Sunday, December 12, 2010
I'm back safe and sound from my wonderful trip of 5 days to Sheffield Massachusetts. I spent 5 days with no cooking, no washing up of pee or poo, no dishes and no computer/Internet. It was an awesome experience to meet so many parents, siblings and grandparents of children with autism/special needs. There was such a unison of understanding and support. I wish to return there again as well as have DH go to experience the magic.
Here's a 10 minute video I made to give you my overall impressions. If you have questions, please do add them to the comment box or email me, and I'll try to answer them either in a new video or reply in text.
Here's a few photos for your enjoyment:
Thank you for taking the time to read my blog.
Have a great day!
Wednesday, December 1, 2010
Long time no post about what's going on here... ah, life has a way of living on you. Hehehe. I love my life! It's been great in the last few months, and I can only hope and expect that it will get better.
I'm going away in a few days to the Option Institute (http://www.autismtreatmentcenter.org/) for the Start-Up program. Can I tell you how excited I am about this? I haven't travelled in SO long, that so many things have changed... can I bring my stainless water bottle on the flight? What is this e-ticket? 24 hour check-in on the Internet? I'm really looking forward to this adventure.
I've met up with another mom participant of this program, and we're going to meet in person on Sunday. She's as excited as I am. We'll have lots to talk about on the drive to the Institute. We're very hopefully that what we'll learn will greatly affect how we're helping our children (her with her Little L and me with my Little R). I also think that it will just encourage me to be a more optimal parent. I'm sure that I'll be able to apply the same knowledge to Little S.
Speaking of Little S, here's what she's been up to:
-going to school and LOVING it Monday to Friday
-telling her brother off (he has learn to cover his ears and to close the door on her)
-drawing/writing with clear focus (she's learning cursive writing at school)
-no longer saying "moke" for milk, but actually saying "mailk"
-loves choosing her own clothes in the morning (rather, forcefully denying other clothes she does not want to wear)
-still cries a lot, but I'm teaching her ways of asking for things such as this evening she said forcefully "give me the apple sauce!" I told her, "this is how we ask for more: 'may I have some more applesauce, please?'" With that, she toned down and repeated my phrase and nodded. We do this in other languages too, and it's very interesting to hear the tone become gentle.
-sings a lot in Mandarin, French and English
-seems to have a leadership demeanor (she told an older girl at school to go back into the classroom)
-loves reading books, and if it's not in the language she's expecting she angrily waves her hand in a "stop" gesture
-has an amazingly focused memory (if she tells you she wants something, you could distract her all you want, she'll come back to it)
-saying fewer words than 6 months ago, but seems to be improving with his receptive language skills in both English and my language (now, I focus more on speaking to him in English in the playroom)
-looks at me with meaning (for example, he wants something, or he's sharing that something is funny)
-can put on his rain boots without any help
-opens the car door and sits in his booster seat all by himself
-likes going into the driver's seat and "driving" - avoids me by going between his seat and the driver's seat
-likes kicking off his footwear to stand on our front of the house support beams
-will close the door behind him when he needs to have a bowel movement
-squeezes out toothpaste, pumps too much soap, eats hand lotion... etc.
-climbs up on a chair that he pushes to the stove area to cook, find food, and eat/lick the freezer and refrigerator
-climbs on furniture
-screeches and screams in public (freaks some people out) sometimes, also runs off and tries to climb the portable stairs
-learning how to use scissors with help from an adult
I feel that we're connecting, and that he trusts me more and more every day. He's comfortable with me. Now, I need to take it to the next level: how do I use his motivation to help him learn? I'll have lots more to tell once I come back from my 5 day training course in Sheffield Massachusetts. It will be part school and part retreat for me, a place to calm my mind, spirit and body.
- Dr. Seuss books ( you could ask me to email you a list of books she already has)
- Chinese, French and Spanish books
- Chinese abacus or Japanese Soroban
- musical instruments (already has small xylophone, maracas, sticks (ridged and straight), triangle, tambourine, recorder, harmonica, bells, and train whistle.
- Chinese, French and Spanish DVDs/music CDs.
- Signing Time videos Series TWO, vol. 9-13
- Books with human photographs or drawn. Also photo books of animals, houses, insects, buildings, vehicles, food, etc. No books with batteries, please.
- Socks (currently size 1 boys/child shoes) and underwear (currently wears Joe Fresh size 8 - but he's growing fast!)
- Contribution toward his Son-rise fund (http://www.son-rise.org/ or http://www.autismtreatmentcenter.org/)
- Therapy putty (or silly putty)
- Wide slippers (currently wears size 1 boys/kids shoes)
- Cars (Disney movie) lunch bag
- Cars (Disney movie) Thermos food jar
Thursday, September 16, 2010
Little S speaks a LOT now. She can add the word "too" after a sentence. She uses "please" and "thank you" as well as "no thank you!" frequently. She has a very strong will. For some reason, she puts up the feistiest cries and elongations of the body (you know what I mean when you try to pick up a toddler and the toddler stretches to make carrying a most difficult task).
I think Little S has actually been the BEST "therapy" for Little R. They love each other. Little S would boss him around saying "No, Goagoa, no!" or "Goagoa, hol-d my hand, Goagoa." It's really quite funny how she makes "hold" into a two syllable word. Of course when Little R gets too much of her, watch that swipe! He's a really strong little guy. We teach him to be gentle, and he's learning.
Many changes in place. The house must be kept tidy and clean at all times - Mommy - that's me - hardly has time for herself and the computer to do any "work". But keeping my family well fed, dressed, cleaned and sheltered is top priority.
DH and I have started working with Little R. I really love the basis of our program based on the Son-Rise Program.
Alas, must go to bed now. Sweet slumber, here I come.
Wednesday, June 16, 2010
Little R made me very proud yesterday when without a motivator (reinforcer) demonstrated that he knew a LOT more than we knew that he knew.
He met his new speech path for the first time (she taking over for Little R's previous speech path who just had a baby), and he performed incredibly well! So, what am I talking about? Let me highlight with some bullets...
- good eye contact - he wanted grapes so he looked at the jar of grapes, looked at me and then led my hand toward it (okay, this is not really new, but his new speech path - let's just call her Erin, pointed out that this was purposeful eye contact, very taken-for-granted non verbal communication skill that we all use)
- from a choice board of about 10 or more items, he chose the picture of a school bus, and it was exactly what he wanted (this is called choice making - might sound easy to you, but we've spent months and months working on it!)
- when Erin asked if he wanted a duck (as he was holding and looking at the PIC), he said "no" clearly accompanied by shaking his head to emphasize his reply was true - he's been saying "yes" (sounds like "lesh") to most things, so we're glad that he CAN differentiate the two concepts
- he indicated he had to go pee verbally! Of course it was assisted by the dancing and clutching of the penis
- when Eric asked showed him a book with many different pictures and asked him "show me what you drink out of", Little R pointed (well, he touched) the picture of a glass. When she asked "show me what you ride on", he touched the tricycle... he just didn't know "show me what you cook with" - he was supposed to touch frying pan but didn't know it yet
- he understood the present continuous participle, in other words "ing" endings like "show me sleeping, playing, drinking, eating" - he got them all correct!
- he was able to pronounce "apple" clearly! Unfortunately now he's been saying "apple" for the word "open", so what we have to do is not open until he says "open".
- he left said "bye bye" to Erin and waved when we were leaving
- he was able to turn take with Erin and do play how she was trying to play with him (turn taking is another thing we take for granted but is VERY important in social situations)
Wow. I'm really happy to see this progress.
Did I mention that we were doing his SCD/GAPS diet wrong? We were supposed to feed him a lot beef, but he was mostly eating chicken all the time. I remember last year DH said to a CDA friend of mine, "If I have to feed him a cow, I'll feed him a cow." It's really strange from going from no meat to meat EVERY DAY. We are forever grateful to these animals.
Oh, and another thing. Little R has been calling DH by his first name and not "Daddy" - which I find might be more functional. I mean, in a sea of dads if someone asks him "who's Daddy?" Little R can respond perfectly well.
So, what do you think? Is it the diet that's helping? Is it the Verbal ABA? Is it his sister who is learning and demonstrating SO much language right now?
Have a great day, Everyone!
Wednesday, May 12, 2010
Anyway, I'm still coughing yucky stuff, suffering from headaches and aches, but I'm getting better :) I've complained enough so it's time for a little update on the Little RS couple.
Little S is speaking a LOT more these days stringing together sentences with pronouns, verbs even in the correct syntax (geez, did I just sound like a language techie?). Not only is she a parrot, she's also a broken record. In fact, she's a broken record that gets louder and louder if the request is not tended to. Case of bad parenting, you're thinking? I hope not!
Today I look the Little R and S for a little walk after I picked them up from school since it was nice and sunny. For the first time ever they were both holding hands and walking. It was as if Little R was leading his little sister. I think, in reality, Little S was really holding onto his fingers as Little R dragged her along as they walked. Hm, that should show Little R; he makes me drag him all the time when I hold his hand.
Little S made a cut-out doll of herself this past Saturday with her daddy at art class. She came home talking about "dawder". I don't think I've ever called her "daughter" before, so I'm not sure where she got the word from, but this paper doll was called "Dawder". She really likes it, taking it to potty, toilet, sleep, combing the few hairs that are tapped to the head... The Dawder is just missing a nose and a pair of legs.
Little R has made progress in his eye contact, humour, communication and eating. Unfortunately, we've still been plagued with pinkeye so he hasn't had his worker with him for two days again. Little R is saying "hi" and "bye" as well as flapping his hand to wave. It's really quite cute.
Hope you're all doing well. To your health! Enjoy your day.
Wednesday, April 21, 2010
Having said that Little R is initiating a lot more communication. The last two days when he's had to go do #2, he's been closing the bathroom door to keep others out. In his privacy, he does his business. When I walked in and sat in front of him while he was on the toilet, he grabbed my fingers and tugged them as if telling me to leave. "Do you want me to leave?" He pulled my fingers and tugged them toward the door, "lea," he said. Wow! He told me to leave.
As well, last week during his pink eye days, I was drawing a picture of a house with clouds and then some flat "m"s in the air. "Boods," he said. "Yes! That's right, they are birds," I replied. He's been making quick progress lately, and I believe nutrition and environment have much to do with it. Of course we also need to give credit to his hard work!
Little S has been repeating things like crazy... in which ever language. As we were waiting to use the toilet at a gas station on the way from from Cornwall this weekend, a woman complained, "come on, guy." Now, I let this woman go ahead of us, and after she went into the washroom, Little S said "come on, guy." It was pretty funny. She's a little parrot that walks around and talks... except these last two days as she's been feeling quite poorly.
Some new independent sentences I've heard from her in the last week have been:
"I got the hiccups."
"No, you eat it!"
And a whole bunch of sentences in mixed languages like "cha face" "cha me". In this instance "cha" means to apply cream, oil, etc. to wherever.
Some phrases she's been saying for a while now:
"Mm, I like it!"
"Moi moi turn."
"Ma Yi go seep."
One thing is for certain, we really don't want to say anything that we don't want repeat!
The weather was wonderful, and we took some long bike rides. He sat on his new bike with training wheels and pedalled as I pushed him. It was so much nicer than sitting in front of a computer screen inside an office building in a room with no windows. What a blessing it was.
As he rode, he would sometimes look at me and hold my hand. Such a cute little guy. His pedalling has improved a lot since he first started riding the bicycle over two weeks ago now. He especially goes really fast when there is a downward slope. Then that when I have to run after him to make sure he's safe.
Poor Little S is now sick. She was fine going to Cornwall on the weekend (both kids were amazingly good), but Monday (before Tuesday morning) night she was very irritable. She vomited, then went back to sleep for a couple of hours. When she got up in the morning she vomit ted again. By breakfast time she barfed out her supper followed by unpleasant watery smelly diarrhea. Poor kids. She's all hot, red, dry and weak right now. But again, seems like a blessing for me to be able to take care of her... and not be working in the windowless office room.
It's times like these that I can slow down to the basics, not focus on making money (although, we all know how important that is in our society) and just concentrate on comforting the little ones.
The weather is beautiful, and I'm glad that I'm in my naturally sunlit kitchen typing to you about the enjoyment of life! The kids will be sick here and there, but they'll grow up to be stronger. So, I take the time now to hold, nourish and make them feel better while I can.
Tuesday, April 13, 2010
Saturday, March 20, 2010
But, boy does things changes quickly take places in our household! So, here it is in a nutshell: Starting Monday, March 22, Little S will be going to a school full time. Little R will continue with his worker in the morning, she will take him to school but will stay at school for extended care. I will be dropping Little S off at her new school, then I will go to my new place of work. After work (that will be a different post on the Greening Days blog), I will pick up both the kids, take them home, eat supper, spend some time together, do the sauna and take showers, put the kids to sleep, make break, lunch and suppers for the next day... go to sleep, start all over again Tuesday.
I need to catch my breath now.
Friday morning, DH and I dropped Little S off at her new school for an hour. She was fine up until the point we started making our way to the exit and the teacher was bringing her to another direction. The poor thing was sitting at the snack table away from the rest of the children when we got back. She was so overjoyed to see her Daddy when we got back to pick her up.
I think that Little S will enjoy her new place of growth. There are many things she will stimulate her learning with there. A couple of the teachers will speak to her in Spanish, and I have begun to speak more to her in Spanish too - actually, what I'm working toward is just using my language, French, Spanish, Cantonese and some Mandarin with her. I should not use English - or use it as little as possible with her since she'll be getting that from everywhere else. In any case, the teacher there said that they will also learn some of my language to use with her sometimes.
My top concern with the school is there diet. We do not want Little S eating certain things that the Canada Food Guide promotes such as cow's pasteurised milk and milk products. This will be a toughie. But, if the catering company cannot accommodate, I will request that I not pay for food so that I can provide them for her. Now, the only thing is, I don't want her to feel that she is not part of the group because she can't have their ice cream cake or their milk - I'll just have to make things that look similar to the other children's treats. I know that the catering company's slogan is "a healthy choice," but I've come to realize my definition or standard of "healthy" is always different.
My second concern with the school is what they used for cleaning. Apparently, it's bleach. Chlorine. Yuck. Unfortunately for the teacher, I did not hold back my disgust. She explained that Health Canada had certain regulations (and I sarcastically commented "to poison") to keep things clean and sanitary. Anyway, the teacher also mentioned that they sometimes just clean with vinegar and water on the children's snack tables... I hope that this is the case.
Before the Friday, we had guests Wednesday and Thursday. Little R pushed some of the kids and screamed a lot, but everyone still seemed to have a good time. We walked to and from the park with the kids - looked like I had a daycare :) They children loved going up the apparatus and sliding down, swinging and just enjoying the outdoors.
Now, it's time for more change. E cat scratched Little R in the face (I'm not quite sure what Little R was doing to him - but often, he's quite rough with the cats), so DH put up an add to look for a good home for the cats. I really would prefer not to hand over my cats to someone I don't know. I want them to live a good life, be fed well, see light, be pet and be happy. Here is the ad if you know of someone who really loves cats: http://oshawa.kijiji.ca/c-pets-to-give-or-donate-2-Male-Cats-brothers-Need-a-Loving-Home-W0QQAdIdZ192151499. If at all possible, maybe we can teach the children to be gentle and just keep our furry friends.
Alas, many changes, many changes... but that's part of growing up.
I took the kids to Friend D's house. Little R went to the toilet several times while we were there, and unfortunately, he also went (but no toilets were around) during our walk home.
So, when we finally reached home, I took all his clothes off of him. Then I had to put my daughter to bed since she fell asleep on the way home. Then I wiped the little guy of his urine then proceeded to get some clothes for him. While I was still getting some pants from his dresser, I heard "plop plop." "Oh, no!" I thought, he's throwing rocks or something heavy into the toilet!
Oh, but as I emerged from his bedroom and spied into the hallway, I saw a couple droppings of doo. Then into the bathroom I peered: he was standing innocently with poo smeared on his hand in front of the toilet as if peeing.
Amazingly, I did not yell, I did not fret - I just made sure there was no poo to step in where my feet met the floor. Oh, there was a huge amount of poo in the toilet, but cleaning the boy was my first concern. Into the shower I plopped him. Scrubbed him I did... twice! And then a third time.
Yuck, my hand was yucked by the poo between his buttocks - but what could you do? He had to be cleaned!
He thought it was a funny as he took his toy boats to play. I really hope it wasn't what he wanted - imagine pooing so you could get showered.
So I managed to scrub him. I then dried him off with a towel, and lay him in his bed. My next concern was the poo on the floor. Of course while I was inside the bathroom ripping some toilet paper, I heard the guy running out his door directly in front of the droppings... luckily, I got to him first! I picked up the poo (with toilet paper), I did... next, I had to inspect the other parts of the house. Well, in my DH's apartment, I found (smelled) the poo residue he had some smeared on the comforter on top of the futon. So that I had to wash next... when was husband going to walk through the door?
And I think the little guy was still naked throughout all of this cleaning done by me. So, what did you think of this story? Should I write him a bed time book to remind him of our last day together during March Break?
Friday, February 26, 2010
Little S is still crying loudly and ever so sharply at night. I'm in a state of zombie most of the early mornings, but I still manage to prepare meals and keep the house clean enough to live in. DH has been sick so I've been bunking with Little S (she has upgraded to my old bed!) for the last two nights. Little R was really sick for a while, but now seems like he's getting a cold.
Little S has been talking a lot more... and a lot to her toys, and today to a snowman that we managed to make in the heavy snow we got in the last two days. It's been a very cold and snow resistant winter. But, we try to enjoy what we can!
We made it
Saturday, February 13, 2010
Little R was away from school all this week, and two days off last week. The poor little guy was in bed (and quiet - nice break for DH and me) with a fever since Saturday. He didn't get out of bed for longer than 10 minutes until Tuesday). I thought that he was all better on Wednesday so that he could go to school again on Thursday, but the ended up in bed again that afternoon.
DH took him to a walk-in clinic to see why he had had a fever for so long. There was a room full of sick adults, and just because he was a child didn't mean there was any preferential treatment for him. In the end, his crying got to the receptionist, and into the doctor's room they went. End result: the doctor said that all Little R had was a fever. Yes, I could have told you that! This is one of the reasons we tend not to take our children to doctors for little things like cold and flus because we KNOW what their symptoms are; we just want to make sure the the REASON behind the symptoms is not serious. No complaints about the doctor; he was just doing his job.
Anyway, they were sent home with the advice to administer Tylenol every four hours. Great (sarcasm). Tylenol (acetaminophen) is about the only common medicine that Little R is NOT supposed to take. Tylenol (Acetaminophen) depletes Glutathione (necessary for removal of mercury). Here's link to an article about Tylenol if you'd like to read it: http://www.wellness.com/blogs/DrLauraMarkham/51/what-every-user-of-acetamino.
Well, despite what the Tylenol does to glutathione, the little guy seems to be much better today. Unfortunately, he's not had the best time keeping his food down because of this coughing. As I was cleaning up his vomit, I wondered how far barf could actually splatter. It was on my dishwasher, the fridge, the oven, the kitchen floor, me, my clothes, my slippers... the wall. I hope he's better tomorrow.
Little S was horribly unwell for about three days, but she is up and about talking and bossing the cats around again, so she's all right. She says hi to all of you.
Happy Lunar New Year!
Thursday, January 7, 2010
Little R was wandering around the in the waiting room as Little S was sitting on a chair and I was talking to one of Remy's therapists at his nursery school when suddenly another little boy started slapping and walloping Little R in the head. All of us in the waiting room were too shocked to actually know now many blows the aggressor manage to take on Little R before his foster parent restrained him. Quickly, one of the CDAs took Remy who was rubbing his head in just as much shock as all of us, to make sure he was nut hurt.
I can't tell you how ugly of a feeling it was to seeing my own child being physically attacked by another child. At the same time, my heart went out to the aggressor and especially to the foster mother. As soon as she restrained him from hitting Little R, he turned around and starting hitting, kicking and biting her. I could only imagine the anguish bubbling inside the poor woman.
I do read up on parenting and discipline techniques, but I really didn't know the proper thing to do in this case; I was too shocked. I just held Little R, rubbed his head, told him it wasn't his fault and that he should never hitting any like how the boy hit him. The other boy just kept looking around, the expression on his nondescriptive of what he probably felt inside: frustration? anger? He did not have the facial expressions or body language that signalled any aggressive moves on his part. What I have read (I remembered it only today) an adult should do when child A hurts child B, the emphasis to be put on child B (the victim) to make sure they are all right in front of child A. Child A must be ignored (well, actually we want to ignore the aggression action to deter it) so that he knows not to gain attention by being aggressive.
Now that the school knows about the boy's sudden aggressive tendencies, they will be more vigilant when he is in the classroom or around the other children. It was a good thing Little R was a tough and sturdy boy so he was able to take it.
I hope that the boy will be able to learn to communicate without violence and manage to communicate more effectively. As for Little R, we must teach him to put up his hands palms facing offender and shout "no!" He must learn to protect himself.
Tuesday, January 5, 2010
Yesterday was a full day for all of us here. Brother went back to school in the afternoon, and I finally went back to the library with Mama. After we picked Brother up, we went to pick Daddy up then we drove to another town. Brother had an appointment for clearing his food allergies.
The place was very cold because we weren't allowed to wear our wet boots. Poor Brother cried and tried to escape the place. But in the end he was okay after going to the washroom, eating some snacks and counting 1 to 20 several times.
BIE is a way of testing allergies through energy. You can find out more from this site:
http://www.pacificallergyandwellness.com/BIE.htm - this wasn't the place we went to, by the way.
Mama and the holistic allergist decided to clear the following foods: cow's milk, casein, peanuts, rice, spelt, wheat (and gluten), almonds, coconut and hazelnuts. All of these foods were dried up and in little glass bottles (except the casein - but the substance that represented the casein was also in a tiny class bottle). The holistic allergist put the bottles on something that looked like a weighing scale. With Brother sitting within the hold of Daddy on the Freudian-looking chair, the allergist had Brother hold a metal probe, and her left hand she held another probe. With her right hand she touched Brother in some acupuncture spots on his feet, face, ribs and chest. There was lots of drilling noises when she made contact with Brother. Brother got the hang of it and would count to 20 for each holding touch.
We're supposed to go back in a couple of weeks. In the meantime, the allergist said to give him lots of water so he can flush out the toxins. We hope that this will help him and help us eat better and more conveniently.