Friday, April 27, 2012

Staying Together; Spotlighting Connection

Following up on the previous post about mixed messages, I am still in reflection mode...

One of the challenges I had back then was that my child would not stay with me.  I had to keep up with her.  At the park.  At the doctor's office.  At occupational therapy.  You name it.  If she was ready to go, off she went and I went with her.  She didn't have to stay with me because I stayed with her.

Along with making sure my "talk" matched my non-verbal language, I had to re-visit setting limits and boundaries, while at the same time, spotlighting connections between the two of us.

What do you mean, Penny?

Stop talking to them and use your body to show them limits and boundaries instead, they will begin to see the limits and boundaries and respect the limits and boundaries. Your life will become so much easier when the kids move along with YOU instead of you keeping up with THEM. I cannot tell you how much stress was relieved when I made this change.

The trick is to begin really small. At home. On a day when you are feeling very rested, very calm, very emotionally strong. This is a kind of limit and boundary setting, and they will challenge you, because of your past patterns together.

Examples: Require that they stay with you while you load the dishwasher. Or throw in a load of laundry. Or fold a load of towels. Something short. If they walk away, stop what you are doing, go over to them, offer a hand, bring them back, announce, "We're not finished yet." with a big smile. This is where you can offer opportunities for them to do more than simply stand there, they can help toss in laundry, too, or whatever. If you can block them from leaving with your body, then do that. Use your body, your body language, your actions, your behaviors. I have cornered my child into a corner in the kitchen with me on the outside of the corner, which allowed me to take one step (body language, not "talk") to block her from leaving as I was unloading the dishwasher.

After you have practiced new body language- (and if you are like me, you need the practice - because I was not doing any of this AT ALL) - you can begin to pair words that match your body language and explain, for example, why you don't want them leaving the OT's office without you. 

The other "one other thing" that you can begin to do as you implement different body language and cut down on "talk" is to intentionally look for and create short/brief opportunities that spotlight "staying together", that give her a concrete role with you, that spotlight his role in a connection with you. Use an object. Remember to stay as quiet as possible.  Keep verbal directions to a minimum.  Avoid prompting - prompting robs her of managing her own attention.  Give him plenty of processing time (as much as a minute!). 

Ideas:  Move an end table or lightweight piece of furniture together so that you can vacuum under it. Move the end table back when you are finished. The table becomes the tangible, visible, concrete "connection" that spotlights his role with your role, his "staying with you" role. Ask her to hold one side of the big trash bag with you as the two of you move through the house and gather the trash. Have him help you carry grocery bags into the house from the car with both of you having a hand on the same bag of food. Ask her  to hold one side of the laundry basket as you gather dirty laundry or as you deliver clean laundry to different rooms. Carry a bucket of water together to water flowers in the yard - if you have a stick of wood or a piece of strong rope, hang the bucket across the wood or rope and balance it between you as you water things.

Little things, little moments add up to big experiences that carry over to other people and places.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Mixed Messages

As an autism interventionist mom, I am still a work in progress.  The last couple of days, I have been reflecting.

I remember when we made the switch away from behavioral to developmental intervention.

Our consultant told me that I talk too much.  I needed to stop using so much "talk" and to begin to communicate in other ways.

I needed to use my body to interact with my daughter.  She wasn't using her body; she was relying on my words.  Words are only 20%-30% of communication, which means she was missing a lot around her.

The developmental intervention began to focus on me, on my behavior. Slowing down. Being quiet while communicating in "non-talk" ways.

I began to practice "non-verbaling" with my daughter who is on the autism spectrum.  Reluctantly.  I didn't think it would work. (I was wrong. It changed our lives in a big way when she began getting experience and practice in all things non-verbal.)

Turns out, I learned something about me.

I was not consistent between my "talk" and my body language.  I was sending mixed messages to my children.

And it took my trying out the turning-off-"talk"-while-communicating-richly-in-other-ways with the neurotypically developing sibs for me to learn my lesson.

This was probably seven or eight years ago.  I hated to take the kids shopping with me.  They were experts at nagging, whining, begging for toys or candy while we were in a department store, and they exhausted me. I'm not sure why I took so long to use "non-verbaling" with the sibs, but one night at Wallyworld, I gave it a try. The first time one of them held up a little toy and began to beg for it, I paused, went into slow-motion, shook my head, "no" and waited for the begging to begin.  I was surprised when that child put the toy down and began to walk along with me on my shopping trip.  My verbal response, "No, you do not need that!" was, to them, an invitation to negotiate with them, because I had engaged their negotiation attempts so many times. Sometimes, I gave in and bought them the toy.  My actions, my behavior did not match my verbal "no". When I began giving them a sad expression and a head shake, "no", I realized that I could stop their negotiation. When I made my words and actions match, they got the message. Their whining and begging was something I had behaviorally reinforced with my mixed messages. What a discovery.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Deluxe Wand Full-Size Corded Massager Review (and Contest)

Are you wondering about a gift for mom for Mother's Day? Here's an idea:

We received a wonderful review item that the whole family can use: the Deluxe Therapy Full Size Therapeutic Massager by Walh.

The Deluxe Wand is not just for moms.  When I learned about the review opportunity, I thought about it for my child who is on the autism spectrum.  We have used massagers for sensory calming in the past.  The massager arrived on a Saturday morning when my son had not one, not two, but THREE baseball games on the calendar.  (They won two of three that day and went on to win the tournament.) The guys in the family eyed it with some excitement, knowing that they'd be sore by the end of the weekend.  I am thinking ahead to marching band camp. The students may like having the Deluxe Wand for arms, backs, and shoulders at night after holding up heavy instruments, flags, rifles from dark to dark.  (The moms at camp who are sewing all week would probably appreciate a back rub with it, too.)

My eldest decided to plug it in and try it out - and she handed it to me.  I moved it over my shoulder and to my back the way I might use a back scratcher.  Oh. my. goodness.  So relaxing. 

Retailing for $45.99 (or less), the Deluxe Wand massager is corded (which means no battery; it must be connected to an electrical outlet in order to use it--and that is my one disappointment with this particular model), gives users two speeds and three attachments to address a variety of needs at home.  The massager arrived with the smooth attachment in place, with instructions that explained how to change attachments to either the kneading attachment for deep tissue or the deep attachment for muscles.  Pretty simple.  Feels wonderful, especially if I can talk hubby or one of the kids into using it on my back (as opposed to my positioning it like I would position a back scratcher).
Wahl's facebook page is here, be sure to head over there for the contest: From April 26-May 13, we’re conducting a contest and giving 50 Wahl therapeutic massagers to 50 hardworking moms to help them ease the aches and pains that come with their busy lives. To enter, simply share a story that conveys your appreciation for the mom in your life and why she deserves some relief. Entries will be judged on their uniqueness and sincerity, so we’re looking forward to reading a lot of stories straight from the heart. Make sure to submit your entry by May 3 so that your mom will be considered for the prize.
Wahl's web site is here.   Wahl's makes other models of massagers, included one with a heat feature.  Check them out! :)

Wahl sent me a Deluxe Therapy Full-Size Corded Massager at no charge to me for review purposes. I get to keep the massager. I was not paid for this review. I am not obligated to provide a positive review.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Annie Sullivan said

I need a teacher quite as much as Helen. I know the education of this child will be the distinguishing event of my life, if I have the brains and perseverance to accomplish it.

Anne Sullivan Macy


Sunday, April 15, 2012

New Hope Mills GF Products

I found new-to-me gluten free mixes at a little market that opened recently near my Mom and Dad's town.

I bought a chocolate cupcake mix and a vanilla cupcake mix. The chocolate cupcakes are quite good! (I have not made the vanilla cupcakes yet.) I replaced the butter with safflower oil and I replaced the milk with coconut drink. I also added more of the coconut drink than the back of the box called for. The cupcake batter seemed too thick and dry with the amount called for in the directions. I also baked them 22 minutes instead of the longer time recommended on the back of the box.

We have taste tested them - they are tasty! I'll buy this brand again!
The ingredient list is located here.

Friday, April 13, 2012

Free GFCF Cookbook for the Kindle

Thank you to The Literature Lady on facebook for spotlighting this free (today!) cookbook for the Kindle. If you don't own a Kindle, you may download (free!) Kindle for PC and grab this book while it is free. Please double check to make sure the book is still free before you purchase it.

Live Free- Simply Gluten Free Dairy Free Baking: Plus, how to eliminate gluten and dairy from your diet in 3 easy steps! [Kindle Edition]

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Amazing Animals By Design, a TOS Crew Review

In a past life (the one before children), I participated in a whale watch program in Southern California. In order to become a docent on the whale watch boat tours, I had to learn about Pacific Gray Whales. (One of my favorite teachers was John Heyning.) After docents passed the test to go out on tours, we were treated to presentations by experts about other marine life.

Expert after expert detailed for us how specialized each animal is. Here's an example: Birds that feed from fish deeper in the ocean have less fat, which enables them to dive deeper for their food. We learned to identify birds by how much of their bodies sat above the water when they were sitting still. Birds with more fat sat higher, with more of them above the water line.

God created more animals than I can count, and He created them in a way that they eat different food sources and in a way that their bodies are customized, specialized for their environments. There is enough food and space for everyone.

Fascinating! God thought about *everything* when He created all of the animals. Each is highly specialized by design.

I have tried to share my experiences with my kids. I blogged about an experience with an octopus here.

Homeschool mom and TOS Crewmate Debra Haagen has written a book for children that supports my desire to spotlight God's specialization to my children. "Amazing Animals by Design" falls into the category of resources I love.
The 24 page paperback is priced at $8.99 and can be ordered here.

I like the way Haagen explains the special designs of different animals, and I like the way she defines in younger, 'kid terms' some of the bigger words.The illustrated book is a story, a science lesson, and a vocabulary lesson, all in one. Haagen does a good job sneaking some facts and 'school' into a story in a way that draws us in. I look forward to see what she comes up with next.

Do you know about the caracal? This cat that is featured in Amazing Animals by Design, is a good jumper:
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We were given a pdf e-version of the book to review. I did send it to my Kindle in that form. My one complaint is that I'd rather have the paperback to hold with my homeschooler, as she is currently very limited to electronics and even when we sit together and attempt to work at the computer, she is very distracted and wants to leave the e-book in front of us and go do what she wants to do on the computer.

Amazing Animals by Design has a facebook page here.

To read my Crewmates' reviews about this book, please go here.

DISCLAIMER: I was given a pdf of this book at no charge to me in order to review here. I was not paid for this review. I am not obligated to provide a positive review.

The Baseball Park

I'm not sure why I expected my kid w/ an autism spectrum disorder to sit and color or do something quietly during her brother's baseball games. None of the other younger siblings do that.Note to self: Bring some balls, some sidewalk chalk, some bubbles, some water guns, for next time. What other gross motor toys can I add to the list?

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Sizzle Bop

Carol Barnier has a facebook page for her Sizzle Bop stuff.

She's offering an idea a day, with pictures:

OnePlusYou Quizzes and Widgets

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