have started a mouth stimulation program. 4 times a day I use on of this gummy rubber toothbrushes, you know that ones you get in that baby kit with no bristles. Its decided to clean your baby’s gums before they have teeth. Will I brush his lips, tongue, cheeks and gums with this 4 times a day to help desensitize his mouth. While he still does put stuff in his mouth, its starting to get better. Slowly but surely.
6) We have to read to Little Z 2+ times a day. This program should be a no brainer and I think every parent should take time out of there day to read to their child at least once a day.
For us we read at breakfast and lunch. Those meals happen every day, so its easy to build our routine around that. The trick part is, we have to present Little Z with a new book each time we read. No repeats. Fresh materials every day.
So now after we read a book from our personal collection, it gets put into a bucket and when the bucket is full it gets put away downstairs. *Sob* So now even though I can buy books for Little Z at the thrift store for 25 cents, storage wise, it doesn’t make sense. So now we are depending on our local library.
7) This weekend I received my package from the NACD. Inside I found The Listening Program and Targeted Sound Intervention Boost-Passive. We haven’t started this program, but I will update you more as we go through it. Right now as I write I’m loading them onto my iPhone.
There are some other changes we have had to make.
– No repetitive TV programs, or watching videos over and over again. It always needs to be fresh materials. Preferably kid friendly documentaries.
– Cutting out the sugar, including fruit in our smoothies(except for berries, they are ok)
– Adding probiotics and Serovera to his diet. (This was not a recommendation from the NACD, but another mom who ran the NACD programs with her girls and has tons of nutrition degrees under her belt.) We had to add the probiotics very slowly, as they cause him a lot of tummy pain while they worked. But now that we have added the Serovera, there is no pain whatsoever. Also 2 days in with the Serovera he no longer has a bloated belly. I almost fell over the second morning when I changed him and he went from buddha belly the night before to flat washboard belly in the morning. We are slowly changing his diet to a less processed one. But I figure changing things slowly will make it more sustainable.
– We have to really focus on keeping him engaged. Pulling his chair right up to the counter while we are cooking and talking to him about everything. Chasing and running games, anything to keep him active and engaged.