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