Thursday, June 30, 2011

Kinda big news for our family...

Those of you who know me in real life may know this already, so this is for the rest of you. :)
We have some kinda big news--we are going to be foster parents! Raymond, my husband, picked up this magazine at Subway a few weeks after we moved here. And in the magazine was this ad that was for a foster parenting agency. And it was saying that they really needed homes for children in the 0 to 3 age range. In fact, this particular agency only places children in that age bracket.

We had talked about adoption and foster care many times off and on throughout our marriage, but Raymond has always been hesititant because he always thought he'd get attached and then have to see the kids go back home. Well, something about this ad really touched him, and he brought up the possibility of becoming a foster family with me.

I was all for it! :) So we started the process. It's a long process, 27 hours of training classes, CPR and first aid training, 2 home studies, lots of paperwork, and background, psychological, and fingerprint tests. We have just finished the classes, and one of the home studies, and are just now waiting on the other home study and for our fingerprints and references to come back (thank you to all those who are my references!). We should get a placement hopefully by the end of July.

Any child who is or has been in the foster care system has suffered abuse and neglect. Our family is really excited to be a part of healing and hope for these little ones.

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Monday, June 27, 2011

Comment issues

I noticed I'm having issues commenting on other people's blogger blogs. It follows that you all might be having the same issues on my blog. Whenever I try to comment on a blog, after I press comment, I am sent to the login page, and I log in, I'm sent back to a blank comment. When I try to comment again, I'm sent to the login page again, and on and on.

I *heard* that if ya'll change your comment setting to the pop-up window instead of the simple comment window below your posts this issue is averted. So I'm trying that. I hope it lets more people comment, and if others change their settings, the bazillions of failed comments I've tried in the last several weeks will finally be able to be posted. :)

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Sunday, June 26, 2011

A Day in Our Life--Lately At Least

Here's how we've been doing school since we moved to Oklahoma in February.

7 or 8 am: the kids eat breakfast while I do the dishes and shower. They usually wake up even earlier, but stay in their rooms and read or play until I come in.

8 to noon-ish: play time. The kids seem to prefer to play all morning and would always gripe when we'd do school in the AM, so I start the day off with free play. They eat a morning snack around 9:30 ish.

Noon-ish: lunch time.

After lunch for one hour or so: quiet time. Little Bean would spend all day alone in his room without a problem, and Miss O likes to come out and interrupt whatever I'm doing over and over. Polar opposites, I tell ya. But they both do quiet time in their rooms at this time, and sometimes Miss O will fall asleep. Little Bean does a little bit of independent work in his room at this time (Easy Grammar, some daily skills worksheets, sometimes a bit of U.S. state stuff, or some cursive).

Next comes school time: I do Miss O first, generally speaking. She does reading, printing, spelling, and math daily. At least theoretically. Sometimes we whizz through, other days she requests that we skip one of the subjects. She knows her limits, so when she wants time off, we take it.

2:00 ish: we have an afternoon snack.

Then we get back to work with Little Bean: He does different subjects on different days, but I try to at least hit spelling 3 times a week, cursive 2 times a week, history 4 times a week or as needed to finish a chapter a week, and math every weekday. Lately he's been requesting more science and writing assignments (shocking!) so we've taken more time doing that kind of thing and skipped some of the others. Depending on the day, he is usually done around 4:30 or 5 o'clock. Sometimes it's sooner, sometimes it's later.

We eat usually around 6. Sometimes they'll play a game with dh while I do the dishes and clean up. Or sometimes they'll just run around and play. Then if we aren't going anywhere that night like boy scouts or to a meeting or what not, they get into bed at 7:30 ish. Miss O goes right to bed usually, but she has a hard time settling down. Little Bean reads until 9 and then I put him to bed officially.

So that's our day! What does your day usually look like? More structure? Less?

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Wednesday, June 22, 2011

A Little Writing Assignment

We've done a few cute little writing assignments lately, and I am going to share our most recent one with you today. This one was a pretty simple assignment where Little Bean was to choose a job or hobby and draw a picture of a person wearing the gear he would need for that job. Then all around the person, he was to draw separate pictures of the tools that person uses in their job or hobby and then label the tools. Little Bean did a a great job at this, and was entirely enthusiastic about it too!

Little Bean chose to draw a hiker. Not a big surprise since he is very outdoorsy himself and loves to hike and do boy scout things. Here's a picture of the end product.

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And here are some close ups of the labeled pictures.

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This was a fun little writing assignment that got him thinking and using writing in an enjoyable way. We'll have to repeat variations of this another time.

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Wednesday, June 15, 2011

How it's going with gluten free, casein free

Please excuse any typos this post may contain...I am using my husband's iPad to write this post up because I'm too lazy to turn my computer on. It's been crazy busy here the last two weeks especially. Raymond and I are attending classes on Mondays and Thursdays and have to drive all across town for that. In addition, my parents came out from Ca to visit! My mom is still here, and so we have kept busy going to different places together.

But I did want to update everyone on how it's going with Litttle Bean's new diet. We went cold turkey,removing gluten, casein, and artificial colors, and decreasing soy products. We added a daily multivitamin, as well as a daily calcium and vitamin D supplement. The results have been really, truly astonishing!

We went from a kid who was quiet most of the time....to one who starts up conversations with you and engages you by asking questions and making comments!

We went from a kid who could not finish a school assignment that involved writing without crying and becoming overly distressed to....a kid who voluntarily spent two hours on a writing assignment so that he could 'show it off to his dad after work'!

We went from a kid who could not control a single impulse, no matter how small,...to a kid who is now controlling them at least half of the time.

We went from a kid who could not stand to be touched to...a kid who lets me rub his back for a short period of time sometimes and who comes up for hugs now.

But the most significant change, and the one where we've seen the most improvement is in the area of aggression. Almost within the first days of starting his diet, Little Bean drastically reduced his temper tantrums and aggressive behavior. We were actually used to having multiple violent fits a day in which Little Bean would slam doors, kick, bite, head-butt, pinch or otherwise try to injure us. I began this diet as a desperate attempt to help him with this behavior since nothing else was helping, and I had heard that for some children with Autism, this diet helps a lot for whatever reason. I don't think I really understood how much we were all, Asa family, living in pure survival mode until we saw such drastic improvement in Little Bean. Since we started the diet at the end of May, we haven't had a single large tantrum, and only a few mini tantrums which Bean was able to recover from almost instantly, where previously it had taken it's toll on the rest of the day.

Since this diet has been so successful so far, I'm feeling two things:

Incredibly grateful that we have stumbled upon something that is helping him, and allowing us to avoid medicating him, and

A bit terrified that one day I'll wake up and he will have regressed to where he was two weeks ago.

I do want to share more about the resources we are using and the books which have been particularly helpful when I have more time. I also want to make it very clear that this post is focusing on the positive changes we have seen, and Little Bean is in no way recovered or cured of Autism. None of the changes we have seen are totally complete across the board, but they are way, way improved from what we were seeing even two weeks ago. And they are convincing enough that we want to continue what we are doing, and learn about more nutritional interventions that may help him.

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