Tuesday, December 1, 2009

The Drive Home from School

Today I received a phone call from Matthew's teacher at almost 1PM. He said there was a bit of a problem with Matthew. I thought something really awful must have happened and he was hurt or hurt someone. But no the teacher said the aide had to leave school to take his son to the Doctor and since the aide needs to ride with Matthew on the bus and this year the bus route has no other aides on the bus - so I had to go pick him up.

The teacher should have just said I need to pick up Matthew instead of mentioning some sort of problem with my son that did not exist. He needs to use his words better and not cause panic for the parent!

There are four students, two personal aides and one classroom aide along with the teacher, so basically it is 4 adults and 4 students. I asked how the aide was able to get to his car since he parks near my house to ride the bus. The other personal aide drove him during their break, which left just one aide with the teacher for that duration. He seemed quite frazzled on the phone because the other two aides leave earlier than the time school gets out. The same thing took place at the Elementary school where the other aides shift ended earlier so that left Matt's aide to help all the other kids instead of mine. This resulted in leaving his jacket or communication device at school with the aide being distracted with other students.

Matthew is the only boy in his class this year - this is Middle School - 6-8th grades in a MRS class - Mental Retardation Severe. I chose the school because they follow the traditional school calendar where other schools are year round with months off at various times of the year and not summer.

This other girl was at the same Elementary school as Matt in another classroom and is a classmate of his. The Mom takes public transportation to take the girl to school as she does not want to put her on the bus. Matt's aide and I have told her it is not a problem.

I gave her and the girl a ride home. The girl kept saying Hello in the car and likes to kiss hands and wave - she was fine back there next to Matthew who was chowing down on some fries from Mc Donalds. The Mom was constantly telling the girl to be quiet. I mentioned I would not mind if Matthew would say Hello and be so cheerful.

I felt bad for the girl who has such a sweet disposition and likes Matthew. H seemed fine with them being in the car for the drive home. I went to Target earlier today to look for a jacket for Matt since the weather here in Los Angeles is getting colder and rain is in the forecast. All Matt has to wear is a fleece jacket.

Matthew is not the type of kid that will try on clothes for me to see if they fit, so when I buy clothing I try to leave the pricetag on until he has tried the item on. I picked out this great looking orange four in one jacket, with a fleece/polyester reversible inside jacket, the outer jacket has the hood. I showed him the jacket and he wanted to put it on. Later he tried the fleece side of the other jacket and wanted to practice zippering on the orange jacket. He knew I was surprised he wanted to take part in this since he was smiling and quite happy with himself.

Sometimes it is the little things that brighten your day. Now if only I could hear him repeatedly say Hello.

Monday, November 30, 2009

Pretty Please Press Books - Review and Giveaway

I was given the opportunity to review these four hardcover books by Pretty Please Press! because of my membership at The Product Review Place. Pretty Please Press! is a small publishing company that reached out to mommy bloggers as part of a grassroots marketing effort.

Pretty Please Press! has a special discount of 20% their books plus buy 3 get one free through the end of the year - ends December 31, 2009. You can read more about the authors and illustrators at the site.

Pretty Please Press publishes children's books that are designed to be read aloud and talked about. Each book contains a message about character and values that helps parents and children think and talk about a variety of issues.

I liked the vibrant colors of the books and the free educational downloads they have at their site - Character Building Lesson Plans, Concept Building Cards and Vocabulary Building Cards. These seemed very suitable to the autism community of parents, therapists and teachers alike.

The lesson plans and cards are available for each book and include such vocabulary words as - galaxy, delighted, allergic, harmony, answer, demonstration, bow, cajole, balcony, bribe and bellow. Each book covers a specific theme as indicated below. The website has guidance for parents on reading comprehension and why reading aloud is so important. The books are suited for children from kindergarten through third grade.

My high functioning autistic son Nicholas has also read each book and offered his opinion below. He has always enjoyed reading and one year took part in a read-in at the Elementary School he attended. When in the fourth grade he read a chapter from one of his favorite books to a lower grade class. The teacher told me Nick was very animated in his reading and should try out for drama once he reaches high school.

Kick Block Punch - Setting goals - Written and illustrated by Jacquie Hann. This book begins on the first day of karate class with some enthusiastic students wanting to earn the black belt right away. This one actually showed perseverance with Sam never giving up and achieving his goals. One page at the start has him going home and kicking his brother Ben, which I did not really like due to there being no consequence for this action.

Nick says that the kid was not learning the key aspects of karate in the beginning, but with practice he was able to earn a yellow belt with the green belt his next goal.

Bella Basset Ballerina - Perseverance - This book starts off on a fall day after school. Bella has twin brothers Beau and Bart. Bella wants to be a Ballerina in the big city. Nick's feedback was that this book was too girlish, but did get that there was a lesson taught on following your dreams.

The Scritchy Little Twitchell Sisters - Resolving Conflicts - Written by Laura Aimee Garn and Illustrated by Erik Brooks. The title is a fun tongue twister to get the readers quickly interested in learning to read this book aloud. The sisters are constantly at odds with one another, which is not much different with two teen boys in my household. My sons are fifteen months apart and opposites.

The sisters destroyed their toys and made life so impossible for their parents that they divided up the house. Mrs. Twitchell and Lavinia lived in one half of the house with Mr. Twitchell and Emmeline on other side. All their belongings were divided, labeled and locked away. They had piano, dance lessons and a very busy lifestyle. Nick's impression was that the sisters constantly fight for the attention of their parents.

Pynx - Tolerance - Written and illustrated by Jeffrey Greene. According to Nick, there were lots of alien creatures on this strange planet when the Pynx arrives. It makes many sounds that confuses and angers them. They have to learn to coexist and tolerate one another on the same planet. The jungle creates were interesting looking.

Kick Block Punch and then Phynx were the favorite books of my son who is homeschooled. My son loves to draw creatures and is into animals. He was inspired to get out his sketch pad once again and write another book. His best one thus far is Ricky the Shark.

I also received a second set of these four books to giveaway. The rules for this are as follows:

Giveaway ends Monday, December 7, 2009 at 11:59pm EST. Open to U.S. addresses only. One winner will be selected at random and have 48 hours to respond or another winner will be selected. Be sure to leave a valid email address in your comment or have it readily available in your profile so that I may contact you if you're the winner.

Entries -

1. Please leave a comment indicating whether the books are for a boy or a girl.

2. Tweet this giveaway once a day - please post the status link to tweet.

3. Follow me on twitter

4. Leave a comment on any of my articles and leave title in comment section.

5. Sign up for my autism newsletter.

6. Post this giveaway on Facebook - use share this on sidebar - leave link to your wall

7. grab my blog button from sidebar - leave link to your blog in comment.

8. tweet any autism article from site using the icons at the bottom and leave status link in comment

9. Place an entrecard on my blog - leave me link to your entreard page

10. Follow my other two blogs and leave blog info in comments.

Please note that Pretty Please Press! sent me the books, therefore I am financially responsible for mailing these out to the winner, paying for box and postage.

I received the books in exchange for my honest review.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Explaining Birth Son to teen with autism

There is a new show on ABC entitled, Find My Family. This is from the producers of Extreme Makeover: Home Edition.

Today, November 22, 2009 is the day I gave birth back in 1978 to a son that I gave up for adoption through Catholic Charities in Newark, NJ. When I saw the commercial for the new show I did a google search, which led me to an email address for those who are interested in being on the show to contact. I did that and have yet to get a response.

So far this is okay with me as I have yet to inform my oldest son about my first born son. I wrote a Birth Mother's Open Letter back in 2000 when I had two toddlers on the autism spectrum. They are now teens, but Matthew would not really grasp the story.

The other day the commercial was on when Nick and I were watching TV and he told me it looked good and mentioned the bit about it being from same producers of the other show that we have watched over the years - although he mostly tuned in for the autism family stories/makeovers.

I am located in Los Angeles and noticed Lisa Joyner is one of the hosts and she was in Los Angeles news at Fox for many year so I think this is the home base of the show. I mentioned in my email that I have two teens on the autism spectrum and from NJ where I gave up son. I discussed wondering if he has any kids and if autism is in my genes and should he be notified of this. I forgot to note in my email that I turn 50 in April.

I almost started to tell Nick about my first born son but not sure what he will comprehend. I had an opportunity to write a letter and put in his file before he turned 18, just in case he had access to it or contacted Catholic Charities, but at that time I had received autism diagnosis and could not spend the time or money on a search.

I keep the information I have on Catholic Charities in my earthquake kit also.

Money Management Lessons

The other morning I decided to look at my checking acct balance online and was surprised to see a negative in red with overdraft balance listed. This was 5.42 and I thought I must have forgotten to note the recent Burger King transaction of $6.87, plus the prior day I had used my paypal card as a credit card and it was going to transfer a dollar and change from my checking acct as I had gone over and this is set up to do that.

I looked at my acct and register to see these were noted, but found online a charge for LA NEWSPAPER for $25.00. I called the number which was a recording saying the number for the paper and informing callers to tell the company that this was a personal number. I imagine this was the delivery person's phone number.

I was quite irate on the phone with customer service after being told this was the third charge from my checking acct for $25. There was one in July and September. I have no idea how I missed those, but am quite distracted being a single Mom to two teens on the autism spectrum with one being homeschooled and utilizing the computer for work.

I get a bill for the Los Angeles Daily News annually and give them my debit card for the payment, which has been $35.00 annually and I never gave authorization to use my card for future use. I have no paperwork citing this and did not sign anything. The customer service rep said I authorized it in July but could not come up with any print out for me. She said their site and info was recently upgraded. I asked for a history of my acct to show me how long I was paying the $35 fee and to see this in the mail, she could not produce anything like this.

She said she would put in for a refund of the November charge and I called my Bank. My first call resulted in finding out that they would do an investigation after the refund came through and I called to notify them and if that charge was the cause of the NSF - non sufficient funds they would reimburse me. I was concerned with the dollar and change charge from paypal that did not come through and wanted to find out if that would give me another $24.00 NSF fee and he said yes and would not be reversed.

My son Nicholas is homeschooled and this went on after his brother went to school on the bus and he woke up to some colorful language on my part. I had a stack of bank statements all over the kitchen table as I tried to find the previous $25 charges.

I got out a bank statement and a credit report to show Nick what happens when a credit card company sees you have NSF and how this can spiral out of control. I also found the papers from the bank on their fee structure showing if you have so many NSF charges in a year the fee rises. This was my attempt to cover myself and do a quick lesson in money management.

The big lesson was for me and the way I do my checking acct register. I look each item I have written up online and place a check mark next to them so that I have checks up and down the register. This is how I have done it for years but it is not foolproof as anything unexpected coming through would not be in my check register and would not get noted as I am looking from my register and not the actual withdrawals.

I am now changing that way of balancing. A few weeks ago I had noticed when checking to find out why balances were not the same a calculation error on my part, or so I thought where I misread a 2 for a 5 and added the $30 back in, which might be why I had not noticed the $50 already taken out (July and Sep)

I had to get to the laundromat and called from my cell the Bank again to put a dispute on the charge and I found out you have 60 days so the customer service rep was kind enough to place one on the Sep charge as well.

I wrote a review on some workbooks awhile ago. The very large Life Skills Activities book has a great section in it, Practical Living Skills with Money Management one of the chapters.

There are pages on Writing a Check that shows a blank check and the steps plus maintaining a checking account. I think it is time for Nick to learn this. We just recently started a chore system that is going well.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Screwed Over By Professionals

I have been thinking lately of how we as a family of two autistic teens have been treated by those professionals serving the disabled community. For nine years my son Nick attended the autism summer camp with Matthew being eight years. I start planning for camp early each year and due to this we do not sign up for Extended School Year , but that backfired this past summer.

A few years ago I read about a New Jersey Mom where the school her special needs child attended read and utilized her blog against her at the IEP. Because of this I have been lax in posting my true feelings about the camp issue this past year along with what happened with the behavior parent training a few years back through one agency and the clinic where Matt received Feeding and Floortime therapy.

But parents need to stick together and share both positive and negative experiences for others to glean from and determine what is the best resource for their kids. Quality control exists for a reason.

Camp abruptly was cancelled before the start of summer, but way after the deadline to sign up for ESY so Matthew had nothing for two months to keep his progress going and his decline was evident to his teacher at the start of this school year. Things he once was able to do had to be taught over. There were obvious deficits due to not having any services over the summer.

The camp ended their association with the State of California Regional Centers and proceeded to send the written exchanges they had to the families. I felt this was poor judgement to air their dirty laundry to the very people they serve. They basically left us hanging with nothing - there was not even a planned day for families to get together so the kids can see one another. After nine years this is how my son was treated and I felt it was unacceptable.

Over the course of the summer the Regional Center cut camps as a vendored option, leaving families scouring to find funding opportunities. Several weeks ago we started going to Kids Enjoy Exercise Now (KEEN LA) where we ran into a fellow camper that was in Nick's class for the previous two years.

For years I had been telling other parents and promoting online about the summer camp and now we are in the dark about what will happen next year. In talking to the other parent at the KEEN sessions she also did not get her daughter into ESY because of camp, but in spite of that her child still wants to go to camp next summer as does mine. It is a conflicting feeling and I wonder how they will contact parents in the coming year.

The Behavior parent training few years back was for a few months but the services were hardly professional. Since that experience the Regional Center has ceased doing business with that company, but after my calls to complain the so called therapist trashed me in the final report. This is why I hate assessments and reports.

The girl got the job from an ad on craigslist and tried to use her version of PECS with my nonverbal son Matthew. I explained to her that she was no speech therapist and to stick to the assessment plan. One session she brought a new therapist who had a low cut tank top on. I called the office to complain about their attire and the way the therapist conducted herself in my home.

The feeding therapy started years ago and went well for a long time until I requested the sessions to be at my kitchen where we needed the help. Matthew had no problems eating in their kitchens but the issues were here. There was never any organization to the sessions as the therapist would bring a piece of paper and never follow a plan or give me written directions. I asked many times to use foods that required a fork and spoon, but it was always foods that could be eaten by hand.

The visits to school were inconsistent and the same questions were asked each week. For months no one ever showed up and there was a huge gap in services offered. We were basically just left hanging and Matthew is back to eating limited foods.

I have run into the Occupational Therapist and Dietitian twice in the last year - once at a funeral and just last month they were presenters at a feeding seminar I attended. It is my belief that some professionals speak well on their topics and are good on paper, but fail in achieving success with the client.

I requested many times to get the copies of the videos they took of me and Matt, yet to this day nothing ever arrived in the mail. I wanted to see the progress and learn from these tapes, but they were too busy using them at their seminars to help other professionals instead of following through with their own clients. My son has suffered because of this.

The Floortime therapy was through the same clinic since we had a relationship with them, or so I thought. After a year at my home they stopped suddenly due to the therapist being allergic to cats and we had one from outside come inside. No one ever came again after that and just left my son in the midst of the progress with no help whatsoever.

It sure would be nice if the therapy remained consistent and the families received some guidance before it all ended. Thanks for nothing..

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Blog Tour for Gather.com

For the past several years I have been joining online communities to connect with other parents who have kids with autism. I started with epinions.com in 2000 before finding Gather.com in August of 2006 CafeMom.com was the following summer along with Wish Upon A Hero.com also known as WUAH, with Twitter.com June of 2008, as well as this blog last summer.

The summer months are when I come across these online communities and expand my relationships and do my part to promote autism awareness. There are many rewards to finding another community to become part of, plus you find some of the same friends from other sites. Each site has their own style so you get to gain new insights from those previous relationships while delving into new opportunities at each site.

I wrote about my impressions of Gather.com back in October of 2006. I was so enthusiastic with the site that I created almost twenty groups for members to belong to where they could post articles, videos, photos and comment on other posts. Every idea I had would mean a new group.

The site has grown and expanded with options over the years to include bookmarks and sharing of posts, pings on profile pages, spotlighting of our own articles for our profile page and having more information on members to help determine if you want to become friends. You can delete a comment on any of your posts, you can remove the option of ratings for anything you post also. Groups can be private for only family members if you choose. Your friends can be categorized by friends, family and colleagues. There are many options on gather.com to read and interact with others plus the fun in earning points for gift cards. The holidays are five months away - time to prepare is now.

Meet people and make new friends is the gather motto. Once you become a member you can search by your location, interest or age group to find conversations and groups to join. At your home page the links to utilize include:

my posts, my photos, my videos, my comments, my friends and my groups. Also the option for guarded viewing is on this page, plus email preferences, your account settings, friend updates are here and comments from your friends on posts around the site.

Your gather points are posted next to your photo or avatar. This is a clickable link so you can find the gift cards available for your point total. The minimum to redeem is 315 points. There are options to get paid through paypal as well. I received a Borders card in the mail today. I redeemed last month. The gather home office is in Boston, Founder and CEO is Tom Gerace. I still get notified when Tom writes a new post. The letter with the gift card thanks you for making gather such a special place. "We love sharing our success with you."

Just last month was an opportunity for the first 500 Gather Moms to fill out the 2009 summer survey and receive 50 gather points. There are competitions, author chats, review opportunities and contests to take part in on gather.com.

My teenage son has enjoyed over the years looking at photos of cats on gather.com. He will tell me what the rating should be and help with the comment. There are options to rate and comment posts, pictures and videos. You can set which groups are your favorite and change your settings to not receive emails from every group. If you join many groups there is the section at the bottom of your posts where you need t choose which group your photo, post or video gets linked up to.

Some groups are very strict in what they will accept, there are tags that are helpful to find posts as well. My groups are moderated so I need to go into my home page and click on group tasks to find the new content and approve it on a weekly basis. Gather.com also takes copyright infringement very seriously. There are groups on this topic as well.

You will meet many new people who share similar interests, post poetry, short stories, reviews of books and other products, share family experiences and post coupon codes to get deals at each week. Now for summer the reading is about vacations, picnics, movies, favorite television shows and recipes.

There was a children's health product that had been recalled. I wrote a post complaining about this and wanting to know what other parents were using. This article continued to get comments as it was found in online searches. Through these comments I learned of two new products that were just as good that I started purchasing and still use to this day.

At your home page you will see what your friends are posting, what activity is happening in groups, recent comments and photos. There are many groups to discuss and learn about the site as well. This past week there was an offer to win a free book

The first year I joined gather.com I stock piled 7 or 8 B+N gift cards for holiday shopping for my kids. Although B+N is no longer an option, Borders, Macy's and CVS have been my gift cards of choice since my first year. I have always received my gift cards within three weeks. You earn points for everything you do on the site. To join gather there are links for you to place on your blog or site, plus you can send invitations. There was a referral program with points earned for new members. I have had a banner on my blog since I started it.

I highly recommend other bloggers join gather.com to form new bonds with those who have similar tastes. There have been cruises for members to attend and meet in person. Members share about their writings and new books, family ventures and find out about other places around the world from the diverse mix of members from all over.

Some of the groups I created include:

autism families

associated content writers

Beauty 101

This is the first blog tour I have signed up with Mom Central since my blog was accepted into their program. Due to the fact that I have personal experience this is a perfect fit for me.

I wrote this review while participating in a blog and giveaway campaign by Mom Central on behalf of Gather. Mom Central sent me a gift cad to thank me for taking the time to participate.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

VizZle - Visual Learning Software Giveaway

VizZle - Visual Learning Software for Children with Autism is web-based from Monarch Teaching Technologies. This is the answer for teachers, therapists and parents for quick, easy and effective visual supports.

Back in March my high functioning son Nick and I went to the free exhibitor day at the CSUN Technology and Persons with Disabilities Conference. This is where I first saw and heard of VizZle. Awhile after the conference I noticed VizZle on twitter.

VizZle has a searchable library of lessons that range from state-standard academics to personal hygiene, matching boards, game-boards, interactive books and a visual language lab. Lesson tracking will be available by August. Currently there are token boards that can be customized, timers plus first-then boards.

You can match coins to their value, match coin images to written names, play the matching spider game, pick clothing appropriate for each season, learn about gardening, practice grouping animals in a table-top activity and for the next six weeks VizZle is giving away a $25 amazon card to the user with the most new lesson plans each week. There is a new winner every week. The site also has a free trial and there is a quick start guide to VizZle in pdf format.

There is also the option to take a one-hour VizZle training session. You can inquire about special group discounts for the school year 2009-10. The VizZle help section.

VizZle received a Best Education Software Award 2009 from Comput Ed Gazette. They are one of four finalists for the Technology Innovations Golden Lamp Award from AEP (the Association of Educational Publishers), which will be awarded in June. In mid April VizZle sent out their 1000th username and password.

I am thrilled to announce that Monarch Teaching Technologies, Inc. is giving away two 3-month subscriptions to VizZle to readers of Autism Family Adventures blog. This starts today and will run for one-week. This is a great giveaway for parents, teachers or therapists and gives you the summer to work on lesson plans and/or have your child practice learning while on summer break.


Please make sure I have a way to contact you should you be the winner. You can include your email address with your comment. Please do one comment for each entry.

For the main entry please post in comments whether you would use the three month free subscription to VizZle as a parent, student, teacher or therapist. What age group are the students or your child?

For extra entries leave a comment for each option

1 entry - subscribe to my RSS feed or via email
1 entry - follow this blog - can be found in the sidebar
1 entry - follow me on twitter (autismfamily) leave your ID
1 entry - follow @govizzle on twitter - leave your ID
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1 entry - tweet this giveaway - leave your twitter id & date of tweet
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1 entry - friend me on Facebook - Bonnie Sayers - leave me your name
1 entry - fan VizZle on Facebook - leave me your name
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2 entries - blog about this giveaway - leave blog link

If you already do any of the above, please note that with your ID in a separate comment for each.

This VizZle giveaway will run through Sunday, May 31, 2009 at 8 PM PST. The winners will be chosen using Random.org from all valid entries and notified via email. Both winners will have 48 hours to contact me before another winner is chosen. Giveaway is open to US, Canada and International users.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Twitter Sonrise Chat Log

This is the summize log from the twitter chat with Tali Berman, founder of Meir Autism Treatment Center in Israel that was held on April 28, 2009. Five copies of her book, Play to Grow! Over 200 games designed to help your special child develop fundamental social skills were given away during the twitter chat.

Welcome Tali - please tell us how you first learned of the Son-Rise program

I began with a family in 1997 and was amazed by the honoring approach and progress- child is fully integrated now

What are the 5 stages of development in The Son-Rise Program Developmental Model?

what age range do you cover in your teaching of sonrise?

do son-rise teachers work with therapists like OT and speech? is son-rise done at clinic or in home

5 stages are organized by skill level in 4 fundamental areas:eye contact, language, interactive attention span, flexibility

we work with children of all ages, including adults

can you share some of the games from the book?

Does sonrise target any specific behaviors? Can it help redirect behaviors?

yes, if child has specific need for those therapies. Typically done at home but games can be used in clinics as well

what does the Son-rise program maximum impact cover? How long was this? Do parents learn these programs too?

for sample game ideas see inside our book at our site www.meirautism.org- too little space here for more details

do you see many children with sensory challenges? is this covered in training?

can you explain the flexibility aspect as one of the stages? sonrise

Does sonrise target any specific behaviors? Can it help redirect behaviors?

book is more about teaching skills through interactive play than redirecting- though Son-Rise does address this

what are the 5 stages that are organized by skill level in 4 fundamental areas

do you attend IEP meetings and offer input to the goals?

how is sonrise different than floortime?

yes- the Israeli equivalent to IEP

does sonrise encourage siblings to be involved in playing and initiating games, etc?

what does a sonrise assessment consist of and how long does the therapy last?

play time is in specified room, repetitive play is joined not redirected and the parents attitude has big focus

only if sibling wants to participate if so than yes!

Do you guys offer any ideas on how to capture initial involvement in play?

Identifying where your child's skills are in 4 areas. Developmental model can be downloaded at www.son-rise.org

do you work on life skills, self-advocacy and/or social skills with adults

any tips on dealing with a child who seeks deep pressure often, my son wants on his chin

yes- this is key.playroom, fun props, your child's specific motivations during presentation and through out the game

yes- social skills, conversations skills, social cues, reading body language, asking personal q's, etc

Thank you! Was wondering about any play to help relax

Are the 5 stages of development considered sort of like a "trade secret" or are you allowed to share them?

give to him on ongoing basis- this can be used as leverage in game to keep him interested /willing to be challenged

Just too extensive to share in a sentence- stages are explained in full detail at www.son-rise.org, download check out

Have you found that your strategies help any child populations in addition to those on the spectrum?

A great 'hot dog ' game-try rolling him like a hot dog in a thin blanket- give squeezes and roll out- kids love it

Thank you! My son is very "hugged" inclined, we use to soothe a lot.

yes- any child with social and language challenges- many of our children are not on the spectrum

does therapy last more than one year? How do you know when to terminate - when move thru the 5 stages?

If the play time is in a specified room, what do you do with a child who consistently refuses to stay in the room?

there are dangers to rolling up in blanket, suffocation, need to be very careful with that

start with 15 minutes, build to more time, once the children see the fun they go in and shut door themselves

Specified room? Can we incorporate fresh outdoor play? And does it offer help with classroom transition or trans into adolescence

yes- of course with child's head out!

do you use sign language, comm devices or picture cards to communicate with nonverbal kids doing sonrise?

yes, plus too much pressure in chest area can suffocate a child..sounds like a great program tho, will def check out

In stages 4/5 games can be done outdoors, in earlier stages in the room. Son- Rise does address transition to school

Yes, but some kids strongly desire to run/move in larger area, really want to leave room, do you force to stay at 1st?

If appropriate for child- yes, still with focus on verbal lang

we do recommend closed/ locked door (if necessary)for initial transition into the room- again, most kids love being there

how long has this program been around?

I recommend mixing it up- 15-20 minutes in room, energetic outdoor activity then room again- building to more time

That makes total sense, but doesn't it kind of go against the Son-Rise principles?

Will program work with kids with Ds who are also on the spectrum?

I mean doesn't the closed/locked door sort of go against the basic Son-Rise principles?

One of few places we go against the child- once in the room they have total control- effective environment is crucial

Is there a specific room we should use for a playroom in the house that would work to our advantage? Dont have spare room here.

Interesting! What are some of the other ways you would go against the child's wishes?

If you don;t have spare room you can use child's bedroom- just need to modify it so it can be used effectively

If child was hurting himself, others or destroying property

how do sonrise teachers address biting and hitting during therapy?

In short (obviously a bigger discussion) being preventative, give alternative (chew toy to bite), praise when gentle

also offering deep pressure squeezes (if child lets) on head and rest of body- could be a way to release pressure

Does "being preventive" include changing gears when see behaviors coming, could communicate power through aggression?

changing gears just before the aggression, also tracking if there is link to foods, time of day, over stimulation, sleep

Thank you Bonnie for this chat. You are a force of nature! I hope all you winners out there get a lot from the book

So if change gears right before aggression, might still be pre-aggression behaviors, but you honor as communication?

Looking forward to new ideas and less frustration, thank u again

Thank you for sharing your time and talents!

You can check out @playtogrow book on #sonrise program at: http://meirautism.org/principles

Thursday, April 30, 2009

Joey Tote Bags Giveaway

I recently wrote a review on Joey Tote Bags at my personal blog. Chris & Kate of Joey Totes are offering two sets as a giveaway to my readers. A set consists of 1 large and 2 small sized tote bags.


Please make sure I have a way to contact you should you be the winner. You can include your email address with your comment. Please do one comment for each entry.

For the main entry please post in comments what you would use Joey Tote Bags for.

For extra entries leave a comment for each option

1 entry - list one of the cons or pros I have in my review
1 entry - follow this blog - can be found in the sidebar
1 entry - follow me on twitter (autismfamily) leave your ID
1 entry - grab my button from the sidebar - leave link to blog
1 entry - Fav Autism Family Adventures (this blog) in Technorati
1 entry - tweet this giveaway - leave your twitter id & date of tweet

This Joey Totes Bag giveaway will run through Wednesday, May 6, 2009 at 9 PM PST. The winners will be chosen using Random.org from all valid entries and notified via email. The winner will have 48 hours to contact me before another winner is chosen. Giveaway is open to U.S. residents only.

Muvee Reveal Information Plus A Giveaway

I have never made a movie online before or put something up on YouTube. It all seems too techy for me to figure out. I finally had the opportunity to make a movie through Muvee Reveal.

Animal Pics is the name of our Muvee Reveal , which consists of pictures from the Los Angeles Zoo, Sea World and the California Wildlife Center that had animals on stage Earth Day for the first day of showing Disney's Earth Adventure.

The download took over one hour to complete, which gave me a warning before the setup phase -

Your system does not meet the recommended system requirements of 1GB RAM and 128 MB dedicated Video RAM to run Muvee Reveal optimally. Overall performance may be sluggish especially when using High Definition material or saving option.

The setup took about another half hour before I finally got into the site to make my Muvee Reveal. The first step is to add pictures. They are loaded at the top of the page. In four easy steps we had Animal Pics.

1. Add photos or videos - we use pics from flip video camera
2. Choose the Style - we went with default, found options after finished
3. Select Music - I could not figure that out so I think it was default
4. Press play - I got a message a few times telling me that I needed to add more photos - I started at 12, ended at 18 with the message indicating I needed 6 more to have the pictures rotate faster to keep up with music.

Seems the pictures are slower in my Muvee Reveal due to the limited number of photos I uploaded. I liked the way the video turned out. It did not appear sluggish as the warning indicated after the download prior to setup. It seems 24 is the number of photos recommended.

The Reviewer's Guide really helped guide me through making my Muvee. There are 8 styles to choose from and at the end you can do a voice-over, put up a title and do the credits. Our microphone is not working but I did add a title and my name in the credits. There is a muveee share option for iPod, DVD burning and for various devices and through www.shwup.com you can import for private family album sharing.

There is a 15-day free trial at Muvee Reveal , as well as $20.00 off as a Mother's Day promotion.

Muvee Reveal is offering a CD program to one winner.


Please make sure I have a way to contact you should you be the winner. You can include your email address with your comment. Please do one comment for each entry.

For the main entry please post in comments who you would feature in your Muvee.

For extra entries leave a comment for each option

1 entry - subscribe to my RSS feed or via email
1 entry - follow this blog - can be found in the sidebar
1 entry - follow me on twitter (autismfamily) leave your ID
1 entry - grab my button from the sidebar - leave link to blog
1 entry - Fav Autism Family Adventures (this blog) in Technorati
1 entry - tweet this giveaway - leave your twitter id & date of tweet

This Muvee giveaway will run through Tuesday, May 5, 2009 at 9 PM PST. The winner will be chosen using Random.org from all valid entries and notified via email. The winner will have 48 hours to contact me before another winner is chosen. Giveaway is open to U.S. residents only.

Monday, April 27, 2009

A Few Autism Emotional Moments

As the parent to two teens on the autism spectrum I have not been through the stages some families go through during or after the initial diagnosis. I have never been in denial or cried for what could have been or lost time, etc. I read stories of how Dads are sad they will never play ball with their sons or whatever.

While I do not understand that since it is not the end of the world to have a child with autism or for the person who is on the autism spectrum I have had a few moments over the years when I got emotional.

The ones that I can recall are when I listened to Temple Grandin at a Back to School Conference in August held in Pasadena. I felt the tears start as I got up to leave the auditorium to see the exhibitor tables out in the hall. A little while later I went up to Temple at the table she was hanging out at and felt awkward trying to come up with something to say besides great speech. It was like meeting a celebrity.

The other day we went to the autism fair at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena. I was parking the car and got that emotional feeling come over me. It was quite a sight to see all these cars and families with their kids getting ready to do the fair and the walk. I am not sure if I was emotional because it was just me and my kids while the other vehicles had extended family members and friends with them or just knowing that this many families were at the same location at one time seemed amazing to me.

Then yesterday while I was agitated over some rude remarks on twitter my nonverbal son who likes to flip through the photo albums brought me one with a picture in his hand that fell out. He needed me to put the photo back into the plastic . I turned it over to see the first picture taken of him with me at the Hospital the day he was born. It was like he knew this was a special picture and it was a great moment to see that picture again after all these years. I got up from the computer and to be with my kid instead of dealing with individuals online that pushed my buttons.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Join The Play To Grow Twitter Chat

I am hosting a chat with author Tali Berman of Play to Grow! Over 200 games designed to help your special child develop fundamental social skills. This is taking place on twitter Tuesday, April 28th at 11 am PST.

The chat will last for one hour with five books to give away. If a winner is located in Canada or International they will get the book for free, but have to pay shipping charges.

The hashtag used for the chat and promoting the chat is #sonrise. Talia is a Son-Rise Teacher located in Israel. I am in California so this is the best time for both of us to have the chat.

Over 200 games designed to help your special child develop fundamental social skills, is the essential companion to The Son-Rise Program® Developmental Model. This user-friendly book contains 201 fun, creative and simple-to-prepare games.

The games are divided according to the 5 stages of development outlined in The Son-Rise Program Developmental Model, and each game is designed to address a very specific goal listed within each stage. Now parents simply need to locate their child’s level on the developmental model and use Play to Grow as their guide.

There are various twitter applications that you can use. I prefer www.summize.com where you would just type in #sonrise and follow along in real time and click reply to respond to a particular post.

When I attend twitter events I keep a window open to the host and another one for the guest and then one for summize. When you hit reply in summize it opens a new window in twitter with the @ sign ready to respond to that twitter member. You might want to close window when it has finished posting. You will also need to make room in your tweet for the #sonrise hashtag.

There is also www.tweetchat.com where you would sign in using your twitter ID and password and when it asks what room to enter you would type in #sonrise. I have tried it a few times. You do not have to keep typing in the hashtag if you use tweetchat.

Another option is to utilize www.tweetdeck.com. I went there once and got lost so never tried to figure it out. There are many twitter members that use this if you seek guidance. I would test it out now with other twitter gatherings that take place on a weekly basis like Monday nights it is #journchat and Tuesday evenings it is #gno (girls night out).

I suggest trying these out if you are new to twitter to see how real time chat events work and how they flow, etc. When you RSVP below in Mr Linky you will be using your twitter ID, not a website as this is a twitter chat and going to your website is not going to help another twitter member follow you at the chat.

Feel free to post relevant questions in the comments. This chat will last for one hour on Tuesday, April 28th 11AM PST, 2PM EST. Five copies of the book will be given away.

Twitter RDI Chat Log

This is a log of the tweets that were done using #RDI for the chat Friday, April 24, 2009 with the RDI Founder Steve Gutstein.

RDI stands for Relationship Development Intervention program - new book out called The RDI Book, read chapter at www.rdiconnect.com

A copy of the RDI Book will be given away during this chat as well #RDI this therapy is for PDD, autism, aspergers

RDI embraces the premise that all family members must be nurtured and cared for and that they all sink or swim together #RDI from the book

It is becoming increasingly clear to scientists that ASD derive from the failure of the brain to develop normal dynamic functioning. #RDI

here are some questions I have for @steveamherst on #RDI What are the most significant ways that RDI differs from floortime?

what are the age ranges for RDI, can a teen start doing RDI if not had any other therapies #RDI

Is RDI helpful 4 persons on the spectrum w/little language (verbal OR visual) and behavior probs?

RDI is not one specific technique. It is a new way of approaching ASD that can benefit anyone on the spectrum

RDI is based on empowering families

RDI is also based on recognizing that people with ASD are highly diverse in most ways

any tips for families dealing with self injurious behavior in young autistic children

RDI goal is providing potential for quality of life for folks with ASD

a new link now saying autism and anorexia, last few weeks was to vinyl flooring, what do you make of all these?

RDI consultants work with families on bio psycho social levels to customize

Process is disrupted in ASD due to neurological difficulties so dynamic intelligence doesnt develop

RDI started about 1999. Now 205 certified consultants, about 3,000 families in 18 countries

can you define "dynamic" functioning

What feedback do you receive most often from RDI families? (I'm an RDI parent. Husband & I have 11 yo Aspergers)

Parents report significant increase in child's flexibility

Parents report tremendous increase in child's desire to "open" their world to new experiences

Dynamic functioning means being able to solve real-world problems and participate in the flow of everyday life

can you give an example in flexibility?

RDI is also based on recognizing that people with ASD are highly diverse in most ways

Dynamic Intelligence is the single most important predictor of future success

any advice for parents of kids who are biters to themselves - self injurious behaviors?

do RDI consultants come to IEP meetings? Do they help with goals? how many hours does one usually do of RDI a week

For self injurious we first need to understand why

Is the behavior an avoidance? Is it a temporal lobe dysfunction?

What people with ASD have in common is that their brains don't develop in integrated manne

is there any connection to stuttering and autism?

People with ASD are much too diverse to ever give an "ASD answer" or solution without knowing that individual

what is the oldest person you know of who receives RDI

I am suspicious of those professionals who claim they know "the answers" for everyone on the spectrum

any advice on perseverations for a teen, should they be limited to specific times to speak on favorite topic?

my son is HFA (14) homeschooled for Middle school yrs, was in gen ed, he needs to say good bye to animal tv shows

If your teen wants to perseveratively talk to him or herself I wouldn't try to limit it. But I wouldn't let them do it with you

he was so upset crying the other day because the cat distracted him & he could not say goodbye to show, stumped me

RDI consultants can help you with IEP's. You and they set very specific goals and have very clear objectives

RDI is teaching your family how to be super functional and you to be optimal guide of children's mental development.

third person to tweet to me what RDI stands for gets the new RDI Book

can you explain the readiness stage of RDI

what are yr thoughts on taking RDI to developing countries where the need for need is great but the cost of RDI too high?

No connection I know of between stuttering and ASD

People with ASD typically have several co-occurring disorders

I like the information on scaffolding in The RDI Book, can you explain about that now

what are yr thoughts on taking RDI to developing countries where help is needed but cost of RDI to high

I love the fact that #RDI equips parents to be the ultimate guides as they work through process as a family. Progressive!

what are your thoughts on eye contact, is it required with #RDI?

Scaffolding is learning how to take a mental process and gradually transfer it from yourself to the child

We carefully select a mental objective from the approx 1,000 I wrote that are developmentally staged

We make sure child is ready and we have developed mental foundations for it

good info in the RDI Book on meaningful activities, can you share some here on twitter?

Then parents and consultant collaborate on a plan to break it into small steps and gradually transfer responsibility for it

how does RDI work with nonverbal kids, do consultants use pecs or devices, are they trained or learn thru family?

We are carefully building dynamic brains and minds

Responsibility means the child knows that from now on they are responsible for the mental process

Something like Piaget's scaffolding/concrete operational stage? Systematic

For example - from now on child must check to see that he or she is coordinating actions with partners

Or checking to see if others understand and are interested in what he is communicating

For older kids augmented communication might be necessary to provide purely instrumental, means-to-ends communication

Professionals can go to our website www.rdiconnect.com and find out information about becoming an RDI consultant

last call for questions for RDI Founder Steve Gutstein @steveamherst

It takes about 12-18 months but folks can do almost all training (except 3 wks.) in their local area

Your thoughts on RDI in conjuction with other therapies (ABA, VB, Floortime, etc) vs a 'strict' RDI approach?

OK. Well I have to get to the airport. Thanks for the opportunity

thanks to all who participated in #RDI chat sorry about twitter glitch

Thursday, April 23, 2009

A Free Premium Membership Weekend to Find Help at Care.com

I have been spending the last few days at Care.com checking out the free premium membership offerings that are available this weekend. It starts off at midnight pacific time Friday, April 24th and goes through this weekend.

I had heard of www.care.com but honestly I never really knew what the site was about. I am glad I had the opportunity to explore this site in detail because what I found was very organized search options for finding special needs care.

As the parent to two teens on the autism spectrum I require someone with related experience pertaining to behavior, feeding, communication, stimming, bathing/grooming and hygiene. I prefer them to have their own transportation and to be a non-smoker.

Your search can be limited to availability on short notice, various age groups, individual or company, hourly rate, age of caregiver, mileage from the home, disability and key words.

The initial search for someone to care for special needs has a drop down box with disabilities that include:

Blindness/Visual Impairment
Cerebral Palsy
Down Syndrome
Food Allergies
Fragile X
Seizure Disorder
Sensory Integration Disorder
Speech Delay
Tourette Syndrome

The next step is to input your zipcode and choose the mileage in five mile increments from 1-50. There will be a list in the middle of the page with results showing ten possible caregivers per page. This list can be changed according to age, name, city, experience, distance, membership length and refine the search. I have done this several times, changing the distance and the care service experience.

In all honesty it can be a bit overwhelming to see all the options to find someone to assist in the care of the special needs child. The profile pages of the caregivers contains all sorts of data at your fingertips.

I searched using "autism" in the keyword and also wanted to only see profiles of members with a photo and who had logged in within the last two weeks. This can also be last week or last month. I specified wanting experience with teens. This has the age range of 12-17. Another option here is if they are comfortable with pets. This I did not check off since we only have a cat.

The general information in this refined search has drop down boxes for the provider's age, gender, language and hourly rate. I left the default "any" for provider age, gender and hourly rate on all my special needs searches. I specified for housekeeping female only.

Some of the options for care service experience you can search include:

Assistive Technology/AAC
Behavior - Applied Behavior Analysis
Brushing Protocol
Epi Pen Injections
G Tubes
Respiratory Care
Sign Language
Stimming Attendance

There is also a willing to learn section - if that box is checked the caregiver is open to learning new skills. Under other services the options cover - medical transport, errands, shopping, laundry, meal preparation and housekeeping. There is another box for choosing part or full time plus live-in or out.

I really limited my results when I chose AAC and stimming, which left me with no one. Once I changed my search choices I found 6 caregivers within my categories. Their profiles had some interesting information for me to limit my choices even further.

At the profile of the caregivers I saw the last time they logged in, their reviews if any, their certifications, their background check - which is a verification of their social security number and a national criminal records search. You need to apply to obtain this information if it is readily available at their profile. The reviews are also available in audio. I found one profile that had one waiting for approval.

The profile has their name, age, years of experience, hourly rate, availability, response to messages, ratings, diagnosis experience, specific care experience, additional options, qualifications, education, language. There is a check mark indicating experience. The chart lists all days of the week and time frames with checks for openings.

What really caught my eye was not responding to all messages as I found some that had 50% listed there. I was quite interested in the blurb the caregivers used to describe themselves. I would think of this like the opening paragraph of a resume. The remarks by some had nothing to do with caring for special needs or their terms used were not appropriate.

I would prefer someone with CPR, First Aid for their qualifications. One of the choices in my search had let these expire but was willing to take them. I was surprised at this statement as I would rather someone want to do this on their own to speed up the hiring process.

There are green tabs at the top of each profile so you can switch over to child care, tutoring, pet care, housekeeping and senior care. These are all dependant on what the specified caregiver is interested in providing at www.care.com. One profile I read had housekeeping and tutoring while some others just had child care and special needs.

The other options in the green tabs is the contact to send a message, reviews to read, background check, videos and your notes on this profile. The notes are for your eyes only.

I like that there is a page for me that shows my messages, my stats, care exchanges, my jobs, my favorites and my profile and settings. When I logged back into the site my messages were at the home page for me to review. My stats showed that I sent 3 messages and received 1 reply, plus that I had logged in five times. I have two profiles in my favorites and two emails. When the background check was approved by the caregiver for me to access I received an email.

The care exchange is a way for caregivers to get service from other members/caregivers. I uploaded a profile picture and my settings allowed for me to receive listings of new members in my area and for weekly care tips and advice.

While in the special needs section at the main page for the initial search I noticed this was also an area for articles. I did not see anything pertaining to autism at the present time.

I received an email with profiles showing all new members in my location. I contacted two for special needs with specifics for summer help to go to a conference. The one reply said she is a college student and not sure her summer schedule yet. I also contacted one person in regard to Housekeeping. That is also an extensive search. I utilized bathroom, kitchen, windows and refrigerator cleaning for my housekeeping search.

They also have oven cleaning, attic or basement cleaning, pet cleanup, plant care, house sitting, laundry, dishes, cabinet cleaning. Too bad they did not have painting, but they did have wall cleaning, which is something a family with a child on the autism spectrum can surely use.

I rent the stove and refrigerator and would like to get my own refrigerator, so this is something of interest. I asked in my email how long it would take to do this type of job and what it entailed.

The hourly rates for special needs varied from $10-15 all the way to almost $50 per hour. The housekeeping was less expensive. I am looking forward to finding someone to meet my two search requests. The summer camp wants parents to go to a group orientation in June and children are not allowed. I need to find someone for a few hours one evening. Also every August is an autism conference on a Saturday and Sunday. I am waiting to see the schedule and considering going if I can find someone to watch my sons for about 6 hours one day.

I do have respite care through the Regional Center here in California, they pay very low and there is a revolving door. I have a problem with them not speaking English clearly and am hoping the results will be rewarding through Care.com.

I hope these details are helpful to other autism families, as well as other special needs so that you will sign up for the free premium membership this weekend to find care. We all need to take care of ourselves, an evening out for dinner, the movies, a concert, a day spa are all something to consider when you find the right caregiver at www.care.com.

Mother's Day is a few weeks away while summer is just around the corner. Maybe you need the house cleaned up, the dog taken for walks while away for a few days or at work long hours, or someone to assist with some light chores or child care.

I suggest taking advantage of the FREE Premium Weekend at www.care.com. I liked the layout and options so much that I am considering offering services in the fall to other families of special needs kids for mornings or senior care to help out another caregiver that may need a few hours break.

I hope to see you at www.Care.com

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Twiter Notes From Autism Webinar on Multi-Treatments

I belong to the Spectrum Gold Club through www.momsfightingautism.com at the cost of $14.95 per month via paypal. Through the club I get advanced notice of the free webinars, that are moderated by author Chantal Sicile-Kira and transcripts from the webinars at a later date.

This webinar took place on Monday April 20, 2009 with Jonathan Alderson in Canada as the guest. He specializes in merging best-practice strategies and techniques into cohesive customizes Multi-Treatment Interventions. His website is Intensive Multi-Treatment Intervention.

The following are the tweets I posted on my twitter page that I was able to gather. My son was in the kitchen at the same time so it was hard to get all the information.

After the introduction Jonathan gave some background information on himself. He went on to mention the principles for choosing a treatment plan.

1st principle to choose treatment program is to start with idea that dx of autism is multifaceted and multi factorial, not just 1 modality

physical health of child needs to be a priority

child has bowel issues, distended stomach, diet intervention working in conjunction with medical Drs within 2-4 months kid did play therapy

principle # 3 each indiv treatment/strategy (slp, ot, music) chosen & brought into an indication that are pre conditioned and timing

try behavior or swimming with other programs you are doing, ask W questions to therapists - what is this specifically for?

be wary if they say the product helps everything, which symptoms does it address and doesn't address, when (HBOT) is best time/age?

don't start HBOT first, do other Biomedical treatments first, this one company turned parents away, principle - which area does it work on

multi treatment does not mean doing them all at the same time or at once, review program that is happening already, might be able eliminate

service providers need to talk to one another, tell a parent if the treatment is not the right one, maybe try this one first

where do all the treatments fit in the map, now taking questions that were sent in, first from Puerto Rico asking about RDI and floortime

both programs fit under a play based model plus social and maybe even use pieces of both to address social dev and social communication

can start with play therapy and move on to behavioral therapy, might have better eye contact spontaneously,now structured adult led learning

son is 6 & does not speak, speech therapy is useless, what can I do. He says consider physical help, high # of kids have chronic ear infect

it is possible that certain sounds they are sensitive too, only one example, not for all nonverbal children, a health concern related?

go beyond hearing tests, speech therapy is low frequency & he says not enough, make sure the SLPs are teaching parents techniques to do home

parent needs to be included or switch therapists with someone who includes you the parent,also make language and talking a game rather than

an exercise that is controlled, be playful with words, mom pours juice, next time sing orange song in a playful way, make language engaging

the child may tug on parent to let them know they want song to sing again, also Chantal says might be motor problem, they need alternative

means of communication, many scared that they will not learn to speak if have a device to communicate, this is not true, will help speech

the focus could than be on the inappropriate behaviors instead of teaching to communicate, don't isolate out language, look at bigger picture

question now on stimming 4 yr old with classic autism likes air conditioners and fans, some say stop them from self stimulating, he is not

investigate - maybe biochemical - beta carotene someone named Mary M published papers on - peripheral vision, hand clapping

Dr in NY Kaplan specializes in vision a therapy not the colored ones but this is lenses that are designed to help depth perception

I typed biochemical, mistake he said bio medical both times

I just submitted a question about my sons vocal tics - burping and then asked about brushing protocol

other callers said the other kid could have yeast over growth

learn how to ask questions if the therapist cannot answer maybe find another one his website is www.imti.ca

next question about B12 shots, he is not a med Dr - personal opinion says there is good research on the B12 shot comparing to creams/spray

he has started four DAN conferences, last one in San Diego, he started long time ago, in Washington, NJ he was invited to Physician training

what does he think of the gfcf diet - what to do and when, specifically to eliminate the proteins in wheat and milk, families in conj w/Dr

a peptide test will tell them if the child needs those eliminated, determine if child needs it or not, dont jump in, others say just try it

at least close to a yr to get results, cannot determine in a few months, make sure full range of nutrition they are getting, SDC appropriate

gfcf does not address a yeast issue where SDC is, Chantal gets responses on trying the gfcf diet for a few months, at least 8 months

gfcf does not address a yeast issue where SDC is, Chantal gets responses on trying the gfcf diet for a few months, at least 8 months

autism can be co morbid with other disorders, can have aspergers and depression

In this brief presentation he will share his insights into how to effectively combine treatments

paying specific attention to phases of development, the order and timing of treatments.

GRASP is good advocacy program, 50% of the board are on the spectrum, also cognitive therapy is good to learn from #asd #autism

Brenda Smith Myles book and Chantal 's book on life skills are both recommended, she touted her own book, but it is good I have it

a teen with aspergers needs to have fun social experiences need a balance not only interact with just therapists #aspergers #asd

Chantal talking about her son who is 20 and he wants to have more friends and a girl friend, he is practicing at various locales, beach

next question about natural healing - oil of oregano, he runs a program with families following DAN protocol

dont do protocols under your own direction, find someone with state certification need right dose, etc.

they have not asked my question, this one is 12 yr old boy with PDD-NOS, tested for mercury levels, he has high levels,

now on vaccine schedule he said the Mom should go to a DAN conference, now about chelation - he has worked with kids with IV chelation

kids had other therapies so not scientific studies to see if was specific to chelation when memory improved

can adults benefit with auditory and music therapy, what about HBOT for adults, maybe higher functioning, they need to be participating

include the adults in the decision process for their own therapies, caregivers supporting the person, helpers believe help is possible, be +

auditory therapy - analyze what can help for them her son Jeremy has written a lot down and is publishing it,. he started vision therapy 19

the treatment map evolves with each new strength, clear up one issue like hyperactivity use play therapy first, by third phase better

isolate on other distractions to get their language

in the first instance make trial in ABA make more varied, opposite of how ABA is applied, a bit of reconstruction of ABA model,

don't prescribe the interactions, in a strict ABA each therapist is strict to give same verbal inst, he allows therapists to instruct dif way

kids can function in this way, all with autism dont need instruction the same way, change up where therapists sits or change their tone

Chantal says generalization to start with changing one thing at a time, good at ABA change tone but not stimuli, keep same tone & then chng

use puppets to practice scripts, play around and testing boundaries

get a session of therapy recorded and try to implement it, not an extra burden for parent to become therapist, use strategies at home

treatment effect speeds up as consistency across the environment and teach other therapists to do it too, ABA and speech, etc connect

a conduit for generalizing therapists, next question from CAIRO asking about homeschooling and HBOT for autistic infant at 2 yrs old

HBOT are used throughout North America in hospitals, for an infant need to speak to a Dr, not going to do an opinion

lets list what are your financial resources, family support, time, professional, do an inventory to see if comfortable to do homeschool

socializing is to be placed with other children and adults, research child can benefit from socializing in peer groups and play,

low eye contact, close to no language, more intensive adult led program best to begin with

toileting methods with severely autistic children, his method is - consider biomedical, autism correlated with gut issues, if kid has gut

seal up the gut issues of constip, diar, etc before trying toileting, kid could be in pain, no tug of war or effort until gut is resolved

if child is fairly regular, make toilet/washroom a place where the child has control - not an area to forced to sit on toilet -user friendly

keep consistent - associate bathroom with diaper changes 99% of time get them into the bathroom and do it beside toilet, yoga mat to use

keep all the supplies stocked in the bathroom, diapers, wipes, step one, two is how you respond & react with facial expressions, attitude

parents in gest and fun and the parents make comments about the diaper, the msg child gets that this is something they are not happy about

the presentation is to take off diaper, look at child even if not looking back, and voice is calm, enthusiastic, you did a ---- this is good

give the message that he did the pppp and the attitude is really important, empty contents into the toilet, make association - visual behav

pretend if not able to get into toilet and verbalize, once they are wiped, clothes on and they get to flush, he encourages use tp so kid

can see the process of taking the toilet paper off the roll and putting in toilet, than use the wipes to clean them up better,no force flush

empower the child to take control of their own body, encourage rather than force

child might not be ready due to hypotonia, an accessory is a foot stool for child to have feet flat and supported, can relax muscles

some books say take kids once an hr, he says no get more blanks and false negatives, no person on the planet goes once an hour

kids have a hard time feeling their body, this girl sets an alarm to remind herself to go to bathroom every few hrs when out in public

adults have told Chantal that they cannot tell the difference between a full stomach and having to go to the bathroom, timer helps them

if your child holds bowel movements until they come home - theory is that school overwhelmed they are more comfortable at home, so can go

some children with sensory issues modify bathroom with a rug - could have auditory challenges, bathrooms are super echoy & the flush

if a kid talks softly, covers ears often than use the rug and do not have them flush, paent can flush for them, tiles and seats cold, warmup

best way to find therapists in your area - he says parents ahead of you are beating the path, dont recreate the wheel with research

save parents hours of finding stuff, local support groups, list at ARI of DAN Dr's, the list is for Canada and other countries, TACA

TACA has real time chat now, local ASA chapters (I always say this)

they never did my question about brushing protocol

interview the professional - open to work with team members, do not engage in contract with someone not willing to engage with others

are they personable to you, your the child's advocate, how do they respond to you, parent friendly therapist

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Henry Ford Health System Autism Conference

Henry Ford Center for Autism and Developmental Disabilities (CADD) held the Living With Autism Workshop on Thursday, April 16th in Troy, Michigan. The workshop was tweeted in real time on twitter. Some of the information was retweeted later by Henry Ford News.

Due to the time difference as I am in California I was not able to follow along. I was given permission to post the tweets from the workshop, so these are the ones I collected. This lists the breakout sessions.

Check out live updates of our autism workshop Thursday, 8:30 a.m. here on Twitter. More info about the workshop: http://tiny.cc/eaj23

Tweeted by @metroparent and @henryfordnews

Hi Everyone. The Living with Autism Workshop in Troy will start in a half-hour or so. I'll be tweeting live here today, so stay tuned

Just talked to Amy Sanderson of EMU's autism center. Her 6-year-old son Owen has autism. Nice lady

We're putting together an advisory board for Special Edition, our special needs publication. Amy may be a great candidate

Our keynote speaker today is Eustacia Cutler, her daughter is Temple Grandin, the renowned animal behavior expert and best-selling author

Ruth Robbins, Metro Parent's associate publisher, is giving opening remarks.

Full crowd. Jill Robinson of Madonna University is talking now. Small university with a big heart, she says.

Their graduate program in autism is a great program for educators.

Madonna University faculty is teaching some of the breakout sessions today. "We're here to share our knowledge," she said.

Dr. Charles Barone of Henry Ford Health System is making remarks now. They're real pioneers on autism care and have a new center.

At Henry Ford, we're committed to helping children with autism and their families," he says. Talks about the autism clinic.

Offers comprehensive plan for patients with autism. Something that's music to the ears of parents with kids with autism.

Pediatricians feel frustrated at times. We don't have a silver bullet to treat autism," Barone said.

That's why the professionals at Henry Ford offer comprehensive treatment. It's not one treatment fits all kids, he said.

I'm at the Establishing Verbal Skills for Children with Autism, presented by Kaufman Children's Center's Nancy Kaufman

Deals with childhood apraxia of speech (problems with talking), which affects around 40 percent of kids with autism

Some kids can produce oral movements, but may not be able to produce oral motor movements

There are "pop-out" words sometimes, though. The child says cookie all of a sudden when he sees one, but may not be able to talk on request

Some kids have "marble mouth" communication, where words are garbled.

Kids who can't understand spoken language will memorize key words to get by, kind of like a person trying to speak a foreign language

Two-tong approach to help: teach how to talk physically and teach them how to understand language.

Methods to help kids get ready for vocal imitation...

Use sign language as a bridge. Have a child make a sign for general words like more, done, want. Leaves too much guess work of child's wants

Kaufman's teaches more specific signs for each child. Avenue to communication. Pair with vocals later.

Kaufman protocol is a behavioral shaping approach

kids can struggle pronouncing consonants. They help kids get close to that consonant as a bridge to the real sound.

test kids to figure out what vowels, consonants and combinations a child can produce

Work with kids on the syllable combinations that are hard for them

All the while working with child to improve vocalization

Kids still sign words too. They don't let go of sign until they have mastered pronunciation of that word.

Don't deal with strings of words until kids have mastered words that they use most

Some words are easier to say, kids should practice those for oral motor skills strengthening
Kids with autism tend to cut off last part of word, which can be really important to be understood

After a while, introduce pivot words that are used in combination with a couple other words. "Move the door." "On the desk."

If kids thumps on door to communicate he wants to go out

...don't just open the door, ask "Do you want to go out? Tell me you want to go out

Many children learn from memorization, so it's important to say things in a way that they would sound natural repeating it....

Say "I want a cookie." instead of "Do you want a cookie?" for instance

Parent asks: "Can all children learn how to speak?" Good question

Answer: At least all children should be able to achieve "functional communication."

Important to create a "willing and cooperative learner" for success

Pairing is critical, creating a connection with educator

For good communication, a child must learn to make requests, which are called mands. Very difficult.

Tact is a label for something. Cookie. Door. Chair. Spoon

echoic is vocal imitation

These and more are some of the classifications of language

Signs are important, but always should be paired with vocal approximations

If child requests something (huge in communication), it's important that you give them what they want. Reinforcement!

Now in ABA and TEACCH: Merging Methods in the Classroom, presented by Hilary Hitchcock of Madonna University.

TEACCH stands for Treatment and Education of Autistic and Communications-Handicapped Children

First of importance is having a physical space for learning

Next is creating a daily schedule (pictures or words) to help understand sequence of events in day.

Then Work system. What work needs to be done? How do we know when it's done. What happens then?

Having visuals for students clarify the communication process

Pictures of choices for free time paired with words helps kids absorb information.

visually structured tasks is another key to teaching autistic children. Gives kids help in taking next steps

Written instructions important, too, even for those who can't read. Helps them get familiar with words

Visual organization of items needed for a task in one container helps limit child's focus and keep his attention.

Limit the materials, too, so not to overwhelm

ABA, or Applied Behavior Approach, is often used. Includes individualized programming for each individual student.

Prompts are an important part of ABA. Pointing to a stop sign. Picking child up when you want him to stand up.

You can prompt verbally, with gestures, physically or environmentally (placing a cup in front of child to prompt milk request.

Schedules are important to kids with autism. Helps them expect and reach appropriately to what comes next in day.

Remember: visual cues are important. Show a bus and write the word for getting off the bus to school

visual schedule for going to the bathroom is a great example. Pull pants down. bathroom duty (wait one minute), etc. wash hands

visual schedule for washing hands, too. wet hands, get soap, rinse, dry

Great for helping kids with independent work, too. Put items in order of need for the task you want child to complete

Put items in top to bottom, left to right order to prepare or cement reading pattern. (cool tip)

Timers can give kids cue that certain part of schedule is over and time to move on to new task on schedule

Rewards, of course, helps kids keep motivated to stay on task

For older kids, give them coins they can use to trade for a cookie or treat over time. Helps them learn lesson in money, too.

Colors really help kids key into important concepts and cues

Label different classrooms with numbers and colors, so they can navigate better. "I have second session in the pink room," he can think.

Simple changes and deviations can help create a system unique to each child

Some kids respond to colors, others pictures, others numbers. Still, always include words

create work stations by using colored duct tape to differentiate each area

Have portable cards with pictorial instructions to take when kid is out and about, at gym or somewhere else.

The primary lessons: organization is key. Variety in prompts (color, words, pictures) are too.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Join the RDI Twitter Chat with Steve Gutstein

Please join me as I host an "author chat" on twitter Friday, April 24th at 2:00 PM Central Time, 3PM Eastern time, which happens to be Noon for me on the west coast. The guest will be Dr. Steven Gutstein, the founder of The Relationship Development Intervention Program, also known as RDI.

RDI® is a program for educating and coaching parents and teachers of children with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) and others who interact and work with the child. It is a 'mission oriented' program. This means that it is not wedded to any specific techniques.

The mission of RDI® is to develop the most effective methods to remediate those specific deficits which impede people on the autism spectrum from productive employment, independent living, marriage and intimate social relationships.

Dr. Gutstein will be discussing his latest release, The RDI Book: Forging New Pathways for Autism, Asperger's and PDD with the Relationship Development Intervention Program.

The hashtag to be utilized for the author chat is #RDI. There are various twitter applications that you can use. I prefer www.summize.com where you would just type in #RDI and follow along in real time and click reply to respons to a particular post.

When I attend twitter events I keep a window open to the host and another one for the guest and then one for summize. When you hit reply in summize it opens a new window in twitter with the @ sign ready to respond to that twitter member. You might want to close window when it has finished posting. You will also need to make room in your tweet for the #RDI hashtag.

There is also www.tweetchat.com where you would sign in using your twitter ID and password and when it asks what room to enter you would type in #RDI. I have tried it a few times. You do not have to keep typing in the hashtag if you use tweetchat.

Another option is to utilize www.tweetdeck.com. I went there once and got lost so never tried to figure it out. There are many twitter members that use this if you seek guidance. I would test it out now with other twitter gatherings that take place on a weekly basis like Monday nights it is #journchat and Tuesday evenings it is #gno (girls night out).

I suggest trying these out if you are new to twitter to see how real time chat events work and how they flow, etc. When you RSVP below in Mr Linky you will be using your twitter ID, not a website as this is a twitter chat and going to your website is not going to help another twitter member follow you at the chat.

Feel free to post relevant questions in the comments. Follow Dr Gutstein on twitter. Find me on twitter . Read a sample chapter of The RDI Book.

This chat will last for one hour on Friday, April 24th 2PM CST, 3PM EST & Noon for PST. A copy of The RDI Book will be given away during the chat.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Service Dogs Have Appeal to Autistic Son

Last month I took my 14 yr old high functioning son Nicholas with me to the free exhibit day at the CSUN Technology and Persons with Disabilities Conference. A new roof was being put on the house we rent and I wanted him to get out of the house. He is homeschooled with California Virtual Academy.

This was the first year I have been able to attend to see all the exhibits. It is something I have known about since Matthew was in preschool and the AAC Accessor mentioned the conference to me.

This is an annual conference held at Hotels near LAX. Now that Matthew takes the bus and goes to Middle School I had enough time to drive over there and back before he arrived home. I do plan on writing about the exhibits I checked out over at Autism Spectrum Disorders.

I finally got to organize all the pamphlets and sample Cd's I got from the expo, but thought I would post here on the blog instead about the Service Dogs that were all around the exhibit halls at both Hotels.

The exhibit halls were all organized according to disability. There were many tables and displays for the visually impaired. This meant people bringing their service dogs. Nicholas is scared of dogs. During the eleven years we have lived at this house there have been many dogs in the neighborhood. We are a cat family and some dogs have chased and even killed cats.

One of the reasons he never took to bike riding is because all the kids that learn on the street have to endure the barking dogs from a few homes. The same with the skateboarders too.

Nicholas pointed out the service dogs to me. Some even had signs around their necks saying they were working and not to pet. There was no barking at all. Some dogs even seemed to be socializing with other dogs as they were grouped together when their owners were having a conversation.

We went to the second Hotel to see the tables and noted there were not too many service dogs at this location. We headed across the street to Burger King for lunch. Nick wanted to go back into the first Hotel where we had parked to do one more walk around the exhibits to see the Service Dogs again.

He also got to enjoy seeing the planes come in for landing and a few demonstrations of communication devices that would be a good fit for Matthew someday in the future. Nick talked about the dogs on the way home and for days later. He has started watching the Dog Whisperer again and the Dog Championship show recently on Animal Planet he put on DVR to see again.

Being around the Service Dogs gave him some confidence to be more comfortable around dogs. He even said he may try petting a dog someday. I thought this was such a positive experience for him that was so unexpected. I just wanted to get him out of the house and be the extra set of hands to carry more stuff for me.

It was nice to hear him talk about a different animal rather than just cats all the time.
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