Monday, February 25, 2013

The Progression Reaction

Things are really getting GOOD. I almost don't want to type this because I don't want to jinx it, ya know?

Boog is saying "Ma-Ma" and "Buh-Buh" on purpose. He says "Buh" and waves his hand when he is counting. This is huge for us. It's the first time he has vocalized on command and on purpose in this way. He has cried or made noises when he wanted something or needed me before, but this is different. He's concentrating SO hard to make his mouth/brain/vocal chords all do what he wants at the same time. What's crazy is that he sounds different when he does these new vocalizations. It's Boog's voice. His real voice. He is 3 years and 4 months old and I am finally hearing his voice. So GOOD.

The easiest way for me to describe Autism is this way: My son is always down a tunnel. Some days the tunnel gets shorter and he sees me very well. Some days it's longer and I have to try very hard to reach him. The tunnel is getting shorter lately.

We have had this farm magnet toy for at least two years. Boog never did much other than take the magnets off the fridge.

I sat down with him about a week ago and used "hand-over-hand" to show him that if you match correctly, it would play a song and I would sing and dance. He loved it. His increased focus and fine motor skills have let him master this in less than a week. He can now match all 5 animals perfectly. He matches the face with the body, puts it in the correct position, and presses it again to hear the song. The reward for getting it correct is Mommy singing the song in her terrible singing voice. So GOOD.

There are literally 100 things I could tell you that I'm excited about. Some people who know special needs children would understand. Some people who know me or Boog would understand. Some people would be puzzled that he's just now doing these things. Some would be puzzled that I noticed something so small. All I can tell you is that a very wise person told me "Little steps make big steps" and it's true. If you get excited about the little steps, it makes life a lot easier to handle. The little steps are steps in the right direction. Moving forward is great. We are at our own pace, but we are on the road together. Every little step Boog takes, he's not alone. His Mommy, Daddy, Nana and Papa are there. His school family is there. And God is there. I don't blog about religion, but to see your son progress and know that you have made the right choices for him is an answered prayer. 

I told someone a while back that when Boog made progress, "It's like someone takes one brick off of my soul. There's still a huge pile there, but I can feel one brick was removed". 


And so thankful. 

Thank you, God.

Friday, February 15, 2013

The Ingredient Insufficiency

Hey guys, just wanted to warn you about a current marketing ploy that might confuse some GF folks. My Dad warned me the other day that while he was shopping for GF food for Boog that he saw a label that stated "No Gluten Added". He was pretty sure that meant it still had SOME gluten, but asked me to be sure.

He was totally right and I'm so glad he stopped to really read it. "No Gluten Added" just means that they didn't pour in some more gluten in food that already had it in there. They do this a lot with sweets by saying "No Sugar Added". Yeah... Non "added", but it still has a boat load in there... Pretty shady, huh?

Food manufacturers will do anything to sell more and I would hate for someone to get sick from ingesting gluten just because of a tricky label.

I've put an example of the label at the end, but it could look different.

When in doubt, read the entire ingredient list if you're not sure. I also like to visit They have a pretty good database of safe and unsafe food.

Spread the word and spread the love while you're at it :)

-Boog's Mom

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

The Legislation Segmentation

I fully admit I don't know much about a variety of topics. Most sports, advanced physics, and my geography is pitiful just to name a few.

What I DO know, is how to raise a special needs child and the effort it takes to get them a good education. How expensive that education can be is REALLY my expertise.

Imagine my shock and HORROR when I was informed that Mississippi Superintendents are fighting a bill that would HELP disabled children! Are you kidding me????

I have NO background in law, so let me break it down for you into an easy way to understand. Like southerners often say, "let me put it in English for ya":

The state allocates a per pupil a specific dollar amount in funding for the school district. This money does not automatically go to the school the child attends. The money is given to the district for the Superintendent to budget how HE wants to. So if you have a disabled child, a child with autism, etc. THEIR funding goes to the district... Why is this wrong? Because if another district contains a school that is better equipped to provide what your child needs, the funding STILL goes to the other district. 

Now do you get why they want this bill to fail? Common greed.

If this bill passes the funding will stay WITH THE CHILD. Meaning:
-Parents will actually be able to apply the child's funding to tuition if they attend a school out of their district
-With their RIGHTFUL funding for their own child, MANY more parents with disabled children would be able to get the special education that the children need desperately

Okay, got it? Well, if you're like me you may need an example. My brain is a bit foggy after having a child.

I am Boog's mom. Boog has autism. He requires an IEP (individual education plan) because he's different. He gets this amazing education at a school that happens to be in "District X", but we live in "District A". 

"District A" gets the funding that is supposed to benefit MY child. The school in "District  X" doesn't see a penny of it. Neither does Boog.

The Superintendents are not parents of disabled children. They have no right to stop these kids from getting what they need just so their buddies in certain districts get more and more each year no matter if they child is educated there or not.

This funding would go to speech therapy, occupational therapy and other types. Therapy for children with autism, brain injury, hearing impairments including the deaf, sight impairments including the blind, dyslexia, language delay, and so on.  They want to deny these children.

Ya feel me?

So PLEASE take a minute and write or call to make your voice heard. Do this because you know me and know how hard I work for my son. Do it because you want disabled children to have access to the education they need. Do if for that mom you saw at the grocery store, putting back the items that weren't on sale this week. She knows she has to save every penny to give her son what he needs...what he DESERVES.

My son can't speak. Will you speak for him?

Contact information for those who oppose the bill:

DeSoto County School District
Mr. Milton Kuykendal
5 East South Street
Hernando, MS 38632
Tel: 662-429-5271
Fax: 662-429-4198

Nancy Loome, Executive Director for the MS Parents Campaign
222 North President Street, Suite 102
Jackson, Mississippi 39201
601.672.0953 mobile
601.961.4551 phone
601.961.4552 facsimile

Their Lawyer:

Jim Keith
P 601.292.0718
F 601.355.9708

The Mississippi Board of Superintendents
555 Tombigbee St. Suite 107, Jackson, MS 39201
Telephone: +1 601 352 8868
FAX: +1 601 487 6491

Also, check out this link for more info:

Friday, February 1, 2013

The Playroom Formulation

Most people who know me pretty well know that I LOVE shopping and I LOVE a great deal. I also LOVE Boog, so redoing his room brought that all together.

I took sometime and did a lot of research. I wanted a safe (he climbs) room that wasn't too busy (sensory), and had places he could get into if he felt over stimulated.

So I put on my thinking cap...or sat in my thinking chair if you watch Blues Clues :) and decided I could get what I wanted and do it affordable. Challenge accepted!

The trick is making a sensory playroom without spending a boat load of money. If you shop at sites geared specifically for OT or special needs, the prices are insane. So I just went to the sites and browsed until I got an idea of what Boog might like.

This is a hammock chair listed at for $100:

And this is a chair at Ikea we got for $20:

While I was doing my room research I read a lot about how children with ASD can get a sense if calm from rocking. I found this awesome cradle/rocker/nest here, but no price is listed.
I think it's like a fancy restaurant with no prices on the menu... If you need to know the price, don't ask :/

While on Ikea's site I spotted THIS bad boy and freaked out! Only $80!

Not only is it adorable, but it offers a perfect place for a little one to curl up with a blanket and a book.
My next project was storage.
 Boog is a climber, and a dresser just won't work. Not only does he climb, but he actually has the strength of 10 men. This means even anchored to the wall furniture won't work. So Papa (my Dad) and I thought about it. What about shelving? It would work, but how do you make it look cute? I didn't want stacks of clothes and stuff out in plain view....
That's where the $7 fabric bins from Walmart come into play:

The shelves are five feet from the floor. This means I can reach them easily, but he can't :) We also picked these shelves and brackets from Ikea for about $50 total.

Here is our finished project! We spent around $200 and made a room that is both fun and SAFE for Boog. From the look of the photos below, I bet you can tell he's a fan!

Items purchased from:
Ikea - - Hammock chair, egg chair, shelving, brackets, canopy
Walmart - - Toddler bed, fabric bins