Biofeedback & Black Friday 2009 – That Time I Fit Two Power Wheels Jeeps in My Saturn Ion

This year Black Friday was AMAZING. Typically my family and I drive out to Fargo and spend the whole weekend in the states for the American Thanksgiving. I take Friday off of work and we drive down from Canada. However this year my family and I decided that we were not going to make the trip. However a friend of mine really wanted to go. I had not planned for this and was working both of my jobs on Thursday, however I had the day off Friday. So I decided to be crazy and after working 12 hours we drove down to Fargo.

We did run into a hiccup at the duty free in Emerson, Manitoba. We arrived about 20 mins before closed and my friend went to the area where Blue Cross was sold and asked to purchase travel insurance. The woman was completely rude and flat out refused. After my friend reminded her that there was still 20 mins till the store closed and that she would call her manager and the company Blue Cross on Monday and put in a formal complaint she begrudgingly agreed to sell her the insurance. After the 10 mins of arguing and the 10 mins it took to set up, we were about to walk out and they were going to lock the door behind us. I suddenly told my friend to double check to make sure it was done correctly. Lone behold she had only insured her Thursday(that day) till midnight, not for the whole weekend like she had paid. My friend quickly ran back to the counter and the woman was shocked we had come back. She apologized profusely, however I could tell a bit of guilt was in her voice. I believe she did it on purpose to get us back.

I was awake for 40 hours straight, but it was worth it. I managed to grab a  Wes a Power Wheels 4×4 for $88 among many other great deals. We stood in line for the sale to start and we 2nd and 3rd to get a ticket to get the Jeeps. After each paid for a Jeep and then took the car to the back of the store to pick them up.

The guy looked at us and said we would not be able to get them in the car and to go return them. I told him to bring them out, they would fit. We got one in the back seat. The man was shocked, he handed my friend back her voucher and told her to return hers as we would never get a second one in. I told him to never tell me I couldn’t do something, and to please bring out the next box. He bought it out and looked at my smugly, “Now how are you going to do this?” I told him I was going to take it out of the box. He went on to tell me that they were not allowed to do that. I looked at him and told him that was too darn bad, as Walmart no longer owned these toys, we did and it was coming out of the box. My friend and I got it out and it easily fit into the trunk. I’m sure we were the talk of the lunch room at Walmart that day.

The car was so packed on the way home my friend and I were pushed right up to the dash and you could not fit one more thing in that car. Can you believe we got TWO powerwheels jeeps in a Saturn Ion coupe and they said it couldn’t be done.

Saturday I worked. Then I went out with my friend Lisa to her parents farm. There house is amazing!! Her dad is a contractor and gets unused marble and pillars that are discarded on worksites, and uses them to makes his house look amazing. I would kill to live there.

Her mom also does this thing called Biofeedback. Which is suppose to be quite helpful when it comes to kids with autism. I was alittle skeptical at first but after wow it was AMAZING!! When I have a few more minutes I’ll come and write all about his session. One thing I know is we must do a detox and start cutting back on his sugar intake.

Well I best be going 🙂

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BrillKid’s Success Story -He Read His First Book at 4 Years Old


Well all of our hard work is paying off! Wesley read his first book almost independent. He even read a new word without being taught it. Mind you this is a very simple book “The cat sees me… The dog sees me…etc.” BUT even so this is his first book, he was reading the words by himself, and he had never read the story before. I’m so proud of him.

I had these books ready but never showed them to him. We had our parent tutor overlap today. This is where his ABA Senior Tutor and I have a meeting. She goes sits down and goes over the programs I am running with Wes to make sure I am running them correctly. This is also a time for me to ask her any questions I might have.  Today she just suggested we just try these new books and see how well it goes.

Well he read about 85% independently. His senior was just jumping with joy, saying “I can’t believe this, I mean he’s only four!” “You have to bring this book to the next clinic meeting so we can show Rene(his ABA consultant), he’s not going to believe me when i tell him this.” Needless to say, I was so proud of him.

This goes to prove what an amazing product BrilKid’s Little Reader program is. If a busy mom who works full time can teach her child to read before Kindergarten, anyone can with this program.

Another thing he has learned this week is his days of the week!! It is so cute to hear him recite them to me. To help him learn we have been using the CD Learning Is Fun by Hesita.

I love this product. The songs are simple but help kids learn. Right now we are focused on the cementing the days of the week in our head. Repetition does wonders for our minds. Were also learning our months of the years, and countries and continents.

The company I purchased it from is great too. One of the two discs only plays when it feels like it. So I emailed and explained my problem and they called me back in 5 mins. No joke it was that fast. They originally wanted me to send the product back but when they found out I was from Canada, they said to nevermind that part because shipping would be so much. So they are sending me a replacement disc.(Update: the company has now changed hands since I last wrote this, I suggest looking for these CDs by Hestia on Amazon.com)

I hope everyone is having a great week like me. We are one step closer to getting a mortgage. Hopefully in the New Year we will be moving into a new house!! This apartment living is hard with 3 people full time in a 2 bedroom apartment and an extra person every weekend when my bf’s daughter is here.

Well have a nice evening

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Autism- What Gluten & Dairy Do To My Child

I was asked to write a little blurb about gluten and what it does to some people like my son. For people who do not have a gluten intolerance it can be hard to understand what happens to kids who cannot digest it properly.

My son has been gluten-free since he was 2.5 years old. What is gluten? Why did I choose to remove it from my son’s diet?

In 2005 I had a beautiful little boy. As he grew older he started sending us red flags. I always imagined myself teaching my son so many things. However he was a difficult baby. Always throwing up, screaming and crying all hours of the night. We tried everything, from Ovol gas drops to chiropractic. They both helped him with the stomach pains but something was still off. He was in and out of the doctor’s office, he had a chronic cough, runny nose and was on and off antibiotics.

When I first switched my son from breastmilk to formula and started to notice the difference in him I ask the doctor if he could be allergic to milk. His response was “No the chances of that were one in a million, Milk allergies are so rare. So I believed him and for months we had these issues. I was a young mom having had Wesley one month after turning 20. Prior I had no real experience with babies.

I was a straight edge parent, following everything the doctor said to the tee. But things were not right and milestones were not being hit. Wes was not crawling at the same time others his age were. He sat there all the time and stared into space. Finally after one day when Wes was 11 months old I noticed mucous in his diaper. That was it, I called around the city and finally booked an appointment with a pediatrician.

Our new doctor immediately sent a referral for Wes to go for allergy testing. After waiting for 4 months to get into the specialist. I held my little boy down while they marked his chubby arms with little a pen to match a little grid with all the possible allergens on a paper. Then they started scratching those pen marks with little needles. As he screamed they wrapped his arm up in paper towel and taped it. I was instructed that it would take about 15 minutes for the results to be available.

He screamed and screamed, finally I opened the door and asked the nurse if this was normal. She told me some kids have a harder time than others. So I tried cuddling and rocking him and nothing seemed to help. My last resort, I reached into my diaper bag and pulled out a sippy cup of milk. This settled him, just in time. The nurse came back and removed the paper towel. She said he seem to have a reaction the one item, the milk. I looked down at my baby’s tear stained face and he sucked back the white poison.

He was diagnosed with a milk allergy and we were sent on our way. No instructions, no guidance, nothing. They never gave us a paper that told us what all the secret words like whey and casein. Just sent on our way to figure it out. 

I drove us to the local public health nurse clinic where I knew several of the nurses from our Healthy Baby group we attended till I went back to work. I was in tears when I got called in to the nurse’s office. She called in the nutritionist and we came up with a game plan. 

You know what happened next? A few days later my clumsy crawler stood up and walked for the first time at 15 months old. 

Wesley started developing language well and at 18 months had about 15 words he used regularly. Then we went for our 18 month check up and that’s when things went downhill. At the visit they gave him his regularly scheduled vaccine, and that night he had a terrible fever. From then on his words were gone.

I started thinking about removing gluten from my son’s diet after reading Jenny McCarthy’s book “Louder Than Words: A Mother’s Journey in Healing Autism” when he was 2. Gluten is the protein found in wheat. Similar proteins are also found in rye, barley and possibly oats. At this time I was in denial, I knew he was language delayed, but I refused to believe he had autism. But deep down I think I knew.

It wasn’t until that terrible day in January 2008 when Wesley was diagnosis with autism did I revisit the idea of removing the gluten. A month later we visited a naturopathic doctor, who had me remove gluten and soy from his diet on top of the dairy that was removed a while back.

It wasn’t an easy, kids that are sensitive to gluten are sometimes actually addicted to it. Wesley went through a withdrawal period, where his behaviours went through the roof. But after the rough stage things did get better. His speech started to improve. He started adding in little phrases, seemed happier. Another thing is we were able to start potty training him because his digestive system started to work right.

Basically what was happening to my son was the gluten was effecting the lining of the intestinal wall and large particles of food were getting into his bloodstream and affecting the brain. The body was then sending out antibodies to fight the particles. This was causing my son little body to go into overload.

You can see a MAJOR change in his attention to detail, and if he accidentally has something that has gluten in it he does act up and has trouble with concentrating. One day we will try to reintroduce it, but for now he’s doing great.

UPDATE: Read how we cured my son’s dairy & gluten intolerance HERE and HERE

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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A Child’s Journey out of Autism: One Family’s Story of Living in Hope and Finding a Cure

A few months ago I sat down to read this amazing book. Now everytime I hear that someone’s child has a diagnoses of Autism, I recommend that they read it. It’s called “A Child’s Journey Out of Autism: One Family’s Story of Living in Hope and Finding a Cure” By Leeann Whiffen.


It’s a story about a mother who pulls her son Clay out of autism and saves him from being trapped in his own little world. Her story truly touched me, I could not put the book down. I myself was in the process of setting up an ABA program for my son and I really truly felt the emotions she was writing about.
I feel blessed to have read her book because she helps mothers like me see that we are not alone. She gives us hope that we to can save our children. It is amazing that she puts her heart and soul into the pages she write, her pain and suffering, and her great successes out there for us to read.
I think its important that people with children who have autism, and heck even parents with typical children learn that it is our responsibility as parents to protect our children. Not everything the doctors and specialist say are right for your child. I had one specialist telling me that the gluten and dairy free diets would not help my child. That his digestive issues were not related to autism. Well we did it anyways and poof, I have a whole new happier child.What I’m trying to say is educate yourself, ask questions, and follow your gut.

I combined a lot of therapies and make them work. My son:

  •  attends a full time ABA program,
  • attends daycare full time,
  • is on the gluten free/dairy free diet,
  • has an at home Doman program,
  • home schooled in the evenings,
  • has a good pediatrician,
  • sees a naturopathic doctor,
  • a speech therapist
  • and an occupational therapist.

All these programs as contradicting as they may seem all have there time and place. I am very involved in every aspect of my son’s life. I let him live his life but all these people know that I have high expectations out of all of them, and if they fall short and fail my son I will be following up with it.

I also pull my weight with this, I research, provide materials and make sure they have what they need to help my son. This has put me thousands of dollars in debt, but the window of opportunity is closing a little everyday. I will have years to pay off my debt, I only have 10 months left till my son goes to kindergarten.
The author of this book help me realize I have to fight to save my son and it is possible. She had the strength to challenge people and the fight to prove them wrong when they told her there was no cure for autism.

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My Thoughts So Far on Little Reader By BrillKids

Well after spending a long time humming and ahhing, last week I finally took the plunge and purchase the Little Reader program by BrillKids. Originally I thought maybe I could just get by using PowerPoint presentations to teach my son how to read. But the more I read the BrillKids forum, the more I needed to get this for my son. But to be honest money was an issue. I’m working really hard right now to get out of debt and purchasing such an expensive product that was really intended for babies kind of worried me.

For those of you who have never heard of Little Reader before(like me a few months ago) this is what the website describes it as “Ideal for babies and young children, Little Reader is the most effective learning system for teaching your child to read. At the heart of Little Reader is a revolutionary software system that delivers lessons in ways never before possible, making learning ENGAGING for your child, and EASY for you.

Lots of people suggested I try the free trial, get a feel for it. But it was one of those things where you needed a credit card and I’m terrible at cancelling stuff like that before the date.

So then last weekend I noticed it was on sale for 40%. Well that was it, I struggled with my credit card, called the company and waited on hold to get a secure code and there I had it, Little Reader.

So like I said we’ve been doing it for a week now. At first I didn’t feel he was really learning from it because he wasn’t generalizing what he knew from LR to paper flash cards. Now I can see after a week, I write the new words that he has been introduced in LR and it seems to take him much less time to transfer that knowledge to read that flashcards.

It is also getting easier to get him to work on his paper flashcards. I can now have him read the words to me by rewarding him with some of Little Readers more fun presentations. Free downloads like “Counting Bubbles” or “The Alphabet Song” can encourage him to do his lessons.

I also like that the Little Reader community has put together so many programs and now I can start an Encyclopedic Knowledge program with him with ease. My only complaint is that I don’t like that it freezes so often when I’m doing a multi sensory program.(UPDATE: This is no longer a concern with the newer versions.)

So all and all as a mother of a 4 year old son, I think this program is totally worth it. Now that I’ve used it a bit I would have paid full price for it. However, I’m glad I got it at a discounted price 🙂 My son loves this program and it is opening his eyes up a little wider every day.

Now I leave you with a pic of my son yesterday at the park. We were goofing around with a few friends and a camera. 🙂

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Welcome to the World of Autism.

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

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

He did OK in the infant program at his daycare. He bonded with his caregiver. But when he was moved to the toddler room he did not adjust so well. Every morning, involved him crying in the parking lot before we even got out of the car. The staff was little help in the new room. In order to leave I had  to peel my son off myself and leave him there crying. The caregivers had just accepted this was how Wes was, and did little to comfort him. Because of his allergies he could not sit at the group table instead he ate his lunch alone in a corner in a highchair. As a young single mom, who had never attended daycare myself, I had no idea this was not how it was suppose to be.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I went on to ask about what Jenny McCarthy was doing with her son Evan. I had just read the book, Louder Than Words: A Mother’s Journey in Healing Autism. I had seen Jenny promote it on Oprah and for some reason needed to read it. She shot it down saying it was not scientifically based. I asked if he would recover, they refused to give me real hope.

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

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

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

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

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

“Monique, these parents were both busy doctors.”

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

I’m not going to lie, we hit some bumps. One being our first tutor who was good at first, stopped took a turn for the worse. She fell asleep on a public bus during a fieldtrip with Wesley’s daycare while she was suppose to be supervising him. Then the next day feel asleep at a public park while she was in charge. When I found out about this I demanded she never come near my son again as she was neglecting him and putting his life in danger. I don’t think I have to go into detail about what could have happened to him

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

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

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

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

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

Love Monique

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