IAHP Visit – Traveling Day – Friday


IAHP Visit - Traveling Day - Friday

IAHP Visit – Traveling Day – Friday

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

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

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

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

Waiting to check our bag.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Mr Z’s first time on an airplane.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Our Adventures have just begun after our first Traveling Day.

 

Bed! After a long day traveling.

IAHP VS NACD – Autism Treatment Options

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

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

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

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

The National Association for Child Development

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Institutes for the Achievement of Human Potential – IAHP

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

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

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

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

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

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

Notes and charts from the IAHP course

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Conclusion

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

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

 

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

Prepping for the NACD

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

NACD Early Learning at 32 Months Old

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

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

Little Z update. Starting IAHP

UPDATE BEFORE LEAVING FOR THE IAHP

Day 1&2 Of My Trip To The IAHP

Monday- IAHP What To Do About Your Brain Injured Child

IAHP Nutritional Update

 

Benefits of Montessori for ASD Kids by John Bowman

Benefits of Montessori for ASD Kids

 

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

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

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

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

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

Concentration & Repetition

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

Sensory Integration

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

Positive Self-Image

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

Motor Skills

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

Independence

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

Reading, Writing, Math, and Science

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

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

 

John Bowman is the author of:

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

Teach Your 3-7 Year Old Math

Teach Your Preschooler to Read & Write

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.

Book Review: He’s Not Autistic, But… by Tenna Merchent

Hes not autisticHe’s Not Autistic But…: How We Pulled Our Son From the Mouth of the Abyss

I love reading autobiographies mom’s have written about raising a child with autism, and succeeding. Even though these books are not designed as a step by step guide, a lot of these books have forced me to step back and consider new options.

Tenna’s son Clay was a very sick little boy. But that actually was not that surprising, seeing as she herself was also very ill. One thing I find fascinating that you see in this book, a mother herself can be very sick, however its not until her child falls ill that she is going to stop at nothing to help her child.

I can relate a lot with Tenna’s story. The heartbreak when the doctors you have trusted cannot help your child. If you were like me, you were raise believing doctors have all the answers when it comes to your health. Get your shots and don’t ask any questions. Take your pills, the doctors know best.

What happens when there are no answers, or when your doctor doesn’t think there is a problem? But you know in your heart there is.

Clay was not developing as he should have been, and while his doctor said he is not autistic, he was considered high risk to be autism. Hence the title of their book “He’s Not Autistic, But…”.

Between dealing with headbanging, allergies, yeast, chronic illness, and aluminum poor Clay was dealing with a lot.

One thing I really liked about this book is the chapter on Tenna’s infertility and difficulties during pregnancy(preeclampsia). While I did not suffer from infertility, I did suffer from preeclampsia. This puts a new perspective on the situation. As important for us to figure out how to help our kids with Autism, its equally important to figure out whats going on with our babies prenatally and try and prevent autism before birth. Interestingly enough there are now some studies suggesting that moms of children with autism were more than 2 times likely to have has suffered from preeclampsia. (Read Here)

The author, take the reader through step by step of what she did. What therapies she tried, her theories and what worked and what did not work for Clay. I think as a reader this insight is just pure gold. I know that it opened my eyes to different possibilities and because of her suggestions I explored other avenues with my boys. Its also worth noting, if you do read this book and read about one of the therapies that may not have yield the best results for Clay, but you feel strongly about it, still look into it. Some therapies work for one child and not another.

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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NACD Early Learning at 32 Months Old

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.

TSI and TLP

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.

 

Overall I’m very happy with the support I have received from the NACD. I love that they are tailored to your child. If you were to have your child assessed they would have a completely different program then my son.

We are noticing changes slowly, and in all honestly we haven’t been running the programs full force due to the holidays and not having all the materials. So here is to our first week, giving it all we got!

8 Things To Do After Your Child has been Diagnosed With Autism. Autism Vlog #2

autismSo its happened, you just got back from the doctor and the news wasn’t good. They have told you your child has Autism.

The new A-word.

I remember hearing these words and just feeling hollow inside. Sitting in my car and crying, because I felt so alone and helpless.

But you are NOT helpless. There are several things you can do to give your child a fighting chance.

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1) First Put Your Mask on First and Process What is Happening:

This is a hard pill to swallow. You might be feeling guilt, but don’t be. No one knows what causes Autism for sure. Personally I feel the reason they can’t figure it out is because there are more than one smoking gun. Whether its food, environment, vaccines, the list goes on of possible suspects.

Find someone to talk to. Sadly with Autism becoming more and more common, its kind of like cancer, some one knows someone who has a child with it. I also found online forums and facebook groups helpful.

2) Find Out What Services are Available Locally and Get on the Waitlist.

Talk to your doctor or public health nurse. Find out what services your province, state, school division, etc provides. Then get on their waitlist. The list are usually long, so its better to be on them as early as possible.

3) Find Out What Types of Tax Credits and Benefits You Qualify for.

Call your accountant and find out what kind of tax credits or benefits your family is entitled to. Also ask about back pay. Autism is considered a condition that is there at birth, you should be able to do some adjustments to your taxes and get some back pay. This extra money will come in handy to pay for therapies not covered by the government or your insurance plan.

4) Hit Your Local Library, or Amazon and Get Books on Autism.

Education is power. You’re not going to agree with every book you read. But I found the more I read about Autism the more I learned. Even the autobiographies, they would talk about their experience with different therapies and I was able to look them up on google and find more help.

5) Get a DAN! Doctor or Naturopath that has Experienced with Child with Autism.

While your child’s medical doctor is good for broken bones, and stuff like that, they are not always the best source when it comes to autism.

DAN!(Defeat Autism NOW!) practitioners are specially trained to deal with autism. They understand that other ailments your child may be experience are usually correlated. Even an experience Naturopath can offer gentle alternatives to help your child.

6) Educate Yourself on How Your Child’s Diet is Affecting Their Behavior.

Food affects people more than they think. Look into what might be affecting your child. For some kids gluten give them the feeling of being on opium, other kids its food colorings. Research and talk to your DAN! or Naturopath.

7) Look For a NAET Practitioner

NAET(Nambudripad’s Allergy Elimination Techniques) is a acupressure(no needles so don’t worry) therapy that helps reboot the body and to have it stop reacting poorly to certain allergens.

For example my son was terribly allergic to milk and gluten. 2 months working with our NAET practitioner, he can now eat both of them without any issue.

8) Learn about Early Learning.

Join the BrillKids Forum and look into there program Little Reader. Both my boys learned how to read using this program and it also helps expand vocabulary and labeling skills. Things some autistic children struggle with.

You can read more about these programs HERE. If you land up deciding this program is a fit for your child here is a coupon code for 10% off your order BKAFF21929.

 

What other tips do you have that I may have missed?

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