Thursday, March 12, 2015

Sometimes we just have those days

Yesterday was a bad day conduct wise at school for P.  I don't know why, and I surely wish I did.

I gave her the magnesium supplement to help her stay in control of her nervous system, her multivitamin, her Calm Child supplement to help her stay calm and focused, yet still we were on orange.

I don't understand,  this is the 3rd day in 6 that we've had conduct marks and two in one day yesterday.  All of them are with a long-term substitute that will be there the remainder of the year and is a brand new teacher having finished her student teaching in the fall.  The staff all raves about her, but how is it that my kid is having discipline issues now when she wasn't before.

Is the behavior issue because the school hasn't had them on the playground in over a month now because of the weather and she's not getting enough sensory input? Is it because there's been a big change all of the sudden? Does she not like the new teacher?  Does the teacher not have control of the class and my child has become the target or is all the class having more conduct issues?  Is it because while we have an IEP we have no help at all other than speech when we really need OT and assistive technologies as well as resource to help reinforce reading?  Our grades have fallen steadily in reading and I'm doing all I know how to do at home to help her with this.  We practice reading decodable books which I spoke of in the last post, we practice sight words with games, flash cards and computer applications, I just don't know how else to help her...she gets very visually overstimulated by lots of words on the page and will shut down and refuse to read, she hates to be put on the spot and asked direct questions, it's very intimidating for her....someone needs to help her and me figure out how to get past this or test in a different way....ugh.

I have an appointment with Mrs. Manning tomorrow to discuss much of this, and I've made a list of questions and concerns in hopes I can stay calm and on posting today is part of getting the emotion out of the way and just bringing the facts to the table.  When Mrs. Manning called today she was already on the defensive and very upset that I had concerns about her substitute I guess we'll see how it goes.

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Homework woes in Kindergarten


That's how I feel about it. I don't like homework in general and I certainly don't like it in Kindergarten, but with changing standards I can see how some is necessary.  And really, if P would stop arguing and just do it, it wouldn't take but 10 minutes.

write the 5 "spelling" (phonics) words one time each per night.  Do part of a math worksheet (generally 3-5 items), do her flashcards and read one or two decoadable readers to me to practice her reading.

These are some of the online decodable readers I've found that have been helpful in finding books other than the decodable "take-home books" they get sent home from school.  Different means she's not already bored with them and it means more practice with different word sets each week/day.

pre-decodable books from thinkcentral
decodable books from thinkcentral
starfall downloadable learn to read books with Zac the Rat
decodable books written by teachers (power point formats)

I've also put her spelling and sight words into lists at for her to play games like bingo, matching and word search with for constant exposure in a different setting.

Some other suggestions I recieved were starfall (learn to read is free, other subject areas are not), (my kid is not impressed but I know others who love it), khanacademy (for math), essential skills advantage (not sure on this one yet how she'll do)

I'm looking into abcmouse, particularly for this summer to continue learning between school years and brainjogging since it's specifically for "different" learners to help their processing of information.

Monday, March 9, 2015

Crying Babies, at home, in the car, everywhere

P, my middle child has been diagnosed with what would have been PDD-NOS years ago, now the diagnosis is simply ASD (Autism Spectrum Disorder) mild (so she's very-high functioning autistic).  With this diagnosis comes SPD/SID (Sensory Processing/Integration Disorder). How our journey towards this diagnosis began, starts with infancy, in particular, her constant screaming over seemingly nothing and our inability to soothe her.

At first she seemed like any normal higher-needs baby, she just liked to be held and comforted, but it turned into being overstimulate by everything and crying constantly.  In particular, the car seat made her totally inconsolable.

She had a Graco SafeSeat1 (similar to the current Graco Snugride 30 and 35, it had a 30lb, 32inch limit on it so I thought I would surely use it until she was a year old--boy was I wrong).  Even with the infant insert in it she cried constantly.

So...what we tried:

We tried with the insert, without the insert, with the strap covers, without the strap covers (nothing aftermarket allowed, only those that came with her seat at the time of purchase). It made no difference with P at all. It did however make our next child, B, much happier to be in the seat without the infant insert and strap covers (check your manual to see if any of the inserts or covers are required).

We also tried having the air cooler and warmer.  Still she cried, though not quite as hard when she was we always made sure not to overdress her and keep the car fairly cool, This held especially true for days when she was already upset as she would work up a sweat as soon as the crying and screaming fits started.

The doctor and I tried medicine for colic/gas and reflux, but they did little to help her, though it does seem to help some kids, particularly since infant seats have a sort of  "C" shape to them that makes kids with reflux more uncomfortable, a more upright and "L" shaped convertible helps them normally.

We tried music, white noise (there are phone apps for this), rolling the windows down, me singing, toys that had bells inside a stuffed animal or doll, loveys, etc., all to no avail...still she cried every time she was in the car seat, no matter how tired or close to sleep she was, how awake and happy she was, still she cried.

We tried me sitting in the 3rd row of our van when possible, she already had an 8 year old sister sitting next to her that she could see and who tried desperately to console her.

Next we went with static cling window shades to block the sun, that did help some in the spring and summer, but really, still she cried.

At almost 7 months we decided to try a convertible seat.  I don't know if it had to do with being up higher and seeing out the window more, the age, the more upright seating/"L" position or the fuzzy soft fabric, but we became a better rider at this point. Still, 70% of the time in the seat we were in hysterics...but hey, that 30% of the time reprieve from crying was very welcomed.  Somehow over the next 6 months she slowly cried less and less.

Here's the deal though...I don't think people realize that some kids, regardless of what you do, are going to cry no matter what in the car seat.  All you can do is your best: try anything and everything that's safe.

At the time we were dealing with this the Noggle (review by hadn't been released yet.  I think it could have been a very valuable tool for redirecting air around her. I know that if I didn't have a van with rear air/heat I would buy one now to help cool the back of a car or SUV during our hot and humid summers.

Try it all, white noise, music, rolling the windows down, changing the temps, using a noggle, sshshing them, sitting in the back with them, toys that make noise or light up but are still soft and safe for the car, a mirror so they can see you (as long as it's well anchored and couldn't be a hard projectile to hurt your child in an accident--if you threw it at them would it hurt them?), changing how you dress them, a different seat, installing your seat more upright if it allows, or more reclined if it's very upright already, make sure your straps aren't too tight, but are just tight enough to pass the pinch test, swaddle them in their seat, and just know you aren't alone.  Some kids will outgrow it in a few weeks, some a few months, some longer, but as long as they are strapped in correctly and you have places to go, you just plan to make more frequent stops when possible, try to get them sleepy in hopes they'll fall asleep on your journey, and make sure they aren't hungry when you start. There are some essential oils (lavender and sweet orange or roman chammomile) that might be able to help calm your child by placing a drop on a bib or using an in-car careful with essential oils though, make sure what you choose is appropriate for young children.

As for the SPD/ASD, The constant screaming for us, since most things didn't help was mostly sensory related. She didn't like the feel of certain fabrics and would cry incessantly when she wore things that weren't cotton knit.  She didn't like the feel of the motion of the car, she didn't like the snugness of the harness (still doesn't at age 5.5).  Didn't like the bright sun, road noise, or anything near her head.  She doesn't feel temperatures the same way (or pain) that normal children do.  So I think a lot of her stopping the crying was learning how to navigate her world that was so crazy overstimulating to her.

Thursday, March 5, 2015

snow and ice again

I seriously hope they have school tomorrow, because after spending most of last week home and today home I'm not sure what else to do with them to entertain them!

Last week started as a rainy, freezing rainy, sleety was pretty, but it wasn't fun to play in and the roads were nasty!

P thought it was the greatest thing ever to stick her tongue out to catch whatever freezing precipitation was falling, I have at least 4 pictures of her doing it, two of them were accidents as she just started doing it as I was taking pictures and it was too cute to pass up.  As you can see here she doesn't seem to be as effected by the cold as everyone else.

They tried desperately to get a little ice man to stay together in the first round of ice didn't really work, and once the snow came on day 3, we did manage to build a snowman, but the dogs knocked it over before I could snag a picture of it.

A just liked the snow in her hair...thought she was too cool to play much in it.

I haven't really researched why this happened, but there was a big puddle outside that I thought would just freeze into a solid sheet.  Apparently I was wrong.  There grew in it's place strange, yet beautiful, muddy ice crystals, some straight and some curved...a whole tiny forest of them!

 Snow/ice angels were fun, especially since they don't remember ever making them, they do remember making "leaf" angels in November when the oak dropped all it's leaves in the front yard.

And, while B was ok for a few minutes with heavy coat and ski bibs on, P didn't care how she was dressed as long as she was outside playing in it.

Ice driving, even for the kids was nearly impossible, if you went to fast you spun your tires or ran into something, but if you slowed too much or stopped you got stuck.  They also found climbing the fort a difficult task as the climbing wall and the stairs were slick.

 Like I said, the roads were nuts, but we did take a walk through the neighborhood and it was really neat to see all the changes the snow brought about.  A very different perspective indeed.

Now, yesterday was a most entertaining day.  The below photo on the left is from Tuesday, our high was 75 at 5pm that day.  The comparison next to it is from yesterday, a high of 80 at 1pm, by 3 it was only down to 78, but it was down to 56 by the time I got everyone started on homework at 345.

 I pray that today we are well entertained by kinetic sand, board games and crafts, because otherwise there's liable to be a war between B and P today