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 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 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 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 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 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 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

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 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

I have been spending the last few days at 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 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 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

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

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 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

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Twiter Notes From Autism Webinar on Multi-Treatments

I belong to the Spectrum Gold Club through 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

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:

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 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 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 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.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Some New Skills For My Autistic Son

We are wrapping up spring break for my son Matthew while my other son Nicholas has been on his spring break from California Virtual Academy since Friday. As I mentioned in recent articles Matthew has been in good moods lately and not having serious behavior issues.

I wanted to make note of some new skills he has shown this past week. Normally when Matthew comes home from school he will just leave his jacket somewhere in the living room on his way to the bedroom to remove his sneakers. He will place the sneakers in the crate where shoes are stored. Next he goes through his backpack for homework.

While we went on some errands this past week Matthew removed his coat and then proceeded to fix the arms so they were not inside out. He left the jacket on the bed instead of the floor.

The weather here has been mixed with one day wearing short sleeves and no jacket, but then the following day needing a jacket. I had asked Matthew to get his jacket. He brought me his heavier jacket so I told him that was not the right one. A few seconds later he was in front of me with the same jacket along with a hanger. I was impressed since it is hard for him to reach the bar with the hangers.

When I ask Matthew to remove his socks he will just take them off and leave them there on the floor inside out. This week he sat there and fixed them by inserting his hand in and pulling the sock out. This is much better than a rolled ball of socks on the floor.

I usually give him his meds around 5:15 so that he is asleep between 7:00 and 7:30 pm. On spring break I wanted to sleep in a little so I gave him his meds later, one day by even an hour. He still wanted to go to bed at the same time. He knows what show is on Noggin when he is in bed, so there was no escaping the usual bedtime.

He has two bottom corner teeth coming in, which appears to be bothering him as he is putting his hand in his mouth to touch them. He now is going to the mirror in the kitchen and regularly looking at himself. I have never seen him do this before and not even Nicholas who is 14 does this. It is funny to see Matt look in the mirror, open his mouth and look inside. Plus he is touching his hair and smiling or laughing at the mirror. He seems like a young teen checking himself out.

While at the grocery store he chose a box of unsalted saltines. I figured if he was not interested in eating them they were good for soup for me and Nicholas. Turns out Matthew likes the saltines and handed me the last package from the box this morning to put into a baggie so he can have some throughout the day.

Matthew will turn 13 on June 30th. He loves to look through photo albums.

Friday, April 3, 2009

Dei Fratelli Products for Gluten Free Twitter Party

Dei Fratelli is donating a case of their gluten free products for the gluten free twitter party being held Friday, April 3rd.

Dei Fratelli is a preferred tomato brand sold throughout the United States, offering whole, diced and stewed tomatoes, tomato juice, tomato sauce, pizza sauce and more,

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Enjoy Life Foods Products at Gluten Free Twitter Party is donating three free product coupons along with an Enjoy Life reusable shopping bag for the 9AM and the 1PM pst time slots with panel members at the gluten free twitter party on Friday, April 3rd.

Enjoy Life Foods is the nation’s leading allergy-friendly and gluten-free foods company. The company offers 24 delicious products including allergy-friendly AND gluten-free soft-baked cookies, snack bars, granolas, trail mixes, bagels, semi-sweet chocolate chips and chocolatey bars, all of which are free of the eight most common allergens and made in a dedicated nut- and gluten-free facility.

For the 7:30 PM pst time slot Enjy Life Foods is donating the following:

1 box of Snickerdoodle
1 box of Cocoa Loco snack bars
1 bag Mountain Mambo trail mix
3 boom CHOCO booms bars (boom CHOCO boom dairy-free rice milk, boom CHOCO boom dairy-free rice milk with crispy rice, and boom CHOCO boom dark chocolate)
1 Enjoy Life reuseable Enjoy Life shopping bag

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

The Gluten-Free Casein-Free Meal Planner for Gluten Free Twitter Party

Meal Mixer is offering a three month subscription to The Gluten-Free Casein-Free Meal Planner at each time slot at the gluten free twitter party being held on Friday, April 3rd.

MealMixer Meal Plans Include...

A Custom Meal Plan based on your taste and time preferences, nutritional information, and meals/items/recipes that avoid your specific food allergies.

Shopping List generated from each recipe on your menu, plus any additional items you need on your list.

Tasty Recipes nicely formatted for easy reading in the kitchen, and scaled to the number of servings needed to support your diet plan and family size.

sample menu list

Tastes Like Real Food Bread Mix for Gluten Free Twitter Party is imported from Norway and known as #1 Gluten-Free Brand. One bag of their white bread celiac-safe bread mix will be given away at each time slot at the gluten free twitter party on Friday, April 3rd.

The mix makes one loaf and has the following ingredients:


*Made with naturally gluten-free ingredients

Feel free to follow them on twitter. More info on the gluten free twitter party.

Future Horizons Donates Books for Gluten Free Twitter Party

Future Horizons Inc. is donating the book Special Diets for Special Kids: Understanding and Implementing Special Diets to Aid in the Treatment of Autism and Related Developmental Disorders, by Lisa Lewis, Ph.D. for the gluten free twitter party. This will be done at the 9AM pst timeslot with panel members.

Special Diets For Special Kids Two: More Great-tasting Recipes and Tips for Implementing Special Diets to Aid in the Treatment of Autism and Related Developmental Disorders.

In this book, Dr. Lewis reprises her original medical explanations in condensed form, with informative updates and new recipes. This will be given away at the gluten free twitter party at the 1PM pst time slot.

For more details on the gluten free twitter party and resources. Feel free to follow Future Horizons on twitter.

Allergaroo Products at Gluten Free Twitter Party

Allergaroo products are ready made dishes in microwaveable pouches. They are donating one pouch of each product for all time slots of the gluten free twitter party taking place Friday, April 3, 2009.

Allergaroo is the country’s only allergy-friendly, gluten-free brand of delicious, convenient, ready-made dishes. The company was founded by a mother of two children with multiple food allergies who longed for a convenient and delicious meal alternative that her kids could safely eat without worries. All Allergaroo dishes are made on dedicated equipment in an allergen-free dedicated space.

Rice Spaghetti with Tomato Sauce The ingredients and nutrition facts

Spyglass Noodles - Penne Rice Pasta with Tomato Sauce and Ground Chicken. The ingredients and nutrition facts

Chili Mac - Elbow Rice Pasta with Mild Chili Sauce, Pinto Beans and Ground Chicken. The ingredients and nutrition facts.

The gluten free twitter party is set for Friday, April 3, 2009 at 9AM, 1PM and 7:30 PM PST. Please check the blog home page for panel members, other prizes and further details.
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