Friday, January 22, 2016

"The Plans I Have For You" Devotional and Journal Review

We sometimes get an opportunity to review an item that is geared for a demographic that is younger than my homeschooler. My homeschooler is a teenager who is on the autism spectrum and has academic and other developmental delays, and we often use materials for younger grade levels for teaching and learning. We work at her developmental level, not at the grade level that is associated with her age."The Plans I Have For You" Devotional is a 90-day devotional with a verse, short commentary, and gorgeous, age appropriate illustrations on each page. It is hardback, 160 pages, about the size of a tablet (easily fits in a tote bag or large purse for traveling or time in waiting rooms). The suggested age range is 8-12 years old. The devotional retails for $14.99.

"The Plans I Have For You" Journal is meant to accompany the devotions and is paperback with pages that are blue and cream/gray (awesome on sensitive eyes!!!!) and retails for $12.99. The journal is the same size as the devotional, 208 pages long. daughter's review: "PRETTY COOL". She likes that the pages are not dated and that if we skip a day she doesn't feel behind or that she failed.

Author Amy Parker and illustrator Vanessa Brantley-Newton have done a fabulous job with this set of study materials!

The pages of both books are inviting and fun! My girl will not entertain an activity that is simply a bunch of words on a page. Too much text, no illustrations, are overwhelming to her.  In terms of using these resources with a teen who has unique learning needs and developmental delays, the devotions and journal prompts are short - a plus when you have a child who sees 'too much' text on a page and shuts down.

My girl has been asking me a lot about her purpose, about why she is here. "The Plans I Have For You" set is a perfect addition at home at this point in time. The devotional and journal walk us through God's plans and desires for us, God's love for us, who God is, it talks about our plans, the plans of others (Jonah, for example), and in our situation at this point in time, is a really solid resource for talking to my girl about her dreams and God's plans for her. She wants to be an actress of some sort. We'll see. She has gifts in the area of fine arts. God can use her there.

My daughter and I are enjoying the pair and she tends to sneak off with them and read and write without me. I find that some of the concepts are abstract and harder for her to understand and I prefer to do them with her so that I can facilitate the understanding of concepts for her. Her private thoughts are her own and I won't include a photo of her work in the journal for that reason.

I find that I need to look ahead, to preview, future lessons so that I can figure out how to present them in ways my child can understand. The other option is to allow her to work through them without me and hope she gains some understanding. I don't know how much she is understanding and absorbing and I trust that she is understanding and absorbing something.

Here is an example to show you what I mean:
"Who is this that OBSCURES my plans with words without knowledge?" - Job 38:12
"God spoke these words to Job and his friends.
In your own words, what do they mean?"
If you have a teen with special learning needs and developmental delays, I do find this resource for aimed at younger children a good one. Expect to make some accommodations to the material if your child is very concrete (but we parents are accustomed to doing that, anyway.)

We've used a lot of Zondervan products over the years (my favorite is when I see them at a homeschool convention) and they always seem to produce quality products. Please follow ZonderKids on Facebook and Twitter
"Disclosure (in accordance with the FTC’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising”): Many thanks to Propeller Consulting, LLC for providing this prize for the giveaway. Choice of winners and opinions are 100% my own and NOT influenced by monetary compensation. I did receive a sample of the product in exchange for this review and post. Only one entrant per mailing address, per giveaway. If you have won a prize from our sponsor Propeller / FlyBy Promotions in the last 30 days, you are not eligible to win. Or if you have won the same prize on another blog, you are not eligible to win it again. Winner is subject to eligibility verification.”

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Left In The Hall

My homeschooler had her very first instrumental music lesson,
and my role was to wait in the hall.

University music buildings all sound the same. :) They are all alive and hopping with music!  I hear the sounds of students practicing. As I listen, I hear the dulcimer, the drums, and a violin are all nearby.

Monday, January 11, 2016

Picky Eater Problem Feeder Resource List

Picky eaters and problem feeders are popular topics on internet groups of parents chatting about children. I've attended a number of workshops and conferences over the years on all things autism and my blog post is a place for me to share resources. (Disclaimer: Always keep in mind that I am just a mom and not a professional. I am a regular ol' goober with a blog.) If you have a resource you'd like to add, please add it in the comments section as a resource for other parents.

I am just a mom. I sometimes refer to myself as a "LayMom". I'm not a professional. It makes sense to me that before a parent considers feeding therapy for a picky eater or problem feeder, that the parent may first want to rule out foods that may be influencing picky eating behavior.

I have an adult friend who has a diagnosis of high functioning autism. She is a wife and mother to four children. Most of us are excited to wear new clothing right away. She explained to me that new clothing makes her anxious, even if she bought it for herself. She simply is not able to wear a new clothing item right away. She needs time to see it hanging in her closet or folded in her drawer for it to become familiar before she can wear it. 

That made sense to me, especially when I applied her anxiety to a new food. When my firstborn cooked with me, I could enforce a rule that she try anything she helped me to make. She is typically developing and her sensory issues (everyone has them!) are lower. I realized that with my other kids, who have more sensory issues, that joining me to prep food and cook is enough, and that they need multiple exposures to a new food before they will even allow a small bit of it near their plates, much less try a bite of it.

Over the last decade and a half, I've attended more conferences that I can count and have taken a lot of notes about picky eaters and problem feeders. I put them in one place to make the notes handy. Here ya go:

If you have never seen Dr. Doris Rapp on the Phil Donahue show, I encourage you to head over to YouTube and watch. There are several videos available.

Nutritionist Kelly Dorfman recorded a webinar about picky eaters here. She originally titled her book, "What's Eating Your Child?" and later changed it to "Cure Your Child With Food":

Feeding Therapy: The one picky eater problem feeder protocol that professionals around me raved about is Kay Toomey's SOS (Sequential-Oral-Sensory) protocol. Go to the SOS web site to read about it and to find someone trained in the protocol in your area.

Autism One has several videos with Betsy Hicks teaching about diet.
Feingold Diet 
Several of my favorite teachers and articles come from Developmental Delay Resources.
Kelly Dorfman's blog.
Horizons DRC blog often features posts about picky eaters, problem feeders, food jags.
Many parents have seen success with the DINNER WINNER plate.

Going Deeper: I met William Walsh PhD at a conference in the early 2000's and he is a brilliant mind and fantastic teacher. Biochemists are among my favorite biomed professionals. His articles and book are excellent resources for a parent researching for a child. I italicized researching because I want to emphasize working with your child's doctor and not trying diets and supplements without supervision. This article continues to teach me.

One of the themes I heard again and again at conferences and workshops is that in some children, diet affects behavior. We thought the idea was crazy. No one was more surprised than my husband and I to see the positive difference in our child when we removed gluten from her diet to show everyone gluten was not a problem for our child. We were the crazy ones. Back then, we had very few resources. I don't know what i would have done without Lynn Hamilton and her book "Facing Autism". Today, there are many more resources. Some of my favorite teachers are nutritionist Kelly Dorfman and Dr. Doris Rapp, William Walsh, Ph.D., Dr Ben Feingold, and Betsy Hicks. 

I do hope readers will add resources, hints, and tips in the comment section to continue the experience based, parent-to-parent resources. I hope this post is helpful. And as always, keep your doctor in the loop. I am not an advocate of trying diets or supplements without doctor supervision.
PS: There are no affiliate links in this blog post. I was not paid or encouraged to feature any of these resources.

Sunday, January 10, 2016


Anxiety behavior isn't simply "bad" behavior.

Whisper App

This meme that went through my Facebook feed reminded me of the horrible experience my kid with autism had at a theater camp designed FOR kids with autism. The camp is led by an expert in autism and emotional regulation who very much did not understand this very concept.

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

A&E's "Born This Way" and ...


A&E Network airs a new show, "Born This Way," about young adults who happen to have Down Syndrome. I am watching with interest because I am the mother of a teenager on the autism spectrum, and we encounter some of the same issues the families of the young adults with DS are working through. Independence. Employment. Friends. A support system. The show is positive and I especially enjoy the segments with the parents.

My teen with ASD joined me last night to watch "Born This Way". I was thrilled that she joined me. She's been talking about a job and asking when she can move out. The young adults on "Born This Way" are asking those questions, too.

My gripe: Why would A&E allow Viagra to advertise during a family friendly show like "Born This Way"? I'm not ready to discuss erectile dysfunction with my teenager and I don't expect to see an ad for Viagra during a family friendly G rated show. Individuals with Down Syndrome and with autism spectrum disorders can be experts and hearing something once and having it memorized, then repeating it. We parents don't need Viagra ads during family friendly shows.

Why, A&E, why?
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