Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Santa Claus and a Special Needs Child

Boog has friends with mitochondrial disease and was tested for it himself via a muscle biopsy when he was only two. This makes me very sad for this mother. She just wanted a photo like any other mother. 

Mothers of special needs children miss out on so many things, so the things we can do we cherish. We are blessed to know an amazing couple that take wonderful photos of Boog (including pics with Santa). Seeing this article, I appreciate them even more. I pray this mother gets the photo she wanted.

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Guilt Tactics Aimed at Moms Yet Again

I'm so tired of the media constantly bringing up small one-time studies or theories with no basis on what causes Autism. You know what those news stories don't do? Stop or decrease Autism. You know what they do accomplish? Making parents (mostly mothers) feel guilty about decisions they have made while pregnant. Decisions that every mom makes that are recommended by nearly every pediatrician.

Your child must be vaccinated to prevent them from having horrible things like polio and whooping cough that can permanent disable a child. They also are required to be vaccinated to attend school. Now the media loves to say vaccines and Autism have a link (thanks, Donald Trump and the idiot Jenny McCarthy!). This information is based on a BS theory from a man that no longer has his medical license. 

This information is taken from and can be verified in countless medical journals and statements from the Center for Disease Control to the American Association of Pediatrics:

The widespread fear that vaccines increase risk of autism originated with a 1997 study published by Andrew Wakefield, a British surgeon. The article was published in The Lancet, a prestigious medical journal, suggesting that the measles, mumps, rubella (MMR) vaccine was increasing autism in British children.
The paper has since been completely discredited due to serious procedural errors, undisclosed financial conflicts of interest, and ethical violations. Andrew Wakefield lost his medical license and the paper was retracted from The Lancet.
Nonetheless, the hypothesis was taken seriously, and several other major studies were conducted. None of them found a link between any vaccine and the likelihood of developing autism.
Today, the true causes of autism remain a mystery, but to the discredit of the autism-vaccination link theory, several studies have now identified symptoms of autism in children well before they receive the MMR vaccine. And even more recent research provides evidence that autism develops in utero, well before a baby is born or receives vaccinations.

Now, as if that's not enough guilt caused by incorrect data made up by a quack doctor, now there has been a study that claims there MIGHT be a link between mothers on antidepressants while pregnant and Autism. It was on the Today Show this morning and they made it sound like some study found a solid link between the two. They even said there's a link between moms with depression and Autism. Really? Hmm. Well, let's look at what that study ACTUALLY found:

Berard's team studied more than 145,000 children born in Quebec between 1998 and 2009. They found 4,700 babies, or 3 percent of the total group, whose mothers took some type of antidepressant while pregnant.
Only 31 babies, or 1 percent of the group whose mothers took antidepressants in later pregnancy, were later diagnosed with Autism.

Wait a minute. The media piece on the show made it sound like there was a link between these antidepressants and Autism... Yeah, now you're getting it. 
Let's break this down:
145,000 children studied 
Of those 145,000, only 4,700 or 3% of the group were children with mothers that took antidepressants while pregnant.
Of that 3% only 31 babies were found with Autism.
So only ONE PERCENT of the children studied had both a mother that took antidepressants and Autism. One percent?!

If you've ever taken a statistics class you can see what this is: complete crap. You could take that exact data and show anything you wanted. You could show numbers and suggest mothers with brown eyes have a higher chance of having children with Autism. You could suggest that mothers that are left handed and have freckles are more likely to have a child with Autism. It's a joke! And any educated person can see that it is. The Today Show just wanted something sensational to report on.

This is why you cannot trust what you hear on tv or read. Do your research. Do not take what one study or one opinion as the complete truth. 
And please, do not blame yourself for something you could not control. 

-Boog's Mommy

Saturday, December 12, 2015

Helping Santa with Some Special Toys

Finding toys for the holidays is stressful enough, but throw in finding toys for special needs kids and you may get a migraine. To help Santa this year, I found some really creative and not very expensive toys at Fat Brain Toys that can be enjoyed at any ability (I wasn't compensated in any way for this post and all opinions are my own).

1. Teeter Popper $36.95 found here

From Fatbrain's site:
ASTRA's Best Toys for Kids Award 2014

A NEW instrument for play... how it's used is up to the kids!

Whether they rock it, roll it, sit in it or stand... kids want to move with Teeter Popper! How wildly fun 
it is! 

“POP-POP-POP... POP-POP-POP!” Senses go for a ride every time they play.

A cinch to maneuver - stand, sit, rock, tilt, wobble, wiggle, spin. How children play is however they choose.

Hand kids a Teeter Popper and walk away... but don't look away. Seeing the curiosity, the surprise, the concentration on their faces as they attempt new movements is something you don't want to miss. 
Teeter-popping excitement is catching, (so are their giggles).

Kids find themselves teetering on the brink of perfect physical play. No special skills needed. In playful exploration, Teeter Popper improves core strength, stability, leg strength, balance, coordination and gross-motor skills.

Curiosity wakes up, senses come alive, imagination engages, and creativity gets moving! 

2. Bilibo $26.95 found here

From Fatbrain's site:

Children have an amazing talent for finding unusual uses for their toys or, more inconveniently, finding interesting new uses for your property – mostly at the exact same time that you need it.

If you have given a present and found that the kids play more with the box or, like me, have despaired at spending Christmas Day watching the children use the tubes from the tinfoil and the wrapping paper as swords, whilst ignoring all their carefully selected, non-violent toys, the perfect present has arrived. Say hello to Bilibo.

Tortoise shell and sand toy, swing and spinner, cradle for dolls and a shell to build with in the snow – Bilibo is all this and much more. So what exactly is a Bilibo? Well one clue is the fact that it does not come with an instruction manual. Kids can do what they like with it!

Says Alex Hochstrasser, Swiss inventor and designer of Bilibo, “When I introduced the prototypes at the kindergarten of my hometown, the little ones were astonished at first. But then a boy sat down in 
and started spinning, a girl turned Bilibo around and tried to balance on him – after that you 

just could not stop them any more.”

This shell is made of high density polyethylene which is shock-resistant, weather-proof, food safe, completely recyclable, and comes in Eight bright colors. Bilibo is big enough that kids of different ages can sit in it comfortably. All this, and friendly too -Bilibo has two holes at the side which look like eyes and give the appearance of a smiling face on the shell.

3. Plui $12.95 found here

From Fatbrain's site: 

A rain ball for bath or pool - Plui is one unique little creature.

Immerse Plui in water to fill him up and then plug your finger over the top hole as you raise it up 

Lift your finger from the nozzle and water falls like rain. The only difference - You get to control the downpour!

Plui stimulates the senses and discovery of basic physical principles.

So sleek, round, and rare - kids everywhere (even big kids) love to get their hands on Plui!

4. Mirari $25.95  found here

From Fatbrain's site:

Turn your little musician into a pop star pianist!

Press the keys to hear exciting sounds - Bells, whistles, laughter, and more - With a big surprise, a bulky, colorful star goes flying through the air.

Keep playing and exploring the sounds. After every note, the flying stars fall back into the pipes, ready to be launched again.

Then, switch up the sensory fun with two more ways to play!

Flip a switch beneath the keyboard to change the sounds from silly to classic piano.

Designed to inspire cause-and-effect learning while exciting the senses with fun sounds and brilliant colors, the Mirari Pop Pop Piano inspires smiles and giggles every time.

**I also found a couple coupon codes:

$10 off a purchase of $100: GQ-7632

Free shipping with $75 purchase: BU-2464

With the $10 code, you can get all the toys listed above shipped for $106 (not bad!). 

I hope this might help Santa a bit :)

Merry Christmas,
Boog's Mommy

Friday, November 27, 2015

Thankful it's Over

Ugh. Just ugh.

I'm sure some people mean well, but it is incredibly mentally exhausting when you're asked 10 times within an hour "How is Boog? How is he doing? Where is he in school? Is he in Kindergarden?".

I got so tired of answering the same prying questions I started coming up with more and more extreme answers. Each answer I gave had a seed of truth, but a lot of exaggeration. 

My response: "Yep. He's great. He's reading on a second grade level!"
Reality: He can read and it's more words than any of us knew. And he taught himself to read. And that is amazing.

My response: "Oh yes! He's doing so well principals from other schools come by just to see him!"
Reality: A principal from a nearby elementary school did come by and spent some time in Boog's class. She did say many wonderful things about how sweet and beautiful he is. Love her.

My response: "Yes, he's in Kindergarten and loves it!!"
Reality: Boog is in a very, very good Autism class and it's across the hall from a great Kindergarten class. The two classes spend time together and it's incredibly beneficial for both of them. The children with ASD get to see neurotypical childrens' reactions and behavior and the Kindergarten class learns that everyone is different and that's okay.

Why not just say the reality? Because these are people that we are not close to and have no clue about Autism. People that we see once a year. If I get nervous in an IEP with a teacher and school staff that I absolutely love, explaining my son's autism and progress to extended family strangers is enough to make me crack. I held it together yesterday, but the damage is felt today. I'm anxious and borderline depressed and I absolutely know the cause.

You put on your mom-armor and get through the barrage of questions, but this armor isn't like steel or any kind of metal. This armor can last for a while, several hours, or maybe even a day if it needs to. After that, the armor disappears and you're left completely drained. To build up that armor, you use all your energy, every protective instinct you posses, and it takes me days to get that energy back. It's pure mental exhaustion. 

The truth is, Boog is doing great. He's kicking all kind of butt in so many areas. But these people wouldn't understand if I told them our recent milestones and frankly, they don't care. They're just nosey and are looking for tidbits to gossip about later at worst. At best they're just trying to act like they care to be nice. Either way, I'd rather stub my big toe five times in a row than to go through it. Yea, I'm being serious. Maybe six times.

I know I'm not alone in this feeling today. In fact, that's partly why I'm posting this. No one talks about "day after depression", so you may think you're the only one. You're not by far. 

The best advice I can give is what I'm trying to do myself today. Just breathe. Rest if you can. Find something to take your mind off having to concentrate so hard, whether it's going Black Friday shopping, to reading a good book, to binge watching a show on Netflix. Just get through today and I promise tomorrow will be easier. 

I know Christmas is just a month away, but we have four weeks to prepare. If you have made it this far, you're one tough cookie. Our battle scars from being an advocate for our children run deep, but that scar tissue is tougher than anyone knows. It's as tough as armor. And we have time to build that armor back up.

Boog's Mommy

Friday, November 13, 2015

It's Always a Win with Vin...

I'm pretty sure you've seen what are called a "memes" these days. Most of the time it's a common photo with a hilarious and/or ironic caption. One example are the Ryan Gosling "Hey girl" memes like this one:

These graphics are often extremely funny and Ryan Gosling is obviously gorgeous. As much as I enjoy these "Hey girl" memes, I felt a need to create a few that applied to a group of badass women I am a proud member of, the moms of special needs children. I also wanted to be totally selfish and use my version of the "perfect guy". Sorry Ryan, but I'm quite sure you get more than enough love.

And now, without further ado...

Ladies and gentlemen....I proudly introduce... Vin Diesel and "Hey Babe"!

I hope you've enjoyed these half as much as I did making them. If you really like them, I will try to post some more fast and furiously (yes, I went there).

Much love!
Boog's Mommy

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Thanksgiving? You mean Thanks-for-living-through-this?

Ah, the holidays. But this is Holidays: Special Needs Parent Style

Nothing like searching every store and website for a toy your special little guy/girl might play with, getting frustrated, and end buy buying some DVDs instead.

Yeah, we all do that.

Oh, and extended family! How wonderful! I love for people I only see a couple times a year ask me personal questions concerning my son's progress! Yes, please point out the obvious that he doesn't eat dressing! Awesome! You brought attention to his stims! You must feel like such an involved family member.

Yeah, we all say that in our heads.

Besides alcohol, prescription medication, or using any sort of firearm, it appears you will have to make a choice. Deal with them, or go to jail. I like to think positive and say we can do this. Can't we? I mean. Really... We can, right?

Here's an awesome article I found with some great tips on spending holidays with your special little child and dealing with awkward relatives you'd rather stuff than the turkey... Ummm, I mean extended family.... I'm still working on this, obviously.

Here's a little snippet of one of my favorite parts from the article. Find the link below and enjoy! 

Deflect the comment
Relative - "When is Johnny going to eat something besides mashed potatoes?"
You - "You make them so tasty he can't stop eating them. How do you make them so creamy?"

Saturday, October 31, 2015

Happy Halloween!

I ran across this great printable of some Fall/Halloween cards.

I also know many parents are concerned about the time change and already sensitive children becoming off schedule. I heard on the news this morning that if you can have your kids go to bed an hour early tonight, it should help offset the change. Now if your little one goes trick-or-treating and ends up on a sugar-rush, going to bed early may not be possible at all.

Just have a good time and remember, who needs sleep anyway, we're special needs parents. We got this! 😊

Enjoy and have a safe holiday!

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Anyone can Trick-or-Treat this Halloween!

Here are a couple great printables to use if your little one is non-verbal or has limited words, but they still want that candy! 

Have a fun and safe Halloween from "All About Boog"!

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Giving My Child a "Voice" No Matter What Form It's In

Boog turned six yesterday and we took him to his favorite museum instead of having a big party. I decided this year that I would make his next birthday "all about Boog" (pun intended!) and do what he would want to do. A busy party so,ermines isn't the best thing for a child with sensory issues, but more than that I just knew he would have way more fun at the museum.

We have been going to the museum for years because Boog likes to look at the enormous fish tanks they have. He has always gone from tank to tank, looking for a minute or two and then moving on to the next quickly.

This time, it was different. Very different if you're like me and notice the little things. Boog stayed at each giant aquarium a lot longer (5 minutes at one) and he was tracking the fish! Tracking (following an object with your eyes as it moves) can be very difficult for some child with Autism. Boog tracked the fish while they swam around and when I asked him "Do you see that one?" He pointed at the fish. This is so big and it means so much that is difficult to describe unless you have a special needs child. Basically, Boog is becoming more and more aware and interactive with his surroundings. 

Another thing I noticed was that while we were walking around and I was holding his hand, he squeezed my hand several times. Not hard, but a squeeze that meant "I'm happy, Mommy!". This has never happened before and I cannot tell you how happy I was each time he squeezed my hand. I felt a warm rush of maternal love, excitement and thankfulness every time. God is good!

We had some more "firsts" yesterday as well:
-Boog opened his birthday presents! I put each gift in a bag with no tissue so he could get the present out easily and also see that there was something inside. By the third gift, he was excited! He realized all the bags were for him and had new fun things!

- Thanks to years of therapy, an amazing teacher, and a hard-working, precious little boy, he had a HUGE accomplishment in school yesterday. He typed "cat" by himself. This is just days after realizing how many words he can read. I couldn't believe it when my husband told me after picking him up from school. He typed a word by himself on a keyboard! Years of therapy for fine motor skill development, understanding the requested task, and the ability to read all combined to make this possible. This means when we get a communication device, Boog may finally be able to express himself in ways he never has before, or in a much easier way. Again, God is GOOD!

On hard days I need to remember today. Remember to be thankful. And remember we are moving in the right direction... and it's quicker than I thought it would be.

-Boog's Mommy

Sunday, October 25, 2015

Beautiful Progress: My Son Can Read

My son (nicknamed "Boog") is non verbal and will be six very soon. Last year, his Pre-K teacher and I both thought he was teaching himself to read, but we weren't sure just how many words he knew.

This week his amazing teacher noticed that he could recognize a lot of words. She tested him for two days, first starting with nouns, and then moving on to verbs. 

My son can read. My son can read more words than I could at his age. He knew words from "zebra" and "apple" to "climbing" and even "was". His teacher said she was "mezmerized". She said now we have to find out a way that works best for him to get the words out. 

It may be sign language (he already signs for several words), talking or a communication device. Guys, my son can read. My son can read. I'm just crying tears of joy. My baby. He is so smart. Thank you, God.

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Overpricing Adaptive Equipment - Businesses Taking Advantage

I just read this extremely insightful blog post about how companies label things "adaptive equipment" and charge double, triple or more for it.

Check out the post here:
The Cost of Unnessecarily Medicalizing Acts of Daily Life

This is a huge problem we have dealt with for years. Literally, companies take a common object, rename it, sometimes adjust it a little and charge an arm and a leg for it. Some examples are trampolines, child safe scissors, pencil grips, and teethers. Popular websites that carry items for special needs individuals have these items mixed in with their inventory of actual adapted devices certain people need.

I wrote a popular post on how we set up my son's room. In the post I show each item's cost on a special needs website, and how much cheaper the alternative I found was:

Saving Hundreds on a Playroom!

Sometimes you can think outside of the box and come up with a cheaper alternative and sometimes you can't. Pricing items outrageously is taking advantage of certain individuals and also depriving them of things that would make their lives easier.

Sound ridiculous? Check out these examples:

1. When you Google "trampoline for special needs child", this is the listing found at Quality Toys. Their motto is "High Quality Educational and Therapy Toys!" and they sell various items for special needs kids. Quality Toys sells these trampolines for $119.00 with free shipping:

This listing by Wayfair was found by altering the search to "trampoline with bar". Wayfair sells this trampoline for $49.95 with free shipping:

2. I searched for a "trapeze bar for special needs child" and found this listing by Fun and Function.
Their company logo is "Empowering Different. Fun and Function lists this bar for $49.99:

Next, I altered my search to just "trapeze bar" and found this listing on Amazon. Amazon  sells this bar for $24.49:

3. And we will end on my favorite (sarcasm). I used Google to search for "special needs bean bag chair". This listing is by lists this chair for $76.95:

I then altered my search to just "bean bag chair". I found this chair at Walmart. Walmart lists these chairs for $24.98!

Businesses needs to stop taking advantage of so many people that are just trying to shop for things to help themselves or someone they love. Until then, always search for alternatives before you purchase anything that is considered "special needs". You could save yourself hundreds of dollars!

Take care and shop smart,
Boog's Mommy

American Horror Story...Giving Parental Advice?

American Horror Story is one of my guilty pleasures. I loved season one (Murder House) and season three (Coven). I also love Lady Gaga, so I was excited to watch the new season (American Horror Story: Hotel).

In this season actress Chloe Sevigny plays a pediatrician that makes house calls. I cannot tell you how shocked I was to hear her dialogue in the first episode of AHS: Hotel. Within the first 30 minutes of the episode, she complains to her husband about how frustrated she is. She's irritated that parents aren't vaccinating their children and whooping cough is now coming back. I had to rewind the dvr....Did I hear that correctly??

Okay, this show is produced by Ryan Murphy, known for his shock tv shows and pushing limits (Nip/Tuck, Scream Queens). Did I really just hear common sense on a tv show? Then later in the show, Chloe's character goes to a house to see a very sick little boy. Her dialogue with his mother is went something like this:

Mom: Is he okay?
Chloe: He has measles.
Mom: Oh, good! It's just measles.
Chloe: (visibly annoyed) If you had done as I suggested and had him vaccinated, this wouldn't have happened.
Mom: We just did what we felt was right and we heard vaccines cause Autism! That's scary!
Chloe: No, measles are scary!

Wow. Did not expect to hear something like that from a show made in California (where the Autism/Vaccine link folklore began by a man with no medical license). I have heard California is having more cases of whooping cough because it's the state with the most unvaccinated children. Was this Murphy's way to get parents' attention? If so, I really applaud him.

As I've said before, I am not pro-vaccines. I am pro-education. Some children with pre-existing conditions or genetic issues may not need the vaccines or something could get worse. Or maybe they need to space the vaccinations out for a longer period of time. That is why it is imperative you speak with physicians you trust. Get second opinions. Don't just go by what some mom at the park told you. 

Most of us parents with young children don't know what it was like before vaccines. My mom told me years ago about two boys that were best friends she went to school with. One boy had the polio vaccine and one didn't. The boy who had the vaccine was physically fine. His friend could barely walk after he contracted polio and had to use assistive devices to get to class. Do your research. Listen to your child's pediatrician. If you don't like that doctor, find another. Do whatever it takes to make the right decisions for your child and have those decisions based on proven facts, studies, and real statistics. You owe your child that.

-Boog's Mommy

Sunday, October 18, 2015

All You Need is Love...and a Laugh!

Some days I feel like this, and you know what? That's okay.

Our job as special needs parents is far from easy. Some days you'd rather get a kick in the gut than see one more picture of little Johnny's spelling bee medal or little Suzie's straight A report card :)

-Boog's sometimes cynical Mommy

Freebies - Disney Wallpaper!

I love Disney and I love free. Follow the link below to find official wallpaper on the Disney Parks blog . They have sizes to fit your desktop computer, iPad, iPhone, or Android phone. And the graphics are so clear and fantastic!

Since I'm in full Halloween mode, here are a couple of my favorites:

It's totally worth bookmarking the Park's blog because they're constantly posting interesting information on all things Disney:

**All graphics are owned by Disney. I was not paid or compensated for this post.

Saturday, October 17, 2015

It's Not Easy Being Green... Or Me.

I highly recommend this article I ran across, it's written by a parent of a special needs child who is also a child psychologist. The article talks about some of the biggest difficulties in parenting a child with special needs:

Some of the info I found particularly useful/interesting:

1. We do get sicker more often, it's not just your imagination: "Specifically, the 2012 study found that the parents of children with autism were more likely to get common ailments such as colds, coughs and headaches as a direct result of the increased stresses linked to their caretaking responsibilities."

2. The spouse/partner relationship is often so, so strained: "The relationship suffers most in families with SN children because the parents have been pushed to their limits but simultaneously must avoid expressing negative thoughts or feelings to the child who is causing the frustration. Instead, who’s there to snap at, because you can’t snap at your SN child? You guessed it: your partner. Though we all agree it should never happen, parents of SN children often take out their frustrations on each other."

3. We all have bad days, some people just like to act like they don't: "Undoubtedly, there are definite negative effects on parents of caring for SN children, and these parents shouldn't be shy about sharing negative thoughts and feelings. There is way too much pressure in our culture to pretend that parenting is a total pleasure and that good parents love each and every minute of it. That type of pressure simply adds to the stress the parents of SN kids have, so let's all agree to be less absolutist when talking about the experience of parenting."

Articles like this are important because they help remove some of the guilt we feel and validate the feelings we don't want to show at times. Yes, it is hard. Yes, sometimes you feel like giving up. Yes, you can do this. You just *have* to do your best to take care of yourself.

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Mental Health

Unfortunately, the topic of mental health and certain neurological conditions (Autism, Aspergers) are rarely mentioned in the media unless a tragedy had occurred. I tragedy that may have absolutely nothing to do with mental health.

It's incredibly insensitive and also misleading. The following article makes an incredibly valid point:

John Oliver Just Nailed Why the Oregon Shooting Isn't the Time to Talk About Mental Health

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Game Changer for Sensitive Skin!

A lot of children on the Autism spectrum have sensitive skin. Not just sensitive to things like chemicals (laundry detergent, soap, etc.), but even sensitive to the textures of certain clothing. We have a "no tag zone" at our house. If a shirt for Boog comes with a tag, it is usually cut off before he ever puts it on. I'm so glad most shirts are tagless these days!

But sometimes even when there's no tag, the top part of the back of the shirt still bothers Boog. It's just a sensitive area, and I just figured those shirts were just going to be thrown in the donate pile. That was until I was reading a random blog one night and happened to see someone comment about this great stuff sold on etsy and I hoped over there to read more about it.

Skindura has an AMAZING product called "Under Cover" that when applied, it creates a thin, non-sticky barrier between the skin and whatever fabric is touching it. It lasts all day and has no harsh chemicals or shady ingredients! I'm serious! Here's more info from the description:

"Under Cover is a smooth formula that easily rubs on skin to provide durable long lasting coverage that resists rubbing off. If you’ve ever had skin irritation or chafing from clothing, or equipment you know how painful it can be. Use Under Cover to improve the feel of skin irritated by friction from items like clothing, bras, waistbands, clothing tags, seams, etc. Also from the friction that athletic equipment can cause like; shin guards, protective cups, football padding, wetsuits, life vests...

The skin soothing ingredients in Under Cover also moisturize skin that has already been irritated from friction. 

Here are some other awesome features of Under Cover. It is made of 100% veggie derived ingredients, (no petroleum, no animal by products, no silicone). It’s waterproof sweat proof and resistant to rubbing off, yet still allows skin to breath, unlike many products made from silicone or petroleum. It contains no artificial coloring and won’t stain clothing. The convenient twist up tube makes applying Under Cover quick and clean. Apply exactly where you need it with no messy hands afterward and it’s portable, so you can take it anywhere. And since Under Cover is invisible on skin and fragrance free, only you know you’re wearing it! 

Directions: The warmth of your skin allows Under Cover to glide right onto your skin. Simply twist up the tube and rub on areas of friction, clean and convenient! Just don't store Under Cover anywhere that gets really hot as it will melt. If it does set upright in a cool area and allow it to re-solidify, but don't allow it to freeze."

Guys, this stuff really works. It comes in a tube that's very much like a deodorant container, but smaller. I simply rubbed it on Boog's upper back and he didn't scratch at that area all day. He didn't come up and want me to scratch it, or change his shirt. 

Since Boog is non-verbal, I have to watch very closely to see if something is uncomfortable, or bothersome to him. Having "Under Cover" gives me piece of mind that when I send him to school I know he's not stuck with an itchy or irritated patch of skin that he can't reach. I'm so thankful! 

Check out Skindura at the link below and you can have some piece of mind as well (you know we need it whenever we can get it!). They also have other products that prevent chaffing, and even stop blisters from friction caused by shoes:

Skindura on etsy

***I was in no way compensated for this post. All opinions are my own. 

Monday, August 3, 2015

An Easy Thrifty and Healthy Cool Treat!

Hi everyone! I don't know about you, but it's been hot here. Super hot. As in, can only go outside in 15 minute intervals hot. I came up with a nice and cool treat and thought you guys might like it to. Enjoy!

Friday, June 26, 2015

Write About Rights

As I see the headline on the news that gay people have finally won the right to marry who and if they choose, I can't help but relate this moment to others in not so distant past.

I remember in various American history classes in high school and college learning about several long and extraordinary fights that have occurred in our nation's history. 

Among them were:

Rights for immigrants in early America

Child labor laws

Women's right to vote and own property

Abolishment of slavery

The right to vote, own land, and diminish discrimination for people of color

I remember being embarrassed reading about how long people had to fight for something that was already in place when I was born. Without a doubt, the next generations will read about this day and also be puzzled and maybe even a little angry it took this long.

Now I wonder how long parents of special needs children/adults will have to fight for the ability to provide an education for our children, fight to make the greedy insurance companies pay for services our children desperately need, fight for the school systems and the states to not simply turn a blind eye once one of our children turns 18 or 21. 

Every day I fight to do my best and put things in place to give my son the best chance he can have to be happy and healthy when I am no longer here. 

Right now Medicaid in our state has begun dropping children with Autism because they simply don't want to spend the money for their treatment. Private Insurance finally pays for one service (ABA), yet refuses to cover the most important type of therapy many children need... Speech.

How long before a quiet 15 year old girl sits in a classroom and her mind wonders off... Somewhat shocked and saddened that our country took this long to provide equal services and opportunities to children that need them the most.

Sadly, I doubt I will see that day. I pray to God that my son will.

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Building Independence

Very useful information from an article located at

On how you can help your child with autism increase their independence at home, at school, and in the community no matter their age. By introducing these skills early and building block by block, you can help your loved one with autism gain the tools that will allow them to be more independent throughout their lives.

Early Childhood and Preschool Age

1. Strengthen Communication
Some individuals with autism may have communication challenges and difficulty learning to use spoken language. If your child struggles with spoken language, a critical step for increasing independence is strengthening their ability to communicate by building skills and providing tools to help express preferences, desires, and feelings. Consider introducing Alternative/Augmentative Communication (AAC) and visual supports. Common types of AAC include picture exchange communication systems (PECS), speech output devices (such as DynaVox, iPad, etc.) and sign language.
For more information on AAC, technology and communication visit Autism Speaks Technology Central and click here to find out how to get an AAC Technology assessment for your child.
2. Introduce a Visual Schedule
Children with autism often do well with pictures and visuals. In particular, visual schedules provide a way to help understand what to expect throughout the day. Using a schedule with your child can help them transition from activity to activity with less prompting, lets your child select certain activities themselves, and choose when to complete them. When you first introduce a schedule, your child may need some cues to follow it. Review each item on the schedule with your child, and then remind them to check their schedule before every transition. Over time, they will be able to complete this task with increasing independence, practice decision making and pursue the activities that interest them. 
You can learn more about using visual supports by downloading the ATN/AIR-P Visual Supports and Autism Spectrum Disorder Tool Kit.
3. Work on Self-Care Skills
This is a good age to introduce self-care activities into your child’s routine. Brushing teeth, combing hair, and other activities of daily living (ADLs) are important life skills, and introducing them as early as possible can allow your child to master them down the line. Make sure to include these things on your child’s schedule so they get used to having them as part of the daily routine.

School Age

4. Teach Your Child to Ask for a Break
Make sure your child has a way to request a break – add a “Break” button on their communication device, a picture in their PECS book, etc. Identify an area that is quiet where your child can go when feeling overwhelmed. Alternatively, consider offering headphones or other tools to help regulate sensory input. Although it may seem like a simple thing, knowing how to ask for a break can allow your child to regain control over themselves and their environment.
5. Work on Household Chores
Having your child complete household chores can teach them responsibility, get them involved in family routines and impart useful skills to take with them as they get older. If you think your child may have trouble understanding how to complete a whole chore, you can consider using a task analysis. This is a method that involves breaking down large tasks into smaller steps. Be sure to model the steps yourself or provide prompts if your child has trouble at first! Also, try using My Job Chart: a great tool to help both kids and adults learn to complete tasks and manage time.

Middle School – Beginning of Adolescence

6. Practice Money Skills
Learning how to use money is a very important skill that can help your child become independent when out and about in the community. No matter what abilities your child currently has, there are ways that he or she can begin to learn money skills. At school, consider adding money skills to your child’s IEP and when you are with your child in a store or supermarket, allow them to hand over the money to the cashier. Step by step, you can teach them each part of this process. They can then begin using their skills in many different settings in the community.
7. Teach Community Safety Skills 
Safety is a big concern for many families, so here are a few steps you can take to teach community safety. Teach and practice travel training including pedestrian safety, identifying signs and other important safety markers; and becoming familiar with public transportation. The GET Going pocket guide has many useful tips to help individuals with autism navigate public transportation. Consider having your child carry an ID card which can be very helpful to provide their name, a brief explanation of their autism, and a contact person. You can find examples of ID cards and other great safety materials available in our Resource Library.
8. Build Leisure Skills
Being able to engage in independent leisure and recreation is something that will serve your child well throughout their life. Many people with autism have special interests in one or two subjects; it can help to translate those interests into age appropriate recreational activities. Our Resource Guidecontains activities that your child can get involved with in your community; including team sports, swim lessons, martial arts, music groups, and more. 
For more information about participation in youth and community organizations, see our Leading the Way: Autism-Friendly Youth Organizations guide.
9. Teach Self-Care During Adolescence 
Entering adolescence and beginning puberty can bring many changes for a teen with autism, so this is an important time to introduce many hygiene and self-care skills. Getting your teens into the habit of self-care will set them up for success and allow them to become much more independent as they approach adulthood. Visual aids can be really useful to help your teen complete their personal hygiene routine each day. Consider making a checklist of activities to help them keep track of what to do, and post it in the bathroom. This can include items such as showering, washing face, putting on deodorant, and brushing hair. To stay organized, you can put together a hygiene “kit” to keep everything your teen needs in one place.
For additional help with puberty and teens, see these resources:

High School Age

10. Work on Vocational Skills
Starting at age 14, your child should have some vocational skills included on their IEP. No matter what abilities your child currently has, there are a variety of activities they can sample to see which jobs and vocations could be a good fit in the future. Make a list of their strengths, skills, and interests and use them to guide the type of vocational activities that are included as objectives. 
This is also a time to start planning for the future. Consider all of the ways up to this point that you have been fostering your child’s independence: communication abilities, self-care, interests and activities, and goals for the future. What programs and supports will your child need after high school? The Community-based Skills Assessment (CSA) can help you answer this question and evaluate your child’s current skills and abilities to create an individualized transition plan. 
For additional help, download our Transition Tool Kit here.
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