Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Let's Take a Walk!

In just 17 days, our family will be joining countless other families all across the country in a walk for childhood apraxia.
I have never done this.
Yes, I receive the phone calls from people asking for financial support for various causes....and I give it.
Yes, I have seen Chicago's Grant Park overflowing with people and balloons for various walks...and I cheer them on.
But I have NEVER taken part in one personally.
And this is personal.
Because on that day, hundreds of other parents, siblings, friends, neighbors, family members, and those just downright concerned with the futures of our speech-struggling children will be walking.
It is only one mile.
But it will make a huge difference for these children.
All of the proceeds of this walk will be going to CASANA, the leader in research for those suffering from Childhood Apraxia of Speech.
And on that day, nothing else will matter.
Not therapy schedules.
Not self-contained classrooms.
Not ignorant insurance companies.
Not people who don't care to learn about our plight.
Our "Windy City Apraxia" support group has already raised over $16,000.00 for this cause.

http://www.apraxia-kids.org/faf/home/default.asp?ievent=322358

If you cannot support us with a financial donation, would you please support "Kaitlyn's Krew" in spirit
Think of her at 9:00am on October 17, 2009.
Think of the countless other parents out there who will be joining us.
Think of the hundreds of other people who will be walking somewhere in an organized walk for apraxia somewhere in the United States.
Even though many of our children can't say the words correctly, they are saying "Thank You!"
From the bottom of my heart...Thank You.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Progress Reports and Swimming With Sharks




So when I was told that Kaitlyn would be better off in a self-contained setting for Kindergarten, I was a bit leary.
No, make that terrified!
But I took a deep breath and jumped into this with two feet.
Hey, I can swim.
And I have learned to swim with the sharks.
And lately, the sharks have been leaving me alone.
Kaitlyn has been in swimming lessons since the ripe old age of 9 months.
It's a great physical therapy tool.
And she loves it!
And she has learned to swim with the sharks very well, too.
Because for her, the sharks are ANYONE who outside of our four walls.
Turns out that this self-contained setting is doing wonders for her.
She is truly more verbal lately.
Unfortunately, she has so much that she wants to say it comes out so fast and she stutters to get the words out correctly.
No, she does NOT have a stuttering problem, Aetna.
I know, I know, I have read your Speech Therapy Policy #0243 and I know that stuttering is NOT covered.
She has apraxia, remember?
A-P-R-A-X-I-A.
It's a neurological problem.
It's treatable with intense therapy.
(They read blogs, remember?)
What I am saying is that she gets so excited to tell me about the day that she stumbles and fumbles over words.
She catches herself sometimes; other times I have to remind her to s-l-o-w d-o-w-n.
But my little fish is doing well.
She has made some nice friends, both typical and atypical.
I have been told that she is "a very hard worker" and is "willing to work" with any of her support staff in school.
I love these kinds of progress reports!
This makes me one happy Mama!
My little minnow is truly more of an angel fish!

Monday, September 28, 2009

Why Are You Sleeping On The Floor?!




Boy, am I tired today.
I had to work yesterday, a typical 12-hour shift.
Luckily, I got out of work on time and was able to get home before the storms and winds blew through the Windy City.
I was mesmerized and entertained the entire 38 mile drive home by an amazing lightening show!

Once home, I had to shower quickly before I became a lightening rod myself!
Made myself a nice cup of tea, and sat down to talk to Mark and hear all about the day.
Oh, and had to watch Sports Center to see how well our Chicago Bears did, too!
Da Bears!
So once I finished toodling (is that spelled right?) around, I went to bed.
But, alas, Andrew decided that this would be the night that he would wake up three times.
Why, you ask?
That damn bink!
He blindly gropes for it in the night and when he can't find it, he surely lets me know by belting out one heck of a scream.
This requires me to get out of bed, stumble down the hall to his bedroom about 25 feet away, find the dreaded bink, which immediately puts him back to sleep.
Rewind and repeat x 3....that was my night with him.
Funny, but why is it that husbands don't hear all of this commotion?
I mean, the monitor is right next to our bed.
And it is on.
I don't get it.
But a funny thing happened on the way back from Andrew's room on my third middle-of-the-night trip: I find Kaitlyn sleeping on the floor in the hallway.
Andrew woke up frantic at 12:30am, 3:30am, and 4:50am.
So somewhere between 3:30am and 4:50am, Kaitlyn got up, and decided that the floor was a better place for her to finish her sleep for the night.
So as I am walking back to my bedroom, and after noting that Kate's bedroom light was on, I see her laying there, curled up with her blanket.
This is what played out next:

Me: "Kaitlyn, why are you on the floor honey?"
Kaitlyn: "Kaitlyn potty self"
(Kaitlyn's most groggy voice ever)
Me: "Oh good girl. You went potty by yourself?"
Kaitlyn: "Yeah."
Me" "OK, well let's get back into bed now."
Kaitlyn: "Potty self"
(She is so proud of herself right now, and I am, too!)
(Kaitlyn is now tucked back into bed and I believe fast asleep already!)

So I check her toilet and, sure enough, she pee'd during the night.
This is big for her!
Can I get a "WOO-HOO!" for Kaitlyn here.....WOO-HOO!
You see, we are still dealing with night-time potty issues here.
She still sleeps with a Pull-Up on because she has not yet mastered the whole night-time dryness thing yet.
I have talked to her pediatrician about it, and they are not concerned.
They throw these stats at me about the percentage of children who wet the bed even up through fifth grade and I really don't want to put her through a VUCG at this time.
Hey, if the docs aren't concerned about it, then I will follow their lead.
For the record, Kaitlyn does things on her OWN time.
I threw away all of those charts that tell you when your child should be doing this and that.
Kindling for the fireplace!
Kaitlyn does things on Kaitlyn's timeline.
So, what was I saying again?
Oh, yes! Kaitlyn sleeping on the floor in the hallway after taking herself to the potty. WOO-HOO!
But as I flopped back into bed for the fourth (or was it the fifth?) time that night, I thought to myself: was she there at 12:30am?
Was she there at 3:30am?
Did I just get up at 4:50am and cautiously step over her as I went to find Andrew's precious bink and not notice her until I was on my way back?
WOW! I get the "Britney Spears Bad Parenting Award" again!
That's twice this month!
Oh well, regardless of the award that I just received, Kaitlyn did something big! And we can't lose sight of that!

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Group Hug!

If I could suggest ONE little thing for you parents out there of a child with a special need, it would be to find a support group of some sort.
There are so many out there, both in person in a group setting that actually meets face-to-face as well as online support groups.
I have a Yahoo account, so I found my apraxia support group there: in Yahoo groups.
(I'd like to give a shout out right now to the folks at Windy City Apraxia! Love you all and can't wait to meet you at the CASANA Apraxia Walk on October 17th at Ty Werner Park in Westmont, Illinois!)
What an amazing group of people I have met!
And I have actually met them in real life.
In fact, one Mom has a son who attends the same speech therapy clinic that my children attend.
Oh, and she is a nurse, too.
You can imagine the conversations we have!
But back to the groups.
It is so nice to know that there are others out there, going through the same thing that you are going through.
It's not like "misery loves company" or anything like that.
It's just a feeling of belonging.
Like it or not, you become an outcast as your child does with typical children and their typical parents.
It's part of the package.
But these groups give you a sense of belonging.
And you don't feel so alone anymore.
It's nice to bounce ideas off people in terms of insurance battles (I am a great resource for that one, given my history with Aetna!), therapy techniques, medications, doctor or specialist referrals, you name it!
You can't do this alone.
No matter how strong you THINK you are.
You can't talk to your families about this 24/7 because face it....they might be getting tired of hearing it all the time.
I know mine does.
And there is just so much that your spouse wants to here.
They are about ready to void that "for-better-or-worse" part of the wedding vows.
I know mine is sometimes!
And your friends, no matter how good of a friend they are to you, they just don't get it!
They don't know what it is like to have a child with special needs.
You don't want someone's SYMPATHY.
You want EMPATHY.
So find a support group out there.
Meet some people in the same arena as you.
Find some great sounding boards.
You'll be amazed at how "not alone" you really are!

Saturday, September 26, 2009

What a Cool Day!



Not just the temperature in the windy city.
But the day as a whole.
Pretty cool.
We spent a majority of the afternoon at the dock where both my parents and brother have their boats docked.
No, they don't have some huge yacht like you would see in an ad for the French Riviera.
My parents have a good sized boat with a small downstairs area with a bed, bathroom, and small kitchen.
My brother, on the other hand, has a speed boat.
And that is what we did today: speed-boating.
And the best part of it was to see the look on my daughter's face.
A look of absolute enjoyment and glee.
Because that is what boating and childhood are all about, right?
Lots of giggles and smiles.
And lots of words!
"More!"
"Faster"
And blending those words into sentences.
"I want more boating!"
"I want to go faster!"
Let's not forget "I am all wet" and "Oh, man!" when my brother made a quick turn and drove right into his own wake, a large wave coming over the front of the boat and onto Kaitlyn.
She didn't mind.
I didn't really mind, but I didn't have a change of clothes for her with me, and it is the windy city.
And a tad chilly on good ole Lake Michigan.
Anyway, back to the speech therapy.
There will come a day when she is going to catch on to my tricks.
But in the meantime, it's....ANCHORS AWAY, Kaitlyn!

Friday, September 25, 2009



You probably know this by now, but I will say it again.
I work part time as a nurse in a very busy teaching hospital in Chicago.
I like my job.
I get to meet so many people.
I see so many amazing things take place in that facility.
But this past Wednesday at work was different.
In the hustle and bustle of an always-busy nursing station, I had a conversation with another nurse.
Another Mom of a special-needs child.
Another Mom who goes through things that I go through.
All for the good of her child.
All for what is best for her child.
My heart broke at what I heard.
The hardship and pain that one small boy is dealing with.
Although high-functioning, he is reminded on a daily basis of his difference.
Not verbally, but in their actions.
Sadly, not only from other students, but from the adults which this Mom entrusts her son.
Teachers.
School Psychologists.
Physical Education Instructors.
No one seems to be pro-active for this boy.
And that is a sin.
And as she poured her heart out to me, I could visualize this boy as my own son or daughter.
Easy, because I have one, too.
And as both of our eyes welled with tears out of anger and frustration for this young boy, the nursing station remained busy.
Unaware of the bond that she and I share.
We are coworkers.
We know each other in a working capacity.
We talk casually from time to time, usually about our children.
But we have a bond, a connection that no one else could understand.
I thought of that boy on Thursday morning as I drove my daughter to school.
I wondered what his day was going to be like.
I prayed that he wouldn't feel hopeless or helpless.
As I would my own child.
And I think of him this morning.
We would love to be able to "fix" all of the broken pieces in our children, but we can't.
But knowing his Mom, he is going to be alright.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Bad Mom!



Why do I feel like this makes me a bad Mom?
I know I shouldn't.
But I do.
Here's why:

Kaitlyn has been in school for all of a month now.
I make her a nice, big breakfast.
I drop her off every morning.
And I then I go home.
And just this week I thought to myself..."OMG! You don't you even think of your daughter during the day, do you?"

I do think of her.
Really.
But I am so busy with the rest of the morning and Andrew's schedule that sometimes I don't think about her.
I mean, I know she is in my thoughts.
I pray that she stays safe while she is in school.
But I go about my day from 9:00am until 3:00pm.
I miss her when she is gone for the day.
Andrew misses her, too.
Poor guy walks around looking for his big sister.
We really miss her at lunch time.
For almost six years, it was Kaitlyn and I at the table for lunch.
Then, for the last two years, it was Kaitlyn, Andrew and I at the table for lunch.
Now it's just me and Andrew.
It is pretty quiet.
There is no "silly-sister-goofing-off" going on.
And now, Andrew goes to bed for his nap around 12:30pm.
Maybe I have just adjusted very well to this new schedule?
Maybe I have just put all of my trust in the school and know that she is in good hands?
Or maybe I just need to slow down.
When Andrew is down for his nap.
When the lunch dishes are clean.
When the house is quiet.
Then I can actually sit down and think about her.
Why do I feel like Mommy Dearest without the wire hanger?

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

When I Let My Emotions Get The Best Of Me.....

I am a coffee drinker.
No, make that a coffee addict.
I am on the go from the moment that alarm clock goes off at 6:00am (4:15am on the two days per week that I work my "other job" at the hospital).
Coffee runs through my veins and keeps me going.
Otherwise, I would face plant on the steering wheel at the next red light.
And when the kids are in bed.
And the house is quiet.
And the house is clean.
I finally turn in for the night.
Usually, I am asleep before my head hits the pillow.
But there are those rare nights that I am still on over-drive and I lay there.
And think.
And that is typically a bad thing.
I think about the future of my children.
I don't play favorites with my children, but I do think more about Kaitlyn than Andrew.
I try and imagine her day and what a day in her life is like.
Her world of constant up hill climbs.
When I drop her off at school in the morning and she goes into her classroom, what happens?Does she say "hello" to her classmates?
Do they greet her with "hello's" and smiles?
Does she feel like part of the group or does she feel left out?
Can she make all of her needs known to her teachers and aides?
What if they don't know what she is saying?
How does she feel?
What goes through that little head of hers?
Does she feel frustrated, yet not show it?
Does she just go about her own business then?
Does she say "Me-mean" a lot?
How is she in the cafeteria?
How is she on the playground?
Can she make them understand that she needs to go to the potty and needs to go now?
Does she have little friends?
Is she happy?
After yesterday's "Meet-n-Greet" meeting, I know the answer to a lot of those questions.
And they are good answers.
Answers that make this Mom smile.
But on those nights when I just lay there and think,
But before I let the tears run down the side of my face.
Before I let the lump in my throat get any bigger.
Before I let my heart race into a near anxiety attack (and not from the coffee)I say a prayer.
It is the same prayer every night.
I start it the same way.
I end it the same way.
"Anything you ask for in the name of Jesus, through Mary, shall be granted.
In the name of Jesus............."
(insert your prayer here)
"in the name of Jesus, through Mary, Amen."
And then this warm sense of calm rushes over me.
I always believed that this was His way of telling me to hang in there and that everything will be OK.
And it will.
Jesus gave this beautiful little girl to me.
To mold. To guide. To fix.
People cry and complain "why me?"
I don't.
And I won't.
I see this as a gift because He knows me and my husband.
I believe that we were chosen for this special girl.
He knows what we are capable of doing.
He knows that we have the patience.
He knows that we have the resources.
He knows that we have the will.
He knows that we have the fire in our hearts to fight.
He knows that we can handle this.
He doesn't give us more than we can handle.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

On The Same Page



Now this is what I like!
I like round-table (or any shaped table for that matter) discussions.
I like to put a face to a name or email address.
I like to be able to sit down and make a plan.
Now, can we stick to the plan?

This morning, we had a little "Meet-n-Greet" with all involved with Kaitlyn in school.
And I mean ALL.
Teacher.
Speech therapist.
Occupational therapist.
Physical therapist.
Social Worker.
Adaptive PE (phys ed) teacher.
Director of the PACE program.

It was a bit different than I thought it would be.
The email read something along the lines of "anyone who was not able to meet the team prior to the start of the school year..."
Was I seriously the ONLY parent unable to attend?
Nah, I don't think so.
There have been a lot of emails sent back and forth between myself and the above listed folks.
I am sure that I brought a "reputation" with me from the preschool setting and the three years that we were there.
Yes, I ruffled some feathers in that preschool.
Yes, I am sure I pissed some people off in that preschool.
I am here for one reason and one reason only: Kaitlyn.
I am Mom.
I am matter-of-fact.
I am a straight shooter.
I don't mess around when it comes to my kids, especially Kaitlyn.
I have all of my ducks lined up in a row.
I am thorough.
I make my point.
So I am now thinking that they wanted to do this to avoid any potential fireworks that could creep up.
That's all fine and dandy with me.
I like that.
I want to be on the same page.
I don't want to waste time.
I don't want to waste a precious year as this one.


So our relaxed meet and greet turned a bit more focused towards the end.
IEP goals will need to be "tweaked" a bit.
A bit more simple.
A bit more achievable and attainable to give her a sense of accomplishment.
And I found out that my little girl has some friends who watch out for her.
One in the cafeteria who reminds her to "eat her chicken nuggets".
Another little girl (also named Kaitlyn) who is her recess buddy.
Apparently they are stuck together like glue.
That truly warms my heart.

I have said this before and I will say it again: we are in a very good place.
We are in a very good district.
We are making gains and strides and achieving goals.

I like this team.
GO TEAM!

Monday, September 21, 2009

The "Nurse Curse"?



Yep, now I'm a believer!
I thought about it for a while and always tried to put two and two together.
It didn't make sense until someone gave it a name: the nurse curse.
Thanks, Mary K for giving it a name. Props to you, girl! I told you I would give you the credit for the term!

As you know, I have not one but two children with a speech issue.
One is very apraxic, sensory, you name it.
She has an IEP.
My second has a speech issue.
He is in Early Intervention.
And he, too, I am sure will have an IEP.
I am a nurse.
Mary K is one of my buddies who has not one, not two, but three children with some sort of "issue" or IEP.
Yep, she's a nurse.
A coworker, Maria S has a child with an IEP.
You guessed it....she's a nurse.
Another co-worker (AKA...a nurse) had her baby five weeks early after three months of early labor scares and her little girl at the age of 17 months is in physical therapy.
I'll stop here with the examples because I think I made my point.

What's with this "nurse curse"?
Is this some sort of sick joke?
Here is what I make of it.......

It is probably because we are nurses.
The caring profession.
Simple as that.
NOT THAT NON-NURSE MOMS AND DADS AREN'T CARING...THEY ARE!
Nurses have a different aura about them.
They take it in stride.
They have the knowledge base.
They know the questions to ask to the right doctor at the right time to get the right answer when they want it, not one week later when the lab results come in.
They have a different kind of relationship with doctors.
A kind of respect.
And let's not forget the "connections" we have.
Strange, but we seem to know the lingo to use to get off that three-month new patient appointment wait list and in to that busy office next week.
We begin to treat our kids like we treat out patients at work.
Waiting.
Watching.
We make a care plan.
Maybe that is all just a crock.
Maybe it's just coincidence, this whole "nurse curse" thing.
Whatever the case, whomever the parent, whatever you do for a living (nurse or non-nurse) we are all in this together.
Doing what we can for our children.
Going that extra mile for our children.
Making the world a bit more understanding for our children.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

A Poem for Apraxia

by Mindy Wagner,
mother of Garrett, diagnosed with suspected apraxia of speech

All of the expectations
Still loom in the back of my mind
Remembering the day that they told me
That he was more than a little behind

He looks at me with great beauty
And an always glistening eye
As if he knows theres a problem
And he is looking and asking "why?"

All of the answers he's wanting
Are still questions I ask inside
Trying to find the answers
The emotion, I'm trying to hide

I am realizing how strong God has made him
How he grows and learns more each day
He has strength and determination
I know silent he will not stay

There is a world out there that needs him
Needs all that he has to give
So through the years we will teach him
How to talk, how to love, how to live

This is but a fleeting moment
So I kneel at the bed and pray
For the strength that God has given my son
And the power to teach him today

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Do You Know What I Mean?



Me-mean?
Don't Google it.
Don't search through a dictionary for it.
Ain't gonna find it.
Why, you ask?

Because this is Kaitlyn's trademark.
She has the rights.
She has the patent.
Me-mean actually translates to "Do you know what I mean?"

Pretty creative, my little chick-a-dee.

She uses this term of hers when she is trying to tell us something and we give her that "oh-my-gosh-I-don't-know-what-you-are-trying-to-say-but-keep-it-up-because-I-will-get-it-eventually" look.

Yeah, for those of you out there with kids with apraxia, you know what I am talking about.
Sometimes, we get it.
Sometimes, we don't get it.
And sometimes (no, truthfully it's ALWAYS) the look she gives us when we don't get it really breaks my heart.She tries so hard to get her words out.
And they are coming out....s-l-o-w-l-y.

But sometimes, she knows when to play the "me-mean" card and play it well.
Then there are the times where she plays the card, even though I am doing the victory dance because I do know what she means, just to play games with me.
I call her on it right away.

I have noticed that the trend of saying "me-mean" appears to be decreasing.
That is a great thing, as we know that the intense therapy is really helping.
I am trying to get her to say "Do you know what I mean?" instead of the cute way she says it. Partly because I want her to try building sentences.
Speech therapy comes in many sneaky forms, doesn't it?

In the meantime, dear daughter, I am trying and will continue to try very hard to hear all the words that you mean to say.
You really are a fighter.
You are stronger than I could ever be.
You are my little hero.
And that, sweet girl, is what I mean.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Pacifiers



Ugh.
Man's best invention.
And man's worst invention.
(Note that I did say "man" in those statements.)
Call it what you want: binky, nuk, paci, whatever.
Whatever?
No, not whatever, because it's become an appendage.

When the children are just itty, bitty babies, the pacifier is great!
It was my snooze button in the wee hours of the morning when the babies started to stir for their earlier than usual breakfast.
We had them stashed everywhere in the event that they were needed: extra in the bedside table, in the stroller, the diaper bag, my purse, the car, you name it!
Our favorite brand to this day is Avent.
But now, how do I get rid of the silicone plug?

When Kaitlyn was a baby, she didn't want much to do with the pacifier.
She was a great nurser and slept without it.
We always kept it in her crib in the event she wanted it during the night.
She never did, so the divorce between child and pacifier was easy.

Andrew, on the other hand, is an addict.
There was a time when he would have one in his mouth ALL DAY.
Seriously.
Then, there was one in the mouth and one in his hand in the crib.
Seriously.
Mark and I talked about "cutting the cord" with the pacifier once Andrew turned two. No way was my child going to be like some of those five year olds that I would see in stores walking around with one in their mouths.
Not gonna happen in this household.
So on the day after his second birthday, the usual arsenal of *binks* (this is what Andrew calls it) disappeared.
Andrew wasn't a good nurser because he never got the chance. When he was five days old I was re-admitted to the hospital for three days with lingering post-partum preeclampsia. I was put on a few blood pressure medications to control what was out of control.
For three days my husband became Daddy and Mommy.
For three days he was strictly bottle fed.
For three days he was given the pacifier since I was not there to soothe.
Twelve weeks later, I was finally off the meds, but the damage was done. I did everything I could to rebuild my milk supply including renting a hospital-grade super duper pump and took Reglan and every other herbal product out there that increased milk production and supply.
All to no avail.
So the bink was his security blanket.
But now it had to go.

We decided to do this gradually instead of cold-turkey: binks for bedtime only for now.
This means nap time and nighttime only.
But talk about drama if he doesn't have the bink when he goes into the crib.
Granted, within a few minutes of falling asleep the bink falls out and he doesn't use it.
Until he wakes at 1:00am.
2:00am.
4:00am
Just looking for the bink.
I give in and give it to him at 1:00am, 2:00am, and 4:00am.
Remember, it's my snooze button.

Now, I am looking for advice.
What did you do to get rid of the pacifier for good?

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Let Me Introduce Myself



"Hi! I'm Kaitlyn!"

What a wonderful three-word sentence!
I only wish that I was there to hear it myself!
*sniff, sniff*

Mark took the kids to the park last night. There was another girl there who Mark says was about third or fourth grade. (Note: my husband is NOT the best at guessing ages here. She was probably six years old...haha!)

Anyway, after a little game of "cat-and-mouse" between my daughter and this little girl, running up and down the stairs and slides, my daughter belts out with:

"Hi, I'm Kaitlyn!"

Apparently, the little girl responded to Kaitlyn's introduction with her own name and proceeded to ask "How are you?".
Kaitlyn's response: silence.
And the cat-and-mouse games happily continued.

Do you see what happened?
This is huge, people!
The fact that my daughter INITIATED a conversation with someone her size is a milestone!
No prompts from Dad.
No coaxing.
No cueing.
She did it on her own!

WOW!

It is so nice to meet you, Kaitlyn!

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

The Cost of Therapy

So today I thought that I would sit down and break down the costs of my daughter's speech therapy.
You know, the therapy that she so desperately needs to treat her apraxia?
You know, the apraxia that the insurance company (Aetna) says is a "developmental delay" and therefore treatment is "not medically necessary"?
Yeah. THAT therapy.
For now, her therapy is being covered.
But for how long?
And at what cost?
Now, I am going to explain this post by what our provider charges.
There are some that may charge more per hour and some agencies which may charge less.
For arguement's sake, I am going to use our provider as an example. We are charged $185.00 per hour for each speech therapy session.
Let's break this down a bit. That is:
$185.00 per HOUR
$740.00 per WEEK
$2960.00 per MONTH
$35,520.00 per YEAR
$3.08 per MINUTE
Thank goodness my husband is the bread winner in the family because with my part time job as a nurse we would be either (a) living out of cardboard boxes or (b) without therapy at all since all of my income would be going towards housing costs, food and clothing. So basically, my part time salary doesn't even cover the costs of therapy for ONE YEAR! Now, I carry our whole family on my insurance.I have approximately $220.00 taken our of each paycheck to cover our medical insurance premiums.
Let's break this down a bit: That is:
$220.00 per WEEK
$440.00 per MONTH
$5280.00 per YEAR
We put a lot of money into our end of the contract.
We meet deductibles.
We stay in-network when at all possible.
We use generic drugs for our prescriptions.
We were not born with silver spoons in our mouths.
We are not "Rockefeller's" or "Carrington's".
We did not marry into money.
We do not own beach houses on Cape Hatteras.
We don't take multiple vacations every year.
We are simple people looking for an answer to a neurological condition that one of our children has been diagnosed with.
She is living in a silent world and we are looking for the key to open that door of communication.
And we have found the key: intense speech therapy.
Yet we have to fight the beast of the "business" to get to what is owed to us: Kate's voice.
The business to make a buck.
At anyone's cost.
These are OUR children, insurance companies, not yours.
WE are the ones who have to translate for them, not YOU!
WE are the ones who have to sit through IEP meetings, not YOU!
WE are the ones who have people rudely stare at our child as they stand silently, not YOU!
WE are the ones who work 24/7 with their speech, not YOU!
WE are the ones who look into the eyes of fear and frustration, not YOU!
But it is not just US.
It is the countless other families out there that are going through the same battles.
The parents of a two year old boy who was born with moderate hearing loss and needs hearing aides that are NOT COVERED by insurance.
And the same two year old boy who also has the worst case of reflux and needs a SPECIFIC medication to help him, yet the insurance company wants him to take a pill instead.
A pill.
He is two years old.
That is a choking hazard.
Do you see the irony here?
I am a spiritual person.
And I believe that we will all have to answer for ourselves and our actions when we die.
I am not afraid.
And it was Jesus who said "Let the children come to me".
In my mind and my heart like countless other parents, it's all about the children.
Always.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

First Day of School

Ah, yes, another child off to school.
I still cannot believe that my baby boy is already in a school setting.
However, this one is fun because I get to attend with him.
We attend this great little school that has a Parent/Child class offered.
It meets on Monday nights for only 90 minutes, but it gives two year olds a taste of what is to come.
As you can see by the pictures, he is so excited to get started!

Class starts with hand washing and free play. There are a variety of things that little two year old hands can get into including floor play, crayons and cutting, a make-believe kitchen set up, a water table, a sensory table and painting. Children are encouraged to roam and do whatever their little hearts desire. There is a lower level which allows for gross motor activities and more pretend play like fishing in a cute little boat with a magnet attached to a pole for paper fish that have paperclips on them! How smart is that?! There is also a makeshift car where the children can dress like firemen and a large apparatus for climbing (with a side, too!)

Then it is clean-up time. Children are encouraged to help clean up all of their messes and put things in their proper places. More hand washing, and it's off for a little snack. Snack time is fun and starts with a cute little song which goes like this:

(While opening and shutting hands....)
"Open, shut them.
Open, shut them.
Give a little clap, clap, clap
(Children and adults clap hands at this time)
Open, shut them
Open, shut them
Place (or hide) them in your lap, lap, lap
(Hit tops of legs with hands at this point)

It is really a great way to transition and let the children know that snack time is coming up. They are encouraged to pour their own beverages (which usually consists of juice or milk and water) and munch on something small (typically crackers, cheese cubes, raisins, etc...). Andrew poured perfectly without spilling a drop! Props to you, little man! However, he proceeded to purposely turn the cup over and spill its entire contents out.
Not once, but twice.
We will work on that one at home a bit more.

Finally, there is a little time left for circle time. Here, we can read books or sing a little song as a group.

The ninety minutes really flies by quickly!
I just LOVE that school!

Monday, September 14, 2009

Discipline In School



OK, here is a topic that sometimes makes my blood boil.
Teachers are there to teach and have to maintain control of their room and its students.
Children can take advantage of a teacher very easily because they outnumber the teacher.
When I was in school, a stearn look from the teacher was enough to make me sit up straight.
If the principal was summoned to the room, I am sure an EKG would show some arrhythmia at that moment.
But when the children that are "acting up" or "acting out" are special needs children with a myriad of problems, one needs to step back and take a deep breath before they decide to discipline.
Here is my point.

Over the weekend, I saw a news story on my local FOX news channel about two children from the Ohio area who were disciplined in the most God-awful way that I could think.
Both children were special needs and, although chronologically five years old, they functioned at a two year old level.
THEY WERE ATTACHED TO THEIR SEATS WITH VELCRO, DUCT TAPE, AND BUNGEE CORDS!
Please tell me that I heard this wrong.
Nope, it was true.
Below is a link to the whole story.
It is sickening that someone would treat children like animals.
No, animals are treated better than this!

Now, had that been MY child.
Had that been ME that was notified by the school supervisor.
Trust me....I would OWN that school.
I would OWN that school district.
And let this be a warning to ANYONE who thinks they have the right to UNLAWFULLY restrain my child in such an animalistic way.
Just because they are special needs does not mean they are not humans with feelings.

Sunday, September 13, 2009



Apraxia’s Silent Star

by Sue Pascale

You live in a world of silence,
Yet have so much to say.
You always tell us stories
explaining your entire day.

Many do not understand
when their questions go unanswered,
They do not realize
speech has yet to be mastered.

Days at the park are tough
when you want to ask them to play,
Most times they don’t understand
and tend to walk away.

A child with so much to share,
If only people could take a moment to care.
Sometimes a bellyache
or maybe you are just tired,

The way you have learned to express yourself
simply must be admired.
Children say the darndest things,
at least that is what they say,

I am sure you have all the same thoughts
the words just have a delay.
I was told once you started talking
I would wish you hadn’t due to all you would say,

I promise when your ready to speak
you can talk with me all day.
Silent words you show me
with sign language everyday,

Looking to communicate
in some other way.
You continue to face the challenge
of expressing your wants and needs,

We have laid out all the groundwork before us
and planted all of our seeds.
This world can at times be very unkind,
Especially if others believe your behind.

Fortunately your heart is made of solid gold,
You're strong, brave and have much to behold.
We love you just as you are,
To us you are a shining star.

Unlike any other child we have ever known,
For you are a child of our very own.
One day soon the words will begin to flow
,Then you can tell us all the things that we did not know.

Until that day we will educate all,
So that other children are not made to feel small.
Your eyes are like windows to the silence and fear,
When often frustration can cause you a tear.

But at that moment we give you a kiss and a hug,
Sometimes when you need us our pants feel a tug.
Tomorrow is another day
for your words to grow,

This is a promise
and something we all know.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Temper Tantrums, Hitting, and "The Naughty Chair"


I'll give you one guess who this blog entry is dedicated to.
ONE GUESS.
Time's up.
If you guessed "Andrew", well. "DING, DING, DING!"
You're right!
Where the heck did this attitude come from?

TEMPER TANTRUMS
Look out!
If he doesn't get WHAT he wants WHEN he wants it...it's all over.
Drama.
Tears.
Stomping of feet.
Yelling.
Hey! He's got me beat! I don't even do that when the Cubs blow a 9th inning lead, only to lose the game.

HITTING
This goes with the tantrums.
Once again, if he doesn't get WHAT he wants WHEN he wants it...it's all over.
And this is purposeful hitting, too!
He knows exactly what he is doing.

BRING IN...THE NAUGHTY CHAIR
In knew I would find a good use for this ffff-ugly chair.
Go back and take a good look at the picture of the chair at the beginning of this post.
Ffffff-ugly, right?
Who on God's earth would actually sell something that ugly?
Seriously! Check out the size of the breasts on the gorilla!
I have been to many a zoo in my days and have watched many an episode of "Animal Planet" and have NEVER seen breasts on a gorilla like this before!
Puke!
(Note: I did NOT purchase this chair. It was given to me by someone who shall remain nameless.)
I actually thought of throwing the chair in the garbage since it is so God awful ugly, but then I found a good use for it.
Enter the Naughty Chair.
This is a term taken from Jo Frost of "The SuperNanny".
Love her!
When I was pregnant with Andrew, I would relax on Friday evenings in my oversized recliner chair with my overly-edematous legs elevated while drinking more water and watched for one hour some of the most dysfunctional families with the most hellion-like children and think to myself "This is all an act for TV! No one could be this Jerry Springer-like, could they?"
Enter Andrew at age 18 months.
He decided to enter the "Terrible Two" stage about six months early.
Temper tantrums.
Then the hitting.
I got fed up and whipped out the chair and plopped his butt in it telling him that he would be sitting there for the next one minute (he is up to two minutes now!) for his behavior.
After several trips to the infamous chair, I think he is getting the point that his behavior will not be tolerated.
The following is taken from the book "SuperNanny: How To Get The Best From Your Children":
1. Give a verbal warning.
Come down to their level, look them in the eye, and tell them exactly what behavior they did will not be tolerated.
2. Give the Ultimatum
If your child repeats the same negative behavior, come down to their level again and remind them that the said behavior is unacceptable and if it happens again they will be going into the Naughty Chair (or step, or carpet, or whatever you want to use).
3. The Naughty Chair
As soon as the behavior happens again, take the child to the chair. He/she has been warned. Place them in the chair and place them in it. I use the guide of one minute for every year of age they are. In Andrew's case, he is two now, so he sits on that chair for two minutes.
4. The Explanation
Before you walk away from your now wailing child who was just placed somewhere that they surely do not want to be, explain to them why they are there and for how long you expect them to sit there. Tell them when you will come back for them I usually set the timer on the stove.
5. The Apology
Once the time is up, ask your child for an apology for what they did. Depending on the child's age and their ability to communicate, you can always tailor this to suit your needs. One final time, remind them as to why they had to sit in that spot.
6. Praise
Once your child has apologized, praise them for it! I always give a hug, too. It just lets them know that you still love them, even though you made them cry for a while and sit somewhere that was not pleasant.
7. It's Over
Go on with your routine. Play like nothing had happened. It is now in the past.
Below is the link for Jo Frost's books:
Thursday, he sat in that chair five times!
So far today...not once!
The verbal warning of the chair seems to be doing the trick!
It is worth a try.
If anyone else has any other ideas on how to curb the little man's behavior, please submit your comments below!
Thank you in advance!

Friday, September 11, 2009

Thoughts On Being A Mom



This entry was "borrowed" from the Hust Family and their blog "Believing in Miracles". I hope you enjoy it as much as I did!


25 things our Mothers taught us

1. Our mothers taught us TO APPRECIATE A JOB WELL DONE ."If you're going to kill each other, do it outside. I just finished cleaning."

2. Our mothers taught us RELIGION."You better pray that will come out of the carpet."

3. Our mothers taught us about TIME TRAVEL ."If you don't straighten up, I'm going to knock

you into the middle of next week!"

4. Our mothers taught us LOGIC."Because I said so, that's why."

5. Our mothers taught us MORE LOGIC."If you fall out of that swing and break your neck, you're not going to the store with me.."

6. Our mothers taught us FORESIGHT."Make sure you wear clean underwear, in case you're in an accident."

7. Our mothers taught us IRONY"Keep crying, and I'll give you something to cry about."

8. Our mothers taught us about the science of OSMOSIS."Shut your mouth and eat your supper."

9. Our mothers taught us about CONTORTIONISM."Will you look at that dirt on the back of your neck!"

10. Our mothers taught us about STAMINA.."You'll sit there until all that spinach is gone."

11. Our mothers taught us about WEATHER."This room of yours looks as if a tornado went through it."

12. Our mothers taught us about HYPOCRISY."If I told you once, I've told you a million times. Don't exaggerate!"

13. Our mothers taught us the CIRCLE OF LIFE."I brought you into this world, and I can take you out."

14. Our mothers taught us about BEHAVIOR MODIFICATION."Stop acting like your father!"

15. Our mothers taught us about ENVY."There are millions of less fortunate children in thisworld who don't have wonderful parents like you do."

16. Our mothers taught us about ANTICIPATION."Just wait until we get home."

17. Our mothers taught us about RECEIVING ."You are going to get it when you get home!"

18. Our mothers taught us MEDICAL SCIENCE.."If you don't stop making a face, it's going to freeze that way."

19. Our mothers taught us ESP."Put your sweater on -- don't you think I know when you are

cold?"

20. Our mothers taught us HUMOR."When that lawn mower cuts off your toes, don't come running to me."

21. Our mothers taught us HOW TO BECOME AN ADULT ."If you don't eat your vegetables, you'll never grow up."

22. Our mothers taught us GENETICS."You're just like your father."

23. Our mothers taught us about our ROOTS."Shut that door behind you. Do you think you were born in a barn?

24. Our mothers taught us WISDOM."When you get to be my age, you'll understand."

25. Our mothers taught us about JUSTICE"One day you'll have kids, and I hope they turn out just like you."

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Dear Mr. President.......

So, I have never spoken to our town's Mayor.
I have never written to our State Congressman or Senator.
Never sent anything to our State Governor.
But yesterday, I emailed the President.
Yes, you read that correctly.
Mr. Barack Obama.
The President of the United States of America.

Please stop laughing at me because I am serious.

Are you finished?
Good.
Because here is why I did it and what I had to say.

We are currently in the midst of a health care crisis.
Being a nurse, I see this everyday that I go to work.
And now, our 44th President has made it his mission to reform health care.
That's fine with me and I give him props for that (um, can I say that to the President?)
Anyway, my email was about my concerns for speech therapy for my daughter.
If we were to go to a unified plan, how would that affect the services which she receives?
Will there be caps on the number of visits?
How would this be paid for?
Let me try another approach so that you could understand me better.
I have Aetna (groan, where are my Tums?!) Insurance for our health care coverage.
I wanted unlimited speech therapy for my daughter with CAS (Childhood Apraxia of Speech).
They denied.
I fought.
They denied some more.
I fought some more.
I eventually won this battle and got the therapy that my daughter needs so badly.
It took seven months of appeals and letters and tears and phone calls and certified mailings and more phone calls and more tears and interventions from my employer and a plan sponsor liaison.
But Aetna finally came to their senses and realized that the right and just thing to do was to cover her therapy.
Unlimited.
It was like fighting City Hall.
Now, if we go to a nationalized plan and they deny the therapy, where do I go?
Who do I fight?
Who do I call?
Who do I send the certified mailings to?
Who do I cry to?
Instead of wandering down the halls of my Human Resources Department, do I take to the halls of Congress?
Instead of writing appeal letters, would I have to write a proposed Bill or law?
Instead of working with a plan sponsor liaison and Customer Service Representatives at Aetna, would I work with the Press Secretary and Secret Service?
If you ask my opinion, The White House is a tad bit larger than City Hall.
But fear not, my loyal readers, it is not too big for me!
Remember, I will go to the ends of the earth for what my daughter or son needs.
For what is right.
For what is just.
So now I sit and wait for a response from Mr. President.
Well, I have already come to the conclusion that he won't email me back; rather, it will be an aide or an intern.
I wonder..........is there a section on "Speech Therapy for Special Needs Children" in this plan on his desk????
Hmmm.........

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Fish Oil Supplements and Nutritional Intervention



Ah, yes, we traveled this road, too.
A few years ago, when I was brand new to the world of late-talking children, I purchased a book titled "The Late Talker: What To Do If Your Child Isn't Talking Yet" by Marily Agin, Lisa Geng, and Malcolm Nicholl.
Wonderful book!
Loaded with everything that you are probably thinking of right now when it comes to your late-talking child.
http://books.google.com/books?id=qtNnmcDK5hwC&lpg=PA122&ots=lTfnJYxTf7&dq=the%20late%20talking%20child%20and%20fish%20oil&pg=PA108#v=onepage&q=the%20late%20talking%20child%20and%20fish%20oil&f=false
I was particularly interested in chapter 8 titled "Alternative Strategies: Nutritional Intervention". After reading this chapter a few times and consulting personally in a face-to-face visit with our pediatrician, we decided that this could be a viable option for Kaitlyn. Our pediatrician recommended the company Nordic Naturals.
http://www.nordicnaturals.com/en/General_Public/Product_Line/66/
She handled the product well and we truly noticed a sudden spurt in her language and babbling.
Could this be our fountain of youth?
Were we onto something?
And then her spurt kind of sputtered out.
So we stopped the fish oil after that shipment was empty.
About nine months ago, I thought to give it a whirl again.
It worked the first time and she is really in a new phase with new sounds and words.
Maybe this could be the boost that she needs!
Wrong.
Oh so wrong.
Within 2 weeks of taking the fish oil supplement again, I noticed a change in our little girl, but it was NOT a good one.
Mean.
Aggressive.
Fighting.
And those were just the behavioral problems.
Physically, she looked pale, complained of being tired, and her appetite was the poorest I had ever seen.
My husband did not seemed worried.
I stopped the supplement immediately, but the problems persisted.
One day, she looked so pathetic as she lay listless on the couch that I put my foot down, scooped her up, and took her to the Emergency Room.
Physical exams.
Lab work.
The whole gamut.
The ER docs did not have an explanation for what happened, even after consulting with The Poison Control Center.
***Note: she was only receiving HALF of the recommended dose for her age!***
But one of her lab results came back very low: her thyroid panel.
That explained the pale skin color, fatigue and listlessness.
We were sent home with orders to follow up with our pediatrician.
Over the next week, my little girl seemed to "detox" herself.
Her color began to pink up again.
She wasn't as tired.
Her energy had returned.
She was no longer the aggressive beast which she had become.
And follow-up thyroid testing one month later indicated that she was back within the normal ranges again.
WHEW!
This was something that we were not going to try again.

By no means am I trying to say that the company provided bad products. We used them before without one side effect (with the exception of a babbling toddler!)

I know for a fact that they are a trusted company.

But something went wrong this time around.
So a word of warning to all parents out there: be careful with supplements.
Do your research.
Follow your doctor's advice.
Most of all, follow your gut when you think something is awry.
In our house, all fish are staying in the ocean.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

It Takes A Village

The phrase is attributed to an old African proverb. Its exact origin seems to be lost in time. In 1994 children's author Jane Cowen-Fletcher released a book, published by Scholastic Press, titled It Takes A Village in which a young African girl searches for her younger brother, only to find the rest of the village has been watching over him as well. In January 1996 publisher Simon & Schuster released Hillary Rodham-Clinton's It Takes a Village: And Other Lessons Children Teach Us in which then First Lady Hillary espoused more the expansion of government than any true wisdom or insight into the nurturing of children. Reviews are mixed on the impact this book has made on society as a whole. In May 2001, publisher Harper-Collins released the seventh book in the Lemony Snicket's Unfortunate Events series titled The Vile Village, it was mentioned at the beginning of the book, "It takes a village to raise a child".

As someone who goes to "Dr. Google" for just about any topic, I came across this website that I found quite helpful. I am adding the link for the "Education" portion of the site, but feel free to browse around the entire site.


The "education" link is quite useful with IEPs, IDEA, and basically communicating with school personnel on a variety of topics.

Indeed, we must remember that the school system is part of our "village".

Monday, September 7, 2009

Videos



OK, OK, OK.
Get it out of your system now.
I am tired of all the nay-sayers out there who say "TV is bad for you", "kids shouldn't watch more than one hour of TV a day", etc, etc, etc......
Blah, blah, blah.

Listen.
My sister, brother, and I grew up in front of the TV.
We watched it all: Sesame Street, Zoom, The Three Stooges, The Brady Bunch, you name it.
And let's not forget the 6 hours of non-stop mindless cartoons every Saturday morning!
And we all have advanced degrees with great jobs!
Hmmm. Where are all the nay-sayers now?
I thought so.

Now, let's get on with the real reason for this blog entry.
I LOVE KID VIDEOS!
Moreover, I LOVE Baby Einstein videos.
That Julie Clark is one smart cookie (and I bet she watched six hours of mindless Saturday morning cartoons, too! Look where that has gotten her! A multi-millionaire! HA!)

It is amazing what kinds of words and sounds this particular videos can illicit from two quiet children in the back seat of a car.
Yes, we chose the in-car DVD as an option when we purchased our car.
(I know there are groans out there right now, but this is MY blog!)

Words around the house.
Words around town.
Seasons.
Body parts.
Numbers.
Colors.
She has covered all the bases.

Now, let me insert a little disclaimer here: I teach my children ALL of these words. ALL OF THEM!
However, when dinner has to be made.
When that important phone call to that one Aetna Insurance Company has to be made for the gazillionth time, Baby Einstein videos rock!
You get anywhere from 20-30 minutes of education on a tube, a far cry from those mindless cartoons I once watched on Saturday mornings.
They also have flash cards, books, toys, activities, and so on to make the learning experience even more fun and creative.
And yes, below is the link to this wonderful site:


It can't hurt to try.
Who knows. Maybe you can learn something.
I learned that the use of her products on top of one video per day has made a tremendous boost in Andrew's speech lately. I can say "Go to the ____" and he knows what I am saying.
Kinda goes back to the blog about being a "visual learner", doesn't it?
No one is forcing you to use videos.
It's just another option out there.
And you know me...I am willing to try just about anything to influence the speech and language production from my children!

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Talking With Your Hands



It is no surprise that signing and sign language help with language. Actually, it facilitates speech with the hearing community that are speech delayed. When pairing the visual sign with the auditory sound, it can enhance speech and language. We used signs for Kaitlyn beginning at the age of 10 months. It was amazing to see how quickly she was able to pick up the sign. Eventually, she was pairing the spoken word with the sign, then dropping the sign altogether once she mastered the word.

Andrew, on the other hand, wants nothing to do with signing.
He does know one sign very well: more.
Maybe that is why he is in the 95th percentile for weight!

Below are a few links for three of my favorite sites to visit when learning about signing:

These next two links are for (what I personally consider) the best signing and speech videos out there! Developed and produced by SLPs, my daughter absolutely LOVED these videos!

Busy hands are happy hands (and mouths!)

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Paradise Found!



It doesn't happen all that often, but when it does, I am in awe!
We just got back from a little family getaway.
Not the typical long weekend vacation we are used to taking every summer.
This one lasted a mere 26 hours.
But we were away from home.
In a different zip code.
And almost in another state.
And for those mere 26 hours, I didn't have to think about special needs or IEPs or anything related to my children's therapy schedules.
We stayed at an indoor water park.
I worried for two reasons: a sensory child with a severe speech problem and a child who would require ear gear (plugs and head wrap) to avoid water getting in his post-surgical ears.
Then my worried floated away.
My ear-gear boy splashed away in the kiddie pool.
My sensory/speech girl played like there was no tomorrow.
We swam.
We floated down the lazy rivers.
We played on water slides
We sped like the speed of sound down water chutes.
My children blended in with the swarm of other giggling children.
No one could tell (with the exception of the purple head wrap on Andrew) that we were dealing with any issue at the moment.
I did not have to translate or explain anything.
I did not have to worry about anything except if they were having enough fun.
To watch them laugh.
To watch them play.
To watch their eyes sparkle when they smiled.
To watch them play side by side with other children of various ages.
For 26 mere hours, it was truly paradise found.

Friday, September 4, 2009

BOARDMAKER



Love it!

If you have access to it, I would highly suggest giving it a try.
What is it, you ask?
Well, it is this wonderful computer program used by anyone from schools to therapist offices.

It can print a picture for just about any word out there.

And....and....you can even type the word with the picture!
So, make some words, print them out, and voila! Instant flashcards, task strips, etc...
It is wonderful for those visual learners out there who really need to see the word and see the picture at the same time.
Our oh-so-ever-creative speech therapist does this with Kaitlyn.
She has gotten so creative that we have rubber-banded packets of different Boardmaker 2 inch by 2 inch cards with everything from seasons and holidays to themes, calendars, school and so on.
This program has really been a blessing for us.
To see what Boardmaker can do for you, click on the link below:


The price is a bit high, but is 100% worth every penny.
The website does allow for a 30-day free trial download, so you can see what all the hype is about!

Hmmmm? Maybe I should add this to my Christmas list????


Thursday, September 3, 2009

Whistle While you Work



and it does work!
Apparently, the whistle technique that was thought of by Kaitlyn's teacher was a success!
Kaitlyn met with the gym teacher before class.
Maybe they talked "whistle shop", I don't know.
But whatever the case may be, whistles were being blown left and right and not one tear fell.
I am hoping that her fear of this latest sound is going by the wayside.

One down.
Many, many more to go.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Gym Class and the Sensory Child


Sensory processing (sometimes called "sensory integration" or SI) is a term that refers to the way the nervous system receives messages from the senses and turns them into appropriate motor and behavioral responses. Whether you are biting into a hamburger, riding a bicycle, or reading a book, your successful completion of the activity requires processing sensation or "sensory integration."
Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD, formerly known as "sensory integration dysfunction") is a condition that exists when sensory signals don't get organized into appropriate responses. Pioneering occupational therapist and neuroscientist A. Jean Ayres, PhD, likened SPD to a neurological "traffic jam" that prevents certain parts of the brain from receiving the information needed to interpret sensory information correctly. A person with SPD finds it difficult to process and act upon information received through the senses, which creates challenges in performing countless everyday tasks. Motor clumsiness, behavioral problems, anxiety, depression, school failure, and other impacts may result if the disorder is not treated effectively.
Research by the SPD Foundation indicates that 1 in every 20 children experiences symptoms of Sensory Processing Disorder that are significant enough to affect their ability to participate fully in everyday life. Symptoms of SPD, like those of most disorders, occur within a broad spectrum of severity. While most of us have occasional difficulties processing sensory information, for children and adults with SPD, these difficulties are chronic, and they disrupt everyday life.

Sensory Integration Disorder (SID) can present itself in a variety of fashions: oral, auditory, tactile and olfactory.
In this case, Kaitlyn is more auditory.
Any loud, unpredictable sound will trigger it and send her into a tizzy.
Fireworks.
The honk of a car horn.
The sound a toy makes that is unexpected.
A loud organ and trumpet in Church on Easter Sunday.
The whistle in gym class.

The last example is what we are facing now. Apparently, the gym teacher blows the whistle and Kate's tears start flowing as she trembles like a leaf. I find this to be frustrating because she LOVES physical activity of any sort.

My resolution: Kaitlyn will continue to go to gym class, but with her own whistle.
Yep.
Her teacher mentioned the idea to me after school yesterday and I jumped on it. So off to Target today for a whistle.
It is silver. Like the gym teacher's whistle.
It is on a cord. Like the gym teacher's whistle.
It is loud. Like the gym teacher's whistle.
But it is Kaitlyn's whistle.
And hopefully she will be able to "help" the gym teacher out during her three-time-per-week stint in gym class this year.

For additional information regarding SPD, follow the link below or on the side of my blog labeled "Helpful Links for All Special Ed Needs".

http://www.spdfoundation.net/index.html

Ah, yes, this too shall pass.