*Encouragement is the best medicine to give someone. If I were to pick any gift to have in helping others, that would be the one*

Thursday, December 22, 2011

When Your Aspergers Child Finds That Perfect Friend....

Today I wrote on my family blog about Finding a Friend and Saying Goodbye.

Chaz and Dexter playing puppets at Children's Museum
Well, Chaz had found that perfect friend that he could actually relate to. They found each other at school and didn't know that they both had Aspergers Syndrome.  His mom and I met and turns out we both share the struggle of ADD. We share so many similarities that it was comforting to share stories and just encourage each other.  I found out that they are moving out of town.  It seems to be a pattern in my life where I finally finding someone I can relate to, or Chaz finds a friend that really is a good friend and they move away. I know life happens but it breaks my heart to see my son sad like that.  I can handle it because I can easily call Melanee up or chat on Facebook.  Of course it's better to see each other in person though.  It's just different for kids.  Chaz was broken hearted after leaving his house for the last time yesterday and he cried.  My heart broke with him.  I promised him that we could set up Skype and they could chat live or we could drive out to where they are (an hour and a half away) sometimes.  

It's hard for people to say goodbye to a friend but it's on a different level for Aspergers kids.  It's already hard enough for them to find friends and even harder to find one they can completely relate to.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Is a Good Life Too Much To Ask For?

Chaz (right) playing on my phone
When I first found out Chaz had Aspergers at 6 years old I thought, "Well, maybe somehow he'll pull out of it."  That was my deep hearts desire.  I still had some denial.  Not for selfish reasons because I didn't want my little boy to grow up with any struggles.  5 years later I see that it's just as prevalent and it just changes as he ages.  His struggles are different as he has learned to contain some behaviors.  About 2 months ago I just broke down crying.  I see his OCD, Aspergers, and ADHD really strong at times.  I see how he talks in long run-on sentences and can't change the subject.  I see how he can't fall asleep at night because he can't turn his active mind off.  I see how he's sad he has no friends.  Still.  I don't know.  It just breaks a mommy's heart. I'm glad his body is healthy.  He can run, play, ride a bike, kick a ball, play an instrument, walk, skip.  I guess I just want to know that someday he will fall in love and she will love him back.  That she'll love him even though he doesn't always listen well.  That he might be hard to peel from the computer.  I hope she knows how much he loves her even though it seems like he loves other things more.  I know he really will care.  I hope he won't tell her how big her butt is if she's putting on some weight. I hope he'll understand he doesn't have to say everything he thinks in his mind.  I want to be a grandma to his kids, a mother-in-law to his wife, a mom that still is always there.  I just want to see him enjoy all aspects of life.  Is that too much to ask for?

Monday, November 14, 2011

Homefront in the Future Part 1

-This post is written by Chaz on his plans for a future game.

I want to make a new Homefront game when I grow up.  This is my idea.  I will make new guns and in the game a soldier finds a secret time machine.  The general and his army have complaints about them losing the war, so when the soldier found the secret time machine the general decided to go in the future and beat the enemy in the future.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Busy Moms Schooling Aspergers Kids

I am sorry that I have not updated much on this blog.  I can't even begin to tell you how busy it's been around here.  Well, let me try.....

First of all, I've had some major morning sickness with baby number 7 in my tummy.  I am 12 weeks along and they think it's possibly a girl but we are not sure.

Secondly, since being so sick I have greatly gotten behind on my house chores and I feel like with my house out of order, so are my thoughts.  :) You know how that is?  A cluttered house comes with a cluttered mind?  

Thirdly, we are smack dab in the middle of some serious homeschooling and that comes first above anything else.  My children's education is important and we will spend whatever time is needed to learn and stay on top of it. This is our top priority.

Chaz on Halloween 2011
Homeschooling Chaz has it's good days and it's bad days. Some days he's crying and crying and it's a miracle when we finally do finish.  Other days he is so focused we just fly right through it.  On he bad days I literally have to peel him off the floor and calm him down for up to an hour before we can even start.  His addiction to anything video (gaming or computer) takes first in his mind.  All he talks about is games and it's hard to shift his focus. This is why we allow no games until all homeschool and chores are finished.  For him, that's a great goal to have.  

I have started him back on his one cup of coffee a day to help him and it does seem to calm him down.  I need to remember to do this every day.  Does anyone else homeschool their Aspergers child?  Do you do your own or use a program?

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Being a Mom to an Aspergers Kid

I cried a lot today.  Anytime I tried to talk about why I was sad it just sent me back into sobbing again.  I hadn't cried this hard in a really long time.

I started K12 for three out of four of my kids schooling at home.  Chaz doesn't do so well in a large classroom setting.  Well, it was so great over the summer but when we started K12, Chaz regressed quickly.  Today he was  on the floor rolling around, screaming and crying.  He is 11 years old but was acting more like a young child would.  Maybe like a 5 year old.  He cried till he passed out on the chair.  I didn't have the heart to wake him up and force him to keep schooling when he was just at his limit.  When I say limit I mean LIMIT.  He had been doing so well but since using K12, he regressed and was getting violent again.  Because it took so long to use that program, we were hardly having time to school my daughter Ivy in Kindergarten.

I was just sad because it broke my heart to see Chaz like this.  To see him regressing and going backwards when he was doing so well.  I was just hoping that as Chaz got older he would.... I don't know... maybe grow out of the Aspergers issues.  Do you know what I mean?  Like maybe it's been my imagination.  Maybe we were wrong.  But then we have days like this and it just lays me flat emotionally.  I don't want to see my son struggle like this.  I long to see him have friends, be able to talk normal with other kids, not have looks from people.  Sigh.  I just want to see my boy grow up and do normal things.  

Sigh.  I know I'm sighing a lot.  I hope someone understands what I mean. I LOVE Chaz for who he is.  I just want to know that he's gonna be okay when he's grown up and out of my house.  I will never, ever push Chaz out of my house when he's 18.  He's my son and I'll make sure he takes care of himself and will continue to be there for him as long as I can.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Fun Incentives for Schooling Kids with #Aspergers

These last few days I've been talking with K12 and they do have a program for your special needs child.  They will be assigned a teacher than specifically works with your child's IEP plan and will modify the work around what he can handle.  That is VERY good news.  What only his teachers know about him, is it's hard to keep him on task and he will try to give up before he even really begins.  He tends to assume he can't do it as soon as he sees the first question on the assignment.  

Today he was working on his Spanish lesson and he flew through it in no time flat. You know why?  Because they made it fun and he got rewards as he worked.  In the beginning you have an avatar that you get to create.  As you complete your lessons you earn "money".  This money can buy you items for your avatar.  He so much wanted to make his avatar look cool that he did about 3 days worth of lessons and did them very well. OHHHH, if only they could do this with every lesson.  Chaz LOVES having positive reinforcement like this.  This was right down Chaz's alley.  Really, this idea works fantastic for lots of kids.  :D


Friday, August 5, 2011

Trying to Find Cause of Pain

Chaz is still having pain in his abdomen after his surgery so we are back again for an ultrasound.  Its been hard for him because the pain is so random.  Oddly, the doctor mentioned that his pain is pretty common for kids with Aspergers.  He gets a lot of Aspergers kids in his office.  He said he would give Chaz some medicine for him but the side effect is a possible stroke.  Eek!  I said no thank you.  However, he is still unsure because of the type of pain.  Have any of your children experienced this?

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Hesitantly... K12 It Is

I will need my fix of Diet Dr Pepper daily.  Haha
Chaz is 11 and I'd love to share my letter written to him!  Click HERE to visit our family blog.

Also, I have some news.  Chaz will be schooling at home through K12!  I didn't originally want to use that program because of how much work they put on kids but had no choice since the other program I use is too costly.  HOWEVER, he would be assigned a special ed teacher that will modify things for him according to what he can handle.  That is a HUGE blessing.  I am schooling my other 3 kids at home also along with taking care of the two younger babies.  So my hands will be incredibly full with six kids, caring for my household and schooling.  I might not be able to post every day but I will always try to answer any questions.  :D

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

I Will be Back!

Hi!  I had to take a break for a bit from my Aspergers blogging but when school starts next week I'll have a lot more time on my hands. Right now caring for 9 little ones!  :D

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Please Help My Son to Quit Screeching!

 Hi, I have a 3 1/2 year old son and hes recently been diagnosed by 2 different doctors. And we are now working on getting him some help. I was wondering if anyone had any advice for me to help my son to quit his constant screaming/screeching.

Thoughts from a mom:

Hope today is going better for you. Autism isn't an easy fix problem. There are so many triggers, so many solutions. Some help with some, but not others. I have trained my autistic daughter to go to her room and cry it out. I try to work with her as much as possible, but sometimes I don't think they know what is setting them off. I think once they are in a "rage" it just needs to run it's course, as long as they aren't hurting themselves or someone else. Sometimes my daughter wants to be held tightly... other times I can't touch her at all. She will come out of her room and say, "I'm happy now!"

The best solution is trying to find out what causes most breakdowns and prevent it. Watch diet, Cod Liver Oil (vitacost has best price on Carlson which is good ... want 500mg of DHA a day) helps with moods, check stimuli.

Get yourself some support and try and get a break every now and then if possible. A great board for autism support http://www.autism-pdd.net/forum/default.…

Hang in there!!
From a Mother of 5, mom to one of PPDNOS and one autistic

Join our discussion HERE or HERE!

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Can You See Signs of Autism in Newborns?

I found this really, really interesting short clip and wanted to share with you.  What do you think?  I think it's worth a shot and early intervention is so important.

IF you can't see video go HERE.

Friday, July 1, 2011

The Difficulties in Diagnosing #Autism in Girls

I have a friend that so desperately needs her daughter to be able to have therapy.  However, to get the help she needs, her daughter needs an official diagnosis.  I do know that it's harder to diagnose in the toddler stages because it's not as obvious.  However, her daughter is now 5 and still is very limited in her speech.  She also has the classic signs of Autism.  My heart goes out to her because a diagnosis is needs to start getting the help you need.  Especially through insurance.  Seeing her get the run around year after year is frustrating to watch.

If anyone has any advice, I'm open to it and I will pass along to her.  

In the meantime I happen to run into this article about the difficulties in Diagnosing Autism in Girls.

The symptoms of Asperger syndrome look slightly different in girls than in boys, according to a study published earlier this month in Research in Developmental Disabilities. This study and a spate of other recent ones suggest that with available diagnostic tests, higher-functioning girls with autism are being diagnosed either later than boys, or are altogether missed.

Go HERE to read full article!

Thursday, June 30, 2011

My Journey in Learning about Aspergers

Looking back.....

Often I forget the past and how far Chaz has come so I'll look back on old post that are in my family blog before I created this one.  I tagged some posts "Aspergers Syndrome" so I could link it here. Forgive me if some of my writing is not accurate in information.  I was very new to the term Aspergers and knew very little about it.  I would love to share my journey with you.

Click HERE to read posts tagged with Aspergers Syndrome from Chaz's early days of being diagnosed.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

When Aspergers Kids Long for Friendship

Saying goodbye to his friends in the special needs classroom.
This was the last time he truly ever felt accepted by his peers.
Some days I think my son's High Functioning Aspergers is my imagination.  That's thing about it.  It's not always super obvious.  There will be really great days where I think "Are people right?  Have I just ruined my son's life by pinning this on him?"  Then there will be really, really bad days where I'm shocked by his immaturity, screaming, tantrums, and his emotional breakdowns.  He's 10 years old and my 9 year old son acts waaaaay older than him.  Even my 7 year old acts older.  Sometimes I wake up to him crying about a video game and pacing.  I will have to take the controllers and put them up till he calms down.  It usually takes about an hour.

I'm in the middle of reading Lonely Girl, Gracious God and it makes me tear up almost every single chapter.  It's about a mother's journey of raising a daughter with Autism but not finding out exactly what was going on till years later.  The feelings fear, doubt, disbelief, loneliness, sadness.  Although what she has went through is 100 times harder than what I've experienced, I guess I've cried so much reading it because on some level I can understand. You JUST want the best for your kid.  A normal life with good possibilities and stability.  Is that too much to ask for?

Lonely Girl, Gracious God: A Mother's Story of Autism's Devastation and God's Promise of Enduring LoveIn one chapter of the book she talks about her daughter's loneliness and wanting friends.  That part made me cry because I know that's how Chaz feels at times.  Thank God he has siblings to play with him and they are all around his age because I had them pretty close together.  Recently Chaz told me that he doesn't want to be in a mainstream classroom anymore.  He wants to be in a special needs classroom. "What??" was my reply.  WHY?  Chaz went on to tell me that he wants friends.  He has NO friends at all.  Every time he passes by the special needs classroom all the kids know him and shout out his name.  Chaz LOVES it.  That's what he longs for is just acceptance and friendship.  I'm going to tell him yes even though I was so happy my son was in a mainstream classroom the last few years.  I guess my heart breaks a little (a lot) because I know that it's one thing to be in special needs when you're in Kindergarten.  It's another in 5th grade.  Kids are more aware of the differences.  

Chaz wants friendship so special needs classroom it'll be.  Thankfully it's with the higher functioning so Chaz won't regress.  He tends to copy behavior so it's important that he's with kids at his level.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

The Problem with Video Game Obsession

Since getting the Xbox 360 Kinect, Chaz has been really struggling again with his obsession.  The good thing is that he has to share it with his other siblings.  But when it's not his turn, he walks in circles till he plays again.  H's back to being reduced to tears within seconds.  He's having trouble sleeping again at night and wakesup with the light to get a chance to see his game again.


Watching that is hard for me.  I encourage him constantly to play with his siblings but all he can talk about is his game when he is with them.  Video games is his one obsession and to the point that he won't eat.  I know it's summer time and his schedule is out of wack.  Once school starts he'll have to be physically away from it.

Don't get me wrong, I don't keep the games on all day but he does have other siblings that want a turn if they can pry it from his tight hands.  Or I'll make everyone get out of the house.  Like walk the mall.  But then when we're there I can see Chaz's hands wringing and the only thing he can talk about is games. Sometimes we have to tell him that we need a break from talking about games and so it's hard for him to make conversation.

Stuff like this makes me sad.  It's SO hot here in the summer time so I can't tell them to all go play outside. We stay indoors when the heat gets unsafe. Gosh, when I was little I could ride my bike all over the neighborhood and even ride over to the community pool. These days I can't do that so my kids are stuck inside more often.  I love having my kids home with me but something they get so incredibly bored and games help relieve the boredom.

Do video games affect your Aspergers or Adhd child in this way?

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Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Do Video Games Worsen Symptoms of Aspergers Syndrome?

I know video games in general can be an obsession with kids.  I was doing a little research on the subject. One site said there wasn't a link with Aspergers.  Another site did mention something really interesting.  This is what they said.

Unhealthy Addiction?
The more time a person spends playing video games, researchers found, the more likely they are to show three specific traits usually associated with Asperger's syndrome: neuroticism and a lack of extraversion and agreeableness.  Read more....

How much is too much for any kid?  Aspergers kids?  I do notice Chaz is extremely emotional when he plays too much video games. It is hard in the summer here because it gets so incredibly hot that it's unsafe to play outside.  That means we get stuck indoors quite a lot.  My kids tend to drift towards the video game rooms more than anything else.

2 questions I have:

  • Do you think video games worsen the symptoms of Aspergers Syndrome?

  • Have you created any sort of schedule for you child on how often he/she plays?  Do you let them just play whenever?

Friday, June 17, 2011

Starting Sensory Therapy Book Review

Can order at Future Horizons.
By Bonnie Arnwine
Binding: Paperback
Pages: 132

Over 140 fun activities for kids with sensory issues.  This can be used for the home and for the classroom.  The activities in this book exercise a child's seven sensory "muscles" -the visual, auditory, tactile, olfactory, oral, vestibular, and proprioceptive senses.  

What a GREAT book with so many fun activities. What is neat about it is that kids are having fun WHILE exercising their senses.  

The first chapter explains what Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD) is.  We have five senses:


Two Senses we may not be familiar with are:


Example: What is a Sensory Modulation Disorder?
It causes a person's body to misinterpret the nature and intensity of sensory information he or she receives from the environment.  One or more of a person's senses may be over- or underresponsive to sensory information.  This can also cause a person to crave or seek our sensory stimulation.

The first chapter is dedicated to helping you understand the disorder and even includes a list of codes to take to your insurance to see what they cover for therapy!  How simple is that?  It also lets you know what some common sensory IEP services include. I can't tell you though. You'll have to get the book. :D

The rest of the book is dedicated to providing your own therapy right at home with simple and everyday items we have right here.  

Exercises are: Tactile Activities, No-Cook Cooking, Fun Feely Stuff, Gross-Motor Activities, Movement Songs, Activities for Bilateral Motor Coordination, Visual Activities, Oral-Motor Activities, and more!

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Temple Grandin: The Movie

I finally got a chance to see the movie about Temple Grandin.  All I can say is WOW!!!  I'm impressed!  Sure there are tough things with having Aspergers but this movie helped me see what a gift it can be!  I truly loved the movie and if you get a chance, definitely see it.  I'll include a trailer if you haven't heard anything about it.

I'm just so impressed with not only her mom but in the fact that Temple Grandin just kept opening new doors.  Allowing herself to be uncomfortable to open another door, and another, and another.  Instead of letting Aspergers keep her in the comforts of her home, she went out and gave a gift to the world.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Celebrating 32 Years

...  of still living and breathing.  Still loving each and every day.  

Even the ones that had tears.  
The ones with the mop in my hands. 
Even the days where my sweat drips doing loads of laundry
The ones in the counselors office
The days I scratch my head with no answers
Even the ones where no one calls
Even on birthdays forgotten
I love each and every day 
because I'm still breathing
and that means I get to touch a flower
watch a butterfly flitter about
I still get to kiss my kids goodnight
and repeat each and every morning
I get to celebrate each step forward
whether or not it came after two steps back
I love each and every day
Because someday there will be no tomorrow
I'll take the tears, the sobs, the pain, the hard work
if it means I can have the laughter, pitter patter of little feet
and a kiss from my husband each day.  
Thank you, Lord, for each and every day
of the 32 years you have given me
You gave me the gift of Life
and I'll take each and every day with a smile

Sunday, June 12, 2011

How Can I Help My Aspergers Stepson?

My stepson is 26 yrs old, he still lives at home with me and his dad.He is very odd, and I have been looking lots of things up and Ive come to conclusion he has aspergers. His father said at the age of 3, he became very withdrawn, he took him to drs and not one could diagnose him. His son did go to college, and did get a degree in programing computers. He has a good job. But socially and other ways he is like a child. He is very pleasant and seems to have a good sense of humor, smiling at jokes etc. I cant see him ever moving out on his own, although he makes and has plenty of money. He rarely talks except when asked a question, and is very unmotivated at home. His Dad just lets it all go, I think he has given up on him. What happens to people like him? What can I do help? Can we tell his son what he has? Please help-Cindy

My thoughts:

Oh Cindy, I love your question and I want to answer with a book.  John Elder Robinson wrote a book about his experience.  He grew up with Aspergers and to this day it affects him but he's learned how to work around it.  It think it would really help.  I read it for my own son to see what life will be like for him as he gets older and what I can do to help him.  You can literally get this book for $2 if you just want to buy a used one.  

I hope this helps.  This book answers so many of your questions.  Questions I asked too and it's great to hear from someone with Aspergers Syndrome.  John did well but he also really tried to work on his communication skills.  He even found a job he is very good at.  He is married to a woman that truly understands him and has really been there for him. 

Thank you for writing me and I hope this helps. He is so lucky to have you in his life.  :)

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Mom Confesses 'Why I Don't Like My Child' in Magazine

Every now and then I run into an interesting article and want to share to get your thoughts on it.  Experiences?  I'm not trying to judge this lady.  Is it possible she suffered Post Partum Depression?  

It might be the most damning thing a mother can utter: "I've never liked my child."

But in a column in the current issue of Redbook magazine, a woman, writing under the assumed name of Jennifer Rabiner, says she was "basically repelled by my own child."

A mother of two girls, Rabiner, 41, continued to keep her identity hidden in an interview with "Today."

"I thought that she would be vivacious and smart and loving and make intense eye contact," she tells the show of her first daughter, called "Sophie" in the magazine. "That was just not what happened."

Rabiner tells "Today" Sophie was a difficult baby.

"She slept very poorly. She ate very poorly. She did not make eye contact," she tells the show. "She did not meet the milestones that all the books that I read indicated that she should be making at the various ages."

Not every baby develops at the same rate, but Rabiner tells "Today" she doesn't think her expectations were too high.

"I don't think it's too high an expectation to expect your child to meet your milestones -- her developmental milestones," she tells the show. "It's not too high an expectation to expect her to sleep, to expect her to eat, to expect her to interact." (Full article HERE)

I'm not sure what to think about this article.  I mean, I understand the frustration.  A kid not meeting milestones, not sleeping well, causing me a lot more work than I ever thought parenting required.  

Chaz did not potty train till 4 years old, didn't look me in the eye, didn't sleep well and still doesn't, had tummy issues, major eczema, etc.  

However, I loved him like crazy and he was still bone of my bone and flesh of my flesh.  He's my boy.  He's still hard work for me 10 years later but I never favored any of my other kids over him.  Could it have been a pride issue?  I know moms tend to compare their kids to others and love to boast milestones.  That can be hard and I got moms harassing me about Chaz too.  I've had to learn that each kid is different and some even wildly different.  I guess I worry that some day that little girl will read this article about what her mom said.  What will she think?  

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Summer Routine for Aspergers

So far so good with Chaz in the summer time with a minimal routine.  Compared to school our routine is simpler.  We only have:
  • Lunch at noon
  • Chores at 1pm
  • Dinner at 6pm
  • Chores at 7pm
  • Bedtime 9pm

Chaz has a mommy like me who is not a schedule type person so for me, having any schedule is a huge deal. That's actually a huge improvement.  It's mostly playtime in between all that for them.  We do plan to visit water parks at least once a week so that'll help shake up any boredom kids can get.  

Chores per kid are color coded
I know routines are very important to Aspergers kids and that of course depends on the kid.  Chaz absolutely loved her teacher for her down to the minute routine.  As much as I would love to be like that, I'd probably panic.  However, I have established a minimal routine. The routine I showed you is for my kids, not for myself.  I have my own cleaning schedule that goes in between all that. So, I shouldn't be so had on myself about it.  Ha!

Heck, most people think homemakers are just watching TV and eating Bon Bons.  Not me!  I absolutely love hanging out with my kids, cooking, and having adventures together, homeschooling my daughter.  Chaz has 5 siblings so it's not usually quiet around here.  When the noise gets to be a bit much, Chaz just puts on his earmuffs and he's good.  Chaz is pacing to get my computer so I'd better hand it over before he burns a line in the rug.  :D

Before I leave, what kind of summer routine do you guys have?  How does the summer and no school affect your Aspergers child?

Monday, June 6, 2011

All About Temple Grandin

All about Temple Grandin and what she does

This is a neat video.  I'm really curious about Temple Grandin because she's helped so many people understand Asperger Syndrome.  I can't wait to see that movie that was made about her life.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Phoenix Autism/Asperger's Syndrome SuperConference

POSTPONED:  Till November 10th and 11th

Guess what?  I will be traveling to attend the Phoenix Autism/Asperger's Syndrome SuperConference July 7-8, 2011.  I'm super excited and I can't wait to share my experience with you.  Better yet, if you live somewhat the proximity of the conference, feel free to register to attend! If not, find which city and dates are closest to your area.

Visit Future Horizons to find out more!  Conference information is at the top of the website.

Speakers and topics will be:

Sean Barron is a very interesting and intelligent young man who has faced the challenge of autism. He and his mother wrote an insightful book on their lives together. There’s a Boy in Herehas won many accolades for offering the unique perspectives of two people who look at the same world, but see and feel entirely different things.
Mr. Barron has progressed to the point that it is difficult to even realize that he once was truly impacted by autism /Asperger’s Syndrome. He is now a freelance writer, lives independently, and co-authored Unwritten Rules of Social Relationships with Dr. Temple Grandin. Sean is a graduate of Youngstown State University, and works as a reporter for the Youngstown Vindicator. He’s pursuing a second degree in journalism.
By attending, participants can:

  • How autism affects social awareness, social thinking and social understanding

  • The 10 unwritten rules of social relationships  

  • The difference between situation-based and people-based social rules

  • Behavior and self-control strategies 

  • Effective strategies his parents and educators taught him about social conventions such as honesty, manners, and dealing with making mistakes  

  • The social challenges of friendships and relationships 

    Carol Gray wrote the first Social StoryTM in the fall of 1990, and by early 1991 introduced the first guidelines of this fascinating educational intervention. Since then, Social StoriesTMhave earned widespread international popularity and interest. Increasingly they are the focus of formal research. In their short history, Social StoriesTM have earned the respect of professionals and the affection of parents of those on the autism spectrum. This presentation looks at Social StoriesTM from a variety of perspectives. Using lecture, demonstration, and activities, participants will enjoy a first-hand exploration of Social StoriesTM and the ever-increasing research that supports their use.

    By attending participants can:
    • How Social StoriesTM can improve behavioral and social skills 
    • The history of the approach
    • The formal research and surprising discoveries that help us understand how Social StoriesTM work so well
    • Seven ideas to tailor Social StoriesTM to systematically address the core deficits in autism spectrum disorders

    Carol Kranowitz offers sensory strategies and activities that are applauded not only in the United States but around the world; over 500,000 copies of her book, The Out-of-Sync Child, have been sold. Ms. Kranowitz holds an M.A. in Education and Human Development and until recently was a music and drama teacher. She has developed a purposeful curriculum that integrates sensory-motor activities into the school day. 
     By attending, participants can: 
    • Identify and describe the six types of SPD and how they can affect the daily lives of children
    • Recognize co-existing problems (e.g., visual, auditory, eating, sleeping, and emotional difficulties)
    • Discuss several research studies by the world's top investigators
    • Demonstrate "In-Sync" activities, specifically designed to engage various sensory systems and thereby improve learning and regulate behavior
    • And more!


    Having earned his MA and Ph.D. in clinical psychology from the University of Albany, Dr. Jed Baker is a behavioral consultant for several New Jersey school districts where, nearly two decades ago, he organized a group to help children with social communication problems. Dr. Baker’s dynamic and comprehensive presentation is extremely valuable to all family members and professionals working with individuals with autism spectrum disorders, attention deficit disorders, learning disabilities, mood and anxiety disorders, and other issues that impact social-emotional functioning. His work has been featured on ABC News and Nightline!
     By attending, participants can:

    • Build an individual's social skills in crucial areas such as conversation, conflict resolution, emotion management, employment, dating, etc.
    • Develop an effective behavior plan
    • Manage and prevent meltdowns
    • Help create peer acceptance
    • Assess social skills of individuals or groups
    • And more! 

    OT In the Home DVD for Sensory Processing Disorder

    Occupational Therapy in the Home
    Helping kids be their best
    *Regulate emotions
    *Improve gross & fine motor skills
    *Physical & Cognitive strengthening

    Can be purchased at
    Future Horizons
    running time: 90 minutes

    Not everyone can afford to take their kid to therapy every week.  What then for parents that are interested and learning how to provide therapy at home?  Where to start?  This video is extensive in showing you how.  I LOVE IT!

    *Choosing their clothes
    *Making responsibility charts
    *Making visual schedules
    *Toilet training
    *Oral/motor strengthening
    *Weighted vests and
    *Indoor swings and their value
    *Fine motor skills
    and more.....

    There is soooo much more in this video!  I only gave you idea of what the beginning covers.  It not only gives you ways provide occupational therapy in your home, but explains in detail what to do and why it helps them.  It's an amazing video.  I can't believe what a valuable tool this is in providing therapy for your child at home.  

    Chapter titles to give you an idea are:

    1. Starting the day
    2. Individual Sensory Needs
    3. Fine motor
    4. Homework
    5. Gross motor
    6. Organization of behavior
    7. Dinner time
    Before, during, and after
    8. Bedtime
    9. Aquatic therapy
    10. Storytime
    11. Creating a playroom
    (Paint, lighting, flooring, organization)

    Wednesday, June 1, 2011

    Aspergers and Affection

    Even when Chaz was a toddler he pushed away affection.  Did we give up and never show him any or hug him?  Of course not.  We tried every day even if it was only for a few seconds.  Over the years, Chaz has become more and more affectionate but it definitely didn't happen overnight.  He used to fight against being being held, even as a little baby.  Well, he was born in a snuggly family so it was something he had to get used to.  lol. I don't know how it'll be for him growing up or when he marries.  Will he show affection without being asked?  I don't know.  He doesn't come up and hug us ever, we have to always go to him.

    Chaz on left with his brother's arm around him

    I did a search and found this interesting article:

    "Significant others and family members of people with Asperger's are often more prone to depression than the general population because people with Asperger's may not spontaneously show affection and can be very literal and hard to communicate with in an emotional way. However, not showing affection (or not doing so in conventional societally-acceptable ways) does not necessarily mean that he or she does not feel it. Understanding this can lead the significant other to feel less rejected and be more understanding. There are usually ways to work around the problems, such as being more explicit about one's needs. For instance, when describing emotions, it can be helpful to be direct and to avoid vague terms such as "upset" when the emotion being described is anger. It is often effective to lay out in clear language what the problem is and to ask the partner with Asperger's to describe what emotions are being felt or ask why a certain emotion was being felt. It is very helpful if the family member or significant other reads as much as he or she can about Asperger’s syndrome and any comorbid disorders. In a minority of situations the opposite problem occurs; the person with Asperger's is unusually affectionate to significant others and misses or misinterprets signals from the other partner, causing the partner to get annoyed and leave the person with Asperger syndrome feeling depressed and alone."

    *Then I found this really interesting discussion happening  HERE.  The discussion is about being "Raised by Aspergers Parents".

    Tuesday, May 31, 2011

    Reasons to Decrease Homework for Aspergers

    Chaz relaxing at Grandma's house
    You know, sometimes I think homework can be an overkill.  My son wasn't coming home till 4pm every day from school.  Then he had to do homework for up to an hour.  He had about an hour of playtime till dinner, then chores, then reading time, then bedtime.  An hour of playtime is not a lot for a kid in the elementary years.  Add Aspergers in the mix and you can get some meltdowns.  It was in the middle of the school year that I finally told Chaz not to worry about his homework.  He's gone 9 hours a day as it is so I knew he was in serious need of downtime to unwind and be refreshed for the next day.  I had to tell the school when they called that it was no longer going to be expected of him.  I've known some parents to get it written into their child's IEP plan so that is definitely my aim.  Does it affect his grades?  I'm sure it does some.  Instead of being an A+ student, he now gets A's and B's.  Is that a good trade?  I'll take it.  Less meltdowns, less stress, happier Chaz, peaceful house.  I've seen such a huge change in Chaz since taking away that added stress.  I figure that if they have my kids for 9 hours a day and can't get in enough teaching time, then that's something they need to work on.  No, I don't think the answer is taking away playtime where kids run off their energy.  Of course I trust his teachers and principal.  They are great people.  But I'm Chaz's mom and ultimately responsible for his well being all together.

    One day I had enough when I was seeing meltdowns increasing since he was getting more homework.  Then I noticed how little of unwinding time he had.  I know some might feel it's an extreme approach but seeing Chaz maintain good grades and be a lot more relaxed was definitely worth it.

    Friday, May 27, 2011

    Reason's for Aspergers Meltdowns

    Question: Hey Asperger moms, do any of your kids who have Aspergers have meltdowns easily or get frustrated easily over little things?

    Answer: BIG TIME. It gets less with age but still happens. Because of Chaz, I've learned to talk really calm when he gets upset. If I match his anxiety, it doesn't help at all.  When around other kids, it's best to take them to a different area and help them calm down.  It's difficult for Aspergers kids to calm themselves down.  Imagine a tight ball that needs unwinding.  Also, when they get their hopes up about something. They take a yes or maybe as ABSOLUTE.  Yesterday Chaz's friend told him he would probably come over to our house by 4pm.  Chaz started pacing by 1pm and constantly watched the cloth.  4pm came and went and Chaz broke down.  He cried and cried.  I felt so bad for him and held him in my arms talking calmly to him.  Besides promises, because of their sensory overload at times, it can make them have meltdowns easier.  From the feel of their clothes, to the sounds around them, it can cause meltdowns  A good book to read is Sensitive Sam because it explains this exact issue.  When it gets too noisy I can see panic in Chaz's eyes at times.  I make sure to keep his earmuffs on me at all times whether it's at the mall, big events, or even just in our family van.  Most of all, when your child does have meltdowns, don't match their anxiety because it doesn't help the situation  Remember that they can't help it and need someone to help calm them back down.  We've taught Chaz to use his words instead of his body to hit.  It's better to say "I'm angry!" then to go and hit a sibling or kick a toy.

    Tuesday, May 24, 2011

    Taylor's Story: What is it Like Being on the Autism Spectrum?

    This movie is really powerful in helping someone understand Aspergers Syndrome.  At age 2, Taylor was diagnosed on the Autism Spectrum.  At age 17 she is a top student, athlete, and creative artist.  What is interesting to me is how she got there.  Someone had to step in and intervene.  Her mom sought interventions in Taylor's early years.

    She gives her own experiences and examples such as:

    1. Troubles with communicating
    2. How's I'm different today
    3. Tactile sensitivities
    4. Sudden sounds
    5. Associations
    6. The great disconnect
    7. Advice to parents from an Aspergers
    8. Explains negative behavior in Aspergers kids
    9. Stresses the importance of opening doors while your kid is young.
    10. What she likes about her life with Aspergers

    Taylor just wants people to know there is hope.  Start helping them when they are young.  Check out the video and let me know what you think!  :)

    You can visit her website HERE.

    Monday, May 23, 2011

    Understanding Aspergers Weaknesses and Finding Solutions

    I have a 5 year old son recently diagnosed with Aspergers as well as ADHD. Is there anyone out there who has this and can tell me ANYTHING about how to approach him, understand his thought process, or anything else you can think of?  Thank you! I want to be the best mom to him, but because I had no clue what was going on with him, I fear I haven't. I just want to be the mom he needs me to be. Thanks again. ♥

    My thoughts: 
    I'm so glad you wrote me because I have the perfect resource for you that I've found really helpful.  Since posting it, so many have wrote me and commented on how they loved it's simplicity.  It's actually called "Explaining Aspergers to Your Child" but it's a list of how to recognize Aspergers.  This list also told me his sensitivities and so I could recognize them when I see it.  Sometimes when AS kids act out, while others may see a naughty kid, we know it also could be sensory overload.  When Chaz would break down I would just hold him to me, cover his ears with my arms and tell him everything is going to be okay over and over again till he calmed down.  Think of a really tight ball that needs to be unwound.  I could feel his body loosen up as he relaxed.  I also learned to ignore the looks when out in public.  I can't walk around saying over and over "Oh, my son is freaking out because he has Aspergers."  I learned to not worry so much what others think.    

    For example:
    • may be sensitive to touch or loud noise
    If you know that he is sensitive to sound, maybe investing in a good pair of earmuffs that can be carried in your purse for when he needs it will help.  The earmuffs I show on the left are the exact ones I have for my daughter and they also have a blue version for boys.  I can't believe how wonderful these are and they have never broken with excessive use.
    • often do not like changes in school, work, and home life routines
    His teacher was able to create a visual schedule for Chaz to cross off as each activity was finished in the classroom. It listed subjects, lunch, recess, more subjects, etc.  They were in order so Chaz always knew what to expect next.  He loves his routine and it really helped to find a teacher that would be willing to accommodate that.

    Anyway, here is the whole list.  I think it will really help.  I know you know what Aspergers is but this list will also help know his weaknesses.  Knowing what they struggle with can help us find solutions.
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