Friday, December 31, 2010

2010: Our Year In Review

Well, what can I say?
It's been one crazy year, full of up's and down's and all-around's!
There were meetings and medical issues galore, drama and doldrums, and only one fight with Aetna this year (THANK YOU!)
So sit back as I do a mini-review of the highlights and low lights.....

2010 started out rough from Day #1.
We headed to an area indoor water park to enjoy some R&R with the kids, even though I had a congested cough.
Sure enough, that had to be the beginning of my medical issues.
I fell at the water park, suffered rib contusions, and developed subsequent pneumonia because it hurt too darn much to cough.
Two weeks out of work.
Kaitlyn experienced her first tooth extraction (without Novocaine...because our dentist walks on water and is ab-so-lutely amazing!).
Kaitlyn also developed a bowel obstruction, learned first hand what it was like to receive not one but TWO enemas, an then sustain an ileus with subsequent pediatric unit admission for 23 hour observation.
Kaitlyn had her first IEP Meeting with the Kindergarten team and it went well.
I fired Andrew's Early Intervention Coordinator.

Kaitlyn developed pneumonia (this was the 1st episode of 2010).
I complained about the whole "No Child Left Behind" issue and how it affects special needs kids.
There were looming lay-offs in our school district, with special ed being hit pretty hard.
Oh, and Andrew felt left out so he got pneumonia, too!

I turned 40 this month....the new 20!
Aetna chose to deny our nebulizer machine that I was using to treat the kids' pneumonia because they felt it was "not medically necessary".
HUH? Breathing is not necessary?!
Andrew had his "Transition Meeting" from EI to Early Childhood Education and the program coordinator was less than professional.
Let's just say that the School District Superintendent heard from me LOUD AND CLEAR!
The layoffs in our school district were less than expected (YAY!), but we did lose our music teacher (BOO!)
Kaitlyn was bumped up to 35% Inclusion with General Ed.
The Naughty Chair was used quite frequently by Andrew.
What the heck are "Sight Words" and what happened to phonics in school?

April was relatively mild.
Kaitlyn correlated bad behavior with "Going To Jail" and even dropped the F-Bomb.
She got in trouble several times for not using her "Walking Feet" in school.
Thus, the attitude from Miss Kaitlyn begins......

May brought some chest pain to me (figuratively speaking, that is) when I opened a Confidential letter from Kaitlyn's school indicating that she failed her hearing test.
Subsequent nervous appointments with our trusty ENT confirmed that she hears better than us! Whew!
Andrew had his ECE evaluation and was being given an IEP for speech.
Lightening strikes twice in my house on the speech front.
There was that off-the-cuff, nonchalant comment about "oh, we know about his murmur" WHAT HEART MURMUR?!?!?!?!
ECHO exams, EKGs and Pediatric Cardiologist appointment pointed towards a PFO and Still's Murmur, although neither are related.
Yep, more chest pain for Mom.
And then there was my brief encounter with that oh-so-nice FOX Chicago News guy that dismissed my red swollen eyes and ditzy behavior in the hospital parking garage.
And Miss Kaitlyn graduated from Kindergarten.

In June, we broke up with Jill, our beloved SLP that had treated both of my children for speech issues.
Unfortunately, her ex-employer was more driven by money than a child's needs.
Kaitlyn refers to him as "The Mean Man"....yep, you're right, Kaitlyn!
Andrew started with a new SLP for the remaining 10 weeks of EI.
Then we took a speech break for both kids.
Then...our rainbow after the storm....Miss M walked into our lives (actually, Google lead me to her!)

Summer was upon us and we spent a lot of time in the pool.
Kaitlyn continued swim lessons.
Andrew's visit to the ENT confirmed vocal fold nodules because he is just so loud and rough on those folds.
Should grow out of it, I was told.
Kaitlyn learned about fire, strangers, and the such at Safety Town.
We quit EI for Andrew based on the poor performance of his assigned SLP.

We were told this month that Kaitlyn no longer needed glasses since she was now 20/20
We took a much needed family vacation to Door County Wisconsin and did nothing but relax in a pool, walk on the beach, eat freshly caught lake perch, and that's that!
Back to school was easy for Kaitlyn, but harder for Andrew.
He had some serious adjustment problems being away from Mom and Dad.
But lots of hugs, reassurance, and reading books like "The Kissing Hand" and "Llama Llama Misses Mama" made things a little easier.
And we celebrated the little guy's 3rd birthday!

Andrew was still having school adjustment issues.
We were blessed with an awesome preschool teacher for him and an even better Itinerant SLP for him twice a week after school.
Kaitlyn got strep throat pretty bad.
Oh, and she also did something strange to her ankle (sprain? Tendon irritation?) and was required to be in a CAM walking boot for 3 weeks.
And then there was my take on the whole Katy Perry/Elmo video...I saw nothing wrong with it!

Here, we saw Andrew spelling his name on video.
Kaitlyn began a Religious Education class for special needs children.
Kaitlyn developed a 104.1 degree fever and was diagnosed with pneumonia for the second time this year!
We had the Chicagoland Apraxia Walk which we missed due to the pneumonia, and her birthday party which was pushed back a week due to her illness.
And once again, little boy Andrew did not want to be left out and asked for a trip to the ER for a nasty bout of croup and 102.4 fever.
We did have an awesome Halloween, though!

Here we had Parent-Teacher Conferences, RTI for Andrew, and an OT plan for Kaitlyn.
Andrew and I designated Fridays as "Our Time" where we would spend it at an area museum and then for a McDonald's treat.
He also got his Big Boy Bed this month, and "Our Time" would soon end as his school placement would be changing and he would be going to school 5 days per week now.

We ended the year with me hosting some blog giveaways here.
We were also informed that Kaitlyn would need another eye surgery to fine tune the muscles in her left eye that were drifting due to her growth and nothing that we did wrong.
Aetna tried their antics again by trying to deny all of our speech therapy claims, only to have them reprocessed and paid...thank you very much!
And Christmas brought sheer joy to our household.
And lets just add one more tiny bout of pneumonia for Kaitlyn (um, that's THREE if you are counting!) and a nasty sinus infection for Andrew.
We were scheduled to head up to that same water park this weekend, but we chose to delay that trip.....seeing that it was the place were all of this fun started!

You can go through my 2010 entries to read all about these stories if you are searching for a good laugh!

My wish to you is to have a blessed 2011...
may the words continue to flow...
may the apraxia's out there go by the wayside...
may the sensory issues resolve...
and best of health to you all!
Thank you for reading....and Happy New Year!

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Thursday, December 30, 2010

You've Got Mail?

This is the exact conversation which took place between me and my three year old boy:

ME: "Come on Andrew, let's go potty and lay down for a nap."

ANDREW: "Wait! Check email first!"

ME: (Speechless. Dumbfounded.)
Once I picked my jaw up off of the floor, i said:

ME: "Um, you know you are 3, right Andrew?"

He proceeded to "check his email" on his new Leapfrog My Own Laptop which he received for Christmas.

You are able to choose and download songs for a custom play list (Internet connection required).
We were able to choose from 8 email messages and personalized it for him to enjoy as well.
Let me tell you....the look on his face this morning when he heard the laptop say his name was priceless!
He is able to explore the alphabet, pretend play, music, animals and computer literacy with 6 learning activity stations.
And Daddy and I can connect to the online LeapFrog® Learning Path for customized learning ideas and insights from LeapFrog.

Yes, we love Leapfrog!

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Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Wednesday's Top Ten

10. Rejoicing in the birth of our Lord and celebrating with family!

9. A wonderful Christmas spent with my family.

8. The joy and wonder in a child's eyes when Santa enters the room.

7. Chocolate overdose!

6. Being off of work for one week to spend with my family: priceless.

5. Having a relatively "clean" house after all of those Christmas presents.

4. Two weeks of Winter Break and NO SCHOOL for the kids: even more priceless!

3. Sleeping in. Ahhh!

2. Two sick kids on antibiotics for Christmas. Could be worse, right?

1. I love my kids!

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Tuesday, December 28, 2010

The Thumball Winners are......

...Sadie and Liz!

Sadie and Liz, please email me at within 48 hours of this posting with your mailing address and I will ship them to you ASAP!

***NOTE: If Sadie and/or Liz do NOT respond within the 48 hours that I am giving them, a new winner(s) will be chosen!

Congrats, Sadie and Liz!

And next Monday will be my final giveaway for a while.
Tune in next Monday for additional handwriting help!

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Monday, December 27, 2010

Monday Blog Giveaway!

Let's have a "ball"!


These Thumballs are AWESOME!

As a Mom with two children with speech and language delays and apraxia, I am always looking for ways to make my home-version of speech therapy more fun, exciting, and inviting.
And I have!
My kids love their Thumballs!
And thanks to Mary over at, she wants to make it a lot easier and more fun for you, too!
A Speech-Language Pathologist turned entrepreneur, Mary and her husband designed this amazing tool that can help you, too!
Every Speech-Language Pathologist I have met had some unique way of teaching their clients that the others didn't have.
Once an SLP, always an SLP.
But this takes the cake!
Trust me...I am a tough cookie and it takes a lot to impress me.

Yes, A LOT!

Needless to say, I am both speechless and impressed!
And you can read more about the company on their blog here!

It is so easy, all you have to do is catch the ball!
And where your "thumb" lands is where the game begins!

According to the website (and trust me, the website is so right!), Thumballs:
1.Enhance learning through categorizing, phonemic awareness, question formation, emotional intelligence, social skills, visual perception, math functions and pronunciation.
2.All ages and abilities can play including those with learning challenges: Autism, Asperger’s syndrome, language delays or disorders and anyone learning a second language.
3.Everyone associates a ball with play, fun and group interaction. Ball play is motivating, increases focus and expands attention.
4.Allow the brain time to focus in a novel way and you get improved performance. While in “play mode” the brain is alerted for fun and action
5.A brain in a positive state of arousal is more ready to receive and process information.
6.Brain development research indicates we learn and retain more when actively doing something as opposed to only reading about it or listening to it.
7.The cooperation necessary when playing in a group expands the social awareness of players and promotes use of eye contact, polite forms and turn taking skills.

And for TWO lucky winners, you will each receive one Thumball from the "Early Learners Series".

The Early Learners Series encourages development of basic learning skills.


The Smart Ball for Learning Letter Sounds and phonological skills essential to reading development.
Improve phonological and word retrieval skills for early literacy reading development.
Thirty-two letters and sound blends reinforce sound symbol association, and you can identify specific words beginning with each letter!

Animals Thumball
The Smart Ball for language development, describe by characteristics, use with Ol'MacDonald song!
Twelve panels of images, animal labels and sounds will help your child develop their vocabulary while expanding their knowledge of animals.

Numbers Thumball

The Smart Ball for Math skills, practice math equations, Throw it twice and add, subtract or multiply!
Each panel on this ball displays the number, the word and counting dots.
This will help with number identification as well as basic counting, addition, subtraction, you name it!

Shapes Thumball
The Smart Ball for visual perception, fine motor skills and spelling practice.
Ask your child where they would find such shapes in their home, school or outside!
The learning opportunities are endless!

So who's interested????
To Enter:
1. Become a fan of my Facebook page.


2. Become a follower of my Twitter page, then "retweet" my promotion tweet about this giveaway.


3. Leave a message on this blog post. Sorry, no anonymous entries will be accepted.

Winner will be chosen by at random and will be contacted by e-mail.
Please leave valid email addresses.
If there is no response in 48 hours, another winner will be drawn.
There will be no P.O. Box winners.

This giveaway is for US Residents only. It will end on December 28th at 12:00noon CST.

Good Luck, and let's play ball!

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Saturday, December 25, 2010

Merry Christmas!

Jesus Christ was born this day
So many years before
He came a servant to the lost
Though he was Lord of Lords

We celebrate this joyous time
Reflecting on His birth
Not born in a mansion, but a stable
As if He had no worth

He came so He could identify
With the human heart of man
And gave His life as a sacrifice
Offering a better plan

A plan that reconciles us back
To our loving Father God
Bringing hope and redemption from
Sins ruling iron rod

For this is the only reason that we
Should celebrate this day
To become focused on anything else
Would take the meaning away

So let’s arise with joy in our hearts
And share it with everyone
The meaning of Christmas will always be
The birth of Jesus – God’s son
Wishing you and yours a very Merry Christmas!

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Friday, December 24, 2010

Where is Santa?

For those of you who have children (or maybe yourself!) who are wondering where Santa is and when he will be in your area, you can use the NORAD SANTA TRACKER to find out!

So don't forget to leave the cookies and milk for the jolly ole elf and have a wonderful holiday!

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Thursday, December 23, 2010

The "What-Day-Is-It" Top Ten

These holidays and hustle and bustle have really thrown me for a loop.
So have the blog giveaways.
Let's see what "Top Ten" I can come up with:

10. Prepping for the holidays...whew!

9. Sugar rush and excitement equals two kids sleeping poorly.

8. One little girl with relapsing respiratory infections requiring two medications via nebulizer and two antibiotics.

7. One little boy with a 101 fever outta nowhere!

6. The magic of Santa!

5. Being off of work for one week for the Christmas holidays!

4. Waking up to husband brewing coffee for you don't have to do it.
Thanks, pal!

3. Having Aetna decide to deny speech therapy claims, then realizing their "OOPS!".
Yeah, they won't do that again!

2. Changes for Andrew and school. This is good.

1. I love my kids!

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Wednesday, December 22, 2010

In Two Weeks...

...School will change for Andrew.
...Itinerant services are no longer in the picture.
...Minutes change from 90 to 60.
...4 days are now 5.

In two weeks, things will be different for him.
But I am not worried.
In fact, I look forward to this with great expectations.
More info to come...

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

We Have A Mead Winner!

....and a BIG congrats goes to....


ZANE PORTER, please contact me via email @ within the next 48 hours of this posting with your mailing address.
That means, you need to contact me by Thursday, December 23rd, Zane!

***In the event that Zane Porter does not contact me, another winner will be chosen at random via

Thank you all for participating and stay tuned next week when I will have yet another giveaway for an awesome tool for speech therapy!

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Monday, December 20, 2010

Monday Blog Giveaway!

And heeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeerrrrrrrrrre we are again!
Another "Monday Blog Giveaway!"
Thank you, again, to Mead for sponsoring this event.

And what an event it will be!

This week, I am giving away something that is very near and dear to me: an avenue to work on fine motor skills.

My daughter, as you know, struggles with fine motor delays on a daily basis.
And our insurance company does not cover OT services for her specific needs.
Thanks for nothing, right?!
She is improving, though, thanks to her Daddy and I working nonstop with her at home while the school district Occupational Therapist does what she can with the limited amount of time she has with Kaitlyn.
But thanks to some of the great Mead products that I have purchased at one time or another, her progress is leaps and bounds!

And thanks to Mead, I am giving away to ONE LUCKY READER a packet of FOUR different tablets for handwriting practice:
*Connect With Color (Stage 1: Fine Motor Development)
*Capital Letter Stories (Stage 2: Letter Formation)
*Learn to Letter (Stage 3: Primary Writing)
*Redispace Transitional Paper (Stage 4: Transitional Writing)

So are you ready for this?!
Well, sit back and read all about these awesome products.....and you may even be lucky enough to win your own FREE set!

CONNECT WITH COLOR: Color Sequence Dot-to-Dot Pages

This packet features a format that can help children learn how to color while following directions and learning how to sequence.
It allows children to practice both visual scanning and pencil control, all while assisting children to learn hand-eye coordination, fine motor skills, and gain skills in visual perception.
There are 22 sheets per packet, and as previously stated, this is considered a
Stage 1 - Fine Motor Development tool.
Oh, and it's pretty cool, too!

Developed and tested by handwriting specialists (hey, I need to get one of those on board!), this tablet allows the child to learn proper capital letter formation and helps with proper letter size.
My daughter has no concept of letter size right now.
We are just grateful that she is writing her letters!
It also helps increase the child's attention to boundaries when they are ready to write on lined paper.
What I love the most about this specific paper pack is the way the letters are grouped based on their developmental progression and of pre-writing skills.
Clever, Mead! Very clever!
There are 40 sheets of practice pages in this packet, and the packet itself is geared towards the preschool to 1st grade student.

This is the specific product that has helped my daughter tremendously!
I really love the embossed raised lines which give her that sensory input she needs when learning to start/stop and move to the next area of letter writing.
The lines are bold, giving her the visual support she needs for correct writing utensil placement, too.
At times, she is still like a snow plow in the middle of a Chicago snow storm when writing with this paper, but with gentle cues to "slow down" and "feel the lines with your pen", she is able to start and stop appropriately.
There are 40 sheets in this specific packet, and it is geared toward the Stage 3 Primary Writer.
It also conforms to many of the handwriting methods used in schools today.
This paper, too, was developed and tested my handwriting experts.
Hey! If any of you "Handwriting Experts" are reading this blog post right me!

Although advanced for my daughter right now, this paper will definitely come in handy when we transition her from primary papers to wide-ruled notebook paper.
This specific pack teaches students proper spacing, it promotes legibility (Geez, we really need that over here!), and teaches the child how to write between margins with the distinct GREEN "GO" LINE and RED "STOP" line.
Once again, Mead, you have outdone yourself!
Bravo and props to you!
There are 50 sheets in this packet and is geared towards the Stage 4 Transitional Writer, typically first grade and up.

One lucky reader is going to win ALL FOUR PACKETS: Connect With Color, Capital Letter Stories, Learn To Letter, and Redispace Transitional Paper....for FREE!

To Enter:
1. Become a fan of my Facebook page and leave a comment.
2. Become a follower of my Twitter page, then "retweet" my promotion tweet about this giveaway.
3. Leave a message on this blog post. Sorry, no anonymous entries will be accepted.

Winner will be chosen by at random and will be contacted by e-mail.
Please leave valid email addresses.
If there is no response in 48 hours, another winner will be drawn.
There will be no P.O. Box winners.

This giveaway is for US Residents only. It will start today (December 20, 2010) and end on December 21, 2010 at 12:00 noon CST.

Good luck!

Disclosure: I received the above mentioned products for review. I was under no obligation to write a positive review.
But how can I not write a positive review?!

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Friday, December 17, 2010

Big Changes

Yes, big changes are coming for this young lad.
So big that I still haven't wrapped my mind around the entire concept.
But I will soon figure it out, and when I do I will explain the whole educational plan to you, too.

Until then, stay warm, have a great weekend, and get ready for yet another "Blog Giveaway" coming up on Monday!

Thursday, December 16, 2010


This is the ICD-9 code for "apraxia".

No kidding, right?

Anyone out there with a child with apraxia who is in speech therapy knows this code.
But that same code can cover other diagnoses as well like Acalculia
Agnosia, and Agraphia NOS.
And some insurance companies know that, too!
So they pick and choose what they want to cover!

Sneaky little snakes, aren't they???

Well, I received a friendly little email from our private SLP Miss M, suggesting that I contact my oh-so-helpful-and-friendly insurance company (Aetna) because they think that they can deny our speech therapy claims.

Yes, DENY!

Really? Outta the blue they are going to deny my claims, even though when I call Aetna's customer (dis)service number and give my daughter's information and her screen pops up in front of them, they are immediately notified of my Plan-Sponsor Liaison's notification that claims with the above code are covered services and are not to be denied.

Maybe they can't read?
Maybe their screens went dead at that time?
Maybe they scrolled down too fast and missed it?


They just denied the claims!

Well, after yet another phone call to Customer (dis)Service, all denied claims are being resubmitted.
And I got the same ole "Oh, this should take about 10 business days to reprocess..."

You didn't need 10 business days to deny my claims, did you?

So today, I made a phone call to the Executive Resolution Department.
Sounds fancy, huh?
And because I just L-O-V-E my blog readers so much, I will share that phone number with you!
So if you have Aetna and are having some problems with your speech therapy claims being denied, you can call them, too, at(800) 872-3862.

And even though I have asked for over 16 months "Can I have it in writing that my speech therapy claims are being covered?" one can seem to mail that to me!

Strange, huh?
Maybe they can't type?
Surely they can't read!
Maybe the mail room is too far for them to walk?
Maybe they are traumatized from a paper cut the last time they folded a letter and crammed it into an envelope?
Maybe they think "That's not my job, is it?"
Maybe they don't remember that they can go to the "File" tab and scroll down to "Print"?


Maybe I need to give my friendly Aetna VP a phone call.
You remember, right?
The one that called me last year about my strife with Aetna?
You can read about that phone call here!
Please do!
Oh, the one who "informed" me that Aetna was reading my blog?
Yep, that one!

Aetna, are you still reading?

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Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Wednesday (supposed to be Tuesday) Top Ten

I had another blog giveaway this week, so my TTT had to change to Wednesday.
Things are always hoppin' in this house, so there's always a Top Ten brewing!

10. Another great blog giveaway! Thanks, Wikki Stix!

9. A husband with food poisoning. Maybe he will learn to NOT eat food from the back of the refrigerator!

8. A daughter with a productive cough and nebulizer treatments every four hours. *sigh*

7. An upcoming IEP Meeting for Andrew.

6. Maybe I should start Christmas shopping? Ya think?

5. My daughter's amazing Advent Celebration Mass with her special ed religious education class that moved me to tears more than I can count.

4. The brisk winter we are having so far, and its only December!

3. Continued progress with Kaitlyn's speech therapy, even though Aetna chose to deny claims for the month of November. Yet another phone call and the dumbfounded response from the Customer Service person that all claims will be resubmitted....again. Maybe Aetna thought I was going away....WRONG ANSWER! Pay the claims, Aetna!

2. Listening to my daughter sing. For kids with apraxia, this is HUGE!

1. I love my kids!

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

A Wikki Stix Winner!

Thanks to all of you who participated in this 2nd Monday blog giveaway.

And a HUGE thank you to Kem Clark and the folks at Wikki Stix for making this happen!


And now.....the winner of the Wikki Stix giveaway is.......


Lori, please email me at and send me your mailing address.
I am still giggling at the thought of you typing with your fingers crossed.
Now those are awesome fine motor skills!

***NOTE: If Lori does not respond to me within 48 hours, a new winner will be chosen.

Thanks to all who participated and get ready for yet another blog giveaway next week Monday.

It will focus on speech skills and will totally knock your socks off!

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Monday, December 13, 2010

A Wikki Stix Giveaway!

It's Monday, and it's time for yet another FREE giveaway on my blog!

Today, I have an awesome product from a company called Wikki Stix!

My daughter has used Wikki Stix in the school setting for a variety of school-related tasks like pre-writing skills and coloring inside of the lines.
I was impressed with the product so much that a quick Google search lead me to their site and a store near my home that I could continue to purchase these wonderful tools.
So a couple of weeks ago, I contacted Kem Clark and the wonderful people over at the Wikki Stix company and they were more than happy to offer their products on my site to ONE OF YOU!


And here is what they would like for you to have:

A Parents' Choice Classic Award Winner!
If you didn't know, the Parents Choice Foundation is an organization that picks out all things good in media and toys for our children.
The foundation was formed in 1978 and is nonprofit.
The foundation's purpose is to bring provide parents with educational toys and media that help promote growth.
The Parent's Choice has been a guide for many parents over the past year.
The gold seal tells parents that this toy is both fun and educational.

This item is ideal for children ages 3-6, but any child can use it and it is extremely useful for those children with occupational therapy needs, too.
The kit contains 84 Wikki Stix in 16 different vibrant colors.
And they come in two sizes!
Plus, you will also receive a multi-use playboard and handy recloseable storage bag.
This is perfect for long car rides, and with the Christmas holidays coming up I am sure that many of you will be traveling to see loved ones by plane, train, or automobile.

We are....and our Wikki Stix are packed and ready to go!

You will also receive this:

It is an eight-page booklet packed full of fun ideas and illustrations featuring two cartoon characters from Wikkiland... Gizzywik and The Morgandoot.
Each page features one colorful illustration...but something is missing.
You can work with your child and use Wikki Stix to give the Piggy a tail!
Or add wavy black smoke to the top of the bright red train!
This is an excellent tool (or game) for fine motor skills, pointing, pressing, and focusing on those tiny fingers to increase fine motor skills!
Plus, you can work with your child on identifying colors!
The book includes 36 Wikki Stix, too!

Wikki Stix can be used in many other ways, so the fun will never end and you can continue to be creative, all while teaching your child fine motor skills and strengthening those tiny muscles.
***They are perfect for making a raised border to show where to start and stop on the paper...and to make coloring inside the lines easier.

***Zip it up! Thread a Wikki through the hole on the zipper and twist. Makes it easier to pull up and down with the Wikki to hold onto.

***Wrap a Wikki around the base of a pencil for use as a grip. It improves hand grasp and stability when you wrap it around the lower 1/2 of the writing utencil. It also serves as a reminder to "hold it down low".

***Wikki Stix are a quiet and creative fidget tool, providing a calming effect which may help children better focus on classroom activities.

***Wikkies may help generate verbal interaction, as children create while using them. This may also be helpful in the development of social skills, through tactile engaging play.

***Use for prewriting strokes, as well as to practice letter formation. Wikki Stix can also be used to trace prewriting shapes (especially good on laminated paper to be used repeatedly.)

***Create letters and numbers out of Wikki Stix and have student run his/her fingers over them for tactile input.

***Use Wikki Stix to make borders when handwriting, to keep letters on the line, as well as to indicate where to start and stop on the paper.

***Write a letter or number on the chalkboard and have your child reproduce the same design using Wikki Stix. Cover your child's eyes and have him/her identify the letter or number which you have secretly made with Wikki Stix.

***Wikki Stix are ideal to stabilize materials in an inexpensive, colorful way! Plus, they stick to a vertical surface.

***Under books for stabilization

***Under slant boards for writing or visual tasks.

***At the top of writing paper to prevent slippage.

***Outline with Wikki Stix the specific area to be written or colored in.

***Use Wikki Stix to improve independence and visual discrimination with eating by outlining the area where a cup or dish should be replaced on the table.

***Use it to circle words that begin with target speech sounds.

***Wikki Stix are fun, colorful and easy to use as a medium for self-expression.

Wikki Stix are virtually mistake-proof!
And with Wikki Stix, there is no preparation, no mess, no cleanup!

So who's interested????
To Enter:
1. Become a fan of my Facebook page.
2. Become a follower of my Twitter page, then "retweet" my promotion tweet about this giveaway.
3. Leave a message on this blog post. Sorry, no anonymous entries will be accepted.

Winner will be chosen by at random and will be contacted by e-mail.
Please leave valid email addresses.
If there is no response in 48 hours, another winner will be drawn.
There will be no P.O. Box winners.

This giveaway is for US Residents only. It will end on December 14th at 12:00 noon CST.

Good Luck!

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Friday, December 10, 2010

Santa and the Special Needs Child

Special Needs Night with Santa!
Thank You, Jaycees, for sponsoring this event!

We got to take our time and peek into the window at Santa....anticipating....

Santa got our attention and told us to be good....right Andrew????

...and reminded us one more time to listen to Mom and Dad while big sister paid attention, too......

...and posed for our annual Christmas Card Photo!

Yes, I do believe in Santa!

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Thursday, December 9, 2010

"Mom, This Really Sucks!"

Those are the exact words outta the mouth of my 7 year old daughter with apraxia.

Clear as a bell, and used in the most appropriate context, too!

You see, those four words spilled out of her little mouth on Tuesday evening as we drove home from her optho surgeons' office.
And at that office visit, I was informed that she would need a revision of her eye surgery which took place almost four years ago on Feb 7, 2007.
Because he did inform me in the days leading up to the surgery that a revision may be necessary in 4-5 years.
And we are approaching that four year anniversary of the surgery.

Yep, Kate! This really sucks!

But it something that I was was informed of four years ago.

Because now her left eye is drifting in ever-so-slightly.
And we are treating it with patching four hours per day since that office visit.
And we will follow up with him again in Feb 2011.

Until then, this still sucks, but we are dealing with it and putting it in His hands.
For anything you ask for in the name of Jesus through Mary shall be granted.


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Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Tuesday Top Ten

Yes, I know its Wednesday.
I've been preoccupied with my blog giveaway, which was awesome, by the way!

10. An awesome blog giveaway.

9. RTI that works!

8. An upcoming IEP Meeting for Andrew...we are changing his status, but I knew this was coming.

7. Getting Kaitlyn's IEP Meeting invite for Jan 2011. This one will be easy!

6. A bad, bad, bad day at work Sunday. However, I don't think that doctor will EVER speak to me again, let alone speak to me in the tone that he did. Nurses get NO respect sometimes! Grrr!

5. Kaitlyn behaving in school: whew!

4. Kaitlyn understanding the consequences of "acting up" in school.

3. Hearing that my daughter will need a second surgery to correct a slight lazy eye. I knew it could happen, but to hear it upsets me.

2. Our first snow! Yay!!!!

1. I love my kids!

Tuesday, December 7, 2010


and the winner is.......


Actually, my daughter chose her as the winner.
I was talking to myself in front of the computer (yes, I occasionally do that) listing all of the names of those who entered when my daughter heard me say "April".
Immediately, she said "Mom! That's a month, but this is December!"
When I explained that April was both a month and a girl's name, she said, "Oh, I like that one. Pick her!"
So April it is!

No high-tech way of choosing a winner....I just took Kate's advice.

Thank you all for participating in my first ever blog giveaway!
Next week Monday will be another giveaway, but this time for one lucky child!

***NOTE: I have emailed April. If for some reason she does not respond to my email within 48 hours of this post, I will select a new winner.

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Monday, December 6, 2010

It's GIVEAWAY Time!!!

Welcome, one and all, to my 1st ever Blog Giveaway!

I was recently sent a variety of items to review my Mead, and let me tell you...these are pretty cool!
I am a First Class, Type-A, organizing freak!
I have "To-Do" lists for my "To-Do" Lists.
I need to have things organized...because my life right now is not.
I am constantly on the run, here and there to doctors' offices, therapists' offices, haircuts, you name it.
My car is my office.
So to have my "life" and all of its needs wrapped up in a cute, attractive teal binder that I can just grab-n-go....WOW!

Once you get over how attractive and durable the binder is, opening it is yet another surprise!
*I can easily remove/add pages
*I can manage all of my expenses, cash flow, and important records
*There are 12 monthly pockets for bills an receipts
*Two storage envelopes
*Three-ring binding

It’s never too late to get financially organized, folks!
The Expense Tracker’s 12 undated monthly pockets hold bills and receipts while two storage envelopes contain loose papers.
The Tech Lock® rings make it easy to incorporate bank statements and printouts from financial planning software.
Plus, I can go to the Mead website at to download even more budgeting pages!
Holy cow!


What better way to plan everyone's schedules so that everyone can see them at a glance!
There are extra large grids, color-coded stickers and monthly tabs, too!
Plus, there is a large space on each month to allow for notes, meal planning, and other important mentionables!
I think what I like the best about this calendar is that each week is divided into two sections: "All Me!" and "All Them".
As busy parents, we can't forget ourselves, can we?
This is another awesome product.
However, the only change that I would personally make is to alter the color of the stickers.
The calendar is teal and white.
Maybe brighter and bolder colors such as fushia, purple, and royal blue should have been the sticker colors since they would stand out more.
Nonetheless, it is a pretty nifty calender!

How many of us sit down and say to ourselves "Ugh! What am I going to make for dinner tonight?"
We are busy Moms and Dads!
With school and therapies and doctor appointments and evaluations, we have special needs kids who usually put in more hours than a typical work week!
So this "Chow Planning" notepad helps make things easier.
Not only does it have a Monday thru Sunday listing for meals, it also has an area on the lower half of the pad for a grocery list.
Way to go, Mead!
Pretty cool!
Plus, you can actually turn meal planning into a speech therapy session!
Really, you ask?
Sure, why not!

*On Sunday evening, sit down together with the Mead Weekly Meal Planning Notepad and ask your children what they would like to eat for the week.
*Ask them to describe the meals and what they may see on their plate if that item is made.
*Have them identify which item is a fruit, vegetable, meat, or bread.
*Talk to your kids about the food groups and the importance of a healthy diet.

See? Instant five minute speech therapy session!
And they didn't see it coming!

One lucky reader is going to win the Organizher Expense Tracker, the Month-to-Month Family Wall Calendar and the Meal Planning Notepad....for FREE!

To Enter:
1. Become a fan of my Facebook page.
2. Become a follower of my Twitter page, then "retweet" my promotion tweet about this giveaway.
3. Leave a message on this blog post. Sorry, no anonymous entries will be accepted.

Extra Entries:Visit the Mead Organizher site and tell me which products you think you most like to try.

~Tweet with #Organizher in your tweet (unlimited)

~Follow @Organizher on Twitter and send a tweet that includes “I’m following @Organizher, thanks to @Apraxia_Mom”

Winner will be chosen by at random and will be contacted by e-mail.
Please leave valid email addresses.
If there is no response in 48 hours, another winner will be drawn.
There will be no P.O. Box winners.

This giveaway is for US Residents only. It will end on December 6Th at midnight CST.

Good luck!

Disclosure: I received the above mentioned products for review. I was under no obligation to write a positive review.
But how can I not write a positive review?!

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Friday, December 3, 2010

Changes Are A-Coming!

Yep, changes are coming to this blog.
I don't think this is a bad thing, per se.
I just think that change is necessary sometimes.

Change #1
The first change that you will see is that this is now going to be a Monday through Friday blog.
My weekends are booked.
Being a nurse (part time), I work every single Sunday.
Our Saturdays are spent at Kaitlyn's religious education classes, traveling to Grandparent's houses, or just spending time together: just the four of us.
Blogging on the weekends was just getting too hard.

Change #2
Yep! I have decided to add some sparks to this blog and offer giveaways!
Things for Mom and Dad.
Things for the kiddos.
Speech stuff, OT stuff, books, CDs, you name it!
I am currently in "talks" with a several companies and websites about their products and they are willing to offer them to you!
I will share the sites, talk about the products, and have a giveaway to ONE of you just for reading and making a comment on my blog, Facebook page, or Twitter site.
I'll let you know when this will start!

Change #3
Did you really think I was going to let you in on all my ideas?
Stay tuned......and thanks for reading!

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Thursday, December 2, 2010

Thank You, Mead!

Thank you, Mead, for making my job a tad easier.
Thank you, Mead, for such a creative idea!
Although my daughter can still plow over your raised lines like a Chicago-area snowplow in January, this is pretty nifty!

***10 x 8 special 1 Inches ruled, white paper
***Solid and dotted lines for practicing ABC's
***Tablet conforms to Zaner-Bloser and D' Nealian handwriting method
***40 Sheets per pack

Did I mention how cheap this pad of paper is?
Cheap, as in inexpensive!
Less than $3.00 per pad!

And this paper is making my job teaching my daughter how to write so much easier!
And you can get yours here!

Hey Mead! Have I told you lately how much you rock!!!

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Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Christmas Gift Ideas???

Tis the season!
I am almost in frantic mode here, folks.
I have TONS of gifts to purchase, but I am stumped at what I should get for 14 special people.


These FOURTEEN people are the talented and caring individuals who help my children on a daily basis.
They are teachers, physical therapists, occupational therapists, speech-language pathologists, teaching assistants.
Kaitlyn has TEN.
Andrew has FOUR.

I don't just want to throw a gift card in an envelope and say "Here, thanks for helping my kid."
I want this to be meaningful.
I want them to know how much they are appreciated.
I want them to know that I don't view them as babysitters for my kids with needs.

I have had tons of ideas run through my head, and readers and Facebook friends have both given me great ideas as well.

So if any of you out there have any other ideas, post a comment.
Shoot me an email at

Now, this lil elf needs to start working!

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Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Tuesday Top Ten!

10. A wonderful Thanksgiving holiday with the family!

9. Seeing the excitement in Andrew's eyes when he saw all the Christmas decorations up in the house while he napped.

8. Kaitlyn's ambition and great hand/eye coordination as she put ornaments on the tree.

7. Deep breath....her left eye is crossing every so often. We see optho next week. I really don't want another surgery.

6. Watching the kids dance to Christmas music!

5. Celebrating our 9th wedding anniversary last week.

4. Back to school on Monday! Yes, we are ALL excited!

3. Having 7 days off this week....lovin' it!

2. Counting down till Christmas.

1. I love my kids!

Monday, November 29, 2010

We're Back!

Happy Monday, everyone!
Hope everyone had a peaceful and safe Thanksgiving holiday!

After a five day holiday-hiatus, we are back.
We had a great time enjoying family, food, and fun.
Just being a family.
Christmas decorations are up.
Kaitlyn had a class trip to a food pantry to finish off their class focus on Thanksgiving,

and Andrew finally got his "big boy bed".

Since we are currently in the midst of the "Holiday Bermuda Triangle" of Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year's, you will see some posts which have absolutely nothing to do with special needs and special education, apraxia, sensory stuff, and so on.
Just plain ole holiday happenings, that's all!

I do have some great sites to share as well as some freebies and give-a-ways coming up soon, too!
So keep reading and thanks for listening!

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Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Giving Thanks!

Although a day early, I want to take this time to reflect on what I am thankful for:

---for the unending love of my husband (um, today is our anniversary!!) and for his support with everything that I do and his support of our children to help them be better each and every day!

---for my two little miracles. My children who are my world and are the sunshine in every one of my days.

---for our health. Stop laughing! I know 2010 has been a crazy year of sicknesses, ER visits, bone issues, pneumonias, bowel obstructions, and so on. But we are healthy and I thank God for that.

---for the wonderful school district that we live in which provides such amazing services to children with special needs.

---for Kaitlyn's current private speech therapist, Miss M. She is amazing and the progress in Kaitlyn is even more amazing! I cannot express how happy we are to be away from that "other place"! If they only knew that children should be a priority and not money!!! Do they not know that money is the root of all evil? Guess not!

---for Kaitlyn's teacher, Miss M. Love her and what she has done with Kate since 2009!

---for Andrew's teacher, Miss J. What an amazing ECE Teacher! That would require a whole new post about going above and beyond!

---for Andrew's speech pathologist, Miss C. She is so good with him!

---for all of you who read this blog, follow me on Twitter (@apraxia_mom) and follow me on Facebook (ApraxiaMom). I can't thank you enough for tuning in everyday to read what I have to say. I read each and every comment and email! Thank You!

Wishing you all a blessed Thanksgiving holiday!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Tuesday Top Ten

10. Prepping for a long day of traveling, but a wonderful time spent with family for Thanksgiving this week.

9. A short week of school this week.

8. More progress in speech therapy!

7. I got a flu shot. I cried. And that was before she even came near me! Yes, I am a wimp! I am a nurse, I can dish it, but I can't take it!

6. Seeing Kaitlyn do a swim stroke that I didn't think she could master at this point. Wow!

5. Homework! I am really happy about this, and so is Kaitlyn!

4. RTIs. Grrrrr!

3. Crazy weather in the Chicago area. 67 degrees, driving rains, and tornados: in NOVEMBER!!!!!

2. Finding great new books about apraxia and special needs and sensory stuff!

1. I love my kids!

Monday, November 22, 2010

This Is Me

Before reading this post, please scroll to the bottom right column and "pause" my music in the light pink box.


So many people avoid talking about God and religion.
I do not.
I am a spiritual person.
I am married to a spiritual person.
We are raising our children the best we can in a spiritual household.
We have sought out and found a religious education class for our daughter to attend.
I am not afraid to post about my faith, my beliefs, and the such.
I still believe that God chose my husband and I when blessed with children with special needs.
Kaitlyn was "diagnosed" with so many special needs.
And, again, with Andrew and his needs for speech therapy as well.
I believe that I was destined to call off a previous engagement to another man.
To wait four more years and focus on my career before meeting my husband.
I believe that I was destined to meet this man and marry him.
I believe that we were destined to live in the school district that we live in...the best of the best to provide what our children need to succeed.
To conquer goals and meet benchmarks.
To defy the odds.
To amaze the disbelievers.
I believe that He gives me the strength to sit in those IEP Meetings and fight for my children without faltering.
I believe that He gives me the strength and wisdom to fight Aetna insurance for continued coverage of speech therapy services for my daughter.
I believe that He is showing Himself through her progress and increased vocabulary.
I believe that this path has been chosen for me and that my work is not yet done.

What do you believe?

Remember, pause my blog music on the lower right column.
Then watch this video.

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