LeapFrog Letter Factory Leaping Letters Review

LeapFrog Letter Factory Leaping Letters ReviewLeapfrog leaping letters review

LeapFrog Letter Factory Leaping Letters Review

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

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

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

playing LeapFrog Letter Factory Leaping Letters

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

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

Check out my Youtube video review:

What are your thoughts on the LeapFrog Letter Factory Leaping Letters?

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

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Stigma of Early Learning

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Why is this important? Why am I being selfish?

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

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

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Thursday- What To Do About Your Brain Injured Child

This was the day I was looking forward to! Yes all the information had been so helpful, but today we were learning about the Intellectual and Physiological programs! I had been able to get my boys reading, but I was never able to take them to the next level. Or so I thought.

Before I get too much into my day, if you are interested in teaching your child to read at an early age, get the book “How to Teach Your Baby to Read”. This book is available at most libraries, however if you can get your own personal copy, I would strongly recommend it. This book is how I was introduced to the Glenn Doman method of parenting. This book helped me realize how intelligent kids really are.

Back in 2007 a few months before Wesley’s second birthday I was sitting in an empty dental office bored stiff. Everyone in the office was gone on a business trip to Brandon for a convention. I however had made up an excuse that I could not make it because I did not have child care. I’m sure my parents would have watched Wesley, but I had gone on a business trip that past September, and while I was gone Wes took his first steps. I decided that I did not want to be away that long again. I few months later I got a job at a different office that didn’t require travel. So because I was staying back, I stayed in the office and answered phones or took payments when patients came in to square off their bills. Honestly it was boring as watching paint dry. So I started messing around on google. I’m not sure what search words I used but I’m sure it was something along the lines of “how to raise smart kids” or maybe “how to make your baby a genius”. I don’t know what my 21 year old mind was looking for, but it struck gold.

The book How To Teach You Baby to Read  popped up. I snooped around the IHAP website. I was hooked. I picked up the phone and called the local book store. The guy on the other line snickered when told him the title of the book I was looking for, and we were both surprised when he found the store did have a copy. After work that day I hurried to the store and picked up the book, and well the rest is history….

Flash forward about 9 years later, here I was in the Valentine auditorium learning how to teach my boys to read from the co writer of the book Janet Doman. Honestly watching the videos on Youtube and then being in the room, you can see the presentations are very scripted. However of course they are! Each Instructor needs to make sure they are not missing any information. Here is a clip of the reading program presentation. This is only 2:18 mins, we sat and learned about reading from 9:30am till 3pm.

We spent the day learning about:

  • The Why and How to teach your child to read.
  •  What a Beginning, Intermediate and Advance Reading Program looks like
  • Reading Program Vocabulary Suggestions, based on their auditory level
  • Using a Choice Board
  • Water and Liquid Balance
  • Nutrition Program
  • How to Feed Your Child
  • How to Create a Healthy Home
  • The Masking Program
  • Sensory Stimulation Program (Visual, Auditory, and Tactile)

I had an “Ah-Ha!” moment. That was when I realized that my oldest son Wesley was speed reading. I burst out crying in the middle of the auditorium when I realized this. I thought I had failed him, but I hadn’t. He was speed reading, he just couldn’t explain to me what he was reading, but he understood it. I called him that night and talked to him and he was able to tell me he just looks at a page and scans it, and knows what it says.

That night I sat in my rental car eating my dinner with my mind racing a million miles an hour. I felt like I had all I needed. I wanted to get on a plane and go home to my kids. But we had one more day. As much as I felt I had everything I needed, I was soon going to find out that Friday was also a very important day.

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Wednesday- What To Do About Your Brain Injured Child course

What we learned about on Wednesday:

  • What the IAHP has learned so far
  • What the IAHP does
  • More about Diagnosis
  • Introduction to the Institutes for the Achievement of Physical Excellence
  • Patterning Whys and Hows
  • Patterning Demonstration
  • Mobility Demonstration and Opportunity to try crawling and creeping.
  • The Floor as the Way of Life
  • The Primary Human Development Program

We spent a lot of time looking at brain development and growth. How the world looks at the brain as something unchangeable. If its damaged, its damaged and there is nothing that can be done. You are hopeless.

We learned about how the brain is always changing. Brain development can be stopped, it can be slowed down, and best of all it can be sped up. We also talked about how this process works.

I’m excited to say I have meet one of the IAHP Star of the Week in September. The video above is shared from the IAHP Facebook page and this was part of our Physical Program presentation. Maria was such a trooper showing us how she does her programs.

We also had two students from the International School come and demonstrate creeping and crawling. They also lead the groups when it was our turn to get down on the ground and creep and crawl too.

When it was time to learn about patterning, 3 patterning tables were set up at the front of the auditorium, and three children volunteered to allow us to pattern them.

Douglas Doman also spent some time explaining why W sitting, or as they refer to is as “the god awful position” is bad for children. My boys rarely sit like that, but now the rare time they do, you can bet your lucky stars I’m on them ASAP to correct their position

My kids are very physical and active. Even though both of them were late crawlers and walkers. So I wish I had known about a lot of this information when they were younger, it was no longer relevant to us. However, I can now see that even at this stage patterning would likely be beneficial for both of them. Right now that is not in the cards for us. However, I can see us investigating this further in the future.

We were taught about the Primary Human Development Program. I had purchased the PDF of this program a while back and thought I wouldn’t learn much from this part of the course. However I was greatly surprised that this lecture cleared up what I knew and has given me more tools in how to run this program in my home.

Things like:

  • excellent neurological environments vs devices and environments that inhibit or prevent neurological development were discussed.
  • Inclined floor techniques to help non-crawlers become crawlers
  • The anti-roll device to stop kids who have decided that rolling is a quicker means of transportation from rolling. Then they have to crawl and creep to get to where they want to go. While rolling is an effective method to move from place to place, it is a developmental dead end. Whereas crawling leads to creeping, creeping leads to walking, and walking leads to running.
  • The anti-sit device to prevent the child from sitting in the “W” position.
  • How to keep records and graphs of your Primary Development Program

The Reassessment of the SIDS Back to Sleep Campaign was also talked about. If you would like the read the reassessment that we were given you can see it HERE. However my understanding is that this was a huge human experiment, and from this paper it seems the risk of a baby sleeping on their back might out weigh the risks of SIDS. Since this campaign more children are requiring helmets to correct the flat spots that happen when small children lay on the back of their soft skull for too long. Also developmental delays from missed opportunities from lifting there head and being able to use those random movements all babies make to move around.  There was also talk about sleep disturbances while the child slept on their back. This makes a lot of sense to me! I use to swaddle my babies because their random movements while on there back did nothing but startle them awake. Now had they been on their tummies those movements would have lead them to move around their bed instead, and they would have been less likely to startle awake.

Overall this was a very informative day. I went back to my room that night at the host home and did my homework. That being said, my boys are very active, running, jumping and tumbling. I still walked away with a lot of great information. That being said I know several of my classmates with wheelchair bound children benefitted even more to this days information.

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Glenn Doman Inspired McGuffey’s Primer Books// Free Printables!

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So I’ve always been the type of home educator who likes a solid structured program in order to teach reading to my kids. That being said Little Z is doing so fantastic following the Glenn Doman method that was laid out to me in the book “How to Teach Your Baby to Read”, as well as the lectures I went to in Philadelphia at the What To Do About Your Brain Injured Child course.

So now looking at the traditional programs that I have from the past like, Hooked on Phonics or Pathway to Phonics, they seem very redundant and easy. It almost seems like an insult to him to use these programs.

But there was another set of books that have been used for a long time called the McGuffey readers. These books have been around since 1836. So I decided that I was going to take these books and seeing that there available online, copy and paste them into my Google Drive account, and then blow up the font to a 72 in bold. Then I could print out individual lessons and present them in a way that still honours the teachings of Glenn Doman.

Well if the Glenn Doman method is working so well for Little Z, why would I need to add another program?

I don’t NEED another method. I guess it’s not to say that the Glenn Doman method is not working for a little Z, because it is. I just don’t like to put all my eggs in one basket so to speak. Here is a way I can create Glenn Doman/IAHP style materials, and include literature that was used to teach kids back in the 1800’s to the 1960’s. Back when the standards for what vocabulary our children should be exposed to was much higher. So the main reason why I figured I would include the McGuffey readers is for the rich vocabulary. They also work at a pace that is appropriate for a little Z. The lessons are short and quick at first, working their way up in difficulty .

That being said I will not be using lessons 1 through 10 and the primer book. That is because they are too easy and boring. They reminded me a lot of why I don’t want to use Hooked on Phonics. However after that the lessons start to include more words and more of an actual storyline.

So far I have adapted the entire primary book into Google doc files that can easily be printed and put into page protectors and then into duotangs or binders. They are not fancy, I am no Pinterest queen. What they are is functional. Anyone could have done this and it did not take me that long. However I figured I would share it with people because it is much easier to press print then it is to copy, paste, adjust the font size, fit to page and then press print. The McGuffey readers do not fall under typical copyright laws as they are over 100 years old. That is what I am able to share these files.

For those of you who are following the Glenn Doman Method, these printouts would count as homemade books. So once your child is ready for homemade books you can start working these printouts into the mix.

McGuffey’s Lessons 1-10 I know I said I will not be using these, however I added them here incase someone needs to start at Lesson 1. Everyone is different, and some kids might enjoy starting here. That’s fine. That being said, watch your child, if they seem bored, skip these. Really everyone should just skip this step, especially if you are doing single words and couplets with your little one.

McGuffey’s Lessons 11-20

McGuffey’s Lessons 21-30

McGuffey’s Lessons 31-40

McGuffey’s Lessons 41-52

If you found these helpful please let me know. I will be updating and adding more files of any of the other readers land up using.

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Halloween 2016

img_4379So, I have to admit that Halloween was a little less exciting for me this year. Usually, it’s my favourite holiday of the year. I love all things, scary, creepy and eerie. But this year I guess I was preoccupied with Z’s diet.

Right now we have started following some recommendations from the IAHP: What To Do About About Your Brain Injured Child course. So far we have limited or eliminated gluten, yeast and processed foods from Little Z’s diet. We are currently under the care of a naturopathic doctor and supplementing his diet with vitamins and other minerals.

Part of me wanted to let him have a cheat day. But I know that is a slippery slope. What will be the next even that we can cheat on his diet? Then we all know, we will take it less and less seriously and next thing you know we are back to our old eating habits.

Going back to our old ways is the last thing I want to do. We have noticed so many changes in Little Z for the good. Who in their right mind would want to undo all that good.

In the past when Wes was gluten and dairy free, I wasn’t as concerned about sugar and preservatives as I should have been. So I was always able to find things in his bag that were “safe” for him to eat. So on actually Halloween day I shared this video with the people on my IAHP parents Facebook group.

I just felt heartbroken that my 4 year old would not be able to participate in what I feel is a right of passage for kids. I received a few comments and some private messages. The one that really helped me was from someone who was on the Institutes program. She told me that she never felt deprived at Halloween. She went out with all her friends and when she came home, her mom would buy her candy off her. She would then get something she really wanted. Hearing that she still enjoyed Halloween and never felt deprived, helped calm my nerves.

img_4392In the end we decided to send Wesley to go start trick-or-treating with his friend(who’s mom happens to be my best friend) and we took Z down the block. I held his candy bucket so he wouldn’t get too distracted by the candy and junk. Afterwards when we got home we traded him his bucket for some homemade “snails” aka gluten free, low sugar, no preservative or yeast mini cinnamon buns. He was completely happy with his treat.

 

 

img_4385After I got Z off to bed, I went out an met up with Wes. I took over and took the two big boys trick-or-treating so my friend could go home and get her two little ones to bed. They boys had a great time, despite the rain. Well I had a easier time because I just followed the boys in the car. Joys of parenting, you can sometimes take the easy way.

 

 

 

img_4390SWe came home and sorted through all of Wesley’s treats. I let him take a couple pieces and I locked up all the rest in a suitcase. Yes there is enough to fill a suitcase!! I think this weekend I’m going to have him pick out a little bowl and we are just going to get rid of the rest. No one needs that many candies.

So overall Halloween was a great success! I think next year I’ll be able to go back to Halloween being my favourite holiday. I’m going to be able to go in with a game plan. We will talk about what I will trade them for their candy, and then we will plan where we are going to donate the candy to. I may also take a completely different approach and plan an activity like a movie or a trip to the indoor playground instead. But I have a whole year to decide.

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IAHP Nutritional Update

image-1I know! I know! I still haven’t finished writing about my trip to Philadelphia. Like I said there is so much for me to process. That being said I’m almost done writing about Wednesday!

However I’m going to jump the gun here and update everyone on our Nutritional changes. Tonight we are going to the naturopathic doctor to review doses and other options. So I really want to share what we started doing on our own, so I can come back and compare the differences.

Right now Little Z is taking:

 A few weeks before I went to the IAHP, started  Z on Goji Berry Juice. I had read in the book Naturally Better that this was very helpful for children with Brain Injuries.

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We also started him on probiotics. Of course nearly all holistic methods of treating autism include probiotics. I say most because our herbalist did not want the boys on them. However I decided that we are going to try them. I had also read they are also recommended by the IAHP.

Then there was fish oils. I had read about other families on the IAHP program using fish oils with their children, so we added in Nordic Natural Children’s DHA oil. I picked this brand because it was recommended by our naturopath years ago, plus it is easily available. That being said, I don’t believe it is strong enough and our naturopath confirmed that via email last week. Through my research I discovered the boys need about 1000mg of DHA. In for chewable “bubbles” as they call them, contains only 220ishmg. In order to get them to the 1000mg mark they would need to 17 “bubbles” each. Yikes!! I have no doubt we can find another brand for Wes, as he’s able to swallow pills and such, but Z needs something that taste good and is chewable. He won’t take liquids, especially if they are oily.

After coming home we added in Vitamin C. Right now because I’m unsure of the doses we are only giving him a 500mg chewable tablet. I’m hoping to have this reviewed at adjusted tonight.

We noticed a major difference in Z. He’s calmed down, was able to force on what he was doing, and does not seem to struggle to sit still when he wants too. We are also seeing a huge difference in his ABA programming. He is flying through programs at such an accelerated speed! This is amazing because we only have one year left a ABA and I want him to get the best of both ABA and the IAHP program.

I mean we all know packaged foods are bad for us. But sometimes the western culture is hard to break away from. But now seeing the HUGE difference, I’m happy we tried this route. I can’t wait to learn more tonight with our naturopathic doctor!

Check out my latest video on our nutritional update!!

 

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Tuesday- What To Do About Your Brain Injured Child Course

The other day when I wrote about my first day of the What To Do About Your Brain Injured Child course, I forgot to include a few things that were said that I think are worth repeating.

There is no correlation between brain injury and intelligence.

There is a staggering correlation between brain injury and the ability to express intelligence.

This hit home for me. I realized that the IQ test that was given to Z what is a demonstrating his disability it’s not his ability. This is important for me to hear. I was quite upset about a report I received from a psychologist Z had seen a while back. The results were depressing and I couldn’t help but wonder if these results were for the same child I brought into that room. 

A brain injured child’s worst enemies are time and gravity.

While my kids don’t have issues with mobility, so gravity really has no effect on them. Time, now that’s another topic. The longer it takes us to find something that helps, the further and further behind they get. Problem is their peers keep developing, they keep moving forward. So if my boys are not moving forward, and their friends are, they keep getting left behind at a faster rate. 

I woke up way before my alarm on Tuesday morning. And I was a bit stir crazy I couldn’t stay in my room. So I left and decided to go and get breakfast at Dunkin’ Donuts. I was really missing my Tim Hortons. Sadly Dunkin’ Donuts didn’t fill that void. 

But I was still really early so I decided to go check out the local Walmart. I was so glad that I went for that early shopping spree because I found several items for Zs Leap pad for next to nothing. Like these LeapFrog Imagicards. Back home they cost $25+ dollars, I score them for $5 each!! I felt like the lady in the old IKEA commercial that comes running out of the store screaming “Start the car!!”

Afterwards I heading to the the IAHP campus snacking on my muffin. I walked into the auditorium and went to the front look for my seat. I was lucky enough to get another good seat near the front. 

While waiting for the bell, I wandered back into the bookstore like I do every time I have a few spare minutes. Adding a bit to my order, removing other things. I suggest that even though the bookstore is quite small, you spend a bit of time there each day. After the lectures something might catch your eyes that you looked over before hearing the lecture. 

We spent the day learning about:

  • Physiology vs pathology
  • Function Determines Structure
  • Watched a video about “Coma to Total Awareness”
  • The Developmental Profile
  • How to Evaluate Your Child
  • What is a Functional Diagnosis?

The class about the developmental profile and how to evaluate your child was very helpful to me. I have read every book published by Glenn Doman and I never really understood fully how to evaluate my children on the profile. After the staff spend the 3- 50 minute periods going over every detail on the profile, it made complete sense to me.

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Then we were able to spend a period creating a development profile for our children, with the staff walking around available to answer any questions and guide us if we were unsure what level to place our child in.

Even though parents are really only suppose to work with one child on the intensive program, I was able to request a second set of forms and make a profile for Wes as well.

After we figured out where on the profile our children were, we were able to use a formula to calculate our children’s neurological age, then using that with their chronological age figure out their rate of growth. After we had that number we could use them as well as more information from the profile to determine our children’s functional diagnosis. Now we are able to tell the degree of injury(from mild to profound), extent  of injury(focal or diffused) laterality(unilateral or bilateral). as well as which level of the brain is affected(Cortex, midbrain, Pons, or the Medulla and cord).

So now instead of saying my child has autism, (which is a label, not a diagnosis) I can say, my son has a Moderate, relatively diffused, bilateral, midbrain injury.

After this cram packed day of classes, I walked away with a new understanding of my boys. Also I had a better idea what areas we were going for focus on.

They also talked about something called the Catch-Up Phenomenon. This is when once you’re on the right path, your child will physically start to grow and develop at a MUCH after rate to catch up for lost time.

I realized that our NAET therapy was something that works will for Z as he grew like a weed after. When we started NAET he had been in 18 month clothes for nearly 18 months. After a month or two he skipped 24 month and went nearly to 2T. I knew this was a good sign, but now understanding the Catch-Up Phenomenon, it makes even more sense.

The same thing happened when we started doing his IAHP programs and adding Goji berry juice and probiotics before attending the course. When I came home 8 days later his shoes would not fit, and his toes were literally hanging off the edge of his sandals. Few days later he woke up and he looked like he was going to a flood. So I feel we are on the right track.  His body seems to be telling me so anyhow.

So while the first day was hard for me to stay focus and adapt to the course, Tuesday they had my full undivided attention. For the first time since Wes was diagnosed in Jan 2008 at 2.5 years old I understand what is wrong with my children. Where they are hurt. After today I had a good idea how to help them. But in the next few days, I will realized that I would be given so many more tools to help.

We got out of class just after 8:30pm. We were reminded to wear comfortable clothes and shoes because the next day would be black jacket day.

I got in my rental car and headed to Walmart, I had noticed during that day that I had bought two of the same sets of Leapfrog cards and wanted to go return one of them. Since it wasn’t too late, I stopped there quickly before I drove over to Chick-fil-a for dinner. I sat in the parking lot next to a police cruiser and ate my dinner while I chatted with everyone back home. Then it was time for the 25 minutes drive back to the house to get my homework done, shower and off to bed. Once again I slept like a baby.

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Monday- IAHP What To Do About Your Brain Injured Child

If you missed my previous post about the Saturday and Sunday before the course, you can find it HERE.

Well then it was Monday morning. I was up before my alarm but figured I may as well get up because I was afraid that I fall back asleep and miss the beginning of class. Also if I left earlier I figured I would miss a lot of rush-hour traffic. It was also raining and I didn’t know how it would be to drive in less than ideal weather in a new city.

I was running way ahead of schedule, so I quickly stopped at a McDonald’s on the way. I figuring I could grab myself a BLT bagel and a smoothie. I have to say that the McDonald’s in the US does not have nearly as good of a selection as in Canada. So I landed up just grabbing a smoothie and giving my mom a call. I knew she would be up even with the hour time change because they were going to my house to watch little Z for the morning as my mother-in-law had to work until noon. 

I arrived to the campus. It’s strange to think that first day everyone was so awkward. And by Friday we were all hugging each other and exchanging contact information. But anyhow it was Monday and no one knew anyone. I ran into the man who I had met at the wrong building the night before. His grandson had developed meningitis and from there developed complications which lead to brain injury. I wasn’t sure what to say when he was asking me what I have done with my boys to help them talk him. I mean I was no expert, there was a reason why I was taking the same class he was. Not to mention my boys have a completely different condition then his grandson. It was hard for me to not share my opinion, but I thought it was more important for him to take in what the experts had to tell him. I also know that a lot of what we did with the boys we may have done the hard way. So I was able to politely get myself out of those questions.

I went into the auditorium and found my seat near the front. Now if you’ve heard anything about this course it’s that the auditorium is kept cold. You’re told to bring a sweater. I think this was the understatement of the century. If I had known the room was going to be as cold as it was, I would’ve brought my winter jacket. I later found out from my host who had taken the course for well babies, that the air conditioning unit they use is actually designed to cool a morgue.

We were first introduced to the staff. I found out that each staff member wore a certain colour jacket to signify which area they specialized in. There are the black jackets who focus on mobility and physical programs. Then there are the tan jackets who focus on intellectual programs. Whereas the staff wearing the green jackets specialize in physiological development. 

We spent the day learning:

  • What is brain injury?

  • What is the causes of brain injury?

  • Brain injury is in the brain and why the past has not worked. 

  • The range of brain injury.

Monday for me was the hardest day. I was adjusting to the cold temperature and to be honest I was probably a little sleep deprived from travelling still. But I think the main thing was there wasn’t really anything that connected just yet to my child. I mean yes it did make sense and it was extremely interesting however I did have trouble near the end of the day staying with it. I see how through the week where this stuff connected, and why we needed to know it.  But by Tuesday they had my full undivided attention. But Monday was a little hard but still very important.

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Another thing I found interesting, is even though Glenn Doman had passed away a few years ago, he is still very much present in the course. Some of his lectures were recorded. I felt that they had placed an empty chair in the middle of the stage when his videos were playing. Part of me felt like he was sitting right there telling us what we needed to know to help our kids. I know this might sound crazy but it was was how I felt. I don’t know if this was intentional by the stuff, but I couldn’t help but think that’s where he used to sit. So even though Glenn Doman and is gone, he still very much alive at the Institute.

We didn’t get out of the course till well after 9pm. I hoped in my rental car and headed to the local Chick-fil-a. I made it there with less than 30 minutes before they closed. We do not have this chain in Canada, and it was located near the Institute campus, so that is where I ate most nights.

I had really hoped that I could have connected with other parents after class and gone out for dinner with them in the evenings, but there was no time for that. I needed to grab something quick, then drive home, get cracking on my homework, and of course call home to see how my family was doing. They recommend you turn your cellphone off during the day. Not just on silent, but completely off. My family had the number for the switchboard in case of an emergency, but my 100% attention needed to be on that campus. So if you’re attending this course, this is the most important thing, TURN OFF YOUR CELLPHONE.

Now before you start to worry about the homework. There is really know right or wrong. It just gives you the time to reflect on what you learned that day.

Even though my mind was spinning with information, that night, I had no issues falling asleep.

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Day 1&2 Of My Trip To The IAHP

I can’t believe I haven’t written yet about my trip to Philadelphia. To say it was life-changing would be a major understatement. I guess it’s taken me so long to write because all of the wealth of information was so overwhelming to process. I don’t mean overwhelming in a way that is bad just like I said so much to process. Honestly I tried to write sooner, but couldn’t organize my thoughts. So finally last night I sat with my phone and dictated the post, it was actually easier to talk about it then to try and write it.

My trip started with a little glitch on Friday night. I logged into my computer to check in to the plane like you can do 24 hours before your flight. For some reason it wouldn’t let me login. I spent over an hour on hold waiting for answers from Expedia. Then I was told it was all fixed, wait 10 minutes and I would be able to check in. Well of course it wasn’t all fixed, I waited the 10 minutes and try to check in and sure enough I wasn’t able to. I called back and the next personnel I spoke to told me that I would have to arrive to the airport three hours instead of two hours early to fix any problems they were having. Why this person could tell me in 20 short minutes when the other person I spoke to took over an hour to give me the wrong information. We had been invited to my friends for supper to make my last night home easier. I landed up sending Hubby and Z there without me because this was taking so long, and I joined them when I was done.

That night I couldn’t sleep I was so excited I landed up spending most of the night on the phone with my friend in the US. I think I may have gotten three hours sleep that night but I might just be being generous.

The next morning I arrive three hours early for my flight just as recommended by Expedia. Of course the problem was fixed within five minutes and I probably could’ve slept an extra hour. Regardless I went through security. I went through my bags and put all my liquids in the ziplock bags provided and stood in line. Once I was through I grabbed a smoothie and sat down at my terminal gate and waited. I chatted with my mom and with hubby on my phone. Then it was time to board.

Everything was good even though I was quite nervous for my flight. But once we got in the air I felt a lot better. I was quite lucky that the flight was not sold out and there was a seat between me and the next person. I dozed off after takeoff only to be awoken by a child crying. I almost jumped out of my skin. I was still in mom mode and couldn’t believe I would ever allow myself to fall asleep in a public place when I had Z with me. Then I came to reality, not my kid. The only person I was responsible for on this trip was me.

We went from Winnipeg to Montreal. When we arrived in Montreal, off I went to find my next gate. I had a 2 hour and 20 minute or so layover but I didn’t want to get caught up in customs, so I went straight to security. That landed up being a breeze. I chatted to the guard about Shakeology and then made my way through. Thing was I was a bit disappointed with the food selection. I really wanted to grab lunch yet there was nothing that caught my interest. So I settled for a chocolate chip muffin. I went and sat down and called my mom up to chat as I unwrapped my muffin. The dare thing was stale. I tried to eat it but it was too far gone. So once again I wandered around looking for something else. I landed up settling for a over priced small can of Pringles.

Then it was time to travel from Montreal to Philadelphia. I handed the flight attendant my ticket and she let me start boarding the plane. As I was walking through the tunnel towards the plane entrance a man asked me to leave my carry on bag in this cargo elevator thing. I told him as I clenched on to my bag that this was my carry on. The people behind me just passed him their bags. “Don’t worry, when you get off the plane it will be waiting at the exit for you. This plane is small and there is no room in the overhead compartments for a full size carry on bag.” Small plane?? How small is this plane? I thought as I boarded the American Eagle. I looked around at the older style, very small plane and thought… “I’m going to die…”

I found my seat near the back of the flight. Ok this is good. They say the people in the back of a plane have a better chance of surviving a crash… Right? I pulled out my book from my backpack, stuck the bag in the tiny overhead compartment and sat in my seat. Maybe this flight wouldn’t be full and I’d land up sitting by myself. I hadn’t even finished this thought when the a younger guy came and sat down next time me as he put his earphones in. I slept for the first part of the flight, still tired from being up all night. I woke up just before the flight attendant came with the drinks and tiny pretzels. I was worried I had been snoring or drooling or something embarrassing while the person sitting next to me stated in disgust. Luckily when I looked over he was fast a sleep and slept the whole flight.

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The only other problem I had was once I landed in Philadelphia. My license was in two parts because it was my renewal year and I required a new photograph just before I left for my trip. But because my license was into pieces Alamo refused to rent me the car I had already paid for. I started to freak out. I’m standing in the fifth largest city in the United States without transportation. Someone there told me that another car place Avis would rent me a car with a two-piece license. Of course it cost me more than double what I paid for this original car however I was just glad to have a car.

By this point I was tired and hungry and ready to head to my host home. Instead of renting a hotel room, I was lucky enough to be accepted as a guest in a program called “Hosts for Hospitals”.  I had planned on stopping to eat on the way there however driving is definitely more different in Philadelphia than it is in Winnipeg. I found the house and it just so happens the couple was leaving for their anniversary dinner. So I was able to meet them before they left. I cannot express enough what a lovely family this was. And the house that I stayed in was beautiful. I had asked them where I could grab some food locally. Jenn recommend I’ll look on this particular website that has a bunch of restaurants that are available to order from and they would deliver directly to the house. Well this was definitely the more expensive option. But I was tired, it was dark and the streets were all winding and curvy. I just felt like I should probably just kind of rest and get started the next morning and learn the area.

So I ordered my food and while I waited I chatted with the babysitter Denise. She was such a nice, kind woman. It was amazing to hear about her, her children and her grandchildren. I felt like I had a lot in common with her as her grandson also has autism. When my food arrived I was very pleased, it was so fresh and my burger and fries were not greasy at all. So even though it cost me an arm and a leg it was not a disappointment.

The next morning I got up early and headed over to get some food essentials. I was so excited when I heard they had Wholefoods stores out there. I walked into that store and it was better then I could have imagined. I wish when Wes was gluten and dairy free we would have had these options. Yes it was a bit pricey compared to the average grocery store, but I felt it was worth it for what you got. Now at home in longing for the variety that why had at Wholefoods. I know our time utilizing the farmers market is coming to an end for the session as it gets colder.

Afterward I killed some time at Target while I waited for my friend and her son to come in from Maryland. I was able to find some great things for the kids. Then I drove down the street and met them at Buffalo Wild Wings. It’s crazy I’ve “known” Summer for 10-11 years and this is the first time I’ve ever met her in person. We met years ago when we were young moms on an online website called ‘Opendiary’. I’ve watched her oldest son grow up on that site and now Facebook. It was awesome to meet them and hangout. I am kicking myself for not getting a picture with them.

Then it was time for me to drive to the IAHP for registration. I pulled up to entrance of the campus. I wasn’t sure where to go. I pulled up to a circular driveway, as I did another car pulled up and dropped off a man. I went to the building and no one was there. So I hopped back into my car and offered the other man who was there for the course a ride to the next building. I jokingly said “If you are not planning on jumping me or anything you can catch a ride with me.” He started trying to show me his passport to prove he was who he said he was. I told him that wasn’t necessary, I was just joking.

img_4044We pulled up to the next building and when we walking in we heard talking on the second floor. We went upstairs and that is where we got to meet Harriet the registrar. We received our binder, that included the schedule for the week, a letter outlining the rules of the auditorium, statement of goals and objectives, as well as the booklets that explains all the programs available through the IAHP regarding brain injured children. We were show the auditorium and they explained the bell system and when we should arrive the next day for class.

It was amazing to be there, on that campus. It was somewheres I wanted to go for years. I wasn’t sure if I had made the right choice, but there was no turning back. I was so excited to come back the next day.

I went to my car and google mapped the closest Target. I picked up post its and highlighters and a few snacks to keep in the car. I did some more shopping, mostly to kill some time, checked out a few Walmarts and a Kmart, then I went back to the house.

I got myself ready for the next day, showered, read every paper that was given to me at registration, called home to check on everyone… But after I just lied there with my eyes open. I needed to sleep, I had just read that we were looking at 11-12hour days. My anxiety was through the roof. Finally I made sure my alarm was set, and a back up alarm was set and then I took half a clorazapram. After watching a bit of YouTube I drifted off to sleep.

This trip will have to be written in separate entries. This week was so packed, it’s impossible for me to write about it in one post. Well I guess it’s possible, but it would be desperately long.

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