Friday, July 29, 2011

The Nuts and Bolts of the IEP (and a Slip-n-Slide)

Please don't think that I am trying to rush summer.
I'm not.
Now that ESY is over, the kids and I have 23 days of summer fun left for frolicking and mischief.
But when I come across something this cool, I can't keep it to myself.
And this is yet another great resource that I must share with you!

How many of you really understand that political mumbo-jumbo stack of papers that is plopped in front of you when you annually meet with your child's team to discuss progress and plan for the next year?

Click here for the A-B-C version and you should fret no more!

Now if you would excuse me, I have two anxious kiddos and a slip-and-slide that needs conquering!

post signature

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Speech/Language Disorders & School

I know, I know.

It's only July 28th.

And there is still about one month before school starts again for the 2011-2012 school year.

But this is an interesting link that I just had to pass along to you!

The more "on top of things" we are with our kiddos, the better off they will be!

Simple changes to the techniques we use can go a long way!

Happy Thursday!
post signature

Wednesday, July 27, 2011


Apps for Children With Special Needs.

For those of you on Facebook, you may recognize this as "A4CWSN".

Founded by Gary James, this Facebook page and it's actually website offers previews and reviews of various apps for Apple products for a child with special needs.
Speech therapy, occupational therapies, how to dial a phone safely.....Gary reviews them all!

And he gives.
He gives away free apps.
He gives away free iPads.
He gives from the heart.

He is a great man with a greater mission.

Now, it is time that we help Gary out: The CLASSY Awards.

The CLASSY Awards is the largest philanthropic awards ceremony in the country, recognizing the most outstanding philanthropic achievements by charities, businesses and individuals nationwide.

They say that "Hollywood has Oscar, Broadway has Tony and now philanthropy has the CLASSY".

Well, Gary equals class.
And the winners will be announced on Saturday, September 17th at the San Diego Civic Theater in San Diego, California in a Hollywood-style event!

So click here to go to the official Classy Awards website.
Scroll to "Individual/Group Categories".
Go down three lines to "Most Successful Fundraiser by an Individual or Group".

The 9th line down is "Gary James: Changing the World For Children With Special Needs".
Click "vote" to the left of his name.
Then click "Submit" on the next screen.
One vote per person...that's all you need to do!

You can view Gary's profile here and what he has done and continues to do for those children and families with special needs!

Thank you for voting.
post signature

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Singin' About a Winner......

...and that winner is.....


Congrats, Kari!

Now, girlfriend, you have 48 hours to contact me at with your mailing address to claim your prize.

(If Kari does not contact me by this posting time Thursday, a new winner will be chosen.)

Thanks again to all who participated!

And a big THANK YOU to Katie (AKA: Julie Andrew's voice double...LOVE them both!) for your wonderful CDs!

post signature

Monday, July 25, 2011

Singin' About a Great Giveaway!

(Please scroll to the bottom right column to "pause" my embedded music prior to reading this giveaway post. Thanks!)

Music is a huge part of my children's' lives.
There is music constantly playing in my house, my car, and even me singing in the shower!
I even hear both of my children humming along to tunes and attempting to sing along with some of the popular nursery rhymes set to music.

And music is great for speech therapy!

But with apraxia, that is one hard task.
With apraxia being a motor-planning problem, children find it hard to keep up with a song as they attempt to sing.
They know the song and the tune, they just can't put it together as fast.
Sadly, this frustrates both child and Mom.

That is, however, until I met Katie from Sing Out!

Sing Out focuses on the bilabial sounds (P,B,W,M) and is recorded with simply voice and guitar to facilitate attention to sounds. The song are slightly slowed and musically repetitive for repeated practice of the focus phonemes. In addition, the songs are set up as transition songs for parents to learn and sing with their kiddos during various activities of the day. (It is also fun for passive listening as well) After track 12 on both CDs - the tracks repeat with blanks left in the music for the child to practice and "be the star".

Ta-Da grows a bit in musical complexity by adding additional instruments, but keeps with the structure, simplicity and pacing of Sing Out. It hits on some of the alveolar sounds (S,Z,T,D) and again uses play and transition songs as well as repeated tracks at the end of the CD.

Katie is a Mom of three children with an angelic voice like Julie Andrews!
Close your eyes and listen to'll think that Julie Andrews is singing right next to you!
She has a voice to calm even the most wired an intense Mom like me.
I was immediately drawn to her as were my two children.
My children sat and ate lunch as the first CD played in the background.
I quietly watched them.
It was neat to see them tap their foot or bop their head to the music!

Katie is a board certified music therapist and when her own daughter was diagnosed with apraxia, she stated "I truly felt lost. So, I did what came naturally: I sang."

As a music therapist, Katie has worked primarily with children with special needs using musical techniques in the therapeutic setting to address goals including social interaction, coping mechanisms, language development, emotional and creative expression, but most importantly sense of self.

And the best part is that the songs are fun, simple, and slightly slowed to allow our kiddos that valuable "think time".
They are designed as transition and play songs so parents can incorporate them into their child's daily activities

Katie is cool, isn't she?

Do you want a teaser about these CDs?
You can click here to listen to music samples!

And for the next 24 hours, Katie would like to give ONE of you both copies of her CDs!

I told you she was a cool Mom!

Here is how you can enter this week's giveaway:
1. Leave a comment on my Facebook Page.

2. Follow me on Twitter and "retweet" my tweet about the giveaway.

3. Become a fan of Sing Out! on Facebook here and tell her that Apraxia Mom sent you!

Simple as that and you can enter all three ways!

Contest begins today, July 25, 2011 and ends on Tuesday, July 26, 2011 at noon (CST).
Winner will be chosen at random and contacted via email and announced on my Facebook page.
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 48 hours, another winner will be chosen at random.


And thank you, Katie, for allowing me to preview your CDs and for working with me in this amazing giveaway!

For more information about Katie and her products, you can visit her website hereSing Out!

(Please see "Disclaimer" tab above about the products for this and any other giveaway or review which is done on this site.)
post signature

Friday, July 22, 2011

Who Wants an iPad2?

I hope to be giving one away to one of my awesome blog readers!

The catch is....I need 300 votes, and I am about 120 votes shy of that goal and there are only a few days left to vote.

For those of you who don't know what is going on, I am participating in a campaign lead by Gary James from Apps for Children With Special Needs.

He has this wonderful "50 iPads/50States/50Days" campaign and I would be so honored to be part of it.

By getting the remaining 120 votes, I would be one of the finalists to work with Gary in "gifting" an iPad2 to one of YOU!

All I need you to do is go to this link and place a check mark in the box next to "Apraxia Mom".

That's it!

So please vote.
Please ask your friends to vote.

Please vote for Loud Mommy and Mommy Square, too!

They, too, are Mom bloggers and apraxia pioneers!
Please help us have the chance to help one of you win an iPad2!

Thanks so much and have a great weekend!

post signature

Thursday, July 21, 2011


Every child has a "best friend".

Who would like to give them one more to add to their brood?

Today, I am hosting an impromptu giveaway: a $50.00 gift certificate to Build-a-Bear!

The FIRST PERSON who can figure it out wins!

To enter, you MUST leave your response on my Facebook page and you must have voted for my blog to be one of the finalists in the A4CWSN "50 iPads/50 States/ 50 Days" Campaign...donating an iPad2 to a special needs child with Gary James and A4CWSN.

Simple as that!

Now, here is the question.......

If you are a regular follower of my blog, this should be easy for you:

What are the TWO NEWEST CHANGES to my blog?

You have to get both answers right to win!

The more detailed you are, the better your chances!

The contest will end as soon as the first person answers correctly AND votes for my blog.

Good Luck!

post signature

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

It Has Been....

...7 weeks since Andrew's surgery,

...6 weeks since Kaitlyn's surgery,

...5 weeks of ESY summer school,

...4 different mini-road trips to the zoo, mega-park, boating, and more,

...3 or more days a week of swimming, splashing, or slip-n-sliding,

...2 happy kids,

...1 happy Mama!

Yes, its been a great summer so far!

With about 5 weeks left before school starts for the 2011-2012 school year, I can only imagine what other fun times we will have!

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

"Positively" a Winner!

Thanks to all of you who entered this week's blog giveaway!

The winner is......


Congrats, Amber!

Amber, please email me at within the next 48 hours to claim your prize.

Remember, if Amber does not contact me within this time frame, a new winner will be chosen.

Hope you all are having a great summer!

Tune in next Monday for a music giveaway designed specifically for children with apraxia!

And thanks again to The Victoria Chart Company for this GREAT giveaway!

post signature

Monday, July 18, 2011

Positive Behavior Giveaway!

Children learn from our attitudes, actions and reactions.
The way we communicate with, and around, children has a great impact.
However, the pressure of modern day life can make it difficult to remember to act positively - our attention can often be elsewhere, our voices raised and we can be quick to focus on the negative.

Enter The Victoria Chart Company!

The Victoria Chart Company™ was founded in 2004 by Victoria Ballard.
Like any parent who wants the best for their child, Victoria wanted to do all that she could for her two children, particularly, her son who was diagnosed with Cerebral Palsy at 18 months.
Victoria discovered that a reward system she developed worked fabulously well for her children.
It built their self-esteem helping them to become confident and, most importantly, proud of their progress.
The system worked so well that she has dedicated her time to creating tools for parents and professionals to help children and their families realise the power of developmental progress that comes from the simple process of Encourage & Praise™.

Today, The Victoria Chart Company™ is internationally recognized and is a specialist in creating products for positive development in children.
Victoria and her team continue to research and develop new products for parents, carer givers and professionals to help children succeed.

By using the Encourage and Praise charts, you and your child will:
• set goals to encourage both adult and child to work together;
• provide a visual tool from which families can see progress and feel good about achievement;
• and, act as a reminder and a focal point for all to work from.

As a result, use of the Encourage & Praise charts allow children to:
• see how well they are doing;
• feel good about their progress;
• build great self-esteem;
• and, repeat their positive actions.

The charts are very simple to use and gives your child the visual that they need to see how well their positive behaviors produce positive results!
Making their bed, eating fruits and vegetables that day, doing their homework, even brushing their teeth will allow them to gain stars for their chart.
The more stars they get, the better the reward!

At the bottom of the wipe-away chart are three reward levels: bronze, silver and gold.
Knowing very well that all kids (as adults) have bad days, they should not be penalized for not getting enough check marks in the boxes for that day.
That would defeat the purpose of this activity.
But when a child knows that a certain number of check marks will equal a reward, you may see more positive behaviors.
And you can simply change the number of check marks for the specific reward box, not just use the 6-9-12 that has already been printed on the chart.

Just put an "X" over the number and ad lib your own number based on your child's age and abilities!

And, of course for you iPad/iPod/iTouch users...there's an app for that!
Now you can continue your positive behavior and rewards on the go!

Hanging these charts (one for each child if you have more than one in your home) will help your child excel and build self-esteem.
Since these charts are both engaging and enjoyable for children, they won't even know that you are modifying their behavior!

Sneaky, huh?

And these charts can be used with neuro-typical children as well as those with special needs since they are easily modified!

Remember, positive adult involvement is key to the success, and helping children to feel good about themselves can ease a parents/carers frustration.
My household is currently struggling with attitude from a 7 year old girl with multiple needs and temper tantrums from a 3 year old boy with a speech delay.
These charts have worked wonders in my house, even from the little boy whom you can't fool!
Guess what??? I fooled him!

So now, who is interested in receiving one of these charts for FREE!

Here's how to enter:
1. Leave a comment on this blog post as to why your child could benefit from these charts.

2. Become a fan on my Facebook page and leave a comment on my page.

3. Follow me on Twitter and "retweet" my giveaway Tweet.

4. Become a fan of Victoria Chart Company on
Facebook and let them know that I sent you there.

You can enter all 4 ways!

This giveaway is open from Monday, July 18, 2011 and ends on Tuesday, July 19, 2011 at noon (CST).
Open to U.S. residents only.
Winner will be chosen at random and will be contacted via email and announced on my Facebook page.
Please leave valid email address.
No anonymous entries allowed.
Winner will have 48 hours to contact me. If there is no response within 48 hours, a new winner will be chosen.


(Please see "Disclaimer Tab" for additional information about this and all other product reviews/giveaways.)

Thank you to my friends over at The Victoria Chart Company for this great giveaway! You can follow their blog here as well!
post signature

Friday, July 15, 2011


Apps for Children With Special Needs.

Simple as that.


If you have an iPad, you need to go to this site.
If you have an iPad and a child with special needs, you need to go to this site.
Gary James, founder of A4CWSN, puts it best when he says this:

"Apps for Children with Special Needs (a4cwsn) is committed to helping the families and carers of children with special needs and the wider community of
educators and therapists who support them, by producing videos that demonstrate
how products designed to educate children and build their life skills really
work from a user perspective. Our aim is that these videos, along with relevant
information and advice from an independent source you can trust, provides
valuable insight into whether a product is suitable for its intended purpose or
not, enabling sensible buying decisions to be made. We hope this site and its
content provides a valuable resource to the community that serves our precious
children with special needs."

Now, I don't own an iPad, but I find these apps absolutely amazing!
But the founder is even more amazing.
A father of six (two with special needs) Gary is well aware of what it is like to live the life of special needs.
Because of this, he puts his heart, soul and energy into each of his reviews.
And what is amazing about Gary and his A4CWSN site is that he takes you through each app that he profiles on his site and walks you through it.
Basically, you can see what you are buying before you buy it!

And now, Gary is embarking on an amazing journey "50 iPads. 50 States. 50 Children With Special Needs" campaign.
By teaming with developers and businesses, Gary hopes to deliver one iPad to one special needs child in each state.
Fifty lives changed forever.
For more information on this campaign, click here.

You can also find Gary and A4CWSN on Facebook and Twitter.

Gary James.
50 lives changed forever.

post signature

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Chronic Otitis Media and Speech vs Aetna

Once again, Aetna Insurance Company and I are about to enter the boxing ring.
WE went round for round two years ago and it sucked.
But I won.
And they knew that I won...they just wanted to play hardball with me.

No, no, no.

You picked the wrong Mama to play hardball with, Mr. Aetna.
Especially when our pediatrician writes a letter like this:

"...Andrew has suffered from chronic otitis media since October 2008. He had
bilateral PE tube placement performed in April 2009 and received speech and
language services through the State of Illinois Early Intervention Program. He
developed a dysfunctional tube in his right ear in February 2011 which lead to
recurrent ear infections through May 2011. Thus, he required a second surgery to
replace the right ear tube in May 2011. He is currently free of infection.
However, his speech and language skills are moderate-to-severely delayed and not
that of a typical developing child his age.
The first three years of life are considered critical to speech and language acquisition. Language acquisition requires a child to recognize speech sounds from the ongoing stream of speech in context, attach meaning to these sounds, and abstract the rules of language. Because children with recurrent otitis media or chronic otitis media externa experience fluctuating hearing loss, the concern is that they may be unable to organize and interpret speech sufficiently, leading to difficulties in speech development. A child with impaired hearing may not receive the entire acoustic signal and may lose important information. If partial hearing loss occurs repeatedly, the child experiences continuous changes in the database upon which good speech and language are built. It should also be noted that there is a strong family history of apraxia of speech within his immediate family as
evidenced in his older sibling, Kaitlyn (DOB 10-21-2003). It should be noted
that many speech and language disorders have a hereditary factor. While the
severity of the disorder varies, siblings often share similar speech traits.
That is why I feel that speech therapy is of utmost importance for this child..."

Yes, we are trying to get speech therapy covered for Andrew now.
This is something that I was hoping would work itself out on its own with PE tubes and some good old-fashioned home speech therapy.

Ain't happening.
So professional therapy with our great SLP is now the prize for this fight.

There's the bell!
And the fight is on!
May the best (Mama) win!

post signature

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

A "Dy-Na-Mite" Winner!

The winner of the Dino Cave Kids "Sounds From The Dino Cave" is......


Congrats, Jen!

Please email me at with your mailing address and I will get your DVD set out to you!

Remember, Jen only has 48 hours to contact me, or another winner will be chosen!

Thanks to Dino Cave Kids for this great giveaway!
And thanks to all of you who commented on this review/giveaway!

And remember, throughout the rest of summer, you can still purchase the complete DVD set for only $99.00 (regularly $149.00). See for more information.

Tune in next Monday for yet another blog review/giveaway focusing on improving your child's behavior!

post signature

Monday, July 11, 2011

A "Dino-Mite" Giveaway!

At last...Monday Product Reviews and Giveaways are back!
(And the crowds go wild!!!)

And today, I have a humongous giveaway for ONE of you!

Dino Cave Kids' Sounds From the Dino Cave: The Complete Set has got to be one of the best CD sets that I have ever used.
These educational DVDs for your use at home can help your child with:
*early talking
*pre-reading skills
*English language learning
*speech and special needs

Dino Cave Kids: Sounds from the Dino Cave is a series of nine DVDs.
Each DVD is anywhere from 30-45 minutes each, making them perfect for a quick speech lesson supplement at home or in the car or a doctor's office waiting room!
Multisensory techniques are used to help kids recognize and create different speech sounds.

Each of the nine DVDs targets specific sound groups:
•Volume 1: M, P, and B
•Volume 2: W, H, and Y
•Volume 3: N, T, and D
•Volume 4: K, Q, G, and Ng
•Volume 5: F and V
•Volume 6: S and Z
•Volume 7: L and R
•Volume 8: Ch and J
•Volume 9: Sh, Zh, Th, and Th

Dino Cave Kids uses strategies to enhance neurological processing of auditory, speech and language skills:
•Using multisensory input
•Visually supporting auditory stimuli
•Targeting skills in context relevant to kids' experience
•Allowing extra processing time
•Using music to engage the whole brain
•Using short learning segments to increase accuracy

When I sat down to watch one of the videos with my own children, I immediately took note of the bright, vivid colors and how each of the dinosaurs interacted with each other and the viewer.

Then there is Miss Kylie...oh, she is awesome!
You will see her a lot on these videos giving verbal, visual and auditory prompts to the viewer as to the correct mouth position for the specific sound.
Close-up shots of her mouth also allow the viewer to imitate correctly.
At one point, I heard her say "Feel your lips touching" as she was cuing the viewer to make the /m/ sound.

Here is what I really liked about these videos:

1.) The producers used real-life pictures as examples of the sound which they were focused on, not just flash cards or cartoons like other products use.
Why not use examples from your child's real world!

2.) Sign language examples were also Incorporated throughout the video, but only where appropriate.

3.) Voices of children were used throughout the videos. My own children responded very well to this!

4.) Identification of beginning, medial and final sound was also explored.

5.) Syllables were taught in easy ways both visually (dino eggs on the screen) and auditorily (clapping sound) simultaneously.

6.) Rhyming segment which allowed time for the child to repeat what they heard.

Each DVD is anywhere from 30-45 minutes in length, and you have the option of choosing the entire lesson or from one of several sub-lessons if you are pressed for time.

Below is an example of what you will see on these great videos:
(Please scroll to the bottom right column of this blog to "pause" my embedded music prior to watching the following video example. Thank you!)

Their website has tabs specifically geared towards the child, parent, SLP, or teacher.

This complete set typically retails for $149.00.
For the summer only, you can purchase it for $99.00.
But today, thanks to the wonderful people over at Dino Cave Kids, ONE WINNER can have this entire DVD set for FREE!

Now, here is what you need to do to enter:
1.) Become a fan of my Facebook page and leave a comment. If you are already a fan of my page, your comment will be your entry.

2.) Become a follower of my Twitter page and "retweet" my promotion of this giveaway. Again, if you are already a follower, your "retweet" will be your entry.

3.) Leave a comment on this blog post. Please make sure that you have a valid email address.

4.) Go to theDino Cave Kids Facebook page and "LIKE" them, too. You must also leave a message on their page that you heard of this giveaway from Apraxia Mom!

5.) Become a follower of Dino Cave Kids on Twitter.

You may enter all 5 ways to increase your chance of winning!

Contest begins on Monday, July 11th and ends on Tuesday, July 12th at 12:00 noon (CST).

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

This giveaway is for US Residents only.

And a HUGE Thank You to Dino Cave Kids for allowing me to review your great product!
(Note: For you legal folks out there, please see my "Disclaimer" tab on the top of my blog for further information about products in my reviews and giveaways.)

post signature

Friday, July 8, 2011

Who Remembers "Buddy Hinton"?

(Prior to watching this video, please scroll to the bottom right column and "pause" my embedded music. Thanks!)

How many of you remember Buddy Hinton?
You know, that nasty kid who teased Cindy Brady on "The Brady Bunch" because she had a lisp?

"Baby talk, baby talk, it's a wonder you can walk!" he would say to her.

And remember how she would sit on her stairs and work on that pesky /s/ sound?
"She sells sea shells by the sea shore."

And over.
And over.
Sounds like a day in the life of our children and the drilling of speech therapy that they go through.

And do you remember how big brother Peter punched Bobby in the mouth, causing his tooth to become loose and now Buddy had a lisp?
And then little Cindy could finally stand up to Buddy and tease him?

How many of you even remember that Cindy Brady even had a speech issue?
Yes, even back in the 70's, speech issues were around.
This is not something new.
She had a lisp.

Damn lisp!

My son has one, too.
And everytime I hear him attempt an /s/ sound, I see Andrew but I hear Cindy Brady.
Part of me smiles because I grew up with the Brady Bunch and loved that show!
But part of me feels sad for my little boy with a lisp.
But a lisp is just a teeny-tiny part of his speech problem.
And you thought it was just my daughter with the speech and language issues, right?


The occasional lisp is just a small part of what we are dealing with right now.
And right now is not the time for me to get into his speech issues.

But back to that nasty Buddy Hinton.
The kid who thought he was "all that and then some".
Mr. Perfect, or so he thought.
We all have lots of Buddy Hinton's in our lives.
I pick and choose which Buddy Hinton that I battle.

Who is the "Buddy Hinton" in your life right now?
Is it your insurance company as they deny your speech therapy claims one after another?
Is it your school not listening to your requests for additional help?
Is it your snooty neighbors who think their kid is "all that and then some"?
Is it your family who thinks you are inflating a problem and that your child "is just fine and they will talk soon when they are ready"?
Is it all of the above and their ignorance to the myriad of speech and language issues that so many of our children have today?

And yes.

If you have a child with a special need of any kind, then you have a Cindy Brady in your life.
And we all have to be a Peter Brady when it comes to standing up for our child and fighting the good fight.

post signature

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Do You Want To Play?

Looking for a way to network with other parents will special needs?

How about help in arranging a "play date" for your son/daughter with special needs?

Here is a great website called Special Playdate!

Just enter your information and others in your area (who have also enrolled on the site) will pop up!

And it's FREE!

post signature

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Fun Summer "Homework"

When you think "summer", you think sleeping in, lounging around, and doing just about nothing at all.
But when you have kids with special needs, you need to keep up with educational stuff so that skills are not lost in the 12 week break.



Check out this link here for some great printables on phonics!

post signature

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Tuesday Top Ten

What a great holiday weekend!
I sure hope that you all had a relaxing weekend, as well!
Now, onto the Top 10 this week.....

10. Two fully recovered kids from surgery.

9. More blog giveaways coming up over the next month!

8. Blog giveaways including music, books, DVDs, and 'bout that!

7. Improved speech therapy for Kaitlyn since her tonsils were removed. I am amazed!

6. Hitting a lull with Andrew's speech therapy...that's OK, we'll work through it!

5. Summer fun, swimming, and sprinklers!

4. Two sensory kids actually enjoying (somewhat) a fireworks display on Sunday. Yippee!

3. A stomach virus outta nowhere in 50% of my house....sigh...

2. Extended School Year!

1. I love my kids!

post signature

Monday, July 4, 2011

Celebrate Today...USA!

Happy 4th of July, everyone!
In honor of the holiday, I will not be hosting a "blog giveaway" today.
Giveaways will resume on Monday, July 11th!
Take the time today to enjoy family and friends.
Remember what today is all about.
And most of all, be safe!

Enjoy some great info about the July 4th holiday that was forwarded to me from VA Home Loans.

(Click on any part of the photo to enlarge)
4th of July Fun Facts Infographic

post signature