Raising An Avid Reader… Failure?

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Reading some National Geographic fact books we found at the thrift store.

So I love to read. I don’t read as much fiction as I did before I had Z, but I still make time to read non-fiction. I especially love reading to my kids. Its an excuse to read more of the old classic series I use to read as a child. I feel being a parent is the perfect excuse to keep reading all the awesome series designed for children, without anyone batting an eyelash. I’m also the person who left the movie theater in an uproar after each Harry Potter movie.

My 10 year old on the other hand, he’s not an avid reader. He would much rather watch the movie and skip the book. This drives me BONKERS! I just can’t wrap my mind around this one. I refuse to watch the movie, “The Time Traveler’s Wife” because I know it will ruin the warm fuzzy feelings I have about the book. That is what happened when I watch the movie “Where the Heart Is”. How can he not like cuddling up with a book and getting lost in another world.

Where did I go wrong? When I was a kid my personal library was on the thin side. I mean I know that in retrospect, it wasn’t thin in the eyes of a lot of people. But for a little book worm, it was not enough to feed my hunger. We were living on a single income and my mom did buy me the books that were on sale in the scholastic flyers, but a lot of the time they were not to my taste.  I did what I could to get my hands on books, I reread books, saved allowance money, borrowed from friends and the library. Now the problem came when summer came around. We lived in a small town, and the only libraries I had access to were in the schools. That meant they were shut down during summer. I’m embarrassed to admit, I even went as far to steal books during the year from the library to have things to read. Sometimes I returned them… sometimes I didn’t *blush*. (Note to self, make a donation to my old high school library.) I later discovered that I could order books from a mail service library. I’m telling you, back then this BLEW MY MIND. The first thing I did when I moved to the city was get a library card.

So as a mother, who when as far as stealing books to read, how come my child, who has a library I would have KILLED for couldn’t care less to pick up a book.

Well that was until I realized I hadn’t found the right materials yet to bait him. Also his reading comprehension issues affected things too.

Looking back there are a few mistakes I made with Wes which I think may have stunted his love for reading. I’m trying my best to not make the same mistakes with Little Z. (… anyone else feel bad for their first child. I often feel like he was my practice child. I made my mistakes with him and try to avoid them with Z. Especially when my boys are almost 7 years apart. *sigh*)

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I put some books that I needed to sort through in a playpen to keep them away from my daycare babies. Little Z climbed into it to check them out.

 

I didn’t start reading to him soon enough. I mean I read to him, but I would get discouraged when I didn’t think he was into the books, or really listening. I should have keep on reading. With Z I have made storytime part of our routine, just like brushing our teeth.

I focused on LEARNING to read, instead of learning to LOVE to read with Wes. Now with Z, I’m teaching him how to read, but also constantly reading to him without expecting him to read anything.

So is Wes a lost cause?

I’m happy to say he’s not! Last week Wes and I went to run some errands, on our way to pick up Z from a friends, Wes was in the back reading an Archie comic. I had bought it at a thrift store months before, and it was sitting in the back of the van all this time. When we pulled up infront of my friend’s house, I asked him, “Would you like to come in or keep reading your book?” I assumed I knew the answer, but he shocked me when he replied without lifting his nose out of the book, “I’ll wait here and keep reading.” It’s worth noting he LOVES my friend, and she also has a son his age that he loves too.

When I got back in the car I asked him if he really liked these comics. He told me he did. So I suggested he call Papa(my dad) and ask him if he could borrow some Archie comics from him. I told him I think he has a collection. I knew darn well my whole Archie collection was collecting dust in their basement. He called and Papa said he had “a few” he could have.

Back when I was a little girl, my Memere (French for Grandma) had this sweet old lady named Irene as a neighbour. They lived in the foyer in our home town. One day she stopped in when my brother and I were visiting. She was shocked to see us nicely putting away our colouring books and crayons where they belonged, and the toys my Memere had for us to play with were all in working order. She told my Memere that her grandchildren were awful with toys. She would buy them a doll and the next time she went over, it would be naked and missing limbs on the floor. From then on, whenever she when on vacation, instead of bringing back her grandchildren souvenirs she would drop stuff off at our home for my brother and I. One day she called my mom and asked her if we would like to have her Archie comic collection. My mom knew I would be over the moon. Little did we know her collection consisted of HUNDREDS of comics. The nerd in me was in my glory. I sorted them by series and issue numbers and read them all.

Sadly when I was 10 Irene passed away. Since this post seems to be getting personal, I may as well share. I remember the morning she passed, I woke up and all I could smell was cigarette smoke. No one in my home smoked and my window was closed. As I got out of bed, our home phone rang. It was my Memere, Irene had passed away. Irene was a heavy smoker. In my heart, I feel like she was coming to say good-bye. I still tear up thinking about that day.

But 20 years later she lives on in my heart, and her generous gift is blessing my now 10 year old son.

At the beginning of the year, I made a bucket list. I have to go back and check, but I do know that one of the items was for Wes and I to read 12 chapter books. We kind of snuffed off on that, we are sitting at 6 I believe, might be 7 as I think I forgot to write down a Geronimo Stilton book we read. We have still been reading, but just not chapter books.

But it’s not too late! I think we can make our goal in the next 6-7 weeks. We just finished “My Big Fat Zombie Goldfish” this week. I suggested to him we start “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory” by Roald Dahl, because my 9 year old step daughter is reading it for fun. She is an avid reader, with reading skills I would have killed for at her age. I thought maybe they might land up chatting about it. But he wanted to read “George’s Marvellous Medicine” by the same author. “Then we can read “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Mom.” he said. His old teacher read it to the class, and he wanted to read it with me. I haven’t read this Roald Dahl book before so I agreed.

So do I think he will become this avid reader who can’t get enough books to read? Honestly, no. But I think he likes the time we read together, and will remember that when he’s older. I also think he will be a good reader, just not someone who will always have a book with them. And that is ok. I could have done everything right with him in regards to reading and he might still not be an avid reader. But he is an amazing mathematician and builder. These are his strengths and I’m proud of him.

Happy 10th Birthday Wes!

20150609_141946000_iOS I can’t believe I’m writing this entry already. My son turned 10 years old today. When I first started this blog, he was 5 years old.

Over the years we have been through so much with him. But he has grown into the most amazing little man. He is just so sweet and kind. Today I felt really guilty. My allergies have gone haywire because of the smoke from the forest fires in Saskatchewan blowing into Manitoba. I wanted to make his an awesome cake, but I just couldn’t muster the energy. Honestly, he almost got a store bought cake. So when he came home from school today, there was a slab cake waiting with just plain chocolate icing. Pretty boring if you ask me.

Me: I’m sorry I wasn’t able to make you a pretty cake like I wanted to Wes.

Wes: Thats ok Mom, this cake is pretty too.

Heart melts. Honestly this cake was far from pretty, but to him, he didn’t care. He just knew I made it with love.

20150609_222006580_iOSWe had my parents and brother over for dinner today, open presents and ate cake.20150609_223045711_iOS He got a scooter,  full size skateboard and a mini skateboard. He spent a good chunk of time outside messing around on them. I wish I could have gone out and played with him, but the smoke still bothers me. Luckily he had the company of my dad and brother.

On top of the Lego sets he got(which will come in handy this summer when he’s not in camp and looking for something to do.) He also got some Jet items. This year he has become a huge Winnipeg Jets fan. I wish tickets were not so expensive. I’d love to take him to a game one time.

Happy Birthday Little Man! I can’t believe we have some so far in our journey together.


This evening I heard some pretty sad news. A woman that makes my boys birthday t shirts 3 month old was diagnosed with cancer. It is so heartbreaking. There is something very terribly wrong with this world when little babies are getting cancer. What are we doing to ourselves and our children?? Cancer, autism, autoimmune diseases.

I sent the boys to bed tonight, and I sat down in my room with my diffuser blowing. Then something said I should go read with Wes. I mean yes its past bedtime, but I should go read with him anyhow. All this cancer talk has made we realize I should hug my kids a little bit tighter. So I went in and he wasn’t sleeping yet. So we read a chapter of Zombie Goldfish.

Savouring moments that are usually taken for granted.

What Is Early Learning To Me?

Early Learning is a topic that everyone seems to have a different option.

What is Early Learning?

All kids start learning at a very early age. Even before they are born, fetuses are learning the sound of their mother’s voice. Infants start learning their native tongue. Toddlers learn how to walk, talk, etc.

Well yes all that is learning, I don’t consider that “Early Learning” though.

To me Early Learning is a parent creating an environment for a child to learn something that is not typically taught at that age.

While no one will bat an eyelash at the thought of teaching a little one there ABCs or to count to 10. As soon as your start teaching your little one letter sounds, sight words, days of the week, addition, etc, you MUST be pressuring them.

Early Learning is not hot housing little babies. Its not strapping them down and drilling math problems. Those types of techniques would not work on a baby or a toddler.

But when you present information to a child in a fun, gentle, calm way, your child will WANT to learn. When I do flashcards with my child or for us we use Learning Binders Little Z gets so excited. While we were with the NACD, they did not want us doing this program, so I put the binders away. Well one day I found that he broke into my room and found them in the closet and was using them himself. So trust me this is a gentle process.

What does Early Learning Look Like?

Early Learning when it comes to reading might be a mom sitting down with her child at 6 months following the flashcard program designed in Glenn Doman’s How to Teach your Baby to Read book.

Early Learning For Toddlers

Wesley GraduationTo another family Early Learning Reading might look like it did for Wes and I when he was two. In the morning I would play Your Baby Can Read(YBCR) DVDs while he ate his breakfast. Then I would buckle him in the car to go to daycare and flash through a few index cards with words handwritten on them. We would arrive at daycare and we would go through them again. He would get dropped off at daycare and I would go to work. In the evening he would watch another video of YBCR. Then after supper and playtime, it would be bath and bed. We would read a book or two together, flash though some flashcards and off to bed he went. When he was three we finished the YBCR DVDs and started using BrillKids Little Reader(2 sessions) before bed.

 

Early Learning For Babies

SAM_0965To another family Early Learning Reading might look like what happened with Z. He was a second child to an Early Learning family. We started some of Glenn Doman’s “How Smart is Your Baby program early on. We also started him on Sparkabilities DVD’s at a week old. Then when he was 3 months old we started  BK Little Reader. It took me a little longer then I would have liked to start him on the other BrillKids programs because my laptop broke and took me a few months to replace, But during that time I was so grateful to have the iPad. When he was 12 months we started doing apps like Hooked On Phonics and Teach Me among others.

I think that the environment is the key. I think at the end of the day to be considered an Early Learning parent, your child must be in the early learning window of 0-5 years old. These parents go beyond the usual ABC’s and 123’s.

What is Early Learning to your family?

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 Update for Little Z- Second Quarter in the Program

NACD Update for Little Z- Second Quarter in the Program

Well I can’t believe it’s taken me this long to write about our March NACD evaluation! Yikes!

The NACD is an organization that will help parents create a program plan to implement with their children to help them be the best they can be. These programs can be for children with disabilities, who are gifted, who are average, as well these programs can even be created for adults.

If you have read about what we were doing with Little Z before, you can check out our First Quarter NACD Programs Here.

Before the actually evaluation I had to do a reading test on Little Z, nothing fancy. So I gave them the test back an our evaluator marked it. Little Z’s reading recognition is at a Grade 2.8 level. Now we can’t test reading comprehension just yet, but this was pretty exciting for us.

Zakari:
– Continue the Listening Program
– Continue Targeted Sound Intervention
– Continue Encyclopedia Program
– Start Memory 4 U app x2

– Read books x2: For this program I have been using a mix of Farfaria, as well as regular picture books. 

– Continue Language Play: I don’t know why this program is difficult for me. If you ask my childhood friends, they will tell you I was queen of make believe play. But in my “old age” I guess I’m having trouble going back to that state of mind. 

– Start Experience books (Using Picello): This program I am creating books using pictures to tell a story. Right now we are working on a book about going to visit a family friend. 

– Language Related Photo flashcards (Using Picello)x3: This program we are teaching Little Z what to say for different situations. For example I have a photo of him in a high chair, so we would prompt him to say “I am hungry.”

– Functional Directions x20: Basically I have to give Z 20 directions, “put this in the laundry basket, could you put this in the sink, go to the bathroom for bathtime, etc”.


– COntinue Spontaneous Scripts x20. I talked about this before, but using a whiteboard I’m suppose to write things that Little Z might think. 


– 1 step directions x10: This is a bit different than Functional Directions. Here I have to ask him to do things that are not really functional, but still useful. Like point to the horse in the picture. Or touch your nose. Etc.

– Stairs x5: We are back to working on climbing stairs. This is to help build the muscles in his thighs.


– Mouth Stimulation x4: And we are still using one of those Nuby Rubbery ToothBrushes. This is to help desensitize his need to put things in his mouth. It really does seem to be helping.


 We have had to make a super hard decision, and on the first of May I gave our 30 days notice to go into vacation mode with the NACD. RIght now we are working so closely with the herbalist/energy work, that money wise I cannot swing running both programs. Don’t you wish there was an endless supply of money to help your kids out. Sadly I have to make sure my kids are health physically, otherwise I am basically wasting money in the other areas.

But stay tuned because I finally have gotten out of my little funk I was in and have created a schedule for Z that combined what we learned with the NACD, plus sneaking in some other programs I feel are important.

Hot Housing Toddlers to Read?? Little Miss: a father, a daughter and rocket science (Book Review & Giveaway)

Toddlers that can read…

That statements holds a lot of stigma.

If you have taught your toddler to read, you must have pressured them with hours and hours of lessons and drills. Right?

Wrong!!

Nathan Meikle shared the journey of how his daughter learned how to read at the age of two in his book Little Miss: a father, his daughter & rocket science.

This book shares day by day accounts of not only how he got his child interested in learning how to read, and how he taught her. But also all the conversations about he had with his wife through the process, as well as his own doubts.

Overall I thought this was a very well written book. I couldn’t put it down and read it in a day. Even though it didn’t add to what I personally knew on teaching young children to read, (I only say this because I’m 7 or 8 years into this life style of parentings, first with Wes and then Little Z) I couldn’t help but think…

Imagine! This book on the book shelves at the local bookstore in the parenting section. A mother to be comes in looking for a book on how to parent her baby, what to expect the first year, etc. She stumbles upon it and reads the back, “Interesting…” she thinks and adds it to the pile to buy.

What I’m saying is I believe this book could be the gateway to early education. Parents read it and then start researching. Next thing you know they are on the BrillKids site, reading about Glenn Doman, Your Baby Can Read, etc. What an amazing gift these parents will be offering their children!

Ok! Ok Monique. So this little girl could read when she was 2. What good is that if she is just going to burn out? Well I’m happy to say she hasn’t burned out. She loves to read. Kyla is 5 though she hasn’t started kindergarten. She still LOVES to read, as long as her parents find the right books for her. Nathan told me that just a few days ago she picked out two different 60 page book and read them to herself. The other day she also typed out one of her favorite picture books–took her about 2 hours. He is guessing she’s at a 4th grade reading level. She even corrects him when they are reading together and his skips a word or mispronounces something.

They are also doing the same thing they did with their 2.5 year old son Bennett, only difference is they started a bit earlier than they did with Kyla.

It has been much harder with him because Kyla gets bored while listening to us try to teach Bennett to read. She often helps, we try to include her as much as we can, but inevitably, she is not happy when the YBCR DVD’s are on because she wants to watch something else. Bennett has always been a little behind where Kyla was in terms of language progressions, but he has memorized a handful of words from YBCR and knows all his letters and the sounds (he’s 2.5). There plan is to do memorization for another few months and then get started on phonics. Though the process is going slower with Bennett, the bright side is that both Kyla and Bennett are learning patience (hopefully) because at every mealtime we alternate books (e.g., Kyla chooses one, and then Bennett chooses one). In sum, the process is much easier with just one child, but it is also fun (though challenging) to teach Bennett to read as a family. Kyla will hopefully remember the days of teaching her little brother to read.

So now the fun part!! I have 2 copies of this book to giveaway. If you would like to win a copy check out the Rafflecopter below.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

This review is my honest opinion. I received a copy of the book to read and review, but otherwise was not compensated.

 

10 Steps/Tip to Jump Start Your Child’s Early Education.

So you want to teach your child to read, count, etc. Here are 10 tips to help you on your way.

1) Read Glenn Doman’s books “How To Teach Your Baby to Read” and “How to Multiply Your Baby’s Intelligence.”

Glenn Doman has several books out there and feel free to read all of them. However I found they could be very repetitive. So if you’re a busy parent who doesn’t have too much extra time, I feel you will get the most bang for your buck with these two.

How to Teach Your Baby To Read, will give you different steps on how to teach your little one to read. Reading is the most important program to work on in my opinion, because if a child can read, the can teach themselves where else they want to learn.

2) Join the BrillKids forum.

Sometimes it can be lonely when you’re trying to teach your young child and the people around you are not very supportive. You start hearing things like, “Let them just be a kid!” “Stop pressuring them…” Then you start to doubt yourself. Visit my post for the 4 Reasons WHY You Should Teach Your Baby To Read, then go join the BrillKids forum and start connecting with like minded parents.

3) Read Little Miss: a father, his daughter & rocket science. Nathan Meikle, has documented his journey teaching his daughter how to read. It is awesome to read a first hand account of what they did and how his daughter reacted.

4) Don’t try and do everything at once. Pick one or two things you want to teach your child and start working on them. Remember 10-15mins a day is better than not doing it at all.

Start with one program and do it at a set time. I find mealtimes are a good time for lessons. Especially Breakfast and Lunch. Also bedtime is another good time to sneak in a lesson.

As tempting as it is to start all sorts of great program at once, contain yourself! You will burn out and your child with feel bombarded. Start by adding things one or two at a time. Allow your child to get use to them and allow them to become part of your routine before you add another thing. This way you can watch to see how your child reacts to that one program to make sure its the right one for your child.

read for 20 mins a day

This chart keeps reminding me why reading to my children is so important.

5) Children learn to be readers in the laps of their parents. Spend a few mins a day reading with your child.

Look up reading list online and put a bunch of books on hold at your local library. Hit up the local thrift store and garage sales to find affordable new books for your child and you to read together.

Make sure you are not just teaching them how to read words, but spending time enjoying books together. If your child learns that reading is a fun thing to do, they will want you to teach them how to read.

You can also find fun age appropriate books on topics you might be working on. Like counting, shapes, manners, etc.

6) Utilize smartphone apps and/or tablets.

Now while I don’t think that tablets will replace books anytime soon, using apps to help teach a concept is super motivating for most children and super easy for a parent to use. Check out my post: Teaching My Toddler: What Apps Are We Using.

7)Youtube is full of good quality materials. Plus its FREE.

8) Utilize otherwise wasted time during the day to learn.

Educational songs in the car.

Read in the car while waiting for daycare to open.

So a quick 1 min round of flashcards at diaper changes, in and out of the carseat, etc…

Counting how many cheerios on their plate.

9) Start early

It is never too early to read to your baby, sing them the ABC songs, and talk to them about everything. Check out my post: Can I Teach My Newborn, Infant or Toddler Basic Kindergarten Skills? YES YOU CAN!

10) Avoid spending too much time planning. Spend that time with your child learning.

Its easy to get caught up researching, preparing and creating beautiful materials for your child to learn with. But if that is going to eat up your time, or you never finish it, or your child uses it for a day or two and masters it, is that time really well spent? Your child doesn’t care if the edges are cut perfect on your flashcards, or if they are on the back of old cereal boxes, special pretty paper. So don’t waste time or money on that.

 

What tips do you think are helpful that I may have missed?

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

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.

Please Subscribe to my Youtube Channel and help get the word out to parents how have children with Autism

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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