Wednesday, June 10, 2009

A plan...

Recently I had a parent contact me about good daycare for special needs children. I've been so lucky in that when I was working my boss allowed me to work from home part time so that I could drop and pick up the children at school. When it got to the point that I couldn't give my normal 110% to work and my children, I gave my notice and became a full time stay-at-home-mom. I do remember before going part time at home, contacting a few daycares in our area. We had just moved to this town and I didn't know very many people so I got the good old yellow pages out and started my search. To say I was discouraged would be an understatement. None of the local facilities could handle a special needs child because the extra care that would be needed. It's not like it was a lot of extra care mind you as Logan was only three at the time and still in diapers. The only things I was worried about were keeping an extra careful eye on him as he ran whenever he saw an open door and to make sure he ate only what I sent with him.

I have contacted another parent in our area and have asked for some help finding a good daycare for this parent for her child. She's a single parent and doesn't have the luxury of staying home with her child during the summer. She needs some help with this and I've made it my goal to try to help her to make the transision as smooth as I can. I remember how it was after we got Logan's diagnosis and if I can help someone through that rough period than I will. I've helped her out with the GF/CF diet as much as I can. Do you rememeber that movie Pay It Forward? I had one parent help me out a little by sending different GF/CF food for Logan to try so we wouldn't have to spend big money only to find out he didn't like it. I did and will continue to do the same for other parents. It's a great feeling knowing that you are helping someone else through one of the toughest times after a diagnosis.

Now about my plan, I want to get information about daycares (home or bigger) that can take children with disabilities. I'm working on finding them in our county but would love input from everyone else out there that have information regarding their areas. I can put together a list in my sidebar or a link to take anyone directly to the daycare sites. Anything I can organize to help other parents would be great. So, if you have a suggestion for a good special needs/disability daycare in your area drop me an e-mail or a comment so I can start the list.

Thanks so much for taking the time to stop in and read my posts. I really appreciate it! Have a great Wednesday everyone!

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Nothing much going on here

There really isn't much going on here and I'm thankful for that!!! Logan has decided he loves school after all and has now gone back to really getting excited in the morning. He demands his diaper be changed and his clothes be put on a good 40 minutes before the bus is due to pick them up. Holy cow! I'm lovin' this new attitude in my little guy. I'd rather he be ready to go even if it's almost an hour early rather than have to fight to get him out the door.

Very little shredding going on this week (knock on wood!) I think he's feeling much better and is really happy with the way things have settled down. My arms are almost healed up except for the two scratches from yesterday. He wanted his chocolate cookies and when I told him we were waiting on them to come in..... I think you get the picture. LOL

We did have an episode of fit throwing on Saturday evening. He got a little over tired and wanted to go to bed and I wasn't quite ready to go. It didn't help that his ear was hurting just a bit either. So after a few kicks and punches thrown at me I was able to finally figure out what he needed and it was like I had a little angel sitting next to me. He snuggled right up to me and cuddled while I got him ready to hit the hay. He fell asleep within twenty minutes of going in his big boy bed. All-in-all these past couple of weeks have been a WHOLE LOT better for him and me.

I'm still working on getting them to go to bed and go to sleep at the same time. Most nights Logan falls out first. Ryan and I will head out to the living room and get the futon ready for him to fall asleep on. Most nights I can go to my own bed around midnight to two in the morning. Hey, it's better than not going at all because even with the pillowtop cover we throw on the futon, it's not the most comfortable bed for a big person. LOL

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Update - Ryan

Ryan's in the school system now and has been since his third birthday. He's probably only going to be in the ESE Program through next year. Since the school system can only deal with educational therapy his feeding issues are largely going unattended other than what we do with him at home.

The plan is to get back on the massaging of the teeth and mouth each time he eats. He drew blood a couple of times so I had to stop to let my fingers heal. We will also continue working with his fingers on things that he hates to touch. He has shown some great improvement at school with fingerpainting and coloring. We are trying to work with him with theraputty (we use silly putty as it's the same texture and cheaper) and beads. I also have a rice box that I have some beans and toys hidden. He hates the rice but he's getting better with it. He also has been requesting the moon sand lately so there are definite improvements.

With all the therapy he's had in the past two years, the boy will never get an Autism diagnosis which is fine with me! Early intervention is key with these kids! Ryan is living proof; if only we had known more with Logan. I can't beat myself/ourselves over the heads with the what if's but sometimes you still do go that route.

I'm not sure if I've mentioned it before and I'm too tired to go back tonight to see. LOL Ryan has never had any vaccinations at all. We firmly believe that is why he is so much more "there" than Logan. This was totally our choice and isn't for everyone. You have to review all the facts and come up with a decision that fits your individual child is all I can say.

Agency for Persons with Disabilities

Did you know that the wait list (at least here in Florida) did have a wait time of seven years???? WOW! I had no idea when I signed Logan up that it would be that long for everyone and we signed up two years ago. I spoke to a HSP Analyst yesterday to do an update questionnaire for Logan. They've recently switched to a tier system and there are no longer numbers given out. They used to give out numbers and as someone dropped off for whatever reason they next number was taken off the list and given services. They will no longer be doing this. The questionnaire serves to find out where people are and how they are doing currently. Apparently in seven years people move, die and have other life changing things happen to them. At least they are making an effort to clean up the current people and the ones that need services.

Since they no longer have numbers assigned, people will actually get services on a "need it" basis. I think this new way of doing things is a lot better. At least this way the ones who really need the services will get it instead of just the next number in line. What if someone becomes homeless and they've just been added to the list. Does that mean they don't get services until their number is up in seven or more years? Not with the new setup!!

I feel a lot better about this after speaking with this women. She was here at the house for about an hour. She interacted with Logan and he seemed to really take to her. She thought he was an outgoing little guy. I had to tell her that it was really that she just has something in her personality that he bonded with. She's going to get me some information that may help with Ryan's feeding issues since he doesn't qualify for anything from them as he doesn't have the diagnosis. She seemed very caring and concerned and was really helpful and informative.

Also, I know I've posted this before but it's that time of year again. If you are already on the list or are just getting on it, ask them if there is any money available for diapers. We were able to get some help with Logan's diapers and it looks like it will be covered for another year from the same "grant". Our counselor found enough money to cover two years last May so if your child is still in diapers NOW is the time to ask for help. It makes a difference; we have more money each month to get Logan his supplements/food or just get him any other things he needs.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Oh my goodness, it's been a while!

Life gets in the way at the best of times so you can imagine what it's like with us. I can't believe I haven't posted to this Autism blog since September! So much has gone on, where to begin....

Logan adjusted beautifully to the new class and teacher. He advanced leaps and bounds in speech and behavior that I never had to worry about him. Alas, it didn't last. His teacher had to retire unexpectedly two months ago due to health reasons and no interim teacher could be found. They put up with substitutes for a month before we finally had to go to the principal to find out what the heck was going on in the class.

No qualified ASD teacher is available for the rest of the year so they settled (finally!!) on one subsitute. Now, you would think that I'd be happy with that and I guess I am to a certain degree. The problem is that Logan doesn't seem to really care for this person. Ms. Nickie has had to be absent quite a bit herself because her children have been ill so it's been a double whammy for the little guy. It has gotten so bad that a few days he has absolutely REFUSED to go to school. He won't allow me to change his diaper and get him dressed in time to catch the bus and the boy LOVES the bus. I thought perhaps he'd let me drop him at school but that didn't work either time. We're taking it one day at a time anymore.

It doesn't help that he's been sick. The Friday before Spring Break he came down with strep throat. We had no idea because he couldn't communicate what was bothering him until Easter Sunday. He was on antibiotics that following week which I kick myself for because this past week he dealt with ear infections in both ears due to the meds. He missed all but one day this past week and that was fun. I took him to the doctor but they wanted to put him on a stronger antibiotic. I talked to the doctor about using Grapefruit Seed Extract instead of the antibiotics and he said he'd give me two days to get the temp down/gone before he would have antibiotics started. We've been following a regular schedule of putting the GSE in water and then putting a drop in each ear. We also have added one drop of it to his "milk" morning and night and he's now 100% better! (His little sister was starting to get it so we started to follow the same schedule with her and she's almost back to normal) Now, if they can just start sleeping through the night. Wait, make that got to sleep earlier and sleep through the night again. LOL

He was just playing with Ryan and it was wonderful to watch. They were chasing each other back and forth through the living room. Logan was sitting on the couch when Ryan went up to him. Logan reached out and gently put his arms around Ryan and then leaned in and kissed his nose! I tell ya' it brought tears to my eyes!! It's something that will I will always remember and cherish. Those moments are too few and far between so I have to stock them up and enjoy them when I can!

Saturday, September 6, 2008

More timely update

I'm trying to stay more on top of this blog so I can let everyone know how Logan and Ryan are doing. If I can update weekly I will be a happy camper but no promises!!

Logan has now been switched to the class and teacher that I had originally wanted and I'm so thankful! He's got a great teacher in Ms. Clark and a great aide in Ms. Nicki. Ms. Clark attended the IEP meeting last May and I was SOOOOOO impressed with her. To say I was disappointed when he didn't get her is putting it mildly. She incorporates speech therapy into the class work as she has a background in speech. She has been working with Autistic children for a long time and knows how to deal with behavior issues while still getting them to work. I did try to see how things would go with the new teacher and aides but as you read in my previous post things just weren't working. I had been thinking that if the one aide would stay around that he could deal with that class but then I saw things start to deteriorate and knew I had to do something.

My Tuesday was spent taking them to speech at the hospital and then to school. I wasn't impressed with what I saw when dropping him off so I made an effort to get back there before his lunch so I could observe un-noticed. Well, you know what they say about plans...... I made it to school ten minutes into his lunch time so I headed to the cafeteria. I observed for a few minutes there un-noticed and I can say no further eval was needed. I did, however, make a point to hang around until after they'd been back in the classroom for at least 20 minutes. I observed them in the classroom for another 20 minutes and headed to the office. I debated on making this a face-to-face meeting with the principal or just talking to him on the phone. He rarely takes a phone call but will call back a few hours later. He sure takes a lot of meetings!!

I stopped in the office and surprise, he was in a meeting so I stuck around for 20 minutes waiting to see him. After explaining what I saw with Logan's regression and having to explain why he can't tell me what the problem is, we got down to the nitty gritty. I wanted him moved to another teacher who could put her foot down and make him do the work that he's very capable of doing. After another few minutes listening to his excuses (we're moving the child who is hitting/scratching/biting to that classroom so you aren't fixing the problem by moving Logan too) why it wasn't a good move (in his opinion) Correct me if I'm wrong, but if you have a strong teacher (strong leadership skills) then won't that cut out the discipline problems with the scratching, biting and hitting??? I got him to agree to talk to the teachers and let me know by the end of the week. I left the school that day feeling like I'd accomplished nothing and felt like I had let Logan down yet again. I just knew the battle had just begun. That it would be a long and painful one but, in the end Logan's issues would win over the class count or whatever it was he (the principal) was using to be against the switch.

The next day I received a call from a dear friend who informed me that Logan wasn't with his regular class and was with the other teacher/aide. That person said he looked happier than they had seen him so far this year and the aide was working with him as she should be. What a great weight lifted from my shoulders! They are sending little daily logs of how his attitude was for that day, how he worked and a few other notes so I know how his progress is each day. The other teacher didn't do this unless I wrote a note asking for specifics and even then I might not get an answer. I'm not trying to knock this other teacher. I got the feeling that she has experience with general education but doesn't have much experience (hands on) with the spectrum children. She has lots of great ideas "on paper" but getting them to actually transition over to hands on work in the classroom needs a lot of work. Logan doesn't have the time for this transition to work itself out. He has regressed before and it took quite a while to get him back to where he was improving again. He doesn't have the time for practice with a new teacher. (I was assured at the end of last school year that all new teachers for these new Autism classes would be experienced with the spectrum and all that entails. It's pretty clear to me that isn't exactly how things turned out. Things that make you go HMMMMMM......)

For the past three days Logan has been very happy in the morning while getting ready for school. (Yes, he's still tired but he's no longer nasty and fighting me when I'm trying to get him dressed) He's happier when he gets home and he's actually asking for what he wants (i.e. I want juice, please, thank you.) He's not scratching or hitting and he's giving lots of kisses without being asked. Maybe the short period of regression is already fixed, if not, it should be a short time before he's back to where he was this summer. Phew, what a week!

Sunday, August 31, 2008

Another long period between posts

Sorry about the delay between posts but summer is always busy with all the kids home and all the therapies.

Ryan update - we have him scheduled for his transition evaluation on September 19th. Hopefully we will find out then whether or not the psychologist feels the need to give him the autism diagnosis. If she does, it doesn't necessarily mean he will be eligible to get therapy through the school system. If he does get the diagnosis and is eligible, I've already let the principal know that I want Logan's teacher from last year and his aide as well. That class was a wonderful haven for Logan and I know Ryan will be in very VERY good hands there. So much has changed in the past year about the eligibility requirements that I'll just have to find it all out then.

Logan update - well, school isn't going so well right now. I know it's not just the new class, new teacher and new aide. He doesn't want to get up and get going in the mornings. He's never been like this before. Some days are a lot worse then others so I'm just thankful to have a lull whenever I can get it. He's not requesting with words now and he's back into the scratching and screaming again. Now, over the summer he did a little bit of that but not like now. I've been really making him request and he will if I make him but if I don't push he just throws his bowl, plate or cup at me. Something isn't quite right so I'm going to make a surprise visit to the school to see what is going on in class this coming week.

When the principal had originally told me who the teacher and aide were at the end of last school year I said no to the aide. I was assured both had experience with Autism and all that entails. We did reach an agreement that if I wasn't happy by the third week of school that I could get a new aide. Due to the tropical storm the first week of school was a wash as they only went the Monday and Tuesday. Last week was the first full week and I can tell there is something wrong. When I went to his IEP meeting last May the teacher that was involved in the meeting really impressed me. They did tell me at that time that they were having to hire two new teachers as all the Autistic children would be moved to this school and Logan may not get her. I'm not impressed with the regression that Logan is showing so the only option is for me to go and sneak a peak to see what's happening. I plan to do that and if I see something that makes me unhappy I will be heading directly to the principal's office to make the change.