Can’t Get Over the Changes

 
I wrote a few entries ago about the amazing changes happening with Zakari. Honestly they are just breathtaking to me.

He suddenly comes out of bubble and we get to see his true personality. We were playing in the daycare area(which is my basement) and he picked up one of his baby dolls and started kissing it. He then turned to me, bright eyed, looked me right in the eyes and started blowing me kisses yelling “Kiss! I kiss!” Then he started slapping my lips with his hand to get me to blow kisses his way. His eyes! They were so full of life and emotion.

 The boys finished their Making Waves swimming lessons for this term on the 21st. If you have a Making Waves club in your area I strongly suggest checking into it. I have never met such an amazing group of people. The boys each get one on one swimming instruction once a week. It is so affordable, it only cost us $20 per term, per boy. That works out to $2 a lesson each.

Wes can now swim underwater, and is pretty good at it too. Right now he’s working at getting his confidents to swim in the deep end.

Z can now touch the bottom of the shallow end of the pool. So now he is doing even better in his lessons. Trick is to make sure he does not fall asleep before his lesson. Otherwise he’s a grump.

teachme

In the past I have written about how we use the iPad with Little Z. I am so happy to report all this has paid off. Recently our old iPad kicked the bucket. We are still trying to decide if we are going to repair it, or buy another iPad Mini. So for now I loaded Teach Me Kindergarten on Wes’s iPad. I sad down with it and Little Z was able to answer a majority of the questions with little to no help. I was so excited to see the hand over hand time we had spent the last year and a half or so was paying off. To sit there and watch my 3 year old fill in the letters to missing words and working through very basic math problems.

This evening we went for a drive to look at the Christmas lights. We stopped at Tim Hortons for coffee and to grab the kids TimBits. Hubby passed my step daughter her hot chocolate, then he went to pass her the kids TimBits to share, but she was still trying to get her drink in the cup holder. Z started fussing like he usually does when he’s impatient. But then he stopped and said “Hurry up!”. We were shocked! He actually stopped the whining and used his words! Maybe he was being a bit rude, but I will let that slide this time.

We drove to a part of town where the neighbors get together and decorate the whole street. Z loved it! He lasted through Candy Cane Lane and Polar Bear Lane, but by the time we got to Nutcracker Lane he was snoring away. We came home, put him in his Pjs and he didn’t wake up. Hard night looking at lights.

ABA Therapy and Herbal Remedies

 
Little Z loves his tutors and they are just so kind to him. I’m so happy with our awesome team. Everyone has come into our home with their A game on.

Yesterday one of the tutors knocked on my bedroom door. (I always hide in my room during the afternoon, daycare kids are napping downstairs and Z and his tutors have the run of the upper floor.) Little Z had taken one of each of their boots and was walking around with them. They thought it was so cute they had to share with me. I’m so happy he’s allowed to learn and just be a kid and have find at the same time. 

He’s mastered a few programs and now he has a maintenance program. Basically what this is is the tutor occasionally asks Z to do a program he’s already master periodically to insurance he maintained that skill. It’s awesome we are only 6 weeks in and he’s already running maintenance.

  This weekend our herbalist and I tweaked his herbal program. I found that his sleep cycles were all wonky, and his bowel movements were too frequent. So we cut his catnip fennel from 4mls a day to 2mls, and his turmeric from 4 capsules a day to 1. We kept his black walnut at 1 capsule a day.

Our herbalist Carrie also mentioned this Nature’s Sunshine blend/formula she brought in and was having success with 2 other children like Little Z. So we decided what the heck, let’s give it a go. I scraped up $45 and went and picked it up.

Well I’m glad I did! He’s so calm. Well I mean if you didn’t know him, you might think he was still hyper. But if you know where we are coming from then you would see a HUGE improvement.

I am so happy and grateful we are able to combine these two amazing therapies and create such earth shattering results. For the last year and a half I have been a basket case, having to be on my toes every waking minute. Now yes I’m still on my toes, but not much more than any mother of a rambunctious 3 year old. 

This morning I was able to hot iron my hair while he played with his bin of bath toys in the floor of the bathroom or sat in the stool chatting to me. I’m so happy and feel so relaxed now. To an parent to a easy going typical child, you might not understand. But if you saw me a few months ago and saw me now you would see a difference. I feel like I’m living again, not just surviving. 

Disclaimer: This is not a cookie cutter herbal plan. I am just blogging what we are using here for my records. I would strongly suggest before using a herbal plan with your child you speak with an herbalist. I’m not an herbalist and I am not in a position to offer any advice other then see an herbalist. If you do try what I’m doing with Little Z regarding herbs I am not responsible for any outcomes.

Little Z Update. Nov 2015

I can’t believe it’s almost the end of the year. Little Z is officially 3 and a half years old. So much has been going on his life.

Little Z started ABA therapy at the beginning of September. It’s been a slow start getting staffing in place, but we are almost running at full capacity now.

  Z has really started building a relationship with his morning tutor, and looks forward to her coming every morning. His senior tutor is awesome too, she has even more energy than Z has. I’ve only met our afternoon tutor twice, but I think she is going to make a great addition to our team.

Right now we have a few program going to build compliance, a matching program and a waiting program. But mostly we are just trying to make our tutors reinforcing and fun for Z.

Little Z had a visit last week from our Occupational Therapist. She recommended we try having Z wear a Bear Hug periodically to help him calm down and regulate. She said that deep tissue pressure might do him some good.

He originally freaked out there first time we put it on him, but he settled and seem to be calmed by it. But the next time I put it on him, he did not resist at all. He is able to sit down and do activities more with me now when he wears it.

This is the one we are currently borrowing from our OT. You will notice that it comes with straps. Z didn’t seem to like the straps at all. But the good thing is the straps are removeable. We are going to see what we notice in the next month, and then decided if we should order one. But so far I’m leaning towards yes.

 We have been also implementing a homeschool/Glenn Doman style learning program.

Usually before ABA arrives, lunch time, sometimes in the evening and then before bed, we work through his learning binders and homemade books.

Little Z has also been playing with his own little Mortensen Block sets. Hopefully with time we will be able to transition to a full math program using this blocks.

Skip counting seems to be Zs favorite thing to practice. We have one skip counting chart per learning binder. However in the picture above my son got ahold of one of the binders full of stuff I have ready to put in the binder when he retires the material that is currently there. I guess he wanted to work on counting by 14s and 15s.

If you want to use these charts with your child, check out Homeschool Creations. Jolanthe has charts from 2-15 posted on her blog.

Before bed every night I’ve been trying to read him one story from this amazing book I found at a local church book sale. So far we have read classics like:

– Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs

– Jack and the Beanstalk

– Goldilocks and the Three Bears

To name a few…

We are still logging books in our 1000 Books Before Kindergarten log, but seeing as he’s only 3 and already 25% done, I figured we can slow down a bit and work through some classical literature to work on enhancing his vocabulary.

So all and all, I feel like we are on the right path. ABA is hitting on the compliance and left brain skills. At home we are working on the right brain side of things.

What are you doing with your child? I’m always curious to hear, might be something we can incorporate into our day.

*Video Fixed*Homemade Glenn Doman Inspired Books and Flashcards

I know it’s been awhile since my last post. I do apologize. I have been active on Instagram and Youtube. I’ve had a reader or two request I not completely switch over to Vlogging. I’ve been dying to get on here and blog, but since Little Z has decided he’s too cool for naps it’s been hard. Hopefully once Little Z is in full day ABA I will be able to really get back to blogging. For now I hope the sporadic post, and the more regular instagram and Youtube post will be acceptable.

In the past I have talked about our Learning Binders. But I do have to say in the last month or so we have really picked it up with these binders. Z is really responsive to Glenn Doman style learning. I also realized if I’m going to get him to take that next step to reading books on his own, I have to create more homemade books for him to read. So that’s what I’ve been doing. If you’d like to see what they look like, watch the video above. I show you what I have in the binders and what my homemade books look like.

One thing I did not mention in the video is font size. The few that I made from scratch I now realized I have to adjust the print size and reprint. I just notice the larger print keeps his attention much longer. SO even at 3.5 years old, large print is still important.

So to break this down a bit more we have:

1) Learning Binders to present Encyclopedic Knowledge, poems and work on couplets, sentences and skip counting.

2) Story Duotangs to present homemade books. I was able to speak to the IAHP via Facebook messenger. What we are doing after confirming with them is presenting one books a day, reading it 2-3 times, and retiring it to an place where Z can retrieve it himself and read when he wants. I’m sure once the books become longer, we might be reading them less times in a day, but for now this seems to be working. The rep from IAHP also told me if he seems to be bored with a certain book, retire it sooner.

3) I’m currently creating 100s of word flashcards. I’m going to create a binder that breaks down words based on different topics, and another binder with the current words we are working on. We will flip through this binder to introduce new vocabulary. I was hoping to start today, but I did not want to start till we have at least 200 flash cards ready to go. My printer died at 76 last night. I will make a video showing this in more detail when it’s ready. However I think this method, binder style, will help keep all the flashcards organized and simple post its  on each divider will allow me to know when to retire words.

So the learning binders will be less strict. I’m not interested in running a traditional Glenn Doman Encyclopedic Knowledge program. But when it comes to reading, since Z is responding well, I want to encourage it.

One thing I think is worth mentioning is this. If your child is not labeling items during the day, and by this I mean is not pointing out and labeling dogs, squirrels, bulldozers, naming items like forks, or describing actions etc. You might want to included pictures with your words. While Glenn Doman does not worry about comprehension, other programs like the NACD do. Z is able to label 1000s of items, but with my oldest this was not the case. At the end of the day, he can read and decode at a high level but sometimes still struggles with comprehension. I also believe not introducing Doman Style books to him affected things as well with my oldest.

If you’re trying to figure out how you can afford to print out all these flashcards and books check out my friend Liz’s(otherwise know as DomanMom) post. She was able to help me pick an awesome printer. While the ink cartridges from Amazon have caused me nothing but trouble, I have been able to purchase some from the local ink shop for a lot cheaper than my old HP, and they allow me to print out so many more pages for that cheaper price.

What are we doing now? Early Educations and Afterschooling

20150524_145741684_iOSWell now that we are no longer working with the NACD, I decided that I need to reevaluate what we are doing education wise with Wes and Little Z.


 

20150523_013745730_iOSLast night was Wes’s last piano practice till the fall. Last year I just put him in at a music school 10 mins away every other week to keep him fresh. But this year that school is shutting down for the month of July and opening for August. While we can do sessions in August, it does not make sense since we are on holidays 2 of the weeks. So I guess my mission for the next few weeks is to find a summer music teacher.

As of today our main focus has been the Simply Smarter online computer programs and khan academy. We’ve also been doing a few of the Kumon books on Multiplication. While know that they are gaged at 6,7 and 8 years old, I think that Wes needs to work on hammering down his math facts. Honestly I have been pretty bad at working with him on shared high interest reading and comprehension reading. I really know I need to step it up a little in this area.

I know that come summer things are going to change. Wes does not do well with unscheduled time. I know if I don’t plan for things I will have him bugging me with the usual, “I’m bored Mom!” line. So while I want him to have fun just being a kids, I think I need to plan. So stay tuned for summer ideas for school agers.


20150523_014557161_iOSWith Little Z we have been trying to enjoy as much outside time as possible. Come September we will be starting with the ABA program with him, and will likely have less free time.

But at the same time I want to stay on top of his education as well. So we reintroduced the The EEECF Country Course vol. 1 using the Little Reader program.

I have also been using Little Reader to create books to use along side out Hooked On Phonics app and workbooks.

 We have also been watching Rachel Coleman’s new Preschool series : Rachel and the Treeschoolers.

I bought this series during their kickstarter campaign a while back. Little Z and my daycare kids just love them so much. Its crazy to watch your little ones singing songs about photosynthesis.

On top of all this we are still using a number of apps, and reading as much as we can with a squirmy little boy. We are also working on some make shift ABA programs. Puzzles, matching Etc.

I think come September once we have a good ABA schedule in place, I will be able to prosway the tutors to work on some EL materials. Plus having the basics being taken care of by the tutors, I can force on the academics.

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

Well the time has come and Wes has graduated from the local ABA program. 6 years all in. I have seen major changes in him and this program has played a huge part of who he is. However after 6 years I’m happy to see this chapter of his life closed and a new one opening.

I wrote last time about The NACD Program We Are Running With Little Z, and there seem to be an interest as to what we are doing with Wes. So here we go!

After meeting with Wes over skype it was decided that the main thing we should worry about was processing skills and reading comprehension.

Honestly one of that saddest things I heard come out of my son’s mouth a few weeks ago was, “I hate to read.” Cue in my heart breaking. I love to read! How could he hate it so much. I guess if you are not understanding what you are reading, the real question is, “Why” would you want to read?

So while we waited for our package of stuff from the NACD to arrive, I picked out this book: Reading Comprehension: Grade 2 (Flash Skills) and we started working on reading. If your child is sensitive to what grade level they are working on, you could cut out the top right corner of the book.

First I have him read the story on his own. Then he reads it to me. And then he orally answers the question. I could have him write the answers down in the workbook, but I decided against that. I want to work strictly on reading and comprehension. By writing down the answer, I would be adding 3 more skills to the project: Writing, Spelling and Grammar.

2015-01-11 20.46.35

Then our work books came in from the NACD. We started New Practice Readers, Book B, 3rd Edition this week and I really like it. Right now we are working on Book B, which is a reading level of grade 2.4 to 3.5. While Wes is able to decode books at a much higher level, we are starting way below that to insure he is understanding everything he is reading. Unlike the Reading Comprehension book above, the New Practice Readers uses high interested nonfiction topics. So while they are working on comprehension they are also learning about:

– Earth Sciences

– Exploration

– Geography

– Geology

– Health & Safety

– Life Sciences

– Mathematics

– Occupations

– Physiology/Psychology

Another thing we are using to help work on reading comprehension are audio books. Right now Wes has been listening to the Magic Treehouse series. I found them at the library and loaded them up on his iPod. When he finishes a book I delete it and add another one. Right now he is using a set of earbuds, that I have cut off the left earpiece. He is suppose to only listen to them through his right ear, which is his dominant side.

The last thing we have been working on for reading comprehension has been sending each other notes. If I need him to do something I will slip him a note with instructions. Or I will as him a question and he will bring me a note back with his answer. This one is a lot of fun. We are also suppose to do weekly scavenger hunts. Notes leading to notes. We haven’t done this yet, but his school has shown an interest in running this program.

We are also focusing this term on auditory processing skills. I could try and explain this myself, but really I’m sure I would not be able to properly. So I just added in a video I found that Robert Doman Jr film about Auditory processing.

 Right now we are doing this process with:

– Digits four times a day

– Words two times a day

– Questions once a day.

I’ve already seen Wes develop this skill in the last month. He has gone from a 5 to a 7 in digits. Plus its something simple we have added to his day. We do it twice in the morning before school and twice at night.

Once summer comes and Wes is out of school for a few months, I will be able to request more programs. Right now, with swimming two times a week, and piano lessons/practice, this is what we can handle.

 

 

 

 

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Dr Phil Show Mom Attempts to Take the Life of Her and Her Daughter. Is She a Monster or a Victim?

I got a message last night from my friend, “Did you watch Dr Phil today?” It was 11pm when I saw the message and things were very busy all evening in our house, so I just shot her a message back saying “No, but I have it PVR’d.”

Then I got a call from her this morning. She told me I had to watch it, because it was about a woman who tried to commit murder/suicide. She couldn’t handle her autistic child’s violent attacks on her younger daughter, she felt had no resources available, so she tried to take her daughters life and her own. 

She also told me, “I get it. I would ever kill my autistic daughter, but I get the extreme hopelessness when your autistic child is beating the crap out of your younger child.”

So when nap time came around today, I watched it and I had so many emotions running through me. I knew as soon as my boys were down for the night, I would be watching part 2. 

After watching both shows I felt for this mother who felt this was her only answer. I don’t believe it was the right answer, nor could I image myself ever doing the same to my child. However I don’t lay the blame in her lap, or her husbands. I blame the medical system and the government. When parenting leaves you with brain injuries and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder there is something terribly wrong. 

Parents are left to the wolves on long waitlists. They don’t have the skills to deal with these situations or the resources. Anything worth doing with children with Autism either has a REALLY long waitlists that you can age off, or a huge price tag. Insurance companies cover some cost, but just as it starts working, you hit your max for the year. Which seems to be what happened to this family on Dr Phil. 

When I found out the waitlist that my son would be placed on I remember speaking to Wes’s service worker supervisor. I told her, mark my words, some poor family with no resources will snap under pressure and a child will be hurt. Little did I know, this had already happened. 

I have been blessed to have found alternative therapies that are working amazing for my boys. Early Learning, naturopathic/homeopathic therapies, diet changes, NAET, ABA therapy, just to name a few. But I should also mention, this puts saving for our retirement, family trips, our children’s educations, etc on the back burner. These therapies help and they are worth it, but the financial burden on the family is extreme. 

However, I have hope. My boys are amazing children. I know in my heart all our efforts are helping. I know in my heart my boys will be awesome members of society. I know they will have careers, and wonderful lives. I pray everyday they will find love and have families of their own. 

I have hope. I don’t care if the debt keeps adding up. I will find the money to keep fighting. 

After watching these two episodes, I hope Dr Phil can help everyone involved. I hope he can raise awareness. I hope we can start finding answers. I also hope that the people in power can look into these alternative resources and treatments. They have been life altering for my family. I wish they were available to everyone. 

So my opinion, Kelli(the mother in this story) is as much of a victim of autism as her daughter Issy. So are Issy’s siblings and father. Lets hope though that through this and with the help Dr. Phil offers, they can be no longer victims, but survivors.

What does a parent do while they are wait for ABA services?

What does a parent do while they are wait for ABA services?

Here in our part of Canada ABA services are covered by Manitoba Health. While this is awesome because most US residents have to pay thousands, if not hundreds of thousands a year.

This is a wonderful blessing! However, the only downside is the long, long waiting list. Right now people are looking at 18 months to 2 years. IF you child does not age off the list at 5 years old. This is very stressful for parents, and it wasn’t always that way. Back in August of 2008, I signed up then 3 year old boy up for the program and his first visit with his ABA Senior tutor happened in January of 2009. 5 months. That was it! Totally doable for anxious parents. However this time around I signed my youngest up for services in February 2014, and we will be LUCKY to have our first visit in September 2015. 19 months. More likely January 2016, 23 months. Terrifying for an anxious parent. 

Sad part is ABA is most effective if started EARLY. Hence the title, Early Intervention. So parents CANNOT wait for services. Since the government doesn’t seem to understand the seriousness of this, parents have to step up. This can be so scary for parents who have not been through this before. So I decided I HAVE to blog what we do in our home. Now while this might not apply to your situation, I’m hoping the resources I mention might have things that can help you. 
The BIG Book of ABA Programs :I call this book the ABA bible. It has a program written for each step of the ABBLS-R.
“The BIG Book Of ABA Programs After the ABLLS®-R has been completed, educators and parents are often left wondering how to transform the results into empirical IEP goals and quality ABA training programs. With the BIG Book of ABA Programs those concerns are a thing of the past. Each detailed program can be used with dozens of different children. Each program contains specific instructions for data recording and implementation for baseline and ABA teaching. Each program is customizable for different children and their unique settings, teachers, reinforcers, and steps pertaining to each program. Benefits Why pay a behavior analyst to write your programs? Why spend hours writing your own? The BIG Book of ABA Programs contains more than 500 precisely written, photocopyable, ABA program protocols for every teachable step in the ABLLS®-R. Each of the more than 500 photocopyable teaching programs contains: A well-written IEP and program objective A complete baseline implementation”

This book will help you get ideas of things you can do now to help your child while you wait for ABA services to start. 

I highly suggest buying an 

Assessment Kit for ABLLS®-R, with Manual from Different Roads. 

 
I know it looks pricey. I will admit to ship it to me, but the end my bill was just shy of $1300. But that being said, during your child’s three years in the Preschool Program, and three years School Age, this investment will be worth it. 

I wish I had know about it when Wes went through the program. 

I dreaded every clinic meeting because I knew I would be given a list of items, pictures, etc to find. And that program could not be started until I did so. So I spent thousands of dollars on dollar store items, ink for my printer, photo printing, things from the teachers store. Not to mention hours of time on the computer finding said pictures, and gas driving from store to store. I can’t image how much easier it would have been to say, “Lets the bins and see what we have.” Then been able to start the program that day! Instead of waiting till the next time the Senior tutor or Consultant came. 

I was talking to another ABA mom a few days ago. When I told her about this kit that I had bought for Z, she told me she wished she had know there was something like this available for parents, she would have likely made the investment too.

And lets say this is not an option for you to purchase outright, right this second. I highly suggest figuring out how many months you have on the waitlist, subtracting a few months in case you get in early, and figuring out how much money you have to put away each month to buy this kit. But if you can swing getting it ASAP, you will have more tools in your pocket to start working with your child NOW.

You might be thinking, there is no way I can run a 35 hour program on my own. I don’t have the money for that kit. I work full time. Remember, every moment you work with your child it will pay off. Making time during meal times, before bed, in the car to daycare, every moment counts. So don’t give up because you can’t put in 35 hours a week. Yes 35 hours is the best. But 5 hours is better the zero hours.   

Activity Ideas:
– Verbally label everything.
– Do house tours labeling what each item is. 
– Make large clear written labels for things around the home. 
– Count everything. 
– Practice dressing skills. 
– Playing with Shape Sorters. 
– Puzzles

Flipping through The Big Book of ABA Programs will give you ideas on what skills your child might need to work on. 

Another thing worth suggesting is to start following through with everything. This is one of the hardest things for me to adjust to when my oldest was in ABA. Sometimes after a hard busy day, its just easier to give in. If you start following through with everything now, this is one last adjustment you and your child will have to make. 

Waiting for services is so frustrating. Trust me, I know, I’m there. But don’t let your child rot waiting for services. Everything little thing you can do with them now, is one less thing your ABA term will have to do. Leaving them able to focus on the really tough stuff.

Also check out BrillKids programs. They are such a power tool as well. They work on labeling and reading at the same time.

Good Luck on your journey!

What resources did you find helpful while you waited for services?

Day In the Life of an ABA Family – Maybe losing our tutor!!!

Well we found out off the record from a source that our tutor might be leaving us.  The centre that hired her promised her a certain wage after for 3 months, and in the end after a amazing review gave her a an insulting 26 cent raise. So she was depending on making more and now may not be able to afford to keep working with the company or with Wesley.

I told them his dad and I are prepared to offer her the 2 dollars an hour more out of our pockets. But really the centre should honor there promise.

Its so darn frustrating for our family. Previously before we had a terrible tutor who fell asleep on a public bus and a public park during a field trip while supervising Wesley. Her lack of commitment and motivation cost Wesley 3 months of a 3 year program while they trained her replacement. We can’t afford to waste another 3 months.

I’m at wits end. This is unbelievably fair to my son.  Plus Wesley is running so many program, it would be so hard for a new tutor to jump in and keep up to him 🙁

So once she announces this is what she is thinking, my ex and I(hopefully our consultant too) are going to the CEO of the company and were going to fight to keep her.

The person we heard this from told me this doesn’t think she would accept the money from us, but I don’t know I have to figure something out…

Welcome to the World of a Autism Diagnosis.

welcome to the world of autism

An autism diagnosis was not a planned part of my motherhood story.

Since before my son was born I wanted to teach him. I know how smart little children are and how much they can learn if parents just take the time. However things didn’t go so smoothly for us.

No matter how hard I tried, it seemed like I could not teach him. He was a late crawler, a late walker, a very late talker(were still working on this) and he was hard to control. I couldn’t reason with him, not even a little. Times he just plain ignored me. However he was very smart, there was no doubt. He needed to know how everything worked. Thing is it was on his terms, he just would not allow me to teach him.

He did OK in the infant program at his daycare. He bonded with his caregiver. But when he was moved to the toddler room he did not adjust so well.

Every morning, involved him crying in the parking lot before we even got out of the car. The staff was little help in the new room. In order to leave I had  to peel my son off myself and leave him there crying. The caregivers had just accepted this was how Wes was, and did little to comfort him.

Because of his allergies he could not sit at the group table instead he ate his lunch alone in a corner in a highchair. As a young single mom, who had never attended daycare myself, I had no idea this was not how it was suppose to be.

At the time we were trying to get him into speech therapy and had to go through the Children’s Development Clinic. I had to fill out countless forms, and I dropped a packet that the daycare was required to complete. When I got that completed form I sat in the daycare parking lot that night and cried.

The comments and statements that the caregivers wrote crushed my very soul.

It read comments like “Wesley spends most of his time sitting in a corner with a toy staring into space. If another child takes the toy from him he does not get upset just begins wandering around the room” or “Wesley shows no interest in spending time with his caregiver, when shown books he refuses to sit” They also talked about how he was unable to do puzzles. This was odd to me because he did puzzles at home all the time. How he seemed sad all the time, Wesley had always been a happy kid, until he started the toddler program.

After I read this report I was done. One month in this room was long enough. Why would they allow him to sit alone and not engage him, even if he doesn’t respond right away, try again! These are suppose to be train Early Childhood Educators, just because he didn’t fit their perfect cookie cutter child ideals he was being left in the dust. I could see he was being ignored because all the other children could talk and Wesley was never one to demand attention. So he was left to rot.

I called around and put him on a few waiting list for other daycare centres. I expected it to take months as good childcare is difficult to find in Winnipeg. However only a week or two later I got a call at work from a daycare in our local deaf center. They had a spot available for Wesley to start the next Monday.

I went into panic mode! I needed to give the other center 2 weeks notice or I would have to pay for that spot and this new one. As a single mom on a tight budget I couldn’t make that happen and still pay the rent. Not on such short notice. Plus I wanted to visit the centre, talk to the workers and make sure this was actually better for Wesley. Because they required a yes or no answer I had to turn them down. My heart just sunk as I sat back down in the chair in the lunchroom at work and fought back tears.

But God must have been watching down on me, a few minutes later they called back. They decided that because Wesley(being non verbal at the time) could benefit more than the other children on their wait list they would hold the spot for the two week period as long as I agreed to come down the next morning check out the center and give a firm answer. My heart just sung with joy! A daycare actually wanted my son because he was nonverbal, and they were willing to work with me.

The centre was everything I dreamed, it was slightly Montessori. Children who were not potty trained were cloth diapered, and they used a emerging curriculum. Children learned using things they were interested in. Plus they signed, and not baby sign, real ASL. What more could a mother ask for a great environment and the chance to learn a second language. I had been trying to teach my son ASL and it was starting to come along.

Wesley still cried when I left, but he was included into the group activities. They included him at lunch. They exposed him to more and more signs. He was understanding the deaf caregivers.

The children included him, they just assumed he was deaf and that’s why he didn’t talk. The caregivers helped them understand he wasn’t deaf, he just needed help getting his words out. When he would say something all the children would cheer ‘Wesley talked!! Wesley Talked to ME!!” They were and still are so supportive of him. Plus his director put in a few words at the Children’s Development Clinic and helped get him bumped up the list.

An Autism Diagnosis –  The Other A-Word

What I found out on that cold January day in 2008 almost paralyzed me. Dr. Bowman looked at me in the eyes and said, “Your son has many strengths, however I do see a lot of autistic tendencies.” I tried to reason with her, ” Wesley is not autistic! He makes eye contact, he loves being with me, he smiles! He bonds with people, autistic kids don’t do that.” “Ms.Dupuis, the autism spectrum is very wide. I will run a few more test, but I already have a good idea what they are going to agree with the autism diagnosis.”

I went on to ask about what Jenny McCarthy was doing with her son Evan. A few months ago I had just read the book, Louder Than Words: A Mother’s Journey in Healing Autism. I had seen Jenny promote it on Oprah and for some reason needed to read it. She shot it down saying it was not scientifically based. I asked if he would recover, they refused to give me real hope. The autism diagnosis is really is wild card. No one knows what I child’s outcome will be.

We did the additional testing. I don’t know if it was more frustrating or comical. Every time the person conducting the test would turn around, he would do something she would have benefitted from seeing him do.

The results came in and of course as we expected, he was on the spectrum. We were offered a choice from two provincially funded programs.  We could do either ABA(What is ABA?) or Floortime. However we were lead to believe that ABA was ONLY for families with a stay at home parents. We more or less mislead into the Floortime program.

Honestly for us Floor Time was a waste of time. I was getting frustrated as it was producing NO results. Every time we would finish up the session they would tell me I was doing great. I would ask what more I could do and all they would say is “Keep doing what you are doing.” or “I wish we could record you for other parents to watch and learn.”

Well I don’t know about you, but to me what they were asking me to do was insanity. They were asking me to do the same thing over and over and expect different results. I was frustrated to say the least.

Around this time I had started seeing dating a new guy. One day he called me at work after reading an article about a family who moved across the country to participate in the local ABA program. I told him I knew all about it, but it was for families with a stay at home parent. That’s when he stopped me and said

“Monique, these parents were both busy doctors.”

WHAT?!?!? So I got right off the phone with him and called St.Amant. They assured us they could work with Wes right in his daycare and I’d only have to miss work once every two weeks. We got the ball rolling and wow. Just WOW.

I’m not going to lie, we hit some bumps. One being our first tutor who was good at first, stopped took a turn for the worse. She fell asleep on a public bus during a fieldtrip with Wesley’s daycare while she was suppose to be supervising him.

Then the next day feel asleep at a public park while she was in charge. When I found out about this I demanded she never come near my son again as she was neglecting him and putting his life in danger. I don’t think I have to go into detail about what could have happened to him

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Now Wesley has a wonderful tutor who teaches him so much! She’s really an angel to us.

When Wesley was 5months old I became a single mom. Things just did not work out between me and his dad. When Wes was a week shy of turning 3 I met my current boyfriend. Who in his own unorthodox ways teaches Wesley so much. As soon as I learned to step back and allow him to get involved he helped teach Wesley boundaries and respect. He helps me every day, I don’t know what I would do without him.

Now Wesley where is he today. WOW he is doing AMAZING. He can sign 100s of words, but is depending mostly on his speech. He’s still uses short sentences, but is improving everyday. He can spell his name, count to 25, read 50 words(just started learning a few weeks ago and is just soaking this stuff up), knows his alphabet and what sound each letter makes. He plays with his peers, loves trains, cars, puzzles and Franklin.

I have ABA to thank, and also a modified Doman Technique, Your Baby Can Read and The Letter Factory.

I hope to come here and update regularly about Wesley progress and any new programs were trying.

Mother and son hugging by waterfall