Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Code Words

New to the Life is Therapy series? Here's a quick blurb to tell you what it's about:

Sometimes we parents can get bogged down in the notion that the teaching of our children must be done by professionals. Parents of children with special needs are particularly vulnerable to this idea since children with special needs often have to learn and develop quite differently than children with typical needs. This series centers around the idea that learning can and does occur most effectively through everyday life experiences at home and out in the community--for children with both typical and special needs.

What are code words? Code words are those "magic" little phrases that are the substitute for a long drawn out explanation. For example, I have a little boy who loves to stand up on a basketball, stand in a rolling office chair, jump up and down in the bathtub, flip on the bed....you know...if it's unsafe he is all about it. A phrase that is often heard at our house is "Jack! Stay safe." "Jack! Stay safe" means "Jack, do not stand up in that office chair. That chair can topple over and you will crack your head open on the filing cabinets. Get down now!" AND it means "Jack, do not use Irish as a step stool to lean over the upstairs railing. You could topple over the side!" It also means "Jack, do not even think about going out into the street without me." AND "Jack, do not touch the stove." The phrase reminds Jack to stop and think about what he is doing. It focuses his attention (for a moment anyway) and makes him remember what we've told him.

How do you develop "code words"? Choose a very simple phrase that succintly sums up what you want to say. Our "Jack. Stay safe." arose from constantly telling him that we wanted to keep him safe. Eventually we narrowed it down to "Jack. Stay safe."

Next, you form the associations with the words. Every time you encounter a new situation where the phrase applies, you say the phrase, ("Jack. Stay safe."), confirm that you have the child's attention, and then give a simple yet longer explanation. For instance, Jack's latest trick is jumping on the bed. When he first tried to show me this nifty trick, I said "Jack! Stay safe.", helped him to the floor, and said "Jump on the floor." He climbed up on the bed again later and I repeated, "Jack! Stay safe. Jump on the floor." Soon enough, the association was created and if I saw him stand on the bed I would say only "Jack stay safe" and he would sit down on or crawl off the bed.

The great thing about code words is they are portable from person to person. We told the school our "Jack. Stay safe." phrase and they are using it there too.

His teacher taught us a phrase she uses to get a child to give her his full attention. "Look at my face."

We also use "Pay attention" to let Jack know that we need him to really focus on what we are saying.

Jack has evidently learned these code words really well. Last weekend, he said, "Pay attention" and gently turned my face toward his. It worked. I took notice and began paying attention.
Recent Life is Therapy Posts can be found at:
Just Snuggle
Get Your Boredom Going
Spring Break
For more Life is Therapy Posts, check out the left side bar.

Now it's your turn to participate. This is where we share our ideas and stories with one another. We're all in this together. Let's laugh together, motivate one another, and stimulate each others ideas. If you have a blog, create your own "life is therapy" post and leave a link in the comments. If you don't have a blog just leave a comment with your life is therapy story.

Monday, March 22, 2010

St. Patrick's Day

Photobucket



 used his two hands to squeeze the glitter glue

and colored a blue shamrock



You may need to click on this to be able to read it




To see other's Magic Marker Monday posts and to link up yourself, click here.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Spring Break

New to the Life is Therapy series? Here's a quick blurb to tell you what it's about:

Sometimes we parents can get bogged down in the notion that the teaching of our children must be done by professionals. Parents of children with special needs are particularly vulnerable to this idea since children with special needs often have to learn and develop quite differently than children with typical needs. This series centers around the idea that learning can and does occur most effectively through everyday life experiences at home and out in the community--for children with both typical and special needs.

It's Spring Break in our local community. This week, I'm just encouraging you to go be silly with your kids.

Later, when you reflect on the silly fun you had, you may realize just how many "Life is Therapy" moments you had. Come back and tell me about them! Get out there!

Recent Life is Therapy Posts can be found at:
Boring is Good
Just Snuggle
Get Your Boredom Going



For more Life is Therapy Posts, check out the left side bar.

Now it's your turn to participate. This is where we share our ideas and stories with one another. We're all in this together. Let's laugh together, motivate one another, and stimulate each others ideas. If you have a blog, create your own "life is therapy" post and put a link to your post in your comment. If you don't have a blog just leave a comment with your life is therapy story.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Sensory Experience with White

Photobucket

Remember Ms. Denise's color plan? Jack has moved on to white.....he's not enjoying it quite as much as black. Here's Ms. Sunny getting Jack to play in shaving cream. I don't know where Ms. Denise was for this shot.



To see other's Magic Marker Monday posts and to link up yourself, click here.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Safety FAIL

You know how we are super uber safety conscious 'round here?

umm......
Please remember that the "chest" clip is what keeps your child from flying out of his 5 point harness and it belongs in the super safe zone about level with the arm pits. And moms, if the family is in a hurry and Dad helps Junior into the car, check the car seat before you snap your cute picture of riding off to visit friends.

For more Friday FAILs, click here.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

How to Get the Perfect Posed Shot

Back in December of last year, I gave a tutorial on How to Get the Perfect Group Shot. So many of you laughed uncontrollably over my lack of skills found my tutorial to be helpful so I've decided to help you with another lesson. Today, we'll talk about capturing the perfect posed shot.

Step 1: Seat subject in front of lovely background and get him prepared for the shot.
*ahem* Prepared for the shot?
Alrighty then!
Step 2: Snap your lovely picture.
Uh....focus? Did I forget to mention focusing the camera?

Eh....if subject looks up at camera while sitting in front of lovely background and you've got him in focus, just snap the picture, his shirt got dirty before the photo session so you know you weren't going to send it out anyway he's so adorable he looks great smiling or not!

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

They made us do it!

Each week, Jack's class has a theme. Each day, he has to bring in an item related to the theme. Tuesday's assignment was to bring in a fast food wrapper. What were we to do? It's homework, after all!
Click for more Wordless Wednesday, Wordful Wednesday, and Special Exposure Wednesday posts.

Go see yesterday's post to learn how you too can have a boring life!

Heavy Heart

I've been in a bad mood all day. Everything irked me. The world just seemed off kilter and I've been mad about it. There were brief moments today when I realized that I was sad. It's the weather. I miss the sunshine. That's what I told myself. But no, it's just that my heart is heavy.

A little boy named Isaiah died early this morning/late last night just before I went to bed. I've never met him or his family but I'd been praying for them after some friends alerted me that he was not doing well and was in the hospital.

Now I pray for his mom and dad and my heart aches for them. Could you pray for them too?

You Too Can Have a Boring Life!

I know it seems like just a dream but you CAN make it happen for you! But first, the intro....
New to the Life is Therapy series? Here's a quick blurb to tell you what it's about:

Sometimes we parents can get bogged down in the notion that the teaching of our children must be done by professionals. Parents of children with special needs are particularly vulnerable to this idea since children with special needs often have to learn and develop quite differently than children with typical needs. This series centers around the idea that learning can and does occur most effectively through everyday life experiences at home and out in the community--for children with both typical and special needs.

Two weeks ago, we talked about how Boring is Good. Since then, I know you have all been scratching your heads wondering just how completely crazy I am why David and Jack put up with me how you might make life a little more boring for your family. I came across this blog post that showed an awesome organizational system for keeping the house a bit tidier but also letting everyone know what to expect next.

It actually inspired me to get out some old picture cards that I made a LONG time ago that Jack did not really respond to much.

In the first column, there are pictures that illustrate time to potty (told you these were old), time for night night stories, and time for medicine. The next column is time for teeth brushing and time for bath.

Now that he is a bit older and better able to focus, it seems that the cards help him to process my verbal instructions regarding what comes next. I keep the cards in a little folder and just pull out the one that represents the next activity. They could also be used to create a visual schedule as Jenn did in her guest post on Raising Memories.

Picture cards can also be used to aid your child in making choices. For instance, if you are giving your child the choice between playing with play-doh or coloring, you could present him/her with a card with a picture of play-doh and a card with picture of crayons. The visual representation along with your spoken words may help your child process exactly what his/her options are. This choice making method can also help you to better understand a child who is in the early stages of talking or has some other reason that he/she is difficult to understand verbally.

You don't have to make your own cards. There are a few sites on the internet that have ready to print images. Heather Lynne mentioned All About Me. There's also Do2Learn, English4Kids, and Teach Children ESL. Don't be intimidated by the fact that these sites mention autism and foreign language speakers, the cards can be used for whatever purpose you have in mind.

Go check out the sites and have fun creating your boring life!

Recent Life is Therapy Posts can be found at:
The Grocery Store
TV is NOT the Enemy
Boring is Good
Just Snuggle
For more Life is Therapy Posts, check out the left side bar.

Now it's your turn to participate. This is where we share our ideas and stories with one another. We're all in this together. Let's laugh together, motivate one another, and stimulate each others ideas. If you have a blog, create your own "life is therapy" post and link to the specific post in the Mr. Linky below. If you don't have a blog just leave a comment with your life is therapy story.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Jack's Book of Black

Photobucket

I mentioned a couple of week's ago that Ms. Denise (Jack's itenerant teacher) put together a plan to teach Jack his colors so that we could distinguish whether he was color blind or just doesn't know his colors yet.

The first two week's focus color was black. Ms. Denise created this nifty book for Jack.
She brought it to school and had him help her finish the last page.

It was patterned on the Brown Bear What do you see? book series. She made it very tactile with black feathers and black forks and made it interactive by having Jack do the last page. Great work, Ms. Denise!

To see other's Magic Marker Monday posts and to link up yourself, click here.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

There's More to Our Story

It has been a tiring, stressful week in the All Access Pass to Jack household. We thank you so much for your prayers and support. Jack did not vomit again last night and he settled into a restful sleep a little after midnight. He did not wake up crying any after that.

Apparently, Jack's recent stomach virus has temporarily (we hope) slowed down his ability to move food through his stomach resulting in nighttime vomiting. And he has a viral sinus infection and another ear infection.

This morning, he was a little irritable but he's usually that way when he has a new ear infection. He was fine after a little motrin. He went to school today. Ms. Sunny reports that he spent most of the day laughing. Ms. Denise was happy to report that he identified mini oreos as the black cookies.

Jack has had several rough nights from the vomiting that have left his parents completely exhausted. Children, however, bounce back from exhaustion a lot quicker. We were too tired to think of anything else wanted Jack to see what other children do when they are not at school so we let him watch a few You Tube videos. He has recently developed a fascination for little Ali so we watched her You Tube videos a few times. He was fond of her rendition of the ABC's but the Alabama Tutorial really got him moving.

video 

It's 10 pm and Jack seems to be resting well and has not vomited. We are praying for a restful night's sleep. Good night!

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

We really just don't know....

I wanted to be witty tonight. I wanted to do a post Grasping for Objectivity-style that would make you chuckle about our doctor's visit today but my baby my sweet sweet baby just threw up again. And tonight it was much more than he threw up the past two nights. This was food that he ate 7 hours ago. It doesn't make any sense....and he keeps waking up crying. He just doesn't do that and of course I'm worried that maybe it's his head...please just pray.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Home Made Sinus Remedies

Even before Jack's stomach flu began, he's been having increased secretions and difficulty breathing at night due to that ever changing barometric pressure. Our family doc suggested Breathe Right Strips. I told him that I figured the concept would work but reminded him that Jack (who was not present) had an unusual nose and the Breathe Right Strips just didn't do their thing on him. "No problem," he said. He put his fingers on my face and showed the effect I was trying to create and said, "Just use band-aids." David laughed at me when I did this but it worked!


My bloggy friend Sheila also sent me these great tips from her Wellness Blog. I'm going to try these too (on me and Jack).
Click for more Wordless Wednesday, Wordful Wednesday, and Special Exposure Wednesday posts.

Don't forget to check out this week's Life is Therapy where we take a break for snuggling and last week's Life is Therapy where I tell you why boring is good.

Just Snuggle

New to the Life is Therapy series? Here's a quick blurb to tell you what it's about:

Sometimes we parents can get bogged down in the notion that the teaching of our children must be done by professionals. Parents of children with special needs are particularly vulnerable to this idea since children with special needs often have to learn and develop quite differently than children with typical needs. This series centers around the idea that learning can and does occur most effectively through everyday life experiences at home and out in the community--for children with both typical and special needs.

If you follow me on Facebook or Twitter, then you know that we have been bombarded by virus after virus after virus this season. We don't seem to get over one before another has started. Some are mild and we rock right along and others just knock us down.

The latest virus is of the knockdown variety but I'm glad to be getting some relief from today's trip to the doctor so that I am able to put up the weekly post.

This week I want to remind you what's most important about Life is Therapy. It's about the connection. The more you are connected to your kiddo, the more you can enter his/her world and see what interests them and use that to teach them skills they need for the world around them. And sometimes having that connection means it's time to drop everything, throw a blanket and some pillows on the floor and just snuggle....

*Yes, he is so tall that his feet reach down to my knees but when he is sick, he thinks he is still just a tiny baby* laying on his Mama’s chest. *Yes, I am aware that he was never a tiny baby.

Recent Life is Therapy Posts can be found at:

Boring is Good
TV is not the Enemy
The Grocery Store
For more Life is Therapy Posts, check out the left side bar.

Now it's your turn to participate. This is where we share our ideas and stories with one another. We're all in this together. Let's laugh together, motivate one another, and stimulate each others ideas. If you have a blog, create your own "life is therapy" post and link to the specific post in the Mr. Linky below. If you don't have a blog just leave a comment with your life is therapy story.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Praises During this Small Storm

Jack threw up again sometime last night/early this morning. It's all a blur sometimes. The scary thing is that we did not wake up immediately when it happened. It seems like God usually jolts me awake for these things. But no worries God had his eye on Jack as usual and Jack was laying facedown when I woke up. ***Stop reading here and skip down to the last few sentences of this paragraph if you have a weak stomach.*** I know this is a little graphic but I just want you to know how much God takes care of our little guy. Jack was lying facedown and that caused all the vomit to exit the mask into the Bipap tubing so he did not breathe it in and cause lung damage. Our God is an amazing glorious God who deserves oh so much more praise than I will ever give!!! Anyway I don't know how long he laid like that before I woke up and turned on the light to check on him because I realized something was odd (yet another praise because I was really very sleepy and was just going to turn him over but something (shout out to God!) made me turn on the light first). Anyhow, I turned on the light and was getting him cleaned up when he began vomiting again and much more that time. He refused to eat all day and David said he was pretty lethargic until I finally dragged back home. He perked up a little when his biggest playmate and snuggly comfort item (ME!) arrived. He did eat a little dinner (some cereal and fruit bars--his choice). He's been asleep for a couple of hours and he has not thrown up yet. Pray pray!


Dave is feeling okay. He says he's feeling better since he's at home where he has his medications (Mucinex and Sudafed) and remembers to take them.

I had to work today while my brain tried to knock its way out of my skull little by little. I went to the doctor this afternoon. He says that my neck and shoulder pain were most likely the precursor to me getting sick. He says it's yet another viral sinus infection to be blamed on the ever changing barometric pressure. He gave me a shot to decrease the inflammation, particularly my throat and gave me some other meds and praise the good Lord, meds for my head to quit pounding. They are working.

Under the Weather Rewind

Photobucket

We're under the weather here so we could sure use some prayers. Jack appears to have the stomach bug that's been going around and another cold. David has yet another cold/sinus infection. Marie is having severe neck and shoulder pains leading to a headache as well as a severely sore throat and ear pain.

On to today's MMM....
I have mentioned numerous times how much I love finger art. No surprise that this litte beauty meant so much to me!



Jack made this last year toward the end of the school year. The aide who helped him reported that at first Jack resisted because he does not like the feel of finger paint. After they told him it was a special surprise for Mama, he happily cooperated.
 
It now hangs on a kitchen cabinet and makes me smile everyday!
 
To see other's Magic Marker Monday posts and to link up yourself, click here.