Sunday, December 25, 2011

Merry Christmas 2011!

Wishing you and yours a blessed holiday!

Merry Christmas to you all!

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Saturday, December 24, 2011

Merry Christmas Eve 2011!

From my house of apraxia and special needs to yours,
may you find peace and wonder in the miracles of this holiday season!

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Friday, December 23, 2011

My Very First App Review: Monkey Math!

It has been a couple of months now since we have had our iPad, and both of my children are thriving with it!
The apps out there are out of this world!
But one math app in particular has really caught my eye and I beam with pride and joy as I see both of my children doing so well in this area.

(The following info was taken from the iTunes site):
★9 interactive games that teach kids about sequencing, patterning, counting, adding and subtracting.
★With very little interface, your child presses one button to immediately launch into uninterrupted play.
★Uses Knack Technology to instinctively adjust the challenge levels to each individual player.
★Irresistibly cute monkey guides the child through game play with animated celebrations for correct answers and gentle redirection for incorrect ones.
★Kids collect prizes to fill their very own INTERACTIVE AQUARIUM.
★Uninterrupted and unlimited play: game continues as long as the player desires.

Use your addition and subtraction skills to solve math problems. Trusty crab assistants supply multiple-choice options.

Monkey has a problem: Objects keep popping out of his bucket, creating a pattern - but one piece is missing! Help Monkey by completing the pattern with the choices provided.

Is it an octagon? Or maybe a hexagon? Count each side of these shapes and help Monkey figure it out.

Monkey has a group of numbers in the right order, but some are missing. Help him complete the sequence with the correct numbers.

Monkey loves to blow bubbles, when he does, groups of shells, fish or turtles are inside each bubble! Use your expertise to figure out which bubble has either the most or least objects inside.

Which bubble has the bigger number? Which bubble has the smaller one? Help Monkey figure it out by popping the correct bubble.

Baby Turtle is stuck on the beach and she needs your help to get to the sea! Connect the dots to show her the way.

Help Monkey learn his numbers by tracing them in the sand.

Monkey is running out of time! Pop all the bubbles that have either the right number or the right amount of objects inside before the time runs out!

What I love the most about this app is that they will play for one hour at a time and not realize that they are learning early math skills that will take them into the next levels in school.
The cartoon monkey is beyond cute, and he also has a wonderful way of encouraging your child to continue even if they make a mistake.
My kids LOVE to win a new fish or object for their fish tank when they successfully pass through a certain number of "number challenges".
Matching, greater than/less than, tracing numbers in the sand to help with handwriting and number formation, connect-the-dots to help with the whole hand-eye coordination, sequencing and's all there!

Developed by THUP games, and for only 0.99, you can get the app here for your iPhone or iPad!

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Thursday, December 22, 2011

What Have YOU Learned?

Thanks to one of my Facebook friends posting this, I decided that it is a "must share" with you all.
And of course, I am darned sure that you can come up with #12, #13 and even #107 of things that you have learned along the way.
But thanks so much to Leigh for putting this list together.
Props to you, Mama!
You can find her on Twitter here.
And you can find her on Facebook here.

1. Not knowing is a lot harder than knowing.
Yes, there is a lot we can do via therapy to help our children walk, talk, learn, etc. But the hardest thing to admit is that most of it is simply up to their brain and its wiring. There are no certain predictors that a special needs child will develop speech, be able to read, be potty-trained, or become self-sufficient . Good signs, yes. But nothing is certain. The not knowing can drive you crazy if you let it.

2. The internet is a blessing and a curse.
On one hand, there is valuable information out there. Yet, information overload can get you stuck. You end up reading too many awful things — that often don’t apply to your child at all — and it can deplete your hope and make you paranoid.

3. Connecting to the special-needs community (whether it be acquaintances, support groups, or the internet) can be both a lifesaver and bummer.
It is vital to find people who know what you are going through. Yet, sometimes it can produce even more negative feelings. Since there is always someone who has it worse than you, it can make you feel guilty for complaining. And, since there is always someone else who has it much better, you can sometimes forget that, when it comes to parenting, stress and worry are relative. Those people are just as immersed in their concern over their children as you are and, understandably, aren’t grateful simply because it could be worse. It can always be worse.

4. Holidays and special events magnify the situation.
Birthday parties are no longer joyful events. Your special needs child is in an unfamiliar setting, one with all kinds of new dangers. You actually have to observe typical children alongside your child, so his delays and social difficulties are painfully obvious. People naturally want to know what to buy your child. And you might not know. He might not play with toys. And you will have to endure the present opening and cake cutting that your child is tuning out in front of everyone present. No matter what is said and done, there is an air of sadness. Ditto for Christmas.

5. Well-intentioned people will silence you and add to your frustration.
They don’t mean to, but it is human nature to comfort and soothe. Invariably, they will attempt to do so in awful ways. Some will deny there is a problem and say that everything will be just fine. By denying there is even a problem, they effectively silence you and leave you isolated in your own mind. Some will try to remind you how grateful you should feel. And, while gratitude is a great thing, being reminded that you aren’t just makes you feel worse.

6. Picking your battles will take on a whole new meaning.
A lot of folks will look at you like you are crazy for “giving in” to a 24/7 diet consisting of nothing but chicken nuggets and crackers. Even more will judge you for “giving in” to what they view as tantrums and being spoiled. You, however, know that therapy, joint attention activities, and getting to school are the real nonnegotiables.

7. People will surprise you.
Causal acquaintances will step up to be better friends than the friends you most believed you could count on. There is nothing like becoming a special needs parent to give one clarity.

8. Doctors and other experts really don’t know everything.
Your pediatrician and other persons doing behavioral screening may not see what you are so worried about and may try to convince you nothing is wrong. They may encourage you to wait and see. You will want to believe them and may forget that childhood development really isn’t their speciality.

9. If you aren’t a naturally assertive person, you will have to become one.
People ranging from loved ones to Early Steps to the school system will give you a lot of reasons why they can’t meet your child’s needs. Even if it goes against your nature, you will have to fight for him. You will have to insist — which is both harder and easier than you might expect.

10. It’s easy to neglect others when you are caught up with the needs of one child.
You can forget the importance of date night with your spouse. You might forget a friend or loved one’s birthday. You might realize that your typically developing children aren’t getting enough attention from you. And you might realize you are not taking care of yourself and are about to fall apart. You will have to figure out a way to stay both connected and together. This is hardest thing to learn and do of all.

11. You will develop an appreciation for the little things.
There are moments of interaction and progress that will steal your breath. Hugs and kisses are unbelievably precious. And you will understand why this little soul was given to you. It’s because you are a perfect match for one another. And that is what sustains you through everything else.

So, who wants to be the first to add #12 to this list?

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Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Today's Top Ten

10. An amazing IEP Meeting!

9. An amazing IEP Meeting!

8. An amazing IEP Meeting!

7. An amazing IEP Meeting!

6. An amazing IEP Meeting!

5. An amazing IEP Meeting!

4. Continued progress for Kaitlyn and Andrew in speech and OT.

3. An amazing IEP Meeting!

2. Did I fail to mention an amazing IEP Meeting?

1. I LOVE my kids!

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Tuesday, December 20, 2011

The HandVibes Winner!

Thanks for all of you who entered for Monday's blog giveaway for a FREE set of HandVibes to be given to the sibling of your special needs child!
They are the best cheerleaders that you could have, and we really need to give them props and show them that, while they are on the same journey with us, their passion and enthusiasm cannot go unnoticed.

So the winner of this week's giveaway is.....


Congrats, Amy!

Amy, please email me at with your mailing info and we will get your set out ASAP.
As always, if Amy doesn't' contact me within 48 hours, another winner will be chosen at random.

Thanks again for all of those who participated and to HandVibes for allowing me to review this product and offer it to my readers!

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Monday, December 19, 2011

A Giveaway For The Biggest Fans: The Siblings!

During the hustle and bustle of driving to and from therapy and various appointments with our special needs kiddos, we are quizzing and drilling and doing therapy whenever we can to help perfect those speech sounds.
But sometimes, in the chaos of it all, we miss something: the siblings.

These are the unsung heroes when are always along for the ride to therapy.

Who sit patiently (or not so patiently sometimes) in doctors office waiting rooms.

Who are the quiet watchers and listeners.

Who defend their younger brother or sister while educating others on the speech disorder that their family member has.

Who cheer them on day in and day out.

Who are actually heard on many occasions helping out with the therapy and cheering on the little ones when they do something spectacular.

Well, big brothers and sisters...this one's for you!

These vibrant rings are hand painted with contrasting colored letters and feature 25 expressions and designs.
Plus, they are available in two sizes to fit different fingers or toes.
The Handvibes are novelty rubber rings with interesting words on them
in different colors.

They feature words and sayings such as “Rad,” “BFF,” “Epic,” “Dude,” “Boo-Yah,” “ROFL” and many more!
HandVibes are a fun way for kids to display their attitudes on their fingertips!
Adding to the collectability of HandVibes are ten rare black or blue swirl emoticon designs featuring smiley faces, winks, smirks and more, which are randomly inserted into just one out of every six ring packs.
Since HandVibes are sold in packs with two visible rings plus a third‘Mystery Ring’ contained in a hidden compartment, every purchase will have an element of surprise as kids discover if their Mystery Ring is one of the rare emoticon designs.
Nine vibrant colors!
25 unique sayings!
Ten hard-to-find emoticon designs for a total of 235 unique rings in all!
HandVibes are Definitely poised to become the newest craze in kids’ collectible, tradable fashion.

So who has a typical-developing sibling out there that would LOVE to have a set of these HandVibes for FREE?!

Here's all you have to do:
1. Make sure you "LIKE" my Facebook page already.
2. Head on over to HandVibes on Facebook, "LIKE" their page and let them know that I sent you there!

That's it!
Simple as that!

This blog giveaway will run from today, December 19, 2011 through 12:00 noon on Tuesday, December 20, 2011(CST).
One winner will be chosen at random.
You will have 24 hours to respond to me when I post your name as the winner.
Contest valid in the United States only.
Sorry, but no PO Box entries will be allowed.
No anonymous entries.
You must have a valid email address.
If the first winner does not contact me within 24 hours, another winner will be chosen at random.


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Friday, December 16, 2011

The POP for Sight Words Winner!

Thank you all for your great comments and excitement about this giveaway.

And a HUGE thank you to Learning Resources for making this possible!

Now, the winner of the "POP for Sight Words" giveaway is.....


Misty, please email me within 24 hours with your mailing information to

If Misty does not contact me within 24 hours of this posting, a new winner will be chosen.

Congrats, Misty, and thanks again to all of you who participated.

Next week is yet another giveaway....and this one is both unique and special geared towards the older siblings of our special needs kiddos!

Have a great weekend everyone!
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Thursday, December 15, 2011

It's Giveaway Time!

With my daughter's IEP Meeting coming up in a mere 5 days, I thought a giveaway would be appropriate.
One of her goals involves sight words.
And while she is making gains on this goal, she still struggles with it.
Flash cards are no fun, for sure, and pointing to words in a book is so unmotivating.

However, the great people over at Learning Resources have given me yet another avenue to drill these oh-so-important words into her long term memory.


Disguised as a box of popcorn, you will find 100 pieces of popcorn representing 92 of the most common sight words that are taught at the Kindergarten level.

But what about the other 8, ApraxiaMom?
Well, the remaining 8 pieces have the work "POP" written on them and they are pieces that make this game so fun!

Why are they so special?
Well, as two or more players are playing this game, taking turns choosing a piece of popcorn and saying the word that appears on that piece.
But, watch out, because a random piece of popcorn labeled "POP" may be chosen.
And if that lose all of your pieces back to the box!

But this game is more than just learning sight words.
I have found (with my two children) that I have been able to teach:
*turn taking
*they may not always be the winner
*using the word in a sentence
*explaining to me what the word means or represents
*playing fair

I am sure that you can come up with many, many more ways of using this game as both a fun and educational addition to your household or classroom, too!

So, who would like to own this game?

Here is what you need to do.

1. You must LIKE Learning Resources on Facebook and tell them that I sent you there from today's giveaway.

2. You must leave a comment on my Facebook page as a separate post stating why this game would be perfect for you!

That's it!
Simple as that!

This blog giveaway will run from today, December 15 ,2011 through 9:00am on Friday, December 16th (CST).
One winner will be chosen at random.
You will have until 9:00am on Saturday, December 17, 2011 to respond to me when I post your name as the winner.
Contest valid in the United States only.
Sorry, but no PO Box entries will be allowed.
No anonymous entries.
You must have a valid email address.
If the first winner does not contact me within 24 hours, another winner will be chosen at random.


And thanks again to Jenny and the great people over at Learning Resources for this wonderful opportunity!

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Wednesday, December 14, 2011

The Magic of Christmas

Watching two kids anxiously and patiently wait for cookies to bake.

To decorate sugar cookies with sprinkles of very color.

This is what drives me and fulfills my life.
They are my magic!

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Tuesday Top Ten

10. Less than two weeks until Christmas...and this Mama hasn't started shopping.

9. Prepping for Kate's huge IEP Meeting. Yeah, I got this!

8. Having a plan and sticking to it.

7. A successful first swim lesson for Andrew.

6. A second swim lesson for Andrew...with tears. Yes, the newness has worn off.

5. An OT eval that really makes sense.

4. Being on the same page with regards to goals for OT.

3. Continued progress on the speech and language front for both kiddos!

2. Friends, family, and an awesome cookie exchange!

1. I love my kids!

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Monday, December 12, 2011

"I Did It!"

Last week Monday was Andrew's first swim lesson.
The boy is afraid of water.
Afraid to get his face wet.
But the care and compassion of his coach made it so easy for him.
This video was 10 minutes into the lesson.
He went from a boy afraid of water to a boy telling me "I did it!"
Love that little voice!

Yes, Andrew, you did it!

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Friday, December 9, 2011

Thank You So Much!

Yesterday, I received an email stating that I was chosen as one of the Top 115 Parenting Blogs from eCollegeFinder.

Thank you so much!
Being a student isn't an easy job, and neither is being a parent. Despite how tough it may be, many of the students who visit our site are the courageous parents who are pushing limits, working hard, and returning to school. The Top 115 Parenting Blogs Award was created especially for you, student moms and dads, and includes a large collection of helpful and encouraging blogs from other parents. Our award winners include blogs that address how to thrive raising children, through thick and thin, while keeping a sense of humor, remaining green, healthy, frugal, crafty, working, going to school, or just staying sane!
I still do not know who nominated me, but I am humbled and for that I thank you again and again.
I am honored to be listed among over 100 other bloggers who share their stories and struggles daily, making the most of what they have and thanking God for the chance to help others in the same situation.

If you would like to see the complete list of bloggers, click here!

Thanks again!

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Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Today's Top Ten

10. Two weeks until our MEGA HUGE 3-year re-eval IEP Meeting for Kaitlyn.

9. And no, I have not started to prep for above meeting.

8. Andrew's first swim lesson = success!

7. Semi-private swim lessons for special needs kids = the best decision ever!

6. More great handwriting progress for Kaitlyn!

5. The end of the first half of the school year is creeping up on us already? Really?!

4. No snow yet...and it's December 7th???

3. Dreaming of sleeping in....yeah my dreams!

2. Haven't started Christmas shopping yet.

1. I LOVE my kids!

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Tuesday, December 6, 2011

A LoudMommy Christmas!

If you haven't met my friend, Loud Mommy, are missing out!

This is the Mom with a cute-as-a-button boy and together they are conquering the world!
And today, she launched an amazing giveaway!
Click here to see it and enter!
You only have until Sunday, December 11th to enter to win!

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Friday, December 2, 2011

*Frosty the Snowman and Bad Words

I never liked the word "stupid".
Even when I was growing up and heard others say it, I simply didn't care for it.

But now the word is one hot topic in my house, thanks to the Frosty the Snowman DVD that my children are addicted to.
It is played over and over.....and over.
At home.
In the car.
Wherever a DVD player is, so is Frosty.
It's a cute movie and I get all tickled when I listen to my kids sing along to the catchy tunes.

That is, until my daughter announced one day "Mom, the Professor said a bad word!"
He said something bad?
I've never heard anything bad, and I've got ears like a hawk!
She insisted that the Professor said a bad word and insisted that I play it back so that she could show me.

And sure enough, she was right!
Right out of the mouth of that crabby old Professor Hinkle!
He's so ticked off that he is a horrible magician and that his rabbit is not cooperating and now has raw egg in his hat....and the kids would rather go outside to play in the newly fallen snow than to watch him.
And just to clarify, he calls the snow "stupid", not the rabbit or any child.
Good choice, Prof!
*And while the actual word "stupid" is not technically a bad word, it is in our house.
Falls into the same category as the four-letter words that had better not come out of my kids' mouths!

In my 3+ decades of watching Frosty the Snowman, I never noticed this.
But leave it to my daughter.....the one with the speech, language, and processing issues to identify it and bring it to my attention.

If you've never heard it before, click below.
You'll hear the word "stupid" around the 2:17 mark.
It's amazing that I hadn't picked up on the word after 30+ years of watching that movie.
But my daughter with special needs did.

Yep, this kid continues to amaze me!

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Thursday, December 1, 2011

Happy December 2011!

Can you believe December is here already?

Have a wonderful day!
And thank you to Terri Mauro for allowing me to share this!

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Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Top Ten

10. A wonderful Thanksgiving holiday.

9. Loving the homework for Kaitlyn!

8. Continued progress with handwriting for Kaitlyn.

7. Continued progress for both kids on the speech and language front.

6. Counting down the days until Christmas.......oh dear.....

5. The spirit of Christmas through a child's eyes.

4. A nonfunctional left ear tube for Andrew. Why do I have this feeling of impending doom?

3. Emerging manners from the little boy. WHOA! Where did that come from?

2. Less attitude from the little girl. FINALLY!

1. I love my kids!

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Tuesday, November 29, 2011

How To Get Funding for Advocates/Attorneys

I'm sure the title of this post caught your attention, didn't it?
Funny how money makes people's ears perk up like a kitty stalking a bird in the yard.
The fact of the matter is that special needs attorneys and advocates are not cheap.
Then again, you wouldn't want a cheap one, would you?
You'd want someone to go to bat for your child like it was their own.
You'd want them to expect work from you as well.
It's called a team approach.
And when that attorney does his/her job, you realize that each and every hard earned penny that went towards that retainer fee, traveling fee, or copy fee was worth it and well spent, right?

That's what Jessica and Brett wanted for Emma.
And that's what Jessica and Brett got for Emma.

This is Jessica, and she has quite the story to tell you.
She has a cute-as-a-button daughter named Emma.
And yes, Emma has special needs.
And when I read Jessica's blog, I have to ask myself "Don't I know this girl?"
She sounds so much like me and what I would do.
Funny thing, that special needs community out there, isn't it?
I'm not sure exactly when I met Jessica, if it was through Blog Frog or on a random Internet search of special needs blogs, but I am grateful that I did meet her.

She is one tough cookie!
She would fit in well with me on the south side of Chicago, I tell ya.
A feisty little spit-fire with a passion for her child and her needs like no one else I have met in a long time.
And because Ms. Jessica has a soft, compassionate side, too...she wants to help other parents just like her.
You see, Jessica and Brett and Emma went on this Attorney Journey, and it wasn't some all-expense-paid-kind-of-trip-that-one-wins-on-The-Price-Is-Right.
No balloons falling and confetti caught in your hair or bells and whistles.
It was hard work.
The kind of work that paid off...BIG TIME!

It is this kind of Attorney Journey.

Once you read the ending story of the journey, go back to the beginning.
See where it all started.
See how low they pounded into the ground.
Then see how they rose victorious like a phoenix from the flames.

She's from Arizona, too!
I am too freaking creative tonight with the whole "phoenix" comment!
(*Apraxia Mom pats self on the back!*)

Alright, back to my whole point of this blog post....and I do have a point here.
Go to Jessica's Etsy page and help her help other parents fund an attorney or advocate for their special needs child.
100% of purchases on cards and jewelry will go directly towards helping another child.

You can join me on the Jumping Waves Facebook page to continue following Jessica, Brett and Emma on this journey.
I'm sure there will be more great news to share!

Thanks, Jessica, for being such a warrior Mom!
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Monday, November 28, 2011

Unique Child Study

Columbia University in New York needs your help.
They are doing a study on children with special needs.
Unique children, like ours.
Researchers at Columbia University’s Paul F. Lazarsfeld Center for the Social Sciences studying how children who are unique in some way are identified and developed.
They are currently collecting stories from parents with children who have been identified as gifted, children who have unique artistic, scientific, or physical abilities, children on the autism spectrum, and children who have been identified as having attention disorders.
While all children are unique, the goal of this study is to identify how children with unique developmental abilities or trajectories develop over early childhood.

Simply click on the link here to participate.
There is no catch.
It's a simple survey, and you can abandon the survey at any point if some of the questions make you uncomfortable.

"Parents have different experiences and observations of their child’s development and they have different personal resources with which they access services or programs. Parents also differ in the type and extent of their support networks and social relations. And finally, parents make different decisions when finding the right academic, extra-curricular, or other placements for their children. We would like to give parents the chance to tell their stories. Survey responses will help us understand the experiences of unique children as well as their development over time."

Thanks for your help!

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Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Toilet Paper Roll Turkey

This toilet paper roll turkey is a simple, but really cute Thanksgiving Day craft. Kids will enjoy cutting out the different color feathers of construction paper and putting the turkey together.

What you'll need:
•Toilet paper roll
•Red, Yellow, and Orange Construction Paper
•2 Googly Eyes

How to make your Toilet Paper Roll Turkey:
•Cut feather shapes out of the construction paper. You'll need 2-3 feathers of each color.
•Cut a small triangle out of orange construction paper for a beak.
•Cut a small peanut shape out of red construction paper for a waddle.
•Cut two feet out of orange construction paper.
•Tape the feathers onto the back of the toilet paper roll.
•Glue the eyes, beak, waddle, and feet to the front of the toilet paper roll.

Have fun!

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Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Tuesday Top Ten

10. A short week due to the Thanksgiving Holiday!

9. One week off from work! YIPPEE!

8. Speech and Occupational therapy that is really bringing out the best in my kids!

7. Refusing to put up any Christmas decorations in or around my house until AFTER Thanksgiving! That's the rule!

6. Making an appointment to visit with Santa soon!

5. I am so thankful for my husband and his support and love!

4. I am so thankful for my children and the joy that they bring to my life!

3. I am so thankful for my family and friends!

2. I am so thankful to all of you who read this little blog of mine!

1. I love my kids!

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Monday, November 21, 2011

ThanksGiving Crafts!

Since this is a short week and we will all be gathering soon to celebrate with our families and friends to give thanks for all that we have and for the progress that we have made, this week will be devoted to crafty ideas for the Thanksgiving Holiday.
And yes, sometimes a little messy.
But what better sensory play than messy sensory play, right!!

Below is a simple craft that your child can do with very little guidance...ENJOY!

What you'll need:
•Yellow and green construction paper
•Printable corn template
•White glue
•Red, orange, yellow, and white washable paint.

How to make your Fingerprint Indian Corn:
1. Print our a corn template or draw your own.
2. Cut the pieces out.
3. Trace the corn piece onto yellow construction paper, and the husk piece onto green construction paper, then cut both pieces out.
4. Glue the corn piece onto the husk piece.
5. Have your child dip their fingers into the paint and dot the different colors onto the corn.

*This works best if you can convince them to use one color at a time, but looks just as cute if they all get smeared together, too!

Happy Crafting!

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Friday, November 18, 2011

Santa and the Girl Scouts

When I was growing up, we always traveled to both Grandparent's houses to celebrate Christmas Eve.
Those are the memories that I will never forget.
And at the end of the day, I remember driving home, anxiously waiting to see if Santa paid our house a visit.

And he did!

But before me, my sister or my brother could open any gifts, my parents would read us a letter that Santa had left for us.
I was always amazed at what the jolly ole elf knew about us!
Um, good and bad.

So how would you like to give your child a personalized letter from Santa Claus this year AND help a well known organization at the same time?

Except this group of Girl Scouts is comprised of little ladies with special needs!

This Christmas, surprise your child with a letter from Santa!
Take advantage of this unique opportunity to send your child a personalized letter from Santa Claus!
For only $5.00, your child will receive a letter from Santa through the mail that is personalized with his/her name.
Each letter will be printed on holiday stationery, and will contain a thoughtful message from Santa.
Delivery is guaranteed before Christmas Eve!

Proceeds will be donated to help support Girl Scouts Troop #200, a troop giving girls with special needs the opportunity to build courage, confidence and leadership and to make this world a better place.

Girl Scouts turns 100 years old in 2012 (1912- 2012) and in August 2012 Girl Scout Troop #200 will be making the road trip down to Savannah GA, the founder of Girl Scouts.

Please fill out the info below on a separate piece of paper and mail it along with your payment (checks made payable to NCHS DECA) by December 7, 2011, to:

Katie Barry, DECA Advisor
Naperville Central High School
440 West Aurora
Naperville IL 60540

Katie Barry at or
Christine Bell at

Parent/Guardian Name: ________________________________________________
Purchaser's Name (if different from parent):________________________________
Phone (only used if there is a question regarding the order): ___________________
# of Letters: __________ @ $5.00 each = $____________ total payment enclosed

Only ONE Child per letter. (Please make checks payable to NCHS.)
Personalization - PLEASE PRINT NEATLY
***Child's First and Last Name
***Male or Female
***Address (Street, City, State, Zip)
Note: Each Child in Your Order Will Receive a Different Letter

Thanks for your support!

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Thursday, November 17, 2011

Did You Ever Wonder HOW They Learn?

Did you ever wonder HOW your special needs child learns?
Why it takes longer for some simple tasks and quicker for more complex tasks?
I have.
And I have found a wonderful book for you all to read.
I bought mine on and read it in one night.
And I must say that it has opened my eyes to what my own child with special needs is going through.

Thank you, David Sousa!

"Since the first edition of David A. Sousa's bestseller on a brain-based approach for special education, scientists have made remarkable progress in understanding how the human brain functions. Now, How the Special Needs Brain Learns, Second Edition, helps you turn the latest developments in neuroscience into practical classroom activities for students with common learning challenges.

In this completely revised second edition, Sousa builds on the latest data by examining both simple and complex learning strategies that can be adapted for students with learning disabilities such as ADHD/ADD; speech, reading, writing, and math disabilities; emotional and behavioral disorders; autism; and Asperger's syndrome.

Emphasizing lifelong independent learning, increased retention, and cognitive flexibility, this revision offers educators targeted assistance with:

•Responsiveness to Intervention (RTI) for evaluating students at risk
•Expanded chapters on attention and autism spectrum disorders
•Revised material on reading, emotional, and behavioral disorders
•A new final chapter featuring a practical framework for identifying, accommodating, and motivating special needs students
•References to more than 230 new scientific studies

Offering real strategies for real classrooms, Sousa's latest work is an indispensable tool for all educators, school administrators and teachers, staff developers, preservice educators, and even parents who want to better understand the way their children process and retain information."

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Wednesday, November 16, 2011

"Mom, I Can't Hear"

That was the message that Kaitlyn gave me on Tuesday morning when she woke up.
She's been battling a cold for about a week now, but those words made me believe that something else was up.
Aside from my fear of an ear infection, I was pretty impressed with what she had to tell me.
And the fact that she did tell me.
In her own words.
And that I didn't have to try and figure it out or play charades to figure it out.
Because for so long, that is what I had to do to figure out the few words she had.

So, being the bad Mom that I was being Tuesday morning, I sent her to school.
Why shouldn't I have sent her?!
She didn't have a fever.
She did have a snotty nose, but no fever.
So off to school she went.
But that little Mama voice in my head told me to call the pediatrician's office and get her in to be checked out ASAP.

We had an appointment at 3:45pm.
She looked a tad worse than when I sent her to school.
Something was really kicking her butt.
And the doc's trusty otoscope told me the inevitable: she has an ear infection.

Well, she did tell me that she couldn't hear that morning.
But she didn't have a fever, so I didn't think "infection".
Yep, bad Mom and bad Nurse...all in one day.

So now she is on the pink stuff.
And now I have to hope that sounds and words don't start to suffer because of it.
It's happened before, and I've been there.
Until her next speech session, I've got to bump up her speech therapy at home.
Need to work on those lower decibel sounds.
Focus on the /s/ and /th/ and /f/ sounds for a few days.

The lesson learned here?
Listen to my kids.
Lesson learned.
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Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Tuesday Top Ten

10. Mainstreaming.

9. Successful Parent-Teacher Conferences!

8. Watching my son make stick figures and faces with HUGE ears! LOVE!

7. Kaitlyn's successful OT consult!

6. A date night and a babysitter.

5. Reflection and anticipation.

4. Two stuffy-nosed kiddos in my house.

3. To-Do Lists that actually get done!

2. Dancing to Lady Gaga!

1. I LOVE my kids!

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Monday, November 14, 2011

How To Include Special Ed With General Ed

Please don't ask me to answer this question.
Because I don't know the answer.

All I do know is that my husband and I have prayed and talked and prayed some more about this topic for several weeks now.
We have known for some time that this day would come.
And while we are both excited and anxious, scared and nervous, confident and determined to make it work....the day has come.

The day?
Kaitlyn will be mainstreaming to our home school.
Saying good-bye to the security blanket of what we have come to know in the self-contained setting which she has been in for almost three years.
While I will miss the warmth and comfort of that security blanket, I know in my heart of hearts that it has become too restrictive for her.
And while she is not completely ready to have her wings clipped to fly away on her own, her current setting is holding her back from the potential that she has inside.

There will still be a lot of hand-holding and guidance required (of both her and myself!), we are ready to embark on the new adventure.
It won't happen until the summer of the 2012-2013 school year, but there is a lot that has to be done prior to the "big move".

How do I teach the new staff about my child?
About her abilities?
About her disabilities?
About what motivates her and what scares her?
Will I ever be able to relax and just let her go?

Of course I will!
Because this girl and I can swim with the sharks!
Better yet, we swim BETTER than most sharks out there.
And together, we will do this!
We will be successful!

Click here for some great tips to help you include your special ed child in the general education setting.

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Thursday, November 10, 2011

Tips for Handwriting

The following blog has been copied/pasted from the Handwriting Without Tears email that I receive monthly.
I want to give them props because this article below is all theirs.
Not mine.
I'm too tired today to even think of putting a coherent sentence together.
Worked yesterday.
Very busy.
See? I'd rather write in single words than long elaborate sentences!
Just read below, OK.............

4 Steps to Teach Correct Grip
Good habits that begin in early years will last a lifetime—and holding a crayon or pencil correctly is a very important habit.
Awkward grips can cause fatigue, cramping, and even pain—making writing difficult. This problem can be prevented.
The foundation starts with general upper body strength and fine motor skill activities.
Follow these four steps to teach proper grip.

What you see here are the two efficient grips that are universally recommended for children to achieve: the tripod grip and the quadropod grip.

For the tripod grip, the thumb, pointer, and middle finger work together to hold a writing tool.

For the quadropod grip, four fingers work together to stabilize the writing tool. Notice how the pencil rests on the ring finger and this provides additional support.

You might observe children holding their crayon or pencil with too many fingers or placing their thumbs on top of their fingers, or their fingers on top of their thumbs.
If you notice this, you will need to help children form the proper grip to help them with the mechanics of writing and ultimately, to become better writers.

Follow these four steps!

1.Determine Handedness.
Determine the skilled or preferred hand to teach grip.
Notice which hand the child uses more often during activities requiring hand use, for example, eating and stringing beads.
You may want to collaborate with teachers, parents, and therapists, so they too are watching too and can help you decide.

2.Teach correct finger placement.
Show children how to position their fingers on the writing tool, using one of the grips above.

3.Use small tools.
It is important for children to use writing tools that promote the correct use of the thumb, pointer, and middle fingers.
Often, when children are given primary size pencils and crayons, their grip becomes awkward because these tools are too heavy and long for their little hands.

4.Play! Provide creative opportunities for children to develop fine motor skills that are necessary for correct grip, such as scissor activities, manipulating play dough, stringing beads, etc.

I love Handwriting Without Tears!

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Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Top Ten

10. Back to blog giveaways! Woo-Hoo!

9. A fiesty IEP meeting for Andrew.

8. Adding 30 minutes of OT to Andrew's IEP for school!

7. Deciding to look into private OT for Kaitlyn.

6. Contemplating swim lessons for Andrew.

5. Upcoming Parent Teacher Conferences for both kids.

4. Mainstreaming.

3. Decisions.

2. A fun Halloween for both of the kids.

1. I love my kiddos!

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