Thursday, April 18, 2013

Integration through my eyes

Integration through my eyes:
The idea behind integration is great but are we ready for it yet? I've written posts on this before on my facebook page but I wanted to revisit it. This is written in my opinion and is not against teachers, students, or anyone. This is what I've seen in our school systems and is based on what I have seen and what I've heard from others. I have three children with various special needs that have gone to special ed preK and were then throw in into regular classrooms with little supports in place. This not only hurts my children but the other classmates and teachers as well. The teachers in the general ed room are not trained (minor if any) for a special needs student to be placed in the room nor can they accommodate to their needs with 20 some other children in the room. The other children are neglected as that teacher is trying to make sure your child is ok, are they in their seat, are they doing their work, can they do their work, ect. This is mainly right now based on my youngest child but my others go through this as well. Alexis has been lost in the system since she turned 7 and isn't given the proper supports. The teacher knows of her disability so she makes her own accommodations without having them in an IEP or anything else written but it's not enough as she is still sooo far behind her second grade class. The other kids know she's 9 1/2 and they can't figure out why she's so old and in 2nd grade. She can become singled out quickly and she's almost given up on school work because she doesn't understand unless worked with one on one. Logan is doing great learning wise but yet the teacher has to contently redirect him and make sure he's doing what he's supposed to, not zoning out, moves faster to keep up, ect. Then there is Zach. His teacher seems beyond frustrated. She has no idea what to do with him in class and the rest of the class is suffering as well. When there is no aide in the room she is having to stay right with him while trying to teach the others as well. He gets supports in the room 5hrs/day they say but is it enough. We know he does wonderful one on one with no distractions but right now with 23 kids and a big classroom he's doing practically nothing. He's not intellectually delayed but when being in the classroom with the other children you wouldn't know it. They just told me at his last meeting "We didn't have a clue that he could do any of that!". What I want to know are we failing our children by having them in classrooms of 20+ children in the room? Some children can't learn in that environment and I feel like we are giving them no chance at learning and the other children are losing instruction at the same time. Now I know some day our children will be out there in the world and will have to adjust but at what point are we over pushing them? There's a fine line from giving them a "free pass" to pushing them too far. I was just told by a big wig at the school that "you need to realize your child has a disability and once delayed always delayed get over it". Is this what we are coming to? Here it's ok your child isn't learning we will just pass them? My children are capable of learning and I want to give them the best chance they have but how am I supposed to do that when people say those things? I want others to accept my children and understand integration to a point but at what cost to our children all of our children? There is recess, gym, lunch, music, ect that everyone could come together. Right now our children are getting bullied, falling behind beyond what they need to be, getting that "free pass", ect. Now you may not agree with everything I've said and I would love to hear your opinion in a nice none confrontational way but this is what I see :)

Tuesday, July 3, 2012


A lot of people are traveling over to friends and families homes. Here are some ways to make both a special needs child and their parents more comfortable while visiting.
1. move breakables from room. For short visits try to have a room where the child can move around freely with out them feeling restrained or the parent going nuts trying to watch them so they don't break your precious glass tea cup collection.
2. Move breakables from all rooms but one. If the visit will be for a longer amount of time designate one room in the home for breakables and lock the door. Make this room off limits to the child. This will allow the child to roam around the home without everyone on top of them ever second.
3. Have a "smart" tv. No not some super ubber expensive tv just one of the old fashioned small heavy hard to break tv's. This is helpful so you don't have to worry nonstop about your new big screen lcd super ubber expensive tv. This would only be necessary for longer visits and you can get them really cheap just about anywhere.
4. Have "child friendly foods". Now this does not mean go out and buy tons of ice cream, hot dogs, ect unless that is all they will eat. Check with the parent on what the child will eat and what they can not eat. Children on the spectrum or with other special needs may only eat certain things or may not be able to eat others.
5. Remember if you yourself have a special needs child not all children are alike!!!. Just because yours doesn't try to kill your cat another may so think of your animals. Ask the other parent if accommodations need to be made to keep their child and your animals safe at all times.
6. Make a "safe" place. Make an area of your home for the child to go to if needing a break. Make sure it's large enough for mommy or daddy too.
7. Don't expect perfection. No ones perfect and your home could get very loud.
8. Ask questions. If you ever have any just ask. Anyone visiting your home will not mind you asking a question about how to make their stay more easier.
9. Relax and have fun :)

Sunday, May 27, 2012

What we don't want to hear

Ok yesterday I did a post on my thought of autism. Today I'm going to post things that parents of high functioning autism and aspergers do not like to hear. I have heard these things from personal experience as well as from other parents. We hear these things from not only parents of "typical" children but also from parents within the autism family community.
Your child gives eye contact: yes occasionaly but mainly they are looking straight through you
Your child is just shy: nope hate to tell you they are not.
But your child is soo social: hmm yes but they don't get the concept of social play or communication
That is "typical" for that age: ohh one of my fav's. It's only typical if it doesn't happen daily over and over again.
Meltdown oh that's just a temper tantrum: Ah can you tell me what started it? and why it lasted for hours?
Sensory?: Well everyone has problems with that sometimes. Ya sometimes exactly.
Your child's just a "brat": hate hate hate this one. I'll give them to you for one week and let you try it out.
But they are soo smart: Yep hate to tell ya autism does not mean your dumb. Actually to tell you the truth most children on the spectrum are average to above average no matter where on the spectrum they are.
Are you sure it's not this ____?: Well could be part of it could not be. Can I see your medical licence please?
Why don't you use this med for such and such problem: well I've probably tried it already but hate to tell you most of them don't work!
Your child is just being "silly": They don't know how to react!!! So they do something that makes everyone laugh no matter what it is.
The list goes on and on. Raising a child on the spectrum is hard work and takes lots of patience. Not everyone is going to believe you all the time or maybe even some of the time but please please think of what you are saying before you say it. Some of this can really hurt not only the parent but the child too. Add anymore you can think of below :)

Monday, April 2, 2012

Mandy Nite

Ok no pic for this one but a little about me. I am 30yrs old and a single mom to these three little angels. I grew up going to private school where you didn't get much help if you had problems learning. I was thought to have adhd and probably do. I did well in math and science but very poorly with spelling and government/history/geography. I was a shy child but did have friends. I started public school in the 9th grade and received some help by having lower math classes since I totally didn't understand geometry or algebra. I made it through school with close to a B average and kept myself out of trouble for the most part. I always have had a problem with letter reversal but it didn't seem to cause to much of a problem in school so I was never evaluated for that either. I started working at 11yrs old babysitting and by 16yrs old I started working in a daycare center. At the daycare center I first learned about autism. A couple of the kids there had it and a few where suspected of having it. I grew very close to these children and always found ways to communicate with them. The center I worked at had a lot of troubled children but they were all special to me. I loved working there but decided to move on once I hit 19 for a higher paying job and for other reasons. I got married at 22 after getting pregnant with Lexi and soon came my other two. Their father although we are still on a friendly basis for the kids is a very troubled man with problems of his own. I left him 3yrs ago and never thought of going back. My children progressed a lot afterward since I had time to focus on them more. I've been at my current job for 11 1/2yrs and went part-time almost 2yrs ago now for my children. I started writing app reviews about 6months ago to help get apps for them and others. I'm not a very organized person but I try my best at it lol. I love helping others and try to take care of myself but don't always get there. I lost most of my friends between my ex and sadly because of my children's dx's. I found friendship and understanding on facebook and have found that sometimes it's the best therapy/friends you can have :) There's a little about me and my life. :)


Zachary is 4 1/2 yrs old. Right now he has a dx of developmental delay and sever adhd. He is and has been being evaluated for autism. He was a very very quiet baby. He could not cry it came out as a squeak. He threw up his formula at every feeding. We tried solids all the time but he would get a rash and throw up every time. He would gag on everything that came near his mouth. He didn't met any of his milestones. He started rolling over at 6 months, sitting up with support at 9 months, sat unassisted at 1yr, and started walking and eating solids at 18months. He also developed cold induced asthma at about 9months old. He was evaluated and placed in ECSE at 2. He was very delayed although growing well. He was evaluated by public health and thought to have sever autism at 14months old. He started working with the 0-3 program right after but wasn't making much progress. When he started walking he had a very awkward gait and it has stayed awkward but has gotten much better. He started talking right after his 3rd birthday but has a speech delay. He uses "me" instead of I but only because of his brother. He has come a long ways from when he was a baby and can ride his trike well but can't run or catch a ball. His testing has come out that he is stuck at a 2 to 3yr old. He is very smart and can remember anything. He has the best memory I've ever seen going all the way back to 1yr old. May sound strange but it's been proven to anyone that meets him. He is a very hyper little guy and is always on the go and talking non stop. He got his dx of adhd after going to the dr. where my other two go. He was found to have sever adhd and started meds right away at 3 1/2. He doesn't sleep well at all and is up most of the night. He also chews everything that comes near him. He is a very sensory child. His school is starting to notice that he doesn't play with others and is delayed socially as well. He loves the iPad but even has a hard time concentrating on that. He loves to shop though which I find funny as with Lex I can't even take to stores and Logan has to be put in a cart Zach just walks along. Zach is potty trained but only during the day. We took a step backward in that department and have put him back in pull ups at night. Zach does play with toys but has to have them set up perfectly to the picture. He is very independent in he likes to try for himself even if he can't do it. He has recently started having starring spells and going backward which is a huge worry but I guess we see where he lands :( I hope all the best for my little one and hope to see him grow big and strong :)


Logan is about to be 7yrs old. He has a dx of autism, adhd, mood disorder nos, and depression. Logan came into this world very quiet. He hardly ever cried except when hungry. He threw up his formula at almost every feeding so we started him on solids at 3 months old per dr. orders. He was a big baby and always in the 100th percentile for height, weight and head size. He met his milestones delayed but not too delayed. He developed cold induced asthma at about 9months old and was put in the hospital for 4 days not knowing if he would be ok. While in there he was put on steroids and suddenly he learned to sit up and stand up all in the same day!. He was a very lay ed back child. All the kids around him for some reason would sit on him and he would never make a sound. He didn't babble by 1yr old and that's when the worry started. When he still didn't babble at 2 I grew very concerned and started to wonder about autism. I had a friend who's son was just dx'ed not long before and I took him to that dr. at about 2 1/2 and he received his dx of pdd-nos. Logan would just sit there and stare most of the day. I even caught him in my bathroom sink staring for over 1hr. He didn't respond to his name, spread poop everywhere, unscrewed everything, did not do any change, and preferred to be alone. He didn't like anyone touching him at all and would scream if anyone did. Once he had his dx I tried getting help from the county for supplies to keep him safe. He would run and didn't respond to his name at all. He even could open his window and I caught him on the roof numerous times. The wouldn't help me with out him being certified by the state so I did so then. He got accepted right away. At a little past 3 started talking but at the same time got very violent. He would have awful meltdowns and hit or kicked anyone that came near. He broke everything he touched and there was no stopping him. He was in the ECSE program with his sister starting at 2 1/2 and they watched the transformation from being under responsive to over responsive quickly. He has since even out in that since sometimes being one way sometimes being another. He can be the most caring boy in the world but doesn't realize pain in any sense of the word. He looooves sports and could talk about them for hours. He started showing signs of depression a year ago and was started on meds that have helped a lot with it. Logan is just slightly delayed now school wise and is starting to do well with math and sight words. He has problems motor wise and speech is a major issue still with him. He uses the word me all the time but it's a lot better then two years ago when he would only use "Logan". He still unscrews things every where he goes so you always check your chair before you sit down in this house lol :). His asthma is almost all gone which is wonderful. He can not ride a trike but can ride his scooter which he loves. He is unable to bathe himself since he stimms nonstop in the tub. He is also no able to ask for anything which makes it hard because I'm always afraid he's going to get hurt since he just goes and gets what he wants. He needs constant watching as he doesn't know danger and has very poor impulse control. He still runs occasionally but is less and less every year. He loves his iPad and it's helped him sooo much. I love my little chipamunk (that's what I call him) even if he does forget everything lol :)


Alexis is 8 1/2 yrs old and has dx's of high functioning autism, select mutism, mood disorder nos, and more. She came into this world rolling over in the warming bed. She was not a happy baby by any means. She could only be comforted by being held tight against the couch and myself or by certain music. She met all her milestones on time or early but never in front of anyone. If she seen you she would drop to the floor screaming. She started eating solids at 4 months old and never had any aversions to anything. She still to this day loves veggies :). She started talking to herself at about 1yr old but never to anyone else. At about 2yrs old she showed us that she could talk by swearing at her dad while he was angry. She didn't talk again to us until about 3yrs old. At about 3 1/2 she started telling us she could see and hear dead people. This was scary but it sure didn't scare her. She always had this high pitched sound in her voice but at other times she would talk so softly you could barely even hear her. Lex didn't get potty trained until about 4 1/2yrs old. She spread poop everywhere in her room and showed no interest in getting trained. Once trained she never had accidents until 8yrs old. She started head start at 4 1/2 when they quickly sent her over to the ECSE preschool at the school. They told me it was best for her to go there as they couldn't get her to do anything and she was very delayed. At this time I was just finding out that her brother (Logan) had pdd-nos a form of autism. I wondered if she did too but no one would help me or tell me if it was. She was dxed at that time as Developmental delay. We went all through preschool with this dx and I continued to take her to dr.s that would ask me if I thought she had autism. The ran test after test on her but never an mri or eeg like her brother had. They focused on genetics because of her facial features they were sure that's what it was. They tested her for Williams syndrome and Down Syndrome thinking maybe they would get a hit. Nothing. The test continue still but so far nothing that can show through blood. I took her to the dr. that originally dx'ed her brother and he quickly said autism. Finally someone said it. It took a huge weight off my chest as I knew she did. I was tiered of dr.s saying mental delay as I know she is very smart and that wasn't the case with her. She excels in math and is starting to learn to read. She does well in class but does not talk to other children. She still lines up things and doesn't play with toys. She once even brought in all the yard animals to line up in my living room! lol. She has learned to ride a two wheel bike this last summer something we thought she would never do. She has meltdowns daily for hours on end but has stoped punching herself in the face and for the most part the head banging. I've been told that she will have a very hard time in this world but I hope for the best and see little glimpse of hope all the time. She has come so far and I know I'll find some way to help her through into our world :)